8 Ways to Save Money and Avoid Debt this DecemberDec 07, 2017
The festive season is certainly one that is filled with joy and happiness. However, for many families struggling to deal with the debts they owe, it can also represent a time of financial stress. It is possible, however, to enjoy the holidays without adding more to your debt load and staying on track to meet your debt relief goals. Here are eight tips to help you make that happen:
- Create a holiday budget that includes all possible holiday expenses – like gifts, clothing, food, baking supplies, takeout meals and gift wrap. Having a realistic budget that works for you is a must-have to help you avoid adding to your consumer debt load.
Try this simple holiday budget calculator from Practical Money Skills Canada.
- Track your spending. It’s important if you want to stick to your budget and avoid overspending. There are quite a few online tools that can help you with this task. CashTrails is a financial tracking app that allows you to separate irregular spending from your regular expenditures, making it easy to monitor your holiday spending.
- Stick to cash and avoid credit. If apps aren’t for you, cash only is a great way to ensure you stick to the budget and avoid adding more to your current debt load.
- Be honest about financial expectations. It’s important to be clear with family and friends about what you can and cannot afford this holiday season. By having open and honest conversations with those you care about, you’ll create understanding and (hopefully) won’t feel pressure to spend more than you planned.
- Switch up your holiday get-togethers. Maybe it’s time for some new holiday meal traditions. For example, rather than having one family or friend spend a lot on entertaining, opt for a potluck for holiday events and get-togethers.
- Choose to stay close to home if you can. You’ll not only save yourself from additional expenses like gas, accommodations or airfare, you’ll also likely avoid the stress that is often associated with holiday travel.
- Seek debt help if necessary. If you’re really struggling to make ends meet this holiday season, it could be a sign that it’s time to get help. December is a good time to focus on your finances and financial health in anticipation of the new year ahead. A debt relief professional, such as a credit counsellor or Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) can offer you solutions to manage your debt and get your finances back on track.
- Focus on making memories and spending time together. If the most important part of your holiday season is spending time with family and friends, make that your focus instead of expensive gifts. As an added bonus you’ll be able to spend less, avoid holiday debt and enjoy the season without additional financial stress.