20 Painless Ways to Save Money

01 June 2019 by National Bank
Mother and daughter hugging, head-to-head

There are some simple and lucrative ways to save... and it's even more fun to see your money work for you. Here's a list of ideas for saving painlessly.

When you start living your adult life, there's a good chance that you won't have large amounts to save. “It's no big deal, replies Emmanuel Philippe, Personal Banker, Wealth Management at National Bank. The most important thing is to establish saving habits from the beginning.”

“Every little bit counts!” he insists. For example, if a student were to give up buying one cup of coffee a day all throughout his degree, he could treat himself to a $3000 trip at the end of his studies, explains the banker.

Here are 20 really simple ways to save...

1. Pay Yourself

It goes without saying, we all have to pay the bills: rent, phone, heat. Mr. Philippe suggests creating this same obligation to yourself by setting up a savings account with an automatic transfer. Start with a small monthly amount. You can increase it later.

2. Keep Those Good Habits from your Student Life

When you land that first real job, it can be tempting to heighten your lifestyle. Nevertheless, this is no reason to start ignoring the things you used to do to make ends meet during your studies.

3. Find a Roommate

Housing constitutes the largest reoccurring expense in Canadian homes (1). However, moving in with a roommate can reduce your expenses and boost your savings.

4. Save the Planet... and Save Money

By reducing your ecological footprint, you save. Riding your bike always costs less than driving around in a car by yourself!

5. Say No to Big Brands

If you were blindfolded, could you tell the difference between a known brand and the store brand of your favourite shampoo? No? Then opt for the cheaper one!

6. Plan Your Purchases

By planning your purchases, you can take advantages of year-end sales, have a look at classified sites and spread the word around the family. Maybe an uncle is about to sell his car for a newer one.

7. Identify Your Budgetary Achilles' Heel

We all have our guilty pleasures. By identifying them, it's easier to develop a cost-reducing strategy. You like good coffee, then you should invest in an espresso machine. You're into cycling, take a mechanic class and repair your flat tires yourself.

8. Learn How to Cook

When you know how to cook a salmon fillet or make a casserole, for example, those costly nights out at a restaurant become less frequent, which takes a load off the wallet.

9. Learn How to Say No

When you have a friend with higher means than you, it doesn't mean that you have to copy their lifestyle. The key is to turn down overly expensive nights out and propose more affordable options.

1o. Reconsider your Telecommunications Needs

Phone, internet, cell... is it really necessary to have the full range of telecom services? After all, more and more TV shows are available online.

11. Make Use of Your Mobile

Before making an in-store purchase, take advantage of your mobile connection to check the competitor's price.

12. Make Use of Your Mobile, Take 2

Another way to utilize your smartphone is by creating daily reminders. It's a real waste to pay late fees at the library, fines or credit card interest at 19%... Ouch!

13. Turn Credit Payments into Savings

When lacking in cash, lots of people buy their first fridge, couch or car on credit. When these payments are finished, Emmanuel Philippe suggests redirecting this expense to your savings. By continuing with the payments, you're thereby creating a savings habit without additional sacrifice.

14. Promotion? Give your RRSP contribution a raise

The wise thing to do following a promotion is to increase the automatic monthly deposit to your savings account.

15. Choosing the Right Banking Package

“Mom and Dad are usually the ones who chose our first bank account,” states Mr. Philippe. This doesn't mean that it's the right package for us!” The banker suggests asking each financial institution about their specific packages offered to students or professionals.

16. Debit at your own Bank

“One of the ways people waste money is on bank fees by withdrawing money from a bank other than their own,” points out the banker. This is a good reason to always withdrawn money from your own bank or use debit and credit cards.

17. Choosing the Right Investment Vehicle

“The investment vehicle depends on the savings plan, explains Mr. Philippe. If the goal is to save for retirement, you can allow yourself to go with more dynamic investments, which offer a better long-term return.”

18. Negotiate

Dare to negotiate. Businesses are willing to offer concessions to get a new client, or to simply retain one.

19. Protect Your Savings from Yourself

If the temptation is too great to crack open your piggy bank, you have the option of choosing an investment guaranteed over a term of 5 to 10 years. This way you can't touch it and you'll enjoy enhanced returns.

20. Get a Library Card

To conclude, here's a really simple tip. A library card doesn't just give you access to a ton of books, but also to an array of some of the most interesting music and films. Hours of entertainment, without spending a cent!

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Source :

(1) Statistics Canada, Average household expenditures, by household type

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