Staying Positive Through The Holidays;With Planned Spending

Setting A Realistic Budget

People tend to have loose wallets during the month of December, which leaves for a very thrifty January.

We hear a lot about how budgeting is important, so we asked the experts on how to keep up your financial health.

Michael Richardson Regional Director for IG Wealth Barrie says that setting a budget is a tricky thing to do, and many people don’t do it right.

You have to think about all the extra spending you’ll be doing during the holidays not just the presents. Think off all the extra food, drink, new clothes for the parties you go to, and hair and make-up.

It’s a matter of taking a look at all expenses, adding them up and seeing where you can cut. You also have to track those expenses as you go.

When shopping, try looking for sales, or get creative and crafty with your gifts. The biggest mistake people make is not setting a budget Richardson says. Set limits for how much you’ll spend on people. Secret Santa is a good idea, so you just buy one gift and not twenty.

“If you’ve already dug yourself into a hole, you need to know how to climb out of it as fast as possible.” Richardson suggests ear marking your year-end bonus to pay off some of that debt.

If you have a set income and set expenses, and can’t get back on track quickly, Richardson says you should take a hard look at your expenses and see where you can cut. “Look 3 or 4 months back to see how much you typically spend.” See if you have bad debt, and is there anything that can be cut like phone, internet, or decrease eating out.

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If it’s still tight, you could benefit from a financial planner. Planning a budget and staying on one can be very hard, Richardson says. Which is why most people work with a financial planner to navigate them through the process and ask the hard questions.

“It’s far more pleasant to remain ignorant of your finances and sometimes you need that partner to coach you through it.