#FinancialFridays: Holiday Budgeting

As the holidays approach, we have been speaking with people about tips for preparing financially.

Holidays come with a lot of memories, emotions, traditions, and expectations. These can be helpful or can be unhelpful.

Setting Priorities

What are some of your favourite memories, traditions, or things you look forward to?

Sit down ahead of time with your family and talk about what makes the holidays special for you. Make a list of the most important things and put it somewhere you can all see it! Caroline, who runs our Financial Literacy Program, tapes it to the kitchen cupboards.

Come back to the list often throughout the holidays when you feel overwhelmed or feel like the holidays are getting away from you. Is what you are worrying about or doing contributing to the things that make the holidays special? If not, rethink whether you need to do it.

Make a Holiday Budget

The regular monthly costs are still there during the holidays. The rent is due January 1st and utilities are still going to come. The additional costs during the holidays layer on top of the regular costs. Making a holiday budget can help you prepare to meet your regular expenses and spread out the holiday costs.

What types of special meals will you have?

What types of events will you attend?

What types of gifts will you get? For who?

Make decisions based on the priorities you set earlier with your family. This is for you to decide together and you set the boundaries.

Communicate this ahead of time with family and friends. This sets realistic expectations. If you decide to do a Secret Santa gift swap with a $5 maximum limit, and your friend buys expensive presents for everyone in the group, that is their decision. Accepting the gift gracefully and without guilt is a gift itself.

With all the regular pressures and stresses, taking back the holidays and making them special for yourself and your family on your own terms is an act of bravery.