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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tips to Spend Less Money

Here is a list of things that I try to do in order to minimize my spending. Please note that these will not work for everyone, and I know that there it lots of room for improvement, but these are the things that I actually do and I will comment on them.

1. Cut down the cable/internet - This goes for the phone as well, but by looking at how much you are spending on Cable and Internet and lowering this down can save you significant money in a month. I rarely watch television, so just have the lowest 20 channels on, and in the summer I haven't hardly watched any television. In the winter, this may change though. I used to live with a roommate who was a gamer and needed ultra high speed internet, then my sister moved in and worked from home and connected to her work computer so she also needed a good connection. Now I still have high speed internet, but saved almost $40 per month by switching down.

2. Minimize your phone bill - I pay about $50 per month for my Bell phone bill. There is no call-waiting, call answer or any of those features that do not come free with the line. I also do not have a cell phone, where from what I hear the prices can become huge in a month. Similarly, I do not text message (not having a cell phone prevents this nicely). I realize that this is much more difficult for people who have already had these "luxuries" to go without them (or if you have teenagers), but it is something that I have done.

3. Stop going out to eat - My family will note that this happens occasionally, but this is just a question of mathematics. No matter where you go to eat, it will cost 2-10 times more than if you cook it yourself. I can hear what you are thinking, "I can't make a lasagna for less than $10 and I can get that at such and such a restaurant for that". That may be true, but you won't be cooking yourself an individual sized lasagna. It’s true that preparing your own foods takes time, and after a hard day at work it is much easier to go out, but financially it doesn't make sense. As well, everyone in the world pretty much got a lunch packed for them as a kid going to school. Please try to do the same thing for yourself at lunch at work. I also walk by a Tim Horton's everyday going to school, but have got in the habit of taking a travel mug of my own coffee with me so the temptation isn't there. I will admit that my new habit is to bring a travel mug with me for a long car ride and stop for a coffee after a few hours, but no one is perfect.

4. Never buy something when it immediately comes out - If you wait six months (or longer) after a product comes out, it will be significantly cheaper (almost no matter what the product). The negative comes that you have to wait this time, but financially it makes sense. If it is a car, wait until a year and buy one used (and save yourself huge money). If it is a television, you can buy the brand new 58 inch flat screen, or buy last years 32 or 44 inch model for a fraction of the cost (I do not have a flat screen television by the way, but am dreaming of one). The point is, when a product comes out, it is much more expensive, so feel free to wait for a bit for a price drop.

5. Minimize your car expenses - I do not own a car (although my girlfriend does), so my car expenses are pretty much at zero. If you are in a family and can go down to one car, the savings are huge. If you are unable to go down to one car, feel free to buy a used car. The savings are tremendous.

6. Shop around - The quote from one book is "a dollar saved is two dollars earned". Ignoring the tax implications for now, if you are purchasing a product, why not try to get the best deal on it? Try not to be an impulse buyer (although I totally am and if I see the sign that says "Sale" or "Limited Time Offer" I usually fall for it). I try to say to myself "In the next month I will need a new _____" and then look at 3 or 4 stores every weekend for the next month to find the prices and then look for when the price drops and pick up the product then. If you purchase things at the end of season and out of season, great deals can be had as well.

7. Pay cash - This is for people with no willpower like me. I set myself a budget. I take out ____ for spending every two weeks. When I run out of money, I stop spending. It's as easy as that. You can be as harsh or as lenient as you want in this manner, but by changing your spending from a variable expense (that changes week to week) to a fixed expense (that is the same each week), you can more easily plan to save and pay things off. This has probably been the best thing that I have done to limit my spending. I will rarely use my credit cards now(except when purchasing medical supplies), and the savings have been tremendous.


  1. Does # 4 also include video games?

  2. It should...but I have a bucket for video games. Other than Rock Band, all my games are second hand.