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Pattie Lovett-Reid

Chief Financial Commentator, CTV


Let the holiday (spending) season begin.

From Black Friday, to Cyber Monday, to Christmas and even Boxing Day, the deals, expectations and the hype might too enticing to ignore. 

As advertisements and promotions ramp up and for retailers, this period is often make or break for their bottom line. It is also potentially a make or break for your bottom line.

It’s easy to be seduced into unplanned purchases and impulse buying, which once again stresses the importance of having a budget so you don’t become vulnerable to a financial hangover in the new year when the bills start to roll in.

Here are a few strategies to keep your spending in check:

  • Know your limit. Don’t head online or to the malls without creating a holiday budget. And if you decide to use your credit card, make sure you only charge an amount you can pay off in a reasonable amount of time.
  • How much is too much? This may sound a little tacky; however, the truth of the matter is you will spend more money on the ones you love the most. So create a shopping list and put dollar amounts beside each name. This will help you to stay on top of your budget.
  • Switch your plastic. Instead of doing your shopping with your credit card as your top choice, consider using your debit card. Or you can bring your budgeted amount of cash to the mall. Once you’re out of that amount, your holiday shopping spree ends 

The holiday season is not only an expensive time of the year, it can also be an emotional and stressful time. We all feel the added pressure of living up to expectations. For some, this time of the year is not so much about the holidays, but the sudden reminder of the debt they are already in. I’ve seen so many people try to deny their debt and continue to spend.  You can’t push the problem aside – the day of reckoning will come.

Finally, here are three tips to help you get through the holiday season that our family has introduced:

1. Set healthy boundaries. Talk to the people in your life and put limits on perceived expectations.

2. Find a way of finding enjoyment/satisfaction that doesn't cost a lot of money.

3. Be mindful this is a stressful season and cut yourself some slack.