Certain life events can affect our finances and sometimes cause us to review our budget. These include changes in our working conditions, our pace of life, rising inflation, or even future plans. If you’re looking for ways to save, we’ve compiled a list of budgeting tips and tricks that don’t require too many sacrifices.
Groceries, insurance, transportation… A sizable chunk of our income goes toward basic expenses, and cutting costs can seem impossible sometimes. But by tweaking your spending habits and sticking with it, you can save without giving up life’s little pleasures.
1. Tips for saving on groceries
- One word: plan! Start by creating a weekly menu based on what’s on sale and in season—it’s a great way to save a few bucks. Next, make a list before you go shopping. It’s not a bad idea to have a small snack before you go to avoid making hunger-inspired impulse buys.
- Try grocery shopping apps to get discount coupons or save on items with fast-approaching expiration dates. Or pick up some “ugly” produce—while many shoppers snub their noses at imperfect fruits and veggies, they’re just as nutritious.
- Be creative to avoid waste! If you’re missing an ingredient for a recipe, resist the urge to go buy it. A quick internet search could help you find an alternative you already have at home. You can also reuse vegetable peels to make homemade broth, or turn herb or fruit scraps into delicious sweet syrup.
- Get cooking! It may be tempting to buy ready-made snacks or meals, or to get your favourite dish delivered, but what you save on time, you lose in your bank account.
- You can also cut costs by stocking up on no-name brands or buying in bulk. And this isn't just the case for food—it's a great way to save on household products too.
2. Tips for saving on transportation
3. Tips for saving on electricity
- Turning down the temperature by 1°C could save you 5% to 7% on your annual heating costs.1 Consider setting your thermostat 3 degrees lower at night, while you're snug under the covers.
- Caulking drafty doors and windows and installing weatherstripping, outlet covers and window insulation film in the winter can help prevent air getting in or out. These air leaks and infiltrations can account for up to 25% of a home's heat loss.2
- On cold days, warm your house with sunlight by opening the blinds and curtains. On hot days, do the opposite.
- Even when they're turned off or in standby mode, many electronics still eat up electricity. It's known as phantom power. Completely unplug anything you're not using and you could save up to 10% of your annual electricity costs.3
- When you use the right soap, washing clothes in cold or warm water is just as effective as hot water and considerably reduces your electricity consumption.
- Skip running the dryer and use a clothesline or indoor drying rack.
- Running the dishwasher only when it's full requires less hot water and electricity than running it multiple times.
- When possible, use electric landscaping equipment like electric mowers, leaf blowers and hedge trimmers. Electric maintenance tools are up to 10 times more efficient than their gas-powered counterparts.4
- If you want to replace an old oil or propane heating system with a more efficient eco-friendly option, you could qualify for financial assistance from government programs like Rénoclimat and Chauffez vert. Over time, the energy savings from a heat pump, geothermal energy or an electric water heater can be more than the initial outlay.
4. Tips for saving on accounts
- Choose a plan that’s suited to your needs and avoid taking out money from other institutions’ ATMs to save on fees.
- Sign up for Desjardins email alerts and notifications. Getting critical information at the right time can help you save. For example, if you get an alert saying that you have insufficient funds for an upcoming preauthorized debit, you can top up your account and skip the headaches and fees.
- Pay your credit card balance in full every month, or at least the minimum due, to save on interest, and if you need to make a big purchase, look for financing with a competitive interest rate.
- Use equalized payments for electricity bills. It’s easier to manage your budget with predictable payments.
- Take advantage of employee, student and seniors' discounts. For example, some grocery stores might offer student discount days, and many telecommunications providers offer reduced rates to students or employees of certain companies.
- As for the items you only use a few times a year, borrow them from friends instead of buying them (tools, fondue set, ladder, etc.).
5. Tips for saving on entertainment
6. Tips for saving toward a goal
Buying a cottage? Planning your next summer vacation? Financing a return to school or diving into a new passion? All these goals require planning. When you get into a savings habit, your money will grow with minimal effort. Getting started is the most important step, even if you’re just putting away a small amount at first. Here are some tips to help you build momentum:
- Based on what you can afford, put aside a percentage of your net salary (ideally 5% to 10%) at every paycheque and break it down according to your goals (tuition, cottage down payment, etc.).
- Pay down your before thinking about long-term projects. It’s a priority! debt
- Save any extra money (salary increase, bonus, tax refund, inheritance, etc.) to reach your goal more quickly.
- When you file your taxes, make sure you’re getting all the tax credits you’re eligible for (medical expenses, GST and solidarity credits, childcare, etc.). If you have any questions, it’s a good idea to consult a professional.
By fine-tuning your day-to-day habits, you can work toward your financial goals without overhauling your lifestyle. To get off to a good start, the first step is to create a budget.
If you have any questions or need personal support, contact your advisor.