When I started this blog I made no money. At all. For two years. In fact I had to beg for money from you by putting up a donation button to keep this website going at one point. If it hadn’t been for those donations I would have had to shut the blog down and go back to hosting television shows. Egads.
Hair, make up, clothing allowances and parties. The horror.
The glamourous life of television doesn’t come without a price though. Day in and day out, they would NOT pay me unless … I talked. Yes. Talked. Spoke words, out loud. It was so very trying.
The truth is I loved television, I just like blogging at little bit more at this point in my life. I have complete creative control, no one tells me I can’t swear (not even my mother) and I get paid to ask grown adults what their favourite nickname for a penis is.
It’s definitely been worth the pay cut. And even though I’m now making a living entirely off of this blog now, a pay cut there has been. But unlike television, I don’t need to worry that my blog is going to be cancelled and I’ve had steady work since I started my site.
Plus I can work in my pajamas and I never have to listen to anyone else eat their lunch. Although I always did like the way Lucy Zilio’s spoon sounded scraping against her tupperware.
Luckily I’ve always been good with money and saving money has always come naturally to me so whenever I was in between hosting jobs or starting a new venture like this pajama wearing blog I never once ran out of money. Except that time I had to ask you for some. Heh. I made it two years without a paying job living off of what I had saved so that’s pretty impressive I think.
Like I mentioned in yesterday’s post being good with money doesn’t mean being cheap. Being good with money means being smart about how you spend it. Conscious of how you spend it.
For some of you that might mean saving enough money in one place so you can have a really great meal once a month. Or be able to pay the rent without sweating about it. The money you save can be used to pay for your kids camp, or a wheelchair, a collectible bottle of wine, a retirement fund or whatever else is important to you.
And that’s key. What’s important to me (high end appliances for instance) may seem frivolous or useless to you. Which is fine. Clearly you’re stupid and know nothing about what’s important to me. High end appliances and teeny tiny, hand made, Royal inspired fascinators for the neighbourhood squirrels. THAT’S the way to go.
The following is a list of 33 ways I save thousands of dollars every year. And they are 33 things you can do to save money too.
1. Sign up for customer rewards cards. They’re easy, free and points accumulate faster than you’d imagine.
2. Only buy toilet paper and paper towels when they’re on SALE. NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER pay full price for toilet paper. EVER . And be aware of when you need to use a paper towel (squishing a centipede that’s wandering by) and when you can use a washable cloth (cleaning the counter). You may decide on different things … just be aware of how many paper towels you’re using/wasting.
3. Plan menus around what’s on sale at the grocery store or what’s already in the fridge/freezer.
4. Do NOT use carts in stores if you’re just running in to buy one or two specific things. No cart means you won’t fill it up. This, no joke, will save you hundreds of dollars a year at Costco alone.
5. Mend your clothing or shoes. I darn my socks and have my shoes resoled. My mother thinks I’m nuts.
6. Grow your own vegetables. (I buy a few but technically I could go all summer without buying a single vegetable at the grocery store, and I grow enough potatoes, squash, sweet potatoes and beets in my 133 square foot garden to last 2 people an entire winter) This saves hundreds of dollars in produce every year.
7. Shop around for the best price on everything. Ask store clerks when an item is going to go on sale.
8. Use coupons, and use them in combination with items already on sale.
9. Call around for different insurance quotes for your car and home. Find a company that can add you to part of a group rate. It took me 2 weeks but I finally found someone who had a group rate for me based on the University I went to. If I had paid the first company I called I would have ended up paying $2,600 for my car and house insurance combined. I called around, spent some horrible, horrible hours on the phone, but ended up with a final quite from another company for $1,800 for car and house combined. That’s a savings of $800 a year. Call your insurance company today and see if there’s a group they can add you to that will lower your rate. (school attended, union, member of a club or organization, Auto club member etc. etc.) If there isn’t, find out when your policy expires and start looking for a better deal.
10. I double up on dinners I can freeze so if I’m ever in a rush I don’t have to get fast food or order in. I have meals in the freezer waiting to be warmed.
