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Three ways to approach financial stress during the holiday season

As we move into the holiday season and prepare to close out a year that has brought challenges for so many in Alberta, we at the Alberta Securities Commission wish you and yours a healthy and safe holiday season and a happy new year.

As always, we are a resource for you. Whether you would like to strengthen your financial knowledge or learn about avoiding and reporting investment fraud, the Alberta Securities Commission has free and unbiased resources on CheckFirst.ca to empower you through every step of your investment journey.

In the meantime, to help you make the best decisions for you this holiday season, we want to share a few tips to help you navigate your own financial well-being. These tips may even help you and your family better connect with the true meaning of the holidays.

1. Look for new ways to show you care

While buying things for friends and family may have been a prominent way to gift give during the holidays historically, it’s certainly not the only way. From butter tarts to frozen casseroles, baking and preparing ready-to-eat meals is an economical gift that’s sure to please friends and family who have a sweet tooth or are too busy or tired to cook. For those gift-givers who are terrible bakers and cooks, writing a few heartfelt words in a holiday card is another thoughtful gesture to connect with friends and family safely.

2. Develop a budget before you start shopping

Much like investing, attempting to holiday shop in stores or online without a plan can lead to bad gifts and, worse yet, unintended spending. When it comes to shopping without debt regret, start first by identifying who in your life really needs a purchased gift. Is there a way you can whittle that list down further? Your best friend did comment how much she loved your sourdough made with your famous starter named Clint Yeastwood; could you share a little jar of starter and some instructions? Once you have developed your list of gift recipients, try and set strict price limits on each gift and ensure it fits realistically into your budget. Once you’re ready, gift shopping can bring less anxiety if you consider supporting local businesses and avoid using credit cards.

3. Don’t let big sale days throw you off course

Black Friday and Boxing Day sales can be a double threat to your budget. With massive sales on practically everything, businesses push hard to get you to whip out your credit cards for the latest tech toy or kitchen gadget so you don’t miss out. The best way to avoid unnecessary spending during the holidays is to pause before any purchase. Weigh it against your financial obligations. Does a new mixer sound as appealing as eliminating $500 from your credit card balance? Do you really need a new 60” TV? If there was ever a year to focus on the essentials and minimize your financial stress, 2020 just might be that year. Avoiding big sale day impulse purchases can give your finances a considerable boost come 2021.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in your historical spending habits over the holidays and the financial stress that comes afterwards, but by making a few tweaks to your normal routine you can enjoy the holiday season with loved ones and ensure that you enter the new year on a stronger footing.  If you would like more information on refining or creating a budget, check out our Know your budget calculator at CheckFirst.ca.



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