Holiday magic is in the air as Canadians look forward to winter activities, enjoying a break, and spending time with loved ones over the coming weeks.
But during this busy season, it can be easy to overspend on the little things: roughly a quarter of consumers in Canada reported spending more than they had originally intended around the holidays in 2020.
When this happens, you can quickly fall off track with your savings goals and end up one step behind where you want to be, faced with financial stress in the new year. Since that’s not fun for anyone, we’ve teamed up with Canada’s Credit Unions to curate a list of tips for staying on top of your savings this season.
Do a budget review
If you created a budget earlier in the year, chances are it accounted for your regular monthly income and expenditure. But what about the extra costs associated with the holidays? Now’s the perfect time to do a quick budget review to ensure you stay within the zone you’re happy with and still have a portion of your income set aside for savings.
Eat at home before going out
Around the holidays, there are always plenty of get-togethers with friends and family, evenings out, and everything in between. If you want to make sure you have money left over to save, consider eating at home before you go out. That way, if you’re going to a restaurant, you could order a small appetizer in place of an expensive entree.
Visit free holiday markets and activations
Paying entry fees into different festive events can add up when you already have a lot on your plate over the holidays, even if it’s just $20 here and $15 there. To avoid an additional strain on your wallet and save money instead, check out some of the free holiday markets and light installations taking place in your city. Plus, free photo opportunities are always a bonus.
Pay down your debt
Remember to gift yourself something this season it doesn’t have to be a physical gift, though. Paying down a loan or credit card bill as much as you can is a gift that will benefit you and your credit score, both now and in the future. It also means you can go into 2022 without undue financial stress, knowing you’re staying on top of your finances.
Shop after the holiday rush
Looking for a way to save money and avoid the crowded malls in your city this season? There’s a simple solution: do your gift shopping online after the holiday rush. The items currently on your gift list (or your personal wish list) could be discounted during Boxing Day sales or January clearance, so waiting a bit to shop could be totally be worthwhile.
Set new savings goals
With a new year full of exciting possibilities ahead, you might already have personal goals in mind that you want to achieve, whether that’s getting a promotion at work or stepping up your workout regime. So, why not set new goals for your savings too? Setting a clear financial goal and tracking your progress can help you stay motivated to achieve it. (Besides, reaching one goal at a time is something you can celebrate.)
Join a credit union
Looking for one of the most effective ways to stay on top of your savings this holiday season and into the new year? Joining a credit union can help you do so. Canada has over 200 credit unions, and the level of service they provide members has led to awards for service excellence — for over 17 consecutive years, with five Ipsos Financial Service Excellence Awards won in 2021 alone.
Credit unions are member-owned financial cooperatives that offer tailored financial advice for everything from setting up everyday savings and chequing accounts to queries around Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP), Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSA), and residential mortgages.
Beyond assisting their customers, credit unions have an impact on the communities they serve by investing the profits they earn back into these areas. Over the course of the pandemic, they offered loans to eligible members and administered over $2 billion in CEBA loans for small businesses.
Not yet a credit union member? Find your nearest credit union here.