Don't let the holidays set you back

To properly manage your expenses and expectations, it's best to get organized ahead of time.

Mélanie Larouche | Journalist

The cost of gifts around the holidays can really add up. But what usually costs more is all the small expenses that accumulate, from groceries for a fancy dinner, to gas for your car, to your drink tab at the end of the night. How can we enjoy all these things without breaking the bank?

To properly manage your expenses and expectations, it's best to get organized ahead of time. What you need is a good game plan with shopping and holiday activity budgets to avoid the post-holiday blues.

It's nearly impossible not to get taken away in a wave of consumption, but there are ways to make sure you won't feel like you're drowning in expenses. To ride this wave smoothly, check out our 5 tips to surviving the holidays without breaking the bank. They're simple yet effective. Give them a try!  

Everyone loves cookies
Homemade gifts are always a good idea; not only do they have a sentimental value but they'll help you save money, too. Are you good at to baking? Are you crafty? Do you have everything you need to make your own presents? Why not put that talent and creativity to good use!  

By putting time and effort into a gift instead of money, you'll not only impress everyone with your skills but you can truly show them how much you appreciate them. Check out our best cheap gift ideas

Everyone loves a good meal
The holiday season goes hand in hand with days of abundant food and cocktails. It's no wonder gyms make a fortune in January. Food not only takes a toll on your stomach, but on your wallet, too! 

To take it easy on both your stomach and wallet, you could have a potluck or a tapas style dinner. You can even make it extra challenging and mention in the invitation that it's a healthy-themed dinner. You can also agree to split the costs of a large holiday dinner amongst the guests or have brunch instead of a big dinner. 

As for alcohol, alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Your fun doesn't depend on the amount of alcohol you drink, and you'll thank yourself the next morning! If you end up drinking too much, consider using Operation Red Nose

Everyone loves a good time
With all the different family traditions and celebrations, it's important to take the time to enjoy yourself, relax and get away. Why not do both at the same time? There are plenty of free outdoor activities for the entire family. You can organize a hockey game at the local ice rink or go sledding, and end the day with a delicious fondue with your family! 

The holidays are a time to get together, refuel, relax and make great memories. 

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