10 Simple & Practical Ways to Save Money
Saving money can feel daunting, maybe even impossible at times. You have the best of intentions, but some new expense always comes up—new brakes for the car, braces for your kid, or a new hot water tank for your home.
But you’ve got to start somewhere and just keep reminding yourself that even a small amount can make a big difference.
Kick-start your savings by setting realistic goals, creating a plan, and sticking to it. If you’re struggling to get things started, here are some practical, money-saving tips for you to try out:
1. Make saving automatic
Set it up so that a manageable portion of your paycheck is automatically deposited into your bank account. Even if it’s only $50 a month, you’ll see your savings steadily build.
2. Create a realistic budget
The 50/30/20 rule is a good one to follow to ensure your expectations are realistic. Budget 50% to your “needs” (rent, insurance, car payment, etc.), 30% to your “wants” (cable, cell phone, dinners out, etc.) and 20% to your financial goals (debt repayment, emergency fund, RRSPs, etc.)
3. Use cash when you can
Using cash makes it so much easier to stick to your budget—plain and simple. When you have the physical money in your hand that you’ve budgeted for spending, you can track exactly how much you’re spending.
4. Cancel subscriptions you don’t use
Haven’t been to the gym in 5 months, or listened to an audiobook in a year? Cancel your membership. Thoroughly go through your membership and subscription account and make a rule for yourself that if you haven’t used it in 3, 6, 9 months (whatever seems reasonable to you), you’ll cancel it.
5. Never grocery shop without a list (or hungry!)
Shop on a full stomach and plan your meals ahead. This way you won’t be tempted to buy extra snacks and you’ll know exactly what you need to purchase for the week.
6. Try out cash-back and coupon apps
Some apps will provide you with traditional coupons that save you money on your purchase (you just don’t have to cut them out of flyers anymore!) and some will give you cash back for buying certain items. Make sure you’re not purchasing things simply because you’re getting a discount or cash back, this defeats the purpose! Only buy items that you need.
7. Save your spare change
Put the loose change you find in your pockets or between the couch cushions into a jar. When the jar gets full, deposit the money in your savings account. You’ll be surprised at how quickly that money will grow into a good little nest egg.
8. Skip the coffee run in the morning
If you can’t afford to put money aside for retirement, you can’t afford your daily Starbucks habit. Brewing your coffee at home won’t make it possible to retire tomorrow, but you can save up to $1000 in a year.
9. Check out your local library
Free books, free music, free movies, free magazines. That is all.
10. Buy generic
Generic products commonly have the exact same ingredients as well-known brands. The difference? The cost! Save money by purchasing generic brand water, medication, frozen fruits and vegetables, baby formula, and more. (Just FYI, the reason why generic brands are less expensive is usually only because they don’t have the huge marketing budgets as the popular brands.)
You’ll start saving money as soon as you make it a priority. We promise you there will never be a “perfect” time to start, so you might as well start today!