The Best Tried and True Ways to Save Money

Posted on Wednesday 04 December 2019

The Best Tried and True Ways to Save Money

If you’ve ever tried it, you know it’s true: saving money isn’t easy. Putting money away is a challenge that we all have to face, because being able to save money means financial freedom.

Long term, it’s being able to purchase a new car when your engine dies, becoming a homeowner—and one day, being able to retire. Even in the short-term, saving money pays off. After all, if you want to go on vacation (because you deserve it), or even make all your monthly bill payments, you’ll need to be able to save at least a little.

But if you haven’t been blessed with the good fortune of learning how to save at a young age, or if you aren’t surrounded by financial know-it-alls every day, what’s the best way to start saving? The good news is that you don’t need to be a financial genius or have tons of money in the bank in order to learn how to save!

There are plenty of tried and true ways to start saving money—and you can start saving money today, all without making huge, stressful sacrifices. In the sections below, we’ll walk you through the best ways to start saving money and show you just how easy it is to take control of your financial health.

Prep for success: Start using a budget

Budgeting is a time-honored tradition in the world of saving. And even though it might sound old-fashioned, creating a budget makes sense: giving your spending and mapping a little bit of structure helps you understand how much money is coming in and how much is going out.

The trick is to set up a budget system that makes sense for both your financial situation and your personal preferences. Here are some of the most popular budgeting methods:

Introducing the 50/20/30 rule

The 50/20/30 rule is pretty straightforward, which means it’s easy enough for budgeting newbies to dive right into. As long as you can split your income into percentages, you’ll be able to tackle this one! Here’s how it works:

  • 50 percent of your paycheque goes to the things you need to survive, such as mortgage, rent, groceries, and electricity. And while we’re at it, let’s put internet and your phone bill in there, too (because who wants to live in a world without those).

  • 20 percent goes to debt and savings. You can split this into credit card payments, loan payments and setting money aside for savings.

  • 30 percent goes to the fun things, such as going out to a restaurant, seeing a new movie and spending a night out with friends.

People love the 50/20/30 rule because it’s easy, straightforward and customizable. Pro tip: if you have a lot of debt, or if you want to fast-track your savings, you could consider allocating 10-20 percent to fun things and changing your debt and savings to 30-40 percent instead.

Download some budgeting apps

Budgeting apps are everywhere, and there are plenty of paid and free options to choose from. For example, Mint is free and offers syncing to bank accounts, credit cards, and savings accounts so that you can get a real-time look at all of your accounts in one place.

Apps like Mint also provide graphs, reports, and push notifications to keep you in the loop—so if you like to have a complete view of your finances in the palm of your hand, a budgeting app is a great way to do it.

Trim excess fat: Cut down on extra spending

Learning how to save money often means learning where to find opportunities to spend less. It isn’t always easy to see where you could be saving money, especially if you are living paycheque to paycheque.

Don’t feel intimidated: there are tons of changes that you can make to your spending habits to start making it easier to save money. And many of them are easy enough that you can even start making them today! Here are 15 of our tried and true favorites:

  1. Choose generic brands instead of name brands for cleaning products, paper products, and basic grocery staples.
  2. Try out a secondhand shop the next time you need to buy new clothes instead of paying full price.
  3. Cut back on dining out and cook meals at home instead...because that $100 restaurant tab could easily buy a week’s worth of dinners!
  4. Save on your heating bill by layering up...which is also a great excuse to spend a cozy night in, watching movies on the couch.
  5. Bike or walk to work instead of driving or taking public transportation.
  6. Minimize your streaming subscriptions...with Hulu, Netflix, HBO, Spotify, Pandora and more, you could be sitting on tons of money that you could be saving!
  7. Temporarily downgrade your mobile data plan or your internet speed to free up some extra cash.
  8. Shop around for another car insurance plan, home internet plan or phone plan to see if you can get a better deal.
  9. Turn off your lights when you aren’t using them...not only will you preserve your lightbulbs, but you’ll also see some savings in your monthly electric bill.
  10. Challenge yourself to have one “no spend” day each week, where you don’t spend any money (which, as it turns out, is also a popular way to cut back on makeup purchases).
  11. Save on your energy bill by opening your windows in the warmer weather instead of using the air conditioning.
  12. Opt for free events in your community for your next weekend outing with friends (because we all know how quickly those brunch tabs can add up).
  13. Make coffee at home instead of splurging for that $5 latte for your morning commute.
  14. Trade in your gym membership for good old-fashioned walking, running, hiking, or biking outside.
  15. Consolidate your loans to save on high interest rates (or take out a short-term loan to pay off multiple debts in one shot).

While many of these tips revolve around cutting down on your spending dollars, you can’t avoid spending altogether. However, you can make sure you are always getting the best deal. Don’t forget: only buy something when it is on sale and always shop around to compare prices.

Make saving easy: Use an automated savings account

Saving money is hard enough on its own—so do yourself a favor and make it easy for yourself. If you make saving money into an automated process, you’ll be able to grow your savings account with minimal (or zero) effort.

One popular method of automating your savings is to set your bank account up to automatically transfer a set amount of money each week from your checking account into your savings account. Even if it’s only $5 each week, that’s a good start—and saving larger amounts will become easier over time. Some banks even offer savings programs that set aside $1 each time you swipe your card (which can add up to big savings each month).

If you don’t want to use your bank, you can sign up for an app like Acorns, which rounds up every debit card purchase and uses the spare change to make small investments. (If you’re feeling motivated to save more money, you can have the app make regular transfers in addition to your spare change.) It’s a great way to start saving in small increments—small enough that you won’t even realize that it’s missing from your checking account!

And of course, one of the best ways to automate your savings is by using an account that is designed to grow your money over the long term. For example, making contributions to a 401(k) will help you prepare for retirement (and if your employer makes their own contributions to it, that’s even better).

No matter how you choose to start saving, the most important step is simply making that first move. Choose what works best for you and start as small as you want. Once you begin seeing the results, you’ll be that much more motivated to keep honing your saving skills!

And if you’re struggling to save due to overdue bills, you might want to consider taking out an online payday loan to level the playing field on your debt. Find out what makes My Canada Payday one of the top payday lenders in the country by calling (604-630-4783) or emailing ( our industry-leading support team!