It has been a difficult year and a half, especially when it comes to finances. If you're in debt or just want to better manage your money, take a look at our list of 21 ways to save money in 2021!
1. Create a budget
This can feel daunting, but it’s an important first step. Start by listing out your everyday, essential expenses and ensure you can cover those easily. If you have remaining funds, put the majority of it away for a rainy day so that you’re able to cover any unforeseen costs.
2. Differentiate between wants and needs
Many of us love going shopping and purchasing new things. However, if you’re experiencing financial distress or attempting to save money this year, it’s really important to stick to buying only things you need and avoiding things that you simply want. When deciding on a new product or a service, really have an honest conversation with yourself about its level of necessity and importance.
Tip: Before you buy, ask yourself - is this something that I absolutely need (like an oil change for your car) or or is this something that I simply want (such as a new pair of shoes)?
3. Cook at home
While takeout is delicious, fast, and easy - it can also be very expensive. Instead, try your hand at cooking your favourite meals at home! It’s easier than you think and can be a fun way to get the whole family involved with dinner. For take-away inspired recipes and ideas, check this out.
4. Make a (smart) grocery list
Going to the grocery store with hungry kids and without a list might lead to you buying things that you don’t need. Create a weekly meal plan and buy accordingly. Avoid pre-packaged snacks as they usually come at a higher cost.
5. Buy in bulk
Buying in bulk not only saves you money, but it also saves you trips to the store in the future. Check out local options such as Costco or Superstore where you often get a great deal on everyday items that your family needs.
6. Set up automatic savings transfers
Most banks have a transfer system that allows you to add small portions of your paycheck into a savings account automatically. You’ll have less money to spend on unnecessary items and your savings will continue to grow.
7. Set up automatic payments
Keep forgetting to pay off some of those monthly bills? Take one less thing off your to-do list by setting up automated payments to guarantee that your bills are paid on time and that you avoid late penalties.
8. Cancel some of your online streaming platforms
Subscribe to every streaming service under the sun? While their monthly fees may not seem too bad, they add up to more than you probably realize. Especially if you still have cable. Talk to your family, figure out which ones are the most loved, and consider getting rid of the rest.
9. Find good deals
With the rise in popularity of online shopping, there are a number of browser extensions that offer coupons, such as Honey. We also suggest looking through the weekly grocery flyers and organizing your meals and shopping list around sale items.
When you’re going grocery shopping - don’t forget that no name brand products are almost always about half the price as their branded counterparts and the quality and taste is just as good.
10. Declutter and sell
Have you ever spent a lot of money on a pair of shoes or a piece of furniture that you don't use very often? Consider selling them online to make room and to put some money back in your wallet. Check out Facebook Marketplace or any other local resale options such as Kijiji or Craigslist.
11. Visit your local library
When was the last time you visited your local library? If you’re like most people, it’s probably been a while. But it’s likely that your library has gone through some big changes since you last visited. Spend the day immersed in books, art, and peace and quiet - all for free.
12. Spend time outdoors
Rain or shine, there are activities that you can do to keep you occupied and entertained. For example, get together with some friends and head to your local park to play games, have a picnic, and enjoy each other's company without racking up a bill at a restaurant. This summer, go for a hike or take a swim in a local lake. There’s so much to do in the great outdoors and it doesn't have to cost a thing.
13. Explore free city attractions and festivals
If you're bored on a weekend but don't want to break the bank, discover what the city has to offer! The city may be holding a free, one-of-a-kind event or festival that weekend. Grab a buddy and create some lasting memories. If you’re in Calgary, take a look at this list of free events and fun things to do and if you’re in Edmonton, check this out.
14. Barter items or services
Do you know how to navigate the inner workings of a computer? Are you an accountant who can assist individuals with their taxes? Perhaps you have a jacket you seldom wear that you know your neighbour would gladly accept in return for their plumbing or pet sitting abilities.
Check with your friends, family, and their extended networks to see if there are any chances to swap and rehome your goods for something they can offer. There are other popular applications like Bunz and Facebook groups that will allow you to connect with others looking to do the same.
15. Make a contingency plan
Do you have a sudden desire to go on a shopping spree? Step away from the checkout page of your favourite store and step into your emotions. Take some time to reflect or journal about why you want to make that large purchase of new clothes and dig deep about what you might be distracting yourself from. By recognizing and acknowledging the feelings you are trying to cover up, not only will your financial goals stay intact but it will also help you deal with your emotions in a healthy and productive way.
16. DIY-ing over buying
Over the last year and a half, you may have noticed that your home needs some upgrading. Renovations are pricey, but doing simple fixes yourself can totally transform your space for less. Need some inspiration ? Check this out.
17. Swap Uber rides for other rides
Although catching a ride with Uber or a cab is handy when you are running late for an appointment, with rush hour surges and tipping your driver, it can really rack up a bill. Instead use public transportation, walk, or ride your bike to your destination. You might need to add some extra minutes to your travel time, but your wallet and health will thank you for it.
18. Utilize rewards programs
If you shop at a business that provides a rewards program make sure to collect your points and utilize them to purchase anything you need based on your budgeted list. You can also look into getting a cash back credit card in order to earn cash everytime you shop.
19. Stop buying individual beverages
While it may be part of your routine, buying coffee every morning or a water bottle every time you leave the house can really add up. According to this Time magazine article, you could save over $2000 a year by avoiding places like Starbucks! So invest in a good coffee machine and bring your own water. Bonus - you’ll also be helping the environment.
20. Creative traveling
Travelling is a great way to recharge, but it can be expensive. Consider a staycation and explore new areas of your city. Wilderness lover? Grab your camping gear and spend the night under the stars for a change of scenery. Get creative and enjoy what’s in your own backyard.
21. Educate yourself
While the internet is a treasure trove of free information, it can be confusing and overwhelming. Be sure to ask for a professional’s advice so any major decision you want to make is backed up by expertise and experience. You can also visit your bank or a Licensed Insolvency Trustee such as BNA and discuss what is available to you to help you reach your goals.
Spend wisely this year
Making simple improvements to your spending patterns will help you construct a better future for yourself. Saving money and lowering expenditures in the short term will help you deal with greater difficulties like debt in the long run.
As mentioned, when trying to manage your debt, it's also a good idea to seek expert assistance. You may achieve financial independence sooner when you have a Licensed Insolvency Trustee on your side.
Contact us to see how we may help you live a more liberated life.