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The Perfect Christmas With Heather Cudmore

The Perfect Christmas With Heather Cudmore

Every year, the focus of the holiday season is on consumerism and the need to spend money on the perfect gifts, the perfect decorations and creating the perfect dinner. And every year, Canadians end up spending too much money, putting them at risk for financial difficulties once the holiday season is over.

For advice about how to limit Christmas spending, I’ve invited Heather Cudmore, a Certified Credit Counsellor at our London office to discuss budgeting, the importance of having a plan and why it’s time for Canadians to set new holiday traditions that don’t break the bank.

The Stress Of Creating The Perfect Holiday Experience

Family traditions are important and it can be hard to break holiday habits that have been passed down through generations. It doesn’t help that the holiday season has become focused on gift giving and trying to create the perfect holiday experience. These behaviours combined often lead to over-spending and accumulated debt. According to Heather,

I really don’t know why we strive for that perfect Christmas because I don’t think there is a perfect Christmas. I think we’ve got all our imaginations set, saying this is what we want, this is what it is. And I think we try to put ourselves in such a box that we don’t think outside the box…

And I agree. Creating a special holiday with family should not be centred around how much money we spend, but rather, the memories that we share together.

Heather stresses that to break free of our traditional spending patterns we need to think outside the box. This means re-envisioning how our holiday season will come together and the kinds of traditions that we carry on.

Set New Holiday Traditions

If we do as Heather suggests, thinking outside the box requires us to rethink our holiday season. From the way we prepare our food to the kinds of gifts we give, setting new traditions allows us to spend less and focus on what really matters. Creating new habits and rules right now will have a lasting impact on generations to come because we ultimately change what we see as normal. Eventually, those “new” traditions will become commonplace and we’ve replaced the importance of consumer debt with a focus on spending time together. Heather echoes this sentiment explaining that

I don’t think Christmas should be about spending money. I think it should be about family, friends and fun.

If you’d like to follow Heather’s advice, consider the following new traditions this holiday season:

  1. Have a potluck to reduce the cost of your holiday dinner;
  2. Volunteer at a food bank to give back to others and support your community;
  3. Watch your favourite holiday movie;
  4. Ban gift giving all together and focus on spending quality time with one another;
  5. Only buy for the kids;
  6. Set a spending limit;
  7. Make your gifts; or
  8. Play a gift giving game (like drawing a name out of a hat).

Make A Plan And Stick To It

Whatever your new tradition may be, the most important thing to remember is that it has to come with a plan. Whether it’s setting a spending limit or deciding to only buy gifts for the kids, having a plan and sticking to that plan are the most essential things you can do when it comes to avoiding debt during the holiday season. Heather points out that starting that plan early can save you a lot both financially and emotionally,

get that plan together to say what do I have to do to lessen my stress? What do I have to do to plan for Christmas next year? You know, how much do I want to spend for Christmas next year and can I put that away every week?

If you find that your existing debts are causing added stress this holiday season, speak to a licensed trustee (the consultation is free). Going further into debt to create the perfect holiday experience is not worth it. Getting out of debt so that you can spend more time with family is.

FULL TRANSCRIPT show #68 with Heather Cudmore

Note: This podcast was rebroadcast as show #172


The busiest time of year for licensed insolvency trustees like me, and my team at Hoyes Michalos, is at the start of the year.  Our 310-PLAN helpline phones will start to ring when we are back to work on January 2, and the volume of calls we get continues to increase throughout January and February as the credit card statements with all of the holiday spending on them start to roll in.

Our busiest month every year is usually March, when we’ve got the peak of the holiday season debt bills coming due, and people are also starting to worry about their taxes that are due in April.

So why do we get into trouble every December? What can we do about it?

That was one of the questions we discussed back on Show #68, and I want to replay a portion of that interview for you today, because what we discussed on that show is even more relevant and important today.

My guest on that show was Heather Cudmore, who at the time was the head of credit counselling with Carizon Family Services in Kitchener.

That was two years ago.  Today, Heather has relocated to London and is now part of the Hoyes Michalos team, helping people in the London area.

Over the years Heather has met with hundreds of people, and in many cases they got into debt trouble in December because they were trying to create the perfect holiday season.

Times are tough.  Perhaps you, or someone in your family, has suffered through a medical issue, or perhaps a job loss, or a separation or divorce, and so the holiday season becomes an opportunity to put your troubles behind you.

Of course if that can only be done with debt, that’s a problem.

