What would some extra cash do your finances? In this post, we look at some creative ways you can use to save more money or earn more.
Some of the ideas may only save you a few hundreds in a year, while others can net you thousands of dollars.
Go through the list, consider each one as it relates to your peculiar circumstances, make them your own, then implement them.
So, here we go:
SAVE MONEY ON AUTOMOBILE COSTS
1. Buy Cheaper Cars
There are arguments for and against buying a used car, but buying a used car that is a few years old can save you thousands. Just make sure you do an inspection and check the vehicle history.
And if you buy a new car, be aware that cars start losing value as soon as you drive them out of the lot. After the first year, a car would have lost up to 30% and 60% by the fifth year.
Nevertheless, a new car can be a good deal and save you money on the long run – especially on repairs – if you plan to keep the car for years. But if you like changing cars every few years, then buying a gently used car may be a better option.
2. Buy Energy-efficient Cars
This is obvious. An energy-efficient car will save you some fuelling cost over the life of the car.
The bigger the car, the heavier it is in general. And this has a direct impact on the amount of power and fuel needed to run it.
Do you really need that SUV or truck? If you must buy a car, be honest with your needs and watch out for the fuel efficiency.
You can easily find out a car’s fuel efficiency by checking its fuel economy – that is, how much litres it needs per 100km. All things being equal, the lower this number, the better.
3. Get Rid Of Your Car
Transportation cost is the second highest expenses for many households after housing. If you’re not careful, a car can drain your finances. From the loan payments to the insurance and maintenance, the monthly cost can be quite material.
Depending on your situation, you may be able to get around by using one of the ride-hailing apps. In many cases, you can get a ride in just a few minutes.
And do you really need 2 cars for your household? Is there a way to rearrange your schedules so that a car will be enough for the family? And then augment it with Uber or Lyft?
This may sound radical but what would an extra $500 – $1,000 do to your savings goal?
4. Use Public Transit
If you live in a city with an efficient public transport, then taking public transit isn’t a bad idea. Of course, you should way the opportunity cost of waiting for buses or train against the money you’re saving by not driving.
Consider this example: I currently stay in Mississauga, ON but work in Downtown Toronto. Driving down isn’t really an option. So like many other people, I join the train to get to work. This means the car is only used to get to and from the train station (a few minutes drive for most people), and to move around over the weekend.
Is a car necessary in this case? Can you get to the train by bus instead and use Uber over the weekend?
5. Rent Out Your Car
Cars are underused assets – some people will even argue that they are a liability. On the average, a car is parked and sits idle for more than 95 per cent of the time.
Why not make some money instead? You can make more than enough to offset the cost of owning the car – loan payments, insurance and maintenance.
But check that your insurance and local regulations allow this. To get started in Canada, check out Turo.
Related Post: 10+ ways to get the cheapest car insurance rates
SAVE OR EARN MORE WITH YOUR FINANCES
6. Open A New Bank Account
One of the quickest ways to earn quick cash is to open a new bank account or investment account. Here are a few examples:
- Tangerine: Earn $200 when you deposit at least $250 and either setup your payroll deposits or two pre-authorized payments (of at least $50 each)
- For newcomers to Canada, earn up to $1,000 when you open a new account with one of the big banks.
Apart from the sign-up bonus, by moving your accounts to a bank without a monthly fee you can save yourself a few hundreds per annum.
Related Post: Best High Interest Savings Account In Canada
7. Earn More On Your Cash and Savings
You can get a much higher interest rate on your savings by using a High-Interest Savings Account (HISA). Online banks and many credit unions have better rates than the bigger banks.
Check EQ Bank for one of the best rates on savings account in Canada.
Also, compare interest rates periodically to make sure you’re getting the best deals.
The same rule applies for GICs. Check here for the best GICs Interest Rate in Canada. The ranking is updated periodically.
8. Automate Your Savings and Investments
You have probably heard the advice to pay yourself first. Once of the easiest way is to let your employer deduct a set amount from your salary every time you are paid.
In addition, you can set pre-authorized transfers from your chequing account to a savings of brokerage account periodically – preferably on the same days you receive your salary.
