A Money Coach in Canada

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Hang on to your hats, folks. We’re about to enter a crazy time of the year.

Your shopping is probably mostly done (right? RIGHT??) but there’s plenty of in-the-moment wallet busters in store (sic) for the next 10 days. Here are 5 last minute tips to spend smart between now and New Years.

1. Run, don’t walk, run to your nearest dollar store to pick up gift cards, wrapping paper and bows. You don’t want to spend a fortune on this at the Brand Name store on Christmas Eve! If you have 90 minutes of time, an even better idea: make your own bows from leftover wrapping paper like Karen does.

Happy New Year!
2. New Years Eve. Going out? Leave your keys and your plastic at home. Decide how much you’re doing to spend and use cash. Save yourself from yourself! No oops-overspending hangovers this January 1st on my watch! 😉

3. Create your “standard-polite-decline” in advance to excuse yourself from potentially pricey on-the-spot invites you receive (we’re going out for lunch, join us!). Your line can be whatever works for you. Ideas: a gracious and classic, “Thanks so much but I have other plans” or “another time”; if suitable, ask if you can check your calendar first; have a standby excuse “I need to take the dogs for their walk”.

4. Travelling? Call your cel phone service provider today to be clear about extra charges. Avoid nasty surprises when you get your January bill! I usually purchase about $10 from Bell so I can make extra calls while in Vancouver.

5. Don’t apologize for not spending. I’m not saying cheap-out. But controlling your spending over the next 10 days should be a badge of honour. Settle that within yourself, and then let your actions and your words flow from that place.

About the Author

Imagine if Canadians were known for being all over their money. Engaged. Proactive. Getting out of debt. Savvy. Saving. Generous. Nancy wants to help. Nancy started her own journey with money over 15 years ago, and formed her company “Your Money by Design” in 2004 to help others along the same path. It’s not the usual financial advising/investment stuff. It’s about taking control of day-to-day finances –managing monthly cashflow effectively, spending appropriately, getting out of debt, saving. If you're ready to take control over your finances, pop by her business site, YourMoneybyDesign.com


  1. brad

    Another idea for the long term is to eschew wrapping paper in favour of gift bags. For the gifts we exchange at home, we haven’t bought any wrapping paper for at least eight years now — we reuse gift bags year after year; you just need a bit of opaque tissue (also reusable from year to year) to hide the gift in the bag. We do it more as an environmental gesture than a measure of frugality, but it works both ways, and gift bags are just as festive and lovely as any boxed-and-wrapped gift.

    Happy Holidays!


    nancyzimmerman Reply:

    Now that you mention it Brad, I know one person who gives her gifts in a *cloth* gift bag. The only awkward part was that she once asked for it back (at a party) which seemed a bit odd. But other than that, it was a terrific idea.


    Dec 22, 2010
  2. Jonathan

    Instead of paying top dollar for wrapping paper, we bought a big roll of brown paper in August and set to work with four pots of finger paint. In one morning’s work, we had nearly enough to manage all our presents, except the ones from Santa.

    When we ran out, I used this wrapping technique with the plain paper, to pretty good effect.


    nancyzimmerman Reply:

    Jonathan- I am truly wowed. The typographic paper is fabulous!


    Dec 30, 2010

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