The holidays can be an expensive time that lead many people to seek consumer credit counselling. Between the gifts we have to buy and the vacations we plan on taking, your debt can add up fast. However, you don’t have to put yourself into considerable debt trying to make sure your family is well travelled and showered with presents this holiday season. To reduce debt, try the following:
Set A Budget
Before holiday shopping, create a budget that makes sense for your financial situation. Make a list of all the people you have to buy gifts for and narrow it down to those you are your top priority. For people that are not family but you would like to show appreciation, for example, your children’s teachers or co-workers, try sticking to gift cards. They are easy to manage and budget-friendly, often available in pre-set amounts such as $10 or $20.
To help you save money and stick to your budget, avoid spending money on greeting cards, holiday stationery or gift wrap. If you have printer, you can print out holiday cards at home. Get creative and recycle bags and tissue paper from previous years as well. Set that money aside January the next month, that way you’ll have something saved to help you pay off your expenses in the months to come after the holiday.
Start Saving Now To Avoid Credit Card Debt Later
Every little bit helps and if you start saving early, you’ll be able to not only stick to your budget but won’t have to use your credit cards. If you can pay for something outright instead of using a credit card, that’s future debt you’ll be avoiding. If you do want to use a credit card to collect the air miles or reward points, make sure you have the money on hand to pay it off afterwards. Another way to help avoid holiday debt is to pay for gifts in cash that way you’ll only have enough to cover your purchases and will not be inclined to impulse buy.
Set Up Your Travel At The Last Minute
Typically, a great way to save money on vacations for the holidays is to book early. However, it may not be possible to book your travel in September or October. However, you can book your desired destination at the last minute. If you’re okay with travelling only with a week or even a day’s notice, look at discount travel sites like Expedia and Trivago for last minute deals. You may be able to find the perfect vacation package at a very reasonable price.
If you’re stuck trying to figure out how not to go broke every time there is a holiday, you’re not alone. Many Canadians seek consumer credit counselling to help them out. Contact us for more information.