The Lifestyle Digs

7 Easy Ways to Save at Least $2000 a Year!

Do you ever read advice on how to find money by cutting out daily habits but they don’t apply to you? Tips like drink your coffee at home and skip Tim Hortons, Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbuck’s and put that $5/day into your savings account instead? How about quit your smoking habit and save $1000 a year? Or quit plugging $2 into the vending machine at work for a pick-me-up snack every day and save $500 a year. Or shop around for better insurance rates.

Some people only hit fast food restaurants and coffee shops a handful of times a year, they don’t smoke, and they’re not tempted by a vending machine. Not everyone buys insurance, and for those who do, maybe they’ve already found the best deal out there. Many financial experts offer money saving tips assuming people are employed, and recommend brown bagging it instead of buying lunch or car pooling.The advice is good, but not applicable in many cases.

So what makes me a financial advice expert? Life experience at being frugal. 9 years working in the head office of a credit union. Taking advice from experts. Putting my own tips into action.

 

Lose the landline phone

 

Ditching a land line is easy for those born after 1990 and who grew up with cell phones. For others who grew up with a rotary phone and then one of those new-fangled push button phones, it’s a little tougher. Where I live Telus is the largest telecommunications provider for house phones. They used to be known as BC Tel, but when they expanded their services into Alberta, well, they had to ditch the specific location out of their name to attract new clients. A Telus home phone plan is $35/month, approximately the same amount as an AT&T plan when you take the exchange rate into account. Disconnect it and save $420/year. Or $300 if you live south of the 49th Parallel. I find I don’t miss the landline all that much anyway. Most of my callers were telemarketers, scammers, or collection agents looking for my ex.

Let go of premium cable TV

Some cable companies charge upwards of $100/month depending on the premium plan selected. Most offer a basic cable plan for around $30/month. Depending on the plan this can be a cut of $50/month (maybe more!) to the cable bill and saves $600/year. And are you really watching all those extra channels anyway? I downsized to a basic plan and I get around 100 channels and there’s still nothing good on TV. A lot are channels I don’t watch because they’re in a foreign language or political meetings. I probably only have about 5 channels I watch throughout the week. My TV listings provide for about 1000 channels. I don’t need the variety. Some people get a basic plan and spend $10 a month for Netflix, and are still saving money.

Exercise smarter and cheaper

We all know the trap, especially with the New Year’s resolutions. Sign up for a gym membership with a tricky quit clause in the contract, stop going, and you’re paying $25 or more a month for nothing. By February you’ve lost your drive to get up and go to the gym but you’re still dinged for the monthly membership whether or not you go. Losing money instead of pounds. Figure out other activities to stay on track such as walking the dog more often, bike riding, skiing, and yoga classes on Youtube. Save $300 year.

Reassess your cell phone plan

Rogers offers a $55/month plan with 1000 weekday minutes. Are you using them? If not consider their $35/month with 200 minutes. Keep an eye out for competitor’s plans for new clients. Sometimes a $40/month plan with 200 weekday minutes, unlimited weekends, free Canada wide calls, free International texting, and a data plan can be a better deal than what you have now. Savings $20/month or $240/year.

ATM fees

If you go to a different bank to pull money out of the ATM, or use one in a gas station or convenience store, you’ll be charged a fee. That varies by the bank and could be $3 or $5, the machine will tell you at the time of the transaction so you’ll have a chance to cancel before withdrawing funds. In addition, your own bank might also ding you another couple of bucks for using a “foreign” ATM. The solution seems as simple as planning ahead and making sure you have cash on you. Instead of using a bank, consider a credit union. In Canada almost every credit union is on the Exchange (look for that symbol on the machine) and you can make withdrawals and deposits for free at other credit unions across the country. If you find yourself needing cash at least once a week and withdraw from an ATM at a different bank you could be spending $20 (or more!) in fees. Plan ahead or get an account at a credit union and save at least $240/year in ATM fees.