Now we all know that there is no such thing as a perfect Christmas, so why do we strive for it?

That was the first question I asked Heather Cudmore, so let’s get started with her answer to the question “why do we strive for the perfect Christmas?”

Heather Cudmore: I really don’t know why we strive for that perfect Christmas because I don’t think there is a perfect Christmas. I think we’ve all got our imagination set saying this is what we want, this is what it is. And I think we try to put ourselves in such a box that we don’t think outside the box, that we don’t – we keep doing the same traditions, everything that we’ve done before and the amount of stress that we put on ourselves to do that really, really a challenge. Think outside the box and I think by thinking outside the box you think of better ways to spend your money; to get more happiness.

Doug Hoyes: And is it because we think back to the past? I guess Christmas or the holiday season in general is something that comes around every year. And so, every year you’ve been alive you’ve celebrated Christmas or whatever your traditions are. And as a result, well I want this year to be better than ever or I want it to be just as good as that one I had when I was eight.

Heather Cudmore: Better than ever and you keep building it up. And it’s got to be more and it’s got to be more and it’s got to be more. So, you know, or actually the flipside, maybe I didn’t have the best Christmas and what I try to provide for my kids is something way out of bounds, you know, that is just not normal for the average family.

Set those new traditions, start back at, you know, what traditions you want, what things you want to do. And I think that way, you lessen the stress and I think, you know, you can then turn around and stop spending all the money, stop spending all that money on one day.

Doug Hoyes: I think that’s an excellent point. You said set your traditions. So, rather than saying I’ve always done it this way, why not actually this year, with your family, with your friends, whoever you’re going to be with over the holiday season, actually make a plan. What is it we want to do? And it doesn’t mean we have to have the most expensive gifts, the biggest meal, maybe our tradition is we’re going to go out for a hike in the snow. Maybe it’s going to be we’re going to watch a specific movie. Maybe whatever it is, you can actually decide what your traditions are going to be, you don’t have to do what you’ve always done or what you think everyone else expects you do to.

Heather Cudmore: I will second that. I don’t think Christmas should be about spending money. I think it should be a about family, friends and fun. And, you know, if you can set your traditions around those things, you can have a really, really great day. And, you know, flip side, not spend a whole lot of money.

Doug Hoyes: Family, friends and fun, so if you keep that in mind, I notice you didn’t say money, you didn’t say gifts, you didn’t say how much money can I spend on gifts? Family, friends and fun. So, let’s kind of break it down then ’cause when we think of Christmas and I’m sure if the listeners are listening out there right now, let’s play a word association game, what are the things that pop into your mind when you think of the holiday season?

And I suspect a lot of people one of the things that pops into their mind is food because we think of the big meals. Okay, so, food is an area where I think we spend money that we don’t even realize we’re spending. We understand spending money on gifts, ’cause I go to the store and I actually buy the gifts and I can look at my credit card statement after to see that. But food is probably something we don’t consciously realize we’re spending money on and we probably have no idea what we actually spent?

Heather Cudmore: And actually I can top that off, there’s been studies done that the average person spends, throws out half the food in their fridge and I just kind of cringe at that. So, shop for what you need. You said get a plan together; what am I doing and just shop for what you need. You don’t have to shop for the 50 people, yes that perfect Christmas. I like the idea of a potluck where everybody brings something. You know, you never leave pot lucks unhappy; you always have so much food and full. You’re happy and full, is how you’re going to be leaving all those pot lucks.

So, everybody brings something and it’s one big – like communal, again, that family and friends. ‘Cause my family and friends it’s getting together, it’s gossiping, it’s catching up, it’s causing problems, it’s teasing. You know, that’s what Christmas is. Yeah, there is probably food in our family also. But yeah, again smart choices with that. Is there just one person that does the meal? No, it will be a group of people. And even preparing the meal everybody all together that’s part of the family, friends and fun.

Doug Hoyes: And so it takes a little bit of planning. Okay, what are we going to have? Let’s decide who’s bringing what, but hey, we got email now, we got Facebook, we can certainly arrange all that. And that’s really what you’re suggesting the, right? Let’s decide what we’re having, everybody decide what they can bring and that keeps the cost down. But it also makes it more fun then, so preparing the food should be just as much fun as eating it I guess.

Heather Cudmore: Actually even let me go back. Do you have to do a whole meal? How about just the dessert meal? Let’s just do a potluck all desserts.

