Bah humbug! Santa’s on a budget this year thanks to inflation, which began rising shortly after the Big Man’s visit last December. This doesn’t mean that everyone should expect coal in their Christmas stocking on Dec. 25. It does suggest, however, that some belt-tightening is needed to avoid the January credit card blues.
Soaring food and gas prices may mean that a cross-country trip to visit nana and gramps is curtailed this year. The extravagant Christmas dinner may have to go on a diet and the mountain of presents under the Yuletide tree paired down to a small hill. But you can still keep the holiday season jolly by coming up with a Christmas budget even Scrooge would approve of.
Here are some suggestions for keeping your Christmas spending under control.
First, when it comes to gift giving, make a list and check it twice. No impulse buying!
Second, set limits. Talk with family members and agree ahead of time on how much to spend on each person. Set a limit and stick to it!
Organize a gift draw, especially if you have a large or extended family. Buying a gift for just one person makes Christmas considerably more affordable. You could organize a Secret Santa initiative, where each person in your family or gift-giving circle is randomly assigned someone to buy a present for. The identity of the gift giver remains secret.
As another alternative to pricey presents, utilize your unique skills and talents by making handcrafted gifts. People love jars of preserves, which can be made festive with pretty jam jar toppers. Or if you’ve got photographic, painting, knitting or baking talents, people would love a free photo session, a container of Christmas goodies, handmade socks or sweaters or a new painting as a gift.
Look for free events and activities that you can enjoy as a family such as ice skating on Charlie Lake, tobogganing or walking your neighbourhood to enjoy the holiday lights.
You might want to suggest to grandparents or relatives a truly practical gift for the kids: contributing to or even starting a savings account or Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). This is the opportunity for the children to learn money-saving lessons and start their journey down the road to financial literacy. Your North Peace Savings & Credit Union (NPSCU) adviser can help initiate savings plans for the kids that relatives can contribute to.
The greatest Christmas gift of all is being with family and sharing the joy of the season. We here at NPSCU are grateful to have shared 2022 with you, and we wish all our members happiness, health and financial wellness in the New Year.
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