When’s the last time you read a personal finance blog that told you to go nuts with your money? Buckle up, because I’m just about to… but not in the way that you’re hoping for. This concept was introduced to me by a friend of mine that likes to live it up on weekends. He takes trips, eats out constantly and generally appears to be loose with his cash. I asked him about it, and he told me that his finances go in two different extremes: He’s either very loose or very tight, and plans them both accordingly. I guess it’s hard for me to notice the times he’s NOT out spending his cash like an episode of Entourage. He’s actually got a smart, automated savings plan; has paid off his student loans and credit card debt; and is actively thinking about his money (even when he’s out on the town). I took a good lesson from this and one of his personal techniques: A Savings Bender. Instead of going out and looking to spend a lot in a short time, he looks to save as much as he can in a
Sometimes our own good intentions and the desire to save money can get in the way of smart spending. We all want to be healthier and spend less money at times, so a gym pass is an item that many of us have bought at one time or another. I don’t know about you, but going to the gym all the time is tough for me. I go in spurts – lots one month and barely at all the next. However, with a year-long pass I’m still required to pay – even when I’m being lazy, sick or out of town. If you are a regular gym-goer, this might not apply to you, but as a well-intentioned-workout-skipper, this change of thinking has actually saved me money. Instead of getting another gym pass when my recent one expired, I started paying for each session individually. Instead of being on the hook for $45/month, I pay $7.50/session. That means, I would need to go to the gym six times/month to pay off my previous membership. But if I go only five times (pretty realistic) I actually save money over the year-long pass. Additionally, I’m able to
As we wrote yesterday, winter is coming and it might be even fiercer than we’re used to. Canadian winters are notoriously tough on cars, so go the extra mile to make sure you can drive the extra miles. If you’re a smart spender, your car is an investment and an important part of how you live your life, get to work and have fun. Work on making small expenses a regular part of car-maintenance rather than being stuck with car-emergencies when winter hits. These following tips are all easy to do, and you don’t need to be a mechanic to make them happen. It takes a few minutes of effort each week to save hours and money down the road. Quick Car Care Tips You Can Do On Your Own • Fluids! – cooler temperatures means you should be using thinner oils to keep your engine running at 100%. Also – below-freezing windshield washer fluid is imperative. There’s no need to make an ice rink on the hood/windows • Battery Power – check your battery for winter. Again, cooler temps will diminish your battery’s capacity. Be sure it’s tip-top or risk being (literally) left out in the cold.
If you own a car, you can set aside $5 to save $50. Even $1… that’s only ten dimes. That’s it. I didn’t do this, and now I’m kicking myself. It can happen to all of us. I live in Vancouver, and had to drive down town last week. I had to run around to knock a few errands off my list. I (perfectly!) parallel parked my car and went to run into the coffee shop where I was meeting a friend. It was relatively quiet street, and I didn’t have any change in my pocket (only a $5 bill), so I opted to ‘skip the meter and watch out the window’. You obviously know what happened. I forgot about watching, had lunch and came back to find a $50 ticket on my windshield. I’m an idiot. Instead of wallowing in that, I’ll use it as a teaching moment. Do you ever do this (or something similar)? Do you ignore a bill, only to incur a late fee? Will you bounce a cheque because you didn’t verify the amount in your bank account? This is one of those times we advocate spending!
Aimless shopping is brutal on your wallet. You know what it’s like: “Oh, I’ll just stop off at the mall to poke around; I’ll see if anything catches my eye.” This is a terrible idea if you’re trying to stick to a smart financial plan. Trips to stores like that usually result in impulse purchases that will bloat up your credit card bill and take cash away from purchases that you need. How does this happen? More often than not, sales. We’ve seen it before with coupons. Crazy ½ off sales and 3-for-2 discounts are great marketing for stores and businesses. Deals like this get you in the door with your pocket book open. This is the difference between real savings and perceived savings. If you’re out shopping for shirts and they’re on sale, great. But if you’re looking for a pair of work shoes and earrings are on sale… you’re not exactly saving any money at all. How to Avoid the Sales-Trap Go shopping with a plan. If you’re on a tighter spending plan, shopping should be an errand, not a fun activity. Know what you’re shopping for before