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It’s been more than two full weeks since your New Year’s resolutions have come into play, or so you hope. How’s your holiday hangover? If you’re still struggling with the same financial setbacks that keep you down year after year, or you just don’t know where to begin, then read on for some tips and helpful hints. Here comes the financial equivalent of a gallon of water and some aspirin!

Tip #1: Buy holiday incidentals for next year now – If you’ve just managed to dismantle and dust your home back to it’s pre-festive state, you may not care to see another snowman so soon, but you can pay much less for next year’s holiday cheer by hitting up clearance sales in the next few weeks for items such as wrapping paper, cards and even décor. Plan ahead; start making your list for next year while it’s all fresh in your mind. Things that we normally leave to the last minute can generally be picked up a lot cheaper if you’ve got the gumption to seek them out before everyone else.

Tip #2: Know where you went wrong – AND right – Maybe you didn’t really need to shower your entire podiatrist’s office with those gourmet treats, but on the other hand the online comparison pre-shop saved you a bundle in cash (and frustration) on your kids’ gifts! Knowing which spending or shopping habit areas need improvement and, likewise, what has proved effective is a great start to keeping things in check in the coming months.

Tip #3: Start saving – If you’ve resolved to make this the year you buy that new TV, go on holiday, have an emergency fund or even prep for next year’s holiday expenditures, you may want to consider having funds automatically debited from your chequing account into a savings account. Many financial institutions (such as ING) have plans in place to make saving as easy and painless as possible. Shop around to see which institution offers you the account most suited to your saving goals.

Tip #4: Make a budget and a debt-attack plan – You knew this one was coming! As unpleasant as it may sound, this is the ever-important step to remedying your holiday hangover. To get yourself back on track you need to know what you’re working with. Have a good look at how much you owe and to whom, then sit down and sort out your cashflow, make adjustments to your expenses, and fly at it. That being said, if you’re on a ‘never-never plan’ wherein your bills are at the point that you’re calculating just how many decades it will take you to pay them off per that “minimum payment” box on your statement, you may want to explore some debt resolution options.

If this holiday season has proved to be the straw that broke the financial camel’s back, please feel free to call one of our ten offices to discuss your financial resolution.