Tips on budgeting for the holidays

Get tips on how to budget for the holidays, whether you're hosting the holiday feast or spending Christmas abroad.

The holidays are upon us and with holiday cheer comes holiday bills.

Luckily we’ve got some tips on how to balance the budget during this festive season.

The giving spirit

Rauni Naud, advisor at Sun Life Financial, recommends setting a per person dollar limit when budgeting for gifts.

“Or limit the gifts that you buy for each person,” she says.

Naud also recommends avoiding credit cards.

“Try to stick to your budget,” she says.

Banking on credit cards during the holidays just means facing the bills in January. Setting a budget that works within yourmeans will make for a happier new year.

And you can even get younger household members in on the act.

“You can help your children budget by setting them a dollar amount, and [then] helping your child pick out something forsomebody with that amount and sticking to that budget,” says Naud.

Home for the holidays

When shopping locally this holiday season, watch out for specials so you can spend less on gifts and treats.

“Use your local newspapers, local radio and Penny Wise for specials, and compare prices on chocolates and candies to get thebest deals,” says Naud.

When it comes to laying the Christmas feast, the best strategy is to plan ahead.

“Budget the cost for the extra expense for Christmas over the course of the month. Pick up non-perishable items early toavoid the bigger food expenses prior to Christmas,” says Naud. “Utilize the groceries in your pantry, and try to make thingswith ingredients that you already have.”

Christmas vacation

Sometimes the best Christmas gift is taking a little time away. If you’re traveling for the holidays this year, try looking foraccommodations that have the most to offer.

“When traveling out of town look for places that have hotel specials and if they’ve got breakfast included that really helpssaving money for that one meal,” says Naud. “Some hotels actually offer coupons so you can shop at other places and usetheir discount coupons.”