As the Holiday Season commercials appear excitement rises and panic is triggered. Whether it is buying gifts or special food or travelling, it all adds up. Wait! You have been saving $50 or $100 a paycheck all year for this. You are ready and the January credit card won’t bring tears to your eyes or cause cold sweats!
If you haven’t been saving START NOW! You have 8 weeks to put aside some of your paycheck until you need it, or after you have completed the Holiday Season Budget Planner split up your purchases over the next 2 months’ paychecks. It might not be perfect this year but you will be ready to start this strategy January 1, 2022.
Changing Your Mind
This time of year is when most Canadians spend more than they can afford for all kinds of reasons. Stop. Think about why you are buying that gift. Who you are trying to please and why? Guilt can rule our choices and make us grumpy so start the process with gratitude. “I am grateful that we have each other, a roof over our heads, etc. ….” If you have children, encourage choices that fit your budget and use humor to redirect. If the child is old enough you can give the child a limit and he or she can prioritize (this is a great life skill). If you experience pushback, acknowledging the child’s frustration will make them feel heard and keeps you on track. This also works with adults. Tell yourself you are doing the right thing and “this too shall pass”.
What is Your End Game?
Money is a thing you can learn to control, just like your car when you are driving or your lips when you are talking. Budgeting is keeping track of what you are spending so you can have more coming in then going out. You decide what you want to spend your money on. Over time this process reduces guilt, shame and the fear of missing out. A piece of advice I have followed for years is to hit the Boxing Day sales for good deals on wrapping paper, tags, bows, etc. TIP: Do you like decorating? I do! Check out your local Dollar Store, Winners or Home Sense for new pieces. Consider adding a couple of pieces each year not all at once. I have been known to set a price limit on one new piece during the sales; it gets packed with everything else and is a nice surprise for next year.
Use the attached Holiday Season Budget Planner to help you set your spending for the holiday season. It includes categories for gifts, cards, food, travel, decorations, other, and a place to total it all up. Planning your budget helps you prioritize your spending so you can have an awesome Holiday Season without over spending. You can print it, save it your home screen, or upload it to Google Sheets to have access to it no matter where you are so those spontaneous purchases can be avoided.
The Shameless Option
Do your best! No one needs to know that you have a limit on their gift. It will invite you to be creative. Watching the flyers, sales and saving your credit card points or cashback to pay for the purchases including food can become a game throughout the year.
Tip: keep everything in its box with tags on because if you have hit the Budget maximum you can prioritize and take something back. No one knows but you!
The Shameless Spender