I have been asked by one of our readers to post about some of our saving strategies. My wife and I are fairly frugal, but not super frugal like some people I read about on the Internet. We take a common sense approach to spending where we try and divide our needs and wants. As I mentioned before, the strategy to “Pay Yourself First” has worked really well for us. We take a portion of our paychecks and put them away in savings. The rest of the money is used to pay bills and a small amount for discretionary spending.

Now, lets play a game and see how frugal you are compared to us:

Compare your answers with mine:

1. Do you NEED to go the theatres to watch the latest blockbuster? Or can you wait until it comes out on DVD to rent?

  • My wife really enjoys the cinemas but we have disciplined ourselves to only go once every few months (or longer). We rent movies most of the time.

2. Do you NEED to go out for supper at a fancy restaurant? Or can you cook your supper at home?

  • We go out to eat on special occasions [more often if someone else is paying ;)], however, most of the time we just cook at home. Cooking at home is cheaper (usually healthier too) than eating out at any restaurant, even Macdonalds.

3. Do you NEED to go out for lunch? Or can you brownbag your lunch?

  • We always pack our lunch for work. It’s “easier” to go out and pick up something quick but usually more costly.

4. Do you NEED to buy a coffee at a coffee shop? Or can you perk your own at home?

  • Say you buy $1.50 coffee every single day of the year (that’s not including the muffins!), that’s almost $550/year that you are spending on something that you don’t NEED! That money could be used towards your car payment, rent, or investing.

5. Do you NEED to smoke cigarettes? Or can you quit?

  • Here in Canada, cigarettes cost around $10/pack. The average smoker probably smokes approximately 1 pack/day which equates to $300/month. If you were to take the cigarette money and invest it annually in a tax free retirement account growing at 8%, you’d have $274 452 in 25 years. Wouldn’t that be a nice addition to your retirement funds.

6. Do you NEED to party every weekend? Or can you hang out with your friends and cut back on the booze?

  • Booze can be fun but it IS expensive. Cutting back on your booze intake is not only good for your liver but good for your wallet also.

7. Do you NEED a new car every 3 years? Or can you get by with a reliable used car (with cheaper insurance)?

  • This one is the kicker, no one NEEDS a new car every 3-4 years whether it’s leasing or buying. We made the mistake of buying a brand new car upon graduation which came with a big car loan. Never again. Did you know that new cars depreciate 15%-20% as soon as you drive it off the lot? If you NEED a car (some cities have poor public transportation), then buy a reliable used Honda or Toyota around 3-4 years old and drive it to the ground. That’s what we plan on doing with our cars.

8. Do you NEED the full digital cable package? Or can you get by with basic cable?

  • Although there are a lot of great channels in the digital cable package, we stick with the basic cable. It saves us around $40/month and all the TV programs that we care to watch.

There you have it. That’s just a few examples on how you can shave a few dollars off your monthly bills. Remember, $1 dollar saved is $1.50 dollars earned (after accounting for taxes)! If you have some more ideas, please feel free to add them to the comments.

If you would like to read more articles like this, you can sign up for my free weekly money tips newsletter below (we will never spam you).


  1. Johnny on December 13, 2006 at 10:14 am

    Have you ever read the book “101 ways to save money”? Some good ideas in there, including some of the ones you’ve mentioned

  2. FrugalTrader on December 13, 2006 at 11:20 am

    Hey Johnny,

    No I haven’t read that book yet. Do you know the author name? I’m always looking for good personal finance/investing related books.


  3. Q Cash on December 15, 2006 at 11:15 am

    As for cable, we don’t have it where we are, but we can download most of our favourite shows these days (without commercials). Not only do we save money, we save time.

    My wife and I found we would watch a show we like at 8:00 and then watch something stupid from 8:30 to 9:00 to wait for our 9:00 show.

    Now, I just make a list of our favourite shows, download them all at once and then we watch them at our leisure (usually after the kids have gone to sleep) and it means we avoid watching reruns :-)


  4. FrugalTrader on December 15, 2006 at 11:21 am

    Hey QCash,

    Do you remember what your networth was like in your mid-late 20’s?

    Do you have any savings tips that has worked really well for you?


  5. Q Cash on December 15, 2006 at 1:51 pm

    I don’t have my exact networth at 27 (1998) on hand, but I can tell you when I got married in 2000, my net worth was about $400,000, my gross networth was about $600K. At that time, I had a mortgage on my own home and a mortgage on my rental property (each about $100K). My wife had a net worth/gross worth of $150K no debt.


