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Saving for Holiday Shopping

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Holiday ShoppingThe Most Wonderful Time of the Year:

It’s that time of year where the holiday music is playing non stop and ads for Black Friday are popping up.  In Canada since we have Thanksgiving in early October the unofficial start of the holiday season is right after Halloween; basically 2 months long.  In the United States it’s only about 5 weeks long starting on the day after the American Thanksgiving, Black Friday.  Here are some tips for your holiday shopping.

Tip #1: Stop buying gifts.

If you can get that done you don’t even need to read the rest.  Good for you!  If that doesn’t work continue to read on.

Tip #2: Put aside money throughout the year

Budgeting is important.  Planning in advance how much you want to spend and then putting money aside each month to support that goal is helpful.  Say you decide you want to spend $1200 on holiday gifts.  If you were to start saving in January you need only $100/month.  In June, you need $200/month. Figure out how many months ahead you need and but the money aside accordingly.

SAVING TIP: If you are paid bi-weekly you get 26 pays a year.  If you instead base your budget on getting paid twice a month you can save a full 2 pays for holiday shopping/parties.

Tip #3: Make a List

Make a list of people who you need to shop for and what you would like to get them.  This year we have a baby to shop for.  We have decided on 1 toy for her to help with development and then money to be invested into her RESP/college fund.  We also have a brand new nephew and we will likely buy him clothes and 1 toy.  I don’t like a cluttered house and having a child doesn’t automatically mean that I should have to have that.  Limiting the amount of stuff people have is helpful as well.  No one needs a ton of clutter. She may get more toys as she gets older, but the clutter we can avoid at all costs.

Tip #4: Shop Smart

Price match, shop flyers and take advantage of sales.  Stores want to have your business so use that to your advantage. Sign up for discounts and make your dollar stretch further.  You already know what you want to get and for who so you are just searching for it.  Also make it easy on yourself and shop online if you can.  If you can get the same thing online as you could in a store it saves you time, the hassle of parking at a mall and the temptation to buy other things.

SAVING TIP: If you have a cash-back credit card use it for holiday shopping, then use the reward for the following year.  Just make sure you pay that balance off right away!

Tip #5: Food gifts

If you can, maybe spend some time on homemade/consumable gifts.  No one needs another candle that is likely to be re-gifted.  Some cookies or a nice bottle of wine goes a long way.  This is especially true for some of the obligation gifts that you might need to give out (think work people or party gifts).  If you are making any baked goods for yourself just double the recipe, get some tins to put them in and done.  If you would like to give wine just grab a couple of extra bottles when you are shopping.  In Ontario it’s even easier now that beer and alcohol is sold at a select number of grocery stores.

Tip #6: Don’t overdo it.

The day is going to come around again.  Don’t stress yourself out about trying to find the perfect gift.  If the person you are buying for is only able to be pleased with the perfect gift, see if you can go with tip #1 the following year.  When we stopped buying as many gifts we felt happier and less stressed.  Before that it was 2 months of constant shopping.

What are the gifts for each other you ask? New door handles and painted doors on the main floor of our house.  Home owner stuff.

How do you save money holiday shopping?

Sarah

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