We just said goodbye to summer, so the holiday season probably isn’t top of mind. After all, we still have to get through fall before there are Christmas carols playing in every grocery store and holiday decorations lit up throughout the city. You probably haven’t even put away your summer clothes yet! (And if you have, well done.)

That said—the holiday season tends to sneak up on people, and preparing for it early is the best way to control your spending and minimize stress. Here’s why you should start planning your holiday spending right now—and if you’d like to discuss your budget, savings goals or investments with an expert on our team, please contact us! We’d be glad to hear from you and offer personalized advice.

It lets you spread out your expenses

Your holiday shopping should start with a list: who you’re buying gifts for this year, what you might want to get them and how much you plan on spending on each particular gift. (For example: your sister, a nice pair of earrings, $75.) You can also add holiday-related expenses (social events, a new outfit for a holiday party, tickets to see that holiday ballet you always go to, etc). Add up the total projected spending and see how it can be broken down to best fit into your budget. For example, if your holiday shopping list is going to cost you around $800, spread those costs over two or three months instead of spending it all at once. One more thing: always add a buffer! You might overspend on someone or realize you forgot to include someone on your list.

It gives you time to save

If you prefer to do all of your holiday shopping in one shot (or at least closer to the holidays), make that list as described above and then focus on saving instead of spreading out your spending. This might look like putting a set amount from each pay cheque into a ‘holiday fund’ you can draw from later. If your total projected spending is $1000, for example, break that down by the number of weeks before you want to start shopping, then make an effort to save that amount in your holiday fund each week. Again, remember to add a buffer for unexpected expenses!

It reduces overspending at the last minute

Planning ahead allows you to think carefully about what you want to buy and spend time price-matching or looking for sales. If you know you want to buy your spouse a watch but don’t start shopping until December 15th, you will probably pay full price because your options are limited. However, if you start thinking about that watch purchase in September or October, you have several months to look for the best possible deal. This can save you a significant amount of money, particularly with larger purchases!

Bonus tips

Here are a few extra money-saving ideas to consider before you start shopping. These small actions can add up to big savings, so give them a try!


  • Check your credit card points. Some lenders let you cash in your points for gift cards and/or repayment towards your credit card bill. These are great ways to spend less out of pocket—save those points and use them towards your holiday expenses!
  • Consider group gifts. Do you have siblings? Ask if they want to share the cost of a gift for your parents or grandparents.You can still get them something nice—potentially even nicer than what you could afford on your own—but potentially save a bit of money by sharing the expense.
  • Use apps and set price alerts. Many retailers let you ‘watch’ the price of an item you’re interested in (and if they don’t, just make a note to review the price on a regular basis). You can also use price-matching apps, search for online discount codes, subscribe to the retailer’s email list to get sales alerts and discount codes, or use a cashback website like Rakuten.
  • Scale back. Finally, consider buying for fewer people or lowering your spending limit per person. It truly is the thought that counts, and your loved ones won’t want you going into debt to buy them a holiday gift. Spend less, send a thoughtful card or bake cookies instead of buying something new—it will still be a happy holiday.

Contact us for personalized financial advice

If you’d like to discuss your budget, financial goals or investments, please contact us. An Interior Savings advisor would be pleased to review your needs and goals in order to prepare personalized recommendations to help you succeed. Thanks for reading and take care!