Lately, most of us have been staying at home and social distancing. While self-isolation has its own set of challenges, it also has some advantages. One of those advantages? Saving money.
As we all do our part in keeping ourselves and others safe, why not get good at saving? We’ve compiled a list of ways to save money in the following categories: general saving, credit and debt, food and home. We hope you find these tips useful and also find some comfort in the fact that we’re all doing our best during this time.
Now let’s get saving!
- Track your monthly expenses. It’s a good idea to track your expenses for one month before you create a budget. Save your receipts and use a spreadsheet to keep track of all your purchases. This includes day-to-day items like coffee or groceries and larger costs like rent or car payments.
- Make a budget. Now that you have an idea of how much you spend in a month and on what types of things, you can create a budget that’s realistic for you to manage. If need be, this is the time to cut down on spending in certain categories to ensure you’re not spending more than you have or make.
- Use the 24-hour rule. Before you purchase non-essential or “fun items,” wait 24 hours before you buy. This gives you time to think about if you really want the item. If it’s slipped your mind after a day, it’s one less thing you’re spending money on.
- Have an emergency fund. Unexpected expenses come up, whether it’s car trouble or a broken washing machine. Having a bit of extra funds put aside for these types of emergencies will keep you covered in the long run.
- Start investing. It’s never too early to start saving for retirement. Get in the habit of putting away a percentage of your paycheck each month, even if you only start with 10 per cent. If you can develop this habit, you won’t miss the money and your investments will only grow over time.
Credit and Debt
- Pay your entire credit card bill each month. When it comes to money, if you don’t have it, you shouldn’t be spending it. Which means you should always be able to pay off your full credit card bill each month. Once you keep making your payments on time and in full, you’ll build credit and prove you’re reliable to potential lenders.
- If you’re given a credit limit increase, take it. This isn’t so much a saving tip as it is a credit-building tip. If your bank or credit union offers you a credit limit increase, it means you’ve demonstrated your reliability as a borrower and they want to give you more credit to work with. It’s a good idea to take those credit increases when you’re offered them because they help improve your credit score and show lenders that you’re responsible.
- Automate your payments. Ever forget to pay a bill even though you have the money? It happens to the best of us. An easy way you can avoid that is by automating your payments. If your credit card, rent and car payments are all scheduled to pay on (or even better, before) their due date, you’ll never worry about missing a payment.
- Only use your bank’s ATM machines. An easy way to save a couple bucks here and there is to only use ATMs from your financial institution. When you withdraw money from other bank machines, they usually charge a couple dollars if you don’t bank with them. To avoid these fees, stick to your home bank’s ATMs!
- Check your credit score for free once a year. It never hurts to see where your credit score is at, especially if you’ve been working at saving more and paying off your bills on time. You can check your score once a year and evaluate your progress.
Saving on Food
- Eat at home! Seeing as we’re all social distancing, this is an easy way to save money during this time. Making your meals and coffee at home will help you save big in the long-term. It also gives you a chance to try out new recipes or bake something new!
- Make a list before ordering groceries. There are plenty of grocery stores that let you order online and either pick up groceries or have them delivered. It’s a great way to stay safe during this time. Another plus side of ordering groceries is you can be choosy with what you buy, without being tempted while you’re “shelf-shopping” at the store.
- Meal prep. This goes hand-in-hand with making a grocery list. If you plan your meals for the week, you’ll only buy what you need and you’ll reduce waste if you plan for leftovers. It’s an easy way to stick to your food budget and avoid overspending.
- Set an “eating out fund” each month. Given our social distancing situation right now, this could be a “takeout fund” instead. If you set an amount of money to spend on takeout and stick to it, your budget will thank you. And if you can, support local and order from one of your favourite local restaurants instead of a chain.
- Use coupons. When you can, use coupons to save! Many companies email them out or you can find them online. If you follow YouTubers or listen to podcasts, the hosts often have discount codes for brands they partner with, so keep an eye out for those too.
Saving at Home
- Opt for a subscription service instead of cable. Cable can be expensive and we bet there’s a bunch of channels you never even watch. So why not trade it in and sign up for a subscription service? Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, Crave, Hulu, HBO and Crunchyroll are only a few of the many subscription services that offer TV shows, movies and more.
- DIY your laundry detergent. Your laundry detergent is an easy household item to save on. If you’re using store-bought detergent, use the smallest amount—it’s highly concentrated and will still do the job (plus your bottle will last longer). Or if you want to go the natural route, try making your own. Vinegar and lemon does wonders, or you can add your favourite essential oil.
- Use reusable cloths and napkins. Especially during this time, paper towels and napkins are hard to come by. Think about investing in reusable cloths and napkins. You’ll save money and reduce waste by washing them yourself. The environment and your pocket will thank you!
- Open your windows in the summer. Summers in certain parts of Canada can be ridiculously hot and air conditioning can be expensive. To avoid extreme AC costs, open your windows at night and let the cool night air do its job to cool down your space. If you can consistently reduce your AC usage for at least part of the day, your electricity bill will be significantly less.
- Eliminate “phantom power.” Phantom power is the energy an electronic device uses while it’s plugged in but turned off or in standby mode. A way you can avoid phantom power is by plugging in electronics when you need to use them, then leaving them unplugged until you use them again.
If you’re hoping to save money on a new vehicle, our RightRide representatives can help. We’ll find you a vehicle you love with a payment you can manage and get you driving without the hassle.
Complete an online application today and one of our reps will be in touch to help you figure out the best solution for your vehicle needs.