‘Tis the season to be jolly, right? Well, we know there’s nothing jolly about financial stress.

For most Canadians, the holiday season is tough on the wallet, and often causes (avoidable) stress. Don’t  break the bank to get through the holidays – follow our 5 tips to save this season to keep your holiday merry and bright.

Set a budget (and watch it!)

We’ve all been there. We set a budget with the best intentions, but somehow we end up completely overspending. How did that happen? First off, set some expectations with your friends and family. It’s totally okay (and common!) to have a set dollar amount that everyone has to stay within. This will not only keep you from breaking the bank, but it will also help you to know how much you’ll need to spend.

Looking for a super easy way to track your on-the-go spending? There are lots of free apps for your phone available through your app store.

Gift wisely

Instead of buying gifts for everyone and their dog, have everyone draw a name and just buy a gift for one person! This is especially helpful if you have a big family. This way everyone will still have something special to open on Christmas morning, but no one will feel like they have to spend their life savings trying to find presents that their Uncle Bill, Great Aunt Mary, and Sister-in-Law Cheryl will actually like.

Shop smart!

Shopping smart may take a bit more effort, but isn’t that part of the fun too? After all, is there really anything better than taking advantage of a great sale? (Answer: there isn’t).

With all the competition and the almost-constant sales, both in-store and online, is there really a reason to buy something at full price? Keep an eye out for competitive pricing at different stores, watch the flyers, and read all the fine-print about price matching and low-price guarantees. You’re sure to save a few dollars with each and every purchase. If you absolutely have to pay full price, make sure you take advantage of all of the sites that you can shop through where you get money back. Every penny counts!

Give an experience 

Instead of a bunch of presents, choose to save and go on a family vacation instead! Throughout the year everyone can put some money into the holiday fund. It’s even more fun if you end up taking a vacation right after Christmas… besides, January is usually pretty cold and grey! We promise that your week in Mexico will be a lot more memorable than that new sweater you unwrapped.

Save money and skip the gifts and parties all together! 

You know what they say: eat, drink and be merry! You don’t have to brave the cold to do that. Of course it’s okay to treat yourself once in a while, but remember that those treats add up. Sometimes a great alternative to a big night out at a holiday party can be a cozy (and cheap!) night in. Picture this: your favourite holiday movie paired with comfy pjs and a mug of hot cocoa. Yes, it really is as great as it sounds.

On Christmas morning make a yummy breakfast and then head outside to make snowmen or go sledding! It took him stealing the roast beast and saving Cindy Lou Who to figure it out, but at the end of the movie, The Grinch learned that Christmas doesn’t come in packages, boxes or bags… yours doesn’t have to either.


Looking for more information on holiday budgeting tips? Think of us as your personal budgeting elves — here to help whenever you need it.