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  • Inflation is still surging well out of pace for most Canadians and it is getting harder to make ends meet
  • By implementing these 15 simple yet effective strategies, you can start saving some money and improve your financial situation
  • From drafting a budget to shopping around for deals, some methods can be serious, while others are simple “life hacks”
  • Saving money doesn’t mean sacrificing everything you love, but rather making conscious choices and prioritizing your financial well-being

Living in Canada comes with many expenses, from housing to groceries, and everything in between. Inflation is still surging well out of pace compared with wages for most Canadians, and it is getting harder to make ends meet. However, with some simple yet effective strategies, you can start saving money and improving your financial situation.

Here are 15 simple ways to save money in Canada

1. Create a budget: Start by figuring out how much you spend and keep track of all your expenses – every coffee, household item and cash tip, along with regular monthly bills. Set a realistic budget that allows you to save a portion of your earnings each month.

2. Keep track of expenses: Having a plan is one thing but setting it in motion and sticking to it is the heart of the matter. You can record your expenses on paper, or use an app. Your bank may even have a feature for this process online. Once you have the data, you can categorize it accordingly.

3. Cut unnecessary expenses: Identify non-essential items or services you can eliminate from your budget. Cancel unused subscriptions, reduce dining out (even takeaway coffee), and avoid unnecessary shopping sprees. If you have a gym membership you rarely use, consider canceling it. Look for free or low-cost fitness alternatives such as outdoor activities, home workouts or community centres.

4. Set savings goals: Think about what you want to save for, be it a short-term goal (one year to three years) or in the long term (four years or more), then judge how much money you would need and how long it would take you to save for it. This will help you determine your financial priorities.

5. Shop smart: Compare prices, look for sales, and use coupons. For frequently used items, consider buying in bulk. This strategy can save you money in the long run, especially for non-perishable goods like toilet paper, cleaning supplies or pantry staples. One way to shop frugally that many don’t consider is choosing to buy clothes from thrift or consignment stores instead of new items from retailers. Considering how quickly new clothes wear out, it is also good for the environment to resist the allure of the fast-fashion industry (you can probably find a similar style on second-hand racks, anyway). Never forget to take advantage of loyalty programs and reward cards to save money on groceries and other regular purchases. As my dad always said, “It’s not a bargain if you don’t need it!”

6. Cook at home: Eating out can quickly add up. Plan your meals, make a grocery list, and cook at home. Not only is it cheaper, but it also gives you control over the ingredients and portion sizes. CNET recently added up the costs of cooking various meals at home versus eating out or ordering delivery. Services like SkipTheDishes has made eating out all the more popular, but you could save quite a bit. You can take this a step further and prepare your meals at home and bring them to work instead of buying lunch frequently. You’ll save a significant amount of money over time. If you cook enough dinner the night before, your lunch the next day should cost you $0.

7. Quit smoking and limit alcohol consumption: Aside from health benefits, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption can significantly save you money. Plus, your long-term health will thank you. In August 2022, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction published a report suggesting people stick to a maximum of two drinks per week to reduce their risk of negative health consequences.

8. Use public transportation or carpool: If possible, opt for public transportation or carpooling. This will not only save you money on gas but also reduce wear and tear on your vehicle.

9. Save on energy bills: Reduce your energy consumption by switching off lights, unplugging devices when not in use, and adjusting your thermostat. Consider using energy-efficient appliances and LED lighting. Your electricity provider will likely have more information and tips on how to save money here, such as Ontario Hydro and BC Hydro.

10. Shop for insurance: Regularly compare insurance quotes for your home, auto and personal belongings. You may find better coverage at a lower price.

11. Open a savings account: If you don’t have one already, your bank can set you up and chances are an email about it from the bank is in your junk folder. Unlike a chequing account that most people use to perform day-to-day transactions, a savings account is used as a tool to help you put money aside. It is a deposit account specifically designed for saving cash. It can be used to fund a car, home, dream vacation, etc. or save for a “rainy day.”

12. Save on banking fees: Consider switching to a no-fee banking account or credit card. Be mindful of ATM fees and choose financial institutions that offer better rates and services.

13. Reduce water usage: Install low-flow showerheads and faucets. Fix any water leaks promptly and use water-saving practices such as turning off taps while brushing your teeth or running full loads in your dishwasher and washing machine.

14. DIY projects: Instead of hiring professionals for simple repairs or home improvement projects, learn to do them yourself. Online tutorials and resources can guide you through various tasks, saving you money on labour costs.

15. Take advantage of free activities: Canada offers plenty of free recreational activities such as hiking, biking, picnics and free admission days at museums. Explore these options and enjoy quality time without spending a dime. A good place to start just happens to be another money-saving idea – visiting your local library.

By implementing these 15 simple yet effective strategies, you can start saving some money. Remember, saving money doesn’t mean sacrificing everything you love, but rather making conscious choices and prioritizing your financial well-being. Start today and take control of your financial future.

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The material provided in this article is for information only and should not be treated as investment advice. For full disclaimer information, click here.

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