  6. FrugalTrader on December 15, 2006 at 2:41 pm

    What would you say has contributed most to your networth? Savings? Or Portfolio growth?

    If you don’t mind posting, what is your investment strategy?


  7. gettingrichtogether.blogspot.com on December 18, 2006 at 10:02 am

    I have to take issue with your comment ” then buy a reliable used Honda or Toyota around 3-4 years old and drive it to the ground”. While Honda, Toyota may have been more reliable 10 years ago, there really isnt much difference today. The residuals on a used Honda or Toyota are alot higher than on something domestic. You are paying alot more for something with higher perceived quality. The insurance on those cars are also significantly higher. I called for insurance on a Malibu vs a Civic. The insurance on the civic was $425 more per year. Repair costs for imports are also significantly more. When you add it all up, it makes alot more sense to drive a used domestic.

  8. FrugalTrader on December 18, 2006 at 10:30 am

    From my experiences, there is a significant difference between the quality of Japanese vehicles (honda,toyota) and domestic vehicles (dodge, gm etc). Around here, you’ll see a lot of 1999 Corollas or Hondas but you won’t see many 1999 Neons still on the road.

    Why would you say “perceived” quality? Do you have any statistics to back it up? So you’re saying that the market has overpriced used foreign cars? I’m not a car expert by any means, just going by my experiences.

    You have a good point on the insurance. I guess the higher sticker price means higher insurance? Are you talking about full covereage? If this is an issue, why not just get public liability on a used vehicle?

    Also, with the Civic being the #1 car being sold in Canada (or so I hear), would repairs/parts really cost that much more than a domestic? Wouldn’t there be a steady supply of parts?

    Good discussion. :)


  9. NLG on December 18, 2006 at 1:12 pm

    I’d have to agree with FrugalTrader on this one. The JD Power initial quality studies do show that North American manufacturers have caught up to their Japanese counterparts. However, I don’t remember the specifics, but this survey is conducted only a few months after someone purchases a new car, when few defects are likely.

    The issue of long-term reliability is not accounted for in surveys like this, and I do believe that Honda and Toyota are still ahead of the game here (less rust, better mechanical longevity, fewer electrical problems).

    For example, my roomate is driving a 1996 Corolla. It has no rust, the paint isn’t very shiny any more, but it drives well (no creaks, it handles bumps well, gets good fuel economy still, and has not had any major service in the last 2 years).

    On the other side, until this-summer I owned a 1996 Neon. Over the 3-years I owned it, I replaced a CV boot, brake lines, 3 starters, O2 sensors, a driveshaft, and it was riddled with rust, the engine ran rough, and the suspension was shot.

    So, it still seems to me that Japanese cars are better in the long-term.

  10. […] January FrugalTrader08:17 amAdd comment I’d like to talk about a savings strategy that I use that saves me around $1300 / year (or more for some people).  This simple strategy that a lot of people don’t use is brown bagging your lunch!  If buying lunch everyday costs $8/day compared with a  brown bagged lunch which costs me around $3/day, you are saving $5/day ($1300/year).  You can save even more by packing up those left overs for lunch the next day.  I personally enjoy left overs.  Easy meals that are ready to go that just need a few minutes in the microwave. I must admit, I like to eat a lot.  So, what does a food glutton like me do?  I cook in bulk, separate the food into tupperware, and store it in the freezer.  Cooking in bulk can save you a lot of hard earned cash.  Where do I get my recipes?  I find that Recipes.com is a great resource.  My favorites are the quick and healthy meals. […]

  11. […] What I like about PC Financial is that everything is FREE. Being as frugal as I am, I love free. :) I have a chequing account with them also and the cheques are free with no minimum balance. There is also no charge to transfer money between banks. For example, my main chequing account is with CIBC, so I Pay Myself First every two weeks, which goes directly into my PC Savings account. This can be programmed to withdraw automatically every two weeks and it works wonders. […]

  12. bootsie on April 18, 2007 at 5:22 pm

    I have to side with gettingrichtogether on this one (sorry guys!). He is pretty bang on with respect to quality being “perceived”. I can’t seem to find the link but a few months back there was an article in the Detroit News regarding the fact that, about 10 years ago there was a big disparity in both quality and reliability (which is what one should be concerned about when buying used) between the foreign car makers and the domectic OEMs. This gap has narrowed GREATLY, in fact today, domestics OEMs have better reliability reports than European car makers. The Asian OEMs are still slightly leading the domestic OEMs but by a very small margin, which in my eyes, does not justify the higher markup on an Asian used vehicle due to greater residual value.

