by Salman Ahmed

Higher interest rates and prices are putting strain on people’s finances at the time of year we tend to spend the most. So, we asked some experts for their guidance.

Annie Kvick, Julia Chung, Owen Winkelmolen and Ron Graham are among the leading financial planners in Canada and shared some sage advice. Consider it our Christmas gift to you in keeping with their suggestions.

  • Budget, budget, budget: It might not be fun, but it works. Budgets shouldn’t be limited to gifts either. Set a budget for how much you’re willing to spend on social gatherings.
  • Focus on activities, not food: Fill social gatherings with games and caroling and trim the menu by 30%. No one will mind with so much food ending up in landfills this time of year and food prices having skyrocketed.
  • Use this year to reset expectations: Larger presents and menus may have become more common over the last few years. But no one is going to blame you for scaling things backs this year and you can use this holiday season to reset expectations for years to come.
  • Make a donation: Food banks and shelters are busier than they’ve ever been. Substitute a gift with a donation or sponsor a family. Your loved ones will appreciate helping those in need. The tax credit is nice bonus.
  • Start new traditions, or bring back old ones: Build a snowman, do a holiday-themed scavenger hunt, or play some shinny with family and friends. You’ll make more memories than with presents.
  • Give an experience: It’s hard buying gifts for adults so give them an experience instead. They’ll remember it more and appreciate the thought you put into it.
  • Start a gift fund: It’s probably too late this year, but consider starting a gift fund in January for next year. If you spend $600 a year on gifts, sock away $50 every month.
  • DO NOT take on debt: The experts are adamant on this one.

Merry Christmas, happy holidays and have a great new year.

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