As early as November, with the Black Friday event, we are more prone to get carried away by the magic of the holidays and spend a little more. However, it is possible to fill up on love and joy without breaking the bank with some great tips for saving money this holiday season.
1. Establish a budget
First of all, to save money during the holiday season, you need to create a budget to visualize all expenses and target those that are unnecessary in the end.
On the other hand, you can also take a card with travel points like the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite* Card; what better way to save during the holidays when you’re putting money away for spring break or summer vacations?
Then, go through your current credit cards; with your budget in place, you can plan purchases to optimize the categories of each card to get the best return. For example, the American Express Cobalt® Card earns 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar atgrocery stores and restaurants. So choosing the right card to pay for your expenses is a great way tosave money this holiday season.
2. Make a shopping list
It’s tempting to want to give gifts to everyone, but sometimes that’s not possible without planning; remember that it’s the thought that counts.
So make a list of all the people you want to give something to. Then determine how much money you are willing to spend on each one instead of starting with choosing the gift. If the total is too high, you may want to restrict yourself further on the budget or remove people from your list tosave money this holiday season.
When you set boundaries for yourself, it’s easier to store rationally.
For younger children, go around the house in November and pick up a few toys; most children will be just as surprised and amazed to unwrap gifts they had forgotten about!
3. Sales, promotions and points
Then, to double or triple up and reap even more savings through the return of points on your spending, consider using your American Express Cobalt® Card to purchase gift cards. This way, you’ll get many more points for purchases at Amazon, Indigo, SAQ, Simons, Walmart, Toys-R-Us, etc. The points add up quickly and it’s a great way tosave during the holiday season.
For frequent flyers, Air Canada often offers great discounts with these sales, gift card purchases and points return promotions. Once again, it’s a good opportunity to go out and score a lot of points with one of the best offers around.
Also, take the opportunity to use all the points you’ve earned during the year to pay off your credit card balance, whether it’s Optimum points, cash back or privilege points. Unused points are money in the bank; you can even invest with them!
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4. Gift exchanges and potlucks
When you’re surrounded by lots of people, buying gifts for everyone can be overwhelming; gift exchanges with a pre-set monetary limit are a great way tosave money during the holidays while still keeping the joy of giving. Not knowing who our secret Santa is adds a welcome element of surprise!
Another variation can be done with stolen gifts: each person gets a gift and, taking turns, the others can take someone else’s or stop at what they have and hope that no one has their eye on it.
Similarly, the burden of cooking for 30 guests can be a big irritant. With potlucks, everyone can contribute time and money so that everyone can save money during the holiday season.
Alternatively, you can agree on a food ordering service and split the bill. Again, this is a great opportunity to earn points by paying with the right credit card!
Finally, when you’re creating the menu, base it on the specials and try to think of less expensive alternatives. For example, a pork shank can be just as tasty as a lamb shank, but will save you a lot of money this holiday season.
Indeed, we must remember that the important thing is to get together and that what is on the table is secondary.
5. Giving time and handmade gifts
Sometimes the best gift is your time and that’s you. Do you have friends who have justwelcomed a baby into their family? Instead of buying clothes they may not need, offer to babysit while they can take some time for themselves or do their housework; small gestures can be greatly appreciated depending on the circumstances.
Then, finding a gift can be difficult for some people, especially those who tend to get everything they want without telling others. In this case, something handmade or something meaningful to the person can be a big winner in addition tosaving money during the holidays like a framed photo or your famous secret cookie recipe.
Also, skip the mailed cards as the costs will go up very quickly; an electronic greeting card is a good alternative.