You work hard for your money, so being mindful of where it’s going is extremely important to get ahead financially. Whether you’re looking to save money for a rainy day, a vacation, to invest or to pay off debt, there are many ways you can save that don’t take a lot of effort.
Here are the tactics I use to save money, which has helped me build a strong rainy day fund, as well as put more money towards my mortgage on a monthly basis (literally shaving years off my amortization). You would be amazed that even the smallest of savings can help you achieve a big financial goal, if thought about it the right way.
Save Money with these 10 Techniques:
1. Make Two No Meat Dinners, Every Week.
No meat you say? Yes, you CAN do it. Vegetarian meals are in many cases faster to make, have a ton more flavour and are super healthy. But, guess what? You will save an average of $20 per week (based on a household of 4) by bringing this new routine into your home.
Here are some easy vegetarian dinners to get you started…
- Vegan Shepherds Pie
- Greek Stuffed Peppers
- Mushroom & Lentil Tacos with Creamy Garlic Avocado Sauce
- Baked Falafel Burgers
2. Use a shopping app to plan and save.
My go to app is Flipp. The Flipp app has digital flyers for all major North American retailers. This makes it easy to see and save the deals before leaving home.
Before my weekly shop I create a grocery list (in the Flipp app) and once I’m shopping I start price matching. Come on, who doesn’t love buying paper towels for $9 off the regular price?! Here’s how I make price matching work for me…
- Make a shopping list and check for deals in the Flipp app. Save deal.
- The best place to price match (for groceries) is Walmart, so go there 🙂
- When picking up your items in the store, check the prices in the app (it pulls prices from all other stores in your area).
- Save the best price
- When you check-out show the cashier your saved prices (my clippings). Make sure you show them BEFORE they scan the items.
- They will check and use the lower price immediately.
I’ve found that the best items to save money through price matching are toilet paper, paper towels, detergent, peanut butter, cereal, granola bars (basically your items in the aisles). However, if you look for price matches in the produce section you will still find deals.
3. Use your food.
Crazy idea right? There are 2 types of fridges most people have – the clean, organized fridge and the stacked to the brim fridge! Stackers: you know who you are… and this tip is for you. Instead of going grocery shopping (again), eat the food in your fridge! Tips to do this: prepare what you have, meal plan in advance and stick to a plan.
According to the Globe and Mail in 2016, “…The average Canadian household wastes an average of $1500 worth of food a year, the equivalent of leaving a bag behind at the grocery store each time we shop.”
This is NOT unique to Canada, it’s a global problem… The Food and Agriculture Association of the UN states that “Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tonnes) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tonnes).”
With the proverty we have in this world, it’s important that we all do our part to dramatically reduce this food waste.
4. Go Off Peak.
I live in Ontario and our local hydro prices are much higher during peak times. Current summer prices for Ontario Hydro:
- Off-peak: 8.7 cents/KwH
- Mid-peak: 13.2 cents/KwH
- On-Peak: 18 cents/KwH
These costs add up. So, use your hydro during off peak times, or at worst mid peak. Now, I’m not telling you to use no hydro during high peak times (we all like to catch a little America’s Got Talent from time to time), but when it comes to using your large appliances, going off-peak will make a dramatic difference to your monthly bill.
In the past, I didn’t pay attention to the times I was using my large appliances, but since I started keeping an eye on the times my hydro bill has dropped an average of $30+ per month. That’s $360 per year!
For current Ontario Hydro rates and times, click here. For those outside of Ontario, contact your local Hydro company to find out the most affordable times to use your appliances.
5. Call your cable company.
Have you ever noticed your cable/phone/internet bill creeping up in price? Well, you know that great deal when you signed on with your cable company? The promotion is over.
What you should do:
- Call your provider and communicate you are not satisfied with your current bill. 9 times out of 10 they will offer you a new package that drops your monthly bill substantially.
- They will usually offer you new promotions that last anywhere between 6 to 12 months.
- Call back every 6 months or so to ensure you’re getting the best package and rates.
