Fabulous Frugal Finds

November Is Financial Literacy Month

November is financial literacy month – and isn’t the timing great? Yes, we are just at the beginning of the holiday season (everyone has a different date they officially declare it the holiday season, but we all know retailers have been there since September) but now is the time to give some serious thought to your own financial situation ahead of the holiday spending season rather than in January, when you could be left with regrets.

This week November 6-10 is Credit Education Week (again, great timing) and as part of that, we’re taking a look at guilty pleasures once again on Feisty Frugal & Fabulous, and how they can wreak havoc on your bank account if you don’t pay attention.

We all have guilty pleasures! According to the ‘Guilty Pleasures’ study, Canadians overwhelmingly admit that restaurant food is their most popular indulgence with 72% of responders highlighting dining out and 71% admitting they order takeout more than a few times a month, resulting in spending over $199 monthly. Guaranteed our restaurant bill is over $199 monthly, yikes!

Other guilty pleasures highlighted in the study include daily coffee purchases (50%), online shopping (44%), clothing purchases (33%) and beauty services (23%). Are you mentally checking any or all of these on your own guilty pleasures list? Has it become a problem for you?

When does it become a problem? Well, when you’re sacrificing your own savings goals and see your debt adding up (like weight, it can creep on slowly and suddenly you realize, if you’re being honest with yourself, you’ve indulged for way too long when you knew better!)

The comforting news is, you’re not alone. More info from the Guilty Pleasures study: While 65 per cent of Canadians believe they are in good financial standing, one-third (35%) rate themselves as being in fair or poor standing. 36% admit to not putting anything towards savings each month and 25% of Canadians admit their guilty pleasures spending has kept them from achieving their financial goals.

Now. Today. Ahead of the holiday season and all the impulse spending that our guilty pleasures entice us to embrace, what can Canadians do? Here are some awesome tips I received from Capital One Canada and Credit Canada to help keep indulgent spending in check:

1. Build a Budget: Create a realistic budget based on your income. Include necessary expenses like your mortgage, gas and transportation, saving for the future and any discretionary spending. Place spending limits by categories in your budget, and then take your budget for a test drive. Remember that tools like a budget calculator can help identify areas that you’re spending the most in.

2. Track and Evaluate: Track your spending regularly against these set categories to see where your money is actually going. A budget tracker can help track this against your budget, as well as looking at your credit or debit account statements. If guilty pleasure spending is getting out of hand, re-evaluate how often you indulge or consider a cheaper alternative.

3. Mindful Monitoring: A credit card offers many perks, but it’s important to use it responsibly to reap all the benefits. If you’re consistently holding a balance on your card at the end of each month, take a step back, review your budget and see where you can find efficiencies. Tools like Credit Keeper™ can help you better understand credit and the importance of a healthy credit score to your overall financial health. Credit building programs designed to teach Canadians how to build or rebuild their credit and increase their credit score are also a good resource.

Life is meant to be lived with robust enthusiasm and passion, and especially during the celebrations of the holiday season! Being aware of your spending and indulgences doesn’t mean you need to stop the party, it just means that having a plan and focus will help you avoid the credit hangover in January. I intend to of course indulge in the spirits of the season (definitely a guilty pleasure) but I’m planning for it now in November by setting a budget aside for dinners out with my friends and family, so that I don’t overdo it.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in partnership with Capital One. All commentary, opinions and witty remarks are my own, obviously.



Click here to post a comment

Leave a Reply to Laurie P Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Luckily, one thing I’m good at is budgeting. Even better, I live with my mom who is an amazing cook, so I don’t have much interest in takeout. I do however love gift giving and over spend during the holidays.

  • Eating out is one we are definitely guilty of. We don’t purchase lottery tickets or much junk food… but we do love our take out lol

  • Having a budget means so much, but it is also so easy to track it all when purchases are on credit rather than having cash in your wallet.