    The above information (and sorry again for not providing the link) helps to explain why so many people have a story about their 1996 Corolla or 1993 Civic still running prefectly fine. But if you were looking to by a used vehicle, would you buy a 10+ year vehicle or a 2-3 year old vehicle with low KMs, where the difference between automaker reliability is almost negligible but the price difference is significant? We won’t know the results of reliability of 2-3 year old vehicles for a few more years, and who’s to say the domestics won’t fair even better by then? That’s the way the trends are heading (after years of being beat down for quality issues), it’s entirely possible so I put my money (and less of it ;)) on the domestics.

    I plan on telling stories in 2010 of how my 1999 Escort (currently 200,000+ KM) is still kickin’ around. :)

    Disclaimer: I do work in the auto industry, but for a Tier 1 supplier that supplies Asian, European and domestic OEMs.

  13. canabiz on April 29, 2007 at 2:36 am

    I haven’t rented any movies or bought any music CDs for as long as I could remember. Again, not advocating any illegal activies, just like to point out that we should not listen to what Bush and his cohorts say. Check the laws in your area and download away!

    Also try to bike/take bus/walk if you could. It’s better for your health, your wallet and the environment (for your children, if nothing else)

  14. Cinders on July 4, 2007 at 11:53 am

    Shopping for clothes and shoes used to be my major weakness. But I found a way to help my spending sprees. First of all when I go into a store I only look at the sales racks. If you don’t look at the expensive new arrivals then you don’t have the temptation to buy them. There are tons of great deals on the sales racks. Keep the blinders on and head to the back of the store.

  15. […] to separate my purchases into "needs" and "wants" which is evident the "My Savings Strategies" article. I'll explain a bit more about why this is a "need" for us (or how I […]

  16. MoneySheep on August 4, 2007 at 11:04 am

    Often before I buy something I try to estimate how much I have been taken advantage of. If the margin they make is ridiculously high, I will try very hard not to buy it. You wouldn’t believe the amount of profit these retailers make. Years ago I stopped buying coffee from Tim Horton after hearing some restaurant acqaintances said they made a lot of money from coffee. This is acknowledged by McDonalds when they reported huge profit after they switched their blend of coffee and got people to drive-thru. Donald Trump did comment: I hate to pay retail.

  17. […] of my life that I refuse to skimp on.  I think really it comes back again to the topic of Needs and Wants and my personal take on what I think are needs.  Here are some […]

  18. MaNo on August 15, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    Be carefull with the PC Financial stuff, you know the adage you get what you pay for? For basic stuff they’re fine, but their mortgages can be confusing, and if you’re looking for the lowest possible rate, you might be suprised with large possible penalties if you try to sell your home before the term is up. Talk to a local mortgage broker (look for the AMP – Accredited Mortgage Profession for best service), they’re free, and they’ll give you much more insight on how to save money on your mortgage than any of the banks will.

  19. Nars on September 4, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    You will some more tips here:

  20. MrScrooge on October 30, 2007 at 11:48 pm

    I’m sorry to say but Neon and Cavalier/Sunfire are pretty crappy cars and I do not recommend buying them period. However, there are other fine used domestic cars which are a much better value compared to the Japanese econoboxes and just as reliable. In fact, it seems that the quality of some new Japanese cars have gone down. Finally, don’t buy a used VW unless you are ready to spend a lot of $ in repairs.

  21. The Financial Blogger on October 31, 2007 at 12:12 am

    I prefer old bmers ;-) they cost a fortune to repair but they don’t break much! lol!

  22. […] Million Dollar Journey posted an article about his saving strategies, but I don’t think I could do half of what he does. 1. Do you NEED to go the theatres to watch the latest blockbuster? Or can you wait until it comes out on DVD to rent? […]

  23. Pauls on November 4, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    This one’s related to the car questions on this forum, but also saves me money. Get an on-line subscription to Consumer Reports. It will answer the questions:
    – what’s the best one to buy
    – what features do I need
    – what experience have other had with the same product

    Not just cars, but all larger ticket items. Knowledge means savings and value.

    And yes, the are SOME domestics that are as reliable as Honda and Toyota. Not very many. Why bother taking a chance IMO. Money and time spent in a repair shop very quickly overtakes the savings of the initial purchase.

