It happens every year.
The holiday shopping season hits and people feel pressured to buy, often leading them to spend beyond their means. With personal debt loads hitting record highs, Envision offers five tips to help consumers avoid overspending this holiday season.
“At this time of year there is a lot of pressure to spend and consume,” says Envision Financial’s vice-president, retail banking, Loree Gray. “The key to avoiding overspending is to set a realistic budget and stick to it. If you consistently live beyond your means, your debt load will continue to increase.”
By exercising some discipline and following the five tips below from Envision Financial employees, you can avoid the January blues that come from a larger-than-expected credit card bill.
Tip 1: Set a realistic budget
Many people do their shopping without a budget in mind. Start by making a list of all those you want to buy for and how much you are able to spend and go from there. It sounds simple, but by setting a realistic budget and sticking to it, you can avoid spending beyond your means.
Tip 2: Leave the cards at home
If you struggle with sticking to a budget, leave your credit and debit cards at home and only take cash with you, forcing you to spend only what you have in your wallet.
Tip 3: Don’t start shopping too early…or too late
Starting your Christmas shopping early can help you spread out the cost of your purchases, but it can also turn you into a repeat spender. If you’ve purchased a gift for someone, stop. On the other hand, if you leave your shopping until the last minute, you may purchase a gift that’s outside your budget because you have limited time to search for a more budget-conscious gift.
Tip 4: Don’t be fooled by so-called bargains
We’ve all heard the phase, “It was such a good deal, I couldn’t afford not to buy it.” A deal it only a deal if it’s something that is actually needed. Spending is still spending, regardless of whether it is five, 55 or 95 per cent off.
Tip 5: Give a gift card
While some people think gift cards are impersonal, they can help keep you to a fixed-dollar purchase—especially if you’re short on time. Plus, you can be sure that the person receiving the gift will be able to get something they actually want.
About Envision Financial
Envision Financial is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.’s third-largest credit union with 37 branches and 29 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson regions. Led by Launi Skinner, First West has approximately $6.2 billion in assets under administration, 167,000 members and more than 1,300 employees. For eight years running, Envision was named one of the 50 Best Employers in Canada. Envision is designated a Caring Company by Imagine Canada. For more information, visit www.envisionfinancial.ca.