Yes, You Can Reduce Your Debt during the HolidaysDec 19, 2017
Did you resolve to reduce your debt in 2017?
A lot of Canadians made that resolution – paying down debt is almost always a high priority when the new year rolls around. Now that the year is almost over, we encourage you to stick to it!
It is possible to reduce your debt and avoid adding to your debt over the holiday season. We’ve put together a few tips that will help with debt and keep you feeling festive.
- How to avoid taking on holiday debt
During a month that is full of spending opportunities, it can be easy to count on credit cards and lines-of-credit to help cover costs. Before you take on new debt, it will help to be honest with yourself. Consider all of your holiday expenses…like gifts, food, travel, gift wrap and clothing. What can you really afford to spend this holiday season? Once you’ve figured out a dollar amount, stick to it.
A few simple ways to help with this goal are:
- Use cash and leave your credit cards at home. If you need to use your credit cards for online purchases, be sure you’re able to pay it off within 1 to 2 months.
- Consider homemade gifts, gifts of time spent together or a gift exchange.
- Cut back on time spent on social media — those posts and photos of the best gifts of the season or the most fabulous party can tempt you to overspend.
- Look for zero or low-cost family activities
The holidays tend to mean more time off for kids and parents, which can put a financial strain on your wallet. A trip to the movies for a family of four can easily be $100 to $125 once you factor in tickets, popcorn, and drinks. Are you looking for ways to keep everyone occupied? Look for activities that are low cost or free.
You can start your search with the City of Vaughan Recreation Guide. They may have free ice skating, swimming, and other family activities available. Spending less on activities can help you stick to your debt payment plan — even in December.
- Explore resources online to help you save over the holidays
There are lots of personal finance websites and coupon bloggers offering great cost-saving advice that you can put into practice yourself. Here are a few links to get you started:
- 51 Tips to have a Frugal Christmas Without Going Broke
- 8 tips to keep holiday spending on track
- 4 of the Best Apps to Help Manage Your Holiday Budget
Taking steps to limit holiday expenses can also help you avoid adding new debt and stay on track with your current debt relief plan.