January is all about new beginnings – thinning out, simplifying and looking forward to longer daylight hours. So why do we continually sabotage ourselves in December? According to new research released by Mobilicity, Canada’s smart mobile phone carrier, 58 per cent of Canadians say they spend more than they should during the holidays and a further 59 per cent find themselves making impulse purchases. This overindulgence may lead to feelings of guilt, remorse or the ‘holiday shopping hangover’.
Unfortunately, it’s often parents of young children who are at greatest risk for this holiday overspending phenomenon. We’ve put together a few tips so that you can start your new year early (and not hide under the covers when your bills come in).
1. Buy e-books as gifts on Kindle, iBooks or Kobo. They are much less expensive (and environmentally-friendly) than the paper versions.
2. Utilize the apps on your smartphone to save money. Some of our favs include: Shopcatch, Groupon, Living Social, Hotels.com, Kayak, AirBNB, and Hipmunk. In today’s economy, it is perfectly acceptable to gift a daily deal voucher provided you have put careful thought into the desires of the recipient.
3. Set limits for gifting to family. Drawing names and setting a $50 limit can be fun and won’t break the bank.
4. Dropbox is a free service that saves you printing costs and allows you to access your documents and photos from any computer or smartphone.
5. Flipboard is a fabulous alternative to buying paper magazines. Big Oven or Food Network Canada house thousands of recipes and can help save money on Hard copy recipe books.
6. Amazon has a great app that allows you to scan bar codes in stores in order to compare prices to what the item sells for on Amazon.
7. Shop all year. Seriously. When you see a great sale, keep the December holidays in mind and consider buying gifts for friends and family early. Black Friday sales have also come to Canada and stores like the Bay, Future Shop and Apple are offering deep discounts.
8. Make sure you research your big purchases. Tripadvisor, Yelp and Auto Trader are great apps with which to research big ticket items.
9. We have lots of Homemade Holiday Gift ideas. Especially when received from children, they are filled with love and sentiment for special people in the kids’ lives.
10. Give experiences instead of ‘things’. Offer to babysit for close friends and supply movie tickets. Take a friend’s children to the zoo. Make coupons for the kids for extra screen time or a date with Mommy.
There is no need for guilt or remorse due to overspending if you consider the needs of others and plan ahead. (Goodness knows – parents are hard enough on themselves!) Using technology to make life easier (and cheaper) will help you to embrace your January goals and limit the January holiday shopping ‘hangover’.