Jan 20, 2023

Everyday Savings: What Saving Gurus Recommend

We have consulted 20+ websites and pages that talk about savings. We have summarized the learnings to these 15 tips that saving gurus recommend and apply in everyday life. Take a look!

You don't have to be a saving guru to save hundreds of dollars every month. You only need to follow a set of rules about how you spend your hard-earned money. These saving tips from coupon and saving gurus are simple in nature and easy to embed in your routine.

Make a budget and stick to it

Creating a budget is a great way to gain control over your finances and make sure you're saving enough money. The first step in making a budget is to gather and keep track of all your financial information, including your income and expenses. 

In other words include your salary, bills, and any other regular payments you make. Once you have a clear picture of your income and expenses, you can create a budget that helps you manage your money.

Sticking to a budget can be challenging, but there are several strategies you can use to make it easier. 

One strategy is to set a spending limit for yourself and stick to it every month. Well, you can also try to live below your means by choosing more affordable housing, driving an older car, or buying less expensive clothing. 

Another strategy is to automate your savings by setting up regular transfers to your savings and RRSP account. This way, you won't have to remember to save money and make manual transfers.

Set financial goals for yourself

Buying a house is a major financial goal for any Canadian. If you want to save for a down payment on a house, your goal would be to save a dollar amount or a percentage of the price of your ideal house within a set period of time.

To achieve this goal, you might set up a budget with specific savings targets each month, and make adjustments to your spending habits to free up money to put towards the down payment. 

On the other side, you might also look for ways to increase your income, such as taking on a part-time job or freelancing. 

Another example could be paying off credit card debt, or saving for retirement, or saving for a child's education. Make sure that your financial goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

Automate your savings by setting up regular bank transfers

Setting up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account or RRSP on a specific date each month is the best approach. It's usually easy to be done with your online banking service. RBC, CIBC, TD all have it.

If you don't know how to do that, speak with a bank representative.

You can also set up an automatic transfer with your employer. Many employers offer the option to deposit a part of your paycheck into a savings account. This way, you can set a specific amount or percentage of your income to go to your savings account before you even see it.

We also see the rise of mobile apps that round up your purchases and transfer the difference to your savings account.

Shop around for the best deals

Shopping around for good deals is a great way to save money on your small buys and large purchases. When you shop around, you can compare prices from different retailers and find the best deal. This can help you save money on everything from groceries to electronics.

By shopping around you can also compare the quality and features of products, so you can make a more informed decision about what to buy. 

Comparing products and prices online is probably the first step to make. See the best price comparison sites in Canada.

Use coupons and discounts

There are a few different ways to find and use coupons, but the two most popular ways are:

In-store coupons: You can use these coupons at physical retail stores. Such coupons can be found in newspapers, magazines, or online and can be presented to the cashier at the time of purchase.

Online coupons: These are coupons or promo codes that can be used when shopping online. They can be found on the retailer's website or on third-party coupon websites. You usually apply them at checkout to receive a discount on the order.

Cook at home instead of eating out

Cooking at home can be a great way to save money on food. Here are a few tips to help you get started with home cooking:

Plan your meals in advance: Decide on your menu for the week and make a grocery list of all the ingredients you'll need.

Shop for sales and discounts: Look for deals on ingredients, especially on fresh produce.

Use leftovers: Cook extra food and save it for another meal.

Cook in bulk: Make large batches of food and freeze it in smaller portions. This way, you'll always have something to eat on hand and won't be tempted to order takeout.

Experiment with new recipes: Try new recipes that you can make at home.

Get creative with your leftovers: Instead of reheating the same dish, try to make a new meal with the leftovers.

Use a crock pot or instant pot: These kitchen appliances can help make meal prep and cooking a lot easier.

Avoid impulse buying

Impulse buying can be a major obstacle to sticking to a budget and saving money. Here are a few tips to help you avoid impulse buying:

Make a list: Before you go shopping, make a list of what you need to buy and stick to it.

Avoid impulse buying triggers: Stay away from areas in the store where you know you'll be tempted to buy things you don't need.

Take your time: Don't rush your shopping. Take your time and think about whether you really need that thing before you buy it.

Shop online: Shopping online can be a great way to avoid impulse buying because such purchases involve several steps (which may be enough for you to reconsider).

Wait 24 hours: If you see something you want but don't need, wait 24 hours before making a decision. This can give you time to think about whether you really want or need the item.

Impose shopping bans: Set a period of time during which you don't buy anything, except for essentials.

Hide your credit cards: Create barriers for yourself to limit access to your credit cards (so that it's more difficult to use them).

Find alternative activities: Instead of shopping, do something else that you enjoy, such as going for a walk, reading, or watching a movie.

Use free trials

Taking advantage of free trials before buying a subscription (whether it's Netflix or mealbox service like Hellofresh) can be a great way to save money and try out a service before committing to it. Here are a few tips to help you take advantage of free trials:

Research: Look for free trial offers and compare different options before committing to a subscription.

