Halloween teaches us valuable financial lessons like budgeting candy, but it’s not all gum drops and lollipops. A retailmenot.ca survey found that Canadians spent $1 billion on Halloween in 2015. In fact, the Halloween industry is so large that it can support retailers who are only open for the season.


According to Global News, the average Canadian spends $52 per person on costumes.T he cost of costumes rarely reflects the quality. So why shell out so much money? Save yourself from the frightening cost of a costume by dressing up as an iconic movie or TV character in plain clothes. Don’t let the cost of Halloween costumes scare you away this year.


4 Cheap Halloween Costume Ideas from Your Closet


For men:


Marty McFly from Back to the Future

You will need white sneakers, a jean jacket, blue jeans, a white buttoned shirt, an orange vest and a red t-shirt.

Quote: “Wait a minute, Doc. A… Are you’re telling me you built a time machine… Out of a DeLorean?”


Ace Ventura from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

You will need to style your hair up and back in the iconic Ace Ventura style, a pair of black converse or boots, red striped pants or something similar, a floral pattern shirt, a white tank top and an ID card reading “Ace Venture Pet Detective”.

Quote: “That was close one ladies and gentlemen, of course in every contest, there must be, a loser. Lew-Who, Za-Her.”


For women:


Wednesday Addams from The Addams Family

You will need dark black mascara, a white collared blouse, a black long sleeve shirt, white stockings, a pair of black shoes and your hair in pigtail braids.

Quote: “I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker colour”


Sandy Olsson from Grease

You will need red lipstick, a tight pair of black pants (preferably leather), a black shirt that shows off your shoulders and red high heels.

 Hang a leather jacket over your shoulder and do your hair to match Sandy’s to really sell this costume.

Quote: “Tell me about it, stud.”


Bonus: You can have a lot of fun dressing up as yourself in high school. Find an embarrassing photo of yourself and replicate the look.

A DIY costume will show off your creativity and make you the life of the party. Consider a costume from your closet before spending money at a retailer. The key to a great Halloween costume is making it fun, so memorize some movie quotes, dress up as your favorite character this year and save your money.


Home Sweet First Home – Are You Ready For The Big Leap?

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Building your career, paying back student loans, establishing a credit rating, buying your first home – if you’re like most Canadians in their 20′s and 30′s you probably have a lot on the go.


A home may be the biggest purchase you ever make, so it’s important to know that you can comfortably afford to buy and maintain it.  If you have a partner or spouse, it’s equally important to communicate openly and regularly about your feelings and expectations about money, your home and your overall financial plan.  Before you start visiting open houses, here are some helpful steps to review.


Save for your down payment


One of the first steps is to set a goal for your down payment and create a plan to reach it.  Consider setting up an automatic savings plan with preauthorized contributions from your chequing accoung to a high-interest savings account.  Choose an account that pays interest on every dollar, regardless of the balance.


Put down as much as you comfortably can and you’ll be rewarded with a shorter mortgage term and reduced interest costs.  If you have at least a 20 per cent down payment, you likely won’t require mortgage loan insurance, which protects the lender if you default on your mortgage loan.  Mortgage loan insurance is offered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca) Genworth Financial (www.genworth.ca) or Canada Guaranty (www.canadaguaranty.ca)


Determine how much you can afford


To work out how much you can afford, consider factors such as your down payment amount, household income, other monthly debt payments, estimated housing-related costs and closing costs.


Housing-related costs are recurring expenses that may included utilities, phone and cable, maintenance, home insurance, mortgage insurance, property taxes and condo fees (if applicable).  Closing costs are one-time charges paid at the time your house purchase closes.  Typically, they can include legal fees, appraisal fees, home inspection fees, title insurance, service charges for connecting utilities, a land transfer tax and moving expenses.


As a good rule of thumb, your mortgage payments, other monthly debt payments and housing-related costs shouldn’t exceed 40 per cent of your gross annual income.


Stay on top of your credit record


Every time you pay a bill or apply for credit, two credit reporting agencies (or credit bureaus) – Equifax Canada (www.equifax.ca) and TransUnion Canada (www.transunion.ca) – take note.  This information is used to calculate your credit score, which is a key measure a lender will consider when deciding whether to offer you a mortgage.  Information is kept on file as long as 14 years, so it’s important that you ensure the credit bureau records are up to date and correct.  Each will release your file to you at your request.  Their processes differ, so visit their websites for more information.


Get pre-approved


If you’re serious about buying a home, consider getting pre-approved for a mortgage.  This process will identifyexactly how much the lender is willing to lend you, provide you with an estimate of your payments and give you the opportunity to lock in at the current interest rate until a particular date.


Pre-approval doesn’t mean you have to get a mortgage with that lender, nor does it cost you.


Talk to your spouse about priorities and concerns


In addition to the financial aspects of buying and owning a home with someone, it’s also important to regularly communicate about the emotional side of money, including your spending and saving priorities and habits.


You may love trying out a new restaurant each month, while your partner may like to splurge on the latest gadgets.  That’s fine.  It just means that you need to set clear expectations with each other on how you will use your discretionary income.


It’s important to discuss expectations and goals for the money you’ve saved as well.  One person may be expecting to put some savings towards new flooring, while the other may be eyeing a new leather sofa.  Or one person may feel it’s very important to save for retirement, while the other may have vacations as a priority.  The goal is to ensure that you understand your monthly cash flow, talk about your finances openly and do not overspend and accumulate debt.


Work with a financial professional


Whether you’re looking to purchase your fist home in a few months or a bit further down the road, a financial professional can help you create a savings plan and a suitable cash flow plan.  An advisor can also help facilitate important discussions between you and your partner.  If you don’t already have an advisor, reach out to one.  And when you have a plan in place with your partner, review your progress regularly with each other.