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Enjoy the holidays without breaking the bank

Enjoy the holidays without breaking the bank

Article updated on 26/11/2020
Christmas won’t quite be the same for Quebecers this year, with COVID-19 still taking a toll on the province. Although the holiday season is usually a time for rejoicing and generosity, it can be a source of financial stress for many people, especially now.

So how can we deal with such a sudden change in our spending habits without creating added guilt or stress? Let’s look at a few ways you can keep your spending down this season.

Take stock.

Last April, the pandemic triggered an economic crisis affecting 1.5 million Québec workers. That means Christmas is bound to be a stressful time and, for households that took a financial hit because of the health crisis, it could plunge them into debt. If you want to truly enjoy the holidays, you should take stock of your own position. The stress of uncertainty can make it difficult to see things clearly and understand what you can truly afford.

One good way to take stock of your financial situation is to draw up a budget. If you have never done it before, it may seem complicated. To make your life easier, you can use our free online budget tool HERE. Now is also a good time to start this conversation with your spouse and/or kids. Opening up about the situation will help you manage their expectations before they open their presents, which will take a load off you.

Preparation is key.

Once the budget out of the way, take time to plan your festivities. Careful planning will help you stick to your budget for gifts, decorations and food. Here are a few ideas for keeping holiday spending under control:

  • List everyone you want to give a present to, and the items you want to buy.
  • Check out the best online deals to get real bargains. Black Friday discounts can make a real difference, so watch for them!
  • Look for promo codes and subscribe to store newsletters that often give discounts on your first order.
  • Check those flyers and don’t be tempted to buy things you don’t need just because they are on sale.

If you stick to your original gift list, you will see the difference in your spending right away.

It’s the thought that counts.

The very best presents don’t have to be brand new or cost a fortune. The gift your loved ones will cherish most will be one that you put thought into, a gift that marks a special moment or occasion you shared or that has a personal touch.

A little creativity can go a long way in keeping costs down:

  • If you are crafty, look on sites like Pinterest for handmade gift ideas.
  • Shop in thrift stores rather than the big-box stores. You can also find great bargains on virtually everything on Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji! Make sure you are always dealing with honest sellers.
  • You can also set up a gift exchange with your family to shorten everyone’s gift list, and even set a cap on how much everyone spends.
  • For a greener option, why not suggest a swap: exchange items you already own to promote recycling and rein in overconsumption.

Remember what’s important.

Lastly, get back to basics. Strike a balance between your holiday spending and the true value of these family celebrations. Keep reminding yourself that the most important thing these days is not gifts. It is being able to see one another and celebrate—at a safe distance, of course—and to stay healthy!

We wish you a happy holiday season!


Online budget

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You just have to take this one step to reestablish your financial health. You’ll get out of debt and gain a better quality of life. That’s the Raymond Chabot effect.