With December already here, it’s time to start planning out how you’ll be (literally) spending your holidays. Between office holiday parties, family dinners, and many other spiked eggnog-filled nights in between, it’s by far one of the year’s busiest periods — but that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to result in the death of your finances.
So how do you make sure that your generous gift-giving spending doesn’t induce a heart attack this holiday season? Check out our tips to make sure that the most wonderful time of the year ends up being, in fact, wonderful!
Make a list, check it twice — just don’t buy anything that isn’t on it
One of the most logical, yet toughest, things to do when shopping is being disciplined enough to stick to your original shopping list. Be like Ol’ Saint Nick and make a nice list composed of more or less exactly what you’re looking for. Consider your holiday shopping as more of a mission, checking things off as you go, rather than wandering the web or stores aimlessly in search of inspiration. Stick to your list. Just do it.
Limit your social engagements
Along with the holidays comes the customary avalanche of social activities. Set a limit for the number of parties and social events you’ll attend each week in order of importance. After all, although you might not be hosting the majority of these events, you won’t be showing up to them without a plate of food or a bottle of wine — your momma raised you better than that. All of these little housewarming offerings do add up, however; you’d be wise to choose which events are worth your time and money!
Set criteria to determine who makes it onto your nice list
While you may be overcome by the generous spirit of the holidays and want to pick up a little something special for everyone in your life, try keeping your main shopping list to a select few special loved ones. Your immediate family, partner, in-laws, and best friends should be the only names on your shopping list if you truly plan to adhere to a budget. But just because you aren’t buying other people in your life pricey presents doesn’t mean you can’t wish them happy holidays with some baked goods or a holiday card!
Hit second-hand stores before buying new decorations
We know, we know. Once you hit that one Canadian Tire holiday-decoration aisle, all rationality goes out the window and, before you know it, you’re headed to the cash with a cart full of ornaments and mistletoe with your credit card at the ready. A good alternative is to first head to your local second-hand shops to see which holiday decorations they have in store. You never know the gems you’ll find, and you’ll save HUGE on decor this way!
Stay on top of your finances with apps
With all the stress of the holidays, it can be hard to keep an eye on your spending habits. Naturally, there’s an app for that. Paytm, for example, a super helpful, easy-to-use mobile bill-paying app that helps Canadians pay their due statements on time and keep their minds at ease. Oh, and you get points for every dollar you pay through the app — which you can later use on rewards for coffee, groceries, and tons more. Let's be honest: bill payments are a part of adulting, no matter the season. With all the holiday shopping you'll inevitably be doing, you might as well pay your bills through Paytm and get rewarded for it. It's a win-win!
DIY gifts AND wrapping this year
If you’re trying to limit your spending this year, there’s no more effective way to save during the holidays than by offering DIY gifts on a budget. This could mean anything from making your own ‘cozy day’ kits (think: hot chocolate, warm pair of socks, etc.) to making your own candles. Your recipients will be super touched that you took the time to make these things yourself, and you get to save a few bucks. No need to save on un-recyclable wrapping paper, either: opt for eco-friendly materials instead and personalize each gift! Need some inspiration? Check out Pinterest to spark your creativity.
Swap paper cards for holiday eCards
If you’re in the habit of sending holiday cards (what better, cost-friendly way to show appreciation for your extended relatives, anyway?), try skipping the expensive (and not very eco-friendly) store-bought cards this year. There are plenty of adorable digital options, or you can even go the old classic Elf Yourself route — your iPad-obsessed great aunt will love it.
Before getting started on your holiday shopping, check out the mobile Paytm Canada app. Available on both the Google Play Store and Apple Store, paying all your bills through Paytm means you'll earn rewards that you can put towards your favourite brands like Starbucks, Sephora, Uber, Amazon, and much more. You rack up 1 point for every dollar paid through the app, with tons more opportunities to gain points — including a welcome bonus and friend referral bonus. Plus, if you join the app now, you'll collect 2,000 points when you sign up and verify your account! What’s not to love?