The evolving global circumstances have left many without income and others navigating a significantly reduced-pay lifestyle. As we pilot this terrain as a community, I’ve compiled 6 simple, yet effective ways to reduce your expenses and increase savings in 2020:
Review Utility and Entertainment Expenses
It can be easy to forget about your automatic reoccurring monthly bills or subscriptions that are used infrequently. Some of the easiest places to alleviate a budget are in cutting back cable or unnecessary entertainment platforms, minimizing data overage charges and reducing utility consumptions by turning off the lights where possible and consciously monitoring water consumption during dish washing, teeth brushing and lawn watering.
Pre-Plan Your Grocery Run
If you’ve ever ventured to the grocery store without a list or when you’re hungry, you know it can be tempting to buy more food than you normally would. Pre-planning what you need for meals and snacks before going to the store not only ensures you don’t forget anything, but also helps you to avoid picking up extra items you don’t need. In addition to creating a list, I’ve employed a modified shopping practice that not only limits me to the essentials, but also grants me some outdoor physical activity time. For those within walking distance to your favourite grocer; strap on your backpack and running shoes to head out for a cost-effective and streamlined essential shopping experience.
It can be tough to find the energy to make a meal that is easy and enjoyable after a long day at work. Consider taking inspiration from your favourite take-out joints or peruse platforms like Pinterest for fresh and fast creations. If taking the time to cook each night doesn’t jive with your schedule, consider meal prepping twice a week for on-the-run ready meals in the fridge. This dine-in mentality benefits your wallet for coffee purchases as well. Buying a coffee every day can seem like a small expense, but it really puts a dent in your wallet in the long run. Cutting out this one small expense can add up to hundreds or potentially even thousands of dollars in savings each year.
Set Shopping Limits
Though you may not be shopping in your favourite stores for the time being, online purchase figures have increased over the last month. It’s best to set a dollar figure budget that you’re committed to sticking to, prior to getting online. Make it a habit to avoid buying things on impulse; if you find yourself wanting a pricey item you stumbled upon, wait a day or two and see if you’re still thinking about it.
Embrace DIY Projects
Google is a miracle tool for DIYers. Use it to find free, easy recipes for meals, cleaning hacks and ways to upgrade your property with your budget in mind.
Use Budgeting Tools
It’s easy to overspend when we’re not setting limits and holding ourselves accountable. Some apps like Mint and Wally can help you track daily, weekly, or monthly spending to see where you need to cut back and receive personalized advice based off of your financial needs and goals.
As you work to save more of your hard-earned dollars and cents, think about what you'll do with your savings. Will you build up your emergency fund, put it into a down payment savings fund or invest it for the future? Having clear goals in mind for your savings can help you stay motivated to continue looking for ways to trim expenses. Happy Savings!