We all love exchanging gifts with loved ones over the Festive Season. Sometimes we get a bit carried away when we go on a shopping spree and we tend to forget that January is so far away… This year we would like to provide some advice on how you can save and have a good January without starting your New Year with added debt…

With a little planning, you can save money, reduce stress, and have a fun-filled holiday.

1. Make a budget and stick to it: Make sure you have a budget that includes everything, from the gifts, entertainment, and family outings… yes this is obvious but we tend to break the rules a little and end up using our credit cards resulting in higher and longer repayments.

2. Make a gift plan: Create a list of everyone that you would like to give gifts to with ideas on what you think they might like. Include the maximum amount you are willing to spend for each of their gifts.

3. Give gifts only to the kids in the family. This may require a frank conversation with friends and family, but it accomplishes two important things. First, it helps you reign in spending during the holidays. Second, it makes the holidays a lot less frantic as you reduce the time you spend shopping.

4. Comparison shop: Know prices before you get out of the house. Shop around without purchasing or check the prices online, along with how much it costs for shipping. This will give you a better idea of the price range and the best place to buy without you driving around waiting time and energy going from one place to the other when gift shopping.

5. Look for deals and sales: There is a lot of sales on selected items this time of year, see if some of the items you need are on sale to save some money when purchasing.

6. Buy in bulk: For commonly used items like holiday treats or baking supplies, try to buy in bulk along with a neighbor, family member, or a friend.

7. Homemade gifts: Instead of buying gifts… Make your own. There is a lot of nice ideas on the internet that will ensure your loved ones will be more than pleased with a homemade gift.

8. Don’t be afraid to re-gift: This is a very personal decision. If you feel comfortable with the idea and you have a perfectly good gift that is just not for you and is just laying boxed in a cupboard, consider gifting it to someone who will make use of it.

9. Give time: Give your time instead of money or a gift. Remember that Christmas is more about spending time with loved ones than giving them a gift. Your time and companionship mean more to a loved one than the gift you buy.

10. Get a part-time job: This way you could make some money for the holidays and also make use of the employee discounts for all your gifts.

11. Wrapping paper: Instead of buying wrapping paper, make your own with your kid’s artwork.

12. Make ornaments: Similar to wrapping paper, instead of buying expensive ornaments, make ornaments from reusing material you use daily. Should you need some inspiration, google/Pinterest will be your best friend.

13. Food drives: Instead of office gift exchanges, suggest a food drive where you can bring canned and non-perishable food for the local food bank. This won’t save much money, but at least you are not stuck with buying a lame gift for a co-worker you don’t even know very well.

14. Pitch in: For parties (whether you are attending or hosting) suggest everyone to pitch in with a dish or snack plate instead of one person doing all the cooking and cleaning. It can save serious time and money.

15. Pick your parties: Attend only the parties that are more meaningful to you. Skip the ones from an acquaintance or co-worker you don’t know well. This will save you time as well as money for a hostess gift or bring-along dish.

16. Plan your vacations: Traveling a day earlier or later can save a lot of money. If you fly, try to find the best deals and be alerted when fares go up or down.

17. Skimp on outdoor lighting: Consider going easy with the holiday lighting. You can also use LED lights which have significantly lower energy consumption. That way, you won’t get stuck with a humongous power bill in January. You could also change regular bulbs to colored ones to add a festive effect and leave it at that.

18. Don’t replicate your parents’ festiveness: We tend to forget that it took our parents probably 50 years to collect all the stuff they have. If you’re just starting out, so there is no need to have every conceivable holiday decoration the first time.

19. Buy throughout the year: It is not possible to do this for this year, but the best time to shop for Christmas is the week after Christmas. That’s when everything Christmas-related goes on clearance. Stock up on stuff that won’t get spoiled like decorations, ornaments, gift wrapping, and even gifts.

20. Buy gift cards using the holiday deals and give yourself a gift, too: Holidays are a great time to buy gift cards at a discount. You can also stock up on gift cards for yourself during this time, to use the following year.

We hope this will be handy and that you start your new year full of cheer and less debt. Happy responsible spending!


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