With each passing year, Canadians spend more on Christmas gifts and holiday preparations than the year before. Some of them are borrowing money through credit cards or payday loans to make ends meet then find themselves saddled with unwanted debt when the season is over.
“Many Canadians, and not just ones from low-income households, but from all income levels, throw out the rules when it comes to spending their money at Christmas time,” said Roy Toker, Executive Vice-President of Quickcheck Canada, an Ontario-based company that provides software solutions to the Canadian payday loan industry.
“In our financial literacy efforts with ACORN Canada (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), we try to remind people that the holidays are a time when many people blow a hole in their family budget and they have to follow some basic rules to avoid falling into debt,” said Roy Toker.
We sat down with Quickcheck and asked for some advice on how to wake up on New Year’s Day in the black this year. Also, don’t miss these 17 Holiday Freebies.
It’s easy to let your emotions guide your purchasing decisions at Christmas time, but determine how much you can afford to spend and stick to that limit. Going into debt for holiday gifts is not worth it.
When setting your budget, make a list of who you need to buy for and what gifts you are buying for each person. If you find you are going over budget, consider buying gifts that are less expensive or trimming some of the less essential recipients from your list.
One of the best ways to control your spending is to keep your credit card at home and use only cash. Withdraw the total amount that you had budgeted for and use it for all your purchases. As your wallet begins to empty, you will be forced to make better spending decisions.
Garage sales and thrift shops are great places to find unique gifts that match the interests of the people on your shopping list. Best of all, you will pay prices that are a fraction of those in retail stores.
You don’t have to do all of your Christmas shopping in one day. Wait for sales so you can snag your gifts at reduced prices, but shop around to make sure you’re getting the best price because not all sales offer the best value.