If you don’t think you can afford to save money, you’re not alone. It’s actually pretty hard to find extra money to put aside, especially if you have more expenses than the income coming in each month. However, even small amounts saved can add up over time and eventually become enough to really make a difference in your life. The following eight tips will help you find ways to save money so that you’ll have more cash in your pocket without significantly changing your lifestyle or overall financial situation.
1) Start a Budget
The first step towards saving more money is actually knowing how much you have. And if you don’t know that, well, it might be time to start tracking your expenses. There are plenty of tools out there—from spreadsheets to mobile apps—to help you keep track of where your cash is going. If a tool doesn’t exist, consider making one yourself; DIY is always an option!
2) Switch out your Phone Provider
If you’re paying more than $50 a month for a cell phone plan, it’s time to take a serious look at your options. An MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) can give you better pricing without sacrificing service or coverage. Switching carriers doesn’t mean switching phones—you can keep your current device, too.
3) Cut Down on Coffee/Tea
If you’re trying to save money, skip your daily latte. It might seem insignificant, but that daily $5 or $6 (or even more) adds up fast. If you’re used to a fresh-brewed beverage in the morning, start with a cheaper alternative such as instant coffee or tea.
You can even make iced coffee and tea at home, saving even more. And if you miss your fancy caffeine fix? Indulge occasionally! Your bank account will thank you.
4) Think Twice About ATM Fees
There are a lot of ATM fees out there, so double-check your bank’s policy. If you’re using an out-of-network ATM, be aware that you may be charged up to $5 for that transaction plus an additional fee from whatever network your bank belongs to (usually about $1.50). If you use an in-network ATM, avoid those surcharges and go with your bank or credit union’s ATMs instead.
5) Don’t be too Generous
If you’re used to splurging on dinner and drinks when you go out, changing that habit could save you a bundle over time. Drinks at bars can quickly add up, as can pricey meals at restaurants. If your new year’s resolution is to spend less on food and entertainment, it might be a good idea to buy just one round of drinks or try splitting a dinner bill with friends instead of chipping in for everyone. When it comes to saving money, every little bit counts!
6) Shop Around for the Best Rates
You may have a relationship with your local bank, but that doesn’t mean you’re getting all of their services for free. It’s good practice to shop around for better interest rates every year or so.
Just because a bank may be convenient doesn’t mean they will offer you their best deal on products like credit cards and mortgages. Credit unions and online banks are great places to look for better deals, as are national or regional banks based in other parts of Canada.
7) Bundle Internet, Cable, and Phone together
If you’re a savvy shopper, bundling internet, cable and phone together is an easy way to save money on all three services. By bundling these services together you can sometimes pay less for each service than if you had just signed up for one separately.
You might have assumed that your local provider charges too much for internet or cable service without offering discounts on combined packages—but sometimes that isn’t true. So give it a try and see what kind of savings you get!
8) Get Price Match Guarantees
Before you buy any big-ticket item—from a printer to a TV—make sure you check for price match guarantees. Many retailers, including Amazon and Walmart, guarantee that they’ll beat any competitors’ prices on identical items. If there is an identical item at a lower price elsewhere, simply email or call customer service and explain why you think your find is better than what they’re selling at full price.