11. Do your laundry/dishes etc. off peak hours. In my province, hydro costs almost TWICE as much during peak hours. Check your rates and hours.
12. If you’re about to impulse buy something, carry it around the store with you for a while. Kindda makes you feel like you’ve owned it for a bit and most of the time you’re ready to let it go before you check out.
13. Check online for discount coupons before you go to any event/museum etcetera.
14. Get a programmable thermostat and actually use it. Set it to a minimum of 5 degrees colder at night.
15. Ask what the best price someone can give you is. And thank them when they lower the price.
16. Barter. I’ve bartered eggs for honey, advertising space for free advice and vegetable seedlings for letting me use space in someone else’s garden.
17. Make your own coffee, don’t buy it from a shop. It’s coffee not Peking Duck. You can do it yourself. (but you are allowed to buy macarons from a shop because ones made by a pastry chef are REALLY REALLY GOOD.
18. Maintain and clean your appliances. I clean both dryer vents out regularly (yes your dryer has two places to clean lint from) vacuum the refrigerator coils and wipe out the rubber seal on my front load washer so it doesn’t get musty smelling inside.
19. Go shopping for whatever you *need* close to store’s closing. That way you don’t spend hours shopping and inevitably buying something.
20. Ask professionals you meet along the way for any advice they can give you.
21. Always shop with a list.
22. Don’t be brand loyal on items it really doesn’t matter on. Like toothpaste, shaving cream, dry pasta … just buy what’s on sale that week.
23. DO IT YOURSELF if you can. (except for things that have the potential to kill you like installing a new electrical panel or removing angry racoons from your attic)
Paint your own walls, make your own food, fix your own leaky tap, mow your own lawn, … if you can physically do it yourself, do it.
24. If anything breaks, Google how to fix it yourself. 8 times out of 10 the answer is there. If you can’t find the answer call a repair or parts place and ask for their advice. If all else fails, call someone in to take a look at fixing it. Decide then whether it makes more sense to fix it, or replace it.
25. Don’t shop as a hobby.
26. Call your cell company to have them review your bill with them. They can let you know if you have the plan that best suits your useage or if you’re paying for minutes/services you don’t use.
27. Buy in bulk for stuff you use often/a lot of like laundry detergent, pop, toilet paper etcetera. Bulk packages are always cheaper. If an item you use a lot is on sale (real sale, like 1/2 price) buy a ton of it.
28. Obey the rules of the road. A ticket doesn’t just cost the price of the ticket. It means higher car insurance rates for the next 10 years.
29. Don’t automatically buy what’s cheapest. Buying cheap doesn’t always lead to saving money if it breaks down 10X as fast as something that’s twice as much money. Blenders are a great example of this. We were going through a blender a year. Finally I bought a really good, really expensive blender that has a lifetime warranty and I don’t need to worry about buying a blender ever again.
30. Return things. Bought it, brought it home and don’t like it? RETURN it. Put it in your car right now and the next time you drive past the store, give it back to them and say I WANT MY MONEY.
31. Complain. If a product doesn’t do/taste/perform the way you think it should, complain about it. Whether it’s to a store manager or the actual company. I complained when they changed the formula for Diet Coke about 15 years ago and they apologized, explained the situation and sent me coupons for a several months worth of Diet Coke.
32. If you take any prescriptions and pay for them out of pocket, ask the pharmacist to give you the generic version. Try it. The active, actual “drug” ingredient is the same as the name brand drug. Or the bioequivalent. Only the “filler” ingredients can be different. Things like binders and colour. 99.9% of the time it performs exactly the same as the more expensive drug. I totally made that percentage up, but you get the point.
33. Cash in your rewards card points. Those points don’t save you any money at all until you actually buy something with them.
And there you have it. What’s the difference between this list and any other list you might read about on saving money? They aren’t just quotes or stats I’ve pulled from the Internet, they’re things that I personally do. Every single one of them.
We all know that the Internet is a big fat liar a lot of the time, but this isn’t one of those times. I’m not one of those liars. And I’m also not cheap.
I’m good with money.
And you can be too.
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