  24. 25 Ways I Save Money | Million Dollar Journey on December 3, 2007 at 5:01 am

    […] FrugalTrader05:00 amAdd comment I've written about my saving strategies before, but I've decided to write an updated post in a numbered list format on the various ways […]

  25. Benito on December 11, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    You only eat out when someone else pays? For someone with such a high net worth, you are CHEAP!

  26. FrugalTrader on December 11, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    Benito, i’ve been called worse. :)

    If you re-read the post, it said, “We go out to eat on special occasions [more often if someone else is paying ;)]…”

    The smile and wink was my attempt at humor.

  27. MoneySheep on December 12, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    About cars, I believe the best way is to buy a new car and then keep it LONG, and run it almost to the ground. Why? You are the only owner and you know you keep it well. If the unfortunate happens, like severe accidents, then I will sell it after it is fixed up for looks. So, that is also why I won’t buy a used car, you just don’t know how rough it had been handled. When I was a student I bought used cars, they were so troublesome and had to be repaired frequently (cost anxiety as well as $). My second last car was a new one, I drove it for 17 years, sold it for 10% of the purchase price. My current one is almost 8 years, it still drive like new.

  28. Ryan S. on December 21, 2007 at 2:25 am

    Asking “need vs. want” always can make a difference with purchasing; I try to prioritize all of my buys, no matter how small or big. $1.55 for a Super Big Gulp is not a big deal once a year, but every day for a year becomes a really big deal (and a lot of soda!).

  29. […] Million Dollar Journey talks about strategies used to save money, largely considering their wants versus their […]

  30. […] enhancing expenses while being less frugal on life enhancing costs – This is similar to my "separate your needs and wants" principle.  Foster basically is extremely frugal on non life enhancing expenses (taxes), […]

  31. JR on April 5, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    # 27 post by moneysheep, the car thing, yes agreed and I do the same thing.

    We are a two vehicle family, wife has one and I have one.

    i purchase older cars, always on the look out for a vehicle that was driven by an older person, senior is better. 8-10 years old, low milage, good bodywork, and will not pay more than $2500. We will generally as arule keep the vehicle 5 years, spend on repairs no more than $1000 during that period on the things, then sell them at $1000. Try to keep vehicle purchase and depreciation to $500/yr. Insurance is always third party only at a cost of not more than $500 per vehicle per year

    On other stuff, quick explanation.

    We rarely eat out or have take-out. Brown bag it for lunch, and spend no more than 1% of the months net income on food & entertainment.

    Groceries, coupon clip, shop at three – four grocery stores, load up with specials only, this gets us a weekly grocery tab of $50 average & yes we eat all the right stuff, including meat, fish, chicken, bread and veggies. We buy zero junk food.

    Energy efficient lights, timers on the furnace and the communications bill (cell, internet, land-line & cable TV runs no more than $150/month. No special features on any of the phones.

    Monthly running costs & living expenses for a family of three, two adults and one still live at home child 22, the freeloader (a great kid) that does not contribute to any expenses:

    On a $2800 SQ.FT house, now fully paid for with a 75% HELOC on it that zero balance’s every tweleve months

    Heat & Hydro $200
    Property taxes $350 (thats the killer)
    Communications $150
    Food $200
    Entertainment $50
    Car insurance $83
    Car maintenance & service (budget) $30
    Gasoline $150 (one car used for work)
    Clothes budget $30 (shop at the thrift store, we have a good one were we live)
    SUB-TOTAL: …………….$1243
    10% contingency ………..$125
    MONTHLY EXPENSES ………..$1368

    With the right investments, tax planning, HELOC we do in fact live free.

  32. Jeremy on April 30, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    JR – how do you zero your HELOC every 12 month? How does that work? What is the principle behind that?

  33. canabiz on July 11, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    FT, when you have time, can you pose a question for the readers: *Is owning a cottage a good financial decision* or something to that effect. My answer would be No but I am curious to hear others’ thought on this. A lot of my co-workers own cottages and they practically head over there right after work on Friday, it’s freedom for them and the kids, make no mistake about it but I am not convinced owning a cottage makes the most financial sense.

    If I want to go to one, I will rent and let the cottage owners worry about the the maintenance, the upkeep and the taxes.

    Your thoughts ?

  34. FrugalTrader on July 12, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    canabiz, that’s an interesting question. I’m not sure if owning a cottage is an investment where it’s more of a luxury. If the cottage is affordable and your family would use and enjoy it, why not get one?

    One caveat though, cottages are fully taxable when they are sold. This applies even if the owner of the cottage were to pass away and wanted to give it to their children. To the government, the cottage would be sold upon passing and taxes would be owed providing that there is a profit. One way to get around this is to put the cottage under a “trust” structure. More on this later.

