Who isn’t looking for ways to save money at Christmas? With household budgets feeling the squeeze many families are worried about covering the extra costs that come along with Christmas. The average family in BC spends an extra $1900 during the holiday season with about $520 spent on gift giving, $700 on travel and the difference on household items and extra food. It is possible however, to cut the expenses without cutting out the fun. Follow the tips below to have a frugal but festive holiday and avoid the nasty debt hangover in the New Year.
- Pare down your list
The perfect starting point is with your present list. Now is the perfect time to sit down with friends and family talk about presents. Agree ahead of time with certain friends that you won’t exchange this year and that will avoid embarrassing surprises. Set a price limit for family gifts especially for adults. Don’t be afraid to ask other family members about considering a children only rule or starting a Secret Santa for the adults. If you know how many gifts you are giving and have already set a maximum price, you are well on your way to staying on budget.
- Make the most of those coupons
Start hunting early for those exclusive coupons and get clipping. Of course you don’t want to spend more on gas driving all over to get all the sweet deals but if you plan carefully you can really save some money here. Also, use up those reward cards you have sitting around. Make the most of any loyalty points you have earned and use them on Christmas presents. It’s a great time to use your Air miles for travel Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum points to cash in and save on things you buy every day. Many retailers run special promotions in the 2-3 months before Christmas to bump up your points.
- Switch Supermarkets
Buying all the festive foods may be expensive so make the most of discount supermarkets Like Country Grocer and Fairways but don’t buy too much. All hostesses want to put on a plentiful spread but don’t over estimate how much your guests will actually tuck away. Also, don’t feel you have to give every one leftovers; keep them for yourself and have some other pre-planned readymade treat for them to take home; something you picked up from Bulk Barn and put into a nice package with a bow.
- Cut the alcohol bill
This is one of the biggest places we over spend during the holidays so plan ahead and drink wine! Find your closest vineyard and call them. Arrange your bottles ahead of time; types and amounts and buy them direct or even better… make your own! You can make most wines (or have them made for you at a wine maker) in about 4-6 weeks. You make them by the case of 30 and if you think that 30 is too many split a case with a friend.
- Get paid to shop
50% of Canadians said they plan to spend between $100 and $500 online over Christmas or do about 30% of their shopping online. Time to get paid to shop. All those companies want your money are they are willing to pay you to shop through them. Websites like www.ebates.ca
are a great place to get deals and coupons and even cash back on everything you buy online. After Christmas hit www.ebay.ca to sell off all those gifts you don’t want and other stuff you suddenly need to get rid of to make room for the new stuff.
- Get designer brands at discount prices
Hit the thrift shops. If you know where to look you don’t have to compromise on your favorite brands. Go get that new outfit you need but get it cheap. Places like Women in Need (WIN) stores or the Patch on Yates in Victoria are terrific places to find your next treasure. What doesn’t pick up your spirits more than finding that very special item for someone you love, and knowing you got it for a fraction of what it’s worth.
- Save money on Social Media
Start surfing! Whether it’s Twitter or Facebook or even general google searching, get on it! There are all kinds of community consignment and exchange pages on Facebook for every community in and around Victoria. These are great places to meet people to exchange items or services or to buy new or gently used items. You can also post your own treasures to sell and make some extra cash, all you need is a camera and an internet connection. Type in “save money” on Twitter and see what pops up. You know Google has your “address” so you will find things close to where you live when you search for money saving ideas around Christmas. It’s probably how you found this blog. Merry Christmas and have a *save* and Happy New Year.