The less decision you make, the more likely it is that you’ll stick to your financial goals.
9. Track Your Expenses
When you track your finances, you have a better insight into your finances, clearer understanding of where your money goes, and you will be more likely to take steps to improve your finances.
That way, you can adjust your spending, cut down on unnecessary expenses, and indirectly increase your savings and investing.
Related Post: 15+ Great Ways To Improve Your Finances (Starting Today)
10. Create A Budget
Budgeting can be an effective tool to help you stay on track with your expenses and, more importantly, your financial goals.
One big reason why budgeting fail is because they are not realistic. When you’re just starting, it’s best to track your expenses for a few months or look at the past few months.
This will help you set a baseline, understand where your money goes and decide on what categories you can reasonably cut back on.
Simply setting a rigid percentage for each category is probably going to fail and lead to frustration.
Related Post: Why You Need A Budget
11. Invest With Taxes In Mind
It is not enough to invest; you must also consider the tax implication of your investment decisions. Learn about tax-efficient investing to save some money on taxes.
You should always try to max out your tax-advantaged accounts, called registered accounts in Canada, before investing through a non-registered account.
Also, different assets have different tax treatments. For example, interest on your GICs and savings account will be fully tax (if in a non-registered account), but only 50% of your capital gains are taxed.
When in doubt, consult a professional for help.
12. Get Professional Help
In many cases, you can get answers to many of your financial questions by doing a simple google search. However, working with a professional can save you money and stress in some instances.
The bigger the financial decision, the more costly an error may be, with high penalties for getting out.
Take whole life insurance as an example. It may look like a good deal on the surface, but it makes no financial sense for many people. But terminating the contract will cost you.
And when you decide to work with professionals, seek out the ones with a fiduciary duty to act in your best interest.
13. Reinvest Your Tax Refunds
Many people see their tax refund as a gift or free money. It is tempting to go on a shopping spree and spend the money on things you don’t need.
Why not reinvest the money instead. For example, contribute the money to your TFSA, RRSP or children’s RESP. Also consider topping up your emergency fund.
Most importantly, look at ways to reduce how much you get as tax refund by reducing how much you pay in taxes in the first place. In Canada, CRA allows you to do this. Read about it through the post linked below.
Related Post: Keep More Of Your Income And Reduce Your Tax Refund
14. Start An Emergency Fund
Having some money kept away in an emergency fund can save you some money.
By building up sufficient funds that you can quickly draw upon in any emergency, you’ll avoid having to turn to credit cards, payday loans or other higher interest rate loans.
The money should be readily available and definitely not invested in the stock market or any other investment with volatility. Open a High Interest Saving Account from one of the online banks or credit unions. Your funds are safe and the interest will be several multiples of what the big banks will pay you.
Related Post: Emergency Fund: The Benefits And Tips To Build One Fast
15. Use Credit Wisely
Use credit responsibly and don’t fund an expensive lifestyle with credit. When used responsibly, credit is a fantastic financial tool.
Buying an asset, like a house, with credit is good. Without mortgage loans, it will take several years before many of us will ever be able to save up the full cash to buy a house. On the other hand, getting the latest phone model just to keep up with the trends is not financially wise.
When you use credit wisely, you’ll save money on debt repayments and use the cash for other goals.
16. Pay Your Credit Card Balance In Full Monthly
Paying only the minimum amount means you’ll be paying the high interest rate on credit cards. Your balance will continue to grow and things can quickly go down hill from there.
If your credit utilization worsens, it could affect your credit score and make it difficult to get approved for credits in the future
So make it an habit always pay the full balance every month. More importantly: if you can’t pay cash for an item, then you probably can’t afford it.
17. Get A New Credit Card
Consider moving your credit card to another provider with a lower interest rate if you have a balance. But first, try to negotiate a lower rate with your current issuer.
If that doesn’t work then explore the possibility of switching. You may be able to get another credit card with lower rates and even 0% introductory interest rates.
But be careful and clear on your objective. Don’t go into more debt in the process.
18. Consolidate Your Debts
When you consolidate all your debts into a single loan, you can save some money in the process and streamline your debt repayments. You start making payments on a single loan instead of multiple payments on several debts.
