Life is getting more expensive. In our parents’ generation, one working parent could support the family and still provide a comfortable retirement. Now, as a single millennial (or in a couple), it is harder to make ends meet with our diminishing buying power. Saving for retirement doesn’t seem to be a priority for the majority of millennials as they are currently struggling with day to day expenses.
However, there are ways to save money on everyday expenses – which can help free up some funds to save for retirement (or other savings goals you may have).
Put Your Smartphone to Use with Price Matching
I price match my groceries every time I shop. This saves my household an average of $30 a week. Gone are the days of wasting time going to multiple grocery stores to catch all the good sales (don’t laugh – I know you remember shopping that way with your parents), or just paying the sticker price even when it seems too high. Price matching saves time and money – both of which are precious to us!
A huge time saver when it comes to price matching is using the Flipp App. You can search for the item you plan on purchasing, and it will bring up all the flyer prices for that item. Simply select the lowest priced item, at a store that your grocery store prices match to, and show this to the cashier for your immediate discount. For example, last week when purchasing blueberries, instead of paying the $4.99 that my grocery store was charging, I only paid $0.88!
It is important to note that not all grocery stores price match. In order to enjoy the savings, you would need to shop at a grocery store that does so.
Watch the Clock When it Comes to Hydro Usage
Peak hours for electricity vary depending on the season. In Ontario, for example, from May to November, peak hours are from 11am to 5pm, which means electricity charges per kilowatt hour are at its highest. Off peak hours are always from 7pm to 7am, and all day on weekends and holidays. Consider changing your routines to accommodate off peak usage (such as running the dishwasher and doing laundry after 7pm), as the savings can be significant.
Want to further reduce that bill? Try adjusting the temperature in your home by 1-2 degrees (for example, if you normally have your home set to 75 degrees in the summer, try shifting to 76 or 77). A small change like this can add up to savings of 5%+ off your monthly bill.
Another way to reduce electricity costs is to use energy efficient appliances (for example, front-loading washing machines use significantly less water and energy per load than top-loading models). While the cost of purchasing new appliances seems high, it can pay itself back through savings in lower electricity bills.
Credit Card Perks
While the variety of credit cards available can be overwhelming, by spending some time up front doing research you can reap several hundreds, if not thousands, in annual rewards and benefits.
For example, if you are a frequent traveler, look into travel reward cards which can help make your next trip a lot cheaper (if not free). Often times the welcome bonus is enough travel miles for a free trip. In addition to offering miles per dollar spent on your credit card, some cards offer free travel insurance which means it is one less cost to incur when you travel.
Do you like cash back? There are a lot of cash back credit cards that offer 1-3% back on your purchases. The main credit card I use offers 3% cash back on gas, groceries and pre-authorized payments, and 1% on other purchases; considering I have pre-authorized payments for my cell phone, internet and cable, the cash back adds up very quickly. This same credit card also offers me free auto club coverage, which means I no longer need to pay for that CAA membership.
While some of these cards have annual fees, often times this can be waived for the first year, or waived indefinitely if you have a particular account with your financial institution.
Shop around and get a credit card that works for you and provides you with the most benefits.
Do You Really Need to go to the Mall?
I have two young kids, so going shopping is a lot of work (packing them up, making sure I have a fully stocked diaper bag, unloading from the vehicle, finding a shopping cart that fits both, and navigating through the stores…). What seems like it should be a quick trip ends up being a 2+ hour adventure.
I found a way to not only save time, but money as well, through Facebook. Often times when I need something quickly, I search in Facebook Marketplace or in the various buy/sell groups to see if the item I need is available. More often than not, someone is selling the item I am looking for, and for a significant discount off the retail price (note that not everything I need has to be brand new to serve my purpose). Instead of all the packing/unpacking mentioned earlier, I can just swing by and do a quick porch pick up of the item I need (which is also quicker than waiting for online purchases to be shipped).
I’m not going to sugar coat it – times have changed and life has gotten more expensive. Why not try these every day small changes to save you money?
~ The Savvy Saver