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How to spend wisely this holiday season

November 30, 2011

Don’t let holiday décor and festive music tempt you into spending all your hard-earned dollars. While it’s true, the holiday season is a time for spending, make the most of this joyous occasion by spending sensibly or with a plan. Here are a few simple penny-saving strategies.

Celebrate without breaking the bank
. Instead of throwing an expensive holiday soiree, invite your friends and family members to attend a free Christmas concert or parade. Watching costumed bands perform traditional folk songs, enjoying fireworks and participating in lively street celebrations are excellent ways to spend time with your loved ones without depleting your bank account.

Shun high-priced purchases for homemade gifts
. Custom gift baskets stuffed with spices and fruit grown in your own backyard make for wonderful personalized presents. Or create a booklet of your favourite recipes or photographs to share with family and friends. Best of all, homemade gifts are always appreciated for their thoughtfulness.

Get organized
. How many times have you left holiday shopping to the last minute? For many of us, that’s a sure fire way to overspend. Plan ahead by determining what you need to buy for the holiday season and how much you can afford to spend. So make your list, check it twice, and stick to it!

Avoid busy shopping hours.
Try to avoid gift buying during periods when malls and stores are likely to be swarming with shoppers — like weekends and Christmas Eve. During these times, it's tempting to spend quickly without thinking so you can flee the crowds.

Make a donation to a charity in lieu of gifts
. Not only will your recipient appreciate your kind gesture but you’ll be lending a helping hand to people who are genuinely in need.

Pay cash. Although it may be tempting to put off paying for gifts, try to avoid charging too many holiday items on your credit card. Not only will you lessen the blow of a January credit card bill, you also won’t be tempted to throw your budget and financial plan out the window.