Doug Hoyes: Boy that would be kind of fun actually when you think about it. Get the kids all wired so that would be even more awesome.

Heather Cudmore: And then you send them out tobogganing or skating. There’s a great new tradition, eat too much sugar and go try to wear it all off.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah, well and again, that’s what you’re saying. It’s coming up with different things that we haven’t done in the past. So, do you have any other thoughts on food then that we haven’t touched on? The main thing I guess you’re saying is make a plan and don’t just do whatever you’ve always done.

Heather Cudmore: Think outside that box.

Doug Hoyes: Think outside the box. So, food is one thing. Now you kind of touched on the whole idea of entertainment, what do you do during the holiday season? So, you talked about tobogganing, those are fun things to do, what other thoughts do you have then on entertainment, how we spend money on that and how we could perhaps do a better job?

Heather Cudmore: Well, alright, actually let’s go back to the food. Maybe for part of your new Christmas tradition, you go work at a food bank; you help serve a meal for a soup kitchen. Again, giving back to the community, instead of only looking inward; can you look out to yourself to the community and, you know, be a part of it? So, maybe even serving food to someone else.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah and that kind of brings the whole holiday season into picture then when you do that. So, okay, not only just feeding yourself but looking towards others is a very important element to that. What are your thoughts then on what we should do when we all get together then, from an entertainment point of view? What are things that we can do that aren’t horrifically expensive, but are lots of fun?

Heather Cudmore: You started off at the top about watching a movie. You know, there is always one Christmas movie that everybody gets together and, you know, you sing all the way through. Or maybe it will be a kid’s movie this year. Maybe they’re a whole bunch of kids involved. And maybe it’s a kid’s movie that you end up watching?

Doug Hoyes: Well, I know every year my father and one of my sisters watches Home Alone. And I don’t know if that’s a Christmas movie or not, I guess it is.

Heather Cudmore: It happens around Christmas.

Doug Hoyes: It happens around Christmas. But they – it’s not a traditional Christmas movie, obviously. But they’ve watched that movie, they got the DVD of it and every year, she’s got kids now, and every year that’s the movie they watch, either Christmas eve or a couple of days before Christmas or Christmas afternoon or whatever. So, that’s an example of a tradition that costs nothing once you’ve already bought the DVD, obviously, and it doesn’t have to be necessarily the Jimmy Stewart Christmas movie, but if you do it every year it becomes a tradition and costs next to nothing to do it.

Heather Cudmore: I like the Home Alone movies. I may have to switch over to that one.

Doug Hoyes: Well, there you go, we started a new tradition. And yeah, I guess there’s more than one of them isn’t there?

Heather Cudmore: Yes.

Doug Hoyes: So, there you go, there’s some new traditions then on that. Now the biggest cost I think of Christmas, we talked about food, we talked about entertainment, but obviously gifts. That’s where the money really gets spent on Christmas. So, is it as simple as well just don’t buy anyone gifts? Is that what we’re advocating here?

Heather Cudmore: Well, if you want to make that your tradition? Maybe you do that. Maybe it’s not a gift for everyone or maybe there is no gifts. Maybe again, the gift is my presence, showing up at your place and having fun.

If you absolutely have to, you know, you’re not going to give up that tradition, do your research. Make a list, check it twice, that really applies to gift giving, too. Who are you going to be buying for? Do you buy for the whole family or do you turn around and only buy for kids? If you are looking at the whole family, do you draw names? Again, just time and effort, going out to a shopping mall or shopping at the busiest time of the year there’s stress again for me because you can’t find a parking spot, there’s a whole bunch of other people roaming around, I don’t enjoy Christmas shopping like I used to.

And yes, in our family we’ve started to draw names so it makes it extremely – a whole lot of fun. I go out and buy one gift. And actually I may not even buy one gift, I may back up and make a gift. And again, if you’ve got kids, getting kids involved with making some type of gift. I think parents probably remember best the gifts that they kids have made or the decorations that they’ve made for the Christmas trees. Those are the traditions; those are the things that go on at Christmas every year that you remember. Oh this was grade five, this was grade three, you remember all of that. So, yeah can – are your kids creative? And even if they’re not, you know, a great painting by the kids, framed, is something grandparents would probably treasure.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah, every kid is creative. So, they may be not a world class artist but they’re kids, it’s going to be good stuff either way. And I think the idea of drawing names is an ideal way to do it. Because if you come from a big family and there’s brothers and sisters and cousins and nieces and nephews and everything and particularly if they’re older buying 23 different presents is crazy. There’s no way the recipient is going to be able to use all that stuff anyways. But I get it, you’re getting together it’s kind of nice to get a gift. So, you put all the names into a hat and you’re buying a gift for one person and there’s no reason you can’t set the ground rules on that too.

