Last time I wrote a very Negative Nancy post, This Post is Not Going to Help Me Save Money… (Part I), about the money saving tips that are of no use to me. Today I’m going to be a Positive Patty and write about the ones that have been working for me, or that I think will work if only I could get around to trying them.
THINGS THAT I’M ALREADY DOING TO SAVE MONEY
Avoid ATM & Bank Fees
My RBC bank account charges me $4/month, and my PC Financial account is free. I initially set up the account with PC Financial with the intention of closing my RBC account, but I have yet to phase it out. In the meantime, I only use my PC account’s debit card so that I don’t get charged those extra fees.
Most brand names mean very little to me. I’m loyal to Lush for my personal care needs, but I’m not really loyal to brand names beyond that. Sure there are certain brands I prefer (tastes better, works better, etc.) but I’m not above trying the alternatives to find the best one for me.
Maybe not the best advice when it comes to food, but for all other things I think it holds true. You can save a lot of money by buying clothes at the end of the season, or stocking up on Xmas cards in January.
Buy Things on Sale
The only time I actively wait for sales is when it comes to booking flights. Otherwise, if I’m at the store and see something I like/use that’s on sale I usually stock up (within reason).
Cancel your Cable / Landline
Done and done. I initially had cable, Internet, a landline and a cell phone when I moved out on my own for the first time, but once the promo period ended, I cancelled my landline, and the cable followed shortly thereafter. I still watch a fair amount of tv/movies, but thanks to the Internet, I can do so according to my own schedule (and for “free”).
Don’t Buy Anything Unless You Can Pay for It Right Now
Whether this means saving up for a little while, or just waiting until pay-day, I generally follow this advice. I would have to be in a pretty desperate situation to carry something on my credit card and pay 19.99% interest.
Get a Second Job
This is what set off this whole Personal Finance exploration of mine… I’ve been working this second job for almost 2 years now. Since I started my career, I only spent the first 6 months working only one job. No wonder I’m tired! I need to find a better balance.
Hang My Clothes to Dry
The dryer in my building costs $1.75 per load, and each cycle is 80 minutes (!!). Rather than hanging my clothes to dry, I’ve started start splitting the dryer time between 2-3 loans of laundry. Saves time, money, and energy.
Every year before renewing my car and tenant’s insurance, I shop around to see if there’s a better rate. There usually isn’t, but what if there was?
Pay Bills on Time
Ok. I don’t want to be charged late fees or interest on a bill that I already think is too high. My cell phone provider is pretty crappy and they are NOT getting even one extra penny from me.
Pay Off Your Debt with the Highest Interest First
I only have two debts (my car and my student loan). The interest rate on my car loan is 2.9% and I’m over half-way through my loan period. Thanks to OSAP’s Repayment Assistance program, I don’t have to worry about the interest accumulating on my student loan because my payments go right towards the principle, and the interest is “forgiven”. (I’m trying to take full advantage of this program while I’m eligible.)
Stop Shopping / Stop Buying Crap
I could be wrong (and hopefully tracking my spending will verify this), but I’m pretty sure I don’t buy crap. Actually, I’m hoping to get rid of more of my crap, and not accumulate more.
Talk About Money
Now for those of you paying attention, you’ll notice that I listed this item in my last post too, and it is fitting in both lists. All of this reading, writing, and talking about money has been helping me figure out my finances. I’ve never really been shy to talk about money, but I’m now talking about it in a better, more productive “grown-up” way.
I guess people often talk too much on their phones and get charged overages? That’s never happened to me. In the not-quite 2 months that I’ve had my new phone, I’ve talked for less than 7 hours on it. So I guess I’m following this advice. (Not that it matters, I have unlimited calling.)
THINGS THAT I SHOULD DO TO SAVE MONEY
I don’t really buy a whole lot as it is, but it couldn’t hurt for me to check out the second-hand stores before going to the mall when there is something I need.
Ugh… I know, I know…
I have a not-so-secret love affair with orange juice. And smoothies. And fountain pop. And beer. And the costs slowly add up. I’ve been doing better at making my own smoothies at home, and ordering water in restaurants, but I still could improve.
Establish an Emergency Fund
Apparently you need anywhere from 2-12 months’ worth of living expenses saved up in case of emergencies (and of course, only use this money for emergencies). Better get on this.
Find a Better Interest Rate
I should call my bank and see if I can negotiate a lower interest rate for my credit card. Or, for my daily banking and TFSA accounts, see if I can find a higher interest rate.
