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How to Stay Financially Afloat During the Holidays

Yet again, McGill students are faced with the seemingly impossible yearly task of final exams and holiday shopping. How do smart collegiettes™ handle the stress of final papers, exams worth 70%, booking travel home, and holiday shopping? More importantly, how do we pay for it all? Late night study sessions require pricey coffee (we all know that McGill cafs tend to gouge us and Second Cup’s price are astronomical these days!), and if you wait until the last minute to shop or book tickets home, you will likely pay the “convenience tax”—a form of stupidity tax for people who don’t plan ahead.

The key to booking travel tickets is simple—wait until the final exam schedule is posted and book right away. Don’t wait a week; don’t wait a month—book the day the exam schedule comes out (usually the 5th week of school-mid-October). Planning ahead will ensure that you get the best price available since travel companies plan months ahead of time and offer more and more expensive rates closer to the date of travel that you book your tickets.

To budget in the cost of Christmas gifts you can do one of two things. The first thing you can do is save up an amount of money every month. This way, in December, you will have a stash of say $300, with which to buy all your Christmas gifts.

The second option is my favorite. In January, I make a list of people who I’m certain I will need to buy Christmas presents for by next December (parents, siblings, roommates, close friends) and then, all throughout the year, I buy presents for them on sale and stash them away in my closet. Once December comes around, and people are scrambling for last-minute presents in over-crowded stores, I’m baking sugar cookies and drinking eggnog. Simple and stress-less.

So if you’re feeling stressed this holiday season (or your wallet is feeling a bit on the slim side), print this article out and pull it out next year. Remember, planning ahead saves you time and money.

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