When your mailbox is filled with bills and it’s still a week until payday, it can feel like you’ll never get your finances turned around. But saving money doesn’t have to mean a total lifestyle overhaul. Check out these tips for small changes you can make that could save you big.
Stock up on grocery-store staples
Do you ever buy all the ingredients to cook a nice homemade meal, only to get hit by a grocery bill so high you could have dined out and left the onion-chopping to the professionals? That can happen if you make a one-off meal filled with special ingredients that wind up getting lost in the back of your cupboard.
Instead, try saving money on groceries by buying a few versatile staples in bulk that go with everything: we’re talking eggs, lentils, pasta and canned tuna (plus rice and beans, of course!). Root vegetables like potatoes, onions, carrots and yams make for cheap and cheerful additions, plus they last a long time, especially when stored somewhere cool.
When you’re ready to cook, pick up a few choice fresh or frozen veggies and your favourite on-sale protein. Then just make a few savvy choices from a well-stocked spice rack, and – ta-da! – you can enjoy a variety of easy meals without having to constantly scour the supermarket for the next trendy ingredient. Did you really have your heart set on elderberry anyway?
Slow down your fashion
Between fast-fashion finds and too-good-to-be-true deals online, the temptation to jump on a good price is real. But it’s only a steal if you’re going to get your money’s worth. Before adding something new to your wardrobe ask yourself these three questions:
1) Can I wear this in real life?
That leopard-print cowboy hat has a certain flair at first, but it might not have the same impact the 12th time out
2) Am I missing this?
A perfect red hoodie isn’t such a must-have when you have the five other colours already.
3) Do I have space for this?
When your closet is full it’s trying to tell you something, and that’s, “You’re cut off.”
Clutter begone! Rather than spending more on stuff, try paring down your possessions. You might even be able to make some extra spending money while you’re at it.
Take a look around your place and ask yourself what’s a delight to display and what’s just another thing to dust. You can pack up the stuff you don’t mind parting with and donate it or sell it online through social-media marketplaces. One idea is to pack things into variety boxes with the understanding that the buyer has to take everything - no cherry-picking!
Once you’ve reclaimed your space, commit to your new look by holding off on buying new stuff. And if you’re in the market for a new space, less belongings could mean you can consider something with fewer square feet.
Not only will it potentially mean lower mortgage payments or rent in a market where deals are hard to come by, but a smaller space will save you money on climate control. Not to mention cutting down on chores like cleaning and maintenance that become proportionately larger in a bigger home.
Drive down your bills by driving less
If you have a car, you know how much insurance, parking, repairs and gas can add up to. But depending on circumstances such as where you live or work, you might not have much of a choice. If driving is something you can’t do without, you can still find ways to cut costs.
The more, the merrier: Split the gas by carpooling with a friend, or use a carpooling website or app to make arrangements.
Plan ’n park: Save money by booking parking through an app. You can find spots at a discounted rate when you book in advance.
Electrify your ride: An electric vehicle won’t be the cheapest right off the lot, but over the long run, the power it takes to run one tends to be less than you’ll spend on gas. Plus, eligible plug-in hybrid electric vehicles can qualify for government rebates.
Fair share: Not using your car for a bit? Try offering it up on an online marketplace app and make some extra money by lending it out.
However, if you are able to go car-free, you can use the money you save on a cab or ride-share when you really need to (like, say, after a big grocery shop) at a fraction of the cost.
Or if you just need a car for a day or two, it might be worth it to rent. In addition to mainstream car-rental agencies, check if any car-sharing companies are available where you live. If you have a Capital One credit card, even better – we cover Car Rental Collision/Loss Damage Waiver Insurance for lots of different car-sharing companies.
When you make small changes to your spending habits, you could save money without having to make big sacrifices. Learn more about small ways to cut down on the cost of living.
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