3 ways to financially prepare for the holidays

Whether you're purchasing gifts for your loved ones, want to spruce up your home with décor or are partaking in numerous holiday festivities, the costs of these can easily add up come December. But with a bit of financial planning ahead of time, you just might be able to enjoy the holidays with a little less stress.

Here are three tips:

Make a gift plan and timetable

Rather than buying impulse gifts and leaving your shopping to December, start as soon as you can (even a year in advance if possible) and plan for who, what and when you will buy before committing it to a list. Then, shop around for the best deals year-round and during seasonal sales to make your budget go further. 

By knowing in advance what you'll buy (and sticking to that plan and budget) you can spread the gifting expenses over a longer period of time instead of having to spend all at once. 

Save on pay day  

Put a little money aside into a holiday fund each pay day. Saving some funds from every paycheque (versus just once at the end of the month) may be a more attainable option as expenses and bills at the beginning/end of the month can make it more difficult to set money aside. 

Recycle and upcycle decorations

What is good for your pocket can also be good for the planet. Avoid buying new festive decorations each year and consider purchasing fairy lights and Christmas decorations that can be used again and again. Most fairy lights are now made using LED bulbs, and can last several festive seasons (possibly eliminating this expense in your annual or biennial holiday budget). 

For more cost-cutting options, call on nature to help you decorate the home for free. Gather fallen pine cones or branches to create your own wreathe or centrepiece, or to simply bring festive colour and aroma into your home. Or, arrange a decorations swap event between friends and neighbours to trade decorations and squeeze in a visit. After all, spending time with family and friends is what the season is truly about.