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Spotlight: 5 Budgeting Tips for the Holidays

Often people get swept up in the holiday season and spend more than they planned. Here are 5 tips to help make this season a little gentler on the pocketbook.
171113 Budgeting for Holidays

It happens every year. People get swept up in the holiday season and spend more than they planned. Presents and parties pile up our credit cards debt. Then we wake up in the New Year with a credit card ‘hangover.’ This year will be different though! Why? Because these handy tips will help you save money and stay on budget.

TIP #1: Automate Your Holiday Saving

The easiest way to save for the holidays is to plan ahead. Estimate how much you’re likely to spend, then divide that by the number of weeks leading up to the holidays. That’s how much you’ll need to save each week. Next, open a new savings account and set up an automated weekly transfer from your regular account to your new ‘holiday fund’ account.

TIP #2: Shop Second-Hand Markets

If you’re looking to stretch your holiday dollars, try and pick up items on your gift list second-hand through sites like Kijiji or Craigslist. If you know what you’re looking for, it’s worth a search; you can often find new or nearly-new items — all at a hefty discount.

TIP #3: Don’t Be Afraid to Return or Re-gift

Don’t you hate it when you get a gift that just isn’t for you? We’ve all been there. Whether it’s a sweater that doesn’t fit or a gadget you know you won’t use, it’s okay to return or re-gift it. If you don’t like it, why not exchange it for something you like, or re-gift it to someone you know will like it more.

TIP #4: Buy Early, Thank Yourself Later

It’s always a good idea to get your holiday shopping done early — not only because you’ll avoid the stress of last-minute shopping, but also because you won’t be tempted to make those last-minute panic-buys.

TIP #5: Don’t Forget the Decorations

During the hurly-burly of the holidays, the cost of decorations often slips our mind. But all those little things can add up to a big price tag. So, don’t forget to budget for that Christmas tree, the lights, decorations, baubles and those miscellaneous expenses that add to your holiday celebrations. And remember to reuse whatever you can from last year!


Discussion Question

What do you think is most important when budgeting for the holidays?

Share your financial tip and tricks in the comments section and you could win a $50 Tim Hortons gift card. We’ll select one lucky winner a month. Be sure to check out our other financial columns and find more information at For full contest details, click here.


About the Author

Deborah Robertson has been in the Financial Services industry for over 20 years and has worked with some of the most notable financial institutions in Canada. Her career has been focused on Personal Financial Planning to help her customers/members realize their personal financial goals, whatever they might be.