Sands & Associates’ Vice-President and Bankruptcy Trustee Blair Mantin appeared on Vancouver’s Breakfast Television, sharing seasonal spending tips to help viewers make good financial decisions this holiday season.
Affordable is the best strategy: A winter getaway or even a festive family reunion out of town may be wonderful – but peak-travel date prices and not having saved the money is a sure way to start the new year broke. If spending the holidays with out-of-towners isn’t an affordable option, catch up with family and friends via an internet visit instead (Google Hangout is a great technology for this!), or plan to celebrate the season another time altogether.
Avoid the January blues by putting your credit cards on ice this winter: There’s still time to establish a budget, set aside money and plan ahead for your holiday costs. If you really can’t avoid using credit then implement a plan to have it all repaid no later than the end of February. The longer you carry a balance, the greater the interest charges you’ll pay which could make even a ‘great deal’ on a Christmas gift something that you regret later.
DIY is great…for some: Don’t let the Martha Stewarts of the world make you feel you’ve got to handcraft each and every holiday ornament, invite or gift if it means shelling out for a big one-time use set-up. Sometimes ready-made can actually save you money (and time AND frustration). Unless you’ll actually use the gear, don’t get sucked into the investment homemade crafts can take.
Consider gifts with a ‘double’ benefit: Options such as making a charitable donation in someone’s name, or purchasing Gifts of Magic through Unicef (or other charities) are great ways to give a thoughtful gift with the added benefit of a refund payable to you come tax time. Gifts of Magic can be anything from bringing water to a village that is without, to providing school supplies to a group of students – there are options to suit just about any budget and there is zero risk that the gift will sit unused.
Say good-bye to buyers’ remorse: The convenience of online shopping can’t be beat, unfortunately that can make it a bit too easy to buy more than you need to. Before hitting the virtual check-out step away from your computer for half an hour (or more if possible). After you’ve had a break, consider how you feel about the items you’re about to buy – if you can do without or aren’t solid on any of your purchases close the browser and walk away.