With little effort, you can reduce your expenses and put hundreds, or even thousands of dollars more in your pocket every year to achieve new goals.
1. Avoid impulse purchases by taking the time to think about it. Wait 24 hours—or even a week—before buying.
2. Reduce your electricity bill by applying The Right Moves from Hydro-Québec. For example, did you know that cleaning with hot water can cost up to 18 times more than with cold water?
3. Buy store-brand items, which are less expensive than name brands and whose quality is often just as good.
4. Rent tools that you don’t use often. It’s more cost-effective and won’t take up space in your home.
5. Making your coffee at home every morning rather than buying it on the way to work could save you $15 a week—that’s $720 a year. That means investing in a good insulated thermos will be easier on your budget.
6. Go grocery shopping after a meal or have a snack just before. Going to the grocery store with an empty stomach will compel you to spend more. Make a list to avoid impulse buying.
7. Check flyers to find deals. You can even use an app such as Flipp or Reebee if you don’t like paper flyers.
8. Look at the upper and lower shelves in the store. The least expensive products are often found there.
9. To find the format with the best value, compare prices by quantity by consulting the shelf labels.
10. Prepare fruits and vegetables yourself. Pre-prepared items can cost twice the amount of unprepared foods!
11. Reduce your consumption of meat to save on your grocery bill. Why not start by making one vegetarian meal a week?
12. See if you can do without a car (or a second car) by riding a bike or the bus, carpooling or using a ridesharing service.
13. By buying a used car, you will avoid years of significant depreciation. A new vehicle can lose up to half its value in three years.
14. Before buying a car, use the CAA’s calculator to find a less expensive vehicle.
15. To reduce your gas bill, ease off the gas pedal. According to the CAA, going 100 km/h on the highway instead of 120 km/h reduces fuel consumption by 20%.
16. Analyze your usage habits to see if you are paying for anything unnecessary. Can you give up certain features or choose a more modest package?
17. Competition is alive and well in the telecommunications field, so often all you need to do is ask for a discount on your packages for them to be granted.
18. You can also save by grouping your Internet, phone and television services.
19. Limit the number of gifts given for birthdays and at Christmas. You could then, for example, invest what you save in an education savings plan.
20. Shop at thrift stores for children’s clothing. You will find designer clothes and quality items at a fraction of the price.
21. You will save a lot by buying used hockey or ski equipment. Some sporting equipment stores offer credit in exchange for sporting goods that no longer fit.
22. By contributing to a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), you could get up to $10,800 in government subsidies.
23. Several CEGEPs and universities organize used book sales at the start of the semester. You could save 25% to 50% on the regular price. You can also unearth great finds on Facebook or on schools’ discussion forums. It’s a great way for students to save.
24. Being flexible about travel dates can save you money. Leaving a few days before or after you originally planned can help you save on flights and packages.
26. Purchase a SIM card and cell phone data plan abroad to avoid a hefty bill when you get back. Remember to unlock your phone before you leave!
27. You will get a more competitive rate on your foreign currency at a currency exchange office in your city or at your financial institution.
28. Many cities offer free cultural and sporting events, such as lectures, shows or free skating periods. Use them as an opportunity to cut down on your going-out budget.
29. Organize a potluck instead of hosting everyone or going to a restaurant. Everyone brings a dish—it’s economical and a good time for all!
30. Opting for accelerated mortgage repayment means you could save tens of thousands of dollars. For example, by making an additional payment of $2,000 a year on a $300,000 mortgage with a 5% fixed-rate amortized over 25 years, you will pay a total of $41,252 less in interest, and you will pay off your mortgage faster than expected.
31. Try to pay off the full balance of your credit cards every month. If not, watch out for interest: a $2,000 purchase at a 20% rate comes to $4,240 if you only make the minimum monthly payment.
32. Favour your bank’s automatic banking machines to make your withdrawals to avoid transaction fees each time.
33. Shop around for auto and home insurance at each renewal. Premiums vary greatly from one insurer to another. In certain cases, you could reduce your premiums by grouping your insurance plans under the same insurer.
34. If you don’t take part in a retirement plan in which your employer transfers an additional amount when you contribute more, you are leaving a lot of money on the table.
35. If you are in a couple and one of you is retired, you could split your pension income to pay less in taxes. This fiscal transaction consists of transferring (on paper) part of the pension income of the partner with the highest income to the other partner. If the wealthier of the two moves to a lower tax bracket, the couple will pay less tax.
As you can see, there are many ways to take care of your finances without sacrificing too much, whether by adopting better shopping habits or thinking before buying. Go step by step, starting with the tips that seem the most realistic for you, and see where that takes you.
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