START TRACKING YOUR SPEND
Get to know where you spend, how it makes you feel and what really matters when it comes to your money!
Let's stop pretending that being good at money means you need to be good at math. Instead, let's listen to our body and our mind.
This year has been a blur, and it’s crazy that we’re approaching the end of 2021 already. But, before we look to what the new year may hold, I’m very excited to be nearing the holidays, my favourite time of year. While the holidays should be a time of joy with loved ones, they can also be daunting. Fancy dinner parties, gift-giving, and family vacations can include a hefty price tag. All of these costs may diminish the fun because you’re stressing about how you’ll pay for everything. And, rightly so.
While the idea of not spending may feel like a damper on your celebrations, it doesn’t have to be. There are countless ways to get into the spirit that don’t pack such an expensive punch. So here are my favourite ways to celebrate the season that your friends, family, and wallet are sure to love.
One of my favourite free activities over the holiday season is seeing all the lights, either by just walking through my neighbourhood or going to an organized event. Often cities will set up light shows for residents to walk or drive through for free or at low cost. My family has a tradition of taking my grandparents through Toronto’s most decorated neighbourhoods each year, especially the famous Kringlewood in Rosedale with their over 50 inflatable Santas. Kids and adults are sure to love this one, and a little Bailey’s in your hot chocolate for the adventure is never a miss.
There isn’t anything quite like a snowy December night watching a holiday movie marathon with a hot cup of tea in your pyjamas. Although we are spoiled these days with unlimited options on streaming platforms, there’s nothing quite like watching whatever classics or cheesy Hallmark films are on cable that night. My childhood favourites are The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Polar Express, and Elf; of course, I’m no cotton-headed ninny muggins.
When I think of my favourite part of the holidays, the food is undoubtedly top of mind, especially the drinks and desserts. Peppermint Mocha with a Gingerbread Loaf, anyone? Food is certainly the way to my heart and holiday-themed even more so. Some of my favourite dessert classics are gingerbread cookies, shortbread, and anything butterscotch or salted caramel. In addition, baking is a great date or family activity that can act as a thoughtful, low-cost holiday party gift. It is a win-win.
Skating is a great way to get outside with the family and have a date night this winter at no cost. At least in Canada, public rinks are everywhere, and some have rental options if you don’t have any skates of your own. However, beware of your local social distancing rules as this may cause unwanted line-ups at busy times. We should also note that a hot drink always follows skating dates (at Starbucks). I don’t make the rules.
Sometimes it’s the act of shopping that’s more fun than buying anything, and I often feel this way about local Christmas markets. They’re beautiful to visit, but most sell items at a premium due to the heavy foot traffic. However, they do provide great entertainment and will certainly help you get into the spirit this winter, along with getting a great Instagram photo-op.
The holidays are an opportunity to try new hobbies that you may not have had time for during the year, like arts & crafts! Some ideas of seasonal crafts are make-your-own Christmas ornaments, cards, Hanukkah dreidels, or stockings. Of course, there’s nothing you can’t do with some glitter and a glue gun. Your cool creations can also make great homemade gifts for friends and family that they’re sure to love.
For all my non-Canadians, this is another word for sledding. Tobogganing can be a great winter activity, and who says you have to be a kid to enjoy it! If you don’t already have one, you can pick up a reasonably priced toboggan at your local Walmart or just do it old school with a large piece of cardboard that’s equally effective. Tobogganing with a few beverages in the perfect fun-filled winter activity for you and your group of friends, no cooler required.
When I think of celebrating the holidays, I mostly think of spending much-needed time with loved ones. My favourite holiday memories include playing days-long monopoly games with my cousins or playing card games with my grandma. This time of year is the perfect chance to dig out the old board games you grew up playing for some electronic-free family fun! Just be sure that your Christmas gifts are non-refundable because the competition can get fierce.
With the holidays just around the corner, I hope that these ideas help you get into the spirit of the season and hopefully alleviate some of the stress your holiday budget is feeling. Also, if you have any other fun family traditions that I didn’t mention on this list, be sure to let me know in the comments!
Oh no, you missed the live webinar! But, good news: Mixed Up Money is pleased to share a free resource for anyone planning for a future child or family.
Mixed Up Money is pleased to share a free resource for anyone looking to cut back on non-essential spending. My most-requested product is these monthly calendars to share on your Instagram story, use as a phone background, or print off to track your spending habits.
© 2022 mixed up money