The official start of the season may have been last month, but now we can confidently say that spring is finally in full swing. So as we start fresh and give into the annual “spring cleaning” tradition, why not give financial spring cleaning a try? Check out these tips to find areas in your life where you can potentially save, and maybe even earn a few extra bucks:
Clean out your wallet
Throw out those business cards with frayed edges and transfer all the contacts you need into your phone. Put all your loose change into a piggy bank. And while you’re at it, why not make this a regular ritual? At the end of each week, empty your wallet and put any change into a piggy bank. It may not be much, but savings anywhere can be beneficial.
Re-evaluate the credit cards you currently have. Cancel and cut up the cards you don’t use and look into new credit cards that actually work for you. There are plenty of cards out there that offer points towards gas and groceries for every purchase you make, like the President’s Choice Financial® MasterCard® or the President’s Choice Financial® World Elite MasterCard®, essentially gifting you with savings on necessities.
And for a limited time, if you sign up for one of these cards through RateSupermarket.ca and activate it, you’ll receive a $75 e-gift card and up to 20,000 PC points. That’s $20 worth of PC points towards groceries and a $75 e-gift card for a $0 annual fee.
Or if you’re looking for a cash back option, the Scotia Momentum® VISA Infinite* card offers opportunities on easy everyday purchases: 4% cash back on all eligible gas and grocery purchases, 2% on eligible drug store purchases and recurring bill payments, and 1% on all other eligible purchases. And again, if you sign up through RateSupermarket.ca, you’ll get a $75 e-gift card*** for free to use at Amazon.ca, Starbucks, Best Buy, or Cara restaurants.
Clean out your fridge
This, of course, is something you should do regularly. But this also gives you an opportunity to evaluate the groceries you need, and get rid of the things you should not buy again. If you’re a cereal serial grocery shopper and find yourself buying items only to be dumped at the end of the week, you may benefit form a little organization.
Organize and prioritize by making weekly grocery lists and checking flyers for deals (there are apps now for this too, making life a lot easier). Sticking to a list of things you need prompts you to get everything in one shot, decreases the chance of you making impulsive buys, and saves you time.
Clean out your closet and your garage
Go through your drawers, closets, tool boxes and shed and take inventory of the items you own so you don’t end up making repeat buys. Give away items you don’t need to charity, swap with friends and family, or even try to sell some online.
Join good programs, and quit ones you don’t use
If you haven’t already, it’s time to cancel that gym membership you signed up for but never used when you made that “new year, new me” resolution.
Look for other opportunities to save in your everyday life too. Go through your utility bills and see if there are ways to save on electricity or heating in your home. Or look into cheaper cell phone plans with less data or minutes if you’re not using them up every month.
Shop around for savings accounts with high interest rates, like TFSAs, that can boost your savings more than just a regular savings account. Or if your employer offers an RRSP program where money is deducted from your paycheque, consider joining it and start saving for your future!
Track your spending and make a budget
Creating a budget is intimidating and forces you to face the man in the mirror. But it’s worth it if you’re looking to save. Keep track of your expenses on paper, through an app, or through your bank’s online tools. This way, you have an idea of how much you can spend versus how much you can save each week or month.
Your budget should take into account fixed monthly expenses (like your rent or mortgage payment, utilities etc.), variable expenses (like gas for your car, groceries, and evenings out), occasional expenses (like clothing, gifts and vacations), and savings.
Pick a reasonable savings goal and work towards it by adjusting your spending habits. You can even set up automatic transfers to your savings account to coincide with pay days so you don’t forget.
Get better rates
One of the easiest ways to save hundreds of dollars and see immediate savings is to compare auto insurance and home insurance rates. These rates change so often, you’re probably unaware of other companies that can offer you a lower premium for the same coverage. In a few minutes, RateSupermarket.ca can tell you exactly which one can give you the best rate for the coverage you need.
***For accounts opened by April 30, 2017.