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Money lessons to learn from the frugal

The rich may be good at making money but the poor are good at saving it. Here are twenty ways to save big in your day to day.
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Gina Monaco, September 12, 2013 4:41:02 PM

Are you still living paycheque to paycheque? Or can’t even manage to make it to you next paycheque without borrowing from your BFF? You’re not alone but it looks like things are getting better for all of us. Canadians are learning to manage their money better and not living from pay to pay according to a Canadian Payroll Association poll. If that’s not you yet, then it’s time to get some tips from the more frugal among us so you can free up some cash. It’s not the big expenses that we have trouble managing – it’s the small items that we don’t even think twice about that eat away at our cash flow. Here are twenty tips to help you make your way through each pay cycle and still have some money left over at the end of the month!

  1. Stop buying bottled water. At $1.50 a bottle, this seemingly tiny expense can quickly add up. If you drink two bottles a day it means you go through 14 bottles in a week. That’s $21 dollars for a week; $84 dollars in a month; $1,000 in a year …on water! Fill a reusable water bottle. If you’re worried about the quality of water – invest in a filtration system. When you’re out and about, go into Tim’s and ask for a glass of water, then empty it into your bottle and head out, preferably without the donut.
  2. Frequent your local Dollar Store. You’ll be surprised what you can get nowadays — household goods, paper products, cleaning supplies and even food items. The crazy thing is that you can sometimes find the exact same product at the dollar store that you saw in your local department store at a fraction of the cost.
  3. Make the most of sales. Stock a “gift” shelf in your closet with items you find on sale, at closeouts or at garage sales so when the need arises you won’t be scrambling and you won’t overspend. Also store gift bags that you picked up at (you guessed it) the dollar store.
  4. Eat out for free. Do you frequently eat out at restaurants? Don’t stop – just become a mystery shopper. You get to eat for free. The only thing you have to do is review the establishment and provide a written report. Enjoy!
  5. Check grocery flyers for special deals. Always make a grocery list before shopping so you don’t impulse buy. You can check all your weekly flyers right here on The Loop. And don’t forget the coupons either.
  6. Hang your clothes to dry. Running a dryer is costly. It’s the second most energy-sucking appliance you have. The number one is the fridge. Hmmm, ever consider storing all your perishables in a cooler instead? Nah!
  7. Reuse margarine and yogurt containers and Ziploc bags and take your lunch to work each day.
  8. Fly cheaply. Look for mid-week flights. Flying on a Tuesday or Wednesday will net you the lowest rates. These flights are also at least twenty per cent less than a weekend flight.
  9. Got a car? Big expense. Consider public transportation or a bicycle. Scooters are becoming more popular. If that’s not an option, then make sure you use regular gas instead of premium. The majority of cars do not need the costlier gas.
  10. Haggle for everything – you never know what you can get unless you ask. Say things like, “I’ve seen it for less,” or “There’s a slight flaw,” or “it’s the demo product.”
  11. Stay away from ATM machines unless it’s your bank’s. Other bank machines will cost you $1.50 each withdrawal, and those generic ATMs in the convenience store — $3 every time.
  12. Get a library card. Movies, series television, and documentaries – they can all be found at the library for free.
  13. Better yet – put that library card to good use and never buy another book.
  14. Cook in bulk and then freeze it. Also buy fresh fruit and vegetables in season, when they’re cheap, and freeze for the winter. If you buy the same produce in the winter you’ll be paying a premium.
  15. Turn your heat down in the winter and the air conditioner up in the summer before leaving the house for the day. No use keeping the place a nice temperature for the furniture to enjoy.
  16. It only takes spending an extra $27.40 a day to eat through an extra $10,000 a year. Use free online tools to create a budget and then follow it.
  17. Never pay just the minimum on credit cards, pay as much as you can…better yet, only spend what you can afford to pay off each month. Interest is nuts. If you have trouble keeping track of your spending, keep just one credit card and cut the rest of them up.
  18. Better yet, use cash for your purchases. You’ll get a better sense of the value of a dollar.
  19. Take advantage of options to pay mortgage bi- monthly and do the yearly allowable big payment and you’ll own your home outright in no time flat.
  20. Think twice before every purchase. Every single purchase you make is an option. Before buying anything think about whether you actually need it or not.

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Gina Monaco

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