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Happy holidays – happy shopping!

Holiday shopping in 2021 was about the thrill of the find – we began experiencing supply chain issues, and you may have found yourself scouring every corner of the internet just to be able to find the perfect gift (blates, anyone?) After all, life is expensive!

The holidays might look a little different this year. Our current state of inflation and fears about an imminent recession may temper our excitement.

You may have had to adjust your budget to cover price increases at the pump and grocery store. Or if you have a variable rate mortgage, you might be dealing with higher mortgage payments due to the Bank of Canada’s recent rate hikes.

These changes are likely at odds with your holiday shopping expectations, but we’ve got some useful tips to help you boost your holiday shopping game from deal-finder to super money-saver.

Plug into savings.

You love a good deal, but finding the best ones can be time consuming. These days, you can add plug-ins to your browser that will search the internet for price drops on products you’re interested in. It’s kind of like browsing on auto-pilot.

Follow the cash back.

Earning cash back on purchases with your credit card or earning points to redeem for merchandise are other great ways to help put a little extra money in your pocket. Don’t have a cash back or points credit card? You can earn cash back for free by shopping at certain retailers through cash back shopping sites that pay you a portion of the commission they receive from participating retailers. Additionally, many retailers offer rewards programs that you can join for free using your email address.

Share the hosting duties.

Canadians felt the impacts of inflation on their grocery bills this year (among other things), and with your calendar likely filling up with parties, it might be worth giving your wallet a break by organizing potlucks. And don’t forget to keep an eye on discounts – you can use apps to browse coupons from different grocery stores in one place, and price match where available.

Mark your calendar.

If you’re not into shopping super early, or there’s an electronics purchase you’re hoping to snag at a deal, it might be a good idea to time your purchases around Black Friday. This national shopping event brings retailers across Canada together to promote sales and discounts. You could also find great deals on Cyber Monday, when retailers push shoppers to check out online, and Boxing Day, the final and perhaps most anticipated shopping day of the holiday season.

Gift exchange.


Inflation or not, shopping for everyone you’re related to becomes increasingly unsustainable – and frankly, it gets old. If your family and friends are open to it, put your energy into organizing holiday gift exchanges instead. Keep the gift limit low and have fun with it! After all, the holidays are about reconnecting with the people you love, not stressing over finding that one-of-a-kind item for your hard-to-please in-laws.

Give the gift of gift cards.

Short on time? Finding items out of stock? There’s nothing wrong with gift cards. They’re easy, flexible, and they can help you stay on budget because you can stick to a set dollar amount . And if you want to include an affordable add-on, purchase a box of individually-wrapped chocolates that you can tape to each card, because Canadians love chocolate!

If you’re feeling the pressure to spend beyond your means this season, just keep your eye on your budget and remember, staying in control of your finances can help you feel empowered for seasons to come.