You decide to peruse through the mall and promise yourself that you are only going to window shop but then a leather jacket in the store window catches your eye. It looks similar to the jacket you liked on Instagram last week. It’s $250 but tell to yourself that you’re not buying lunches for a week to make up for the jacket. The credit card bill comes up and you’re shocked at how much you’ve spent this month. Those daily coffees, lunches, social gatherings at that new trendy restaurant you saw on Yelp on top of your monthly utility, phone and cable bill have added up. Suddenly, purchasing that leather jacket does not seem like a good decision.
Don’t beat yourself up. You’re not alone. According to Statistics Canada, in 2009, the average household in Canada spent $71,120 yearly. On average, almost 52 per cent went to food, shelter and clothing. While the necessities are accounted for, the other 48 per cent can be saved!
Typically, when one thinks of saving, one thinks of more traditional methods such as bonds, mutual funds and stocks. While these traditional ways are effective, here are some non-traditional ideas that may help you save those extra dollars.
- It’s time to axe your cable. I know it sounds crazy but hear me out. With the efficiency of technology, you can now hook up your TV to the internet and watch whatever you want, whenever! With services like Netflix, CraveTV and Amazon Prime, you can watch movies and TV shows at a much lower cost. According to a study by market research firm NPD Group, cable bills will soon grow to an average of $123 per month, or $1,476 per year. Sorry telecom companies, but people are taking their money back!
- Share your accounts. Did you know that Netflix, Apple Music and many gyms offer shared memberships? Sharing your accounts with friends and family will allow you to continue the lifestyle you have without spending an astronomical amount each month. Sharing is caring – your wallet needs some loving too!
- Did you know there are a ton of money management apps that are user-friendly and easy to adopt into your daily lives? Apps like Mint, Goodbudget and Mvelopes will help you track daily expenses and calculate the amount you would need to save to stay within budget. Seeing those numbers will help you monitor and alter your spending habits as you go. Many of these apps are also free!
- In addition to money management apps, there are also discount/coupon apps that will help you find great deals on groceries, furniture and much more! Apps like Snap by Groupon, Checkout 51 and Zweet have filter options, including distance, store preference and deals-of-the-day/week.
- Do you often find yourself justifying your actions and spending because of “FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)” and “YOLO (You Only Live Once)”? Here’s a suggestion – limit your time on social media sites. When you see photos of your friends on vacation, an OOTD (outfit of the day), parties, you will find yourself suddenly wanting things you didn’t think you wanted before! Chances are that you don’t really need these items. As the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind!”
- Finally, evaluate your expenses at the end of each week – update, review and adjust your budget and accounts accordingly. Track your progress against your financial goals and the previous weeks. Once you get into this habit and start to notice how much you’re saving, you’ll feel a great sense of satisfaction! Saving doesn’t have to be a chore! Humans are creatures of habit and your future self will thank you!
V. Pang | DBPC Blog