  • We are so good at NOT overspending for which I am very thankful. I think part of it is my stubbornness to get our mortgage paid off in the next couple of years. Always good to have an outside source helping you get on track 🙂

  • Well I am happy to say we hardly ever get take out, just because it is way to expensive when I can make it cheaper at home, but my guilty pleasure is shopping online for shirts, yep I said it shirts, I have so many I could start my own little shirt shop..lol

  • I would say my guilty pleasure is buying vintage pottery from thrift stores. Can you HAVE too many McCoy planters? Possibly…

  • you have seen my guilty pleasures when I was posting them on instagram LOL! i have many of them. of course it is mostly food, drink and coffee based but i cant get enough of them. Definitely adds up though

  • I’m lucky in that I was brought up to be financially careful as there wasn’t much money around when I was a child and that has stayed with me to this day. The only thing that I’ve not paid for outright is a house, for which I needed a mortgage. I always pay off my credit cards at the end of the month, interest is crippling on those. I seldom eat out nor do I order take-out. Sometimes I’ll buy a coffee when I’m out but that’s seldom too. I’m not into buying clothes only when needed and I don’t shop online either.
    I do think that these are good tips for those who aren’t meeting their financial goals, it’s important to stay on track.
    I’d also suggest using just cash for a month, allot yourself the amount you think you’ll need and see how you do.

  • I try to save money by always shopping for sales plus I collect points, use coupons and use every site to my advantage so I can save as much as possible for my savings.

  • I don’t eat out often, but my husband is guilty of that!, I don’t buy coffee out as I can make a good cup at home. I try to save money as much as possible but I’m guilty of buying lotto tickets.

  • We definitely follow a budget. It’s not necessary always written out, but we live within our means – no debt and will be mortgage free in 1 year – squee!

  • My guilty pleasure is an occasional matcha latter at the coffee shop. They fit into my budget because normally I make regular coffee at home, which saves me from buying it every day at the shop.

  • I do not have any guilty pleasures and am good at budgeting. Putting money into the kids pleasures is something which is putting me behind on paying off the mortgage…but that is our choice.

  • I’m in the guilty pleasures category – sometimes I’m afraid to even think about it, but I would really like to get things in order… and soon!

  • Track and Evaluate is a fantastic tip and one that my family practices very carefully! (Coffee is definitely a guilty pleasure though)! 🙂

  • hmmm, I don’t have guilty pleasure since moving to this tiny town, guess you could say the odd bottle of wine…. Great post!

  • I’ve learned that I need to stay off Zulilly. And I can’t have the Shopping Channel on as background tv, because I start listening and thinking, “Hmm maybe I DO need that ….”

  • I am guilty of having a guilty pleasure and that is buying yarn for my knitting and crocheting. I have enough here to open up a shop but when I see a new color or brand, well it usually comes home with me.

  • I try to watch my spending and I buy my gifts all year wherever I find something that’s on sale really cheap and I put it away for Christmas.

  • I don’t budget well, but I don’t spend much either, so it seems to work itself out. However, having five kids definitely puts a demand on the budget, so I know I need to be better at it.

  • I wish I had been taught the importance of money and credit at a young age. I ended up going bankrupt in my early twenties.

  • I do need to set a budget and stick to it. I have been ordering why too much take out now that I’m back at work full time.

  • Thank you for the tips on how to navigate the holiday spending season. Luckily I’m really frugal and always buy stuff on sale. I price match and always get the best deal but sometimes I notice I spend too much at restaurants since I usually have to buy the most expected thing since I have major food allergies. My tip is eating before I go so I can maintain my figure and save while enjoying my friends or families company.

  • I agree with the credit card, I use mine to get points for free groceries and that helps and we budget properly to not pay the high interest rates.

  • I’m definitely bad for eating out, especially in the winter, but I’m trying harder to cook at home. It’s a waste of money for us to eat out so much!

  • We eat out way too much – I don’t even want to say the amount we spend! I’m learning to cook a bit more now so luckily it’s going down and we are eating healthier too!

