20 Ways to Save Money this Year


(Original story published on Wednesday January 21st, 2015 on

The holidays were great – the time off work, the parties, the gifts… but we can’t forget the debt that came with it. If you’ve started the New Year a little drained in the money department, fear not. We’ve rounded up 20 easy money-saving tips to help you save some extra dough this year.

1. $20/Week
Every week, put $20 in an envelope and by this time next year, you’ll have over $1000.

2. Coffee
We all know the importance of our morning coffee, but purchasing one every day instead of making your own at home can run you anywhere from $500 a year for small-cup Tim Hortons’ fans to $1800 for venti latte Starbucks’ fans. Save your cash (and the time you’d spend waiting in line) by brewing your morning cup a joe at home.

3. Juices
Now, we’re not about to begrudge your healthy-eating trend of juices, but that daily green blend you’ve been picking up is costing you about $40 a week. Consider investing in your own Vitamix blender. Pricey, yes, but in the long run, It’ll only end up costing you about three months of your current juice allowance.

4. Smoking
Well, this is an obvious one. Quitting may not be easy, but at over $10 a pack, the extra cash in your wallet is a great incentive… we mean, aside from the whole healthy lungs thing. If you’re a pack-a-day smoker, you’ll save $1000 in about three months.

5. Pop
Coke, Diet Coke, Ginger Ale – whatever your flavour, it’s costing the average Canadian family well over $500 annually. Cut the calories and save money by replacing it with water.

6. Money-Saving Apps
We aren’t suggesting you go the whole Extreme Couponing route, but there are a few money-saving apps out there that can save you a significant amount of cash. Get familiar with Checkout 51. This app features weekly specials on simple grocery store items and gives you money back for each one you buy. All you have to do is snap a picture of the receipt after your shopping trip, and the app adds the money to your account.

7. Wiggle Room
Check bank statements and pay your bills so that you can determine how much wiggle room you have. This will allow you to find an amount you’re able to set aside each week. Then you can set up an automatic transfer from your chequing account to your savings account, so you’ll start saving money while hardly realizing it.

8. Brown Bag Lunch
This is the most obvious money-saving tip we have for you, but also the most important one. Set aside time every week to get your weekday lunches organized. After six months, you’ll be about $1,000 richer. Whoa.

9. Cash Budget
Statistically speaking, people spend 20% more when using cards versus cash. Why? Because we’re more willing to part with money we can’t see. Try ditching the cards and take out a weekly amount of cash that will cover your food, transportation, entertainment, and miscellaneous needs. It’s a great way to ensure you stay within budget as you’ll visibly see how much you’ve spent, and how much you have left.

10. Less Uber, More Public Transportation
Sure, we’re ever-so-grateful for the most convenient transportation app (Uber), but our credit card statements are less than impressed. Save money by opting for public transportation whenever possible. Make it easier on yourself by always ensuring you have the proper coins you need to board at any time.

11. Spend and Save
This is one of our favourite money-saving tips. Why? Because you don’t have to cut anything! Keep the Uber ride, get your morning Starbucks latte and get green juices for everyone! But, of course, there is a catch. For every spurge you make, you must put the same amount in a savings account. The choice is yours.

12. Be Creative with Your Wardrobe
Test your styling skills by challenging yourself to come up with new ways to wear the pieces you already own, instead of buying new separates. It’s an easy way to fall in love again with your old favourites. Plus, who knows, maybe you’ll become the next Jenna Lyons.

13. Find Reasons to Stay In
It’s cold, the lines are long, and that slushy salt mix is totally going to ruin your shoes. Plus, the average American spends over $5,000 on dining out and recreation every year. Our solution? Make plans to stay in instead. Dinner parties, TV show binge-watching, and game night all make great reasons to call it a low-key night.

14. Re-Evaluate That Gym Membership
While we certainly support your goals of feeling great and getting in shape, is the pricey gym membership really doing it for you? If you find yourself not getting enough bang for your buck, consider investing in an at-home exercise routine instead. Our favourite? Tracy Anderson’s Metamporphosis series. It’s a one-time fee of $90 for nine different workouts that you can do for 90 days and then repeat.

15. Sign Up for Newsletters
An easy way to save money when shopping online? Signing up for newsletters. Companies often offer a discount off your first purchase simply by providing them with your email address. Furthermore, before you hit that final “purchase” button, check out Retail Me Not, in case there’s a promo code you could be using for further discounts.

16. Embrace eBates
Similar to the money-saving app Checkout 51, eBates offers cash back when you shop at select stores. Hey, a few dollars saved adds up over time!

17. Utilize Groupon
For a great way to find amazing deals while trying out new places in your city, get reacquainted with Groupon.

18. Familiarize Yourself with City Events
Check out newspapers and city-focused websites like BlogTO to be in the know about money-saving events in the city, whether it’s a free art gallery or a Winterlicious dining event.

19. Magazine Subscription
Addicted to magazines? Instead of shelling out at least $5 per issue, consider signing up for Next Issue, which gives you access to over 100 of the world’s top magazines for under $10 a month.

20. Cosmetics
When it comes to makeup, things can get pretty pricey. Learn what to save on and what to spurge on so you’re not wasting all your dough on a few mere products. Our recommendations? Spurge on face cream, foundation and concealer, and save on mascara, eyeliner and lipstick.

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