It’s that time of year, when the wallet comes out and spending big bucks is a common occurrence. But Tenille Lafontaine, with Feisty, Frugal, and Fabulous, lays out tips to keep you from dropping into the red this holiday season.
“The first thing that we need to do is set a budget,” explained Lafontaine.
Statistics from retailmenot.ca suggest the average Canadian will spend close to $600 on gifts this Christmas.
Fontaine pointed to an app called Santa’s Bag that allows you to set your main budget, as well as setting a budget per person, detailing what you’ve purchased and even what you’ve wrapped.
Keep your eyes open
Once you’ve got your budget figured out, Fontaine suggested watching the prices at the cash register.
“You can have a budget in mind and find a great deal but if you get to the till and it rings up at the wrong price you’re no further ahead,” said Lafontaine. “So pay attention when you’re at the till.”
There are many stores which subscribe to the “scanning code of practice”. Lafontaine said that means if an item scans at the wrong price and it is under $10, you get the item for free. If the item is worth, more than $10 and scans incorrectly, you get $10 off.
Make it work for you
This is also a great time of year to take advantage of any rewards you may have, said Lafontaine.
“If you’re going to be spending and shopping anyway why not get something back for you.”
She identified restaurant gift cards as a great opportunity to get something in return.
“A lot of restaurants want that business coming in in January and February so they’re going to offer you, maybe, an additional $10 gift card if you buy a $50 gift card, for example.”
Keep the balance in check
When it comes to debit or credit, Lafontaine believes you should use the card that will get you additional rewards only if you can pay the balance on time.
“If you can’t pay off that balance and you’re going to be paying interest, that reward gets you nowhere,” said Lafontaine.