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Can You Spend More This Holiday Season Without Going Into Debt?

by:
Sandra Sherk

One of our recent blogs, How to Keep Your Holiday Budget in Check, was a handy guide on ways you can curb your holiday spending; it also shed light on the fact that Canadians are dropping more than ever during the yuletide—an average of $1,563!

But, perhaps you don't mind spending money during the holidays and you don’t want to cut back; after all, you say to yourself, it is the season of giving. Despite this rationalization, you also know you don’t want to still be paying off Holiday 2018 by the time Holiday 2028 rolls around. (Our Debt Calculator can show you just how long it will take to repay your debt if you only make the minimum payments on your credit cards.)

So how can you spend what you want this holiday season and still stay out of financial chaos?

6 Ways to Spend Money This Holiday Season Without Breaking Your Budget

1. Increase Your Income

Unless you’re getting a hefty holiday bonus from work, taking on a part-time or seasonal job may be the best way to earn some extra money for all the gifts you want to buy (you might also want to ask your boss at your current job if it’s possible to get overtime hours). If you’re short on time, you might consider joining the gig economy, picking up some extra cash by working as an Uber driver when when it suits your schedule.

2. Sell Online

Whether it’s clothes and toys the kids have outgrown, purses or shoes, electronics, or even some old fishing gear or furniture you no longer want, selling items online can earn you money that you can then use to purchase gifts. (Just make sure you truly don’t need the items, so you’re not tempted to re-buy them at current prices.) Plus, if you have a talent of your own—like woodworking, designing jewelry, or knitting (dog sweaters make a killing this time of year!)—you might want to consider setting up an online shop with one of Canada’s popular e-commerce sites, like Etsy.

3. Buy Gently-Used Items

Since I just recommended selling your quality items online, let’s flip the script! There are plenty of other people doing the same thing that you can buy from, and they’re often on the same sites! Think about it: Most of your gift recipients aren’t going to care if the item they receive doesn’t come shrink-wrapped or with a price tag on it. If you know they’ll love it, and you can get it for less by purchasing it gently-used, I say go for it! (Some hipsters actually think it's trendy.)

4. Shop Outlet Stores

I don’t know about you, but I tend to forget about these wondrous places and usually just hit up the mall. But outlet stores are a great way to buy name-brand products at a fraction of the price. You can often find even better deals on off-season items, such as T-shirts and shorts during the winter. (Anyone going on a vacation soon?) Plus, your loved one won’t mind if they have to wait 6 months before showing off your gift—it'll give them something to look forward to!

5. Shop Black Friday Deals

Black Friday—the day after Thanksgiving—got its start in the United States in the 1960s. While cross-border Canadian shoppers have been taking advantage of it for decades, this annual tradition has been officially embraced within our border. In 2016, 46% of Canadians reported shopping on Black Friday, snagging an average of 38% off their purchases. Still looking for deals after? There's always Cyber Monday

Fun fact: When a retailer is taking losses, accountants use a red pen; when they’re making profits, a black pen. The day after Thanksgiving is when most retailers finally begin to turn a profit for the year, getting "out of the red" and "into the black."

6. Plan in Advance  

The holidays are almost here, so while you may not be able to save up much for gift-giving this season, you can always start now in anticipation of next season. It’s all about cutting back on little luxuries and squirreling the money away into a gift-giving stash. You might pack a lunch for work, cut out a couple trips to Starbucks each week, or skip movie theater concessions. (Come to think of it, these will not only help your bottom line but probably your waistline—talk about a win/win!). For more ways to save, check out 11 Bad Spending Habits You Need to Break.

That’s just six ways you may be able to buy the gifts you want this season without breaking your budget, and suffering the dreaded holiday hangover. Feel free to offer your ideas in the comments below, and always remember that the qualified counsellors at Credit Canada are available year-round to help you achieve your budgeting and other financial goals. Happy Holidays!

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Topics: Holidays and Money

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