Plan to Save

Man with calculator and receipts

Planning is a great way to save money.  Simple techniques like making a list before you go food shopping (and stick with it!) can save you money than you think.  Even if you are considering a vacation, plan everything in advance.  Heading out with no set direction will certainly lead you into impulsive spending.

Budget, budget, budget!

Everyone should create a budget.  If you are not sure how or just not good with money, a free course by CAP can help. I found the 3-week course insightful and also encouraging to know that I had already implemented some of the techniques suggested.  Knowing where you are spending your money is by far the best way to save.  In most cases, people have no idea where their money is really going and once they see it on paper, so not only are they surprised but are eager to change their spending habits. I came across an example where a husband was convinced that his wife was the culprit for the bank overdraft but soon had to offer an apology at the end of the course when they went through the exercises and found out where the extra expenditure was coming from!

Holiday Gift Giving

This tip is especially helpful for large families.  Although it is fun buying for and receiving from everyone, it can be very expensive.  Make an agreement with your family that you will continue to buy for the children but that the adults will go with a name exchange.  This way the children are not disappointed and you can spend a little more on one or two people rather than spreading your money thin.  For the members that you did not pick to exchange with, bake a loaf of their favourite homemade bread or cookies.