Updated: Mar 2
In today's world it is hard to make ends meet. When you sit down and look at your living expenses it can be surprising how much it cost to live. I have listed some things to share with others that we do in our home to help with that. Most have to do with food shopping as that does tend to use a good chunk of funds. #followme, #new
1. Use Cash. I get direct deposit bi-weekly from my job. Every pay cycle I remove the cash not assigned to bills. This is what I have for groceries and miscellaneous for two weeks. Unless you are meticulous about tracking every purchase it is easy to overspend with your debit.
2. Watch sales. At www.flyertown.ca you can enter your postal code and see local sales flyers. Every week when the sale flyers change, I check them and add to my grocery list any items I regularly use. Buying a couple of them each time this happens, has led to having a stock pile of such items as laundry soap, shampoo, body wash, deodorant, dish soap, tooth paste, toilet tissue, sugar, coffee, soda and various can foods. This way I never pay regular price for many things we shop for.
3. Menu plan. This is a great time, money and stress saver and I try to do this consistently as I really notice the difference when I don't. Before I go shopping, I make a meal plan for suppers for the next two weeks. I start with what is already in my freezer, fridge and pantry and then take from my meal list and finish out the plan. Make sure to include any leftovers in this plan. If I have lasagna on my plan than I know there will be leftovers.. will we eat next day or freeze? Using a menu plan also keeps me from running out to the store all the time and you won't spend if you don't go. :)
Meal list. This is a list of meals that we have had previously and any new recipes once tried an liked by all are added to the list. I keep in the front of my recipe binder and use it when making my menu plan. It makes it easier to think of meals and keeps from having the same ones over and over. (I get bored quickly :( of same foods ) #mealplan
4. Shop at more that one store. If you have more than one grocery store in your area then check sale flyers for both. I shop my local Foodland, 5 mins down the road as they are convenient, have some great weekly sales and I do like to support as local as possible. I also shop Superstore in nearby town, 20 mins away for specials, as well as once a month to Red &White Grocery, about 45 mins away, to stock up on meats and haddock fillets as the price is much lower than in my immediate area.
5. Use Coupons. Unfortunately here we don't have access to lots of coupons but I find what I can and most importantly use them wisely. When doing my grocery list I check thru coupons I have on hand and put any I plan to use with my list. I get my coupons from websaver.ca or save.ca, - printable ones, on product packaging, on store rack or coupon board (local superstore has in entry). I also try to use my coupon when the product is on sale. If I have $1 off laundry detergent, I am only going to use that when product is on sale as $1 off regular price is still more than when I buy on sale so makes no sense to use then. Also, coupons for items you do not regularly use, don't print/clip, unless it is something you have been waiting for sale or coupon to try. I use coupons and sales to try new cereals, or lunch snacks for the first time. #coupon
6. Use Digital rebates. The two I use are Checkout 51 and Ebates on my phone and laptop. With Checkout 51, you receive cash back for purchasing items on the weekly list. The list has a variety of items, at least 60 items or so. It is updated on Thursday and I check it when doing my grocery list. If there are items I use regularly on there then I save my receipt for those purchases. It is easy to snap picture of receipt and send thru. I have been using for several months now and did request for cheque mailed when reached 30. dollars. All went smooth and cash building up again. This week my usual shampoo, Pantene is on there (1.00), Dawn dish soap (.50), Scotsburn Sour cream(.75), Gain laundry detergent(1.00) and a favorite snack I only get on sale, Smartfood Indulgence popcorn Chocolate and Caramel (1.50)
If you like to try Checkout51, https://checkout51.app.link/DjKYYMYJCU
Ebates, is also cash back rebate not for items but for purchasing at a certain store. I use this one when doing online shopping for gifts or larger purchasing. The discount varies by store and week but for example, you get 2.% back when shopping at Indigo or 6% for Amazon.ca. It has tons of stores and why not get something back for those purchases anyways. I like to shop online, it saves me time and money too. So whenever I shop online I start at the Ebates site and they automatically rebate me. It adds up and hey mail it out quarterly if you have over 5.00 accumulated in your account. I have used Ebates for couple years and have received a few cheques even tho I do not shop much. Check it out, it cost nothing to try.