Heather Cudmore: Yep

Doug Hoyes: Okay, the gift cannot cost any more than this number. And if you set the number really, really small, then we’re going to have to be really creative. It will probably lead to gifts that are more fun than anything else.

Heather Cudmore: Yep, yep.

Doug Hoyes: I mean if I said okay, the limit is $10, you can only spend $10 on that gift and you happen to draw your brother’s name, okay well $10 that’s interesting I wonder what I can get him for $10? And the answer might be you’re going to knit him some funny coloured socks.

Heather Cudmore: Every year we have to get socks, it’s a standing order.

Doug Hoyes: So, there you go, socks are a done deal anyway. Maybe it is finding that DVD from a movie that came out 30 years ago, which maybe only costs $5, so it’s even better. But there was some thought that went into it and it doesn’t have to cost the huge dollars. How important than is it to have that plan going into the shopping mall?

Heather Cudmore: Oh it is because if you go into the malls without a plan of what you’re going to buy, without that list, you will buy two gifts for one person and then oops I have to catch up everybody else to that amount. In our family it’s all fair, everybody gets treated the same way, so if I spend $50 on one brother, I have to spend $50 on the other brother.

Doug Hoyes: I remember doing that one year. I was, I don’t know, 10 years old at the time or whatever, and I thought this year I’m going to get everything done early so I went out and I bought a gift for my sister and got it all wrapped and everything. And I bought it so early that I’d forgotten I had bought it and I ended up buying her a second one. And she ended up getting two gifts that year. And not having a plan, you’re exactly right, you find three things that that person would really like and you end up spending the money.

Heather Cudmore: That list, cross that name off and then onto the next one. And actually I think that really takes the fun out of Christmas, too. I’m the believer that if I’m out and about and not always shopping, if I’m out and about and I see that perfect gift for one of my family members, get it at that point, yep. And put it away. As kids we were never allowed to look under the guest room bed because that was the hiding spot. We were never allowed in there because yes, throughout the year things got put in there. And it was something that might have been put on sale at that point so it got bought then. And it got hidden.

Doug Hoyes: And that’s a great piece of advice. Obviously, it’s a little late for this year as Christmas is fast approaching but for next year, why not? You can pick things up in July.

Now one of the things that I think is different about the holiday season now as compared to 20 years ago is you already alluded to it going to the mall, trying to find the parking spot, I suspect that today more and more people aren’t going to the mall, we’re going to our computer, punching a few buttons, going to Amazon or wherever and buying stuff, which is great because it’s hugely convenient. I don’t have to stand in line and – now I guess there’s a couple of things you’ve got to worry about, one of them is you can’t just get the gift and have it in 10 seconds like if you went to the mall so there is some planning involved. If it’s going to take a week to be delivered I guess you can’t order it on December the 24th.

Heather Cudmore: But if you’re making plans even for Christmas you know what gift it is that you want to buy, well why not start now? Don’t wait till the last minute again to go out and shop. There’s millions of studies out there, you go shopping at the last minute, you’re going to spend twice as money as you normally do.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah, because you don’t have a plan. In your experience do people spend more money when they’re buying online? Do you have any anecdotal evidence from the people you’ve helped? Because I would think going to the store and actually having to pull out my credit card, pull out the cash, well, that’s real money, whereas online well I click a few buttons, there was no effort involved.

Heather Cudmore: Overall cash hurts. So, I suggest if, back again if you are going to be buying Christmas gifts, cash. Have your cash envelope for Christmas gifts and that’s where you take the money out of there. Because when you start getting down to the last $20 and you still have to buy three people or you’re choosing to buy for three people, you know, how’s that $20 going to go and really watching that.

Debit, credit, yes we have a tendency to spend more money than we normally would. It doesn’t hurt. And actually I’ll even use that throughout the year, I don’t think just at Christmas time. I know how convenient debit cards are and credit cards, all you have to do is carry that, you don’t have to carry a wallet with cash in it, but better habits, cash.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah and if you’re going out and you have to buy something that costs $1,000 then carrying a bunch of $20 bills may be a little bit risky, okay, maybe that’s a good use for a debit card then so you don’t get mugged on the way to the store. And at least with a debit card, the funds have to be in your account, with a credit card, well hey, it’s open season.

