We’re always asked for money savings tips. I think we should all be aware of the most common ones by now – turn off the lights, short showers, brown bag your lunch, etc. etc. Serious savers are doing these already.
Here are a few other tips you can consider.
1. Stop wasting food
Food prices are on the rise again, so why are we so wasteful with what we do buy? If you look in your freezer will you find three packs of chicken or ground beef completely freezer burnt? How about those aluminum foil-wrapped packages you prepared when you decided to do some bulk cooking?
Related: 35 ways to save money
It’s easy to forget what’s in your freezer when everything falls to the bottom or gets pushed into the back. The solution is to keep a freezer logbook. The log shows you what food you have on hand and when you purchased (or froze) it, reminding you what to eat before it goes bad.
This can save you a ton of money on meat alone.
2. Plan for the future
When there are major sales at the mall it’s hard to resist splurging. Buy for next year’s season. Styles for adults won’t change that much from year-to-year. Buy sandals, shorts and tank tops for next summer and a new swimsuit for your winter vacation. Can you tell the difference between last year’s athletic shoes and this year’s new arrivals?
It’s can be a little tricky buying clothing and footwear ahead for kids, though. You never know when they will have a major growth spurt.
Related: A calendar of saving money
However, the same thinking applies to any seasonal items that you may need the following year – school supplies, holiday décor, entertaining supplies, to name a few.
3. Organize a community swap
Many newly built communities are full of young families with small children.
Arrange with another parent to share a babysitter if you’re desperate for a night out, or better yet swap babysitting duties.
Consider trading toys, games, and DVDs a few times a year. Try a clothing or sports equipment swap. You can share large tools or gardening equipment with your neighbours and friends.
4. Home improvement
Learn how to do minor home repairs and remodeling jobs yourself. There are tons of online demos and instructional videos for home improvement projects. If you like a more hands on approach, home improvement stores like Home Depot always have classes on such things as fixing a leaky faucet, painting, and laying ceramic tile.
Related: Organic food gardening
Instead of spending a bundle at the garden centre each year on a few trays of annuals, plant perennials. As they grow they need to be divided, so you can swap plants with friends and neighbours. Some community centres set up plant exchanges.
5. Review your benefits at work
Check out low cost, or free, benefits from your employer over and above your insurance and medical plans. Many offer tuition for educational courses and gym memberships to name a couple.
Many employers have partnerships with companies that will provide their employees with good discounts on goods and services – car rentals, tickets to family entertainment, travel, computers and cars. The offerings are usually available online, or in a booklet you received when you started the job. Most employees don’t bother to even look.
I’m guilty of this myself. I could have received a $500 discount on my new iMac if I would have checked.
Most people aren’t willing to make huge sacrifices (like skipping vacations) to save a few dollars. However, with a bit of effort and some small changes in your routine you can reap some worthwhile benefits.