Amanda Lang: Canadians' debt in-line with the economy
CALGARY — Solid New Year's resolutions can help you close in on your long- and short-term money goals, whether it's saving for retirement or paying off a mortgage. There are numerous new habits that you can adopt in your day-to-day life that will reduce spending for long-term results.
Here are some suggestions from a wide variety of experts that you might consider adding to your own personal agenda as you head into 2019.
1. "Resolve to get real with your numbers. You need to know what's been going on and what you've been doing with your money. Take stock. Then decide what you're going to do to stop adding to your debt and start to pay it down."
-- Leslie Gardner, financial planner, Money Coaches Canada
2. "You should resolve to always buy your gasoline on a Sunday, preferably in the evening, because that tends to be when you will see lower prices than during the rest of the week."
-- Dan McTeague, senior petroleum analyst, GasBuddy.com.
3. "Resolve to save money on skiing by buying a multi-visit card that offers discounts and free ski days. And save money on transportation by using free or low-cost shuttles offered by some ski resorts."
-- Jasper Johnson, spokesman, Lake Louise Ski Resort
4. "If you sign up for a free trial online, look for already-checked boxes. That checkmark may give the company the green light to continue the offer after the free trial or sign you up for more products -- only this time you have to pay."
-- Shawna-Kay Thomas, spokeswoman, Better Business Bureau of Southern Alberta and East Kootenay
5. "The instant gratification of toys or clothes are certainly appreciated by children and grandchildren; however, a gift that goes toward post-secondary education will have the greatest long-term impact. Resolve to make contributions to an RESP (registered education savings plan) that allows the funds to grow on a tax-deferred basis."
-- James McCreath, portfolio manager, The McCreath Group, BMO Nesbitt Burns Private Client Division
6. "This winter, resolve to keep warm by dressing for the temperature. Don't leave your car running to keep it warm. If you are parked and waiting, turn off your vehicle. Idling can burn one to two litres of gas per hour, while restarting your car only uses about 10 seconds worth of fuel."
-- Kristine D'Arbelles, senior manager of public affairs, Canadian Automobile Association
7. "Budget permitting, resolve to maximize your charitable tax credit by giving more than $200 for the year. For every dollar you give beyond that amount, you get a 29 per cent tax credit federally, and you may reach over 50 per cent tax credit when you factor in the provincial credit. Remember that this credit is also transferable between spouses and can be carried forward for five years."
-- Gerry Vittoratos, Canadian tax software company UFile
8. "Resolve to be patient with yourself. Purchasing a gym membership will seem like a great investment when you achieve results. Also, choose a location that is convenient for you, speak to a fitness professional about your options and check to see if your employer has a corporate rate."
-- Jason Sheridan, senior vice-president of operations, GoodLife Fitness.
9. "Resolve to save money, live comfortably and reduce pollution by upgrading your lighting, insulation and appliances at home and at work to energy-efficient alternatives to reduce your utility bills. Use the sun's free energy with renewable energy technologies to meet your heating and power demands."
-- Saeed Kaddoura, analyst, Pembina Institute
10. "Book your flights early. The closer you get to departure date, the prices can often be more costly and selection can be limited. And book with a travel agent — they can provide plenty of price options to maximize your savings and minimize layover times."
-- Gary Howard, vice-president marketing, CAA Atlantic