Save $100 in 10 Minutes: Go on a Savings Bender

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

Save $100 In 10 Minutes: When Saving Money Costs You Money: The Gym Pass

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

Winter Car Care Savings Tips

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.

Spend a Little, Save a Lot: Parking

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!

How Great Sales Can Derail Your Money Plans

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

Save $100 In 10 Minutes: Grocery Shopping That Actually Saves

This Save $100 in 10 Minutes tip takes 10 minutes of planning and then the usual amount of time it takes to grocery shop. If you’re like me, you know what you like to cook and eat… but when you get to the grocery store your mind is as blank as your 10th grade History test in a nightmare. I walk around, picking up random stuff and have no idea what to cook when I get home and it’s time for dinner. To combat this I started figuring out what I cook/eat on a regular basis (the plan) and what elements of it can be bought in bulk (the savings). Anything that is non-perishable is a great opportunity for long-term savings on groceries. What do I cook? One example: I always cook pasta with some basic ingredients: garlic, diced tomatoes, olives and vegetables – it’s quick, healthy and cheap. Instead of running out to get a single tin of each of those items, I realized I could make a one-time large purchase of all of the items in bulk and wind up saving a bundle. When buying a flat of diced tomato cans (12 cans for $4.

Save Money By Hiding It In Your House… Sort of

A few weeks back, we talked about Saving Money By Hiding it in Front of Your Fa ce and a lot of you thought the concept worked, but I know it’s not for everybody. That’s why I wanted to show you a similar savings idea, using an opposite technique. While the first example used cash, this technique involves your credit cards. If you want to escape the cycle of credit card debt, sometimes you will need to use unorthodox methods to break your bad habits of carrying – and using – your credit cards. How to Do It Take your credit card(s) and put them into a box/envelope/financial chastity belt. When they’re out of your wallet, they’re out of your reach. When you decide you need to use one of your cards for a legitimate reason, you go to the box, take it out and use it. Following that, you put it back. It’s really that simple. Why it Works This principle works because it adds an extra layer of thought and reflection to the purchase you are about to make. You can add another level to this by leaving yourself a note on

10 Easy Ways To Relax For Less Than $20

We asked the Mogo Savings Community how they relax for less than $20 for  chance to win a spa retreat. We randomly selected Nancy C. Laurence as the winner of a $150 gift certificate to a local spa. Below are just 10 of 130+ responses we got on how people relieve their stress! 1. “2 words KIT KAT all i do is buy myself a jumbo sized kit kat bar and sit back and give myself a break.” – Robbie A. 2. “I relax by sitting on the riverbank with my fishing rod and a six- pack. A fishing trip for exactly $12.40!” – Serena D. 3. “Go to the beach with my air mattress and read a book on the lake.” – Sandra S. 4. “For under $20 , I can rent a movie, buy a bottle of wine and light 10 candles, and have a good night.” – Patty G. 5. “One word….hammock!” – Leo S. 6. “I put $20.00 in my gas tank and take a drive out into the country!” – Andrea W. 7. “Turn off the tv and computer, put on some good music and just breathe…” – Tracey N. 8. “Lay back with a good book and some smooth

5 Romantic Ideas That Don’t Cost Anything!

Romance can be expensive, there’s no denying it. Dinner, movies, gifts, the cost adds up. Then again, when you don’t make the effort, your relationship suffers, no? Here are five totally free ways to spice up your relationship. Your sweetie will thank you! 1)     Massages – Chances are you have some oil lying around the house, but even if you don’t a massage is a sure-fire romance enhancer. Set aside some time to be alone together with your love, and give them the royal treatment. If you don’t know how to give a massage, you can pick up some tips here. 2)    * Take over the chores* – Ok so this one might not seem romantic at first glance, but trust me, it’s one of the kindest, best things you can do for your loved one. If your sweetie usually takes out the trash, washes the dishes or cleans the bathrooms, try picking up the slack for just one day. Then, grab one of your favorite movies and suggest that since the chores are done you spend some time together. Or just cuddle up in bed and go from there. 3)     *Write a letter *– Taking the time to

Cheap and Easy School Savings!

If sending the kids back to school is causing you a ton of stress worrying about all those school expenses, then here are some ideas to help you prepare for the expenses and save yourself some money in the process. 1)     The school envelope – Grab an envelope and start stashing money in it. This is your emergency backup for the times that you forget to pack a lunch or withdraw the lunch money. It’s also a life-saver when your child appears the morning of a field trip with a permission slip and a need for cash. 2)     Ask the school about financial assistance programs – Ok, so it can be a bit embarrassing to ask for reduced tuition, lunch waivers or fee waivers, but if you qualify, why not do it? Use the money that you save to provide for your family in other ways – rather than padding your pride. Been there, done that. 3)     Talk to your child’s teachers – Ask them what expenses to plan for. How many field trips will your child take this year? What opportunities will be available to your child later in the year? Teachers plan for these things well in advance and they