Heather Cudmore: Free for all.

Doug Hoyes: So, what you’re suggesting then is I guess the envelope method, you know, a very common budgeting technique where you have an envelope for each purpose and I guess you could have an envelope for each of the three different people you’re buying for. If you wanted to get as fancy as that, so okay my budget is $40 for each person, I put two $20 bills in each envelope, I put their name on the envelope and well that’s what I got, I can’t dip into somebody’s envelope to get that.

I met with a lady recently who told me, and I had never heard this but it makes kind of sense, was she had two different wallets. And she got paid every two weeks at her job, so she would take half of her money and put it in one wallet and half of the money and put it in the other wallet. And at the start of the week one of the wallets would go in her purse, the other would stay at home. And she could spend whatever was in that wallet that week and then the next week she’d put the next wallet in. And I thought well that’s kind of crazy when you think about it. But on the other hand, it was a system that worked for her. It made sense.

Heather Cudmore: I like that. I may have to borrow that.

Doug Hoyes: There you go, the wallet method we can call it. I said to her when she started explaining this to me well I don’t like the idea of carrying cash around ’cause what happens when you lose your purse? You leave your purse on the bus, your purse gets stolen, then what do you do. And she said –

Heather Cudmore: We never lose our purse.

Doug Hoyes: And that’s what she said, it’s strapped to me. And even if that did happen well I’ve only got one of my wallets in there. The next week’s wallet is already at home, I don’t have to worry about it. So, I guess the message really is coming up with a system that works for you, planning in advance and you should be in good shape.

Heather Cudmore: One other thing I’d like to throw out, actually a co-worker, they draw names. A bunch of girls get together, draw names, buy one gift. Well, not draw names, they buy one gift and they make a game out of getting that gift. There’s dice involved; you role a certain number you get to pick a gift, you roll another certain number you can steal from somebody and take that gift. And they’re always fighting over the $10, the $5 gift.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah, so these are really inexpensive things, but the fun is getting together. So, what is it? It’s gift night or games night or something. So, you know, maybe there’s a couple of cans of pop involved as well at this event.

Heather Cudmore: Yes, there’s pop and drink.

Doug Hoyes: Well, there you go and I think that’s a good way to end the segment. That is a new tradition that we can start rather than buying hugely expensive gifts for co-workers well have some fun with it.

Excellent, I appreciate that Heather we’re going to take a quick break and I’ll be back to wrap it up. You’re listening to Debt Free in 30.

Doug Hoyes: It’s time for the Let’s Get Started segment here on Debt Free in 30. My guest today is Heather Cudmore who is the manager of credit counselling at Carizon Credit Counselling with their head office in Kitchener. We’ve been talking about the holiday season, we’ve been talking about budgeting. Heather you made the point that really the holiday season is about family, friends and fun it’s not about spending a whole lot of money.

So, what I’d like to do is flash forward now and pretend it’s now January. Obviously, we’re approaching the holiday season now, but let’s pretend it’s January ’cause I know you’ve been in this situation many times. There’s someone sitting in your office looking for your help and they’ve got two issues. The first issue is I spent too much last year during the holidays, and of course the second issue is well, what can I do to not get into this mess next year? So, what do you say to that person who is sitting in your office who has too much debt as a result of holiday spending. What’s the thought process you go through to help that person?

Heather Cudmore: The first thing actually I think it’s great that they’re sitting in my office because we can work with that. And in my office in January, recognizing what you’ve done in the past and looking forward to what you can do in the future. So, talking about what you’ve done in the past, putting a plan together, you know, looking at what your income, looking at what your expenses are. Looking at a possible system to get rid of the debts and I’m a believer of putting it down on paper. I want something in front of me so I can look at numbers, I can look every week to see how much you’ve got and how much money can then go towards those debts and getting rid of all the weight that’s sitting on your shoulders. Let’s get rid of some of that stress. Make a really good plan for it.

Doug Hoyes: So you said putting it on paper and I guess if I’m good on a computer then a computer will do.

Heather Cudmore: I will take a computer also. I know what my skills are. I have to see it and I have to touch it and I have to edit it. So, you know, the computer works as long as I can also print it off and maybe put that on my fridge so I can see it every day.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah and I think that’s key. You’ve got to do something that works for you. So, let’s assume I’m going to go old school, I’ve got a piece of paper, I’ve got a pen. And so what you’re saying is you write it down. So, you write down what’s coming in and are you going to do this on a monthly basis, a weekly basis, what kind of time frame are you looking at here?

