In Budgeting, Debt, Discussions, Minimalism, Money, Wealth

10 Quick & Easy Money Tips to Save Money

If you have been following me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr you may have seen my money tips.

I decided to re-post them all here in one easy-to-access post for your reference.

(This is really my fridge.)

We always stock up on staples, buy in bulk and on sale and think it’s a great deal but if it goes rotten before we can finish it, is it really a deal? It’s wasted food and money.

I propose that we should aim to only buy fresh items each week for the week (which means you need to meal plan ahead) and aim for a minimalist fridge.

These fresh items should be using the dried stock (pasta, noodles, rice) in your pantry or frozen foods (meats, vegetables) hidden in your freezer. It would save a lot of time and money.

This is the time to (A) stop buying beauty and skincare products until (B) everything is completely used up and finished.

You don’t really need 5 smells of shampoos or 8 sticks of deodorants.


I have (since the last year) made it a point to not buy anything until it is time to actually replace it. I barely wear any makeup as is on a regular basis, so until I use up all of my eyeliners, I am not buying any more and reducing the clutter (and waste) of having to toss these items once they get really old.

I’m also making it a point to actually wear the makeup or use the skincare so that it doesn’t expire or go bad before I have a chance to.

Saving things up for a special occasion is a surefire way to never use these nice items, and it may be too late if you wait too long. Use the items to add a bit of luxury and glam to your day.

After I am done all of my products, I plan on re-assessing what I actually do wear and use, and buy only ONE of each item. I don’t need variety in makeup or skincare, I just need what works and looks best on me.


Cutting back on your cellphone, television, internet and telephone plans are a great way to get monthly savings that will add up over the course of the year.

Do you really use the entire package you’re paying for? Can you downgrade to a cheaper version of it (give it a try!) and see if you can stay within its limits for a month or so?

Give it a try and see.

You may find yourself more conscious of the usage and less screen time is always a good thing, as a tech weaning/detox off your dependence on it.

My partner and I share a telephone which is really a cellphone plan for 50 minutes and only about $27 a month between the two of us.

We don’t use the data plan (we have the internet), text, we don’t call each other (we email) and when we need more minutes, we just add on minutes on a case-by-case basis to avoid massive overage charges.

In contrast, our internet plan (which he tried to foolishly cap at 20GB a month as a cost-saving measure), is at 60GB a month because I use it so often for the blog that I kept smashing the limit within the first week or two. 😉

It’s an easy way to cut back on fixed, monthly expenses and see instant savings.

You could also try the trick of threatening to leave or switch every 6 months or so (depending on when the promotional periods wear off) and getting discounts or rebates through that tactic. They’ll bend over backwards to keep you as a customer.

If you really want to get more advanced in cost cutting on subscriptions, you could also consider moving to a place with cheaper rent.

I shop online a lot, so this definitely works for me.

Removing my credit card information from my favourite shopping sites or online, has made me re-think purchases in my weak moments.

If my credit card information is easy to use and access, it makes it so easy to click and buy, and feel some major shopping regret.

Removing my credit card info, makes me have to go and hunt down my wallet, pick out the card, type in all the info, and by the way I am halfway through, I’ve given up on doing so about 70% of the time as I am rethinking the cost of what I’m about to buy.

Take some major advantage of your local library, you are paying for it in your taxes after all! Use the library to read current magazines (for free), rather than buying or subscribing to them.

As for using their wifi for free, this could help if you decide to cut back on your internet plan, and also need to have a place to study or work that is quiet and ‘out of the house’ (believe me, I know the feeling and the need to go outside and be somewhere else to avoid distractions at home as a freelancer such as housework or just sheer lounging around laziness).

How I use their wifi for free is instead of going to a café. I always have to buy a drink at least every 2 hours to feel acceptably comfortable in an establishment like that (can’t nurse a $3 hot chocolate for 5 hours!), and if you go to the library, you get great wide tables and you don’t need to buy anything.

It’s quiet, clean and distraction-free to do work or just to relax and veg out (at least for me it is).

I used this trick when I was younger to save the biggest coins ($1 called the ‘loonie’ in Canada or $2, the toonie) and I would put it into a Cadbury chocolate tin with a slot carved out the top (and the sides taped down so I would not be even tempted to open it).

After I could no longer squeeze in another large coin, I would happily open it, beam at my “treasure chest of gold and silver”, and roll it up to take it to the bank. It was forced, easy, and FUN savings because I never even saw the money after I dropped it into the box.

It was a great way to save especially as a child.

There is no reason why you couldn’t do that as an adult now.

This time, how about $10 or $5 bills? I’m starting to set aside my $10 bills in a pouch and although it sounds so silly and childish (it would earn at least 2% in a high-interest savings account today), it does have a sense of great satisfaction in store when you open that pouch and see a thick wad of bills staring at you in the face.

The other side benefit to doing this is that you also think twice about breaking a $20 bill for instance, as you know the $10 bill will be set aside in savings, so you re-consider the purchase to make sure it’s worth it.

When you’ve been out of work for as long as I have, you start looking around the apartment for things to get rid of. Not just to de-clutter, but to sell as well.

How do you decide what to sell and what to declutter? Well if it will sell for less than $10, and you cannot group it into a single listing like “all like-new ages 3 months to 12 month clothing” to sell for more than $10, then it’s a good idea to donate it.

Otherwise, you can sell a surprising number of items. Do you really wear, and need to keep all those items in your wardrobe? I doubt it. Most people wear only 30% of their wardrobe at best.

