Money Saving Tips
The ways we spend money can be engrained in us so that we believe we cannot live without certain expenses. In this section, I outline some ways that Chris and I save money every day.
Clothing, Shoes and Household Decor
We only purchase clothes, shoes, and household décor when absolutely needed and we limit the number of items we own.
Cars and Transportation
We walk or use public transit whenever we can.
We think that insurance should only be to insure things we cannot afford to lose, like our home, health, and car. But we always turn down the "insurance up-sell" when buying things like a TV.
Food and Drink
Though we love eating out, we try to eat at home as much as possible. To make things more interesting, we'll sometimes pack a picnic, then walk down to the waterfront to eat it.
Chris and I love travel and vacationing. However, we don’t believe travel needs to be overly expensive. In our experience, travelling is more fun when on a budget.
Manis, Pedis, and Hair
We do most of these at home - with only a few mishaps!
Regular Household Expenses
We find that household expenses such as phone, cable, electricity, and internet can really add up if left unchecked. Here are a few things we’ve done to reduce their impact:
- Land line: Chris and I each have a mobile phone, so we do not have a land line at all.
- Mobile phone: Over the years, mobile phone bills have gone from about $20/month to $100+/month to allow for gigabytes of data to be downloaded over the cellular network. I cut my mobile bill back down to $25/month by limiting data usage and using wi-fi networks.
- Cable television: We’ve never had cable television. We’ve used Netflix since about 2002, which allows us to watch as much television as we like for a fraction of the cost of cable.
- Internet: We're lucky enough to live in an area with multiple internet providers. Chris selected a local provider that offers high quality uploads and downloads for less cost than the bigger companies
- Electricity:Our home runs solely on electricity (no gas heating options etc.). We keep our monthly costs low by reducing our energy expenditure by reducing our appliance and heating usage.
Collections tend to cost money, so we don't collect things. It also means we have less items to dust.
Cleaning and household supplies
Speaking of dusting, we do all our own cleaning. To save money and help the environment, we also try to use as many non-disposable products as possible
Here is a list of household items we do NOT buy and what we replace them with:
- Paper towels: We use old rags instead
- Disinfecting wipes: We use old rags and vinegar instead
- Flush-away toilet brushes: We use the old-fashioned kind
- Commercial cleaning products: We make our own with vinegar and baking soda, or lookup a recipe for something specific online
- Commercial self-care products: We make our own soap, deodorant, body lotion, and shampoo. (However we do buy regular toothpaste, nail polish, razors, and makeup – I tried to make my own makeup but it was a bit of a disaster)
- Kleenex: We use toilet paper instead. Toilet paper is cheaper as I can use one small square instead of a large Kleenex. We do buy Kleenex if we have a nasty cold though, as toilet paper can be harsh on your nose if used repeatedly over a short time
- Disposable dusters: We use old rags (micro-fiber works well here)
- Disposable mop clothes: We use old rags (micro-fiber also works well here)
- Vacuum filters: We bought a vacuum that does not require filters
- Fabric softener: Our clothes seem to be fine without it
- Water: We drink straight from the tap (though we know we live in an area with great tap water, which is sadly getting less and less usual)
- Lunch baggies, cling wrap, aluminum foil: We keep these in the house for extreme circumstances, but mostly we try to keep our food in re-usable containers
- Garbage bags and compostable, compost containers: With few exceptions, we try to use the plastic bags we get from the grocery store to line our bins. Though we generally only use re-usable shopping bags when shopping, we find we end up with enough plastic bags to use for garbage and compost bin liners
We believe it’s possible to use a credit card to our advantage but we're very careful to pay it off.