Written by Meaghan Brugha, Eva’s Financial Literacy Toolkit Creator

This is the first post in a series that will use the advice from the Eva’s Financial Literacy Kit to share tips on budgeting, spending, debt and credit. This first post offers some sage advice on how you can control your spending, especially with the upcoming holiday season fast approaching!

Ah, spending money. Spending money is one of those really frustrating things in life that strikes a perfect balance between pleasure and pain. Kind of like an ice cream headache. You get the goods but at a cost.

My father once suggested that I pay in cash every time I make a purchase. The process of literally seeing his money leave his wallet I guess motivated him to not spend so much. I tried this. It didn’t work. I would end up with an empty wallet, shrug and be proud that I was following his one spending rule, and then go get more money out of the ATM.

My suggestion is that the first thing you need to do to be a savvy spender, is figure out your unique relationship with money. Everyone has a different one and this means that we will all have different strategies for harnessing our spending habits.

Journaling isn’t for everyone, but I found this a useful exercise while teaching financial literacy. Trying to discover why it feels good (or bad) for us to spend money is a big step in the right direction to a healthy relationship with it and good spending habits that allow us to reach our budgeting goals, while still getting a few treats along the way!

 Meaghan’s Spending Tips:

  • Make gifts instead of buying them. It’s often nicer to get something hand-made! And I don’t mean using yoghurt tubs and popsicle sticks – there are really nice craft stores around that can help you create something personal and beautiful for a loved one that won’t break the bank.
  • Check the store’s return policy before you buy. Often it takes getting home to realize you maybe didn’t need that pricey, hipster cat t-shirt.
  • Bring a list when you’re grocery shopping and don’t shop when you’re hungry. Those 2-bite brownies will make their way into your cart. Just trust me on this one.
  • Plan your weekly meals in advance. Yes, I know it’s annoying, but just do it.
  • Complain! Very few customers complain when they are dissatisfied, yet companies are literally invested in customer satisfaction. You don’t have much to lose by expressing your (respectful) dissatisfaction.

Check out our full Financial Literacy Toolkit here: www.evasfinancialkit.ca

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