  35. Ben on August 7, 2008 at 9:44 am

    1. A relative sometimes gets us free tickets to the theatre. Once a month we’ll get a movie at the store, but usually have a coupon for that from a cereal box or other promotion.
    2. We go out to eat once every 2-3 weeks it seems. We could do less, but usually go to Swiss Chalet for the quarter chicken white (which is rising steadily in price). Brownbag the lunch for sure.
    3. The vices: I can get free coffee in the morning at work, and my wife has coffees and special teas at work. Smoke not. The booze can add up, even when consumed at home. Buy the buck-a-beers, save a lot.
    4. We both have small import cars that we bought new 4-7 years ago, and intend to drive into the ground.
    5. We started out with full cable TV, and cut back to basic when we realized the savings. Recently, we’ve cut cable TV entirely as an incentive to get outside and enjoy the summer, but to my chagrin we seem to still get about 10 channels for free! CBC, Global, NBC, and others. We also have lite internet, $34.95/month. Phone is basic Bell line, with YAK LD @ 3.5c/min. After tax phone is about $30/month, and total communications bill is about $70.
    6. My coupon queen uses frugalshopper.com for ideas on saving money, and where to get the deals.
    7. My Achilles heel is the projects around the house – Home Depot loves me. But after 3 years in the house, things are quieting down thankfully.

  36. Patty on November 5, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    I know this is pretty late considering when you wrote this article, but I would still like to submit my saving strategies as I think they could help some people out.
    Our income was drastically cut with me being on maternity leave and to survive we did everything you mentioned plus the following things…
    1.) Get rid of 1 of our 2 cars and get a bus pass. – This cut our insurance, parking, gas and repairs in half and the hubby can take the bus to work which he loves cause he can have his coffee and read the paper while being driven to work. We got the most basic insurance on the remaining car and only use it for grocery shopping and doctor appts.
    2.) Looking at consolidating debt into our mortgage. – Still shopping around with the help of a mortgage broker who is free.
    3.) Living on cash rather than credit cards. – We got this idea from the TV show Till Debt Due Us Part. The host, Gail Vaz-Oxlade, uses cash jars to help people budget. Here is a link to these fabulous magic jars: http://www.gailvazoxlade.com/articles_f/article1-5.htm
    4.) Started buying baby stuff from EBAY and Craigslist. Have to be careful as safety laws change and you don’t want to buy something that may not be the safest on the market.
    5.) Making our own beer and wine. We live in Vancouver, BC and there are wonderful U-Brews here, where you tell them what you want ie./honey brown lager and they make it for you. When it’s ready you go down and can or bottle it. Here is our savings: 6 cases of 24 imported beers at the store = $450 plus versus $200 (if we re-use our bottles rather than canning)
    6.) We have 2 extra bedrooms in our house. We use one for family or friends that come to visit and the other room (it’s in the basement and quite comfortable) we have rented out in a “homestay” fashion. Our homestay is a student from Switzerland who is staying with us for the school year. She pays us for room and board and we help her learn English and give her a home environment (she has dinner with us and comes on outings with us).
    Thank you for your time and I love your site.

  37. Term Insurance Pro on December 1, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    I think the food items are the most important for me. I don’t spend much on coffee (don’t drink it) or alcohol or cigarettes (don’t use either), but I do go out to eat multiple times a day. I know it’s a little overkill. But I recently bought a home and have made it my goal to start cooking a lot more at home. I know I waste a lot of money by going out to lunch and dinner so much. Plus my food would probably taste better and be more healthy if I cook it myself.

  38. Lily on January 31, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    One of my fave ways to save money / splurge without spending money, is using my reward points to redeem for gift cards / certificates. I’ve given gifts this way a number of times and it’s an efficient way to spend money on yourself (e.g. a $5 latte) without hurting the wallet.

  39. Tips on Budgeting: Make Your Budget Work For You on February 24, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Nice post
    A budget is a spending plan that includes everything you will spend money on. A good budget is a spending plan that includes everything you will spend money on and stays within your income.
    Budgeting tips, information, advice, and resources to help you set up a successful budget and stay motivated.

  40. Horlic on April 6, 2009 at 6:38 am

    I have one saving strategies here. Maybe for who can’t control their expenses they may use the “force” strategies. 1. Auto debits your salary to saving account e.g. 20% of your salary. 2. Allocate the money for food, entertainment, groceries, investment, miscellaneous and etc. 3. Record your daily expenses, don’t take more than one credit card with you when you go out and minimum $$ in your wallet (e.g 50 bucks). 4. This is most important one: Be persistent; otherwise don’t waste your time.

