The true meaning of Christmas is not about spending money, but let’s face it a lot of money is spent on the holidays. We spend money on food, travel and gifts. In 2020, Canadians spent $1,276.00 per person, on average, at Christmas, and this was during the Covid lockdown.
But our spending was to be outdone; our American neighbors spent $1,300.00 on average, in 2020. Most people don’t have an extra $1,300.00 laying around for fancy food or gifts for every niece or nephew. However, if you start now, you can plan for the upcoming season and still be able to pay your rent come January.
Let’s Start with Presents
Make a list of everyone you will need to purchase gifts for this Christmas. Then decide on the items you want to purchase. End of summer, early fall is the best time to buy as retailers are clearing out summer inventory and having Back to School sales. If you have six gifts to purchase, plan on buying one gift from now until December.
Another way to save money on gifts is to set limits on the amount you spend. In our family, we have a limit of $20.00 per person. If you watch your sales you can definitely find a gem of a present that has been reduced/or on sale such that it fits your budget. If you set limits and start shopping for one present a month that will definitely help with cash flow.
Butter Tarts and Shortbread Cookies
Everyone has a special food that reminds them of the holiday season. For me, it is butter tarts and shortbread cookies. The butter tarts have to be made with currents and the shortbread cookies have to be made with real butter topped with a candy cherry.
The problem with holiday baking is that the extra ingredients can be expensive and the extra baking takes time. Both money and time can be short when December rolls around. By starting to prepare in advance you can save on both! Holiday baking can easily be made in advance and frozen until it is needed. The extra ingredients can be slowly added to your weekly grocery shop. There is more time in the fall than in December, so get out those wooden spoons and rolling pins.
If you are eager to see your family this year at Christmas, it is time to start planning; especially if that trip involves air travel. If you are planning on using points, there are only so many seats on a plane that are reserved for loyalty redemption. Early booking will help to ensure you get the flight you want. If you are planning on paying for your flight, watch for seat sales. These days the airlines will advertise sales where you buy now for travel at a future date.
Planning for future expenditures can help alleviate the burden. Putting aside a little bit between now and the holidays will help take away some of the stress and let you enjoy the true meaning of the season.