The idea is to replace higher interest rate debt with lower interest rate loans. If you get approved for debt consolidation, you can expect the new payment to be lower than the total you were paying on the multiple loans before.
19. Check Your Credit Score and Credit Report Regularly
Your credit score is a key indicator of your financial well-being and shows how well you have used credit in the past.
The higher your credit score, the more confidence lenders will have in your ability to repay your debts. This means lower interest rates and an opportunity to save money in interest over the life of the loan.
So it’s important to monitor and check your scores periodically. Watch out for errors or frauds and takes steps to correct them quickly.
- How to get your credit score and credit report for Free in Canada (in minutes)
- 7 Surefire Ways to Improve your Credit Score fast!
- How To Check and Correct Errors On Your Credit Report
20. Don’t Gamble Or Play The Lottery
For every person that wins the lottery, there are millions of others that lost their money. The odds are stacked against you, so why bother.
The same principle applies when gambling on games of chance like the slot machine. The payback percentage is set by the casino (house) and there are no “winning strategies”.
Unlike a game like poker that requires skills and can be profitable over time when you play against other opponents, casino games are always going to lose you money in the long run.
So have fun on your vacation but stay away from those slot machines!
21. Switch To Term Life Insurance
Kudos to you for having a plan in place to protect your loved ones when you are gone. But if you are using Whole life insurance, you may be paying too much.
Whole Life Insurance, and other permanent life insurance products, can cost up to 10 times the premium of a comparable Term Life insurance. They are sold for the benefit of helping you save and invest some cash over time. You’re probably paying too much for that benefit.
In Canada, there are alternative tax-advantaged savings plans to consider. You can start by maximizing your TFSA, RRSP and even RESP.
On the other hand, a Term Life insurance is cheaper and protects your family when they really need it. Get an unbiased recommendation of the amount of coverage you need and compare premiums from different providers.
22. Shop For Cheaper Insurance Rates
When it comes to insurance, always do your research. There could be better rates available from smaller insurance companies you have never heard about.
Don’t assume that the bigger insurance providers will have cheaper rates. Each insurance company will charge a rate that is based on their unique claims experience and other administrative costs.
So, make it a habit to shop for better insurance rates every year. Use one of the insurance rates comparison websites or visit an insurance broker.
Related Post: 10+ ways to get the cheapest car insurance rates
SAVE MORE BY MAKING EXTRA MONEY
23. Offer A Service Through Fiverr, Upwork
You’ll be surprised by how much you can make on freelancing sites with some of your existing skills.
I made a little over $1,000 in my first month on Upwork – spending just a few hours after work. I helped a busy entrepreneur set up his budget on YNAB, built a training log spreadsheet for a mining company and cleaned up a small business’ accounting on QuickBooks.
There are several services you can offer: freelance writing, copywriting, proofreading, graphic design, accounting, web design, digital marketing and several others.
Start with your existing skills or invest in learning new ones. Udemy is a good place to start learning new skills. Also, consider taking a course on how to be a better freelancer if you want to maximize the opportunity.
You’ll learn how to stand out from the competition, write excellent proposals that convert and how to price your services correctly.
When you’re ready to formalize your side hustle, you can get $50 off the cost of setting up your business using the Ownr coupon code here.
24. Make Cash From Surveys
Get paid for giving you opinions. Some of the sites will pay you cash while others may give you a gift card. You can earn anywhere from a few cents to $10. So, the trick is to take enough surveys. If you do, the money can quickly add up to a few hundreds per month.
Check out these sites to get started:
You can also check contest and sweepstake sites like AllCanadaContests.com.
25. Use Cashback Apps
It is interesting to know that you can earn some cash on your everyday purchases – you are getting paid for something you would do anyway.
Here are some of the cash-back apps that can save you money
SAVE ON PURCHASES AND GROCERIES
26. Always Shop With A List
When you shop without a list, you’re more likely to give in to the temptation of buying on impulse. With a grocery list, you’ll be able to stick to your plan and get out of the store as quickly as possible. The less time you spend in a store, the less chance of you have of spending money on the things you don’t need.
