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Consumer’s holiday survival guide

This year, for the holidays, the team at Ginsberg Gingras has prepared a survival guide for consumers who want to save money but still spoil their loved ones.

The holiday season is the ideal time to be generous with family members, friends, co-workers – in short, just about everyone. But all these gifts often mean expenses for most of us. However, it is possible to treat your loved ones well while sticking to some kind of budget. The team at Ginsberg Gingras put their heads together to come up with ideas for gifts or thoughtful gestures that will fit your budget and even allow you to save some money!

Here are our tips for an affordable holiday season:

  1. Plan a budget: the holiday period is an annual event, so it’s easy to plan for it and draw up a budget and lists during the year in preparation for the holidays.
  2. Keep an account of expenses: with a list or detailed record of gifts and your budget, it will be easier to know when you’ve overspent while helping you save money by avoiding last-minute gift buying.
  3. Spend on a useful present: a less expensive present that is very useful will always be better received than a larger present that will only be used 2 or 3 times (for example, grocery store gift cards or a prepaid credit card).
  4. Borrow instead of buying: libraries and some organizations lend toys and other items, a useful gift because children are able to enjoy the use of several items over a long period of time.
  5. Gift exchange: a well-known concept that reduces the number of gifts one needs to buy and that can add a spark to your festivities.
  6. Reuse valuables: spending money on gifts has long been an accepted idea, but a piece of jewellery that’s been passed down in the family, a book you loved or games that you no longer use can make great presents.
  7. Give your time: offering to do someone a favour or planning an activity with a loved one instead of offering them a gift can be worth its weight in gold; the memories you create will probably last longer than a gift whose usefulness is not so apparent. After all, time is our most valuable asset.
  8. Shop around: avoid the trap of last-minute shopping and high price tags and shop around on price-comparison platforms or during periods when prices are discounted – these strategies will save you a lot of money.
  9. Rent: consider renting instead of buying your evening dress or suit that you’ll use only once in the years to come, and the cost of cleaning will probably be included as well.
  10. Opt for the used version: for kids or adults, thrift shops and second-hand stores are full of affordable treasures that are still in very good shape.
  11. Go “green” when gift wrapping: wrapping paper and gift bags are expensive and not very environmentally friendly. Opt for home-made gift wrap by recycling newspaper, for example, or keep the gift bags that you have received and reuse them.
  12. Go to warehouse sales: the warehouses of popular stores usually have better bargains than smaller stores and regularly carry the same items – savings that may be worth the trip.
  13. Make your own decorations: Pinterest-type sites are full of ideas for reusing what you already have and completely repurposing them.
  14. Stay home during your holiday leave: it’s expensive to travel and do activities during the holidays. There are a host of activities you can do at home that will allow you to save time and money.
  15. Free activities: take advantage of free activities in your area to spend time with friends and family and create wonderful memories with them.
  16. Enjoy the outdoors: take advantage of the outdoor activities available in your area such as a day of skating followed by a good cup of hot chocolate or a nice snowshoeing hike – nothing beats the outdoors for a fun time together.
  17. Get “cash back”: some platforms offer you cash back on specific purchases, which can be attractive, especially during the holidays.
  18. Take advantage of your credit card points: many credit cards offer cash back or redeemable point reward programs that can be used for your holiday purchases.
  19. Pay with cash or debit card: paying with cash or debit card may make you more aware of the actual amount you are spending and can also help you resist impulse buying.
  20. Use your loyalty cards: the holiday period is an excellent time to redeem your loyalty card points and reduce the impact of your expenses.
  21. Start your shopping early: starting shopping for next year right after the holidays is a good way to spread out your spending and allows you to save by taking advantage of special vouchers throughout the year.
  22. Make a budget: even though this is also the first point on our list, making a budget is and always will be the best way to reduce your holiday expenses. A budget will be your best asset for this year as well as the years to come.

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The counsellors at Ginsberg Gingras are available to help you establish a budget or discuss your financial situation whether during the holidays or not, regardless of your situation.

Consult an insolvency trustee at Ginsberg Gingras to support you in your debt settlement process!

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