Bank fees

Review your usage. If you have a balance of at least $3000 and use your debit card no more than 25 times a month, your monthly fee is $9.95. Or you can get a “deal” at CIBC with that $3000 balance and get one, yes count it, ONE(!), transaction per month for free. More transactions than that costs $5 each. Really? What a deal! Not! How often do we use debit cards in a month to buy groceries, gas, a meal, clothes, and other necessities. That’s where the big banks ding you. Can you meet the strict minimum requirements? If not consider a credit union such as Coast Capital with the free chequing and free debit account. No minimum balance, unlimited transactions, no monthly fee. Savings $119.40/year.

Stop playing Lotto Max, 6/49, and other lotteries

Read the small print on the chances of winning the big one (at least $1,000,000). With 6/49 your odds are roughly one in 14 million and for Lotto Max roughly one in 28 million. Using a conservative estimate, say you buy one of each ticket plus the extra every week when you stop to gas up the car, spending $10. Stop playing and save $520/year.

Using the above examples, that’s a savings of just over $2,400/year. Money that could be set aside for an emergency fund, a vacation fund, the Christmas fund, or retirement savings.

Let me give a shout out to one of my favourite web sites Living on a Dime for you to check out. It includes frugal living tips, recipes, house cleaning, and more. http://www.livingonadime.com/

Do you have other easy ways to save money? Leave a comment!

6 thoughts on “7 Easy Ways to Save at Least $2000 a Year!

  1. Pingback: 6 Steps to Save for Big Ticket Purchases - The Lifestyle Digs

  2. Pingback: 15 Stupid Money Mistakes - The Lifestyle Digs

  3. Susan Dunn Coaching

    1. Stop using Keurig
    2. Do your own housework and yard work for exercise
    3. Do couponing and combine with things like DollarGeneral $5 off $25 on Saturdays to stock up on necessities such as TP, detergent, dishwasher soap and other unexciting things
    4. Avoid convenience stores; use those dollar-type stores to run in and run out for things. (I haven’t found a cheap solution for coke with ice, or hot coffee on the run, though sometimes convenience stores have deals on that. One around here gives you ice free if you bring in your own cup, so keep large bottle of soda in car that you bought on the 3, 2 liter bottles for $3 sale. (Used to work a convenience store. The cups cost them more than the soda.)
    5. Dumpster-diving is usually legal under certain circumstances, as is curb-siding. Check with your local ordinances.
    6. Learn how to do your own nails and hair.

    1. Cheryl at The Lifestyle Digs Post author

      Hi Susan. Yes, those are some good ones.

      I don’t drink coffee or own a Keurig, but is using that at home still a cheaper option that stopping at Starbucks every day?

      Housework and yard work is great exercise. Save even more money by not getting locked into a gym contract where you get excited about going for a few weeks and then quit. Meanwhile your credit card or bank account gets debited each month. Win win for the gym!

      Couponing isn’t as big in Canada as it is in the states. I love the coupon deals there double or triple. I stayed with my aunt in California and got a big bottle of pop for .19¢ once! Dollars stores have some great deals, especially on kitchen gadget items.

  4. Susan Dunn Coaching

    I forgot a good one – If your job requires lots of driving, keep a full KIT in your car of things you’ve bought economically (so you don’t have to run in and buy these things). Include such things as rain poncho, umbrella, snack foods, extra makeup, hose if you wear them, chapstick, small brush and comb, rain boots, change of clothes (for when someone knocks coffee all over you), extra reading glasses, aspirin, Imodium, rolaids [and whatever]] etc. (Of course you should also have emergency items in your car.)

    1. Cheryl at The Lifestyle Digs Post author

      Susan, that’s a great suggestion. A backpack would be excellent for keeping on those items and easy to take in and out of the car. Around here you don’t want to leave anything in the car, no matter how little value it has. Thieves will steal anything.

      Thanks for dropping by to leave your helpful comments on more ways to save money.

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