27. Search For Coupons And Deals
Using coupons may sound old fashioned and a way to save a few cents but you’ll be surprised at how much it can save you over time.
In addition to the tradition way of getting coupons through store flyers, you can easily search for coupons online these days.
But use coupons and deals to buy items you actually need. If you don’t need it, then you should not be swayed by the coupon or deal.
You don’t save money by buying an item that is on sale if you don’t need it – even if it’s 90 percent off. You simply spent money you could have saved instead.
28. Shop Less And Buy In Bulk
When it comes to perishable items, buy just enough to last you till the next time you shop or buy what you can finish before it gets spoilt.
On the other hand, save some money by buying non-perishables in bulk. Most cleaning products like toilet paper and other bathroom supplies, detergents and personal hygiene products can be bought in bulk.
29. Buy Generic Brands
In many cases, a generic brand is just as effective and contain the same ingredients as its brand name substitutes.
This is true for water, drugs, cleaning supplies, paper products, flour, sugar, milk and many other items you buy. But be aware that generic brands are not always cheaper.
Sometimes, you can get a brand name for less with a coupon. So always check and compare the prices.
30. Cook In Bulk
Related to the point above, cook some of your meals in bulk when possible. This can save you some money in two ways.
- By cooking in bulk, you’ll be able to buy the ingredients in bulk and save some money in the process.
- And since you have a ready-made food, you’ll be less likely to skip your meals and eat outside.
31. Buy Quality
Paying a little more to for higher items can save you money in the long run. Of course, striking a balance between quality and price can be difficult but you will learn this over time.
But don’t confuse expensive with quality. Designer items may cost significantly more but may not last longer.
Also, always choose function over looks.
32. Plan Your Meals In Advance
Making your own meals at home means you’ll be spending less on eating out or ordering takeouts. To save even more, consider planning your meals in advance.
For example: When you plan your breakfast in advance, you’re more likely to actually follow it and not give in to the temptation of skipping the meal, then having to eat outside.
33. Delay Purchases
In other words, be intentional with your purchases. The longer you wait, the more time you have to convince yourself that you really need the item.
For smaller and cheap items, try the 10-seconds rule. Hold the item for 10-seconds and think of a reason why you shouldn’t buy it.
There is the 30-days rule for more expensive non-essential purchases. When you get the urge to buy the item, delay the purchase for 30-days. During this period, try to think of the reasons why you may not need the item and research your options.
Go ahead and make the purchase if you’re still convinced that you’re making the right choice.
SAVE MONEY AROUND THE HOUSE
34. Rent Or Buy Smaller Apartments
A bigger apartment will cost more in mortgage or rent and come with higher utilities. Be realistic about your housing needs and guide against lifestyle inflation.
Also, don’t let family and friends pressure you into buying a house when you’re not ready.
Many people underestimate the total cost of home ownership – mortgage, utilities, maintenance, property tax and so on.
Find out how much house you can afford using the Mortgage Affordability Calculator by Ratehub.
35. Rent Out A Room In Your House
Do you have an extra room or space in your house or apartment? Consider renting it out and make some extra cash.
Having a roommate can free up some serious cash for you. You’ll be saving a lot in living expenses by splitting some of your bills. And who knows, you may even get a friend in the process.
But if you’re not ready for the commitment of long-term rentals, consider listing the room on Airbnb instead. It helps if you’re in a city with lots tourist attractions. You could make more money with Airbnb but it’ll require more management and dealing with different people every other day.
If you’re not ready for the extra stress, just get a roommate.
36. Buy Energy-efficient Appliances
You probably already use energy-efficient bulbs. If you’re not, make the switch today.
For example, a LED bulb can save you up to 80% in energy and last up to 25 times longer than the traditional incandescent bulbs. Another popular alternatively is Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL).
Also, when buying new appliances, go for the ones that are more energy efficient. Paying a little extra now, may save you more over the life of the appliance.
37. Get A Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat will automatically adjust the temperature in your house based on a series of pre-set schedule.
When used properly, a programmable thermostat can save you some money in energy cost and you can get a good one for less than $100.
