As Financial Literacy Month wraps up and everyone starts to prepare for the holidays, the one thing I’d urge you to consider when buying gifts for your loved ones and decorating your home like it’s a Hallmark movie set is how can you end this year on a financially high note?
Too often we get swept up in the excitement and magic of the holidays, causing us to undo a lot of the good we’ve done with our budgets throughout the year. But you don’t have to make this mistake this year. Let’s finish this year strong so there’s no talk of financial hangovers in January, but only what financial goals you want to tackle next!
With everything costing substantially more than prior years, it may not seem like you can have it both ways: enjoy the splendour of the holidays and save money. But it is possible. It may just take some creativity as well as carving out time to activate some of these tried-and-true money-saving strategies.
1. Consolidate Your High-Interest Debts
You may be surprised to learn that close to a third of Canadians carry credit card debt and the average annual interest rate on a credit card is a whopping 19.99%! It’s not the takeout coffee or Disney+ subscription that’s eating up your income…it’s debt.
Although there are plenty of debt repayment strategies that work, such as the debt avalanche and debt snowball methods, another solution to save on those interest costs is consolidating your debt. What this can look like is you combining your debt balances onto a loan or line of credit (or even your mortgage) to pay a significantly lower amount of interest which would help you save hundreds if not thousands of dollars in the long run. Not to mention, it could help you pay off that debt quicker too. Just remember not to fall back into old habits and accrue new debt in the future.
2. Bundle Your Home & Auto Insurance Policies
Did you know you could save up to $750/year on your insurance premiums just by bundling your home and auto insurance policies? And you don’t have to wait until your policy’s term is up to make the change either, so you can start saving money today. Another thing to consider is using a program like automerit in which you install the belairdirect app so they can assess your driving habits and reward you for being a safe driver. Participating in a program like this could help shave money off your car insurance premiums – the safer you drive, the more you save!
3. Use a Coupon App or Site to Find Discounts
There is no shortage of apps and websites to help you find discounts when shopping online or in-store, so take advantage of them! Some of them even let you earn cashback when making a purchase. So add those apps to your web browser or phone and save those websites to your favourites so you can get into the regular habit of using them and saving on purchases you were planning on making anyway.
4. Find Deals at the Grocery Store
Did you know the brands that are usually the best deal are put on the top and bottom shelves of the grocery store aisle because they aren’t at eye level? Moreover, you can calculate which brand is the best deal easily by comparing their price per unit. There are so many ways you can lower your grocery bill by making a few simple tweaks to your grocery shopping routine, so change things up and experience the savings!
5. Say Bye, Bye to the Big Banks
And to close things off, and this is my personal favourite, to save money now and into the future, say goodbye to bank fees and consider switching to a no-fee bank. Although most of these no-fee banks are online only, they offer almost everything a brick-and-mortar bank does minus that pesky $20/month chequing account fee. Just think, after one year you’d save $240 in bank fees. Not a bad amount to add to next year’s holiday spending budget if you ask me.