While my work life revolves around money, I don't employ every money-saving tip I hear about.
There are thousands of tips and tricks to save a penny here and there, and some resonate with people more than others. I don't tend to skimp on my caffeine habit because I know I'd die without it. Others may refuse to give up a monthly manicure or a subscription to a favourite magazine.
While a simple Google search about saving money will target these more obvious luxuries, if you dig a bit deeper, you'll find creative ways to save money a bit off the beaten path.
Take renting a car. You can save big bucks by reserving it through a travel agent based in Britain. Most people wouldn't think to call another country to book a car rental in Canada, but a friend of mine temporarily working in Britain a few years ago uncovered this surprising savings when he was booking a week's vacation in Western Canada.
The best price he was quoted from local rental agencies to pick up a car in Vancouver and drop it off in Calgary was $648.51 after tax. You pay a premium to pick up and drop off cars at airport locations, and another larger premium for dropping them off in a different province. Through an Internet forum for Canadian expatriates in Britain looking to book travel in Canada, he discovered a website called CanadianAffair.com. They provided him a quote of $304.63 after all taxes and currency exchange fees. That's more than $340 in savings and they booked him through a large international car-rental service.
I tried to retrace his steps, and found an even greater savings. Using the same Vancouver-to-Calgary itinerary, I called CanadianAffair.com. While I asked to book the smallest and cheapest car, they told me that they offered a free upgrade to an intermediate-sized car with a free tank of gas, unlimited mileage, a loss damage waiver, and $1-million in third-party liability coverage. The total cost after taxes and currency exchange was $415.03.
I then went on to Avis.ca and priced out the exact same rental. The quote: $1,515.49.
Some people will find that the extra time and effort required to creatively save money is not for them. But thinking outside the box can deliver big results.