Generosity is the reason for the holiday season and 2020 — dumpster fire that it is — is no exception. In a year like no other, many people are finding comfort in gift-giving; an Equifax survey found that a majority of Canadians plan to spend as much on holiday gifts this year as they did before the COVID-19 pandemic. And for most families, a big chunk of that spending will be on gifts for kids.
If previous spending habits are any indication, Canadian parents looking to end 2020 with a haul of Claus-like proportions should be mindful of holiday debt — along with all of the anxiety that comes with overspending. A 2018 Manulife Bank survey found that holiday debt negatively impacts people’s mental health and close relationships.
As with most money matters, making a budget should be the first step. In fact, you could treat your budget like writing a nice list of sorts; Forbes notes that making lists of essential and non-essential recipients can help you prioritize your dollars if you’re working with a tight wallet. For people who get overwhelmed by numbers, mobile apps like Mint can also help simplify your personal finances.
And if tracking is too challenging to keep up with, it may be wise to follow a general rule of spending around one per cent of your gross income or less on gifts, as Scott Hannah of the Credit Counselling Society told Global News.
Aside from what you budget for, hidden costs are another wallet-drainer worth keeping an eye on, as the cost of kids’ activities like can be easy to overlook.
Luckily, there are plenty of free and low-cost holiday family-bonding experiences that can be enjoyed in the snow and socially distanced from others.
Balanced your budget and ready for winter fun? These gifts can help you enjoy the great outdoors. Story continues after the slideshow.
But there’s no need to be a Scrooge. Even if you do get a little spendy this holiday season, try not to catastrophize. Just be sure to make a plan for getting back on track in January ― and make it double as your New Year’s resolution, too.
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