Even if you’re not in a crunch for money, saving it is something that should always be in the back of your mind. We’ve rounded up some tips to help you and your family improve your financial situations. You won’t become a millionaire overnight, but you’ll definitely notice a difference overtime!
Plan all your meals: It’s crazy how much money you can save just by knowing what you’re going to eat that week. Sign-up to receive your local grocery store’s weekly coupons (all Metro & Loblaw groceries stores have them) and fliers so that you know what meat & produce is going to be on sale that week and revolve your grocery list around that. Planning your meals in advance will keep you in budget while your shopping & help you eat healthier. Check out our meals under $10, slow cooker meals and freezer meals to help you get started.
Bring your lunch, instead of buying it: Lunch is one of those expenses that adds up over time unknowingly and depending on how often you eat out, bringing your lunch could easily save you a couple of hundred bucks a month. Include lunches in your weekly meal plan and take leftovers from dinner with you to work.
Invest in a coffee maker and travel mug: Like lunch, coffee is an expense that adds up over time. Invest in a coffee maker and travel mug – the savings might not be much, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Find your local buy & sell groups on Facebook: You know what they say, one man’s trash is another one’s treasure. Collect all of the old things you don’t want anymore and put them up for sale on Kijiji, Craigslist or a local buy & sell group on Facebook. Housewares (decorative pillows, furniture, old dishes, etc) do extremely well. You’d be surprised at what some people are willing to take of your hands! It’s also a great place to pick up new things for cheap.
Sell you old clothes: Clean out your closet and bring your gently used, seasonly appropriate clothing to your local consignment store. They’ll give you a percentage of what they’ll be selling the item for (typically 20-50%) or a store credit. Check out our list of consignment stores in Toronto here.
Sign-up for reward programs: Get an Air Miles reward card, a Shopper’s Optimum Card and switch your credit card over to one that allows you to receive rewards! The points take a while to rack up, but that free $10 will feel so good once you get it!
Have your friends over instead of going out: Alcohol has the highest mark-up in restaurants, so why not have your friends over for a potluck and drinks instead of spending a fortune at that fancy new restaurant?
Start or find a clothing swap: If you’re a shopaholic who needs a fix, start a clothing swap with your friends! It’s a great way to get new clothes & get rid of old stuff you don’t want. Your city probably has a clothing swap already in place if you’d like to expand your options. You can find monthly clothing swaps in Toronto here.
Watch your bank fees: Did you know that at most banks an e-transfer costs money to send? Or that you’re getting charged ATM fees from the ATM machine you pulled money out of and your bank?
Make a budget and know what you’re spending each month: Looking at your bank statements is scary, but totally necessary. Make a list of all your necessary expenses (food, rent, etc.) and rack-up every dollar you’ve spent in the past month. Knowing exactly what you’re spending your money on each month will make it easier for you to allocate funds for entertainment, clothing and savings.
Don’t fall into the trap of fast fashion: Stock up on all of your basics and invest in pieces you’ll wear more than a couple of times. Make fashion DIY websites like My Little Secrets or A Pair and a Spare your best friend.
Save money on your hydro bills: It may not save you much, but make sure to turn off lights in rooms when you’re not using them and to unplug electronics that aren’t in use. Watch your timing when you’re doing to the laundry or running your dishwasher and make sure to only do them on off-peak electricity hours.
Do price comparisons: Especially if you’re shopping for big ticket items like a new computer, vacuum, etc. You can use websites like CamelCamelCamel to find price drops on Amazon and PriceFinder.ca to find comparisons for electronics.
If something is broken, try fixing it yourself before paying someone else to do it: You’ll be surprised at how handy you actually are. My boyfriend recently broke the screen on his laptop and instead of paying $150 for someone just to take a look at it, he bought the replacement screen on Amazon and fixed it himself with a little help from YouTube. In total, it cost him $9 to fix his broken screen.
Be Wary of Factory and Outlet Stores: Although you think you’re getting a good deal, a lot of what is available in outlet & factory stores was made for those stores, so you’re not actually getting a good deal. Instead, sign-up for warehouse & sample sale lists, like ours, to shop your favourite brands at real discounts!
Try to limit how much you spend on gas, taxis and Ubers: With just a touch of a button, it’s easy to call a car to come pick you up and not realize how much it’s costing you. With flat fee’s starting at $4 in Toronto, cabs and Ubers can get expensive. If the weather permits, walk or ride a bike. You make get to your destination slower, but you’ll get exercise and save money. You can also get almost anywhere on the TTC, but do the math before committing to a TTC pass to see if it’s actually worth it.
But if you’re going to Uber…: Know that you always get your first ride for free! Find a friend that already uses Uber and ask them to give you their promo code. You’ll get up to $20 for free and they’ll get a $20 ride for free too. Once you’ve started riding, recruit your other friends and every time someone uses your Uber code, you’ll get $20 credit!
Make your own cleaning supplies: It’s not a huge money saver, but it’s still something. Plus, it’s good for the environment! See a list of homemade cleaning supplies here.
Sell off any gift cards you aren’t using: Get cash for gift cards you’ll never use and buy gift cards to your favourite stores for cheap on websites like CardSwap.ca.
If possible, consolidate your debt: Paying interest is like throwing money away. Look into consolidating your debt, so that you aren’t paying multiple interest rates across the board. You will thank yourself after seeing how much money you save on interest costs and paying your debt will be way less stressful.
Get rid of any services & memberships you don’t need or use: Take a look at your internet, phone and cable bills. Are there certain television channels you don’t need? Do you need cable at all? Are you still paying for a home phone when you only use your cellphone? Also cancel any store memberships (like Costco) or gym memberships that you don’t use.
Get the Wifi password: We’re constantly on our emails, Instagram and Facebook, and it’s driving our cellphone bills way up! You can get free wifi almost anywhere now (restaurants, libraries, even the subway!), so there’s no reason you shouldn’t be using it instead of going over your data plan.
Create an email specifically for store newsletters & updates: Don’t check it often, as you might be tempted to go shopping, but stores will often send people on their email lists special discounts or promotions for when you do need to shop!