Debt is sweeping Canadians away. Canadian households added $50 billion of debt during the fourth quarter of 2021.
Even if you don’t owe anyone debt, you need to cover the bills and protect yourself from emergencies. You’ve probably heard about conventional ways to save money like opening a savings account. Yet the best way to save money is to avoid the banks and get creative.
What are some clever ways to save money? How can you earn more money over time? How can you reduce your food, transportation, and entertainment expenses?
Answer these questions and you can start saving money without wasting too much time. Here is your comprehensive guide.
Find Creative Ways to Make More Money
The more money you have, the more opportunities you have to save money. If you work a part-time or freelance job, try to find a full-time job. Your salary will likely be higher, and you will receive paid time off.
You can also do freelance work in addition to a full-time job. You can write for different news stations and companies if you like writing. You can also advise companies on their marketing and communications practices.
If you have an advanced degree, you can try tutoring or mentoring. Many community centers are looking for mentors to help young people. You can act as a mentor online as well.
Consider turning your hobby into a money-making opportunity. You can busk, performing your music or reading your poems on the street for money. You can perform in restaurants and bars, and you may be able to get a record deal if you are popular enough.
If you have extra space in your residence, you can rent it out to others. Even a spare closet can be used as a storage space.
You should try looking through your belongings every few months or so. When you find intact objects that you don’t need anymore, you can sell them in a garage sale or through an online retailer.
Apply for Tax Deductions
You can apply for many tax deductions. If you need to move for work or school, you can apply for a moving expenses deduction.
You can deduct your transportation, storage, and travel expenses from your yearly taxes. You can also deduct your temporary living expenses, but you cannot deduct any renovations to your house.
If you are working at home temporarily due to the pandemic, you can file for home office expenses. You can claim a flat rate, or you can claim the actual amounts you have spent on office supplies. Most of your utilities are deductible, though your internet expenses are not.
If you are paying off your student loans, you can declare some of the interest as a tax credit. This applies to your federal, provincial, and territorial loans.
You should talk to a tax lawyer and an accountant before you apply for tax deductions. Your application can get rejected if you don’t get your paperwork right, and you may be able to apply for another deduction.
Switch to Public Transportation
You may spend hundreds of dollars fueling and maintaining your car. Using trains and buses can cost far less money, and you can apply for discounts if you are a student or live with a disability.
You can try riding a bicycle as well. If you have mobility issues, you can use a scooter to get to the store and go to neighboring houses and buildings.
When you must drive your own car, you should rent a used vehicle. You can also borrow your friend’s car, though you should pay for gas and any expenses related to the car.
When you need to travel across provinces or the country, you should avoid flying. A plane ticket can cost hundreds of dollars.
You should take a bus or ride the train on VIA Rail, applying for any discounts you qualify for. VIA Rail offers discounted tickets for students and business travelers. If you’re traveling in a group, you can carpool or ask someone for a ride as well.
Prepare Your Own Food
The average Canadian household in 2019 spent more than $10,300 on food. Nearly $2,800 was spent on food purchased from restaurants. Avoid ordering any food at restaurants and start putting your money into meals you make yourself.
If you’re looking to save time, try cooking large meals during the weekend that you can heat up during the week. Stews, stir-frys, and salads are easy to prepare. You can find recipes for free online and read free guides on how to cook.
You can have a few prepared meals, especially from value stores like Costco. But don’t eat too many, as many of them have high amounts of salt and saturated fat. Try to go for salads and roasted vegetables instead of meat-based dishes and pizzas.
You can follow a few practical tips to save money when you are meal planning. You should buy fruits and vegetables that are in season, as they will be cheaper and higher-quality.
The average Canadian household also spent nearly $1,500 on meat. Try to spend less on meat and more on non-animal sources of protein that are cheaper. Soybeans, nuts, and leafy greens can offer several grams of protein per serving alongside vitamins and minerals you can’t get in meat.
Buy From Thrift Stores
Clothes at department stores can be high-quality, but they are also very expensive. You can find high-quality clothes from premium brands at thrift stores.
Do your research on thrift stores in your area and try to visit as many of them as you can. Buy your clothes during sales, especially during the holiday season.
Prioritize clothes that you can wear on multiple occasions. You can wear a buttoned-down shirt at the office and at a party.
You can make small repairs to your clothes with a sewing kit. You can buy a kit at a thrift store or hobby shop, and you can teach yourself how to sew using guides online.
The more money you have in your wallet, the more money you might be tempted to spend. Bring only as much money as you need to pay for your clothes. If you don’t have enough money, you can come back at another time to get the things you need.
Exercise on the Streets
You don’t need to go to a gym or buy expensive exercise equipment to stay in shape. You can jog in the streets for cardiovascular exercise. When you want to do something different, you can perform jumping jacks, stretches, and parkour.
When you go grocery shopping, you can carry your bags in your arms and use them as weights to build muscles. You can fill plastic bags or backpacks with your belongings and stretch with them as well.
Volunteer to take care of your neighbors’ homes. You can clean their properties for them, sweep the sidewalk, and take out their trash. This lets you perform a good deed while burning calories.
Get Entertainment for Free
Many bars, restaurants, and clubs run events such as open mics and talent shows for free. Take a look at the establishments in your area and try to find an event to go to every week.
Many colleges and universities also run free events, including lectures and art shows. If you’re an alumnus, you can apply for discounts at events that charge fees. Talk to a college’s event coordinator and figure out what events you can go to.
You can save money on movies and music by renting DVDs and CDs from your local library. You can also ask to borrow your friend’s copies.
If you don’t watch television, you should cut your television subscription and switch to a streaming service. Pick one you like and start your subscription. Read the fine print so you avoid any hidden fees, especially after free trials.
Figure Out Clever Ways to Save Money
You can figure out so many clever ways to save money. Try to find an alternate income stream so you have more money to put in your bank account. Apply for tax deductions so less money goes to the government.
Trim your transportation expenses by selling your car and relying on public transit. Stop buying takeout and start purchasing groceries you can prepare yourself. When you need to buy clothes and appliances, you can visit thrift stores.
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