https://www.ebates.ca/referrer?referrerid=YhKOphwmWas%3D&src=Link 7. Make instead of Buying Life is busy, I know, but most times some planning can offset this some. I add baking onto my weekly to do list so instead of buying treats for snacking or lunch. Cook at home instead of take out. We use a Brita water jug and tap water instead of bottled water. (much cheaper and environmentally friendlier) Make a gift for someone instead of buying. In past I have sewed an apron, knitted some slippers, made preserve baskets and my husband has made bird feeders and rope mats. Most times treats and gifts are better when made than bought. Try to think first, can I make something before running out to buy.
8. Grow your own. We have a couple small gardens and growing more each year. Tomatoes, carrots, onions, potatoes, rhubarb, blueberries, cucumbers and different herbs are some things we grow. We also planted asparagus last year and hoping it survives :/ . We even made maple syrup ourselves from few maple trees we have in our backyard. All of these things we do not have to buy or not buy as much of, so therefore it all adds up and helps. It also relieves stress to be outside with your hands in the dirt. We may get chickens in the future but haven't decided on that commitment yet. We do use a lot of eggs and eat many meals with chicken so reading on how to care for and prepare for layers and meat hens. #garden
9. Waste less. It is surprising how much this can actually save and how much better you feel about not throwing out food too. To waste less, I make sure that everything I grow is canned, frozen or stored properly (potatoes) so that I can use it all. I also do not waste things I've bought. If I bought celery for a recipe, the other stalks are immediately chopped and frozen for the next recipe I need it in. I freeze herbs we grow or buy in olive oil in ice cube trays for future dishes. I do this with left over tomato paste (I never use the whole can in one recipe) as well. I freeze leftovers write them on whiteboard by fridge and make sure to put them on the menu plan before they are no good. I use or freeze leftover bread to make bread stuffing.
10. Save first. Like I'm sure you've heard before, I too will add this to my list as it does work. Every bi-weekly pay day my account is set up to have $50. go to a separate savings account. You do not miss it as you start figuring your money on the new lower amount and soon forget about it but having this small savings is really nice. This is for emergency funds or larger items we may need in future and knowing we are spending our savings on something makes us think about if the purchase is really necessary.
11. Want or Need? I like to ask myself this for the reason of living minimally (which I am finding really speaks to me) as well as the pocket book. Is it something you can live without? Filling your life with things that are not needed just gives you a quick high and then adds stuff you will eventually have to deal with. I do not need a new smartphone because it's available, mine works just as well for the things I use it for as it did when I bought it, so I will not replace it until it stops working properly. This is a question for intangible things, such as entertainment as well. I do not need satellite radio as I can listen to the free radio stations, a cd I already own or my free audio books.
12. Buy second hand instead of new. When you are going to purchase something, can you get it second hand. The rare time I need to buy clothing (other than socks or underwear) I try to do it second hand. And yes I say rare, as my size doesn't fluctuate much and I have plenty here that sufficiently does the job, whether it be for my job, yard work, lounging comfys or even the rarest of times, dress up. There are lots of yard sale sites online now to find second hand household items or larger items too. Sometimes it just takes a bit longer to find the right item to buy but you get better at thinking about upcoming purchases when you start shopping this way. We planned on buying a tiller and we kept looking at online yard sales and store discount sales for several months, comparing prices and types. We ended up with a better model than we had planned on, at a lower price in the end, as a couple were clearing out their garage and wanted it gone! I saw the add on yard sale site and my husband agreed we couldn't pass that up. It's like new! One of those awesome finds, that you don't mind spending your hard earned money on because you know the value is there and you spent wisely. #used
I hope you find some to these ways useful. Being a more attentive spender makes me feel better about spending and has been good for both my wallet and the environment. Consumers direct the world !