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• Jan. 2, 2020

Do you—and your bank account—feel a bit drained?

With the holidays almost over, the parties and constant gift-giving may already have you reeling. Even if you did your best to stick to a budget, it's easy to get caught up in excitement of the holidays, resulting in overindulging and overspending.

According to a 2019 survey from PwC, Canadian consumers say they planned to spend an average of $1,593 this holiday season (up 1.9 per cent over last year.)

If you need some help recovering from a post-holiday spending hangover, here are three simple ways to help get you back on track with the New Year on the horizon.

Half it

You might think avoiding the mall or online shopping is just one way to get you back on track financially, but adjusting how you approach everyday purchases can also add up to greater savings.

For instance, forgoing buying your morning coffee at a café altogether and making one at home instead might make the most sense for your wallet, but if the daily ritual of buying a hot beverage is a luxury you choose not to live without, consider swapping your daily beverage for a less expensive choice. Maybe your $6 daily latte purchase becomes a $3 regular coffee to cut your typical expense in half.

Other ways to cut back include switching to a less expensive store for your groceries or, if available and comparable, choosing generic products over name brands.

Swap it

Banning yourself from eating out at restaurants and fast food outlets altogether to save money may not be realistic.

READ: 3 ways to teach kids about money during the holidays

If you tend to buy food out when you have less time to cook, consider hosting a stew or soup swap. You and your friends each bring a pot of homemade soup and empty Tupperware to someone's home and fill your containers with other people's creations (like a cookie exchange). This way you leave with a few different meals, adding variety to your meals for the week while cutting down on cooking time and saving money.

Track it

Regardless of the steps you've taken to cut back on your daily expenses, keeping track of your purchases in a way that's easy for you so that you have an an accurate picture of your spending is also important for your success.

One way you can do this is to just use cash and/or debit for any purchases over a defined time period. Or you could use an app that helps to track your expenses and puts them into categories for you to log over time.

One example is TD MySpend, which lists your purchases made with your TD deposit and credit card accounts in real-time. This record can also help next year by being able to compare how much money you spent over the holidays year over year so that you can make adjustments to your budget before the festive season officially kicks off.

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