How To (Seriously) Save Money This Year

Lately I've become obsessed with finding ways to save money where and when I can.  No, I'm not going to suggest things like downgrading your cappuccino to a regular coffee, but (hopefully) offer a few suggestions that could help you save money fast and (relatively) easily.

how-to-save-big-money-this-year

Buy Used or Seek Out Deals.

I've committed most of my personal shopping to first checking used listings like Kijiji, eBay and Craigslist before considering new.  Most of the time I've been more than satisfied with my results and acquisitions. For example, I recently started indoor cycling training and was recommended to get a heart rate monitor (more about why in another post, I promise). I was also half interested in a new cycling computer. Brand new the heart rate monitor was $50. I found a listing on eBay for a heart rate monitor, bike computer and other parts and I won the auction for $100.  I turned around and sold the extra accessories and broke even on the same price the heart rate monitor would have set me back, and I had a new computer as well!

Now, there are some things I wouldn't necessarily shop for used, but there are other options available.  Discount clothing stores offer top brands at close out pricing as example.  Buying food in bulk or buying grocery store brands will help you save a couple bucks every week and that will help you in the long run.

Another thing I've come across is deals websites and forums, where members share deals they've come across at chain stores and whatnot.  Sometimes finding deals like online-only or clearance deals can help you save serious coin.  I bought a drill recently for $120 that was regularly $350.  Information about that I found through an online deals forum.

Save (At Least) 10% Of Everything You Bring In

According to information from cheatsheet.com and a 2013 Federal Reserve report,

31 percent of respondents reported having no retirement savings or pension, including 19 percent of those ages 55 to 64, and 25 percent didn’t know how they will pay their expenses in retirement.

What does that mean?  For many people they're simply living one or two paycheques from being in serious trouble!

So it's no wonder that I recommend you start putting money away in a long-term savings account.  Here in Canada we can put away money in a Tax-Free Savings Account that we can earn interest on and not have to pay taxes on either.  But there are other options out there as well.

Saving money is no easy feat, but I encourage you to start putting pennies aside as soon as you can.  Maybe (like me) you have a few savings accounts for different reasons.

First, I have an RRSP or a retirement account.  This would be considered my never-touch savings account because it will be decades before I see that pay out.  Next, I have a long-term high interest savings account that generates interest for me.  This account I very rarely pull money out of but it's there if I need to.  Finally, I have a savings account set up to save for large purchases I have planned over the next several months.  Things like new bike gear or trips get lumped (and spent) from this account.

Next time you receive a pay cheque pay yourself first.  Then start taking off the regular monthly expenses that you incur.

Pay Off Debt

If you want to seriously save money this year the bet thing to do is to work yourself out of debt as soon as possible.

Why?

Think about this: all the savings accounts I recommended above are earning you a percentage of interest smaller than the ones you're paying the credit card companies.  If you're carrying a debt you're throwing away money you could be (otherwise) saving or investing.

If you have more than one credit card pick one with the higher interest, call the company and put it on hold so that you can make payments only but not put anything on the card.  Start paying down that balance!

I know those are only a handful of ways to save money but thinking about saving for your future is the first step.  It's kind of like spending money, once you start you can't stop!

Have any suggestions, hints or tips of your own?  Leave a comment below and I might even add it to this post! 

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