How to Save Money » Budgeting

3 small expenses to cut from your budget: New video

Today I wanted to share with you 3 small expenses that you can easily cut from your monthly budget to save some serious cash.

There are some things included in your monthly budget that you have no control over. These are things like your mortgage, heat & hydro, car payment, insurance – you can’t do much about those.

However, there are some small things that you can cut from your budget that save you quite a bit of money over the long term.

1. Bank fees

You should not be paying bank fees if you don’t have to, and right now, you don’t have to. There are some banks out there that actually offer free chequing and savings accounts for nothing. You pay $0.

The 2 banks that come to mind right away are PC Financial and ING Direct.

Switch over from your regular bank and you’re going to save anywhere from $5-$30 a month on monthly bank fees alone.

2. Convenience items

What I mean by convenience items is things like shredded cheese, pre-cut garlic, pre-cut fruit. You will find these in almost any grocery store and they are almost always double what you would pay for the regular item yourself.

Do a little bit of extra work yourself and cut up your fruit and vegetables, grate your own cheese, cut up your garlic – and you’re going to save yourself good money by avoiding those convenience items at the store.

By “convenience items”, I also mean frozen meals and (most) frozen meats. You can get these items fresh (or the ingredients fresh), and they are always going to be cheaper. Unless, of course, you can find a great clearance or sale.

3. Books, movies, CDs

These are 3 items that you can find at your local library, and you can get them for free. You don’t need to pay for them.

All you have to do is go to the library, browse around, find what you want, check out, and bring those items back on time (keep track of these items to avoid late fees).

If you really don’t have the time to go to the library to browse around, and you already know what you want to read/watch/listen to, go to your library’s website to reserve those items. When they are available, you will be contacted and you can then go and pick them up.

Those are 3 things that you can easily cut from your budget to save some money every month.

I encourage you to try cutting at least 1 of them and see if it works for you.

What small expenses have you cut from your budget?


  1. Theresa

    Right now RBC has a shoppers optimum chequing account. If you have multiple RBC accounts including a TFSA, you will pay $4 a month but be collecting optimum points. When you first open the account and make two direct deposits, you get 55000 points . As I have always paid $14 a month for my RBC account, this is a great savings for me.

    Agree with the books and DVDs tip too. I buy my son books that he likes at Chapters on occasion as they are not found used anywhere……and I cringe everytime. Nothing beats getting next to new books for less than a dollar at thrift stores.

  2. HeidiM

    I agree with all of your tips. I have been banking with PC Financial for years now. My family also visits the library once a week to look for books and movies or to pick up holds. That way we can read and watch for free, and then buy the item later if we want to own a copy.

  3. Christa

    Here in St. Catharines there is a used book store and it gives credit when you bring books in. I think with borrowing ebooks from the library you never even have to leave the computer. Pretty sure you can just download the ebook you want to borrow then when It’s time to return it will be locked and you can’t read it anymore.
    I don’t buy convience foods. With shredded cheese I have a small food processor so I can shred a lot or a little. I find with pre cut stuff you have to eat it quick or else it will go bad and since I live alone I would have to eat the same thing day in and day out

  4. teachermum

    I would add credit card fees as well. We now have several options in Canada to earn points or miles with no yearly fee. We use our PC Mastercard for EVERYTHING and the points sure add up. While there is a wide range of things at Superstore to use points on, they also let you get gift cards with points, giving you lots of options.

    Fast food is another-it is way too handy, very expensive and usually not good for you. I grew up never eating fast food- we simply didn’t have the money. We might get KFC for a treat on Dad’s birthday for supper, maybe! Add up what you spend on take-out, including coffee and be prepared to cringe….I bet it would pay for quite a decent vacation over a year’s time!

  5. Jen

    the biggest thing i would have to do is going out for tea since i don’t drink coffee. also to stop impluse buying.

  6. Danielle

    I Agree with all your points. Especially the Convenience Items. I specifically have gone without a microwave for 2 years now in the hopes of cutting down on convenience items i.e. frozen goods. and I can say that has cut back our food bills greatly.

  7. Mark

    One thing we didn’t cut per se but still saved a lot on is cable/phone/internet. There are a lot of deals around and many of the cable providers don’t proactively notify you about more cost effective bundles available. Half an hour spent reviewing your current provider’s options as well as the main competitors in your area, can cut $100’s off your annual bill – and in many cases without giving up anything you care about.

  8. Alesha

    Libro Credit Union also had free banking if you hold your mortgage with them. It’s a fantastic savings. I can’t believe that I used to pay to have a chequing account.

  9. Heather

    Lots of little things that save me lots of money over time. I stopped buying cleaning products and now use vinegar, peroxide, baking soda and boiling hot water. For my children I buy their clothing second hand and other things for them on kijiji. I also shop on kijii for myself. I use face cloths instead of wipes and I breastfeed and make babyfood in my food processor. For gifts I shop all year round when there are great sales which makes things easier at Christmas. I also make gifts such as edibles. I cook from scratch and when we plan an outing I bring snacks and pack food into a cooler to save money on eating out. For date nights, we go to restaurants that we’ve bought vouchers from on daily deal sites and when we go to the movies, we buy the movie package deal from Costco. I do my own nails and get my haircut from someone who does it out of her home. Much cheaper. Most of the choices that I make are not only cheaper but better for the environment and my family’s health and the best advice and tips I’ve been given have been from your site which I’ve found to be life changing. I can’t thank you enough Cassie:0

  10. Heather

    I forgot to mention that for exercise, I dropped my gym membership that I had been paying for years. I bought an elliptical on kijiji for cardio. I grew tired of exercise dvd’s and the expense when I became bored, so once or twice a year I buy a fitness magazine and copy the routines that they include. I use free weights for strength training. Besides saving money on dropping the gym membership, I use to buy cute clothes to wear there as well, and now I work out in my pj’s sometimes. No one to impress! lol.

  11. Krista

    Thanks for the video MrsJanuary.
    About banks, I go into my PC Financial Bank at RCSS. There is a banking person there to help me 7 days per week. I also like ING Direct. ING has a physical branch on Gordon Baker Rd in Toronto. Canadian Tire Financial is another with no banking fees.

    Really helpful video! Thx.

  12. Krista

    Oh, ya, about the library, our library has free first run movies a week after they are out in the theatre. They have special dates and times to show the movies. You just need to register.

    The library also has computers that you can use for about 1 hour per day.

    Some libraries have pedometers that they will loan out to you.

    Our library has a Wii and XBox system that can be rented. There is a deposit for this rental.

  13. Maegan

    Great tips! However i will continue to purchase pre minced garlic because it savesy fingers…. Ive cut them to many times that way :S

  14. Annie

    I have just changed my land line over to another company that is half the cost. We don’t use our land line much but my husband wanted to keep it for people that do call us and don’t have a cell. Also talked to cable company and talked to them about upgrading our tv but lowering our internet usage. Got a $20 saving a month for a year plus better tv (HD). We don’t really use alot of internet for downloading so that saved us a bi. (we used to)…Now our bill is down a good 70 a month. Most people don’t look at their cable, phone and internet but it is a good thing to do every so often.

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