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4 Ways to Make Your Holiday Budget Stretch Without Feeling Like Scrooge

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Holidays on a budget

Retailers are going to have to work hard to stand out from the competition this holiday season. 53% of Canadians plan to spend the same amount on holidays as they did last year, and a full 37% plan to reduce their spending according to a poll conducted for Sun Life Financial.

Here are 4 ways to make the budget stretch without feeling like Scrooge this holiday season.

  1. Children’s gifts
    Part of the magic of the season is seeing the look on a child’s face when they open the perfect gift. But that doesn’t mean you need to break the bank. Strategize your gifts, and consider coordinating with other gift givers (like grandparents) and come up with one big gift for each child instead of multiple small gifts. That way you can reduce your spending, reduce clutter and get your child the gift they really want.

  2. Food
    Everyone loves a huge holiday feast where friends and family gather together to laugh and talk over a lavish meal. If your food budget is out of control consider asking relatives to contribute to a potluck and bring their favourite holiday dish instead of providing all the food yourself. Not only will you reduce costs but you can try new and interesting dishes that are steeped in tradition and filled with love. If a potluck isn’t feasible (say you are only celebrating with your nuclear family) then consider getting creative with dishes. Instead of buying a whole turkey for a family of 4 consider purchasing a couple of breasts, thighs or drumsticks instead and supplementing the meal with more vegetable based dishes that cost less to prepare.

  3. Stocking stuffers
    Stocking stuffers rarely take center stage, often overshadowed by the larger gifts under the tree. If you really need to cut the budget consider paring down your stocking stuffer budget. You could do a stocking Secret Santa and have each family member purchase a stocking item for one other family member. Consider something like a $5 limit or a theme such as best coffee mug, or ugliest Christmas socks.

  4. Entertainment
    Rekindle some of that holiday spark by rethinking your entertainment ideas. Building snow forts or looking at Christmas light displays are all fun, inexpensive ways to keep your kids entertained. Too cold to go outside? How about baking cookies and enjoying them with a holiday movie marathon. CBC airs lots of holiday films (including classics like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas), and Netflix boasts an impressive collection of holiday family films.

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