The holidays are often a time for indulging. But come January, many of us are dreading opening our credit card statement and facing the reality of overspending. Added to that, COVID-19 has had a real impact on many Canadian’s finances. Here is how to stay within your budget and save money on this year’s holiday shopping.

Set a budget

First things first. Before finding ways to save on your holiday spending, you need to set a budget. On average, Canadians spent around $1,560 on the holiday season in 2018. That’s more than some people’s monthly rent. Base your budget on what you can realistically afford without worrying about crippling debt in the New Year. Once you know how much you can spend, treat it like you would a household budget and allot amounts for different categories.

Remember, holiday spending goes beyond gifts. Allocate funds for other areas, such as food and drink, events you plan on hosting, hostess gifts, and decorations, such as the Christmas tree. To make your holiday budget work, you’ll need to keep track. If spreadsheets are your jam, then use that to keep within your budget.

5 ways to save on holiday spending

It’s easy to load up on pricy stocking stuffers or gourmet Christmas treats that are only available once a year. Even with a budget, you want to spend your holiday dollar wisely. Here are five ways to save on your holiday shopping: 

1. Shop Smarter

Frugal shoppers know it pays to price compare. When it comes to online shopping, download Honey, the Google Chrome extension that automatically finds coupon codes on more than 30,000 sites and applies them when you check out. Or if you prefer to shop at a bricks and mortar store, download Flipp before you shop. The free app lets you price compare everything from ingredients for Christmas dinner to cozy pajamas for the whole family to toys for your pet at some of Canada’s largest retailers.

2. Get cash back every time you shop

If you’re going to be spending money on gifts this holiday, why not reward yourself with a little cash back at the same time? Ampli makes it easy to earn money by shopping at your favorite store. The app connects to your bank accounts, so every time you purchase a gift from one of our partners using a credit or debit card, you’ll automatically save.

3. Redeem points

With COVID-19, a winter getaway has been put on pause. So what do you do with all those travel rewards points you’ve been squirreling away? You could hang tight and wait for next year and redeem points for cash credit or gift cards. Not only can a cash credit go towards balancing your holiday spending budget, but gift cards are also great standbys as gifts or use them to purchase items through Amazon on Indigo.ca.

4. Give a homemade gift

Get a little crafty with homemade gifts this year. You don’t have to be especially crafty to put together a themed gift basket or food hamper. But if you have a talent for baking, making jewelry, embroidery, or photography, use it to give a gift from the heart. Need inspiration?

Explore your options with 75 DIY gift ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

5. Double (or even triple) dip

This holiday season, give yourself the gift of double or even triple rewards. Ampli users not only earn cash back on selected purchases, but they’ll also be able to “double-dip” and earn rewards or points from other loyalty programs, such as a reward credit card, when they spend. Ampli also features special offers from brands such as H&M and Sephora. Best of all, special offers are redeemed automatically, which means you can focus on ticking off everyone on your Christmas list.

Earn cash back on holiday gifts

Make the holidays merry and bright this year with Ampli. Download Ampli and you can earn cash back when you make purchases online or in-store at partnering retailers like Indigo.ca, Urban Barn, and Mastermind—all across Canada.

This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial, or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.

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