With the holidays just around the corner, we’re here to share some everyday ways to save before you spend. Because if 2019 is anything like holiday seasons past, the majority of Canadians can expect to say good-bye to an average of $675 this December, thanks to holiday-related expenses. In the US, it’s even higher — at $1,496 per household.
7 Simple Ways to Save… Before You Spend
Okay, let’s start with some simple math. Say you’ve got 7 weeks to save up for all that holiday shopping. That’s 49 days to cut back on unnecessary spending, so you can buy gifts for friends and loved ones without going into debt — probably the best gift you can give yourself.
Now imagine you are able to save $10 a day. That’s $490 right there. And guess what, some of the (seriously simple) ideas below will mean saving significantly more. So are you ready to make some easy lifestyle changes so you can start saving? Here are 7 simple ways to save…
1. Create a meal plan based on what’s on sale. Make a habit of heading to your nearest supermarket to grab a flyer the moment they hit the shelves. Then use all those great deals to inspire your ingredient list for the week. You can save big bucks by basing your meals around meat and veg, for example, that are a fraction of their usual price — but make sure not to choose a pricier protein just because it’s on sale. (Because it will probably still be more expensive than a regular item.) Just as importantly, don’t forget to check what’s in your pantry — and include any perishable items in your meal planning too.
2. Make enough dinner for leftovers. Now that you’re a pro at meal planning on a budget, take things one step farther, and stop spending on lunch. If you’re spending $10-15 on lunch five days a week, that adds up to $350-525 over the course of our 49 days (minus the weekends, of course!). Imagine if saving all that moula was as simple as making an extra helping at dinner time each night. Good news, it is that simple. So no excuses, just do it!
3. Make your own coffee. If the math in point #2 made your heart skip a beat (and not in a good way), let’s just say that heading to the nearest cafe for both your morning and afternoon break can add up just as quickly — especially if you like to indulge in seasonal or holiday drinks which can cost $5 (or more) a piece. And if you’re having two of those a day, you’re spending close to what you pay for lunch on a drink you can make (for free!) at home or at the office. So grab your favorite coffee mug and start brewing.
4. Pay with cash — not cards. Allot yourself a set sum of cash — yes, cash — that you are allowed to spend each week. This means that if you run out of funds, you can’t use a credit card to pay for that thing you really, really want but don’t actually need (assuming you’ve done your groceries at the beginning of the week). You’ll have to decide how much (or how little) is fair, based on your salary, budget, and how much you plan to spend on holiday shopping. It may sound silly, but if you stick to your guns, you’ll see that a ‘cash only’ lifestyle can seriously curb unnecessary spending. (And if you end up with excess cash at week’s end, be sure to feed your piggy bank — not your desire to buy. Saving more one week shouldn’t mean splurging the next.)
5. Save drinking for later. If you like to unwind with a glass of wine or a pint of beer after a long, hard day at work, putting a pause on this end-of-day reward will lead to some pretty significant savings too. If you prefer having a fancy drink during dinners out with friends, try swapping that expensive cocktail for a mocktail, followed by water — it’s free, as long as you don’t ask for bottled. Whatever the case, avoiding alcohol is another great way to cut costs to save in the days leading up to the holidays.
6. Don’t impulse shop. That might sound easy if you’re giving yourself a weekly (cash) allowance (see #4), but don’t forget that it’s much too easy to shop online these days. So if you find yourself doing some virtual window shopping, and you’re suddenly tempted to hit that big, shiny BUY button, force yourself to pause. And then sleep on it. Because: Out of sight, out of mind…. Right? Seriously, if you aren’t thinking about the item (or have completely forgotten about it) the next day, chances are you didn’t really need it to begin with.
7. Quit the gym. Yep, we’re serious — but only if you’re not making use of your membership. This is the time of year when gyms see an especially low turn-out (likely because we’re in hibernation mode in November, and too busy in December). So quit now and take advantage of Boxing Day or New Year’s deals if you want to rejoin in 2020. And in the meantime, you can find some other ways to get active this fall.
You’ve still got well over a month to save up and reach your holiday spending goal — so start implementing these small changes to your daily routine ASAP. And once holiday shopping time rolls around, don’t forget to spend smart!
Continue saving with help from the League Marketplace
From checking out Wealthsimple’s low-fee investing app and their exclusive League pricing, to taking advantage of our many other exclusive discounts and offerings this holiday season, there are always ways to get more bang for your buck through your League membership. Browse the Marketplace.