With Christmas coming up, keeping your spending habits in check is necessary to ensure that you don’t start off the New Year financially strapped. Some people even rack up debt trying to celebrate the season in a grand way. Here are a few tips that can come in handy to keep your finances in check this Christmas season.
1. Prepare a budget
Take out a few sheets of paper and list all the expenses you will incur during Christmas. Tally everything and compare the total cost to the money you are willing to spend. If the cost is higher, look at the things you can remove. For instance, your neighbor may be planning to travel and spend Christmas with their family far away, leaving their artificial Christmas tree unused. You can ask them to let you borrow it and avoid having to spend money on a new tree.
Buying presents for your loved ones can be an expensive affair. “Oftentimes, people incorrectly feel like the amount they spend on their loved ones is a reflection of how much they love them, which can result in overspending,” Monisha Sharma, head of Business Development at Credit Karma Canada, said to Global News. What you need to keep in mind is that giving gifts at Christmas is not primarily about spending money, but about letting others know that you love and care about them. Even the smallest of gifts can be memorable if you make the recipient feel that you are giving it with love and sincerity.
Come Christmas season, almost every store will have discount sales. So when you shop for something, be sure to be on the lookout for sales, coupons, or discount codes rather than buying things at the listed price. The store you visit may not give you a discount, but this does not mean the items you want are not available at other places for steep discounts. Sometimes, it is even possible to stack multiple discounts.
For instance, when you buy something online, the seller might give you a discount of 30 percent. On top of that, your credit card company can give you a discount if you shop beyond a certain limit, say 10 percent. Plus, the e-commerce store from where you are buying might offer a 15 percent Christmas discount. Stacking all three can allow you to purchase your desired product at a 65 percent discounted price!
4. Buy now, pay later
For the more expensive stuff, consider using “Buy Now, Pay Later” offers. Maybe you want to buy a brand new 4K TV for Christmas worth US$699 to take advantage of the discounted price. However, if you spend all that money on the TV right now, you may end up with a zero bank balance, which might result in a financial crunch in the next few months. So don’t deplete your savings just because you have the money. Instead, buy the TV through a 3- or 4-month installment plan and pay for it from your income rather than the money saved.
5. Sell old stuff
People usually have some old stuff lying around the house that can net them a good amount of money. Maybe you have some first edition comics or old vinyl records that collectors might buy for a good price. If you have no interest in these things anymore, why keep them? Sell them off and use the money to celebrate Christmas.