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Preparing for the Holiday Spending Spree

With the holidays just around the corner, we’re focusing on the holiday spending spree this month and getting ahead of your budgeting and spending. Overspending during the holidays is a problem for millions of Canadians. To help address this, we’re sharing savings tips and good spending habits during the holiday rush to get the gifts you want, without breaking the bank.

Shop with a List and Budgeting

“He’s making a list

And checking it twice…” – “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”

The easiest way to overspend during the holidays is to shop without a list or budget. With retailers flaunting their best deals of the year, the temptation to overspend can be high. You may go into a store only intending to spend $100, but you may see some great deals and end up spending $200 instead. Or, when you buy something that’s 30 per cent off, it’s important to remember it’s still 70 per cent on. Shopping without a list or budget is like baking without a recipe; you may end up making a great cake, but chances are you’ll be short on one of the key ingredients — like sugar or flour.

Shop Online

Why spend time visiting the busy stores when you don’t have to? Unless you enjoy waiting in line and finding a parking spot in a crowded lot fun, you may be able to avoid the stores during the holidays. A lot of people believe the best deals are found in good old fashioned brick and mortar locations, when that often isn’t true. Not only are there great deals to be found on the Internet, many online retailers offer free shipping in the weeks leading up to the holidays to entice shoppers to shop online. However, keep in mind there are some items still better to buy in-store, like clothing for example.

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute

Are you guilty of being a last minute shopper? You’re definitely not alone. There’s nothing worse than waiting until the week before the holidays to do your shopping. You would have, more than likely, missed out on the best deals by then. The American shopping extravaganza Black Friday has become the new Boxing Day in Canada. Make sure you look through the flyers and go online during Cyber Monday to take advantage of some amazing deals.

Don’t Carry a Balance on Your Credit Card

There’s no easier way to ruin the festive mood than carrying a hefty balance on your credit card. While it can be ever so tempting during the holidays to charge an item on your credit card and worry about it after the New Year, that holiday spending can end up costing you an arm and a leg in interest. With most credit cards charging at least 18.99 percent interest on outstanding balances, you should try to avoid carrying a balance at all costs. Before you buy something, make sure you can afford to pay it off. It’s not worth the grief from the credit card debt you’ll have to deal with.

Set a Spending Limit

Setting a spending limit is a great way to stay on budget and avoid hurt feelings. Have you ever been upset because of a present you received? Not only does setting a spending limit help you save money, it avoids the pressure of spending more than you can afford on Christmas gifts. Remember, it’s the thought that counts, not how much a gift costs.

Speaking of gifts for the holidays, did you know that Heritage Education Funds is giving away a $2,500 contribution towards your RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan)? What a great chance to put some extra money into that savings plan. Click here for details!

And while we’re speaking about saving, Heritage’s RESP calculator can give you a quick idea of what your RESP would look like in the future.

Happy holidays!