23 Ways To Save For The Holidays

 

 

The holidays, or Christmas, is coming up quick, and with that will be some hefty bills if you do not plan accordingly.

Here are some ways to save money quickly for the holidays!

 

SAVE FOR HOLIDAYS

Save Money

  • Make a budget. Start by deciding how much you think you can afford to spend, and work from there. Make a list of the people you need to buy for, and establish a value within the budget.

 

  • Change banking institutions or change banking plans: do you really need the premium plan with free everything? When was the last time you used any of the specialties they charge you for? Consider downgrading your plan and bank the savings for the holidays (pun intended!).

 

  • Do you have a credit card that offers cash back, or cash refunds for particular stores? In Canada, our credit card hacking is more difficult, but some stores that offer credit cards for use anywhere and give you a percentage back to spend at their stores are Canadian Tire, Walmart, Costco, etc. Others offer reward options that you can redeem for gift cards. Gift cards make great gifts, or you can use them like cash at those stores.

 

  • Do a luxury audit. Do you watch TV or movie channels during the fall/winter, or are you too busy at work? Do you use the cross-border or international calling on your cell phones? Do you need all the gigs of internet you are paying for? Can you cut back on a service or two for a few months (or for good!)? Bank those savings for the holidays.

 

  • Make your gifts this year. Think about an assortment of baking goods, gifts in a jar, an event in a bowl (like popcorn, drinks, chocolate, and a small gift card for the movies or a movie network), or other creative ideas instead of spending big bucks on something that the stores would overcharge for.

 

  • Double up on your gifts: make a donation and gift the donation to your recipient. Calendars for charities are popular – it’s an inexpensive gift that donates to charity and still provides something for the recipient to open and look at throughout the year.

 

  • Have a few challenge weeks leading up to the month you need the savings for: Meatless Monday, Soda-free week, bring your own coffee to work week, bring your own lunch to work week, etc. Make it a game and set aside the extra grocery savings.

Make Money

  • Do you have an extra room in your house? The next few holidays are centred around family (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, etc). Consider listing a room in your house as an AirBnB rental. If you are planning to be away for a week or more in the upcoming months, you could also rent out your home to a family on AirBnB. With the right insurances in place, you could earn more than your Christmas budget.

 

  • Drive for Uber or Lyft. You can make up your own shifts (choose times that are safer for driving strangers, if you are concerned), and make a few bucks while carting others around.

 

  • Sell old and unwanted items around your house. Electronics that no longer have a place in your life might be welcome in someone else’s (think replaced cell phones, iPods, etc.). Do you have clothes that you no longer wear and could be sold? Bridesmaid dresses can often be repurposed into Christmas party gowns, prom dresses, convocation parties, etc.

 

  • Watch for great sales or clearance at your stores. Check places like eBay, Craigslist, and Kijiji for current values, and try selling them online. (Check the return policy in case they don’t sell, or repurpose into a gift!)

 

  • Sign up for survey sites, like Survey Junkie, Swagbucks or PanelApp. You can earn cash from some, and others you can earn Amazon dollars. With just a few hours a week, you’d be surprised how much you could earn.

 

  •  Write a book and self-publish. By using Kindle publishing, you can have your work of art online and selling within 72 hours. Choose a niche that is popular and write. Fiction may take you a little longer than non-fiction, but it may sell better.  Want to learn more about self-publishing? Read this.
Here are some of the books I’ve published on Kindle:

MLM & Network Marketing: 30 Days of Tips, Tricks and Hacks, How To Grow Your Brand

MLM & Network Marketing Book 2: 30 MORE Days of Tips, Tricks and Hacks on How To Build Your Brand

Love Reconstructed: Love in Pine Meadows

If I can do it, so can you!