  41. InvestAssetWealth on April 13, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Not big into movies, and the theater prices have risen exponentially in the last 15 years. No desire to attend and spend money there.

    Going out for dinner is one of the largest rip-offs on planet earth. More specifically is the alcohol and beverages portion – that is where restaurants have the highest profit margins. That being said, many people like to be waited upon, cooked for, and cleaned-up after; completely understandable. So although I find going out for dinner to be a waste of money, many people do not agree. I will admit, it is nice once in a while though; 4 times per year is good enough for me.

    I have no problem brown bagging it, did it for years. If I’m far away from home and didn’t bring a lunch, I will usually grab fast food spending under $4, no beverage. I drank way too much pop growing up, and have mainly switched to water which I always have plenty of while on the road. If you keep food purchases under $4, you don’t pay any PST; GST only. That can add up over the years.

    I’m not addicted to coffee (and it is an addiction) or cigarettes & I rarely drink booze.

    I drive a 15 year old pickup truck which I take care of and maintain well. I love mechanics so I take care of most the repairs myself. Labour is your major cost with any vehicle repair, aftermarket parts are relatively cheap. The true value of used vehicles depends on how hard they were driven, and how well they were maintained. New cars are a huge liability, depreciating significantly as they are driven off the lot. However, a cheap new car is not a bad play for somebody not comfortable with mechanics.

    Basic cable all the way, but BNN is a must!

    Is the game over? Did I win? :-)


  42. GTP on April 23, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    It’s quite the debate going on here! I can’t honestly say that I’m anywhere near as frugal as many people here – and, quite realistically, I don’t ever plan on being that frugal. I budget, pay myself first (an absolute MUST), and the rest is mine to do whatever I want with. I love a nice $1.73 cup of starbucks a few times a week (coffee at work is free). Going out for dinner regularly is really losing its appeal, but if the meal is good, I’ll go again. There are a lot of things I could cut out of my life but I really enjoy them and likely will continue to do so. With a good investment strategy and my current cost of living, I’ll be just fine. I would rather earn more (by studying markets and learning new strategies) off of my investments to offset the fact that I enjoy some of the luxuries in life. That being said, I don’t own a car, I just split my roommates insurance + gas with him to be able to drive his car on occasion. I’m sure there will be some kick back on this – thoughts anyone?

  43. Toronto Bankruptcy Trustee on May 21, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    I think this is a great round-up of ideas on how an average individual can cut down their unnecessary expenses and start saving. I like the personal approach taken in communicating this information. Great article!

  44. David on April 2, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    I have some more ideas. You don’t really even need cable tv or any of that move stuff. Just download movies, music, video games from the internet. Get an unlimited internet search. If you need cable theres always the intena(sp?) approach and you can even get hd channels.
    Switch to a VOIP phone line for your house line(unless you need a phone line for unlimited net still good for a second phone line). Using a website like Freephoneline.ca will charge you $3.95 a month everywhere in canada or get a magic jack and its 3.95 a year. For cell phones try and get the basic package. For books goto your local libraby and borrow them or when they do have book sales they usually cost $1-$2.
    I don’t usually try and save $ on food as I eat all non processed super healthy stuff such as chicken, fish, fruits, veggies, berries, rice, nuts. For chicken I don’t like bones and skins but I buy normal chicken beasts and I have a good debone knife and just remove the skins which saves $. Also try going to a few local markets to pick up veggies, fruit and meats I friend its cheaper and fresher then supermarkets.
    In big cities like t.o you don’t even need a car really just walk/take public transit and it will save you alot of hassle.
    If you have a super stable job try and find a place close to it. I live in a house thats a 5 minute walk to work and has everything else ammenity wise around it within a 10-20 minute walk around me.

  45. Toronto Bankruptcy on May 21, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    Frugal Trader, you read my mind. The inability to distinguish between “needs” and “wants” has gotten consumers into the mess they’re in with all their consumer debt.

    It’s the “little” expenses like coffee and lunch that really impact a family’s budget over the long term. They are exchanging money for convenience without thinking of the real cost of this.

