Saving Money

Monday Nov 13th, 2017

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When purchasing an upgraded home or condo, it is often necessary to cut out many other expenses in order to afford the down payment and subsequent monthly payments. It might seem tricky, but eliminating little luxuries you’ve grown accustomed to can make a difference. First ask yourself: do I really need this item or have I just become used to having it? Next, make a list of pros and cons. Your pros would include the benefits of maintaining such an expense. The cons would be the consequences of not having the expense at all. You might be surprised at the number of things you can eliminate or reduce while still enjoying your current standard of living. And remember that small amounts add up quickly. If you bring a lunch to work instead of buying it and save $5 a day, you are saving $25 a week, $100 a month, and $1,200 a year!

Here are some other tips to help you cut down on unnecessary spending habits:

Shopping: Shopping online can be a great and quick alternative to shopping in grocery stores and malls, especially if you’re pressed for time. There will be a small delivery charge, but it will allow you to do more than one thing at a time, and you will save on alternate expenses such as babysitting and transportation. Try websites such as www.grocerygateway.com for groceries, and www.ebay.ca for just about everything else.

Eat before you go grocery shopping so that you won’t be tempted to make impulse purchases. Stock up on food staples when they are on sale. Buy generic or store brand essentials such as sugar, flour, toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, etc. where a brand name is not necessary.

Avoid buying expensive “empty calorie” snack foods. Instead, try buying healthy alternatives such as nuts, dried fruits, and crackers without hydrogenated fats at bulk food stores. Not only will you save money, but you will also be eating healthier.

Check the unit price of items. Just because something comes in a big box doesn’t mean that it’s cheaper! Sometimes two smaller packages are cheaper than the big box. Compare prices ounce per ounce.

When cooking, prepare twice the amount and freeze the leftovers (this works especially well with cookie dough). It will deter you from buying frozen and pricey ready-made foods when time doesn’t permit you to cook an entire meal.

Shop at discount grocery stores and bring flyers from surrounding area shops and pharmacies and ask them to meet the prices.

If you are a regular monthly book buyer, stop the habit and visit your library instead! If you insist on buying books, get them used or online  www.amazon.ca.

Kids: For kids’ birthday parties, try buying all of your goodie bag items from the dollar store.

Household: Save up to 50 per cent every month on convenience cleaner cloths such as dryer softener and face cleanser cloths by cutting them in half.

Auto: Use less expensive gasoline. If you live in North America and have Internet access, you can search for the cheapest gas in your neighbourhood at www.gasbuddy.com.

Personal Care: If you don’t have the time or expendable cash for manicures, try investing in some of the major tools (nail file, polish, cuticle remover) and do it yourself. Tip: If your fingernails get a yellowish tinge from dark polishes, try soaking them in a mixture of one part lemon juice and two parts warm water for five minutes.

Remember that when you’ve met the savings and debt reduction goals you need to get or maintain your new home, you can put some of these “luxuries” back into your life again.

Electronics: Once you add up the cost of renting movies, going to the theatre, and buying expensive snacks, prices can really skyrocket. Digital cable can be a great way to enjoy unlimited movies on demand with just one monthly cost.You will eliminate the price of parking, expensive tickets, theatre snacks, and late fees on rentals.

Review your phone bill and consider whether or not you really need all of the services you are currently paying for. Can your cell phone service replace your home line? If so, consider eliminating your land line phone.

Vacations: Camping is a family-friendly alternative for those who don’t mind roughing it or having peace and quiet for a few days. Campgrounds are generally very affordable. Whether you travel by camper or simply throw a tent and a cooler in the trunk of the car, it’s a great way to bond together as a family and enjoy being away from all the distractions of home. Try to plan some activities ahead of time or find a campground that offers a variety of things to do such as swimming, hiking, canoeing, and biking.

Visiting relatives or friends is a great way to get out on the road, see sights along the way, and reconnect with those people who you miss. If you’re able to stay at someone’s house, it’s a tremendous savings on your travel budget. If not, you can probably find a nearby motel at a reasonable rate. You can also save money on food by cooking and eating at your guest’s house. Remember to offer to share the food bills!

Gifts: When you anticipate gift-giving occasions, you will always find items on sale. It goes without saying, but the idea is to never pay retail!

Buy gift-wrap and greeting cards on sale, or better yet make them yourself.

Treat your partner or spouse to a homemade spa. Give a “gift certificate” announcing a full one-hour body massage and facial. This gift is easily worth over $75!

If you need a great gift idea for students entering college or university, create a care package for them. In a box or basket, place some aspirin, bandages, toothpaste and toothbrush, batteries, cleaning supplies, school supplies, a $5 phone card, and any other small items that they might need.

Get a gift-with-purchase cosmetic or perfume special and use it as a gift for someone else. Usually the item is nicely wrapped, generic, and valuable enough to give away as a present.

A great way to save money on video games is to wait about eight months after they come out. Most  titles drop in price after that time period. For sports games, simply get the previous year’s edition instead of the current one. Every Fall, the sports games for the next year roll out and the current or previous ones drop in price as a result.

Credit Cards: If you carry a balance on your credit card and can only afford to pay the minimum monthly amount, pay in weekly instead of monthly installments. For example, if you owe $100 per month, pay $25 per week. Because credit card companies accrue interest daily on your balance, you will end up paying even more if you pay your bills in monthly increments.


Tags: Saving Money