It's Your Money  

Lazy guide to saving money

There are so many Canadians who are barely making ends meet and a recent study suggested 46% are within $200 of bankruptcy.

Everyone would like to save more money, but how can people save when they can’t even handle their debt situation?

Well, today, you’re in luck; I’m going to make it really easy for you to free up a little more cash at the end of each month. 

I have compiled a list of five easy, maybe even lazy ways that you can save significant money each month:

Eat your groceries

Canadian households waste more than 15 million pounds of food each year and that’s a whole lot of money getting thrown in the trash.

Take a moment to create a written inventory of what perishable food you have in your fridge and cupboard and brainstorm some ideas of meals that you can create with these items.

Share the list with family members to make sure the food is used up instead of thrown out. Average
savings = $70/month

Pay off your credit cards

Do you have an outstanding balance on a credit card that isn’t paid off in full at the end of each month?

If so, talk to your bank or credit union about transferring this debt to a line of credit or other loan that charges a lower interest rate.

If you can take $5,000 of credit card debt (at 20 per cent) and roll it over to a LOC at four per cent, your savings = $67/month    

Use the library

Do you ever pay for movies on demand or buy a book or magazine? You can access all of these items for free at your local library.

Take advantage of the library services in your town that you already pay for through your property taxes. If you avoid two movie rentals, one book and three magazine purchases it will save you $40/month

Become a better negotiator

Cell phone and TV/internet providers have a good thing going in Canada and they know it.

They also know that they really don’t want to lose customers (who are paying them far too much for the services they provide) to a competitor so they are willing to negotiate to keep you there.

Call your provider up and ask what kind of discounts they are willing to give you as a loyal customer. A quick 10 minute call to each provider could easily save you $50/month

Bring your lunch and coffee from home

Do you swing by Starbucks each morning for a $5 coffee? Go out for lunch every day for $10 or more?

This is still the easiest way to save money and trim your budget. Pack your lunch the night before or even pre-make a week’s worth of lunches on Sunday.

If you were to skip the morning coffee drive through and brown bag it two more days per week you’d save $45/month

Did you make it all the way to the bottom of my list? If so, congratulations!

Now, for your homework – print off this list and stick it on your fridge. Your goal is to check off at least three of my five suggestions in the next week.

That’s it; freeing up some extra cash flow really can be easy.     

Finally, what should you do with all of the extra money you now have? Before you run out and spend it, create a simple plan to put yourself in a better financial position down the road.

Use the extra money to pay off some debt or put it in a TFSA or RRSP account to help build your retirement nest egg. 

Taking control of your finances doesn’t have to be intimidating or even time consuming but I promise the efforts you put in today will be well worth it.


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About the Author

Brett, designated as a chartered investment manager and certified financial planner, is the regional director (Okanagan) for IG Wealth Management.

In addition to his “day job," Brett was appointed to the board of directors of FP Canada (formerly FPSC) in 2014, named as the board’s vice-chair in 2017 and took over as board chairman in 2019. 

Brett has been writing a weekly financial planning column since 2012 and provides his readers with easy to understand explanations of the complex financial challenges that they face in every stage of life.

Enhancing the financial literacy of Canadian consumers is a top priority of Brett’s and his ongoing efforts as a finance writer and on the regulatory side through the FP Canada board focus on this initiative.   

Please let Brett know if you have any topics that you’d like him to cover in future columns by emailing him at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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