Finding Balance with Holiday Spending
December is hands-down my favourite month. It has 2 birthdays (DH & mine), one major event (Christmas) and usually an abundance of the snow I love so much. This year, we’re also excited to add another December baby to our midst with a new nephew or niece. It is also the month that busts our budget every year. I can understand why so easily. We want to celebrate our birthdays in a big way with each other to make up for the lack of family & friends close-by. Add in the fact that between us, the celebration includes two cakes, two presents….well, it adds up. We also love the Christmas season at our house. We want to shower our family with thoughtful gifts and presents. Making all of our favourite dishes, like my favourite cheese ball, can get pricey when you include the favourites from both sides of the family. I also love to send out a professional family photo to our friends & family far away which is another dollar sign in front of my eyes.
The goal: Stay on budget for this year’s Christmas without feeling like we’re scrooges! Below, are the steps we’re planning to follow to try and keep our holiday spending to a reasonable level & not have the huge dreaded bill in January.
I’m starting it off by using a Holiday Spending Plan & I’ve already written out who we are gifting (17 family members, 3 furry friends, and 5 close friends’ kids). We will boost the grocery budget slightly this month.
As we live a few provinces over from our extended family & our dear friends, shipping services come into play too. To send packages this year, Canada Post is recommending that you mail your cards by December 17 within Canada, and packages by December 10 (regular parcel). My aim is to get those packages and card in the mail in advance of the deadline.
Wherever we can put our skills to use to help make homemade presents, we are planning to do so. Plus, our family and friends love receiving our homemade gifts (or at least that’s what they keep telling us).
Last year, when all the Christmas items went on clearance, I stocked up on holiday wrapping paper, and this year’s Christmas cards. Doing so each year saves me a bundle, providing you have the space to store it all.
Simple: Want, Need, Read, Wear, Learn
With our kids, we follow the simple Want, Need, Read, Wear and Learn rule of thumb: Want: Something you want (aka from your wishlist) Need: A gift that’s practical (think new socks, snow shovels or camping gear) Wear: Christmas eve tradition of new pajamas Read: A new book to enjoy Learn: Educational toy or learning tool for what we’re working on with Montessori at Home
Consider this – if we all switched from using credit cards this season to using Interac Debit or Interac Flash, we could avoid that nail biting moment in January when the big bill comes in. More than that, we have the opportunity to help support our local merchants better. Using a credit card at the checkout can cost them up to 8% more in fees than if we used Interac Debit instead, which carries a flat fee of $0.06 per transaction, no matter the purchase price.
This simple shift will not only will help our wallets by keeping us on budget. It will also help our favourite local business avoid costly transaction fees. If you’re worried about security this holiday season, Interac has you covered there too. Chip-enabled Interac Debit and Interac Flash cards are extremely secure, and protected from fraud tactics such as skimming, duplicating, and electronic pickpocketing. Security features mean that no information from an Interac Debit transaction can be capture by criminals. You are also protected under Interac’s Zero Liability policy.
Locally, there are a few small businesses that I frequent and love to support in whatever way I can. Our local drug store & more, King Drug has a wide selection of gluten-free products, amazing kids toys and natural health products. Maximum Work Gear always dazzles me with their patient customer service while I try on endless pairs of outdoor hiking shoes on the many small and large feet of my family. I can’t forget the amazing local butcher Yukon Sausage with their tasty real food dinners to go, and beef jerky. I bet you have favourite small businesses in your community too! Helping others in our community save money, so they can invest in contributions to local sports, charities and non-profit associations just makes sense. Here is one small business owner talking about why Interac Debit is their preferred payment method, and how they give back: http://youtu.be/z7gQerKAjJo
Chat With Us!
We want to hear more about your holiday spending, or how you already use Interac Flash to manage your budget! Join us for the #YourChoiceMatters Twitter party on December 3rd, 9 pm EST. RSVP Below.
Open to Canadian residents who participate in the #yourchoicemattersTwitter Party administered by SJ Consulting on Wednesday, December 3rd between 9:00 and 10:00PM EST, using the hashtag #yourchoicematters.
Disclosure: I am participating in the Interac #yourchoicematters campaign managed by SJ Consulting. I received compensation in exchange for my participation in this campaign. The opinions on this blog are my own.