Do you ever feel that no matter what you do, you just can’t save money? You’ve tried every piece of advice gleaned from the internet. You’ve chopped up all your credit cards. Maybe you’ve even talked to an expert to get some insight into what you’re doing wrong. Yet you’re still barely keeping your head above water and fear you could drown at any minute.
Well, if you’ve tried everything else and still can’t get ahead, maybe it’s time to try some of the more unpopular ways to save money. Ready? Let’s begin.
1. Stop smoking
Yeah, yeah, I hear ya. Not this old chestnut again. But listen, Canadians spend thousands every year on smoking. In fact, some spend upwards of $4,000 a year, just to watch their money go up in smoke.
If you’ve never calculated your smoking expenses, maybe it’s time you did. The results may shock you.
Not only will quitting smoking benefit your pocket book, but it will have amazing effects on your health. You’ll avoid all the rising costs of health insurance and health care costs like emergency surgeries, smoking related medical conditions, and, of course, time knocked off your life.
2. Stop drinking
Oh wow, first you take my smoking, now you’re taking my drinks? I’m outta here!
Before you go, you should know that the average Canadian household spends nearly $1,100 dollars a year on alcohol. Not nearly as much as smoking, but still. How many bills could you pay off with that extra $1100?
And just buying alcohol isn’t the biggest cost drinkers are absorbing. Don’t forget about that Uber ride home after a night of painting the town red. Or the takeout pizza you buy when you get home because you’re too wiped to cook.
Alcohol is notorious for making folks throw caution to the wind and wasting money on it is just another casualty of its dubious influence.
3. Let’s talk about pets, baby
Pets are part of the family. They offer companionship and a bonding experience like no other. But they also come with their own expenses.
The annual cost of owning a cat is between $600 and $1,800 a year. This takes into consideration things like cat litter, routine vet visits, and toys.
And the annual expense of owning a healthy dog is even higher, at somewhere between $840 and $2,385 a year. This includes vet visits, toys, flea and tick prevention, and heartworm prevention.
These number also include the cost of food, and depending on what you buy your dog or cat, that price can sky rocket.
Giving up a pet can be an incredibly tough decision and one you should never enter into half-heartedly. But if your really looking for ways to save money and your financial struggles are putting you into a position where you must sacrifice vet bills or groceries, perhaps it’s time to give rover a more financially secure home.
4. Go alone when you go grocery shopping
Family outings are always fun. Pile everyone in the car and head of to Walmart. Make a nice little Saturday out of it.
But have you ever noticed that whenever you get to the toy aisle, the kids start chomping at the bit? Or when you walk by the shoe department, your significant other steers the cart into the sandals section, even though there’s still three months of winter left?
Leave the family at home. Go by yourself. Getting groceries solo is a great way to avoid buying items you really didn’t need or come to the store for. Try it next time you need to pick up a few things.
5. Only take cash with you when you shop
Just like going shopping solo can save you from unnecessary purchases, so to can taking only cash with you when heading out.
Leaving the credit cards or debit card at home limits you to spending within a certain amount and makes sure you buy just what you need.
It also deters you from making silly impulse shopping decisions, which can really hurt your finances. According to a survey done by the Bank of Montreal, Canadians spend on average $310 a month on things they don’t really need.
Additionally, 23% of Canadians are unable to afford the things they really do need because of foolish purchases of non-essential items.
Taking a cash-only budget with you when shopping allows you to make simple financial decisions for your household. If you need it and can afford it with the allotted cash you brought, you can buy it. If it’s not needed, and buying it will restrict you from buying the essentials, then it stays in the store.
6. End the subscriptions you aren’t using
With everything being subscription based these days, it’s hard to get away from the recurring payment model.
A single-digit charge at the beginning or end of every month can seem trivial. It may even go unnoticed. But over the course of a month, you could be losing hundreds of dollars on unused subscription services.
To track these fees, you should do a deep dive into your finances. Go through past credit card statements, line by line, and see where your money is being spent.
And don’t just go back one month. Some subscription services don’t come out every thirty days, so you need to go back further and have a look.
If you find a subscription you’re not using, cancel it right away.
7. Plug appliances into a power strip
According to the Natural Resource Defense Council, the average household loses about $165 per year in energy costs for devices that are turned off but still plugged in.
Things like the TV in your basement, the microwave in the kitchen with the wrong time displayed on it, the VCR in your bedroom you never use that’s constantly flashing “12:00” in green digital numbers – they all suck power like a vampire nibbling at your neck.
Unplugging all these unused things can be a pain in the butt, especially if you’re doing it every night. Instead, plug them all into a power strip. That way you can just turn the power strip off when you’re not using them.
Of course, you can’t unplug every appliance. Your refrigerator is probably the most obvious. Your oven also has a special plug that won’t fit in a power strip. And resetting your coffee maker to make coffee at six in the morning every single night can become a real hassle. When shopping for these items, make sure you’re comparing the Energy Star rating for standby power before you make the purchase.
Bottom line, you’re not going to notice a huge amount of savings by unplugging all unused appliances, but it’s a nice way to help the environment and put twenty bucks in your back pocket.
Well, there you have it. Seven unconventional ways to save money. You don’t have to use all of them. Even just cutting back on your cigarette and alcohol consumption will help you save a ton of money. And setting a budget and only taking cash with you on shopping trips will cut down on those unnecessary purchases that leave you high and dry when it comes time to buy the essentials. If you need help coming up with a budget, get in touch with us today! We’d be happy to help you come up with your own ways to save money.
Let us know in the comments below if you’re having success using any of these methods. Or maybe you have a few things of your own you’re already incorporating. Share those too!