• Douglas Paterson

My Top 10 Simplest Ways to Save Money

Updated: Mar 21, 2021

Saving money can be extremely challenge. With the day-to-day grind and the constant push to find ways to save time, whose got time to spend considering how to save their money? It is an ongoing battle of push and pull, money in and money out which often leaves folks with little to show for their hard work. However, if you can find time to read this six minute post, I have no doubt you can find time to start doing easy things which will add up and make a significant difference to your families or your person bottom line!

small fake home surrounded by coins

Ok, Time to dig in!

1. Automatic Savings are perhaps one of the most highly effective ways to put away some savings. The concept is simple because you can't spend what you can't touch or see. I recall first learning out this type of savings many years ago when “The Wealthy Barber” book took the financial education world by storm. “Pay yourself first” has always stuck in my mind. Now, there are a few ways to get this amazing tool in place. Frist, simply ask your employer to deposit a portion of your paycheck into an RRSP or savings account at each and every pay period. Another way, if you prefer to manage the tool yourself, is to set up automatic transfers between your accounts. Timing these with your pay-days works well as the transfer is kind of “lost in the shuffle” of new money arriving into your primary account, however setting it to occur anytime and resisting further intervention on your part can work well enough. The trick is to forget that it is even happening. I prefer to make the amount smaller and more frequent so the changes in balance are never significant. For example, $25 per week rather than $100 per month. Another benefit of weekly is you will save more vs monthly. Do the math on the $25 weekly vs $100 monthly and see for yourself!

2. Consolidating Debt in its most basic form means to pile all your debts into one single, monthly payment at a reduced interest rate. A scary number of people simply don’t realize the vast amount of money they are squandering on interest payments each month, particularly if you are carrying balances on one or more loans and credit cards. Consolidating these debts will help you wrangle back a bit more control allowing you to maximize your payments toward the principal amounts. This helps get those loans paid off far fast, which in-turn allows you to sleep better as you improve your financial future.

3. Start Using Cash Some folks are simply unable to control spending on credit. Lines of credit, credit cards and pay-day loans are so incredibly easy to max out when you’re out doing the things you love. But eventually it’s time to pay the fiddler and in these cases the fiddle can be expensive! If you find yourself overspending, this tip might be worth its weight in gold. After the monthly bills are paid, take the remaining cash (or what you have determined is an acceptable amount of spending money) and only use that for any further purchases. Once the cash has been used up, you’re out of money and done with free spending until the next paycheck! Yes, there is no doubt you will lose out on rewards points, but nine times out of ten you will save far more that what you lost in rewards. Also, there is simply something different with the psychology of spending cold hard cash. The act of handing over physical bills and coins automatically causes most people to become much more cognizant of their spending and the amounts they are spending frivolously. Cash in hand makes people think twice!

4. Buying in Bulk and Buying Generic Brands. Yes, buying larger volumes of certain products is a good way to save bit here and there. Particularly when buying groceries and household supplies. Next time you’re our shopping compare the price of the small margin to that of the 2 pounder or when at your local big box grocer check their generic brand price with that of the more popular brands. I have seen some big difference and normally walk home with the exact same product and ten more bucks in the bank account! These savings tactics don’t require any additional planning. They just require a desire to stretch your money further and a bit of practice as you traverse aisle after aisle. Stocking up big on non-perishables and grab the off-brand products can help you sock more away each month which can return big in the long run!

5. Consider Each Purchase for what it is every purchase is either a “need” or a “want”. If you need it, truly need it, then get it! However, is it is a pure “want” item (or perhaps borderline “need”) wait 24 or 48 hours to consider if it is in fact worth your hard earned money. This is a sure-fire way to cut back on impulse buying and the reality is, often time the “want” passes and fades with no harm done.

6. Shop Around – another great way to save on both needs and wants is to shop around! This can become particularly challenging for those who have little time and/or are flush with an abundance of cash. Taking the time to do even a single comparison will help you make better spending choices. Shopping the less common items like cell phone providers, cable and internet providers, home and car insurance will be done less often, but trust me these can save you big bucks. Have you ever noticed your current providers never call you to suggest ways to save? Yet the competition is always offering amazing deals to get your attention. Use this to your advantage and thank me later! If you have not shopped these in the past two to three years you are flushing money down the drain. Yes, if you want to be successful, you may need to invest a bit of time. But in this case the old adage “time is money” literally means time earns you money! Oh ya, and be sure to use a mortgage broker when purchasing or renewing. These classy folks will shop around and even negotiate for you. Often this means saving thousands in addition to getting the best terms to fit your situation.

7. Plan Your Meals - Most of us have little time to make the “most important meal of the day”, let alone lunch. But taking the time to do so before leaping out to work can make a big difference in your balance sheet. However, what if you were told (and then shown) that getting up an hour earlier each day could save you roughly $100 per week!? Well that’s the case for anyone who buys their breakfast and lunch each workday. Just consider how much you spend each time you go out breakfast and/or lunch each day. Then multiply that by a month or a year. Yikes! Either your overspending or you think your getting paid 3X what you actually are! Groceries are a lot cheaper and planning a few meals really wont even take up a full hour. An additional bonus to this tactic is you will likely end up eating far healthier as well. Don’t forget that occasion treat, however. Heck you’ve done so well to save and after all you’re only human.

8. Think in Hours versus Dollars - each time you are looking at making a purchase, particularly the larger ones, consider the time it takes you, WORKING, to make enough money to buy that particular item. A new $150 watch equals perhaps six hours of work? A new mattress might be fifty hours of work, just for that one item!! Then consider if its worth it in the larger scheme of things. Apply this formula to the money you are spending in point #6 above and you might find your working half or full day just to eat out each week. Understanding the effort which goes into earning the money required to make a purchase helps many people reconsider frivolous buying and might encourage shopping around to find the best deals for your “time”.

9. Utility Savings - yes, they are a necessary item that you cannot likely do without. But they can absolutely be used to save you money each and every month! Turn down the AC, close the doors so you’re not heating or cooling the neighborhood. Seal those drafts and cracks, install water saving showers and toilets…led bulbs, ect…

10. DIY - While it is certainly true some people spend $100 to make a $20 item themselves, there are many items from which you benefit financially from tackling DIY style. Changing your own oil and rotating your own tires are one excellent example, particularly if you have multiple vehicles. Washing your car vs the $13 carwash is an easy one as well. Grow your own herbs, paint your own home and even preparing your own meals can be classified as DIY and save you a bunch of money!

There it is folks, a plethora of great money savings ideas, all of which you can start putting into practice beginning today. The trick I find is to think of it as a long-game rather than focusing on the short bursts of energy required to execute on any of these suggestions. You never know, come retirement age, those little bits of extra effort or additional thought, might convert into a year or two of earlier retirement!

picture of Doug Paterson - mortgage broker

Doug Paterson

Mortgage Agent in Ontario, Canada.

Dominion Lending Centres

416.432.8836 | www.dougpaterson.com


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