Heather Cudmore: I usually like doing it based on what your income is. If you get paid every two weeks, let’s do it every two weeks. If you get paid weekly, let’s look at it weekly. Most people manage their money by when it comes in, so let’s do a budget that way. And even if we’re all doing a weekly budget, you know, it still works out in the long run. What money is it that you’ve got coming in? What have you got going out?

Doug Hoyes: So, if I’m doing a weekly budget but I only pay my rent at the start of the month –

Heather Cudmore: So, every week you take a quarter of that rent, let’s say you’re paying $800, you take $200 of it and put that $200 some place where you’re not going to touch it. Possibly the envelope method, maybe a bank account where you’re not going to take it or actually if you’ve got a really great landlord you walk that $200 down to him and give him the $200 now and say next week I’ll see you again. Every week you give the $200 and so by the end of the month you’re at $800.

Doug Hoyes: Well and I’ll tell you, I totally agree with what you’re saying. I totally agree that you should live your life, your financial life, based on when your money comes in. So, if you’re on a pension and it comes in once a month, okay fine, that’s how you do it. But there’s no reason you can’t pay your cell phone bill every week. If you’re making the payment online why not send a quarter of it through every week and you’re right the landlord may not want you bringing him $200 every week but fine you can set up a bank account just for rent and put the $200 in that and give him post dated cheques and off you go.

Heather Cudmore: And actually that paying every week applies to everything. How about doing that on credit card debts, more of it goes to the principal, less to the interest. You do with that your mortgage; a lot of mortgages are weekly. So, why not look at all your bills and pay that exactly the same way?

Doug Hoyes: Well, so you’ve hit on the word debt, so let’s talk about that, then. The holiday season is over, I’ve got too much debt, so you said the starting point is you’ve got to start writing down what’s coming in, what’s going out so that we know where we’re at. Then what happens next? What’s the way?

Heather Cudmore: Come and see me because what I want to do, you keep mentioning the word plan, plans another word for budget. And I’ll take either of them. Get that plan together to say what do I have to do to lessen my stress? What do I have to do to plan for Christmas next year? You know, how much do I want to spend for Christmas next year and can I put that away every week? Or I get paid every two weeks, every two weeks can I put that away? Do I, or can I on my own, let me throw it back to you, can you on your own sit down and look at what your financial situation is and say I’ve got a handle on this I can manage it and three months, six months down the road I’m feeling comfortable.

If you don’t feel comfortable, that’s when we want to see you because we want to take your good habits, because you’ve probably some really great habits that you’re working on. Can I just fine tune them so at the end of that six months you can say yeah I can do this.

Doug Hoyes: And by getting into that habit then you’re probably in pretty good shape. And I think that’s a great way to end it. The time to plan for Christmas is in January not in December. If you want to spend $1,200 at Christmas it’s a lot easier to put aside $100 a month than $600 a month for two months. So, obviously having a plan and working in advance is a great way to do it. Heather, thanks for being with me today.

Heather Cudmore: Thank you.

Doug Hoyes: Thank you. That was the Let’s Get Started segment right here on Debt Free in 30.

Announcer:       You’re listening to Debt Free in 30. Here’s your host, Doug Hoyes.

Doug Hoyes: Welcome back, it’s time for the 30 second recap of what we discussed today. On today’s show Heather Cudmore explained that the holiday season is not about money. We should focus on family, friends and fun. And she gave us many cost effective ways to enjoy the holidays without breaking the bank. That’s the 30 second recap of what we discussed today.

My favourite phrase that Heather used today was when she said we should set our own traditions. I agree. Heather made the point that too often we try to recreate an idealized version of Christmas that we remember from when were kids or we try to create a perfect holiday season that our children will remember forever. That’s fine, but while your children may remember a favourite gift, it’s more likely that they’ll remember the fun times they had playing in the snow with the family or playing board games or watching a favourite movie, and those activities don’t cost a lot of money. So, this year consider Heather’s advice and start your own traditions. Focus on family, friends and fun and you can’t go wrong.

That’s our show for today. Full show notes are available on our website including links to everything we discussed today. So, please go to our website at, that’s h-o-y-e-s-dot-com for more information. Thanks for listening, have a great holiday season. Until next week, I’m Doug Hoyes, that was Debt Free in 30.

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