Recently in Money Minute, we explored four ways to save your self $6,000 a year. The tips were as wide-ranging as possible, while also being pretty easy to adopt. There was no ‘sell your car’ suggestions, or restrict yourself to two-meals-a-day ideas. We did however propose going easy on those lunches out maybe put a limit on the number of lattes you grab from Starbucks each week. Simple stuff: brown bag it and brew your own.
At the end of the episode, like we always do, we asked for your tips; what do you do to cut costs and keep a little more of that pay cheque in your pocket. As ever, the responses were illuminating. They also reflected a fair amount of consensus. Most commenters agreed that cutting your landline phone was probably the fastest, smartest and easiest way to immediately save money.
If that was the top idea, it was by no means the only one. From all of the suggestions put forward, we sorted through and selected the top five ways to spend less each month, after you’ve cut your landline. Here they are….
5. Use grocery flyers for sale items, advises John A., a financial planner, who also suggests shopping at discount food stores and planning your meals to capitalize on in-season selections. “An average family of 4 will save closer to $5,000+ a year alone by doing this, ” writes John.
4. Take public transit to work instead of driving, is Chelsea’s advice. “I don't know about elsewhere but parking in the downtown is outrageous. An unreserved monthly parking space here can go for $625 in the core and weekday daily rates generally start at $20/day. That’s a lot of coin one could save.” Chelsea doesn’t mention where she’s writing from, and frankly, that doesn’t matter. There’s no city in Canada where driving, including all of the associated costs of operating a car, would be cheaper than taking public transit. (Convenience, of course, is another matter entirely).
3. Stop eating out is EM’s suggestion. “We stopped dining out and we lost a total of 60 lbs without even trying! We made changes to suit our needs and it worked for us.” To no surprise, this piece of advice emerged repeatedly in the comments, with John A, the financial planner, recommending people to “Buy a high quality coffee machine and thermos/container.” Adding, that it “will make you want to drink your own coffee and could save [you] more money than [you] estimate too.
2. Shop with cash. “My husband and I work off of a cash budget for our disposable spending,” writes Morgan W. “Once the cash is gone for that week, that's it. It’s a tangible way that forces you to budget wisely with what you have.”
1. Use Kijiji, Craigslist to buy appliances, kids clothes, furniture etc. resist the urge to buy new (plus taxes). This is more advice from John. A, but who can argue, especially when the savings can be so significant? Furniture on Craigslist can be a tiny fraction of the original store price. Of course, it will be second-hand, and not everyone wants to go that route when getting a new couch, but if the aim is to save money, there’s no better way to do it.