For many of us, the shift from summer to fall represents a fresh start. The change of season can be an ideal time to develop healthier, more productive lifestyle habits. And there’s no absolute rule that says you can only make resolutions in the New Year. You’re free to set your goals whenever you want. So why not now?
Here are some solid reasons to make (and start following) your resolutions now instead of waiting until January:
Eat well in autumn and have healthy eating habits in place by winter
Yes, the cost of food is on the rise. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for processed foods or sacrifice healthy choices at the supermarket. Consider stocking up on in-season fruits and veggies. Produce is at its cheapest when it’s in season. So when fall favourites – like kale, pumpkins, beets, broccoli and apples – reach their peak, buy them in bulk, and spend a few hours prepping and freezing. When winter comes around, you’ll be glad you did. Plus, you’re more likely to make healthy choices when it comes time to prepare a huge Thanksgiving or holiday dinner.
- 7 ways to eat seasonally on a budget
- 10 tips for healthy eating on a budget
- What you need to know before your next grocery shop
It’s the perfect time to fall into fitness
A lot of people kickstart a new fitness routine in the winter months. But autumn actually sets an idyllic scene for a little outdoor exercising. Think about it: You’re not wilting under a summer heatwave nor do you have to layer up and trudge through drifts of snow. There’s also no pressure to get fit right away. You can start with small steps like taking your dog to the park, biking to work or walking your kids to school – and enjoy the fall foliage along the way. Any activity that gets you moving can help to lower your blood sugar, reduce your risk of heart disease and manage your weight.
- How to stay active when you’re working from home
- How to start exercising with small steps
- 5 benefits of cycling to work
Avoid the New Year’s crowds at the gym
Thinking of getting a gym membership? You’re more likely to get a discount during the summer or winter months. But chances are the gym will be packed with fitness folks toning up for beach season in June or swamped with New Year’s resolution-makers in January. Fortunately, during autumn, our beloved in-between season, gym crowds start to thin out, giving you more space and access to equipment like treadmills, ellipticals and weights.
Many employers offer health and wellness perks ranging from in-house gyms to subsidized gym memberships. Take advantage and get moving on your employer’s dime.
Prep your finances for the holidays
The holidays can be a financially stressful time for many people, especially if you’re footing the bills for food, travel and gifts. The solution? Start planning for it now. Estimate how much you’ll need for all your festive-season expenses and start saving in a holiday fund. You might consider growing your money in a tax-free savings account (TFSA) and withdrawing what you need when December rolls around. Bonus: In the New Year, you can put back what you took out of your TFSA, along with a whole new year’s contribution.
Give yourself a financial checkup
Speaking of finances, don’t neglect yours until January. Kick off this new season by reviewing your workplace benefits. Are you taking full advantage of your employer’s group pension and RRSP plans? What about stock purchase plans? Is your workplace life insurance enough to cover yourself and your family? You could be missing out on some stellar workplace perks, including – through employer matching – free money. Or maybe you’ll realize you don’t have enough coverage and need to top up.
- How do employee benefits plans work?
- Here’s some clarity on workplace benefits.
- The importance of joining a group pension or RRSP
Fall is also a great time to check on your RRSP and TFSA contributions. If you haven’t reached your TFSA or RRSP contribution limit for this year, you still have a few months to find the cash. But don’t wait until year-end (for TFSAs) or next March (for RRSPs): The sooner you put your money in an RRSP or TFSA, the sooner it will start growing and working for you. If you can’t contribute up to the limit, you can carry that unused contribution room forward, to bump up the amount you're allowed to contribute in future.
- How much can you contribute to an RRSP?
- RRSP vs. TFSA: What you need to know
- RRSP calculator: How much do you need to save?
Need help fixing up your finances this fall? An advisor can help you work out a strong financial plan that suits your goals and needs. Find an advisor near you.