Thanks to rising food, energy and housing prices, many Canadians struggle to keep up with the cost of living. In fact, the National Payroll Institute’s annual survey of working Canadians found that 26 percent of respondents are living paycheque-to-paycheque.

We’ve identified some of the best ways to save money in Canada, from establishing better daily habits to making smarter shopping decisions.

These money-saving tips cover everything from utilities to groceries, enabling you to protect yourself against rising living costs and allowing you to put some extra aside.

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How to save money in Canada

Saving money requires a multipronged approach, so here is a list of strategies that you can use to start saving money:

Budgeting and saving tips

1. Pay yourself first

When you don’t have money after paying your outgoings, sometimes you need to change it up a bit.

With the pay yourself first method, you allocate a proportion of your paycheque to your savings before paying your bills.

This way, you have at least some money to put away, and you are forced to make savings elsewhere.

2. Consider using the 50/30/20 budget rule

The 50/30/20 rule simply divides your money between needs, wants and savings.

When you implement a 50/30/20 budget, you are allocating your take-home pay based on importance:

  • 50% goes to needs, like rent or mortgage payments, utilities, healthcare, transportation and bills.
  • 30% is allocated to wants, such as eating out, entertainment, buying new clothes or luxury items.
  • The remaining 20% goes to savings.
The 50/30/20 budget rule

Examples of needs vs wants

Everyone has different needs and wants, and it can be difficult to distinguish between them.

Consider whether an outgoing is a necessity and whether you can eliminate it:

  • Do you need the fastest Internet connection or multiple streaming services?
  • Your rent is a need but can you reduce your costs by downgrading?
  • Is your car affordable, or would you be better off using a cheaper car or public transport?

Does the 50/30/20 rule work?

This 50/30/20 rule depends on your income; not everyone can make these numbers work.

Your income might not allow you to save 20%, and you may find that you have to reduce this to a lower amount.

Don’t despair if this applies to you; just try to save whatever you can. If you have no room to save, use a few strategies in this guide first.

And if you have debts with high interest rates, it makes sense to prioritize these first to pay off your debt faster and save money on the interest.

If you have a high income, you should adjust the amount you save to a higher percentage.

3. Use a money app

Use a money app to review your spending habits and save a lot of money.

  • Mint – one of the most popular free personal finance apps.
  • You Need A Budget (YNAB) – a popular budgeting app.
  • Wally – offers group budgeting and different currencies.
  • Cleo – entertaining AI chatbot with a variety of unique features.
Cleo app
Cleo app. Image credit: Cleo

These apps are easy to set up and allow you to link your financial accounts, such as your bank account, credit card and investments. Many apps will even save money automatically without having to lift a finger.

4. Change your buying mindset

Adopt healthy buying habits before you buy. Be less impulsive, less loyal and read reviews before purchasing a product.

Recognize your financial constraints. Many people splurge their wages within 48 hours of getting paid. Before making a large purchase, sleep on it. Wait for a day or two to think it over.

5. Plan for a major purchase

Always wait for sales if you plan to make a significant purchase like a car, furniture or an appliance. Do your homework before you buy; you don’t want to get the wrong vehicle or find out that you paid too much.

6. Leave your cards at home

Carry as much cash as you need and leave your debit and credit cards at home. Doing so will help you stick to your budget, avoid impulse buying and save money on credit card interest.

7. Review your statements

Study the last three months’ banking and credit card statements to see if there’s anything on there that you can avoid paying next month.

8. Use a money saving jar

If you have leftover coins lying around, start saving them. Take your extra coins or money jar into your bank and deposit them straight into your savings account. Not all banks will exchange coins, so call your bank beforehand to check.

9. Have a no-spend day

Implement a strict no-spend day weekly, and save the money you usually spend. Following your no-spend day, you’ll better understand where you can reduce spending that doesn’t benefit you.