 

  • Direct Sales. Sign up for a company like Avon, Arbonne, Scentsy, Pink Zebra, Thirty-One Gifts, Stella and Dot, J.R. Watkins, Melaluca, etc. Many of these companies do not require a kit for start up, and if you are thinking about gift giving, that means others are as well. Why not be their source for gifts? The days of signing up your families to sell, or being designated sales areas are virtually over, and you can sell anywhere to anyone.

 

  • Get a part-time job. Now is the time that stores are looking for seasonal help. Some stores will work with your schedule without complaint, and the added perk is a discount for most stores you work for! Make money and pay less for the items you buy. Win win!

 

  • Sign up for a service on demand site, like Fiverr or Upwork. Do you have special media skills, design or editing prowess? People are always looking for affordable matches to help them out.

 

  • Become a freelance writer. More and more content will be consumed with advertising and discussion of the best of the best this holiday season. Seek out advertisements online, like ProBlogger, to see who needs writing assistance.

 

  • Start picking up odd jobs. Call friends who have businesses, and ask them if they need an assistant for a day or two. Offer to babysit (for money), walk the neighbour’s dog, and housesit for the snowbirds (people who go somewhere warm for the winter). Think like a teenager who needs cash: all the little jobs are still out there, and waiting for you to ask to do them!

 

No-Spend Ideas

  • Offer to provide a service for your time: babysitting, cleaning, or something else that the recipient could use. Oftentimes, the idea of a “coupon” is deemed as cheap, but sometimes a gift of time or doing something for the recipient is priceless. A single mom would love a couple hours to herself, a senior would appreciate a couple hours of cleaning (moving furniture for a vacuum for example), or a friend who is tight on cash would appreciate an indoor spa day at your house, or dinner made for them.

 

  • Consider making a date of it instead. If you regularly go for manis or pedis, consider making a deal with a friend that you two will go together and spend the day/afternoon together instead of spending money on each other. Memories are more special than things.

 

  • Regift. I know this option has an “icky feeling” attached, however if you have something that you do not use or like, and and it’s brand new, why let it sit and be wasted? So long as the giftee was not the one who gifted it to you, no one is the wiser, you have not spent any money and cleared out some space in your house, and they are happy.

 

  • Give with love: do you have coveted items in your home that you no longer care for? Example: My mother-in-law has a beautiful Christmas tree with all glass ornaments that I drool over every year. If she decides she doesn’t want those ornaments anymore, I would appreciate that gift so much more than anything store bought.

 

  • Check the free section of your local classifieds, Craigslist, Kijiji, etc., for re-givable gifts. Sometimes people just give perfectly good things away because they are moving, don’t have the time to sell it, or simply can’t be bothered.

 

There’s Still Time

I hope some of these ideas come in handy for you, especially since the holiday season can creep up on us really quickly! Good luck, and remember to stay on budget.

 

 

Do you need a few extra dollars each month? Try a direct sales avenue, like Avon, Mary Kay or hundreds of others. Learn where to start with my MLM & Networking books, now available on Amazon

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This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you choose to purchase through these links. Please see my disclosure for more information. Amazon Affiliate Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by providing links to Amazon.ca and affiliated sites. 

7 Changes That Have Saved Us Over $1,000

7 Changes That Have
Saved Us Over $1,000

 

savings

 

It is now halfway through the year, and one of our resolutions was to save money that we did not need to spend. Here’s how I’ve saved in 2018:

 

  1. I changed banks. I went from $17/month for a chequing account with a traditional bank, and have now switched over to a credit union. While getting the same benefits, plus some extras, I have saved $119.00 to date.

 

  1. My new chequing account comes with free cheques. Yes, I still use cheques for things like rent and service providers. I probably write 2-3 a month, depending on the month. Savings for not paying for cheques: approximately $65 – and since I’ve ordered cheques twice in the last year, the savings has doubled to $130.00.

 

  1. Much like many others, I called my cable provider, who also provides me with internet. I explained that we do not watch tv (we prefer Netflix or the internet), and requested to cancel our service for cable tv. In turn, they provided us with a promotion that allowed us to keep the cable tv (which we still do not watch) for a year, free of charge, while bundled with our internet. Savings: approximately $35/month, which is $245.00 to date.