Follow the 3-Day Rule
In order to curb impulse buying, it is suggested that you wait 3 days before making that purchase. If you still want it in 3 days, you’ll likely use said item. If you don’t still want it, or better yet forgot about it, you don’t need it.
Get a Better Paying Job
Overall, I like my job, but I would definitely like it more if it could pay me what I’m worth. This isn’t likely to ever happen with my current employer. I have been keeping an eye on the job market (and will continue to look), but the only thing worth applying to so far would require me to move across the province and likely pays less then I’m making now.
Go Out for Breakfast/Lunch/Coffee Instead of Dinner
The concept is that going out for dinner is more expensive than going out for breakfast/lunch/coffee. I can try to implement this, but it’s hard to do with my schedule (as are most things).
Go Vegetarian / Eat Less Meat
Meat can be expensive. Veggies are generally cheap. It makes sense, both finance-wise and health-wise, to eat more veggies.
This is a little scary to me, and something I have to research more before taking the plunge. I will revisit this idea once I’m a little more comfortable with my financial situation.
Make it Automatic
I’m not really comfortable paying my bills automatically, but automatic contributions to my TFSA is another story, and something I really need to start doing again. It’s much better to have my money sitting in a TFSA earning 2% interest opposed to sitting in my chequing account accumulating 4¢ a month.
Pay More than the Minimum / Make an Extra Payment
If I can swing it, it will reduce (or avoid) interest charges, and will help pay off the debt sooner. Again, if I can swing it.
Pay Myself First
It’s suggested that 10% of your income should go directly towards savings. Currently I am saving 0%. So basically, I can never retire unless I start paying myself.
Shopping lists. Goals. A financial plan. For someone that likes to plan you’d think this would already be done, but it’s not. Money can be depressing.
Yes, it’s annoying to have a wallet full of loyalty cards, but if it earns you free stuff, why not? For example, I have $200 with of “points” on my credit card, and $75 on my Shoppers Optimum card. Why am I not redeeming them?? (Side note, I really miss the days of the Subway stamp cards…)
The sooner you put money into a savings account, the longer it will accumulate interest for (and you can earn interest on that interest). Or on the flip side, the sooner you pay down a debt, the less interest you’ll have to pay. I need to keep this in mind so that maybe I can retire one day.
Even though I live in the land of free health care, and have health benefits, my issues with my neck/back are going to cost me over $700 (out of pocket) before the end of the year. And really, I’m pretty healthy; I can’t imagine how much it would cost to not be.
Stop Comparing My Situation to Others
Usually comparing my situations to others makes me feel worse – “Why do I work 50-65 hours a week and make less money than that guy who works 35 hours?” Comparing doesn’t change the numbers, so just stop it, and deal with the cards I’ve been dealt.
Stop Making Excuses
Let’s be honest – my debt isn’t going anywhere, and chances are it’s going to get worse as I “grow-up” and get myself a husband, a house, and maybe some kids (but I’ll deal with that as it comes). For now, I’m going to take my own advice and “Suck it up, buttercup”. The sooner I get real about this, the sooner I can get it under control.
Stop Being Wasteful
I throw out more food then I’m comfortable admitting. I have a bad habit of only grocery shopping 2-3 times a month, buying too much, and then the food goes bad before I get around to eating it. Hopefully meal planning will help eradicate this.
Being negative isn’t going to help anyone, and is going to make budgeting seem like this awful, horrible thing where I have to sacrifice everything. I need to think of it in terms of what this will open up for my future.
Use a Piggy Bank
The loose change in my car, and the extra weight in my wallet could easily add up and only takes a few moments to throw into a change jar or piggy bank. I can easily sit down every now and then, roll it all while watching tv, and suddenly have more money. (I need to either glue my – accidentally- smashed piggy bank back together or find me a new, equally adorable, one.)
Walk to Work
It takes me 10 minutes to walk to work, or 2 minutes to drive. Short trips are horrible for wasting gas, and with winter right around the corner, chances are it’ll take me longer to scrape my windows in the morning then it would to just walk. It’s cold, it’s boring, it sucks – but it’s good for my health too.
Quite the information overload between the two posts, right? I do apologize for contributing to the personal finance blog posts that repeat the same generic crap (paraphrased from this funny/insightful post I read). [Not to say that they are all crap. I’ve found some really good ones, and will be linking them from this site in the near future.] I know most of you don’t care about my finances, and really, I’m doing this for me (but thanks for humoring me anyways). Maybe something here will be helpful to you?