When you know these 5 tips on how to save money during the holidays, you’ll make the season even more festive. Follow these 5 money saving tips to help you stay on budget.
During the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and emotion of the season. The sounds of holiday music, the pretty store windows, and the allure of flashy red sale signs can encourage all of us to overspend. So, it’s important to follow money saving tips to avoid cutting into your essential spending needs. As well, you can also avoid the credit card blues when your bills arrive in January.
Tip 1: Create a holiday budget to save money
It’s a great feeling to show that you love and appreciate your family and friends with thoughtful gifts. As such, it’s important to create a holiday budget and track your spending to help you save money. When you budget, it becomes easier to keep your spending under control. Because, the money you spend to buy gifts, is money you’re not spending on other essentials such as rent or bills.
To avoid overspending, decide how much you can reasonably spend on gifts and other holiday expenses without racking up your credit. When you set an upper-limit on how much you can spend, it will be easier to avoid caving in and impulse buying. You’ll appreciate this discipline in January!
Don’t forget to track your spending. It’s great to create a spending plan that includes all of your holiday expenses, but make sure you track your purchases as well. Without tracking, you’ll quickly overspend your budget. To track your spending, consider using online budgeting tools, or create a simple spreadsheet.
Your holiday budget will help you avoid gift-buying binges.
Tip 2: Take advantage of boxing day sales
Boxing Day sales are a big deal in Canada. Boxing Day is a national holiday on December 26. It’s typically a time to spend with family or friends that you may not have had a chance to see on Christmas Day. It’s also a day that marks the start of deep-discount sales as stores begin to get rid of extra stock.
For many Canadians, it’s the biggest shopping day of the year. You can expect to find discounts on big-ticket items such as:
- Electronics (TVs, computers, smartphones)
- Home appliances (refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers)
- Furniture (Lighting, sofas, carpets)
So, if you’re in need of big-ticket items, it’s wise to hold out for the best Boxing Day sales of the year.
Retail stores often attract shoppers with loss leaders.This is a pricing strategy where retailers sell popular items at a loss to stimulate increased sales of other profitable items. So, be prepared to show spending discipline. That discounted TV is only a deal, when you don’t spend hundreds of dollars on extra purchases that you may not need.
When buying big-ticket items, sales representatives might pressure you to buy an extended warranty. Find out what the warranty period is on the product, and whether or not your credit card company provides purchase protection. Extended warranties will increase your costs.
As a note of caution, be prepared for long lines if you’re shopping in-store. And, make sure you’re actually getting a deal on Boxing Day sales. Which leads nicely into our next tip on how to save money, shop around and price match.
Tip 3: Shop around to find the lowest price
During the holiday season, retail prices can frequently change. So, do some comparison shopping before you hit the stores and pull out your wallet. Ask yourself if you can buy the same product at a lower price elsewhere? Not only will buying at a lower price save you money, many retailers offer a lowest price match.
Most Canadian retailers have price matching guidelines. For example, if you find a lower price for the same product, retailers may:
- Match the competitor price
- Match the lower price and beat it by 10 – 15%
- Honour a price match for anywhere between 30 days and up to one year after your purchase.
But, make sure to keep your receipts to take advantage of price matching offers after your purchase.
So, it’s worth the effort to shop around for the lowest price. However, retailers often have rules attached to their price match policy. For example:
- The product must be the exact same model and be in-stock
- The price match may not apply to limited-time or limited-quantity promotions
- Major sales such as Boxing Day sales are usually excluded from price matching offers
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Tip 4: Save money with a layaway plan
Another way to stretch your budget and save money is to make your purchase on a layaway plan.
A layaway allows you to put a small deposit on an item, and the retailer will hold it for you. This way, you can make affordable payments over a course of time. When you pay off the balance, you can pick up the item.
A layaway plan can help you save money, especially on big-ticket items. It also allows you to avoid buying large purchases on your credit card. And, when you plan ahead and make small payments, you can keep your holiday budget on track.
Retailers usually have restrictions or fees on layaway purchases. So, be sure that you find out what fees may apply. For example: you may be charged a small fee, or a percentage of the purchase price. In that case, make sure that the fees are reasonable.
To find out what stores offer layaway plans, you can search the store name and layaway. For example:
- Canadian Tire layaway
- Home Depot layaway
Tip 5: Use your credit card points
Reward and loyalty programs are very popular in Canada. So, if you have rewards from your credit card provider, the holidays may be a great time to use them.
When you know how to save money by following these tips, you’ll enjoy the holiday season without breaking your budget.