The holiday season is a great time of year. It’s a time of hope, celebration and peace that we get to spend with our closest friends and family. It’s an opportunity to bring joy to others and it’s a time we set aside to spend quality moments with those who matter most to us.
The holidays can also be a time of unexpected financial strain, or large purchases that, if not carefully planned for, can make a serious impact on your family’s budget and bottom line.
We see a lot of new faces coming through the doors at BNA Debt Solutions in January, and many of them tell us the same tale: Christmas spending was the straw that finally broke the camel’s back. Intense credit card debt, piled on top of existing credit woes, often brings Albertans into our offices ready to tackle their finances and get out of debt.
We’d like to take this opportunity to remind you know that Christmas is more about who’s around your tree than what’s underneath it, and that regardless of what you see in shopping centres or social media, it’s the time spent with loved ones that is the greatest gift.
That said, it doesn’t mean that you need to skip gift-giving and your holiday traditions this year. We put our heads together to provide you with a few easy, cost effective options to help you from getting in too deep this December.
Homemade is from the heart
Do you have a long shopping list for those outside your immediate family? 20 dollars here and 20 dollars there can really add up fast. A simple gift handmade by your family often says as much, if not more, than a pricey box of chocolates, bottle of wine, or poinsettia. Making the gifts can also be a great way to spend time with your little ones and get in the holiday spirit. Create something special with your family, instead of spending a stressful day at the mall.
Zero in on the traditions vs the trivial
The last thing we’re ever going to tell you is that you should forgo getting a Christmas tree or cooking your holiday favorites, but do you really need to mail out dozens and dozens of Christmas cards? Might it be possible to roll back on the trays of baking and hors d'oeuvres you make every year (if you STILL have tupperware full of Christmas baking in your freezer, the answer is probably yes)? Do you really need to drop a few hundred dollars on decorations for another year running? And what purpose do those Christmas crackers really serve, anyways? We don’t want to play Scrooge, but chances are you can make adjustments and no one will notice.
Tame the holiday drink tab
We enjoy our holiday beverages, both with alcohol and without, but fancy seasonal coffees, rum and egg nogs at your local pub, and pricey bottles of wine sent as gifts can rack up a hefty tab. You don’t need to stop having holiday fun, but going to one venti peppermint mocha a week from 5 is a serious savings, and making an effort to consume a minimal amount of pricey cocktails while out and about also means you can stay sober and get home on your own, avoiding a pricey Uber or cab ride.
Pass on the vacation, go for the stay-cation
Have you put extremely expensive skiing or warm-weather Christmas vacations on your Visa in years past? Instead of racking up thousands of dollars in debt, stay at home with your loved ones. You can go for walks, play games, watch movies and catch up with friends in the comfort of your own neighborhood. Remember, time is the ultimate gift, as it’s priceless and finite.
This holiday season, do what’s right for you and your family. We hope that this season brings joy and merriment to your life, instead of needless debt and stress. There’s usually a cost effective alternative to any Christmas purchase. If you’d like to get a headstart on financial freedom in the coming year, our team can help. End 2019 on a positive note by booking a call with our team. The gift of a debt-free life is only a message away.
From all of us, to you, have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.