Our Little Tips for Saving

Last week on our “Money Monday” we talked about resources I started using to learn about personal and household finance in Canada. Today I’m sharing a few “boots on the ground” strategies that we actually use at our house.

I guess the old adage for saving money is that you can either spend less or make more, so that’s how I’ve split these up.

Spend Less
Some of these are pretty straightforward, but I’m listing them anyway because it’s real life!

1. We use smart thermostats with our baseboard heaters- these warm the house up when we’re around, but cool it down in the middle of the night and any days we’re not there. Bonus, BC Hydro has a rebate!

2. We plan out our lunches and use goodfood (check out my whole post on it here!) for dinner- keeping it simple cuts down on food waste, and we almost always shop at BuyLow or No Frills, where you can collect PC Optimum Points. We also buy in bulk when it makes sense, like getting our coffee from Costco or cans of beans and soup during annual sales. We also usually pack lunch.

3. We avoided getting a car and take transit, bikes, or our feet as much as possible! When we absolutely have to, we take a carshare like Evo or ShareNow, but that’s much cheaper than car/gas/parking/insurance.

4. We use the library and community centre! Vancouver has great public services, so we try to avoid buying books and magazines and we don’t pay for gym memberships.

5. We track our spending and try to live simply. I have gotten so much more comfortable with saying “sorry, it’s not in the budget”, for everything from 5$ coffees to last minute vacations.

Make More
I think people expect “making more” to be harder than spending less, but actually I think it’s pretty doable!

1. Sell things you are not using- we often pare down our closets and take things we aren’t wearing or reaching for to Turnabout, which is close to our place. But you can see a full list of options here!

2. We always make sure we’re maximizing cashback and points on our credit cards. We have one card for everyday use (a Momentum VISA), but the cashback premium on that ends in another year. We also have a Passport VISA, which lets us earn points we can either redeem for travel or cashback. Plus, it includes travel insurance and free lounge access.

3. We automatically transfer money from our paycheques to our RRSPs and investment accounts every month, which we have with WealthSimple. WealthSimple is an online robo-advising firm that makes investing really easy! You just set your level of risk tolerance, set up one-time or recurring deposits, and forget about it. Plus, the fees are low- 0.5% on your first 100k, and they get lower from there. You can sign up here!

3a. On that note, our full paycheques don’t actually see our account. We deposit into a separate account which isn’t linked to our debit cards, and then transfer a certain percentage to our main account. The rest goes into saving/investing. This is my favourite rule: pay yourself first!

4. We are also signed up for a site called Rakuten– when you click through to popular sites like amazon, indigo, walmart, lululemon or a bunch more, you can earn cashback on your purchases. Just start on Rakuten, click through to the site you need, and purchase whatever you were going to anyway! We’ve made hundreds this way this year alone. You get 5$ your first time, too 🙂

5. Diversify your income! This is the regular way of saying “get a side hustle”. If you can find a way to add to your regular paycheque at all it makes a big difference! Do you have a hobby that can be monetized? Can you teach a specific skill?

So that’s a little snapshot! What are your favourite tips for saving? xo

Top image via WealthSimple, a company we love.

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