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Column: The year of the sheep

In Chinese culture, 2014 was the year of the horse. Coincidentally after the past year, it almost feels like I was riding a wild horse. Being financially prepared meant the difference between landing in the mud and landing on a haystack.
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This year, the Chinese celebrate the sheep. Sheep are calm, steady grazers.
In Chinese culture, 2014 was the year of the horse. Coincidentally after the past year, it almost feels like I was riding a wild horse.

Being financially prepared meant the difference between landing in the mud and landing on a haystack. Luckily, I had planned for these challenges and was able to shake off the hay and get right back on that horse.

This year, the Chinese celebrate the sheep. Sheep are calm, steady grazers.

Incorporate my tips below throughout the year to help keep calm and steady as you graze through whatever financial challenges 2015 may bring!

Team with a trusted financial adviser to help with education and guidance so you can make informed financial decisions. Begin saving 10 per cent of each pay cheque.

Shop wisely by using coupons and searching for discounts and deals. Challenge yourself to avoid paying full price.

Buy clothes only when necessary. Don’t browse the mall out of boredom, that’s when you get into trouble.

Save your dining-out budget for celebrations only: Mother’s Day dinner, dad’s birthday brunch etc...

Re-examine your household expenses. Shop around for the best deals on your cable, Internet, cellphone, and insurance plans. Bundling services can save money, too.

Cancel expensive gym memberships and search online for easy to learn home exercises without the need for your own equipment.

Invite your friends over for a movie swap night. Label your DVDs with your name and number and write down who’s borrowed what. Do the same with books to save on entertainment each month.

Host a potluck night to enjoy with friends. Each friend brings a dish and voila ... a yummy buffet!

If you are a disciplined spender and have a credit card with a rewards program, use it for all your purchases and pay the balance every month. If your credit card is a weakness, stick with debit or cash.

If your daily work commute is long, save money by carpooling with a colleague and splitting on gas. In the warmer weather, opt for public transit.

Save money on spa services by hosting a girl’s pampering party. Ask friends to bring their favourite mud masks, sugar scrubs and nail polishes. Take turns spoiling each other!

Clean up your clutter during the cold season and host a yard sale at the first sign of summer. The money you make will be helpful when it comes to replenishing your flower pots and refilling the BBQ propane tank.

Get creative with gifting throughout the year by making your own. Better yet, give ribbon-wrapped jars of your family’s secret sauce or a tin full of freshly baked cookies.

You can’t go wrong with delicious goodness!

There are many more countless ways to incorporate money saving habits throughout the year. Search online for more and kick start your finances in the right direction.
Don’t become the black sheep. Happy grazing!

Heather Tarnopolsky is a Sun Life Financial adviser in Greater Sudbury. Her office is located at 888 Regent St, Suite 301. For info, call 705-674-2114, ext: 2249.



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