Read the terms and conditions: Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the free trial, including the length of the trial period and any fees associated with it.

Set a reminder: Set a reminder in your calendar for when the trial period is ending. In this way you can decide if you want to continue with the subscription or not.

Use a temporary email: Some sites will ask for an email to sign up for a free trial, use a temporary email to avoid getting spammed. Here is a list of such services

Use multiple trials: Many companies will offer a free trial for a limited time, you can use multiple trials from different companies at the same time.

Take notes: Jot down some notes or thoughts about what you liked and didn't like about the service during the trial period. In this way you will be able to make more informed decisions if you want to buy or not.

Avoid and cut on unnecessary memberships

Avoiding unnecessary subscriptions and memberships can help you save money and declutter your finances. Subscriptions and memberships can add up if you don't control them. Also, many people have subscriptions or memberships they don't use or don't need.

Review and cancel unnecessary memberships on a regular basis. As such, you can free up money to put towards your other financial goals.

Don't forget that almost all subscription-based services automatically renew. It's important to check your account settings to make sure you're not being charged for services you don't want or use.

Use public transportation or carpool

Using public transportation or carpooling can be a great way to save money, too. This also helps reduce traffic congestion and air pollution. You want to approach it strategically:

Plan your route: Before you travel, plan your route and check the schedule of the public transportation or coordinate with the carpoolers.

Use an app: Many Canadian cities have apps that allow you to check the bus schedules and see if there are any delays. Download it to your phone.

Carpool with people you know: Carpooling with people you know, such as coworkers or friends, can make the experience more enjoyable. Plus, you save on gas and parking.

Be punctual: Being on time for the carpool is important for the other riders.

Use energy-saving devices and appliances

Choosing energy-efficient appliances can help you save money on your electricity bills. Here is how you may want to approach it.

Look for the Energy Star label: The Energy Star label is a government-backed label which indicates that the appliance meets certain energy efficiency standards.

Check the Energy Guide label: The Energy Guide label provides information on the appliance's energy usage, including its annual energy consumption and cost.

Look for high-efficiency models: Many appliance manufacturers offer high-efficiency models that are designed to use less energy than standard models.

Consider the size of the appliance: Larger appliances tend to use more energy, so consider the size of the appliance and choose one that's appropriate for your needs.

Research the brand: Research the brand and check the reviews and ratings of the product, some brands are known to have more energy-efficient products than others.

Check the price: Energy-efficient appliances may have a higher upfront cost, but they can save you money in the long run.

Consolidate your debt

Don't be afraid of the word "consolidation". Consolidating your debt can help you simplify your payments and lower the interest rate on your debt. Here are a few examples of how you can consolidate your debt:

Balance transfer credit card: One way to consolidate your debt is to transfer the balances of multiple credit cards to a single card with a lower interest rate. Here you may need to consult your bank or credit card provider.

Personal loan: Another way to consolidate your debt is to take out a personal loan and use the proceeds to pay off multiple debts. 

Use apps to help you save

There are many mobile apps available that can help you save money. You can use apps to create a budget and track your expenses (Mint). You can use an app to track gas prices in your neighbourhood (GasBuddy). You can use apps to browse local grocery flyers (Reebee). You can use apps to get cashback on your grocery purchases (Ibotta). You can also use browse extensions to get online coupons and promo codes (Honey).

Sell items you no longer need

By selling items you no longer need may help you make some extra money and declutter your home. You can sell the stuff you don't need online. Facebook Marketplace is a perfect place for it.

Here are some tips for you to use if you plan to sell something.

Take good quality photos: Make sure to take clear, well-lit photos of the items you want to sell. This will make them more appealing to potential buyers.

Research prices: Research the prices of similar items to get an idea of what you should be charging for your items.

Create detailed descriptions: Make sure to include all relevant information about the item: condition, measurements, and any interesting features.

Be honest about the condition of the item: Explain what flaws or damage the item may have, as it will save you from any potential back-and-forth or returns.

Be responsive: Be responsive to any questions or concerns potential buyers may have.

Be prepared to negotiate: Your price will not be final, so be ready to negotiate especially if the buyer is picking the item up.

Avoid using credit cards for unnecessary purchases

Using credit cards for unnecessary expenses may put you in debt. Here are a few tips to help you avoid using credit cards for unnecessary buys.

Stick to a budget: Create a budget and stick to it.

Use cash or debit cards: Consider using cash or debit cards for everyday expenses instead of credit cards. This can help you stay within your budget and avoid overspending.

Leave your credit cards at home: If you know you'll want to use your credit card, leave it at home. Bring only the cash or debit card you need for the day.

Use credit cards for emergencies only: Use your credit card for unexpected medical bills, car repairs or home repairs.

Set limits: Set limits on your credit card usage, such as a daily spending limit or a limit on the number of transactions.

Track your spending: Make sure you are not overusing your credit card.

Final thoughts

Saving gurus don't give sophisticated advice. As you can see, simple saving practices can help you save money. They can also turn you into a saving guru yourself.