7 ways to Cut Christmas Costs!

… Do you hear the jingle bells, yet?

I KNOW that many of you have probably already started your Christmas shopping. Many of you are still thinking about it. But before you jump into the shopping frenzy, let’s talk. 

Christmas is the time of year when IMPULSE buying gets out of hand. Sure, it can be a small impulsive purchase… like a couple of extra chocolate bars for the stockings… but if it wasn’t a planned purchase, or it wasn’t in your budget, it’s still an impulse buy. 

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According to a survey done by the Bank of Montreal, mood-lifting impulse purchases on average cost Canadians $3,720 annually. That’s $310 per month! 

Let’s pretend that you INVESTED $310 per month instead of spending it on that random $6 latte, or those SUPER cute throw pillows you saw at Wal-Mart while you were there for groceries (that were totally on sale…)

IF you invested $310 in the stock market with an average return rate of 9% per year (which is a very average number)… In 10 years, you will have $56,517.70. This is the magic of compound interest!

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So how are you going to make sure you’re not spending dollars that could otherwise be hard at work for you this holiday season?

I’ve got 7 hot tips for you:

1) Create a gift budget.

I want you to write down every single person that you intend to buy gifts for this year. Write down exactly how much money you are willing to spend. Brainstorm exactly what you would like to find for that person, and create your shopping list. (Need a holiday spend tracker? You can use mine for free HERE)

Now… I want you to carefully consider who you are planning for! Don’t write someone’s name on your gift giving list just because you feel obligated to. We need to GET OFF this crazy consumer train of buying material things. Which leads me to…

2) Stop buying for the sake of buying. 

One of my Pretty Money Club members writes Christmas cards for the adults in her life… and she includes a note on each card releasing them from the obligation of buying by telling them she does not participate in gift giving. How many times have you gotten a gift from someone that you really didn’t need in the first place… and then felt guilty because you weren’t planning on buying a gift for them? If this sounds like you, then read my blog post on gift giving to get even more tips on quashing unnecessary consumerism. 

3) Check in with your emotions. 

Most of the time when I ask my clients WHY they impulse by, there are emotions leading the choice. Retail therapy is definitely a thing… and marketing companies know this. They’ll play on your emotions with their ads, hoping it’ll hit a nerve that causes you to buy. You may also have some learned behaviour driving your purchases. Think about how your parents handled money. Has spending become habitual for you? Another play on emotions is the good ol “But it’s on sale!” or “But there’s free shipping if I buy it today!” Right. We feel good about these purchases because we think we are getting a deal. And we might be… but guess what’s BETTER than buying something we don’t actually need or didn’t actually plan for, even though it’s on sale? …. Not buying it at all and saving that money for when we… 

4) Give ourselves permission to spend.

 Wait, what? Didn’t I just harp on you about NOT spending money? Not exactly. I don’t want you making any UNPLANNED purchases. I DO want you to have money to spend with joy. The key here is that you are budgeting for it. In the Pretty Money Club, we call this our Lifestyle Budget. Every month, we give ourselves a decided upon amount of money to spend on WHATEVER THE HECK WE WANT. Maybe you have regular lifestyle things you would like to budget for, such as pedicures or massages. Maybe you’d rather use this money for your Starbucks cravings. Whatever. It doesn’t matter. It’s yours to do with as you wish. So next time you’re out shopping and you see that THING that you realllly reallly want… you’ll know exactly how much is in your Lifestyle Budget and if you CAN afford to buy it right then and there. Even if you DO have enough pre-planned money to buy the thing, I still recommend…

5) Waiting a day.  

That rush of endorphins you get when you reallllly want to buy something will fade if you give it time. Chances are… whatever it is that you want to impulse buy will still be there, waiting for you, in 24 hours. What MIGHT change is your desire to buy it. 

6) Create buying barriers. 

The more obstacles you need to overcome to make a purchase, the better, because then you force yourself to be more aware of your intent to buy. This can be as simple as NOT saving your credit card information to amazon. Then, you’ll have to get up from wherever you’re sitting to go get your wallet and type your card in. I actually know someone who put her credit card in a bowl of water and FREEZES it. If she wants to make a purchase, she has to let it sit on the counter for an hour to thaw. Talk about cooling off! 

7)  Start comparing in a positive way. 

Sure, I could tell you to get off social media and stop trying to keep up with the Jones’. We all know that comparing ourselves to others can lead us to feeling inadequate. And yet… we still do it! I find the best way to counteract this behavior is by surrounding ourselves with a good network of support. We need friends. We need healthy relationships in our lives. We also need good mentors and accountability. You WILL learn by osmosis – so surround yourself with the people that you want to learn from.

In the Pretty Money Club, we meet on a regular basis to talk about our budgets and money challenges. We regularly learn and discuss new financial concepts. Why? Because we know how busy our lives get and how important it is to MAKE time for our financial well-being. We are a tight-knit group of women who WANT to see each other succeed.

If you need people like this in your life, check out what the Pretty Money Club is all about.

P.S…

I don’t want to see you on Santa’s NAUGHTY list for blowing your budget this Christmas! So take action today… Pop into my facebook group Make Your Money Pretty and make a post to let us know which tip YOU are going to use this season to stay on track! Let’s get some accountability going!

Published by theprettymoneyblog

To all you women that are working too damn hard to feel like you’re just getting by paycheque to paycheque… To all you ladies that just don’t have the freaking time for financial jargon and complicated budget systems… ​To all you women struggling to feel in control of your money, ’cause you know you can rock it if you just had a simple map… I see you. I GET you. I'm a busy mom of two boys and a wife to my business partner. I love baseball, red wine, and our family trip to Mexico every year. After more than a decade as a licensed professional in the personal finance industry, I’ve figured out strategies that are simple, but have massive impact on your wallet. I’ve left out the jargon and fine print because I know you don't have time for that. The Pretty Money Club enrolls new members twice a year for the 8 week course that will turn your ugly budget into top model pretty money... and most of our members stay in the club after class is done to keep learning and stay in touch with all the women they built community with.

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