 

  1. Utilities: we have been much more mindful of using less hydro and gas. We shut lights off when we are not in the room, we disconnect chargers not in use, and we do our laundry at off-times for better hydro rates. (We have not done less laundry, as a result, but the savings of off-hours is much better.) We do not have central air, so we purchased a large air conditioner with power saver modes. Our bill for the month of July was the lowest it’s been all year. Savings: approximately $50 to date.

 

  1. Gas: We have two cars because we work in opposite ends of the region. This year, my partner’s car turned 19 years old (no, it was not a Toyota!) and was near its life span. For 350,000 kms, we can’t complain. So, we retired our old Cavalier, and my partner took over my 8 year old SUV, and I purchased a brand new hatch. Now, there’s some argument to buying brand new, but my financing is at 0%, and the car uses a third less gas than my SUV. Savings over the last three months: approximately $120.00.

 

  1. Insurance: By combining our two cars into one insurance policy, we actually saved quite a bit. My partner has been driving for … well, he’ll say forever… but let’s say 25 years, and I’m about half that. Put those together with my SUV and new car, and we are saving about $50 a month on insurance. Over the last three months, that would be $150.00.

 

  1. Mylo: a savings app that rounds up to the dollar each transaction that goes through my bank account and credit cards, and transfers the change to an investment account. Savings so far: $190.42.

 

Phew! We’ve saved $1,004.42 over the last year just by making these simple changes. That’s over a thousand dollars to have more fun with! We’ve paid down some debts, invested some money, and took an early vacation with all of our savings.

 

There are others that we’ve implemented, and recommend, such as:

 

  • Taking your own beverage on the road (Latte factor, anyone?)
  • Booking vacations during off seasons to get a better rate
  • Combining our outings to eliminate waste of gas
  • Shopping at discount stores for clothing
  • Paying attention to fliers to stock up on sale items
  • Having simple dinners now and again that are cheap to buy

 

While lots of these ideas have been around for a long time, they still work. Which ones do you do? How have you saved money this year?

 

 

Do you sell any products for another company? If yes, I recommend MLM & Networking, a book with actionable tips to build your business. Go here to get it for a limited time at $2.99!

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This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you choose to purchase through these links. Please see my disclosure for more information. Amazon Affiliate Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by providing links to Amazon.ca and affiliated sites. 

31 Ways to Max Out Your TFSA (or IRA)

TFSA savingsWhy $5,500? 

$5,500.00. This is the amount that you can contribute to a TFSA or IRA this year. Let’s talk about how you can max it out, or if you don’t have a TFSA or IRA in your country, how you can max out your savings and investing power as well.

If you aren’t sure what a TFSA is, start here. If you do not have TFSAs in your country, scroll down just a little more.
(IRA information can be found here. Remember, I’m a Canadian gal, so IRAs are not my forte.)

TFSA 31 ways to save

TAX FREE SAVINGS ACCOUNTS

A Tax-Free Savings Account is an account that is designed to help you save money. The funds that are deposited into a TFSA account can be invested, and the earnings from the account are tax free. Since you do not get a tax deduction for contributions to a TFSA, the benefit is from the tax-free earnings, and the ability to withdraw from the TFSA at any time without penalty.

There are guidelines and rules as to how much you can contribute into a TFSA, and how much you can withdraw and re-contribute.

Here’s the example from the CRA:

“Since opening her TFSA in 2009, Jenny has contributed the maximum TFSA dollar limit in each year. By the end of 2016, she has accumulated a total of $46,500 in her TFSA account. In 2017 Jenny makes a $5,500 contribution, the TFSA dollar limit for 2017. Later that year, she withdraws $3,000 for a trip. Unfortunately, her plans change and she cannot go. Since Jenny already contributed the maximum to her TFSA earlier in the year, she has no TFSA contribution room left.

