Home » Savings » Top 10: Saving Tips

When it comes to matters of personal finance, it is always good to look at the big picture. However, micromanaging the minor details can pay big dividends if given proper attention and focus. The ten ideas posted below are suggestions that can help rein in your financial leakage.

We recommend trying to accommodate these tips over the next ten weeks. The biggest obstacle in making a change in your spending and saving habits is getting started. Whether you are 16 or 60, it can be difficult to change old habits. Stay focused and remember why you are doing what you are doing.

1) When you receive your paycheque, take out a specific amount of spending cash for the week ahead

In order to keep track of your weekly expenses, take out a specific amount of cash. When you use credit cards for simple day to day purchases (e.g., morning coffee, gasoline, lunch), it is easy to lose track of what you are spending. Hold yourself accountable for your purchases each week.

This tip is especially useful for those who have runaway credit card spending issues. You can’t spend cash that you don’t have in your hand.

2) Brown Bag It!

Pack a lunch for work each day instead of buying. To save time in the morning, consider making your lunch the night before so you won’t face a time crunch and eat out just for simplicity’s sake.

If you’ve always bought your lunch, reward yourself one day per month with lunch at your favourite establishment. It is nice to have some type of a reward system to reinforce and support our good habits.

3) Buy generic rather than brand name

Making small sacrifices like drinking the grocery store cola versus name brand is a very reasonable adjustment to save money in the long run.

Doing any back-to-school shopping or picking up some stationery for the office? Dollar stores are fantastic for this. Unless you’re some sort of paper connoisseur, no-name notebooks should suffice.

4) Consult a Gas Price App on your smartphone/tablet or visit a gas price website (most are free)

This is a wonderful tool that is invaluable when it comes to saving money on fuel. These apps or websites (e.g., gasbuddy.com*) present the gas/diesel prices at fuel pumps in your area.

If you would like a quick demonstration, check out the helpful video below that explains how gasbuddy.com works.

5) Review your monthly bills, contact the supplier, and negotiate a better contract

It is helpful to regularly review your contractual obligations at least once per year. Whether it is your cable bill, rent agreement, or cell phone bill, there is room for negotiation. We’re not telling you to pull out every contractually based bill you have right now and dissect it. Start small and hone your focus on one bill at a time.

For example, if you are unhappy with your current Cable/Satellite TV package, contact your provider and find out what can be changed to better suit what you are looking for.

This is a fantastic area to find savings because small amounts can have a significant impact. Receiving a monthly rent reduction of just $85 amounts to over a thousand dollars in annual savings.

Never be afraid to ask for a better deal or negotiate an adjustment to any contract. You are your only real advocate. Empower yourself sooner rather than later!

6) Use air conditioning wisely

Most modern air conditioning systems have easy to use programs located on the thermostat to regulate the temperature through-out the day and night. Learn the basics about how to set the timer/program to ensure you are getting the most efficient results.

This rule also works for the furnace. Monitor the usage of your heating and cooling systems by adjusting the temperature a few degrees. Be sure your systems are serviced and maintained properly.

7) Make a list before going to the grocery store

This is a simple idea that is guaranteed to save you a lot of money. Impulse buys are greatly reduced when you go into the store prepared. Prior planning in all aspects of life is a good habit to work on. Always remember that massive corporations spend millions of dollars every year to figure out the best ways to get you to spend more than you intend to.

Preplanning shopping lists for weekly meals also translates into less wasted food, which again saves you money over the long run. You can even make meals in advance and freeze them. Doing this allows you to buy in bulkier quantities, do a large amount of cooking once per week and reaping the benefit for many days.

It’s a habit that takes time to perfect. In our fast-paced world, many of us have forgotten how to cook – and certainly how to do so on a budget. Learning to use your kitchen effectively is an art worth reviving.

8) Watch for sales on items that have a long shelf life

Buying toilet paper or any items that have no expiry date is an investment that helps the bigger pictures bottoms line. Why pay full price for items you know you will use? Simply watch for a sale and stock up!

9) Proper car/vehicle care

A vehicle is the second largest purchase most people make in their lives (Most expensive being a home). So it stands to reason that it’s a wise choice to take very good care of your vehicle.

Most vehicles depreciate in value over time, but that doesn’t mean your attention to its care should also drop off.

Watching the air pressure in the tires and keeping all the fluids (e.g., oil, transmission fluid, coolant) topped off will help in making sure your vehicle is running smoothly. Our personal preference has always been to take our vehicles to a licensed mechanic twice a year to cover all the bases, but most basic vehicle care procedures can be done by the owner (another way to save money!).

We are also conscious of how we drive our vehicles. By braking more gradually, slowing down to cross railroad tracks, and other basic tactics, you can preserve the shelf-life of your auto as well.

This tip is really a philosophy that can be converted and used for all of our possessions, appreciate the things you have and look after them. Taking care of what’s yours demonstrates a passion for life. Be content with and proud of the life you’re leading.

10) Research products before making the final purchase

Just like when we purchase a stock – doing our own due-diligence in terms of researching a company – we also find it very beneficial to ‘shop around’ when it comes to major and minor purchases. Knowing that you are buying exactly what you want for the lowest price is a big step in the right direction.

A simple and no hassle way to get a lot of good unbiased information about products and services is to use YouTube. A company may post about its own products and services, but there will be some posts from the Average Joe about the same issue or product. The more information you have, the better your decisions will be.

If you’re not willing to take the time to research a product in advance of buying it, you probably don’t really need it anyway.

Rick

What have you done lately to cut costs? We would love to hear some of your tips and tricks.

* We are receiving no compensation whatsoever from this suggestion.

Pictures courtesy of pixabay.com 

Video courtesy of YouTube and GasBuddy.com

7 thoughts on “Top 10: Saving Tips

  1. Great article One additional point i like to add for saving i.e save tax by buying equity or mutual funds as dividend on equity and mutual funds is tax free and assure the return of more then 10% CAGR over 3 years.

    1. Hi Financial Hospital,

      While it is best to consult with a tax specialist, it is important to note that returns from funds are actually taxed.

      Further, funds do not guarantee or assure a CAGR of 10%.

      Perhaps you can elaborate on your points.

      Thanks for stopping in,
      – Ryan

  2. Andrew says:

    My wife and I were faced with a dilemma two years ago. I changed positions within my job that left me without a work vehicle. We looked around for used cars because we knew we couldn’t afford two car payments. What I found was a reliable car for $320.00! I had a friend check over the car with me and after discussing it with him I made the purchase. The vehicle lasted me one year before I sold it because the alternator went. Aside from insurance and gas I paid just over $100.00 to drive this car. Shopping around and looking for deals is a good way to save.

    1. GetRichInCanada says:

      That’s a pretty great deal. I’ve heard of a number of services as well that help members find great deals on vehicles. I’ve never used one myself, but there’s no question that if you’re patient you can find good deals on reliable rides. It sounds like you probably saved yourself a thousand bucks or more.

      Thanks for sharing your story, Andrew.

      – Ryan

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