It is the holiday season and coming up with a few extra dollars can be harder at this time of year due to all the demands to entertain more, buy gifts and the list goes on.

However, when we try to save money, are we sometimes being cheap? Or, as put a better way by a new survey done by Credit Canada Debt Solutions, is it possible to be frugal without compromising quality?

They asked Canadians to share some of their stories to gain some insight and here’s a snapshot of what they found:

  • "We didn't do our homework when we picked our roofer. One year later they were no more. So much for a warranty."
  • "Being cheap has caused us to replace our kitchen chairs multiple times! It's embarrassing when a chair breaks when you sit on it or worse when a guest sits down!"
  • "My ex put [a] car I bought in his name so I could save taxes. He left with the car."

Many of Canadians' stories show that choosing the least expensive option for merchandise or services does not necessarily mean saving money.

"There is a big difference between being cheap and being frugal and that difference can help Canadians make more positive financial decisions," said Laurie Campbell, CEO of Credit Canada Debt Solutions.

Frugal Canadians' simple savings approaches include:

  • "I quit buying coffee every day & started making my own which allowed me to put almost $1000 in a TFSA!"
  • "Audit your contracts/bills (i.e. cell, water) once a year and shop around."
  • "Buying store brand vs name brand saves one money in the long run & is just as good."
  • Avoid eating out and buying specialty coffees during the workday.
  • Buy generic store brands over brand names at a fraction of the price.
  • Take advantage of coupons with deals and discount codes when possible.
  • Consider using mobile shopping apps to price match or find deals that will save you money.
  • Remember that sometimes it's worth paying a little extra money for quality items when buying outerwear, clothing and footwear that may last longer and cost less in the long run.

The challenge is coming up with a little money and stretching it as far as you can. These are a few ideas we put into place in our household last January to pick up extra money throughout the year, so they are tried and true.

Saving money on energy costs:

1) Installing a programmable thermostat: Although it took us a while to actually figure it out, once we did, these handy gadgets let you turn up the heat or air conditioning just before you get home rather than paying to keep your empty dwelling comfy all day. Lowering your thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours during the day in winter can save five to 15 per cent per year on your heating bill.

2) Switching to energy-efficient light bulbs: Yes, they do cost more than traditional bulbs, but they wind up saving you money because they use two-thirds less energy and can last ten times longer.

3) Clean and change furnace air filters and wrap your hot water heater: These moves help your appliances run more efficiently and cheaply. Seal ducts on air and heating systems to improve efficiency by as much as 20 percent, according to the Alliance to Save Energy.

Saving money at the Bank:

1) It shouldn’t cost you a fortunate to use cash, or even borrow money in this interest rate environment – negotiate and beware of hidden fees and penalties.

2) Pay on time and watch default rates and fees associated with missed payments. Consider setting up automated payment systems.

There are so many ways that you can save a little along the way and I truly believe a little can go a long way…it adds up over time. As Mom always says to me, "if you saw a dollar on ground, would you pick it up"? You bet I would.