But they can also cost more if you not used properly. To really save money with a thermostat, follow these tips
- Set it and leave it. Large and regular swings in temperature will use more energy
- Program the thermostat to a lower temperature when you’re away and during the night
- Let the heat come one about an hour before you get home. This is enough time for the temperature to adjust and will prevent you from having to manually adjust it
- Have different settings during winter and summer.
Related Post: 20 Tips To Save Money On Energy Cost During Winter
38. Use Fans
You can save a lot of money by using fans instead of air conditioners for cooling.
Installing a ceiling fan will be cheaper to operate and you can save even more by turning it off when there is nobody in the room.
Also, you can get a standing fan that can be moved from one room to another.
For example, we were able to cut our daily average electricity consumption during summer from 18kWh to less than 7kWh by buying a Honeywell Quietset Fan for less than $100.
The fan paid for itself in a few months with the savings in electricity cost.
39. Consider D.I.Y. First
Whether you rent or own your own house, DIY can save you a lot of money.
You can do a lot of repairs at home by watching a simple YouTube video with step-by-step instructions on what to do.
Not only will fixing things around the house on your own cost you less money, it can also be used as a time to bond with your spouse and kids.
But if it looks too complicated, will take too long, or require some expensive tools you don’t have, then call a professional to help you.
40. Sell Your Used Items
Over time we all build clutters around the house. From old appliances to used clothing to books, you probably have a bunch of items you’re not used in a while. Rather than holding on to them, why not sell them and make some cash.
Here are some quick tips when selling online:
- Take great pictures of the items you’re selling
- Do some research on the prices for comparable items.
- Use a catchy headline and write a compelling and clear description. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoe and tell them exactly what they are getting.
- If you get a serious buyer, be prepared to negotiate, and agree to a slightly lower price
- Re-list the item if not sold after a few days
OTHER WAYS TO SAVE
41. Invite Friends Over For A Drink
Hanging out with your friends and colleagues for drinks can be fun. It’s a good way to catch up and unwind. But it can quickly turn to an expensive practise that costs more than your budget.
Alternatively, have friends over for drinks at your place every now and then. If you must go, then consider limiting the number of times to just once of twice a month.
42. Cancel Some Subscriptions
If you pay for some subscriptions you don’t use, now is the time to cancel them. Individually they may be small, but they can add up to a few hundreds.
Do you really need a Disney+ and Netflix subscription? Consider cancelling one.
Go through your bank and credit card statements. You may be surprised to see some subscriptions you’re not using, or membership benefits you’re not maximizing.
43. Buy Used Items
It’s no secret that buying used items can save you 50% or more compared to the price of a new item. Yes, some people may feel some stigma, but the benefits can outweigh any awkwardness you may feel.
You’ll be amazed at the type of bargains you can get when you buy used items. I once picked up a living room centre table dining table set, office desk, monitor, 32-inch TV and TV stand for less than $500 from a content sale – all still in great condition.
Check online for good deals or go to a yard sale in your area. You can try Kijiji or Facebook for online options.
44. Get Rid Of Expensive Hobbies
Hobbies are a great way to unwind and spend some time to recharge and express your creativity. It could do a lot to improve your mental health.
Notwithstanding, try to avoid hobbies that will require expensive membership fees or regular supplies that can drain your pocket.
45. Take Advantage Of Free Events In Your Area
If you’re the outgoing type that enjoy outdoor events, explore all the available free events in your area or city first.
You can get a list of events by checking your local library, meetup.com and Eventbrite.ca.
For example, you can get several photography groups you can join for free that meet regularly if you enjoy photography. It is a great way to meet new people and grow your network.
46. Read A Book
Finally, you need to be a lifelong learner. The time and money spent on developing yourself and learning a new skill is an investment.
So buy a new book to improve your financial literacy. Borrow one from the library or from friends. Read a blog and learn new concepts.
There you go. Agreed, some of the ideas above may sound radical. But if you try out just a few of the ideas, you’ll be in a better position financially. Some of them can save you money immediately while others may take some time.
Be patient and consistent. If you continuously look for ways to earn more and increase your income, get your spending under control, and save and invest regularly, you’ll eventually achieve your goals.
Please comment below if you have any other ideas you think should be on the list.
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