The holiday season is fast approaching, and so are all the expenses that come along with it. In my experience, people love to treat others generously. This quality is beautiful, but no one expects us to be generous to our financial or mental detriment. For those who have remained flush over the past eighteen months, give until your heart is content. If this financial season is challenging, the following provides the costs of over-giving and some strategies to lighten holiday expenses.
Financial Facts from Canada
$4,185 | The average credit card balance. (1)
$645 – $1,635 | The average amount each person plans to spend this holiday season. (2)
29% | The percentage of people indicating they may accumulate debt for festive purchases. (3)
37% | The amount of people “financially stressed”; a 20% increase from last year. (4)
28% | The increased cost of turkey since 2021. (5)
The following assumes people are staying off the financial Naughty List.
Given average credit card debt, it’s safe to assume that many people will add a zero to their credit card balance, increasing the interest and total paid tenfold.
Holiday Spending Strategies
Following are strategies to manage your finances during this giving season without feeling the weight of excessive spending:
Budgeting | Start at the right end of the equation when budgeting, how much money is available and how it will be spent. Too many people make the list and assume money is there that isn’t. Make sure to include the following: gifts, food, drinks, decorations, travel, etc. Allocate a specific amount to each and stick to it.
Make a Gift List | Instead of going on an unwieldy shopping spree, create a list of people you want to buy for. DIY or personalized gifts that carry more sentimental value are always appreciated.
Start Early | Starting early provides a chance to shop, compare prices, and take advantage of sales.
Consider Alternatives | Experiences, charitable donations in someone’s name, or the gift of time—such as offering to help with tasks or spending quality time together. CLICK HERE for a list of donation options.
Limit Travel Expenses | If you’re travelling, book early, consider flexible travel dates, and various options to save on transportation and accommodation.
Track Your Spending | Recording your spending on an app or spreadsheet will help ensure you stay within your budget. CLICK HERE for a list of apps.
Potluck Celebrations | If you’re hosting a feast, make it a potluck. Ask guests to bring a dish, easing your burden while adding variety to the meal.
Remember, the essence of the holidays lies in the joy of sharing moments and being together, not just in materialistic splurges. Finding a balance between celebrating and budgeting will help you enjoy the festive season without the stress of overwhelming bills.
If you’re already feeling the financial pinch, reach out to know your options. CLICK HERE to book a meeting.