During the warmer months, we all tend to spend without thinking twice. Trips, shopping sprees downtown, outings with friends and activities around the city… No wonder our money is rapidly spent! In the fall time, however, our lifestyle generally slows down, and we start to think more about our spendings. Fortunately, it turns out that November is actually financial literacy month, a term that defines the act of being conscious of the importance of well managing our finances by adopting strategies in order to establish a stable budget and make good financial decisions. For the occasion, we’re here to share our favourite tips on how to manage our money better, without depriving ourselves in the process!
For Caroline : Shopping without guilt
I’ve been using this trick more and more often. With the Internet, online shopping is so easy – and so dangerous! We are always prone to make impulsive purchases. I admit that I am a shopaholic – like many – and I used to always get caught up in the game, because I would spend all my time in shopping malls and boutiques. Window shopping was my favourite activity to do when I wanted to get things off my mind, and it was an activity that cost me way too much because it always ended up becoming a full on shopping spree.
Now, I have reduced my time spent in stores, and I only go when I really need something, in order to not be too tempted. If I find an item that I like but I do not need, I take a picture of it, note it down, and I leave (usually thinking that they won’t have it in my size the next day! Iiiih). If I still think about it a few days later and I take the time to go back in stores again – AND they still have my size! – it’s a sign that it was a good purchase!
For Véronique : make advantageous purchases
I don’t mean to scare you, but… We’re already halfway through November! Have you started your holiday shopping? I hear my friends and family say the same thing every year : “No more madness, this year, I will start holiday shopping the day after Halloween!”, but let’s be honest, we always finish our Christmas purchases on December 23rd at 5pm. This year, why not find another reason to go buy Christmas gifts in advance other than to avoid the madness of shopping malls? *Drumrolls* to avoid having more debts on our credit cards by planning a real budget in order to make advantageous purchases.
My trick? I plan out my purchases by spending my money cleverly. I start off by making a list of the people that I will spoil, all the while fixing a weekly amount that will help me build a budget. Then, I add a few general gift ideas that will orientate me in my shopping. Next, the fun part begins; I subscribe to my favourite stores’s newsletters, which helps me keep up with their promotions and then I browse online in order to find the best prices possible. You know what else is fun? Flyers! There are always various items on sale and even some promotional codes and coupons that can help us save some money. After only a few weeks of preparation, I can always find gifts that always impress and please my friends and family, without stress, but also without debts!
For Marie-Pier : loyalty is key
Here’s something you should know about me: I am (very) addicted to loyalty cards. Not the ones that turn out to be credit cards to certain stores, but the ones that let you accumulate points easily, when you make a purchase with your own money. I own a lot of these, and although they take up a lot of space in my wallet, I am always happy to have them when I get to the cash register. What is great with these is that these points can get you free products, or in some cases, can be used as store credits. I once reduced my grocery shopping bill by $100 with a loyalty card!
It is obvious for some brands that these cards are a very clever way to keep their customers loyal. Because I know that I own a card to a place rather than another one that carries the same product, I will prioritize the store where I can get points. However, I would never spend money on a loyalty card. If it’s free, either with my purchase or is permanently offered, I will take it if the store is a place I plan on going back a few times. But you have to admit that it is pleasant to hear the cashier say that you can get a free item with the points you have accumulated just by shopping normally!
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