TIPS TO AVOID HOLIDAY DEBT FROM OUR CREDIT COUNSELLING TEAM
Managing spending is the best way to avoid debt. The best way to do this is to set boundaries and limits for spending, entertaining, and gift-giving. Here are some of the top tips from our credit counselling service professionals:
Set a budget for the holidays, and then stick to it. Statistics suggest that only 40% of Canadians set a budget for holiday spending and more than 50% of those who do budget for the holiday season end up going over budget.
A great way to set a realistic budget is to look at your bank accounts and credit card statements to see your spending over the holidays last year (or save all of your receipts during the holidays this year and total them up at the end of the season). The real numbers will tell you approximately how much extra you spend over the holidays and how much you should budget for in the future.
Start saving in advance. Set a small amount aside each month throughout the year to anticipate your increased spending over the holidays.
Minimize your use of credit cards over the holidays. It is all too easy to accumulate credit card debt that will carry over into the new year.
Talk to family, friends and coworkers about expectations concerning gift-giving. Suggest a Secret Santa or gift exchange with bigger groups, set a dollar limit on gifts, or agree to forego gifts altogether and focus on the time you spend together.
Avoid the temptation to buy things simply because they are on sale. Black Friday and Boxing Day sales are challenging to resist, but before buying anything, consider whether you really need it or are just buying it because it is a “good deal.”
Save all of your receipts to return items if you realize you don’t need the item or have overspent after you get them home.