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.
Have you been making fewer trips to the grocery store since the COVID-19 pandemic hit? Then you may have gotten into the habit of stocking up on fruits and veggies.
Produce is usually 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. Then spend a few hours prepping and freezing. When winter comes around, you’ll be glad you did.
- 4 ways to reduce food waste and save money
- 7 ways to eat seasonally on a budget
- 10 tips for healthy eating on a budget
It’s the perfect time to fall into fitness
A lot of people kickstart a new fitness routine in the winter months. But autumn can actually set 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. Outdoor workouts are also a great option if you’re tired of working out at home or if you’re reluctant to return to the gym post-quarantine.
There’s also no pressure to get fit right away. You can start with small steps like taking your dog to the park, biking around your neighbourhood or going for a walk with your family. Plus, you’ll get to 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.
- 5 tips for working out at home
- How to stay active when you’re working from home
- How to start exercising with small steps
Get mental health support if you need it
The past few months have been stressful for many Canadians. Have you been feeling anxious and neglecting your own self-care? If so, then a new season might be the ideal time to check in on your mental state and get professional help if you need it.
- How can you check in on your mental health? Here are a few ways to start.
If you feel like you need professional help, a service like Lumino Health can help you find mental health professionals near you. Many health professionals now allow you to book virtual-care appointments – so you can get the care you need at your own convenience and safety.
Do you have workplace benefits? Check to see if they offer any resources for virtual counselling or e-therapy.
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 expenses like food and gifts. One way to reduce stress is to 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 may even find yourself easily removing a few expenses from your holiday budget this year.
For example, you and your family may decide not to travel this year due to COVID-19. This can save you money on airfare, gas or other travel accommodations.
So what can you now do with the money you would’ve spent on travelling? You can consider growing that 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.
Do you have employee benefits at work? Kick off this new season by reviewing those benefits. Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you taking full advantage of your employer’s group pension and registered retirement savings (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, given recent health concerns, you may 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.
What if you can’t contribute up to the limit this year? You can carry that unused contribution room forward, to bump up the amount you're allowed to contribute in future. (Please consult an attorney, accountant or advisor for more information.)
The past year may have taken a toll on your finances. So take a look at what you’re currently contributing towards an RRSP and/or a TFSA on a monthly or yearly basis. If money’s too tight for you right now, it’s OK to put a pause on those contributions and pick them back up when you feel ready.
If you don’t have an RRSP or a TFSA and you have money to invest, then it’s a great time to open these accounts.
An RRSP can be a great savings tool if you want to:
Meanwhile, a TFSA can help you save and grow money for any need, such as:
- buying a car,
- paying for a wedding,
- making a down payment on a house and more.
- 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 plan that suits your goals and needs. Most advisors now offer to speak to Clients by phone or video chat. Find an advisor near you.
This article is meant to provide general information only. We recommend you seek advice from a qualified professional like an attorney, an accountant, an advisor and/or a tax professional before making any decisions.