  46. Tommy on June 30, 2010 at 1:02 am

    I NEVER pay full price when going to movies. I love FREE movies! The way I do it is redeem my Airmiles for a movie package for 2 adults. Here is the saving:

    2 Movie Passes: $24-ish
    2 Med Soft Drinks: $7
    1 Med Pop Corn: $4
    Total Cost = $35

    I use 175 airmiles to redeem this package (value at $35). Other gift cards will only give you $25 at most. So the movie package is DA BEST value.

  47. Tommy on June 30, 2010 at 1:05 am

    I agree. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts are soooo over-priced! I always get chicken breast with bone-in and skin on. The bone actually gives a lot of flavour if you slow cook the chicken. I would say a person can save probably 1.50-2 on not getting boneless and skinless. This goes the same with chicken thighs. I always get the ones with skin on.

  48. Tara on October 21, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    For #1, Netflix definitely saves me money on that (~$10 per month for unlimited DVDs in/out and streaming). Cinema nights are almost always not worth the money. And I put my Netflix account on hold when I know I don’t have the time to watch at least one movie per month.

    As for #8, I don’t understand at all why people only go for the $50+ cable packages. Maybe it’s because of the way cable companies market the packages? I pay for limited cable, which gets me all the major networks (including CBC! – I live in the US) and I only pay $12.50 per month. Well, I used to pay $12.55 and they just raised it to $14. But that’s still fairly cheap.

  49. Y on April 23, 2011 at 12:31 am

    This article reminded me of a great anecdote I’ve heard a long time ago.

    A guy at doctor’s office being told that he’s got a terminal disease. He asks:
    – Doctor, is there anything I can do to prolong my life now?
    – Well, you can stop drinking, smoking, having sex, meeting women and watching TV, doctor says.
    – Will I live much longer?
    – No, but the last few months you’ve got left will feel like eternity.

    Why do I bring this up? Cause articles like this remind me of all those rich old people who have been so tight all their life, that they live only to see their bank accounts grow. Forget anything that brings fun into your life, forget any enjoyment. Their purpose in life is to save money. And I think it’s a mental condition.

    What you’re advocating here for is being very uptight – do not go out, do not eat out, do not do this, do not do that. That’s one hell of a boring life. Next thing you know – don’t invite anyone to your place cause they can eat extra chip or cracker and it’d cost you extra 1c.

    Also where is the fun in making money if you cannot spend it on something that will make you feel like all that hard work you did was worth it? You always need a balance in your life, and this article clearly misses the point. Don’t forget about life while preparing for something in your distant future – that future may never happen.

  50. FrugalTrader on April 23, 2011 at 8:55 am

    @Y, I asked the same question a little while back!

  51. Brian W on March 23, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    On the topic of cars: With 1.5 years to go until we paid off our car loan (which featured a 5.9% financing rate–ridiculous by today’s standards), we had some borrowing room left on our PC borrowing account (line of credit), which had a rate of 4.25%. So, we paid off the balance of our car loan with our line of credit account, and enjoyed a lower financing rate.

    In addition, this helped our credit because our car loan was now shown as “paid in full.”

  52. Deny D. Ritz | Building Wealth Tips on August 15, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Hi FrugalTrader,

    Thanks for the tips on real life money saving. I hope you and your wife are on your way to good wealth (if not already!).

    I agree about going out to the cinema. Another advantage when we cut back on going out to watch movies is that we can use the time to do something else more productive (like reading how to save money tips).

    Your tip about buying a used Honda or Toyota is great too, as I’ve been driving the same Toyota for more than 15 years now! It’s starting to show some age (and it has scratches all over the place), but my friends say it still runs smooth.

    As long as it still works, no NEED to change anything, right?


  53. Gary on January 1, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Your saving strategies really hit home with alot of us. It’s amazing how much money we spend every day on things we really don’t need. I myself cancelled our $78/month cable and now use netflix for $8/month. I also got rid of my $80/month cell phone and went with tracphone for $200/year.

  54. Scott on October 29, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    I know this post is super old, but regarding cable: If you have internet (who doesn’t?) check out broadcasters websites!
    and many others! (even Space and Spike have some content)
    That covers 90%+ of my favorite shows, is legal, is free (if you have internet and a computer already), and is more than enough TV.

    As a backup, buy or build an antenna (many guides online) and get free HDTV for ctv, cbc, global, city, and a few more depending on your region.

  55. Stev on December 17, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Save $3000 / year by doing this….easy!

    I live in GTA and believe our country needs to focus not on THE ECONOMY, but financial independence. Here are my lessons learned as a frugal citizen who lives a very comfortable, debt free life, mainly by not buying into overconsumption and wasteful attitudes.

