Happy December! Can’t believe the last month of the year has dawned upon us! November was Financial Literacy Month (FLM), a month dedicated to encouraging Canadians to focus on their financial well-being and develop strategies to save for the future, make wise choices about debt, and strengthen money management skills. Earlier in November, I shared some great holiday shopping savings tips, but even though the month has come to an end, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take the lessons from FLM and apply them to our holiday spending habits.
When it comes to getting a grip of my own spending habits, which by the way can get a little out of control right around this time of the year, e.g. Black Friday sales, holiday gifts, parties to attend, I personally try to manage my own cash by limiting my credit card usage and utilizing my Interac debit card instead. In addition, by using your Interac debit card, you are also supporting local shops with much reduced transaction fees in comparison to credit card charges.
To help YOU save this holiday season, my friends at Interac have kindly shared some additional tips to help you (and me) “Be in the Black.”
Read more to find out how I’ve personally integrated these tips as part of my regular routine.
Financial Tips to Help You this Holiday Season:
(provided by Interac)
1. Have Daily Routines. Create a meal plan and have a set grocery list for it. Making a set shopping list has been particularly helpful in our household, it has helped reduce the amount of impulse purchases in grocery aisles or that extra chocolate bar and magazine at checkout. The bonus? It can help save a few not needed calories too!
2. Keep Track of all your money going in and out of your bank account. There are so many expenses in any given month and sometimes it is tough to mentally keep track of what is coming in and out of your account. I’ve found it particularly helpful to monitor my transactions with the help of features included within my online banking account, such as exporting transactions into workbooks or reviewing the summary by transaction categories.
3. Financial Health Check. Set aside one hour a month to review your finances. My husband and I set aside time each month to review our joint finances. This is extremely helpful when it comes to saving up for the next big expense (such as vacation, home renovations, or even on a longer term horizon, kids!). In addition, with each new promotion or salary increase, it is THAT much easier to spend the extra cash, reviewing our monthly finances also gives us a chance to reset our long term savings plans.
4. Comparison Shopping. Be a conscious shopper by looking for deals and promo codes online. Price matching is available in most stores. There are so many online promo code aggregators that are perfect to help you save a few extra bucks. I have a habit of searching for online promo codes before shopping, it feels so good to get a great deal!
5. Free Stuff! It it seems too good to be true think twice. Choose loyalty cards that earn points when you use your own money. Interest free rewards.
6. Don’t use mental math. Do you use mental math to keep track of your money? Stay within your means by actively managing it using Interac Debit.
7. Grocery Day. The best deal is not always the biggest package. Check unit prices, especially when it’s on sale. The one thing I will add is, it is great to manage spend on meals if you do shop for sale items only and planning your recipes and meals around those discounted items (assuming the per unit prices check out!). This is not only a great way to save but also allows you to try new dishes at home!
8. Guilt Free Shopping. Curb impulse purchases by snapping a pic of a “must-have” item. Take a day to decide whether it fits within your budget. In my opinion, this is one of the most helpful tips. I always implement a one day rule, especially when it comes to big ticketed items. If one night has passed and I’m still longing for the item, I’ll go back for it. However, if I’ve already forgotten about it, chances are, it can live without it.
For more tips from Interac on how to be on your way to be free of interest payments, check out #21DaysCreditFree.