It’s the most wonderful time of the year! (well, almost!) And boy, could we all use a little holiday cheer right about now! With this pandemic obligating us to re-think just about all of our day-to-day habits, it’s time to put some thought into how we will get all of our Christmas shopping done while respecting social distancing and safety guidelines, and, of course, while saving money!
iCASH has come up with the top 10 tips on how to get an early start on your Christmas shopping this year to save extra money! And, of course, if you are in a difficult financial situation this season, iCASH is here to help. We understand that this pandemic may make this holiday season difficult financially for many Canadians, and we are available 24 hours a day and seven days a week, should you need an extra helping hand.
#1: START WITH A BUDGET
One of the most important things that anyone can do is start with a budget when looking to save money. And that rule holds true throughout the year, not only during the Christmas season!
One tip while making a budget is to work backwards. For example, start with how much money you want to spend on Christmas presents in total. Then divide that amount over your remaining pay periods before Christmas.
#2: MAKE A LIST
Santa’s not the only one who should be making a list and checking it twice! Taking the budget that you just created and dividing it among a list of people you wish to buy presents for is a great way to stay on top of your shopping game.
Once you have created this well-organized comprehensive budget+list, keep referring to it often. Stick it on the fridge or keep it in your inbox. Make sure that you refer to it daily if needed and, of course, STICK TO IT!
#3: GET STARTED NOW!
It might seem early to be starting to shop but, if you intend to shop online, you need to get started ASAP. Due to this pandemic, shipping delays have been slowly growing, and shortages are popping up everywhere.
If you want to be sure to get an item that you are looking to buy, not only is it a good idea to purchase it now because of Black Friday sales but purchasing it early also ensures that you will receive it in time for Christmas.
#4: WAIT FOR THE SALE
By getting a head start on your shopping, you have the time to wait for some amazing discounts. As long as you are sure that you will receive your item in time or buy it in person, you have a ton of time ahead of you to wait until it falls on sale.
If your desired item is currently being sold at full price, keep a watch on it and see if it falls on sale in the coming weeks. The closer we get to Christmas, the more sales start popping up!
#5: CHECK OUT ONLINE CRAFT SHOWS
Craft shows and artisanal fairs have always been a great spot to find some amazing gift ideas for less. But, with COVID, most, if not all of those fairs have been pretty much shut down. However, many craft fair organizers have been hard at work looking for alternative solutions – such as putting together some online “fairs.”
#6: TIME FOR DIY
We still have a while to go before Christmas. That means that there is still plenty of time to get your creative and artistic juices flowing and start making some artsy & crafty gifts.
#7: DISCOUNT CODES
We cannot stress enough how easy and amazing these discount sites can be! Sites like retailmenot.ca and dealhack.ca simply aggregate discount and coupon codes from major retailers and make them easily accessible to consumers. It is one of the fastest and easiest ways to save money on just about any purchase!
#8: GIFT EXCHANGES
Buying gifts for everyone in your family can get extremely expensive! Especially with extended families and spouses and nieces and nephews, etc. So why not suggest a gift exchange instead? That way, you only have to buy one gift, and everyone still gets a gift.
#9: SUPPORT LOCAL
This holiday season, small businesses across the country are looking for ways to attract as much business as possible.A great way to save some money is to shop at your local small shops and boutiques. Not only will you save on shipping (many of them offer curbside pick-up for free!), but you can also feel good about helping support your local community through these tough times.
#10: OPT FOR TIME OVER MONEY
If there is one thing that this pandemic has taught us, it is the importance of friends and family. Many people these days would much prefer a virtual call with friends and family over a gift. So why not host a virtual activity or event and spend some time this holiday season with those you hold most dear.
iCASH is available, throughout the entire holiday season, for any financial stresses that arise. We are completely confidential and anonymous, and our applications are completed entirely online.
From everyone here at iCASH, have a wonderful and safe holiday season!