Woman uses digital tablet to shop online at Christmas

How To Curb Your Holiday Spending (without feeling like a Grinch!)

Saving money throughout the year is hard enough. Add the holiday season to the mix and suddenly your cash is escaping faster than Santa Claus back up the chimney. Although they’re a time for family, togetherness, and fun, the holidays can be draining – for both you and your wallet.

So what’s the secret to saving more and spending less during these exhausting few months? At this time of year in particular, it’s important to budget in order to continue the search for gifts that’ll make your family members and friends appreciate your thoughtfulness.

If it’s getting to the point where holiday spending is making you broke, it’s time to look into ways to spend that won’t break your bank and let you gift your loved ones with items you can more easily afford.

1. Budget every paycheque
Do a count of every paycheque you’ll be receiving until Christmas, and figure out the amount you need to take away from each one to save the money you need by then. Taking away money you’ll need for all those gifts will help you budget more efficiently and have you saving without feeling the hurt of it in the long run.

2. Eat out less
If you find you’ve been spending your lunch hour across the street at your favourite delicatessen every day, or that you’re out for dinner with friends too often, then maybe bagged lunches and dinner at home would be better choices. The extra dollars you spend on eating out until Christmas could be put to much better use by putting them towards your gift budget for the year.

3. Make a list, and check it twice
When holiday shopping, rather than keeping a disorganized mental list of what people want, it’s a good idea to write things down and decide exactly what you want to buy each person. That way, you won’t be overwhelmed by the amount of choices at the mall, and you’ll emerge with the number of gifts you wanted to buy your mom – instead of buying her five more than you were supposed to.

4. One gift, one happy family
If you’re having trouble shopping for your family, keep in mind that one large purchase – rather than several smaller ones – could save you hundreds of dollars, particularly if it’s kid-friendly. Buying one PlayStation for the house is cheaper than buying multiple iPods!

5. Secret Santa
Instead of feeling obligated to buy six friends six different gifts at over-the-top prices, buying one gift at ten dollars will save you a reasonable amount of cash. The money you save can either be put towards another expensive gift you were planning to buy, or towards a holiday dinner with that same group of friends.

As you can see, you don’t have to break the bank when holiday shopping, and you don’t have to be miserly either. The more you budget and plan, the more you’ll save, and the jollier you’ll be.

Here’s to a happy (and frugal) December!