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As the holidays approach, everyone is starting to look for gifts for the important people in their lives – but that can definitely take its toll on your wallet! The average Canadian spends between $700-$1000 on the holidays, but that number definitely doesn’t have to be that high. Finance expert David Lester has some great tips to help us spend smarter and be better prepared for next year, and he stopped by Your Morning to share some with us.

Check them out below, and be sure to click the video above for even more advice from David.

USE YOUR LOYALTY POINTS

Canadians have billions of dollars in unused loyalty points. Up to $16 BILLION! You probably have loyalty points sitting on store cards or credit card statements too. It’s time to use those points to buy gift cards for your favourite store, restaurant or hotel. If you have a student that is flying back and forth from school, get them a ticket or points towards a ticket on reading week break.

DOWNLOAD MONEY SAVING APPS

There are tons of money saving apps that you can download that will save you 1-20% on purchases you would make anyways. You simply go through their site to shop at most retailers and it accrues your savings.  Every few months you’ll get a PayPal payment with the cash. If you spend $1000 on gifts saving $50 – $100 is totally worth it!

HOME SWAP

Why not skip the tree, mall, dinners, and gifts altogether? You can search for international home exchanges and swap your home in Canada with a place in Germany, France, or Spain! Their family stays in your home and you can stay in their home for the holiday. Check out home swapping options here.

SAVING FOR NEXT YEAR

Save $70 a month starting in January and you’ll have your $700 saved in an account next October! You’ll break the bad habit of spending too much this year and having to pay it all back next year. Make sure to buy all your wrapping paper and ornaments this January at deep discounts for next year too.

CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR RRSP

If you do have some holiday hangover this year, contribute to your RRSP (or pick up a side hustle). Hopefully you’ll get a big return that will help you pay your debt off and save you those big interest payments that can make the holiday spending twice as expensive.

Here’s the best way to pay off your student loans faster