10 tips to save money right now

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Barry Choi

February 24, 2021

Saving strategies

Saving money is a top priority for many Canadians, but that’s always easier said than done. Everyone knows that eating out less or taking public transportation will help you save, but that’s not always practical.

If you want to see a difference in your monthly budget, you may need to make sacrifices. But sometimes, all it takes are a few little adjustments to make a difference. Here are ten ways to help you save money.

1. Uninstall food delivery apps

Having hundreds of restaurants at your fingertips is more convenient than cooking, but it can ruin your budget pretty quickly. Uninstall all of those apps now and focus more on menu planning. Install some recipe apps while you’re at it to give you some inspiration.

2. Check your home and auto insurance

Home and auto insurance is one of the most substantial monthly expenses for people, so it’s worth getting quotes from different companies before you automatically renew your policy. If your situation has changed, for example, and you’re no longer driving to work, ask your insurance provider if there’s a price difference for leisure use. Increasing your deductible could also reduce your monthly payments.

3. Switch your mobile and/or internet providers

The big telecom companies in Canada typically charge the highest rates, but you do have other options. There are smaller companies (which are sometimes owned by the bigger companies) and third-party companies that offer similar services but at a lower price. This applies to both your mobile and internet services, so you could end up saving a fair amount.

Be aware, however, that if you have a “locked-in” contract, you may be forced to pay a fee to break the contract. Depending on how much time you have remaining on the contract, this fee could be substantial so you might have to wait until it’s time to renew to shop around for a better deal.

4. Reduce your subscriptions

Netflix, Disney+, HBO Go, Spotify, Google Play, newspapers and more, it’s crazy how many subscription services there are available these days. When add up all the fees, you might be shocked to find out how much you’re spending each month. Pick one or two of your favourite services and cancel the rest. Alternatively, if you have one of the premium services, consider downgrading to basic.

5. Defer gym memberships

Do you have any gym, golf, group class or other memberships? A lot of these clubs will allow you to defer your membership for a period of time if you need a break. They may still charge you a monthly admin fee, but it’ll always be cheaper than your monthly premiums.

6. Delay any unnecessary purchases

Delaying non-essential purchases (or not purchasing them at all) can go a long way. Things such as books, video games, toys, clothing and electronics are likely things you can get by without. Even if the items are on sale, pause for 24 hours before you purchase them. You might just realize that you really don’t need it.

7. Use a grocery app

An easy way to save money on your monthly groceries is to use an app such as Reebee or Flipp. These apps display flyers from most grocery stores in Canada so you can quickly see what’s on sale and plan accordingly. Since everything is digital, you can create shopping lists and even price match, which will help you save.

8. Eliminate bank fees

Bank fees can add up to quite a bit every month, so it’s worth taking a look at what you’re getting for what you’re paying. If you don’t feel like you’re getting value, see if you can switch to a package with a lower monthly fee. Alternatively, see what the minimum balance requirement is to have your monthly fees waived. You could also consider switching to an online bank as they typically don’t charge any monthly fees and have no minimum balance requirement.

9. Cash in your points for a gift card or statement credit

If you collect travel rewards points/miles, redeeming for travel will always give you the best value. However, if you don’t think you’ll be travelling anytime soon or you’re running into cash flow issues, using your points for gift cards or a statement credit could be a good use of your points.

10. Shop via cashback websites

If you’re going to do any online shopping, consider going through a cashback site such as Rakuten, Great Canadian Rebates or Shopper Army. To earn your cashback, all you need to do is start your online shopping at the cashback site. Once there, click through to the partner retail store. Once you complete your purchase at the retailer’s site, you’ll get a set % back in cashback. Every retailer offers different cashback percentages, but it can add up quickly.

Final thoughts

Saving money is one of those things that everyone would like to do, but quite often, we never get around to it. Once you make the adjustments to your spending and your mindset, you’ll wonder what took you so long.