The malls are alive with sparkling lights in windows and seasonal music playing as you walk through the aisles. Displays of decorations, gifts and special foods are all around just waiting to come home with us.
Needs? Wants? It’s a challenge to ask these questions at this time of year.
The good news is, you CAN take control of your holiday spending by following these five steps:
1) What’s important to you?
- Make a list and check it twice of what you like best about the holiday season. Is it meeting with friends? Exchanging gifts? Specific activities? Once you have everything written down, sort your list by priority, by how important it is to you.
2) How much do you have to spend?
- Revisit your budget. How much money is coming into your household, how much does it cost you to live, and how much is left to spend on the holidays?
3) Get creative!
- If the amount that you see after step #2 is lower than you thought, start thinking about your options.
– Can you give a service for a gift rather than buying something? Coupons for child minding, mending, house cleaning or making a dinner can mean more to a busy person than a new sweater! Check out websites like www.budget101.com for more frugal ideas.
– Meeting friends for a holiday party? Why not meet at a skating rink followed by hot chocolate from a Thermos that you have brought along? There are many free and low cost events happening in your neighbourhood. www.familyfuncalgary.com and www.calgaryarea.com are two websites listing things that are happening in Calgary!
4) Stop, Look and Listen
- Before you buy, ask yourself:
– Do I need this? Do I need it now?
– Is there anything I already own that I could substitute for it?
– Can I really afford it?
– How many hours will I have to work to pay for it?
– Next week, will I be happy I bought it?
– Walk away and give yourself 24 hours to think about it. Most likely, when you wake up the next day, that thing will no longer seem as important to have as it did the day before.
5) Consider spending two hours learning and exploring
- Momentum offers free Money Management classes every Monday evening and Tuesday afternoon. If you would like to become more aware about consumerism and its effects register for our “Consumerism” workshop.
What are your favourite ways to save money during the Holiday Season? Comment below and let us know!