Holiday planning and spending can get out of control at the best of times, but this year COVID-19 has meant finances are even tighter for many people.
One in four Canadians believe that they can’t afford the holidays this year, not even holidays on a budget. And with many people’s finances hit hard by the pandemic, it’s not surprising that Canadians are expected to spend around 30% less on the holidays than last year.
That doesn’t mean that you have to cancel holiday planning. You can still enjoy the holidays on a budget, you just have to get a little creative. We’ve come up with 10 easy financial tips for the holiday season that also help you incorporate COVID-19 safety into your holiday planning.
1. Decide on which kind of holiday you’re going to have
This holiday season, many provinces recommend that holiday planning does not include travel or celebrating with anyone outside of your household. For many people, it makes sense to rethink the holidays and do it differently this year.
This can help your holiday budgeting. If you normally travel to visit family, staying home is one way how to save money during the holidays. Use the money you save on travel to buy family members gifts and have them shipped.
2. Work out a holiday planning budget
When you’re budgeting for the holidays, work out how much you can afford. Then assign an amount to each holiday budgeting item:
- Gifts broken down by person
- Food and drink
- Wrapping and shipping
Make sure that all of your expenses added up are within your holiday budgeting plan.
3. Host a virtual holiday dinner
During the pandemic, it makes sense not to host a huge family gathering, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still come together — virtually. And hosting virtually is another one of the ways how to save money during the holidays.
You won’t be making a full meal for everyone, which will help with your holiday budgeting, but you can still send your loved ones treats that you can all share when you come together on a video conference call.
You can play virtual games (there are lots of ideas here) or if you’re doing the conference call on cell phones, you could take a post-dinner virtual walk together.
4. Give post-pandemic gifts
When you’re looking at how to save during the holidays, a good holiday spending tip is to give an experience that you can both enjoy once the pandemic is over.
Design a gift card and either email it or send it with your holiday card. The promised gift can be free, inexpensive or whatever fits your holiday budgeting. Here are some ideas:
After the pandemic, I will:
- Take you to a concert
- Visit you for a long weekend
- Take you out for dinner
- Go with you to the baseball or other game
5. Make your gifts
This is one of the best holiday budgeting tips for people with near-zero budgets, as it’s one of the best ways how to save during the holidays. Your gifts will mostly just cost you time, rather than money.
You could knit your grandkids some scarves, craft a unique cushion or create some holiday candles. You don’t even have to be into arts and crafts to pull this off. This article has lots of ideas to make gifts and keep your budgeting for the holidays on track.
6. Make a holiday video
Of all of the holiday money saving tips, this is the most fun. Giving a video of your family will be an especially meaningful gift to relatives you would normally visit at this time of year.
You can record yourselves singing holiday songs, playing instruments, doing dance routines, or even make a short holiday movie. It’s easy to record it on your cell phone, and your family will love watching it.
7. Gifts that cost next to nothing — but are worth a lot
When you’re looking at how to save money this holiday season while still giving a valuable gift, give your time to someone who needs it.
This is one of the best holiday budgeting tips because while it won’t dent your finances, it will bring a lot of joy to the person you give it to. There are lots of ways you can make this holiday season tip work for you:
- Babysit for stressed out parents (if safe to do so)
- Mow the lawn or shovel snow for older relatives
- Pick up a relative’s kids from school (if safe to do so)
- Prepare and deliver a holiday treats or a meal to a loved one
This is one of the most effective holiday money saving tips as there is no cost involved. You obviously need to make sure that the gift is as good as new and that it’s suitable for the person you’re giving it to – but it’s a great way to save money and give someone something they may find more useful than you would.
9. Organize a Secret Santa
Rather than buying for every adult in your family, put everyone’s name into a virtual hat, such as Elfster, and have everyone draw out a name. This is great for when you’re budgeting for the holidays, because you only have to buy one gift rather than several.
10. Research before you buy
Another good holiday planning tip for when money is tight is to spend time online researching the best prices on gifts.
It’s probably smartest to shop from the safety of your own home anyway, so there’s no excuse for not hunting down the best deals available. Apps like shopbot.ca can help.
Enjoy this holiday season to the fullest with a reverse mortgage
If these financial tips for the holiday season still don’t make your holiday budgeting work, there is an alternative. The CHIP Reverse Mortgage® could provide the money you need to thoroughly enjoy the holidays.
Available to homeowners aged 55-plus, a reverse mortgage is a loan based on your age, home’s value and location. The best part is, you only pay what you owe when you decide to sell, move out or if both homeowners pass away, so it won’t affect your retirement income. Call us today at 1-866-522-2447 to find out how much you can borrow and start your holiday planning.