Frugality is frowned upon. But a lack of frugality is the reason so many of us are struggling with uncontrollable debts, the reason so many low-earners in Canada will never be able to live a comfortable life that is free from financial stress. Being frugal might not win you brownie points with friends and your kids (if you have them) might be frustrated with you. But if money is tight then it could be the only thing allowing you to buy those kids the presents they want at Christmas and birthdays and to keep a roof over their heads.
So, forget what others think and embrace frugality like never before with these tips on how to save money.
How to Save Money: Top Tips
There are a number of ways that you can save money. First, you need to have the right mindset. You’re not going to get very far with an all-or-nothing attitude. In fact, you’re probably in the position you’re in financially because of this mindset. You need to understand that every little helps and that every cent saved is a cent earned. Once you understand that then you can start making some big money changes in your life.
Buy in Bulk and Use Coupons
The more you buy, the cheaper things will be. This is true of many things and it can save you hundreds of dollars a year. Use stores like CostCo to buy large quantities of basic foodstuffs and other essentials you will always need. It’s going to hit your wallet a little harder when you make it through the check-out line, but it will save you a fortune in the long run.
Coupons can also help. If you find coupons that reduce the price of household essentials then get as many as you can, use them in one go and stock up. The reason extreme couponers are able to make such big savings is because they use their coupons in combination with store deals to stock-up on household essentials that they know they will always need.
Buy Unprepared Foods
Cooking, processing and packing foods can drastically increase the cost and this cost is passed onto the customer. It means that you might end up paying the same for a 10 pound bag of uncooked rice as you would for a couple half pound bags of the pre-prepared grain. It’s even worse where potato products are concerned.
We’re all paying a premium price for convenience, but it doesn’t take much to cook food from fresh. Not only will it save you money but it will also eliminate processed food from your diet.
Cook Yourself Rich
There are other ways that you can save on foods as well:
- Buy Non-Name Brands: Sometimes it makes a big difference to the taste, but in the case of cereal, soda, water, coffee, peanut butter, bread and more, you’re paying for the name.
- Buy Frozen: While frozen meals are bad, frozen veg and fruit are not. They are great for getting your daily nutrients without the risk of spoilage and without the high price tag.
- Stock-up on Dry Food: Get yourself a pantry and keep it stocked with tins, packets and other cheap food that doesn’t spoil.
- Cook Big Meals: To save time and money, cook big meals and freeze or refrigerate them to eat throughout the week.
- Eat Seasonally: Foods in season are cheaper, fresher and much better for you as there is often very little processing involved.
Don’t settle for the first price you find when shopping. You have a world of competitive prices at your fingertips, so use them. Providing you stick with reputable companies and payment providers you will get what you want for less.
This also applies to insurance, loans, mortgages, phone contracts and cable. There are great offers out there and you could save hundreds of dollars a year by taking advantage of them.
Take Your Own Food to Work
If you work, then make your food in the morning and brown-bag it to your workplace. Even just a coffee and a sandwich from the local shop every day can cost you up to $5 a day, which is $25 for a working week and $1,300 over the course of a year!
Get Your Accounts in Order
To save money on your monthly expenses, get your bank account and credit cards in order. If you have multiple card and store debts then consolidate them into one to save a fortune every month. If you have a bank account not paying interest then find one that does. If you have an account charging high overdraft rates, find one that does not.
To save money you need to start with the source of that money. Most of us are with the same banks we joined when we were old enough to get our own bank account. We have never shopped around, we have never thought of leaving. The bank knows this and takes advantage of it.
Be a Cheapskate
No one wants to be the person who doesn’t give cards or presents for birthdays or Christmas, but if money is tight and poverty is near then you have no choice. Make a deal with loved ones that you will either not buy presents for each other or will buy presents that have an inherent monetary value. That way, your household income is not disappearing into nothing every birthday and Christmas and will instead go on things that actually have value.
You can save money on Christmas presents and birthday presents for friends by buying in advance. Shop for gifts during Black Friday or Cyber Monday, even if the birthdays you’re buying for are not for months. You can also regift things you don’t want to use yourself, with gift cards, candles, toiletry sets, alcohol and confectionary being the easiest things to regift.
Need a little help getting your savings in order? It can benefit you greatly if you keep track of every penny saved. There is no better motivation than being able to see how much you have saved. It’s exhilarating because it’s proof that what you are doing is working.
So, keep a journal on your computer or in a notepad and provide a detailed report of every purchase, every saving and every financial goal.