Consistently spending more than you earn is an easy way to accumulate debt. To stay out of debt, you’ll either need to find a way to earn more or spend less.
Five questions to ask yourself
- Do you eat out a lot? Could you cook more of your meals at home?
- Do you buy coffee on the way to work each day? Could you bring coffee from home?
- Do you pay a lot of fees for a cellphone? Could you get a cheaper plan? Or, could you cancel your landline and use only your cellphone?
- Could you cut back on cable or satellite service?
- Do you spend a lot on gas for your car? Could you drive less?
Nine ways to cut your spending
Making small changes can add up to big savings. If you cut out one expensive coffee every day, you could save about $20 each week. That adds up to more than $1,000 a year. Here are some other ideas.
- Do it yourself – Stop paying others to do things you can do yourself. For example, wash your shirts yourself instead of taking them to the dry cleaner.
- Eat out less – Commit to cooking more at home. Bring your leftovers to work for lunch.
- Shop smarter – Shop with a list so you won’t buy something you don’t really need. Look for weekly specials at the grocery store, sales on big items and discounts for services. Shop at second-hand stores and through online sites such as eBay, Craigslist and Kijiji.
- Use less energy – Spend less on heating and cooling your home. For example, don’t leave lights on when you’re not using them. Use less heat or air conditioning if you’re away from home or sleeping. For more tips, visit the Ontario Power Authority website.
- Use your car less – Save money on gas by walking more. Use a bicycle or take public transit if it’s cheaper than driving your car.
- Consider getting rid of your car – You may save money by using taxis or rental cars. Do the math to see if this will work for you.
- Find cheaper alternatives – Rent movies instead of seeing them in the theatre. Pick a holiday spot closer to home. Spend less on your cell phone by getting a cheaper package or talking less.
- Pay cash – It may seem easier to use a payment plan that allows you to make small monthly payments. But if there’s interest on those payments, they’ll cost you more over time.
- Borrow smarter – You’ll pay a high rate of interest to borrow money on your credit card. Instead, try to get a cheaper loan that will leave you with lower monthly payments overall.
Find extra money to save: To see how one family changed their spending by making a new budget, read the Maleks’ story.
Content in this section is provided in partnership with Investor Education Fund, a non-profit organization founded and supported by the Ontario Securities Commission that provides unbiased and independent financial tools to help Canadians make better money decisions. To find out more, go to: GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca
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