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12 days of holiday shopping – on a budget

At shops everywhere, garland and bows festoon the aisles, and familiar carols play over the sound system. It’s a sure sign that the holiday shopping season has begun in earnest. While it’s fun to enjoy the spirit of the season, make sure you don’t get carried away and find yourself facing a pile of debt come the new year.

Here are 12 ways to combat the 12 days of holiday shopping, so that you can start the new year on sound financial footing.

  1. Set a budget and stick to it. In addition to gifts, don’t forget to list food, decorations, and stocking stuffers.
  2. Shop early or year-round. If you see the perfect gift in April, don’t be afraid to purchase it – especially if it’s a good price.
  3. Avoid credit cards when shopping at stores. Only spend what you have – this helps you to steer clear of paying high interest rates in the new year.
  4. Decline the tempting offers of department store credit cards. See tip #3!
  5. Make a list and check it twice. Include each gift recipient, which gift, and how much you plan to spend. Make sure it fits your budget.
  6. Write everything down as you buy it. Sometimes small add-ons – like that $12 box of chocolates for your next-door neighbor – sneak up on you.
  7. Avoid impulse buys. Always look back at your list and ask yourself: “Is this item on the list? Do I really need it?” If the answer is no, walk away.
  8. Browse the ads before you browse the shelves to get the best deals. If you look carefully, there are some great deals to be found during the holiday season.
  9. Try online shopping. Sometimes retailers will have special deals for buying online, and they may also offer free shipping and hassle-free returns.
  10. Organize a gift exchange within your family, close friends, or colleagues, instead of buying a gift for each person.
  11. Do it yourself. Use your talents and hobbies (e.g. arts and crafts, baking, woodworking, sewing) to create something unique and memorable for your loved ones.
  12. Ditch the gift wrapping. Those expensive bows, ribbons, bells and baubles end up in the garbage. Help the environment and your wallet by minimizing the amount of gift wrap you use.

Be diligent and count on your budget to see you through all the great events this season has to offer. Budgets play an important role, especially during the holidays, in helping you stick with your financial plan. An Investors Group Consultant can show you how.

November 17, 2015

This column, written and published by Investors Group Financial Services Inc. (in Québec – a Financial Services Firm), and Investors Group Securities Inc. (in Québec, a firm in Financial Planning) presents general information only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any investments. Contact your own advisor for specific advice about your circumstances. For more information on this topic please contact your Investors Group Consultant.