From hosting holiday get-togethers to sharing traditional feasts with friends and family, the holiday party season can wreak havoc on your bank account. According to a poll by TD Canada Trust, Canadians planned to spend an average of $1,100 on food, gifts, and entertainment during the festive season last year.
As you’re dashing through the mall buying last minute decorations, host gifts and groceries, consider these tips from TD Canada Trust on how to scale back the party season without scaling back on the cheer:
• Make a plan – First, figure out how much you can afford to spend on parties this season. Think about the events you attended and hosted last year and look through your old bank statements to get a rough figure on how much you spent. You may be surprised at what you find.
• Set a budget – Create a budget for what you can realistically afford and don’t forget to include incidentals like host/hostess gifts and taxis. Jump online to check prices and consider setting aside extra funds to cushion for unexpected invitations and expenses. If you’re hosting a party this year, understanding how much you have to spend and the true cost of things will help you decide whether to throw a cookie exchange, intimate dinner party or a big soiree.
• Look for creative ways to cut costs – If the party is at your house, consider a potluck dinner and look to your garden for natural, evergreen decorations like holly and pinecones. If you’re attending a party and searching for a gift to bring the host, consider using your credit cards rewards points to find a suitable present instead of spending cash.
• Start stashing cash now – Even if you don’t have a lot of money to save, start small, be diligent and it will add up. If you haven’t done so already, consider setting up an automatic transfer of a portion of your pay cheque into a savings account.