How to reduce holiday spending

How to reduce holiday spending – part 1

Looking to reduce holiday spending? For many retailers, Black Friday signals the kick-off of the holiday spending season and hopes of massive sales. The barrage of ads urging us to buy, buy, buy may make you cringe at the emphasis on consumerism, and we may feel pressure to create the “perfect holiday,” or choose that “perfect gift.”

Here are some tips to help you reduce holiday spending:

Make a list, check it twice

Make sure you have a list of gift ideas for each person you need to buy for. A clearly defined list will shorten your shopping time and help you avoid impulsive purchases.

Know your limits

Agree ahead of time on how much you and your loved ones will spend on each others’ presents. Many families/friends set a limit. For example: $25 per gift.

Do a gift draw

Buying for everyone in your family can be expensive, especially in large or extended families. One solution is to do a draw to see who each person buys a gift for. Buying for one person makes it more affordable. Check out these tips for how to stop buying so many Christmas gifts.

Have a creative holiday

Try a gift exchange where everyone makes their gift; perhaps a painting, photograph, ceramic, piece of furniture, gourmet dinner or a specialty dessert. These gifts are far more personal than a mass produced item. Here’s an easy chocolate bark recipe that makes a great gift,as well as 3 inexpensive crafting ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Give your time or service

If cash is tight, offer to give the gift of your service. Parents, brothers or sisters with younger kids will appreciate a certificate for a free night of babysitting allowing them a date night. Instruction in a skill: a bike tune-up, painting a room or designing a personal website are other examples.

Try a gift that keeps on giving

Make a donation to your recipient’s favourite cause in their name. You don’t have to worry about the disappointment of seeing this gift on-sale on boxing day. You can check out which charities give the highest percentage to their respective cause, versus administrative and fundraising expenses. Read these 9 tips for giving charity donations.

Create your own festive snacks

They’re cheaper and add that personal touch (plus it’s a great way to impress that special someone in your life). Here are 5 easy appetizer and snack recipes.

Find holiday freebies

While there are many cash-draining events taking place over the holidays, there are plenty of free and cheap holiday activities in Metro Vancouver to take advantage of. Look for parades, light festivals or ice skating. Or for the more daring, a refreshing dip via the annual Polar Bear Swim.

Looking for more ideas to reduce holiday spending? Read part 2.

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