Would you like to have several extra hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars in your pocket at the end of the year? You might just have enough to fly off to your next destination. And no, I am not suggesting that you abandon lattes!
Many people who say they don’t have money to travel simply mean that they’re using the money for other things. It’s all a question of priorities really. Do you prefer watching TV on a bigger screen, or going to Europe? Do you prefer eating out three times a week (instead of one), or going to Asia?
If you really want to travel, see how many of these tips you can implement. You may be spending money on things you don’t really need out of habit.
1. Ask for an interest rate discount when renewing your mortgage
You may already know this, but when renewing your mortgage for another term, it’s OK (actually it’s just smart) to ask for a discount on the posted interest rate. Let your bank know that you’re shopping around. In order to keep you as a customer, they will usually give you a discount (around 1%) just for asking. If you don’t mind bargaining a little, you can probably cut it down even further.
2. Phone and internet bills
If you have a monthly plan for your landline, cell phone, or internet, make sure that you are not paying for services you don’t use. Do you really need unlimited minutes, or unlimited download bandwidth? Figure out how much you use (your company will know) and switch to the cheapest plan offering this.
3. Cable TV bill
Do you really need a gazillion channels? Could you switch to a cheaper monthly plan? Have you considered getting rid of your TV and cable entirely and watching movies and TV shows on your computer instead? (Netflix, available in 40 countries, costs only $7.99 a month in Canada for example).
Have you examined your home or car insurance lately? Are you covered for things you don’t need, or for excessive amounts? Could you increase your deductible to reduce your premiums?
If you pay electricity or heating as a separate bill, you may want to make small changes, such as setting your thermostat one or two degrees lower in winter, or higher in summer (if you have AC). It does add up.
No, I won’t suggest that you stop drinking lattes. But if you find yourself going to the coffee shop one or more times a day and buying expensive coffees, you may want to look into purchasing your own machine. There are several companies that make easy-to-use coffee machines (like Keurig), including single-serve espresso (Nespresso, De Longhi, etc). If you’re a regular coffee drinker you’ll recoup your investment within a few months. And of course you can still treat yourself at your favourite coffee shop a couple of times a week.
7. Borrow or rent instead of buying (or vice-versa!)
If you only use certain things occasionally, especially expensive items, you may want to borrow, or even rent them instead of buying them. Examples: leaf blower, tripod, pasta maker, party costumes, odd tools or cooking utensils. Conversely, if you’re renting something that you use regularly (a good example is a modem) you may want to find out if it’s possible to buy it.
8. Walk or bike instead of using the car or public transit
If you have the time and health, consider using leg power for some of your commutes, instead of automatically jumping in the car, or taking public transit. In most cases it will save you money. It will most definitely improve your health (which will also save you money in the long run).
9. Use the library
If you live in a town of a certain size, you should have access to a library. Libraries nowadays let you put books, DVDs, even music CDS on hold through their web site, and even download them to your e-reader. Why spend $10-25 for a book that you will probably only read once? Go on, check out the services offered by your local library. I guarantee you that it has changed a lot since the 90′s.
10. Save money on groceries and household products
There are many ways to save money on food items: look for sales, collect coupons for items you buy on a regular basis (and use them), switch to store brands. Saving a few cents here and there may seem trivial, but these add up because you are constantly buying food. Food prices have gone up drastically these last few years, and even saving just $5 on a weekly grocery bill is worth it. In Canada we have dollar stores that sell a variety of items for $1-$2. I use them to buy things such as sponges, rubber gloves and cleaning products.
There, you have it. Ten ways to start saving for that next trip. Hopefully there are at least a couple you can put into action now.
Are you using any of these methods? Can you think of others?