Get your mind on your money! The average Canadian saved more than $5,500 during 2020.
But many financial analysts believe this is a temporary spike due to the pandemic. As time goes on and inflation continues, you need to think of ways you can save money in Canada. There are quite a few things you need to know.
How can you keep track of your expenses? Where and when should you go shopping? What should you do to save money on electricity, food, and housing?
Answer these questions and you can make personal finance in Canada easy. Here is your comprehensive guide.
Make a Monthly Budget
Saving money is easy when you know how much money you are spending. At the start of each month, you should sit down and calculate how much money you have. Then you should determine how much money you are going to spend and how much you can spend.
Take a look at your bills, bank statement, and other pieces of financial information. You can talk to a financial advisor or your banker so you have an accurate sense of your money. You can also get budgeting tips and suggestions on simple ways to save money from them.
As you are writing your budget, you should account for each expense over the next month. Even small or irregular expenses affect your savings.
Do not spend everything you are going to earn during the next month. At least 10% of the money you earn should go into your savings account.
After you are done with your budget, you should look it over. You may notice a few expenses you can reduce or remove right away like buying coffee in the morning.
Write Shopping Lists
When you need to buy groceries or clothes, you should also make a list for yourself. This helps you create a more accurate budget and prevents you from impulse buying.
To make a grocery shopping list, you should look at your refrigerator and pantry. Prioritize foods you eat regularly and foods you can store for months or years. For a clothes list, you should look at your collection and determine what exactly you need to replace.
You should also visit the website of your store. Items you usually buy may not be available, and you can use the website to find replacements. You can also compare prices and find cheaper options for yourself.
Some websites offer coupons. You can use coupons to buy items you would normally eat or wear. But do not buy something just because it has a coupon, as the item could be an unnecessary expense.
On your shopping list, you should write down how much of each item you need to buy. You may want to buy enough groceries for two weeks, which can help you avoid making repeated trips to the store. You should buy enough clothes for the season, if not longer.
Shop at Cheap Stores
Stores offer a wide range of prices. Take a look at the stores within driving distance and compare their prices to each other.
Shop at the cheapest store in your area, including convenience stores. Farmers’ markets are open during the summer and fall, and they can offer cheap produce and natural foods. Try visiting them just before they close, as many vendors offer discounted foods to get rid of their inventory.
You can buy items from online retailers, especially if they offer cheaper prices than brick-and-mortar stores. However, you should calculate how much you will pay to have your items delivered to you. Delivery fees and taxes can make items from online stores more expensive than ones from brick-and-mortar retailers.
Sales can occur at any moment. In general, stores run sales around holidays. Try to schedule your clothes and appliance shopping during holiday weekends and seasons.
Many stores place their cheapest items around the perimeter. Items that are on sale are usually located toward the entrance or near the cashier. Try to avoid the center of the store unless you notice signs indicating items on sale there.
Cut Down on Electricity Expenses
The average Canadian household spends 5% of its total expenditures on electricity. Even when your lights and appliances are switched off, your appliances are using electricity in idle mode. Before you leave the house for the day, you should unplug your devices.
You should also turn off your AC unit unless you have pets or plants that need hot or cool air. As soon as you come home, you can turn your air conditioner on so you feel comfortable.
Try using natural light instead of artificial light. Open the curtains on your windows and position your desks and tables so you can use sunlight while you are working.
If you must use artificial lights, replace your incandescent bulbs with LEDs. Though LEDs can be expensive initially, they use less power to illuminate your house, so you will save money on electricity over time.
You should also switch to energy-efficient appliances. You may be able to buy a dishwasher or refrigerator that uses less electricity from a department store or yard sale. Take a look at the stores and sales in your area.
Avoid Discretionary Expenses
You should avoid spending any money on things that you do not need. It’s okay to spend a little money on entertainment, but see if you can avoid unnecessary expenses.
You can rent DVDs from a library for free instead of buying movie tickets or paying for a streaming service. You can watch free plays or concerts at community centers and online.
Many discretionary expenses are one-time expenses like gifts. You can give experiences to your friends and family instead of buying them things. You can go on a walk, play a game with them, or read them a book.
Adjust How You Eat
You should avoid spending money at restaurants, even if the food is cheap. It is cheaper to make your own meals at home, and you can control ingredients to your liking.
Meat is more expensive than most other foods. Cut down on how much meat you eat. When you buy meat, try to get frozen meat, as it lasts longer in your freezer and may be cheaper.
You can get protein and iron from legumes, nuts, and leafy greens. If you don’t know how to prepare these foods, you can find recipes for free online. Some grocery stores also offer recipe books you can use for free or at low expense.
During the weekend, you should try batch cooking your meals. You can make enough food for yourself to last a week, which will keep you from impulse buying takeout. Soups and salads can last in your fridge or freezer for days.
Change Your Housing
You can reduce your housing expenses in a few ways. If you have a large apartment or house, you can rent a room out. A roommate can move in and split the rent with you, or they can give you money to store their items in a closet or spare room.
You can move out if your housing is too expensive. But don’t rush the moving process.
Talk to your landlord to see if you can get a reduction in your rent payments. Spend time looking at a few housing opportunities and calculate any additional transportation costs. Wherever you live should be close to where you work so you don’t spend a lot of money on gas.
Trim Your Traveling and Transportation Costs
You may not need a car in order to get around. You can use a bike or public transportation. Some cities let you rent bikes, and you may be able to buy monthly passes for trains and buses at low prices.
If you must use your car, you should try to reduce your miles. Drive only to work or to stores that are far away. Tell your insurer that you drive your car less, as they may reduce your premiums.
You can travel between provinces on trains, which are often less expensive than airplanes. If you need to travel outside the country, research your options for flights and find affordable ones.
Save Money in Canada
You need to protect your money in Canada. You should write monthly budgets and biweekly shopping lists to keep your expenses down. Visit cheap stores during sales and buy only what you need.
Switch off your electronic devices and rent your entertainment. Eat less meat and more vegetables and legumes and start batch cooking on your weekends. Rely on public transportation and bikes instead of your car, and use trains when you’re traveling long distances.
If you need money now, you can consider loans. Credito provides same-day loans. Request a loan today.