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Vice-President of Sands & Associates and Licensed Insolvency Trustee Blair Mantin was a guest on CTV Vancouver’s ‘News at Noon’ today.  The holidays are often a time when the best laid financial plans can take a big hit!  If you embark on the holiday season without a clear plan for shopping (and paying off the purchases) you could find that your holiday cheer turns to post-holiday blues once the January credit card bills arrive.

Watch the clip here, and read more below:

Blair shared some key tips to avoid the holiday spending hangover, while still allowing yourself an enjoyable festive season:

  1. Give gifts with an added benefit
    • For an individual in your life who may be hard to buy for, consider options for giving that will have benefits far beyond your local community.  Many charities have started offering ‘Gifts of Magic’ whereby you select a gift on behalf of an individual, and the gift is provided to help children or individual in need around the world.
    • For kids, rather than just another toy, why not give a gift like this that will stimulate a discussion and learning about others less fortunate.
    • The added benefit for the gift giver, is that these gifts are charitable donations and you will receive a tax refund for the purchase!  So, essentially the government is helping offset the cost of your Christmas shopping and helping you make the world a better place!
  1. Have a Plan “B” for some gifts
    • If you’re at the point now where the budget has already been spent, and the only option would be to borrow to give a gift, take this opportunity to try to do something different.
    • Some of the most meaningful gifts actually cost nothing at all – one example would be to take the time to sit down and hand write an old-fashioned letter to a friend or family member.  In our fast-paced society, your letter will stand out and show that you’ve taken the time, and the thought, to do something meaningful.  And your wallet will thank you too!
  1. Keep track of your spending and follow up to get the best deals after the fact
    • While it’s important to have a written budget for your holiday spending, you may actually get more value from your budget AFTER the gift has been purchased.  Keep in mind that many, if not all, of the large retailers now offer price match guarantees that extend past Boxing Day (usually 30 days from purchase).  Keep a log of all of the purchases you made (make, model number, retailer, and price paid) and be sure to do a check on December 26th to see if prices have dropped.  It can be as easy as printing off an ad from a competitor and returning to the store to get a refund of the price difference.  Over the course of a few presents, this can add up to real savings!
  1. Make 2017 your year of debt freedom – start planning now so that you can move forward in January
    • Do yourself a favour and take a few minutes over the holidays to assess your financial situation
    • If you’re debt free – great!  Congratulate yourself for managing well in an ever-more-costly world
    • If you are carrying debt, learn about Consumer Proposals.  A Consumer Proposal is a solution growing by leaps and bounds in BC and will allow you to settle your debts for less than you owe without declaring bankruptcy
    • There’s a lot of misinformation concerning debt options so be sure you get advice from a reliable source – any Licensed Insolvency Trustee in Canada will meet with you for free to help you become debt free in 2017

With over 29 years of experience, Sands & Associates is BC’s largest firm of Licensed Insolvency Trustees focused exclusively on assisting individuals and small businesses achieve their “debt free” goals.

To meet with a representative for a free confidential debt consultation in one of our local BC offices, please contact us.