‘Tis the season to save money

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‘Tis the season to save money

We know the trick or treaters have barely left your front porch, and the last things you want to hear are Christmas carols or a debt insolvency company reminding you ‘tis the season to take extra caution with your finances and prioritize saving money.

We’re sorry to sound like the Scrooge of your social media timeline. But, unfortunately, you don’t reap the benefits of smart saving habits over night. It takes a great deal of thought, conscientious planning and self-discipline to make sure you spend within your means this holiday season.

As much as we may be in denial that Michael Bublé…we mean, Christmas…season is upon us, we can’t pretend like the day of the man in red’s arrival is the only major expenditure that comes to town during the holidays. Leading up to the big Christmas dinner, gift exchange and New Year’s resolutions, everyone gets excited about buying their loved ones the perfect gifts. While this is an exceptionally special time of year to show our love through thoughtfully-chosen presents, overextending ourselves financially may have long-term repercussions that affect your family’s financial stability and wellbeing.

To ensure you can enjoy the season of giving and still come out on top in terms of your monetary health, we’ve compiled some helpful hints for staying financially savvy this holiday season:

  • Make a list of all of the holiday expenses you expect to have
    • Some things you may want to keep in mind include: gifts, food, travelling, wrapping paper and decorations
    • You may think a number of these items seem inconsequential, but everything adds up, so it’s better to be generous, rather than conservative, when projecting what you may need to purchase during the Christmas season
    • Once you have a solid idea about how much you need to spend to create your Christmas miracles, draft a budget for all of these expenses and stay within it for each item, even when you’re tempted to go above and beyond for that “perfect” memento
  • Encourage gift exchanges between friends and family members with a reasonable limit or consider a Secret Santa type exchange if you have a large extended family you want to include in unwrapping the joy of the holidays
  • Be sure to check the spare closet for those gifts you put away throughout the year: sometimes, even we forget we tend to play the role of Santa, so make sure there’s no secret treasures stored away that were intended for your someone(s) special
  • Keep track of your holiday spending: whether you use an excel document; your phone; or an old-fashioned paper trail, the more conscientious you are of your spending, the less likely you are to over do it
  • Get a head start on next year’s Christmas by putting money away each month. Spreading the costs of Christmas over 12 months is more financially manageable and gives you more time to prepare for the season and enjoy it when it arrives
    • Plus, planning ahead enables you to take advantage of great discounts on items you may have otherwise paid full price for
  • If you’re going to use your credit card to make purchases, be sure to pay it off immediately to avoid interest charges: remember, just because you don’t see the funds leaving your account when you swipe, it doesn’t mean they’re not disappearing

Regardless of which holiday you celebrate, all of your special occasions and events should be just that – special. But, don’t get too caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays to remember that creating amazing memories with your loved ones isn’t all about how much you spend.

All of our team members at McLennan & Company want you to have an amazing holiday season. Just as importantly, we want you to know that should you find yourself in any financial turmoil, once all the gifts are unwrapped, we’ll be here to support you to remedy your debt issues and get you back on track.