Getting Ready For Winter 2016 -2017

Winter is the longest season we have in Canada. It is not a longer season in months than any of the other seasons. Because it generally starts in the middle of fall and runs into spring, it makes it feel like its six months of winter.

I am offering you a few suggestions to help you get through those long nights and very short days of winter. As you know getting your finances in order is essential but also is planning for the changes that happen as we go through life.

Today we started with a balmy 13 degrees. Yes fall is here and winter is coming. I know you must be thinking I should find something else to do instead of writing about those cold mornings that are sure to come.

There are few things we need to prepare for the cold winter days ahead.

Take some time this weekend and go through your coat closet. Check all your fall and winter coats and jackets for loose buttons, torn pockets, broken hems or those that are just ready for the dump. Select the ones you did not use last winter. Do you really think you are going to use them this season? Make a pile of those to keep and those to donate or chuck. What about your winter or fall boots, are they still wearable, or should they be sent to the shoemaker for a new set of heels? If they are too scuffed and you did not use them last year, make a choice to donate or trash them.

Now let’s see what we can do in the clothes closet. This is also a great time to dispose of the summer clothes you did not wear this summer. Remember donate or trash no other rule.    The fall and winter garments. Take everything out of your closets spread them on the bed on the floor wherever you can find space. All the sweaters, tops, slacks, jeans, yoga pants check them out and go through the very same process you did for your coats. Too tight, to big, torn, buttons missing, need cleaning or have not worn since you were two sizes smaller.   Make the same pile, keep, donate or trash. Immediately placed those to donate and trash in bags. When this is done, go through the keep pile again and sort out those for cleaning or laundering at home. This will take the better part of a Sunday afternoon so I recommend that you put on some music, pour a glass of wine and get busy.

Once you have your items in the bags the next big step is to take them out of the house. The sooner this is done the better you will feel. Take the donate pile to a recycling depot or call one of the charities and they will be pleased to be able to pick them up from your home. Plan to take the pieces you will be wearing early in the season to the cleaners first. Plan this carefully as cleaning bills are extremely high. You will have to make sure you only take the pieces you need and can afford to pick up at the cleaners before a major storm comes calling.

After doing all of this you might need to replace some items. The stores are starting their fall and winter sales. Those of you with a clothing allowance this is a great time to benefit from sales and refit your wardrobe.

Now that you have those wonderful tips, I urge you to take advantage of some of them to get yourself ready for our longest season.

Be Prepared

Be Prepared

While visiting a department store recently, I noticed how busy they were for the coming holiday season. This observation started me wondering how many consumers are as prepared for the coming season in the same way as the stores.

In every department of the store you observed the clerks, they were busy getting the decorations ready for the holidays. I immediately thought, oh dear the children are not even back to school for a month, and are still wearing summer clothes but here comes the toys. Some parents are still in the process of attempting to purchase, pants for legs that grew two or three inches this summer or feet that went from size 6 to 7:50 and now the holiday merchandise is staring in their faces.

The stores are not concerned about how ready we are their job is to get us to spend money and then spend some more. This is business, and those businesses know the early bird gets the worm. The company is getting a head start by showing us what is available for the holidays. Three months away.  That action tells me they have had a plan in place and they are now putting their plan in action. They are forward thinking. This is the date they set months ago to launch their holiday business plan. Therefore it must begin, nothing will stand in their way. I am certain there is a cost factor of how much to spend on salaries to get the merchandise in place for the season. They will not exceed that amount. The expected profit margin has been calculated and repeated several times to the staff and its imbedded in their memory. They are ready for the holidays. Are you? Do you have a plan? If not there is time for you to prepare.

All the couples and singles I work with on their spending plan are ready. They all have special accounts to take care of the expenses they plan to incur during the holiday season. Their money is available and easily accessible. No credit cards.  The key word here is, PLAN.   They have a plan. They are prepared and ready as soon as they choose to begin their holiday shopping. They have a limit and they will stick to it.

Here are a few suggestions those of you who do not have someone like me to be your financial navigator.

  • Take a page from business. Run your finances like a business.
  • Start early and stay focus on your plan.
  • Take advantage of those warm days; sit quietly for a few minutes and think about the people you would like to give gifts this holiday season
  • Write a list of their names and across from their names write the amount you wish to spend for each person.
  • Then think of what this person would like. Write that down next to their names.
  • Now spend some time on line checking your favorite websites searching for those items.
  • Check the cost, does it match your planned price? If not reevaluate that could mean you may have to change the item.
  • Most importantly keep this list with at all times. You might be able to purchase what you have chosen for your family and friends at a discount price. Items are always on sale. You can pounce on it only if you are prepared.

Try those simple steps; you will be surprise to see the difference it will make in your stress level, your mental health, and your financial health this holiday season.


Happy shopping.