In Canada, we're faced with all kinds of crazy temperature changes. So it's pretty hard to go without heating during these cold months. But making small changes to the temperature at which you keep your house can make a big difference in your bills at the end of the month. An easy way to ensure you aren't wasting energy or money is to set your thermostat to go down whenever you won't be around to appreciate it. For instance, if everyone tends to be out of the house between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., there's no need to have the heat pumping at the level you would need if you were home. You can even set it to a lower temperature at night, when you're tucked away in bed. And when summer rolls around, rely on open windows whenever possible, and have the AC working at its full potential only when you're around and really need it.
Reading is a great way to pass the time and take your mind off any stresses in your life. But if you're constantly buying books, you're spending a lot more money on this enjoyable hobby than you need to. Libraries are an excellent resource and a superb place to get all your favourite reads free of charge. You might have to wait a little for bestsellers that are in high demand, but there are plenty of other books you can read to pass the time until it's your turn. And the $20 to $30 you'll save for every book you borrow rather than buy quickly adds up.
Do you stop by the drive-through to get a coffee in the morning, buy your lunch at work or go out for dinner at the end of a long day? You certainly have the right to treat yourself from time to time, but these types of purchases can cause a serious dent in your savings. Have you ever added up just how much you spend when you go out to eat? The number will shock you. You don't have to stop eating out if it's a special pleasure in your life, but if you commit to cutting the money you spend on food outside the home in half, you'll see significant results in your bank account. Brewing your own coffee in the morning, packing an easy lunch and preparing a quick dinner at home 50 per cent more often than you do now will lead to immense savings.
Movies are a great source of entertainment, but they can also be a big cost if you aren't careful. If you love seeing movies in theatres, find out when their "cheap day" is, and catch your favourite flicks then. Many theatres offer half-price Tuesdays, so you can save yourself 7 bucks a pop right there. Some theatres, such as Cineplex, even have rewards cards that will have you saving money and getting free stuff in no time. Another option is to take a peek at Cinema Clock to see if a small, less-well-known theatre is near you. Smaller theatres are often eager to draw in new business and can offer impressive deals. And for those movies you don't manage to see in theatres, signing up for a plan such as Netflix is a more budget-friendly option than pay-per-view or buying the DVDs.
A lot of today's savings plans can have you earning interest on a regular basis without your having to lift a finger, but because they aren't frequently advertised, you might not know what's available to you. Stop by your bank to speak with a financial advisor about TFSAs, RSPs and more. You don't have to make any immediate decisions you aren't comfortable with, but it will give you an idea of what money-saving options are out there. After all, if your money's going to sit in the bank, it might as well be working to make you some extra cash.
When was the last time you talked to the folks providing your cable, internet or any of the other services we all require about your current package? For many, the answer is likely not since the initial sign-up. It's easy to get accustomed to paying the same bills on a regular basis and never stopping to ask whether you still have the best possible deal. Plans and packages are constantly changing, so what was a great deal two years ago might no longer be your best option. Being with a company for a long time can also work in your favour, but nothing's going to change unless you ask. Call up your service provider, and ask what other packages are available. Worst-case scenario, you already have the best deal, but then you can rest easy, knowing you're saving as much money as you can. But there's a very good chance you could find out about something new and save yourself a lot of dough.
What are your favourite ways to save money? Let us know in the comment section below!
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