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Saving through the season, with the folks at Capital One Canada.

At Capital One Canada, we spend a lot of time thinking about how to set you up for financial success. Part of that means bringing our own personal experiences to work, including the smart money-saving strategies we’ve learned working on the frontlines of personal finance.

With gift giving upon us, we put our heads together to come up with our very best tips for staying on budget during the most shoppable time of the year.

Gift yourself some cash back.

You know what’s a win-win? Collecting cash back on the gifts you’re already giving! “I use a cash back app to purchase most of my gifts during the holidays, which ensures I get the most value out of my purchases,” a Capital One professional shares.

Visualize those holiday-shopping victories.

Don’t be swayed by all those pretty displays! “Go gift shopping in your head first,” another associate advises. “Once you’ve got a solid plan in place, you can order your gifts online or swing by the mall. It’s when you start wandering stores for inspiration that you get sucked into grabbing impulse items that might seem like a good idea at the time but wind up being overpriced, over packaged and over by New Year’s!” Same goes for random online shopping sprees!

Make the season of giving last all year.

Instead of making one marathon shopping trip (with an accompanying supersized bill), try spacing your shopping out. “Shop early, or even throughout the year, for those you want to buy gifts for,” one of our marketing associates says. That way you can even buy someone something special whenever it comes to mind instead of being stumped at the end of the year when the clock is ticking.

Gifts for all, debt for none!

Want to know how to have all the fun with just a fraction of the shopping? “Organize a gift exchange like a Secret Santa so everyone gets something but you’re not obligated to buy multiple gifts,” one of our team members suggests.

Nice save.

Is there anything a well-considered budget can’t do? “I set aside $50 to $100 each month as a ‘gift fund’ so that I’m not hit hard by holiday shopping expenses,” another associate says.

Eat at home, sip with friends.

RSVP “no” to that dinner out. One of our marketing associates says you can have just as much fun with friends without an overpriced entrée. “Use the fun holiday drinks that come out as an excuse to go out for a warm drink with friends instead of going out for dinner.”

BIY – Bake it yourself!

Nothing comes from the heart like homemade cooking. “Bake a bunch of different cookies and make boxes of them for friends and family instead of buying gifts,” a kitchen wiz associate says. “Depending on your recipes, you can make a lot of cookies for pretty cheap, then get boxes from the dollar store to decorate. The time and care put into a gift like this has a different impact than something expensive. Also, if you have kids, it’s a fun thing to do together.”

Give with your heart, spend with your head.

Don’t let yourself get swept up in all the excitement. “Avoid impulse purchases,” one of our visual designers says. “Always walk away, go home and think on it. This will give you time to do more research, think on your priorities, price shop, act less emotionally and gauge whether it’s worth going back for.”

Choose your shopping buddy wisely.

Get a second-opinion from someone you trust. “Bring a shopping buddy that balances your thinking and helps you act responsibly,” an associate says, before adding, “Not like my friends who like spending money!” Anyone want to buddy up?

Check out more holiday shopping tips, everyday saving tips and more tips from the folks at Capital One.

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1. There’s been no change in your credit file information, personal information or financial status from the time you receive your Quick Check results to the time you apply for one of our credit cards;

2. You’re at least the age of majority in the province or territory you live in;

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4. You don’t have an existing Capital One account; and

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