1. Make a list, and check it twice. Did you know that research has proven that people who shop at the grocery store with a list spend between 30% and 40% less than those who don’t plan their purchases? The same can be said for your holiday shopping. Make a list for everybody before you hit the malls, and avoid making impulse purchases at all costs.
2. Stash away a little extra cash. Even when you’re great at sticking to a holiday shopping budget, often the spirit of the season causes generosity to beat out frugality. Pad your available cash for the holidays a bit by setting aside a few extra dollars a few between now and the end of December. This will help you avoid, or at least reduce, the amount you use credit cards to make holiday purchases.
3. Hunt down online deals, especially for big ticket items. It’s unusual these days to find big ticket items like jewelry, computers, or electronics in stores for less than you can buy the same product online. If you plan on surprising somebody special with a gift that costs more than $100 this year, keep browsing the Web for the right deal. One tip: A long-time favorite Web store of high-tech professionals, e-store Buy.com offers some of the best prices on hot consumer electronics like digital cameras, laptops, and mp3 players. New customers can also enjoy either $5 off $100 on anything or $5 off $75 on $5 OFF the purchase of $75 of music, movies, or games.
4. If you must use a credit card…Your monthly budget is already stretched thin. If you haven’t been saving for holiday gifts all year, you’ll end up using credit to make the purchases. Using credit cards for the holiday’s isn’t ideal, but so long as you’re good about paying off those balances in a few months (not a few years) I don’t think it’s a cardinal sin.
If you do use a credit card for your holiday shopping that you don’t plan on repaying immediately, get a card that offers a 0% APR on purchases for 12 months.
5. Finally, if you need to travel this holiday season; book now if you haven’t already! (Then, book now for next year, too). The days before Thanksgiving and Christmas are the biggest travel days of the year, and carriers jack fares accordingly; the fewer seats left, the higher the cost of the ticket. It’s hard to spend money on an airfare weeks or months before you’ll use it, but doing so could save you hundreds.
Gift giving spend decreases while holiday entertaining increases
According to the BMO 2011 Holiday Spending Outlook, global economic uncertainty doesn’t seem to be putting a damper on Canadians’ holiday spending plans. In fact, on average, Canadians expect to spend $1397 during this holiday season – up from $1305 in 2010.
Holiday Spending Allocation – Year over Year Comparison
Holiday Spending Across the Country
|2011||Avg. Spend (Total)||ATL||QC||ON||MB/SK||AB||BC|
To help shoppers make sense of their money, avoid overspending and save more this holiday season, BMO Bank of Montreal offers the following tips:
- Set a Budget and Stick to It – Build your budget as early as possible and revisit it often to lessen the impact of the holiday spending surge. Using online tools, such as BMO MoneyLogic, to set and track spending limits can help keep you on track.
- Get a Head Start – According to the survey, while the majority of Canadians plan weeks or even months ahead for their holiday shopping (81 per cent), one in 10 consider themselves last-minute shoppers. By waiting until the last minute to get your holiday shopping finished, you risk over-spending, going over budget and sometimes missing out on the gifts at the top of your list.
- Spend Smart – Get the most out of your purchases this holiday season by using a credit or debit card that offers rewards for purchases at multiple retail locations. Combine this with programs such as the AIR MILES® Reward Program to accelerate your rewards earnings by allowing you to double dip, essentially earning rewards twice on the same purchase.