Dollars & Sense: Avoiding The Holiday Spending Crunch

I was debating what to write about as my first thought went to “Top Ten Ways to save on Christmas” or the “Five Ways to Keep Away from Credit this Christmas.” I didn’t choose either. While both are worthy topics, your checklist for the holidays should be more personalized and applicable to your situation. It is easy to say, “shop early,” but let’s face it, it’s November.
For me this year, I don’t know if it was the good weather or that the Fall was busier than usual, but it’s been a struggle to get into the festive purchasing mood. Now for some that’s normal, but for me, I am usually finished by now and trying to remember what I bought people as the gifts are even wrapped.
A couple reasons I like to buy early are; the money spent is spread out over a couple months; the pressure to come up with a gift idea has already passed; I feel I have more time to be creative/thoughtful on the gifts; I have no patience for line-ups.
A couple of the drawbacks are that I can forget what I have purchased, I am likely not keeping track as I have the sense I saved a lot of money by buying early and I can end up buying additional gifts on impulse.
So, what if I wait until the last minute? You could spend more; your stress level, with a time crunch can lead to more spending; you miss out on enjoying the time as you are consumed with gifts.
In the end, as I said it is November, and there are still lots of ways to save on your Christmas gifts and holiday entertainment. Here are best practices for shopping this month (and all year round); leave the credit card home; shop with a plan; set spending limits for gifts; use cash.
We at Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada wish you the happiest of holidays and a bright New Year. If you need a little help getting your Holiday budget together, we have Get Financially Fit for the Holidays on our web site, click on resources.