Have you ever looked at your credit card statement and wondered where the heck your money went? Of course you have – even those of us who try to be careful with our money are guilty of spending more than we should! From buying overpriced goods we don’t really need to eating at restaurants instead of making dinner at home, each of us has at least one pricey habit that results in a crippling fear overtaking us when our credit card bill arrives. (Or at least a pang of guilt when we remember that we purchased something we shouldn’t have.) Something they forgot to teach us about in school was smart spending, which is unfortunate – it’s critical to be smart about spending our money. Those good habits will stick with us for life!
Keep in mind that there’s a difference between being cheap and being thrifty. What we’re aiming for here is the latter, meaning all you have to do is use the below tips to tweak your spending habits. I’m not advocating cutting out your favourite luxuries, like occasionally eating at expensive restaurants or taking extravagant vacations; I’m simply providing everyday tips that can make a surprisingly big impact on how much we save each month. Here they are:
- Carry cash, not plastic. It’s much harder to part with your cash than to carelessly hand over a debit or visa card and deal with your bills later.
- Try the two-week rule: if you see something you like, wait two weeks before going back to buy it. It’s possible you’ll realize during those 14 days that you don’t need it after all, or that you have something similar at home.
- Take whatever discounts you can get. Student and senior pricing can save you major dollars, as can signing up for rewards cards and loyalty cards – Shoppers Drug Mart has a great rewards system, as do many grocery stores, coffee shops and even hair salons.
- Take a look at your monthly bills and figure out what you’ve been spending the most on (i.e. overspending on groceries, adding food items to your daily coffee order, going shopping too often). Starting now, make a conscious effort to cut back on those habits and check your next bill to see how much you saved.
- Only shop for expensive items during sales. This one should be pretty obvious, but often we forget that most stores hold annual or holiday-themed sales that are worth waiting for. If you don’t need it right away, you may as well wait until you can get it for less.
- Be wise about where you shop. For example, do they overcharge? Are you paying for the product or the brand? How often do they offer sales or deals? If you can find the exact same products at the Dollar Store or a drugstore for a few dollars less per item, go for it. If you come across the same jacket or pair of shoes at a discounted price online, don’t hesitate to click, “Add to cart”. No one has to know!
These little tricks have worked for me, so I know you’ll also be able to use them and watch your account balance grow. Happy (smart) shopping!