Search the social networks. You’d be amazed at the offers you can find on the social networks. Some companies are just getting into the swing of using Facebook and Twitter, and begin by doing special offers for their readers. All you have to do is search for your favourite stores on there, and have a read of what they have to offer. A good example is Old Navy clothing – they give out printable coupons on their Facebook page, and you can sometimes get substantial discounts.
Save on your car costs. There are some really simple things that you can do to save money on vehicle running costs, which could add up to quite a few dollars saving each year. For example, accelerate slowly and maintain a consistent speed where possible, minimize braking (coast where you can), keep tyres at optimum pressure, don’t have excess weight in your car, properly maintain your vehicle (oil changes, etc), find out the optimum speed for your own car’s fuel efficiency. Paying a little bit of attention to these small aspects of running your car can mean decent savings.
Don’t be scared to ask for a discount. Canadians can be very polite. But are we too polite to ask for a better deal? If you’re in-store, don’t be scared to ask for a discount, especially on big ticket items – not on your weekly groceries! The sales people are used to it, they hear it all the time. You never know, you could save a lot of money. I saved over a thousand dollars on my car… just by asking for it.
Buy an eBook reader. If you are an avid reader, it’s easy to spend a lot of money on books. You could consider buying an eBook reader. Yes, it’s a larger initial cost than just buying a paperback, but it will last you for years… and has a lot of benefits. You can load it up on books if you’re going travelling, so you don’t have to carry your reading material with you, taking up valuable room in your luggage.
Rent e-books at your library! Did you know that many libraries now rent e-books as well as the good old-fashioned paper type? If you’ve got an e-book reader like the Amazon Kindle or the Sony reader, you can grab many books from your local library, store them, and read them at your leisure. Just check and see if your local library provides this service. And there are thousands of classic ebooks online which you can legally download for free, as they are now outside of their original copyright period.
Join email newsletters. This is a great tip for shopaholics (like me). I use a junk email address to sign up to a lot of email newsletter from major stores and brand names. Sometimes they are just full of marketing speak, but from time to time you can get a real gem of a discount. If you would like some examples, the Michaels ( http://www.michaels.com/ ) newsletters send out excellent discounts every week – up to 50% off. These deals are applicable in the US & Canada.
Save on electricity. This one is pretty obvious, but you’d be amazed by how much you save by under-taking a few simple steps. Turn off the light when you’re not in the room. Buy energy saver globes. Get a programmable thermostat. Never leave appliances on standby, always turn them off properly. Or you could even buy a device which does that for you – on my PC, I have a special adapter which sees when the PC is powered down, and turns off all the peripherals at that time (printers, monitors, desk lamp, etc).
Stock-pile. I save quite a bit by buying in bulk and stock-piling my groceries. In particular, stock-piling works well with canned goods, dried goods, toiletries, laundry and cleaning products. I always use coupons to get a good deal, then buy as many as I can store (always checking the expiry dates too). I never run out of soup or shower gel!
Recession gardening. Recession gardening has been in fashion lately – it’s simply growing some of your own veggies or herbs. In the long run, it’s much cheaper than buying at the supermarket, plus there is the added bonus that they are natural and organic. You can buy seeds and start from scratch, but I find it is much easier to buy young plants and transplant them into your garden or window boxes. I have a herb basket of mint, parsley, rosemary and thyme, which I regularly use in cooking.
Sell your parking space. If you live in a big city and have a spare car parking spot, consider if your parking real estate could be useful to someone. There are a few websites that facilitate the “renting” of your car parking spot to someone who commutes to the city and wants cheaper parking facilities.
Stock up on soup! As a foodstuff, soup has a much lower cost per portion than a lot of other things you eat. Plus, it’s pretty healthy and delicious. You can even make large batches, and freeze some soup for future use. The possibilities are endless too… from Blue Cheese and Onion soup, to good old tomato.