Five ways to spend smart during the holidays

Story by Stacie Gaetz


Photos by iStock

Santa Claus may be magic and have a seemingly unlimited budget, but as a parent, chances are you don’t.

We all know that you don’t have a pile of presents under the tree to make a memorable holiday, but with social media giving you a glimpse into other family’s homes, it can be hard not to compare your gifts to those of others.

You want to give your children everything on their wish list, but expenses can quickly add up.

Here are five ways you can avoid festive financial trouble and stay off the naughty list:

  1. Start saving now – Start putting a little of every paycheck away from now until after Christmas. Even if there’s not enough to pay for everything you buy, having some funds in reserve will make things easier come January.
  2. Create a realistic budget. Add up the things you want to purchase and compare them to your ability to pay for them. Prioritize your purchases and include things like food and travel expenses.
  3. Normally, we would say don’t spend on credit. However, many people are understandably ordering more gifts online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have to put something on your credit card, get in the habit of paying it off right away. That way, your bank account will still be an accurate reflection of what you have to spend, and you won’t dig yourself into a holiday hole.
  4. Don’t delay. Buying things at the last minute creates panic and usually makes you overspend. Purchasing within your spending plan and a little at a time will help you better manage your holiday planning.
  5. Here’s the tricky part; buying things too early can also be a problem. That is why you need to know when you’re done. When you buy early, you may forget what you bought or think “maybe I’ll just get her one more thing.” Stick to your list and budget plan, you’ll be less likely to go overboard and spend on things she won’t even remember by New Year’s Eve.

When you think of Christmas, you are much more likely to think of words like “presents” and “bells” than “planning” and “budgeting” but having a guide for the holidays may save you a resolution or two for 2021.