The $8 a day holiday savings challenge

How to save the $640 Canadians tend to spend before Santa arrives.



Online only.


Think you can set aside an extra $8 a day for the next 88 days? If you do, you’ll have amassed just over $700 in time for Christmas and well over the $640 the average Canadian budgeted for gifts last year.

Imagine how good it will feel to wake up on Boxing Day without that all-too-common credit card bill hangover.

If you’re up to the challenge, let me know how you plan to sock away the extra $8 a day and I’ll publish the top strategies on this blog later this year.

In the meantime, I’ve asked around the office for some ideas that would either help save, or earn, the extra $56 a week for the next 13 weeks or so.

Here’s the best of the best to get you started.

From Jon Chevreau, Editor:

Raise your deductible. Call your car insurance provider and ask how much you’ll save by raising your deductible from let’s say $1,000 to $2,000. It many cases, the extra money in your pocket each month is worth having to fork over a little extra on the off-chance you’re involved in a collision. Click here for more on how to slash your insurance bill.

From Don Sutton, Managing Editor,

Mix up your commute. Parking your car in an urban centre easily costs $8 a day, if not more. Walk, bike or take public transit when and where you can. Added bonus: you’ll save on gas and get squeeze in a little extra physical activity.

Make a music wish list. Skip the music downloads from now until the Holidays and jot down your must-haves instead. Someone is bound to ask you what you want for Christmas and when they do, you’ll be ready with a list of albums.

From Mark Brown, Managing Editor, Power of Advice:

Brew your own coffee. Walking past the coffee shop, even twice a week from now until Christmas, can easily save you $56.

Go gourmet at home. Forgo the fancy restaurant meal and tackle a new recipe instead. Heck, even grab your favourite wine from your local liquor store. Our bet is you’ll save $60 by doing so and there’s no corking fee!

Brown bag the leftovers. Again, we’re not suggesting meat loaf for lunch every day but packing your own lunch can easily net you $8 a day.

Cut the gym membership. Opt to exercise at home, especially if your last trip to the gym was sometime before Canada Day. If you really miss it, then you have your New Year’s resolution ready to go. (Here’s our guide to getting buff at home.)

Rent a movie. Need Friday night plans? Call some friends, pop some popcorn and hit up your local Redbox kiosk. Total cost: $2.50.

From David Hodges, Senior Editor:

Set up an automated account. Sock away extra cash with automated savings accounts available at most banks. Scotiabank has a dedicated Christmas Club that automatically pulls $20 or more from your account every week and pays 1% interest, maturing Oct. 31.

Sell your unloved goods. Scour your basements, sheds and junk drawers for valuable stuff you just don’t use. Garage sales not your thing? Post the items on eBay or Kijiji and watch the offers roll in.

Empty out your pockets. Now that you’ve been nickel-and-diming, throw all that extra change in a mason jar every night. When it’s full, take it to the nearest BMO Coin Counter and exchange it for cash. The service is free and the machines are available to everyone.

Clip coupons. Chances are countless coupons are delivered to your doorstep every week. Cut out the ones for products you use anyway and take them with you on your next trip to the supermarket.

…and last but not least from me, Editor,

Give your thermostat a break. It’s one few times a year we Canadians can live comfortably without air conditioning or heat. Embrace it. Open the windows, grab a blanket, do whatever you need to cope with the outside temperature, naturally.

Time your laundry. Can you do laundry in non-peak energy consumption hours or hang your clothes out to dry? Doing so could save you a couple bucks on each utility bill for the next couple months.

Remember to share your $8-88 day challenge strategies by leaving a comment below.

11 comments on “The $8 a day holiday savings challenge

  1. Better yet; save $10 a week and by the end of the year you will have $520 of christmas fund. You will NEVER miss it coming from your account. I have done this for several years to pay for christmas dinner and gifts and best of all; come New Years there's no guilt.


  2. Great ideas, but is $700 for Christmas really neccessary? Unless you have a lot of extra money, it seems like a lot. I generally try to keep it under $500, and I have a family of 6 plus a partner with family members as well to buy for.


  3. Good article, things that almost all of us can do. i'm in and will do it to.



  4. I have been putting away $50 every 2 weeks for years in a Christmas and birthday account. What I don't use I just transfer to another savings account or use towards other things. I LOVE IT, and every year when my credit card bill comes in, I have $0 worries.


  5. For years I have put aside $100 a month for Christmas and Summer outings..
    I usually never spend it all and add it to regular savings.


  6. I am so glad to found this blog, nice idea for saving money for Christmas gift, so when Christmas is near you dont have to worry anymore about the money. I I would like to add some another idea, using gift bag will help you save money, because even though if your gift is not that epic the bag itself will make it look more epic


    • Well I hope I can do this for Christmas. Even 5 dollars I think, I can't save it. :)


  7. Well thats worth to save for the customers:)


  8. I'm happy to have found this post. While I was a bit late for the holidays, this came in handy for a trip to Marrakech I'll be taking soon! I plan to have plenty saved up by then! Thank you, Stefania!


  9. Nice article thanks for sharing! Great tips for saving…


  10. Great point, it’s an ideal time to try to expand people’s skillsets. Although it can help for them to have someone to talk to and run things by before they post – especially as social is so, well, public!


Leave a comment

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