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2 Ways to Avoid Debt Regret This Holiday Season

December may be the most wonderful time of the year for many Canadians, but it can also be one of the most expensive. In a 2016 pre-holiday poll, more than half of respondents expected to go over budget and carry some debt after the season was over. But that doesn’t have to be the norm.

If 2017 is your year to avoid holiday debt, here are two strategies that can help.

  1. Budget away debt

You might be familiar with creating a budget for gifts in December, but there are a lot of other expenses that go with the season. If you don’t account for those extras, you might find yourself in debt even though you followed your gift budget.

Here are some of the expenses besides gifts that you can budget for:

  • Food
  • Host/Hostess gifts
  • Travel
  • Clothing (yes, ugly sweaters can be a part of your budget)
  • Wrapping paper and accessories
  • Cards / family pictures and postage
  • Babysitters / animal sitters
  • Decorations

My Money Coach has a Four Week Plan for Christmas that can be adapted to any season or holiday celebrations, and for any timeframe. The key is to plan!

  1. Plan your shopping in detail

Having an overall budget for gifts is a good start, but you can take it one step further by pre-shopping and budgeting for each item.

You can price check or shop online prior to even stepping out the door. That way, you can know what you’re going to spend, or if you have to adjust your allocation or make an alternate purchase to fit your budget.

Remember, your budget should stay firm. You can be flexible about where you shop (look for the best deals), which item you purchase, or how many items you buy.

If you plan as much as possible before stepping out the door, or hitting “proceed to checkout,” you’re more likely to stay on budget.

Consumer debt can get high at the holidays, but thinking outside the box as you plan can help. Gifting something of your own that you or your kids loved, or shopping through the second-hand economy are good ways to keep prices low.

Using a detailed budget and a detailed plan for your holiday spending can help you avoid unexpected debt this season.

Do you have budgeting tips for the holidays? Tell us on Twitter. #DebtSolutions #HolidayDebt

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