If Jenny wishes to re-contribute part or all of the $3,000 she withdrew, she will have to wait until the beginning of 2018 to do so. The $3,000 will be added to her TFSA contribution room at the beginning of 2018.

If she re-contributes any of the withdrawn amount before 2018, she will have an excess amount in her TFSA and will be charged a tax equal to 1% of the highest excess TFSA amount for each month that the excess remains in her account.”

TFSAs are not only for retirement savings, but are also great vehicles for saving for a house purchase, a trip, a new car, or anything else you are working towards. 

TFSA 31 ways to save

How to find $5,500 over the year:

Now that we are clear on how to use a TFSA, let’s focus on how to max it out. In 2018, the maximum contribution amount is $5,500.  This the goal to contribute.

The Simple Way:

There are 52 weeks in a year. $5,500 divided by 52 = $105.77/week. You could set up an automatic transfer for $105.77 weekly.
Are you paid bi-weekly? Your automatic withdrawals should be set at $211.54 to save $5,500.00 a year.

How to fill that account without using your weekly income:  

Bonus Pay

Let’s say you receive a bonus each year of $1,000.00 as part of your performance package. If you directly contribute that to your TFSA, your weekly savings would decrease to $86.54. That’s a lot more manageable, but you need to know yourself and make sure that bonus goes directly to your savings account: do not pass go, do not spend $200!

Raises

If you receive a raise at work (congratulations!), immediately calculate the difference between the previous pay amount and the new pay amount. Set up an automatic transfer to deduct that amount from your account and move it to the TFSA before you see it in your chequing account. Resist the urge to inflate your lifestyle – those few dollars will serve you better if saved for a future time.

Overtime

Did you stay to finish a project, or to complete paperwork? Maybe you signed up for a few hours here and there. Move that money immediately to your TFSA. More money for savings, and no change to your weekly pay. Win Win!

Expenses

Do you get reimbursed for gas for running errands at work? Bank it. Do you get tips? Bank it. Anything extra, bank it.

Tax Refunds

Tax refunds is the government’s way of returning the excess money it collected from you throughout the year. At the same time, it’s a great feeling if you have a few bucks (or many bucks!) coming your way. Since a tax refund is not part of your weekly budget, bank it. You will not miss it, and it will go a long way to filling up your TFSA.

Declutter for Profit

My method for decluttering includes four boxes. I have a KEEP box, a TOSS box/bag, a SELL box and a RELOCATE box.
Without going into a lot of detail:
Keep: things that I want to keep
Toss: things that are garbage, and things that have no value to someone else
Sell: things that are still in good condition and are unwanted. I start with a sell box, and anything not saleable is donated.
Relocate: things that belong in another room or part of another project that need to be dealt with at another time.
When your sell box is full, it’s time to decide the best way to sell these items. You could have a yard/garage sale, vendor sale, sell online with Craigslist, Kijiji or Ebay, or any other method of posting your wares. (There are tons of resources for how to price your used goods, but the easiest way I find the going rates is to look at what others are selling it for.)

Any profits that you receive, you know what to do. Bank it!

No Spending Challenge

Challenge the family or your partner or yourself to not spend money in a category for a period of time. That’s the equation. What you save, bank it.

Example:
For two weeks, your budget usually includes eating out 2-4 times. Instead of eating out, challenge yourself to make from the pantry. Take the money from eating out, and bank it!

For a month, challenge yourself to find no-cost entertainment. Take that amount saved, and bank it.

TFSA 31 ways to save

Hustle a little

Have you looked into any side gigs? Most common side gigs for cash:

  • Listings for one-time assistance, like handyman items or snow shovelling/grass cutting
  • Errands for seniors or housebound individuals
  • Haul loads to the dump
  • Caring for children, pets or houses
  • Clean houses or offices
  • Be a (paid) companion or assistant to someone with a disability or to a senior 

These are just a few examples of what you could spend a couple of hours on, and make some extra dough.

