how to save money fastI’ve written about my saving strategies and frugal living before, but I’ve decided to write an updated post in a numbered list format on how to save money and the various ways to save money on a day to day basis.  This post was inspired by similar posts on other blogs like CashMoneyLife.

Included below are 25 28 ways that I save money:

  1. I use a points or a cash back based credit card that gives me the best return for my spending.  Here’s a post and picture of what’s in my wallet.
  2. I arrange my banking so that I don’t pay any fees and use a discount brokerage that minimizes my trading expenses.  The current favorite of Million Dollar Journey readers for a low cost, no frills discount brokerage is Questrade (I have a TFSA and RRSP with them).
  3. When buying consumer items, I try to separate my “needs” and my “wants”.
  4. When I find something that I “need”, I do comparison shopping or wait until it goes on sale.  If I find the item online, I check Ebates or Great Canadian Rebates or for additional cash back opportunities.
  5. I try to watch movies at home (or use Netflix) instead of going to the movie theatre.  However, since we enjoy the theatre, we still visit the movies on occasion.  Here is how to maximize Scene points.
  6. When making a big purchase, like a mortgage or a vehicle, I negotiate and shop around for the best rate.  This will save you thousands in the long run.
  7. I drive with gas efficiency in mind.
  8. In addition to reducing trading fees, I keep our ETF/mutual fund management expense ratios (MER) as low as possible by using indexed ETFs/mutual funds.
  9. I try to save energy around the house with CFL’s, programmable thermostats and proper insulation.
  10. We do laundry once / week (we do more now because of kids, but try to be as efficient as possible).
  11. I brown bag my lunch to work.
  12. I prepare my lunches in bulk and store them in individual plastic/glass containers.
  13. I cook at home whenever possible.
  14. I perk my own coffee (or drink the coffee at work).
  15. This is more of a healthy lifestyle choice, but I don’t smoke, do drugs, and minimize drinking.
  16. I use basic cable instead of the fancy cable packages.
  17. I combine my cable/internet/telephone with the same provider to take advantage of the discounts available.
  18. I use term insurance instead of universal life or whole life insurance.
  19. As with anything else, I shop around for my insurance products.
  20. I pay a higher deductible on insurance products to reduce the premiums.
  21. I buy with quality in mind in the expectation that it will last a long time.
  22. To please my reading habit, I go to the library (or get publishers to send me free books for review) :)
  23. I make my deposits into my high interest rate savings account and RRSP automatically on a bi-weekly basis.  Basically when I get my paycheck.
  24. When purchasing a home, I save for a large down payment to reduce mortgage insurance fees (CMHC).
  25. I buy clothes when they wear out, not when they go out of style.
  26. I track my spending/budget with Excel or Mint.com (recommend not connecting your bank account, only credit cards).
  27. When my income increases, I aim to keep lifestyle inflation at bay.  Basically, I bank my raises.
  28. To save money on car rentals, I watch the fluctuating prices on Expedia and when a low price shows up, I bid slightly lower on Priceline.

What are some ways that you save money? Do you follow the frugal living lifestyle?

134 Comments

  1. Mike Brock on September 22, 2014 at 8:18 am

    I stopped smoking and found I wasnt going into the stores that much so cut back on all the rubbish they managed to sell me at the tills, like chocolates, magazines and soft drinks….

  2. SLN on February 10, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    I offset any expense with TFSA returns. A $50 phone expense is paid with after-tax income. Make use of the TFSA and use any tax-free returns or profits to off-set some of your expenses.

  3. James on May 28, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    One great thing we did to save money was use a company that helped us cut our costs for cell phones, internet, cable TV and landlines. They kept our services exactly as is with and with the same provider. They just got us better pricing. It was the ultimate win-win. If you are looking to save some money check them out at http://www.savecell.ca.

  4. Andy on March 21, 2016 at 5:16 am

    Good tips. simple and to the point. For cable, it’s possible to replace it with a TV antenna for free HD channels and Netflix.

  5. Financial Canadian on July 8, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    Of all the things you’ve outlined here, I think that by far the rule that I see broken the most is the concept of “banking your raises”. I work in finance and it’s very typical for new hires to have dramatic lifestyle increases upon being hired, regardless if they have boatloads of student debt or whatever their situation may be. Often it’s not the most prudent choice.

    FC

  6. Brett on November 19, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    Reading the comments on this page has actually convinced me to stop worrying about saving every penny and just enjoy my life. Entering contests for 30 minutes a day, using a metal detector to look for dropped change??? I stumbled upon this page because I was looking for ways to save money with the news that I have twins on the way. But after reading these comments, I’m convinced that there is much more important things than saving a few bucks here and there. I would much rather spend an extra couple hours with my kids each day, and accept that it is just going to cost an extra $100-$200 a month. If I have to work an extra year before I am able to retire, then so be it. I guarantee my kids and wife will appreciate it in the long run.

  7. Daniel on June 1, 2018 at 11:30 pm

    Just going through this with my 17 year old son in Ontario. Free tuition is for household income of under $50K which for most areas would be almost poverty level income. Plus that covers tuition only so the extra $10K per year has to come from somewhere (if the program they take is not available locally). For us, we are a two income family making reasonable incomes so we are above the $50K threshold. We do qualify for a $2000 grant through OSAP and most of the schools offer merit based scholarships of $2 – 3K per year assuming they keep their grades above 80%. My son has an 84% average so he is getting the $2K scholarship level. https://alpari.com/en/analytics/currency/converter/USD-TRY/?sum=1

  8. David on November 3, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    for colder Canadian climates: we use firewood as much as possible, insulated the flip out of your house, have your family on board (learning and helping out) and teach them what we are all sharing, affordable vehicles, learn how to fix your assets, learn how to build, don’t be afraid to try things and take the small loss if it doesn’t work out, discipline goes a long way (learn to say no to yourself and family), to stay far away from Credit cards or pay off when due or a day prior, check out Manulife products as well as others, self -educate (loads of books out there) &/ or go to some type of business management school, find something you really love to do that is a type of service/ product and start a small business ( we do this constantly ie, roast coffee on our BBQ, make hand man winter wreaths, prune trees … = tax deductions and added income) keep expenses low with profits high. gardening can be fun and offer exercise (at least get a few fruit trees and learn about xeriscaping. get away from a huge costly lawn if you don’t need/ want it. this will save you time and energy for years and offer you fresh organic foods), we are low income earners so for those who are * learn about how you can take advantage of Kids sport, RESP, CLB. my chink now is learning about investment incomes. I’ve always been a skilled labourer and fugal as we like to say but time is not on my side so much anymore so .. its time to start looking towards the future = compound investments (need to learn more about this one ! ) We try to have an eye on the future but not too much or you’ll miss what’s going on today and now.

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