My personal tips to save money

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At the Money Savvy Blog, we regularly receive questions on “how to save money”.

Here are my own personal tips to do so. They may surprise you!

DON’T BUY OR RENT TOO MUCH HOUSE

You can save hundreds of dollars each month by doing so. Everything is negotiable, and that includes both rent and mortgage. Not all rents are the same amount. It may be cheaper to move to a different neighbourhood.

Same goes for home prices. Despite being in a raising-rate environment, you can still find low-rate mortgages. It is also important to buy the right amount of space for your needs. Unless you plan on having 10 children, you most likely don’t need a 10-bedroom mansion.

And because a lender qualified you for $ 500 000, does not mean you have to buy a $ 500 000 property! You actually would be better off buying a $ 250 000 one.

DON’T BUY OR LEASE TOO MUCH CAR

A car is a depreciating asset. It starts loosing value the minute it leaves the dealership. I never understand why people would spend thousands and thousands of dollars to buy such item.

And I shake my head when I hear people calling their cars “an investment”….

CAA has a very nifty little tool to estimate car costs. This depreciating asset also happens to cost a lot of money to maintain!

For example, a compact or subcompact car will cost around $ 9 000/year in British Columbia. A pick-up truck will cost around $ 14 000, and an “executive” vehicle (BMW, Audi) will cost around $19 000.

You will see a lot of the latter two in the Lower Mainland….Unless you work in a farm, in forestry or image is a crucial component of your income, you don’t need these types of car.

If you ditched the pick-up truck for a compact car, you will save $ 5 000, right off the bat.

If you are in a multiple-car household, try to see if you could live on 1 or 2 cars, instead of 2 or 3. You will save even more money!

SHOP AROUND

In this day and age, comparing costs of products and services has never been so easy. Unfortunately, most companies also do not reward loyalty anymore. It is always worth obtaining several quotes before purchasing, particularly on products like insurance, cable, cell phone or services like home repairs.

You could save big time. Case in point with my own home insurance: my former provider, with whom I had been for several years, kept increasing my rates; this despite me never filing a claim. I shopped around and switched to my current provider for half the price.

COOK MORE OFTEN

Much has been said about the latte factor and the avocado toast. While I agree that occasionally indulging in these will not put you in financial jeopardy, I believe it is problematic when indulgences become a daily, new necessity.

On the very first post I wrote on this blog, I had estimated someone eating 3 meals out 5 days a week would spend about $10 000 per year.

You can slash that amount in 2 by cooking and eating at home more often. You would still be able to eat out from time to time, just not on a daily basis.

FINAL WORD

By cutting expenses on big-ticket items like housing, transportation and food, you can save 10 to 20K per year fairly quickly and easily.

In comparison, how much do you think it would take to save the same amount of money on your own, solely relying on your income?

How being organized will save you money

It may sound too good to be true, but it is the truth: being organized will save you both time and money.

  • You know where your stuff is: I wrote a previous post on the many benefits of de-cluttering. When your home is clutter-free, you easily find items and don’t buy things you already have.
  • Weekly meal planning and coupon-clipping: Planning your meals for the week avoids many unnecessary trips to the supermarket and costly take-outs. You will also have time to look for specials and promotions.
  • No more late fees: you will know when your bills are due and won’t miss a payment again. Your credit score will also improve.
  • You can buy gifts ahead of time: by starting your Christmas shopping earlier, you will save a lot of money and avoid the Christmas financial madness.
  • Your items will last longer: properly stored and cared for items will have an extended lifespan. It includes both your car and your home.

How does being organized has saved you time and money?

My ways to save money

Since I have started taking a long, hard look at my finances, I have definitely become more frugal and minimalist. However, I do not consider myself as frugal or minimalist.

In this post, I want to share some of the ways I save money.

  • Always ask for a discount/never pay full price: This has kind of become my “financial motto”. Recently, I called my internet & phone provider to review my services. I thought the price was too high and I asked for a discount, mentioning that I have been a long time customer. The company took $ 10/month off my bill. This is a saving of $ 120 per year and all I had to do was asking. By doing so with pretty much everything I can think of, I do save a lot of $$.
  • Don’t be a brand snob: I am not particular at all as to the products’brands. I always buy the cheapest, whether it is toothpaste or pasta. You can’t actually taste or feel the difference in most cases.
  • Repair instead of automatically replacing: since when do we throw a shirt away simply because a button fell off?
  • Do-it-yourself: I do my own cleaning, cooking and laundry. Convenience has a high price tag. I have also tackled minor home improvement projects such as painting my condo.

What about you? How do you save money?

What I won’t do to save or pay-off debt

There are lots of things you can do to pay-off your debt or save money. However, there are a few items I am definitely not willing to sacrifice in order to accomplish this…and you shouldn’t either.

  1. Healthcare. When trying to cut down expenses or create a balanced budget, it can be very tempting to skip on healthcare costs and actually postpone dental appointments or not take your medication.

By doing so, you put yourself at risk of bigger and costlier problems. I did this once, with dental matters. I waited a few months too many, and when I finally met with my dentist, I had a couple of pretty bad teeth requiring additional care. Luckily, I had insurance and didn’t break the bank, which brings me to my next point.

 

  1. Insurance. Again, it can be tempting to increase your deductible, be under-insured and just forego insurance altogether. The money you think you are saving won’t even begin to cover for any damage you sustain. Even when I was unemployed, I have always maintained various insurances, e.g. health, home, car…. 6 months ago, my car was involved in a minor fender-bender. The total repairs came at over $ 2 000! I was glad my deductible was only $ 300 and that ICBC deemed my insurance level correct.

 

  1. Food. Although I am now far away from my former eating-out and grocery-shopping habits, I will not live off noodle to save money or pay-off my debt. The impact on my health and well-being is just not worth it.

 

What about you? What are you not willing to do to save money or pay-off debt? What do you do instead?