Budgeting for the Christmas Holidays

15 September 2017
Christmas Spending - Maritime Trustee

Never mind Halloween, let’s skip that and head right to Christmas – we’ll beat the retailer advertising.

If you don’t want to over-indulge (at least financially) at Christmas, now is the time to start planning and preparing.

Christmas brings a lot of pressure to deliver. Sometimes it is competitive, sometimes self-imposed and sometimes it’s just the “buying bug” and pleasure in giving that gets people into trouble.

I believe that the most basic goal should be that you should not inflict pain and stress upon yourself in order to attempt to make everyone else happy. We are bombarded by the retailers to buy, buy, buy and it is hard to resist.

Consider getting ahead of the curve and have a meeting or meetings with family to discuss everyone’s objectives and concerns. You may find that other family members have similar concerns about the magnitude of the financial commitment and/or would be happy to receive nothing other than the pleasure of your company. It is good to have a discussion and understand everyone’s perspective – older children included.

The next consideration is a budget – who are you going to buy gifts for and how much is a reasonable spend for each. Then add it all up and see if that is a figure that you can afford without going into debt. If not, it’s time to make some decisions – reduce the spend amount per person or cut some altogether. Maybe consider making some memorable gifts rather than buying because you have the time. This is a good idea for children who often get caught up with trying to buy gifts; help them make something instead and show your appreciation when you receive something handcrafted.

Also consider donations to charity instead of purchasing gifts. Charity in lieu of gifts is not for everyone but is something to consider. Giving to a needy cause is something that a whole family can get behind. With a whole family, everyone can participate as finances permit. The sum of all can mean a significant contribution. Figuring out if this is a reasonable direction as part of the discussion at that family meeting.

With the budget in mind, you can now start thinking about what kind of gift to buy for each person, within your budget. Planning and time will help you stay within your budget so that you can enter the New Year without having to make a resolution about what you won’t do next year and also without the stress of debt incurred because no planning was involved.

Article written by Robert Powell, CPA CA CIRP LIT, was published in the September 2017 issue of the District News.

Powell Associates Ltd. is a licensed insolvency trustee focused on providing debt solutions, consumer proposal and personal bankruptcy solutions for individuals and businesses.  We offer free consultations to review your personal financial situation and practical debt resolution options.  Contact us to discuss your situation over the phone or book an appointment to meet us face-to-face in Saint John, Moncton, FrederictonCharlottetown or Dartmouth – it’s your choice.