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Saving Money | Tips and Tricks

Over the last few years, we have seen a considerable increase in prices in Quebec. Whether it's with gas, groceries or housing, it's hard to continue to have a "normal" lifestyle with all this inflation. We have to ask ourselves: How can we manage to save money in times like these?



Here are some tips to help you save money:


Grocery Store

  • Plan meals for the week based on flyer specials. You can even download apps that show you what discounts there are going to be in advance.

  • Make a list before you go to the grocery store. It's always better to be organized and follow your list than to pick up random foods that will end up forgotten in the fridge because they weren't in your meal plans for the week.

  • Don't go grocery shopping on an empty stomach, as we are more likely to make compulsive purchases when we are hungry.

  • Buy generic brand products instead of the more "well-known" brands. They taste very similar and can cost half as much.

  • To find the most economical size, compare prices by quantity by looking at the labels on the shelf.

  • Be creative to avoid waste! If you are missing an ingredient to complete a recipe, don't run to the grocery store. A little research on the internet may help you find an alternative among what you already have at home.

  • Cook! It's easy to buy snacks and ready-to-eat meals or to order from restaurants, but it's much more expensive than making your own meals.

  • Make your coffee at home! I don't know if you're one of those people who line up every morning at Tim Hortons or Starbucks for your coffee, but it would be better to make your coffee at home, even if it means taking it with you in the car in a travel mug. One coffee a day, at $3 a coffee (example), comes to about $60 worth of coffee a month. After a year, more than 750$ of coffee.


Transportation

  • Don't buy a vehicle you can't afford. People sometimes tend to want big vehicles with lots of options, when in reality they don't need them. Also, if you buy a vehicle with payments, make sure you don't have too high an interest rate.

  • Store around for insurance every year or at least bundle it with one insurer. By combining your home and auto insurance, you may be able to get a better deal with some insurers. Also, if you are a couple, you can combine your car insurance with the same insurer for an additional discount.

  • Give priority to public transportation, biking, carpooling or alternative transportation for travel. It's more inconvenient, but it's considerably less expensive. A vehicle will never bring you a profit. You have to be aware that it will always be a loss.


Accounts and credit cards

  • Choose a banking institution that is close to your home and to places you like to go. This will prevent you from having to withdraw money from another financial institution and you won't pay additional fees.

  • Pay your credit card balance in full each month if possible to eliminate interest charges. If not, don't forget to pay the minimum amount to avoid additional fees. It is a good habit to get into to check your account often (at least once a month).

  • Take advantage of employee, student or senior discounts when choosing a card.

  • Put money aside in an emergency fund account to deal with the unexpected. Even if it's a small amount per week, if set aside on a regular basis, it can be a big help in the long run.


Leisure and entertainment

  • Choose your cell phone plan, Internet subscription and online music service carefully. There is no point in taking a phone package with several mobile data if, in the end, you are always on the Internet network for example. Also, it is always possible to renegotiate contracts by calling your service providers.

  • Cut the cable if you don't listen to it or not much. With Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, etc., it's possible to be entertained and watch multiple shows without having to pay for cable on top of it. Sure, these platforms aren't free and if you take out a subscription to each of them, it can go up pretty quickly, but it's all about balance.

  • Be careful with online purchases to avoid spending too much without realizing it. It's really easier these days to spend here and there, but it's not a good habit to have. You are better off waiting a few days before making a non-essential purchase. If over time you forget to go back and buy it, it was probably unnecessary, so good, no unnecessary spending.

  • Don't throw something away at the first small breakage. Almost everything can be repaired, you just have to find the right way to do it or the right specialist. Also, it is not necessary to always have the latest "fashionable" things. It won't change your life to have the new Iphone, except to spend a lot of money on something that becomes obsolete after only a year or two.

  • Store at thrift stores or second hand stores such as Value Village or Renaissance. Otherwise, trade with your friends. Sometimes, what you don't like anymore can please the other person! If buying new is the only option, at least take advantage of sales in stores.

  • Not paying for what you don't use is essential. For example, there's no point in paying for an Xbox subscription every month if you only play it once every three months. Or, there's no point in paying for a gym membership if you've only been to the gym twice and keep it just in case.

  • Find activities that don't cost anything. For example, go to the beach, go hiking, visit museums or free exhibitions, etc.



Why put all these strategies in place? Let's face it, no one is going to do all these tricks. But the more you do, the more you save. And the more you get used to doing the "right" things, the more money you'll accumulate, with little or no effort.



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