‘Tis the season for sizable social gatherings, gluttonous feasts, and exorbitant gift-giving, and while a festive buzz is beginning to fill the air, the holiday high is being overshadowed by high inflation rates, leaving shoppers stressed about shrinking budgets.
Typically, holiday spending increases year-over-year for Canadians, but this year’s projections are different. According to Deloitte Canada’s Holiday Retail Outlook for 2022, the overall holiday spend is predicted to fall by 17% this year to $1,520 per household. The intentions to save money are there, but how can you make the most of this memorable time of year without breaking the bank? Here are six ways to cut down on costs and stretch your dollar as you prepare for the sting of the holiday shopping season.
Cut costs on the countdown
Advent calendars are a great way to build up the holiday buzz, but choosing to indulge in a daily countdown of sweet treats doesn’t mean you have to splurge at the store. Instead of high-priced, name-brand holiday calendars, consider creating your own. String together a set of small bags, or make a wall-hanging calendar with small pouches, and then buy your sweets in bulk to save.
Profit from a purge
Before the holidays hit, consider cleaning out your closets and toy bins and selling any items that are no longer of use to you and your family. Not only will the purge help you to make a small profit, but you’ll clear out space for incoming items. Put the money you earn from selling your old things towards new purchases, and consider opting for “new to you” items over buying brand new.
Build a budget
Make a list, and check it twice. Determine what you plan to buy and how much you can spend on each person on your list, and then stick to that budget when you hit the stores. With the shelves stocked with so many appealing items, it can be easy to make spontaneous purchases on a whim. Planning ahead and putting limits on what you add to your cart can save you loads in the long run.
Start early and spread out your spending
Instead of waiting until the last minute, shop around and seek out the deals as December approaches. Take advantage of earlier sales such as Black Friday (Nov. 25) and Cyber Monday (Nov. 28), and spread out your spending, purchasing only a few items at a time to stretch your dollar.
Be selective about your social outings
Sometimes cutting down on other costs can help curb your spending elsewhere. While the holiday season invites an increase in lavish dinners and drinks with friends, that money spent could be put to better use. Instead of splurging on a fancy dinner out, consider doing brunch instead. You can catch up with friends over breakfast while saving on bloated bar bills. Entertain at home instead of dining out, and consider group gatherings instead of smaller one-on-one get-togethers.
Focus on making memories, not material items
Getting gifts for someone else’s kids? Instead of blowing it all on big-ticket items for each child, consider giving experiential gifts that the family can enjoy together. Family passes to Science World, tickets to FlyOver Canada, or a multipack of tickets for a family movie night on a rainy day are gifts that are sure to appease everyone. Not only will the parents appreciate having an excuse to spend time together with their kids, but they’ll appreciate the savings they’ll enjoy by having those outings paid for in advance.