Holiday budgeting ideas

Canada Life - Dec 20, 2023
Holiday budgeting tips to help you get a grip on your holiday spending ahead of time to save you last-minute anxiety.
Man and woman stretching in holiday pyjamas

Are rising interest rates and the high cost of living making you feel a little more bah humbug and a little less fa la la this holiday season? Alongside the festivities and get-togethers with friends and family, it’s also when gift-buying and organizing parties are top of mind for most people. According to a recent study, most Canadian shoppers are planning to spend an average of $1,347 on gifts in 2023.1  While that’s down about 11% from last year for some it can break the bank.

As the holiday season gets closer, bringing it all together can get a bit overwhelming. And expensive but it doesn’t have to be! Here are some holiday budgeting tips to help you get a grip on your holiday spending ahead of time to savor the season without breaking the bank. 

  1. Set a holiday-spending limit for yourself: Carve out the amount of your overall budget exclusively for holiday shopping. This will help you stay disciplined and curb the impulse to overspend.
  2. Resisting temptation: saying no to stay on track: Once you’ve determined the total amount you want to spend on holiday purchases, you’ll need to figure out who you’re buying for. It can be tempting to add an extra person here or there, but you’ll need to stay firm, so you stay within budget.
  3. Experiences over things: Do you have a group of friends you normally exchange gifts with? How about going for a spa day, cookies exchange, movie and dinner or a games night instead? It will cost less, and you’ll be able to build some fun holiday memories.
  4. Try a gift exchange: You’re probably not the only one trying to cut down on costs. Instead of giving gifts to all your siblings and in-laws why not try a gift exchange? Not only will your family appreciate having less people to buy for, but they’ll probably be happy to bring home less stuff. You can all share lists of what gifts you’re hoping for or if you want to be silly you can make it a fun exchange where you can steal gifts or vote for the funniest present.
  5. Start shopping early to avoid holiday spending stress and cost: Don’t wait for the holiday season to do all your shopping. You probably already know what gifts would work best for your loved ones, based on their preferences or needs. Look for sales on these items. You could buy them months in advance. That way you’d have most of your shopping done way before the holidays, which you can then enjoy stress free.
  6. Use cash to shop: Even after budgeting, it can be easy to overspend when shopping with credit cards. Try using cash only for your holiday purchases so you know exactly how much you’re spending and can adjust your budget accordingly.

Remember your loved ones don’t want you to go into debt to buy them the latest gadget. While talking about money can be uncomfortable you want to be honest with those close to you so you can set expectations. Everyone’s in a different place financially; some might be struggling with money, saving for a big purchase like a house or car, maybe they’re starting a family or getting ready for retirement. Focusing on the fun instead of the funds can make the holidays less stressful and bring you closer to your loved ones.


Let’s connect

Are you struggling with your budget, need help with saving for a big purchase or want to talk about getting ready for your next stage of life? I can help. Feel free to contact me to discuss more.


[1] Source: 2023 Deloitte holiday retail outlook; Holiday Retail Outlook | Deloitte Canada