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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’s possible to fill up on love and joy without breaking the bank, with some good tips for saving money over the festive period.
Drawing up a budget
First of all, to save money at the end of the year, consumers need to draw up a holiday budget to visualize all expenses and target those that are ultimately superfluous.
Then, it’s easy to see if you can take the opportunity to unlock a credit card welcome bonus. In fact, many cards offer 10% cash back for the first three months, such as the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card.
On the other hand, you can also take out a card with travel points like the TD First Class Travel® Visa Infinite* Card; what better way to save during the holiday season when you’re putting money aside for spring break or summer vacations?
Then, take a look at your current credit cards; with your budget well established, you can plan purchases so as 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 at grocery stores and restaurants. So choosing the right card to pay for your expenses is a great way to save money this holiday season.
Make a shopping list
It’s tempting to want to give gifts to everyone, but sometimes this isn’t possible without planning: 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 can further restrict your budget or remove people from your list to save money over the holidays.
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 kids will be just as surprised and amazed to unwrap gifts they’d forgotten about!
Sales, promotions and points
The best-known portals are:
- Rakuten (get $30 when you open a free Rakuten account)
- Scene+ by Rakuten (get $30 when you open a free account on Rakuten)
- AIR MILES Airmilesshops.ca
- Aeroplan eStore
- François Charron’s Boomerang Club
- Flying Blue portal
- Avion Rewards Extra Shopping
Consumers will have the opportunity to earn cash back, Aeroplan and Scene+ points, as well as AIR MILES and Flying Blue miles.
Then, to double or triple your savings, 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. Points add up fast, and it’s a great way to save during the holiday season.
For frequent flyers, Air Canada often offers consumers attractive discounts on gift cards and points. Once again, it’s a great opportunity to collect lots of points with one of the best current offers.
Gift exchanges and potlucks
When you’re surrounded by lots of people, buying gifts for everyone can be a lot of work; gift exchanges with a pre-established monetary limit are a great way to save money over the holidays while keeping the joy of giving alive. 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 the whole family can be a major 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. Once again, it’s a great opportunity to earn points by paying with the right credit card!
Finally, when creating your menu, start with specials and try to think of less expensive variations. 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.
Remember that the most important thing is to get together as a family, and that what’s on the table is secondary.
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 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 to holiday savings like a framed photo or your famous secret cookie recipe.
Likewise, forget about cards sent by post, as the costs will rise very quickly; an electronic greeting card is a good alternative.
Where to go in Quebec for Christmas?
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Many activities will be closed on December 25, which is a public holiday. It’s ideal to take a stroll in the province’s parks, go to the movies, have fun at the skating rink, and discover all the activities at the Winter Play Center, located at Village Vacances Valcartier.
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