    Here are my top tips that will save you at least $3000 next year:

    a) CUT CABLE: I live near Hamilton and bought $50 HDTV antenna ( +amp), put in attic and get 25 HI DEF Channels FREE!!! Savings: $700/yr ( which can pay for a new HDTV and DVR BTW)
    Bonus Tip: Buy a Channelmaster DVR+ and you can record your hd TV and skip commercials. Best purchase I’ve made in a while.

    Story: I was watching a news story on a poor family that could barely put food on the table, but they were paying for Cable TV. Amazed to see lack of priorities…especially since TV is Free with an antenna. $500 could help them!

    b) Cheaper Internet: Teksavvy, Electonic Box and others provide reseller DSL/CABLE internet cheaper. They still use the Bell/ Cable company network FYI Savings: $200/yr

    c) VOIP for home phone service. I bought $40 OBIHAI device ( one time purchase) and pay $30/YEAR for phone service and get 40 free features! ITS MY TOP RECOMMENDATION. Long distance is 2cents/min Savings vs Bell: $800/year

    d) Buy on Black Friday./Cyber Monday ONLINE for tech deals. US stores are best deals so pickup in Buffalo or send to friend in US if you can.

    Consider this: My thinking is its better for the Canadian Economy to buy SAME PRODUCT in US.
    REasoning is …a Computer here is $800, same one in US is $600 saving you $200 that you can spend in your local businesses. Same TV, but their execs don’t get your $200…your local store or charity does!

    e) Price Match is your friend. Get your flyers and bring with you when shopping ( even groceries). They will price match so you dont have to drive store to store.

    f) Electricity: Time savings SmartMeters is great in my opinion. Set your timers, do your laundry, wash dishes etc when power is cheapest. We cut our hydro bill doing this. Savings : $300

    g) Buying a house? Buy near the workplace of at least ONE OF THE ADULTS IN FAMILY. Not only saving you fuel, but time, able to get home in case of emergencies, prepare dinner etc. Less stress…priceless!

    h) Are you a daily commuter? BUY AN ELECTRIC CAR.
    Every two car family should have 1 EV in my opinion, as 99% of your driving is within range. A Hamilton to Toronto commuter can save $3000 in fuel ( ie. $5000 fuel originally…now $2000 electricity…but charge offpeak overnight and cheaper electricity!)

    $3000 / year savings x 10 years = $30,000 savings ( after tax…meaning you have to earn $40,000). Plus its better for environment, your health ( no exhaust fumes headaches), and it sets a good example to your kids you are being responsible with the environment.

    AGAIN… SAVINGS OF $30,000/10 years that can go to paying off mortgage.

    HMMM…Think about it…if you buy a $28,000 car/SUV, after owning a car for 10 years, you pay more in fuel than you did for the car itself. If buying old tech gas burning car…buy a smaller engine/car.

    i) DRIVING TIPS: face it…we are wasteful when we drive…
    Drive a smaller car vs SUV….save $1000+/yr avg fuel
    Drive with car safely: no jack rabbit starts etc(Saves you $100)
    Don’t idle engine more than 30 seconds ( saves you $300/year in gas) ( and is not wasteful form of pollution!)
    combine trips ( pickup groceries on way home from work) saves time and $

    j) Buy a smaller home and live within means. Don’t be a show off and just buy what you need. A millionaire friend told me he doesn’t own many ‘things’ as everything you own needs time and attention. He has free time to enjoy life! ( and the $)

    k) Don’t argue about money. It will be blessing to your marriage.

    l) Investments: I had Mutual Funds for years but figured out the fund managers were the ones making 2%/year no matter what. I buy ETF’s, learned about finances and manage money myself. I am seeking a good FOR FEE financial coach as well…not a planner I Read, learn, be cautious as the only one that is thinking of your best interest is YOU!

    m) Give to others. I read that the more you give the more you get back. (Amazing but true.) Volunteer and give to a charity you are passionate about. You will feel good and are doing good.
    It’s our responsibility as a rich society to give back. My passion is climate change and environment as we need to be the pollution solution!

    n) Have a Merry Christmas everyone. If this helps a couple of you then this time was well spent.

  56. Bob on September 28, 2016 at 2:18 am

    Wow….you only live once and if I had to live everyday thinking about money i would find that sad. No one is beating death so enjoy responsibly but enjoy that good coffee, decent meal, nice ride and treat the spouse every once in a while. Don’t smoke,dont drink(much),dont gamble and go to work….you should be able to enjoy without having to squeeze every penny.

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