June 22, 2009 12:49 ET

Canadians Encouraged to 'Give Themselves Credit'

Financial expert Alison Griffiths reveals how everyday spending can be rewarding

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 22, 2009) -

Editors Note: A photo and video are associated with this press release

In this economic climate, many Canadians are feeling overwhelmed and out of control with their finances. Award-winning journalist, best-selling author and financial expert Alison Griffiths has some advice for those impacted by the economy - 'KISS' or 'keep it simply savvy.' This refers to her savvy spending approach which ensures Canadians are maximizing their discretionary and non-discretionary spending each month. Griffiths explains that when finances are kept simple and spending stays in control, consumers are less likely to run into financial trouble and will have a clearer understanding of where their money is going.

There are many methods consumers can use to become savvy spenders and make the most of their everyday household purchases- using a credit card attached to a loyalty program responsibly is just one highly effective tool. When credit cards are paid off in full every month, they allow consumers to track their expenditures, build their credit rating and benefit from rewards such as loyalty points.

Alison's top ten tips on how to be a savvy spender:

1) Stretch each dollar on everyday purchases - Loyalty program credit cards can be a highly effective tool in making money go further - which is more important now than ever before. For example, with AIR MILES' credit cards, savvy spenders can earn rewards on items such as groceries and gas which add up over time.

2) Do a daily audit - Track what you spend your money on so you only spend on what you love - spending just $5.50 less a day adds up to over $2,000 a year!

3) Pay it off - Interest fees are a thing of the past when savvy spenders discipline themselves to use their loyalty credit cards for everyday shopping, earning rewards then paying off the balance.

4) Use the power of the 24 hour rule - Take the 'impulse' out of buying.

5) Don't spread the wealth too thin - Savvy spenders shed the wallet pounds by picking one value-added credit card - whether a loyalty reward credit card or cash back card - and sticking with it, maximizing every penny.

6) Online banking - Saves you time, money and is better for the environment.

7) Work the 'buy now pay later' deals - Get the credit advantage without the interest charges - make monthly payments before the due date to avoid high interest rates.

8) Make shopping lists - Before going to the grocery store, make a list of items you need and don't forget to look for extra deals on the items you purchase.

9) Become a master comparison shopper - Do some research and decide what the best deals are on everyday items.

10) Fine-dining, at home - Anyone can have a romantic lobster dinner for less than $30 by taking advantage of seasonal foods and bringing fine-dining home.

About the AIR MILES(R) Reward Program

Founded in 1992, The AIR MILES(R) Reward Program is Canada's premier coalition loyalty program. More than 10 million active Collector accounts, representing approximately two-thirds of Canadian households, actively participate in the Program.

The AIR MILES Reward Program allows Collectors to indulge in leisure, entertainment, merchandise, travel and other lifestyle rewards quickly, simply by doing their everyday shopping for products and services at AIR MILES Sponsors. AIR MILES reward miles can be redeemed for more than 800 different rewards, such as movie passes, family attractions, electronic merchandise, sports and recreation, travel and more.

Collectors can shop and collect AIR MILES reward miles at more than 100 brand-name Sponsors across the country, representing thousands of retail and service locations nationally, including BMO Bank of Montreal, RONA, Shell, SportChek (Sports Experts), The Shoe Company, American Express, A&P, Sobeys, Safeway and IGA, and The AIR MILES Reward Program's website is

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