Hustle a bit more

These ideas tend to be more permanent or may require more preparation time to set up:

  • Start a landscaping/grass cutting business in the neighbourhood
  • Sell products from home (see more about that here)
  • Drive for Uber or Lyft
  • Seek out a part time job
  • Build an online business
  • Resell goods online or in consignment stores
  • Tutor or teach a skill

Cut the fat

By making changes to what takes the money OUT of your wallet, you can start directing more to your savings. Think of what is automatically withdrawn from your accounts as these are likely to be missed when considering where to tighten a budget. Here are some ideas where you could save (up to) enough to fill that TFSA:

    • Switch to no-fee banking
    • Move emergency funds or other savings to a high interest savings account
    • Cancel credit cards with annual fees in favour of one without
    • Music subscriptions: do you use this? Can you get it for free? Can you do without for a while? Is there a family plan instead of paying individual rates?
    • Television: consider downgrading or cancelling cable and subscription programs in the summer. A lot of people are outside most of the time, and wouldn’t miss the programming.
    • Cell phone: are you paying for any extras? Have you called and asked for a lower rate? As cell phone services are changing all the time, look around for a cheaper option. If you can’t find one, then negotiate to keep a rate the same in exchange for your contract. (If you are signing a two-year contract, you could ask to keep your rate plan from before and avoid the new customer increase.)

TFSA 31 ways to save

BIG ways to save:

  • Do you need a three-bedroom house? Could you live in a two-bedroom apartment? Consider the cost of utilities, rent, taxes, etc. Can you downsize and live as well?
  • Depending on the needs in your house, do you need multiple cars? Are you living somewhere that you could downsize and save? Could you use occasional services and save as opposed to paying for maintenance, gas, insurance and/or car payments?
  • Do you have a collection that you are no longer interested in? Are there other collectors that would pay for your collection? (Hard questions: do you have anyone to pass it on to, and would they appreciate it? If not, then you might be kinder to your children by liquidating it now for what it’s worth, instead of forcing them to feel guilty and not knowing the true value.) Do you have a room full of Beanie Babies, vinyl’s, model cars, Barbie Dolls, etc?
  • Do you have a second home, like a cottage or trailer, that you do not use as often as you once did? Can you rent it or sell it?

Do you have collections? Do you have anyone to pass it on to who would truly appreciate it? If not, then be kinder by liquidating it now for what it’s worth, instead of creating survivor's guilt about selling it for less than its… Click To Tweet

DID YOU KNOW?

If you save $5,500 in your TFSA account annually, and invest with a modest 6% return, here’s your savings over twenty years: (source)

 
Year:  Contribution 6% Return
Year 1 $5,500 $5,830
Year 2 $11,000 $11,680
Year 3 $16,500 $17,881
Year 4 $22,000 $24,453
Year 5 $27,500 $31,421
Year 6 $33,000 $38,806
Year 7 $38,500 $46,634
Year 8 $44,000 $54,932
Year 9 $49,500 $63,728
Year 10 $55,000 $73,052
Year 11 $60,500 $82,935
Year 12 $66,000 $93,411
Year 13 $71,500 $104,516
Year 14 $77,000 $116,287
Year 15 $82,500 $128,764
Year 16 $88,000 $141,990
Year 17 $93,500 $156,009
Year 18 $99,000 $170,870
Year 19 $104,500 $186,622
Year 20 $110,000 $203,319

WOW

In twenty years, your money has nearly doubled – and that’s with a modest 6% return. If you invested with a 10% return, you would have $318,376! 

There are more than thirty ways to save and make money in this article. Between that and a weekly automated savings, and the motivation from you to do the work, there is a 100% chance of success.

AND… if you fill your TFSA to the brim, then move on up to door #2: Your RRSP!  Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more how-to money advice. You can also sign up for email updates here (it’s free!).

TFSA 31 ways to save