Christmas Shopping Is Not All Black and White

Budgeting for the Christmas holidays is always difficult; in fact, it’s the one time that is guaranteed to wreak havoc far into the next financial year. For holidays in general, we would advise incorporating your spending into your monthly budget. However, if you haven’t already, don’t despair, there may be some Christmas cheer for you yet.

Knowing how much money you have for shopping is one thing, being able to allocate where that money goes, when contemplating your holiday shopping is something else.
Click to download our Holiday Gift Giving Planner that can help.

Christmas, as we all know, is in December – which conveniently follows the month of November, and two of the biggest shopping days of the year – Black Friday on November 23rd, closely followed by Cyber Monday on November 26th. Although these two shopping holidays are more popular with our neighbours to the south, an estimated 80% of Canadians took advantage of the deals on offer in the 2011 sales. While you may not wish to fight for this year’s big sellers during these mega sales days, they are ideal for swooping under the radar and picking up deals on gifts for extended family and friends.

Another great idea for holiday budgeting, although a little sneaky, is to invite the whole family around for dinner and subtly find out what they want for Christmas. It will get everyone in the holiday spirit, and you’ll save yourself from that frantic, and often expensive, last minute search for the ideal gift. Make sure to set a limit for each person you buy for and keep track of what you bought for whom and how much you paid.

Remember too, that not everyone is concerned with material gifts. Consider making a donation to charity, or, buying a gift with a conscience, such as a milking goat for a 3rd world family on someone’s behalf. If you really want to go the extra mile, why not accompany them on a food drive or to serve at a soup kitchen over the Christmas holidays?

When the holidays are over, your budgeting tasks are not yet done. Take advantage of the New Year’s sales, where you can make huge savings on clothes, toys, electronics and even gifts for the following Christmas.

Students Can Create a Better Future by Saving Now

Sometimes saving isn’t easy – especially when you look at it as a luxury – reserved only for
times when you have the cash to spare. The first step to successful savings is, ‘out of sight,
out of mind’. Your savings should be part of your budget, and as such, you should consider
that money spent before it is earned. Where does the money come from for savings in the first
place? You may ask. Well, if you budget smart, you will find a number of sources at your

First of all take a look at the monthly services you subscribe to. Do you really need those
extra cable channels? What about that gym membership that you have neglected for over a
year? Your internet and phone service may come with added features; most of which you are
probably not even aware of, but are paying for every month. Cutting those payments, and
reallocating them to savings, is simply making better use of money that you never missed in
the first place.

The money you are left with after loans have been paid is ideal for saving. You have already
resigned yourself to that money being debiting from your account each month, so you won’t
miss it by paying it to your savings account instead. However, be careful when you actually
open a savings account – for example, some banks may charge you fees for falling below a
minimum balance. Check the terms and conditions carefully, and choose the account that best
suits your savings budget.

While it is important to save for your future, ensuring you have good credit is equally
important. The easiest way to have good credit is to pay all you bills on time. For credit
cards you should look for a low, fixed rate card, with no annual fees, and, clear and concise
terms for additional services, late fees, balance transfers and other charges. If you are going
to use a credit card pay off the entire balance each month and make sure you pay it on time!