Four Holiday Budget Hacks


The holiday season is very much upon us, with Black Friday looming and Christmas not far behind. If you’re like me, every December you swear to stick to your holiday spending budget and every January you review your credit card bills and cry, then make 2018 the year of fiscal responsibility with these four holiday budget hacks.

1. Host a Secret Santa swap

One of the things we’ve been doing in my family for years is hosting a Secret Santa swap rather than giving gifts to everyone. Not only does it cut down on the cost (by a lot) by reducing the total number purchases you have to make, it allows you to spend a bit more time finding that one perfect gift for the person you draw.

2. Leave the credit cards at home

Create a holiday shopping budget and leave your credit card at home! Use debit, or better yet, take out the cash and pay with good ol’ fashioned bills. With only a fixed amount of money at your disposal, you’ll be less likely to fall victim to impulse purchases or go over budget on one specific gift.

3. Sign up for email newsletters & shop online

If you know you’re going to be shopping at specific stores, head over to their website and sign up for their marketing emails in advance. Most big retailers offer discount codes and coupons right away to new subscribers. Or why not shop online from the comfort of your own home and skip the mall (and the potential to overspend) all together?

4. Give experiences instead of stuff

How many of us really need more stuff? Sometimes it can be even more fun to give an experience - not only can this save you time and money, but it encourages you to spend the holidays having fun with the people you love. If you’ve got kids on your list, take them to an event or sign them up for a class. If there’s a couple that you want to treat, why not send them to a workshop or concert? A family day trip to the mountains is more low cost and fun than yet another sweater, gadget or new toy.

If Christmas cheer has you stressing out, then it might be time to visit your local credit union. Not only do credit unions offer some of the best products out there – like no-fee chequing accounts and reward credit cards – but they have award-winning customer service. When you bank with a credit union, you’re treated like a person (and not just a number) and you get honest advice without any high-pressure sales pitches. Visit your local branch today for help creating a budget, reviewing your finances and making a plan to stay out of debt this holiday season.