Saving money hasn’t always come easily to me. I used to be a big time spender, not a saver.
Now, I actually find saving money fun. I feel like it’s a game – trying to see how much I can save each month.
Here are a few ways that our family easily saves money:
1. Cook at home, mostly from scratch.
I’ve always loved experimenting in the kitchen, so this was a definite no-brainer for me when we were paying off debt and saving money for our future. We cook from scratch all the time now.
We do go out to eat once or twice per month, because you have to allow yourself to indulge every so often if you don’t want to go crazy – but to be honest, I much prefer eating at home. Food always seems to taste better when you make it yourself.
Now, if only I had a waitress and someone to clean my kitchen, I’d be set!
2. Use entire sheets of printer paper.
I print a ton of coupons and other things, so our printer sees a lot of use.
I don’t like using one piece of paper for a single coupon (which often only takes up 1/3 of the page), so I will cut out the coupon and the put the paper back in the printer to print off another 1 or 2 coupons. This way no paper is wasted.
Also, if I am printing something other than a coupon, I always print something else on the other side of the paper when I am done with it (if possible). This makes our printer paper last twice as long.
3. Use coupons – a lot!
If you’ve been reading this site for any length of time, you know that I use coupons all the time. They have saved my family so much money over the years.
Not only have I been able to build up a pretty large stockpile by using coupons, but I have also been able to donate items to countless women’s shelters, food banks and other charitable organizations. You can get so many things for free using coupons.
My husband and I both have an allowance line in our monthly budget that we use on splurges.
It’s only a small amount, but knowing that we have this money that we can spend on whatever we want makes budgeting a lot easier.
We are currently saving for a down payment for our first home and sometimes all of the saving and cutting back on things can become a huge chore. Knowing that we have this fun money to play with every month is such a good thing for us.
5. Research before we buy.
Whenever we need to buy something, we do our research – and we do lots of it.
This can be anything from a pair of shorts to a new car. Whatever we plan to buy (that costs more than $10 or so), we will read reviews on it to make sure that the item we are thinking about buying is actually worth the money.
I remember when I bought our Samsung Laser Printer. I did research for DAYS on the best printer for printing tons of coupons.
By reading dozens of reviews online, I found that most printers were either too expensive, or they didn’t last very long. The Samsung Laser Printer that I ended up buying has lasted us well over a year and I haven’t had to change the cartridge once!
Doing my research saved me from buying a printer that probably wouldn’t have lasted as long as our current one has.
6. Take advantage of rewards programs.
There are many rewards programs in Canada, and most are definitely worth your time to sign up to.
Rewards programs are great for earning points that you can redeem on items in the store, gift cards and even household items and electronics.
My favourite rewards program would have to be Shoppers Optimum, but I do use others as well (Air Miles, HBC Rewards, PC Points, etc.).
7. Avoid convenience foods.
When you buy things like shredded cheese and pre-cut fruit and vegetables from the grocery store, you are buying them at a premium.
It’s not much work to shred some cheese and chop produce yourself, if you want to save some cash.
When I first lived on my own, I bought convenience foods all of the time. Mostly because I was lazy. Eventually I realized that those purchases were eating up over 25% of my grocery budget, so I eventually decided that enough was enough.
Ever since then I have been buying big blocks of cheese and grating them myself, and I have never bought another package of pre-cut fruits or veggies. I can’t even get over how expensive those things are! I could never go back to paying those kinds of prices.
It feels good knowing that we have money in the bank at the end of the day because we practiced restraint and were disciplined with our money management.
Saving money is so very, very important. Don’t wait – start right now!