Another great option is to cut your cable altogether and use Netflix. According to CBCNews “…Convergence Research Group Ltd. estimated 2016 saw a decline of 220,000 traditional TV subscribers in 2016, compared to a decline of 190,000 in 2015. Convergence said it expects another 247,000 to cut their cords this year.” (Canadian data)
Cord cutting is happening globally because people like you want more selection and refuse to pay the high prices from cable companies, so make a money saving decision that’s best for you.
6. Bring Your Lunch to Work.
See if you can make your lunch everyday this week. How much will you save?
On average people spend between $5-$20 a day on lunch and coffee. This week you could save $25 – $100 and that’s a savings of $1300 – $7280 in one year! This savings could send you on a nice vacation, or help you pay off debt.
Also, refrain from ordering takeout. I know it’s extremely tempting to order in on those nights you’re too exhausted to cook. It’s hard, but try and remember that takeout is sucking your money away! This brings us to…
7. Meal Planning.
Before you start meal planning ask yourself these questions:
- How many meals do I need to plan this week?
- What’s my budget?
- How can I use leftovers?
- What do I need to prep for easy meals? Example: salads, sandwiches, snacks?
Once you have your answers, make a grocery list (hello Flipp app) with each meal in mind and stick to the plan. When you get home prep your food…chop vegetables, grill chicken, wash fruit, etc. This may seem like a pain initially, but I promise it will save you time and money throughout the week.
8. Consolidate debt.
Do you have debt and is it being carried on multiple credit cards or do you have multiple loans? This is the time to consolidate what you owe. If you move all of your debt to one personal loan you will start saving instantly. Why? Your interest rate will decrease substantially. The average credit card interest rate in Canada and the US is 15% – 21%, while personal loan rates are dramatically lower.
Note: I am not a loan or debt expert, so speak to your financial institution for an action plan.
Never thought of asking for a discount? I LOVE to negotiate on price and you’d be surprised that most places will give you a deal if you just ask.
For example: Many department stores have promotions where you can get 15% off if you put the purchase on your department store credit card*. If it’s not advertised and the offer isn’t officially on, it doesn’t mean you still can’t get the deal. Just ask! If they say no, fine – but last time I asked they said yes 🙂
Great places to barter:
- Grocery store (older produce)
- Car dealership – NEVER pay the list price. This is the place that negotiating price is a must.
- Department stores – They have such a massive inventory that they can afford to give a discount. If you notice an article of clothing has a small imperfection, there’s your chance to negotiate.
- Flea market/Yard Sale/Garage Sale (for my English friends – car boot sale) – bartering for a better price goes without saying. It’s expected.
- Furniture stores – you can always get a better price the more you order. At very least demand free shipping.
*Important: If you have credit card debt or know you are bad with credit cards, DO NOT sign up to a department store card. This way of bartering only works if you pay that card off immediately. After all, you are not saving money if you are paying interest on a card.
10. Redeem points.
Do you have a credit card that gives you points?
You’d be surprised about the variety of ‘gifts’ those points can give you. Many credit cards not only give you points towards travel, but you can also redeem points for gift cards to stores you are already shopping at such as Home Depot, Best Buy, Costco, etc. With that said, also make sure to use the gift cards in your wallet.
Remember, as noted above – this concept only works if you never pay interest on your card and pay it off monthly. My common practise is to pay my credit card off in full twice a month (on pay day).
You may have noticed that 5 out of 10 of these money saving tips is focused on food. I haven’t only included these because I love food (which I do), but the key takeaway is that we all have full control over what we spend on food, what we eat and how we eat it. This directly links to how much we spend on our meals. This is an easy way to save money this week.
Let’s imagine you will save a minimum of $20 per week on each of these tactics (this is an average as some tactics will save you more and some less). Let’s break that down:
- $200 saved this week
- $866 saved this month
- $10,400 saved this year (minimum!)
Do I have you convinced to give it a try?
Thanks for staying with me to the end of this post. It’s a longer one, but I needed to be detailed as I truly want you to save money and make your life a little bit easier.
What are your easy money saving techniques? Please share in the comments section below.
DON’T FORGET IT! PIN IT…