The most popular clothing brands for #resale these days are Steve Madden, Lululemon and 7 for all Mankind.

For designer labels, it’s Diane von Furstenberg, Tory Burch, Vince, Joie, Joe’s Jeans, 7 For All Mankind, and Eileen Fisher… and if you happen to have these accessories or bags kicking around: Coach, Kate Spade New York, Michael Michael Kors, and Vera Bradley, they get the best returns on the resale market.

Of course, some of the best labels that never lose their value would be Chanel, Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Burberry.

You can also re-sell furniture or as I have, old electronics!

The real benefit at the end of all of this? More money and more space in your home or closet where you will never have to try and wear items you don’t love any more.

It’s a win-win.

It sounds stupid right? Use less energy? Yeah, thanks. /sarcasm

But you’d be surprised how much you can really save on utilities if you lower your heat down until it is comfortable enough to wear a sweater and turn off the A/C on cool summer days.

We turn our heat down but not too low where I start having to wear two sweaters and UGG boots instead.

It is sort of surprising to me when I hear the A/Cs going at full blast and the weather outside is cool enough for a cardigan. We don’t have disgustingly hot or humid weather here where we live, so we just live without our A/C on, but I have been to homes and apartments where it is cranked on to freeze ice cubes.

Do you really need it that cold or hot?

Alternatively, think about using a fan or a space heater for when you need it (e.g. in the room you are in when you are actually IN the room). We have a Dyson Hot+Cool which we love and use when we need to.

All I am saying is not to live so that it is uncomfortable and an inconvenience, but to consider conserving utilities and how much energy you use to save money and the environment.

Lastly, we also have everything on little power bars all over the home and we turn off everything (vampire energy really does add up), which has given us a 25% reduction in utilities, which is no small amount! We turn everything off even our oven and microwave (the little clock that blinks 24/7? that’s vampire energy).


Maybe we’re crazy, but at least we aren’t wasting money from things that we don’t need or use 24/7.

I tried this for one week when I started learning about my money back when I was $60,000 in debt and I was HOOKED.

So hooked that I created my own Budgeting Tool over the years which helped me nail that $60K debt in 18 months, and I still use to this day to stay on track (these days, more than ever!) to have grown my net worth to almost $500K.

Let me be clear that this isn’t for everyone. Some people love it, others hate it because they have to collect receipts and enter the information, but I find it gives me such insight into my spending that I can’t stop.

I see every month where I waste money and then the following month, I try to do better. For instance, my plan was to stay under $2000 a month, preferably at $1700 or lower.

From my budget which I keep up to date daily/weekly (whenever I spend), I see I am already up to $1700 because I had to pay $160 for a new passport.

As a result, I scaled back my allowance for “miscellaneous” and now have allocated myself $20 a week for the last two weeks of this month, which would bring me up to $1740, with $10 as a buffer, give or take.

It sounds ridiculous to be budgeting down to the dollar like this, but until you try it, you don’t realize how much money you’re wasting.

Now, I am going to be careful for my last 2 weekends to not go over $20 each time, also taking into account I need to refill my metro card with another $27 some time (that leaves $23 in my budget to ‘spend’).

I don’t need to refill the metro card this month either, but if my next weekend comes under $10 or is at $0, I will spend the last $23 in the budget for the last weekend for treats, etc, and still refill my metro card for a fresh month in May.

You become much more intimate with your money, your spending and aware of your habits which I can honestly say has changed my life. It has become a (fun) game now to stay under budget.

Getting rid of the junk and weight in your purse/wallet can really give you a fresh perspective and a brand new start on your spending and money.

It sounds banal, but when I cleaned out my wallet the other day, I purposefully put the rewards card for Winners, Shoppers Drug Mart (Pharmaprix) and others into another wallet and out of the way.

I managed to finally fit everything I need for Baby Bun and myself into a single wallet, with cash and to keep it all neat and minimalist.

I feel physically and mentally lighter from the clean out and purge, and am now trying to cut down on the items in my purse (taking into account Baby Bun’s needs for fresh clothes & underwear changes).

Getting rid of old reward cards also means you aren’t tempted to go there just to notch up more rewards and spend money.

WHAT ARE YOUR MONEY TIPS?

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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7 Comments

  1. SarahN

    Just last weekend I used washi tape to mark out a square on my bathroom bench, and in it there is 5 different moisturisers to use up. Every night I have a ‘check list’ and I have ‘moisturise’ on it – some days I’ll do my legs, other days my face or my elbows. But every day, I have to use SOME of ONE of the containers.

    Reply
  2. heidi patterson

    Here in the US, our $1 bills have letters on them (A-L, I think). I save all the H’s, They’re few and far between, but I usually get at least $100 a year.

    Reply
  3. yettie

    Late last year, I realized I had accumulated a ridiculous amount of skincare (face) products thanks to Sephora’s generous rewards program and sample policy. I made a resolution not to buy any more new products for my face until I use up my hoarded stash.

    Here we are in June and I’m still working my way through the various cleansers and facial moisturizers. It has saved me money and given me a chance to sample other brands and products. At the rate I’m going, I probably won’t need to restock for another couple of months.

    Reply
  4. Jennifer Snuffleupagus

    Omg. So important that people use up their makeup.
    As someone that is constantly living in other people’s homes through my petsitting business, I recognize how many keep too much expired makeup – that will eventually have to be tossed!

    Great tip!

    http://www.nynomads.com
    Living sustainably and rent free in NYC

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