  • We’re pretty good at budgeting, and we usually make our own coffee…one guilty pleasure is we like to get take out a few times a month…trying to cut down on that!

  • I need to start keeping better track of how much I spend on groceries. We need to eat, but I often feel like I’m spending way too much, even with price matching (flipp), coupons and checkout 51!

  • I have to say my husband is awesome at budgeting and we have made huge cut backs. We seldom go out for food and Luckily I love to bake and cook.

  • Eating out is a guilty pleasure of mine, I do try my best to accommodate the cost by using coupons or eating out while a franchise has a promo on.

  • These are all awesome tips. Thanks.
    We always stick to a budget every month and buy takeout every Friday or Saturday to treat ourselves and stick to a good budget

  • I try to buy the things i really want on sale and always use cash instead of a credit card 🙂 great info thanks for sharing !

  • I’m pretty good with budgeting but online shopping is my guilty pleasure. The “Mindful Monitoring” was a good tip because it’s something easy to do and would become a habit if you consciously do it for awhile.

  • I didn’t do a good job budgeting the last few months and seeing the numbers of my account disappointed me enough to know i need to do better. Budgeting is super important.

  • I have always been good with money but my daughter is not showing these signs from an early age so I will have to make sure that she gets so willpower and skills to not get herself in money troubles later in life.

  • I was brought up in a financially savvy family who believed in budgets and that trait was picked up by me also. We seldom eat out but I believe in buying what I want for food to prepare at home. Thanks for this great information.

  • I need to do a better job of separating out into categories. Purchases made at larger stores have a mix of items from food, to household, to clothing and I don’t spend enough time figuring out what goes where

  • Those guilty pleasures you really have to watch closely. Daily spending on little things really adds up to BIG debt.

  • I feel very lucky that my parents taught me how to be financially responsible from a very young age. When I got my first job as a teenager I started putting 15% of all my paycheques into savings (as advised by my parents), and another 15% into a travel fund, because traveling was (and still is) important to me. I got used to budgeting everything else around only having 70% of my paycheques, which was hard, but it really paid off in the long run – my parents were right, if I made it a habit I would learn to live on my earnings after “deductions” which was really like paying myself in the future. I stuck with this format until my husband and I had kids, and now we have reduced our amounts to 10% for travel, and a set $$ amount for savings that gets taken directly out of our bank account and deposited in our RRSP. The only debt we have is our mortgage which will be paid off in a year and a half. We use our credit cards for everything so that we can earn all the applicable rewards, but we also pay them off in full each month; we also bought 2 cars that fit into our budget and paid them off years ago as well. We have healthy savings in place for our retirement, as well as in RESPs for our kids. Some (many!) years we were really on a tight budget because of what we took off and put aside, but it really wasn’t that hard to cut back on frivolous things like eating eat, buying new clothes etc. We live in a townhouse instead of a house because that is what we could afford, but we are very happy with that outcome too. I am so thankful that I learned to budget as a teen – it is a life skill that has benefitted me immensely because I learned to not spend beyond my means, and I still get to spend money on the things I love most (e.g. travelling!).

  • My guilty please is Tim Hortons everyday! I use to be guilty of eating out but now I eat healthier and eat out maybe once every other week

  • Budgeting is a great tip! It’s hard to set a budget and stay within it. I find the best way is to have money transfered from one account to the another every month and you don’t even realize how much you have ‘stored’ away.

  • I am horrible with money of any kind and unfortunately so is hubs! We don’t eat out much as he’s such a good cook!

  • I track and evaluate my spending to avoid going over budget and we hardly ever get take out so that helps too. I do tend to overspend when buying gifts though.

  • I should know better because a few years ago i ended up in emergency surgery and trying to live off of 1/3 of my income was hard.

  • i never really thought about how much we spent on take out and this article made me realize we spend way to much , really gonna try cutting down and putting that money to better use

  • I love to save a buck so I’m really good at budgeting. I’m teaching my boys about spending and saving so they will be smart with their money when they grow up.