Making Sense
of Your Money

This is the time of year we're thinking about our loved ones and the gifts we'd like to give to them. It's also the time of year when credit cards get the most use. According Stats Can the average Canadian will spend between $700.00 and $1,800.00 on Christmas gifts.

We've assembled a list of tips to help you save a little extra - not just at this time of year but all year long.

  • Have a 'secret Santa' gift exchange for the family. Each person draws the name of the family member they will buy a present for and so each person only buys for one family member. The key to this savings tip is to set a reasonable budget for the gift.

  • Start your shopping online. Look for the deals and discounts that retailers will often offer that you can't find in store. Look for offers that include free shipping because if you can do this earlier enough in the season you'll save even more money.

  • Be strategic about your buying. You can choose a 'theme' for your gift list and only visit retailers that fit the bill. This will ensure that you aren't impulsive when that "Oh, Joey would just love this!" moment hits you.

  • For the family get-together why not go potluck? Each group only needs to prepare one dish and everyone gets to enjoy a wide variety of dishes.

Here are some good all-year-round tips for saving a bit more on the monthly budget.

  • Use the leftovers from dinner and bring lunch to work. Make up the lunch after dinner so it's ready to go in the morning. This alone will add up to some really significant savings. The average Canadian can easily spend $8.00 - $10.00 on lunch out. You do the math!

  • Turn of lights when they aren't needed. Not just when you're not in a room but also when there is enough light that you don't need to use them.

  • Energy saving bulbs can be big a money saver. Use them in the garage or porch. Every little bit helps.

  • Turn the thermostat down to a level everyone can cope with comfortably while appropriately dressed.

  • It is far more cost effective to use a portable space heater than it is to heat and maintain an entire house. If you're reading a book in the living room then use a space heater and a blanket instead of cranking up the thermostat.

A Holiday Super Hit

Increasing the amount of fibre in your diet is one of the most beneficial steps that you can take towards improving your overall health. Making changes to your lifestyle doesn't have to be monumental – it really can start with one small step each day. Here's a simple recipe that takes just minutes to prepare.

Blueberry Yogurt Smoothie
1 cup of plain yogurt
1 cup of fruit (you can use frozen blueberries,
pineapple or peaches)
¼ cup of skim milk
1 teaspoon of honey

Blend all ingredients with 1 cup of ice and enjoy.

Let Your House Lend A Hand

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1.FAMILY    2.SNOWFLAKE    3.JINGLE BELLS    4.COMMUNITY    5.CANDY CANE   
6.CHRISTMAS TREE    7.WREATH    8.GIVING    9.FRIENDS    10.NEW YEARS EVE

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