Money: 7 good moves to start the year right | dollars and cents

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. Especially those that require a radical change in behavior, like watching your spending down to the penny on a budget or becoming an overnight savings champion. With few exceptions, they will not live until February.

However, January is a good time to take small, simple steps that, taken together, can save you a good amount of money throughout the year. My suggestions are easier to implement because, unlike many resolutions, they don’t require self-deprivation.

1. Return unwanted gifts

When someone gives you a gift, it’s to make you happy. If you don’t like the gift, feel free to ask for an invoice to return it and buy something you really like.

If the person no longer has an invoice, read the company’s return policy. Some can track the transaction through the credit card on which the purchase was made. Others—these are rare—even accept returns without a receipt, but usually in exchange for store credit.

If it can’t be returned – or if you’re really afraid of offending the person who gave it to you – sell the gift on a classifieds site. Otherwise, why not save by giving a birthday gift to someone who will appreciate it?

2. Don’t join a gym

I don’t know about you, but I took a bit of abuse over the holidays. However, falling into the trap of January gym ads is out of the question.

About half of new members give up their membership within six months, according to data from industry promoter IHRSA. Most of the rest don’t hit the gym as regularly as they pay…

There are many free winter options to get in shape, including hiking, running, snowshoeing, ice skating, and ice hockey, among others. If you prefer to exercise in warm weather, your municipality may offer low-cost physical activity – some cities even have a gym!

If sweating in front of others isn’t your cup of tea, why not make your own inexpensive home exercise equipment with these tips from kinesiologists?

3. Enjoy your vacation

Do you have 2022 holidays left in your store? Many companies allow a certain number of unused days to be carried over to the next year, but they require that they be taken by a certain date or they will be gone. This is an opportunity to get paid for doing nothing; What are you waiting for to benefit from it?

Likewise, if your employer offers floating vacations to use as you see fit in addition to sick days, why not schedule them now? This will ensure that you benefit from it.

4. Plan your vacation

Speaking of vacations… I know the heat of summer seems far away, but now is the time to plan your vacation to get the best chalets, the best-located hotels, the best campsites, and above all, the lowest prices.

Several companies offer generous free cancellation policies, and it’s in your best interest to take advantage of them. When you find a bargain on a room or rental car, book it to lock in the price. If you find something better or cheaper, you will have to cancel it.

If you’re planning to travel abroad this summer, buy plane tickets today. By following our tips for determining the best time to buy, you can save hundreds of dollars per person.

5. Empty your gift cards

Don’t wait to use the gift cards received at Christmas. Every month inflation reduces their purchasing power! As a bonus, in a month when bills are often high, it’s a great way to have fun without spending a dime…

Know that you don’t have to travel to use these gift cards. Many businesses accept them as payment on their website. This is the case for delivery at certain restaurants.

If you don’t know how much money is in the gift cards in your wallet, here’s how to easily check the balance.

6. Look at your insurance coverage

For those lucky enough to benefit from group insurance at work, take a few minutes to review your brochure to make the most of it next year.

Is massage therapy included? Is there an oral examination at the dental clinic every six months? Is nutritionist consultation covered? Feel free to take advantage of these services when you need them: you pay for this protection with each of your paychecks!

7. Do free activities

No need to pay to act as a couple with friends or family! All over Quebec, there are trails, public squares, museums, shows, and historic sites to find that the admission price is zero dollars or otherwise modest.

To find them, just play the tourist in your area. Also visit your municipality’s website for information on cultural and sports programs. You can find some great finds there!

Attention nature lovers: this winter, entry to Sépaq parks will be free for 20 days in January, February and March 2023. Put the dates in your diary and reserve your spot — you can do it up to 30 days in advance.

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