Is saving more money at the top of your financial goals for 2023?
If so, you’re not alone. According to Finder’s New Year’s Financial Resolutions report, most Canadians (55%) set a goal to save more money this year (while 42% aim to pay off debt, and 34% plan to stick to a budget). Keeping more money in one’s pocket is clearly a theme among Canadians in 2023.
But how can you save more money when inflation is driving up the cost of just about everything? Sun Life just published a kind of 28-day challenge aimed at changing our financial habits with 28 terrific savings ideas. Know what’s even better? If you keep these habits going, you’ll keep the benefits of them going too. Here’s how you can get started:
Day 1: Make Note of Everything You Spend Each Day
- Using paper or an app – whichever you prefer – make note of where you spend money each day so you can easily spot unnecessary expenses.
Day 2: Pay Off Debt First
- Find the loans with the highest interest rate and pay them off first.
Only use your credit card and line of credit for the essentials. That way you’ll avoid a mountain of credit card debt.
Day 3: Download and Use a Budgeting App
- There’s no better way to get a clear financial picture than by tracking the inflows and outflows of your money. A budget is key to helping you maintain control over your spending.
Day 4: Learn How to Say “No”
- Every time you look to buy something, ask yourself if you really need it. Most likely, your answer will help keep more money in your pocket.
Day 5: Set Up Automatic Savings
- Open a savings account and set up automatic deposits. You could start with $50 per week, which is only $7 per day. By the end of the year, you’ll have saved $2,600! And if you invest that money in mutual funds, it will grow even more.
Day 6: Write Up a List of Money-Saving Habits
- Some of the easiest habits can add up to big savings. As just a few examples, consider turning down the thermostat when you leave the house, taking shorter hot showers, unplug devices you’re not using, and using LED lights wherever possible.
Day 7: Spread the Word!
- Talking with friends about what you’re doing will help motivate you and keep you accountable!
Day 8: Shop Around for Insurance
- Look into what different insurance carriers charge for the insurance you need. Remember that your financial advisor can help!
Day 9: Renegotiate Your Cell Phone Plan
- Look into whether another provider is cheaper.
- Don’t continue to pay for options you don’t use or could do without.
Day 10: Ask for a Raise
- As Cliff Wiegers wisely and regularly tells people, “If you don’t A.S.K., you won’t G.E.T.” If you don’t ask for a raise, you likely won’t get one. Just do it!
Day 11: Plan a Day of Free Activities
- There’s typically lots to do that doesn’t cost anything. Plan a day around it!
Day 12: Use Up Your Gift Cards
- Don’t let free money go unused!
Day 13: Cook Your Meals at Home
- Eat out a little or a lot? Choose instead to cook at home, and watch how much money stays in your account!
Day 14: Make Your Own Lunch
- Even better, prepare bigger batches so you have multiple lunches ready to go. You’ll save time AND money.
Day 15: Unsubscribe
- Automatic monthly subscriptions add up quickly. Discontinue any you don’t need.
Day 16: Ask Your Friends and Family What They Do to Save Money
- You can also check out personal finance and savings influencers and follow them for inspiration!
Day 17: Think New-to-You
- Why buy new when you can buy used?
- Think new-to-someone-else too. Have things you don’t use or need? Sell them!
Day 18: Shop for Gifts Early
- If you tend to leave gift-buying to the last minute, you probably know you’re paying more than you could have. The earlier you shop, the greater the chance you’ll be able to buy what you want on sale.
Day 19: Use the Food You Have
- Stay on top of the food you already have, and commit to using it before buying more groceries. It might even motivate you to be more creative in the way you cook!
Day 20: Choose Budget-Friendly Meals
- There are seemingly unlimited recipes online that taste great and go easy on your wallet. Make a list of recipes you want to try, and set up a weekly meal plan with them.
Day 21: Rethink Your Grocery Shopping
- Watch for weekly deals at your grocery stores, and plan your meals in advance so you only buy what you need.
Day 22: Keep and Freeze Leftovers!
- Prepared too much food for one meal? Freeze and save it for a future meal! Easy-peasy!
Day 23: Pay Your Bills on Time
- Avoid interest charges by paying bills on time. Avoid late fees by setting up automatic payments.
Day 24: Consider a Shared Living Space
- If living with someone else suits you, it’s a great way to save money.
Day 25: Spend Nothing for 24 Hours
- Like to buy coffee from a drive-thru each morning? Prefer to pick up a meal on your way home from work? This day, choose differently. Your bank account will thank you!
Day 26: Avoid Buying on Impulse
- From now on, if you have the “urge” to buy something, wait 30 days and then decide if you still want it. By that time, you’ll probably realize you didn’t really need it anyway. Goodbye impulse spending!
Day 27: Talk With a Financial Advisor
- Finances can be complicated. Financial advisors can explain it all and help you make sense of your finances for free. If you’re saving money, it’s a good idea to have a few strategies. There are some good financial tools, such as RRSPs, TFSAs and RESP Every person is different so every strategy is different.
Day 28: Have Fun!
- You’ll be surprised (we predict) about how good you’re going to feel when you start seeing the benefits of your new financial habits; it’s very rewarding! It’ll also likely get you excited about taking other steps to help you save even more money. start With time, you’ll find that saving is more satisfying than spending. And you’ll be eager to keep reviewing your budget to see where else you can save money.
High inflation makes saving money more challenging but by changing your financial habits, and sticking with them over the long-term, you can come out ahead – and more easily than you might have thought. Any time you are feeling uncertain or need reassurance, you can reach out to your financial advisor for help. Happy saving!
Wiegers Financial and Insurance Planning Services ltd.
Account Representative, Manulife Securities Investment Services Inc.
The opinions expressed are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of Manulife Securities Investment Services Inc.
Mutual funds are offered through Manulife Securities Investment Services Inc. Insurance products and services are offered through Wiegers Financial and Insurance Planning Services Ltd. Banking products and services are offered by referral arrangements through our related company Manulife Bank of Canada. Please confirm with your Advisor which company you are dealing with for each of your products and services.