Holiday season: Five tips to reduce the bill

Gifts, lavish meals, family trips: Christmas invites spending, especially in these difficult times when everything seems more expensive. Here you will find five expert tips for saving on vacation.

• Also read: “It’s in line with our values”: An eco-friendly family will give fewer gifts at Christmas

• Also read: 7 tips for a healthy vacation

• Also read: Here’s how to make your holidays magical this year

Recycle gifts

Quebecers are attached to gifts, but it’s possible to give them as gifts to save big by using what you already have.

“It’s time to start using credit card points or frequent flyer points. We can also use the gift vouchers we received ourselves and that are lying in a drawer to buy gifts,” advises Maryse Côté-Hamel, professor of consumer sciences at the University of Laval.

Opt for second-hand gifts

For young and even older children, classifieds sites and thrift stores continue to be a way to spend less. “For a two-year-old child, there is no difference, it is something new that is happening in his life,” believes Mary-Lee Boyer Sanders, a budget consultant for the Cooperative Association of Family Economy (ACEF) in Valleyfield for 12 years.

Use your talents

“We can give a virtual gift, like a collage of photos, a video we made. We can also do something by hand,” explains Maryse Côté-Hamel.

The specialist adds that cooked meals can be a way to show our loved ones that we care about them. She also suggests giving the person the gift of time, either by offering to take the person on an outing or by volunteering for a cause that is close to their heart.

“If the person is short on time, we can also help them by repairing something at home or taking care of their children,” she adds.

Discard the turkey and log

If the price of turkey is up 5% year-over-year and carrots are up 12.8%, why not cook something different?

“People are much more open to eating something different than before, and this is particularly interesting in times of economic inflation,” believes Maryse Côté-Hamel.

For dessert, she mentions that replacing a $50 store-bought log with a homemade cake or plate of cookies is still an option.

Plan activities

Focusing on outdoor activities like sliding and hiking is a great way to save money, but you need to have a plan B if the weather doesn’t cooperate. “Here we will resort to cinema or other more expensive indoor activities. We could find promotions if we plan them in advance,” warns the professor.

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