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Tips and Tricks to Save Money
By Priti Gill
With the end of the holiday season upon us, the goal of saving money may seem pretty doable considering that there’s much fewer seasonal purchases- no more ugly christmas sweaters to coordinate with your friends, no more stressful last-minute purchases on Amazon Prime, and so on.
Despite that, sneaky little expenses still creep up at the beginning of the month, alongside some not-so-small ones (tuition fees, anyone?) However, saving money doesn’t need to be so expensive or difficult. I’ll be going over some of the things I do in order to keep my expenditures in check. Depending of your financial situation, everyone’s experience will be invariably different. Regardless, I hope that these tips will be able to help you.
In terms of eating out, I was spending upwards of hundreds a month earlier this past year. Due to this horrific discovery, I decided to limit myself to spending only $100 a month on eating out. This meant serious changes to my eating habits- no more spending over $5-$10 a day, unless I wanted to skip eating out altogether on most days.
While it did mean I had to be frugal and less careless with my meals, it was actually a lot easier than I thought. If I made sure to have breakfast at home and packed at least a few small snacks, it meant I’d spend much less on food as I wouldn’t be as hungry. You can also use this limiting technique for categories such as clothing, makeup, etc.
Sure, it might mean not being able to blow $40 at a restaurant or at your favourite high-end clothier but it helped to just let my friends know what I was trying to do with my money. They were all motivating and supportive. How did I make sure I didn’t go over my $100 limit? I took out cash rather than using cash or credit. That way, I would physically be able to see what was being left over after my expenses rather than estimating what I had already spent.
This leads to my next tip: using my debit card less. I’m sure many of you also own student accounts where you have a decent, but not super generous limit on how many free debit transactions you can make in a month. During this past year, I was using my debit card more than once everyday, and each transaction over my allotted limit meant an extra 1$ incurred fee. At one point, I had $30 deducted at the end of the month. That’s $30 that could have been used for something nice for myself or to pay a bill.
This is where keeping cash on hand helped out as not using my debit card so often saved me from incurring those needless fees. The same goes for credit usage: unless you’re shopping online, it’s a lot easier to be able to control your spending by using cash and not worrying about maxing your credit or forgetting to pay the bill past its due date (and thus incurring more fees).
One final useful method: stick your money in a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA). You’ll earn a nice amount each year due to the tax-free investment earnings and there’s no withdrawal fees which is a nice perk. Or, visit your local bank and see what other savings options they have for you.
Our real estate prices may be exorbitant and the cost of general goods may be rising, but with some decent planning now, financial wellbeing won’t be as out of reach. Here’s to a year of making better financial decisions.