10. Make it harder to spend

Ask your bank to restrict online access to your savings account to make it harder to spend your savings. When you visit the bank to withdraw money, it becomes more real, and you will think twice.

11. Pay off your debts

It’s best to clear your debts before you even consider saving. The sooner you pay your bills, the more money you can put towards your savings. Aim to pay down high-interest debt as fast as possible.

Apply for Canada student loan forgiveness

If you are on a low income and have been out of school for five years or longer, you may be eligible for student loan forgiveness. The Canadian government’s hardship provision allows you to apply to the court to have the loan discharged early.

The court will decide whether you acted in good faith to repay the debt before agreeing to discharge the student loan. They will examine how you spent the money, if you finished the educational programme, and if you used the Repayment Assistance Plan (RAP).

If the court determines that you attempted to meet your obligations in repaying the debt and that you suffered financial difficulties in repaying the student loan, they will discharge you.

12. Improve your credit score

Your credit score affects how much money you can borrow and whether you can get a mortgage or rent a house.

Your credit score in Canada can range between 300 and 900

A good credit score makes everything easier, allowing you to access the best interest rates and deals. Your creditworthiness can save you thousands of dollars over a year.

13. Set up an emergency fund

An emergency fund is a sum of money put away to cover surprise expenses that may occur, such as:

  • Job loss.
  • Home or car repairs.
  • Medical or dental emergencies.
  • Unplanned travel expenses.

These unexpected events can be stressful at the best of times, so it helps to have funds put away in the event of a crisis.

Plus, you will save money on the interest you would have had to pay if you had to borrow the money instead.

How to save money on groceries in Canada

14. Buy store brands

Grocery stores charge more for big brand names, so opt for store-brand instead.

Shortages and supply-chain disruptions in recent times have prompted many of us to turn to private-label goods. They’re usually high quality, available, and cheap.

President’s Choice and No Name branded products are available at Loblaws stores (including No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore, Zehrs, Fortinos, and PC Express).

These are high-quality, less expensive alternatives to products sold by established players. Similarly, Walmart carries a wide selection of products under their Great Value brand.

Another simple approach to save money is to ditch the major supermarkets altogether and do grocery shopping at multiple smaller stores with lower prices.

15. Look for ‘Enjoy Tonight’ discounts

A great way to stretch your grocery dollars is to look for items with the ‘Enjoy Tonight’ sticker on the package. These marked-down items are cheaper because it’s close to the expiry date.

16. Save money on online grocery delivery

While online grocery services are a convenient way to shop, they can be hard on your wallet. While Instacart and Cornershop are the fastest, they charge a service fee (usually 5-10%) on top of the delivery fee and optional gratuity. Some items even have a markup percentage on top.

Ordering directly through Loblaws’ PC Express or Walmart is cheaper, but going to your closest store will save money on delivery fees.

17. Use bulk food stores

Bulk food stores like Costco offer great value on bulk items and household staples, and you’ll earn the membership cost back in no time.

18. Use dollar stores

Stores like Dollarama offer considerable savings on household products such as dish soap, detergent, cleaning supplies, healthcare products, kitchenware and candy.

19. Reduce meat consumption

Save money (and the environment) by eating less meat. According to a recent US survey, people on meatless diets spent an average of $23 less on food every week.

Cost of eating by diet. Source: Sous Vide Guy
Save money by eating less meat

20. Buy imperfect produce

Imperfect or ugly produce refers to misshapen fruits and vegetables, which account for 10% of the $31 billion in food waste yearly due to cosmetic reasons.

The truth is there is absolutely nothing wrong with ugly produce. It’s not less tasty or nutritious; it looks different, but it looks the same chopped up.

Loblaws stores (including No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore and others) have a Naturally Imperfect line that costs up to 30 percent less than traditional produce.

Loblaw's Naturally Imperfect line
Loblaw’s Naturally Imperfect line. Image credit: Reddit

21. Don’t shop on an empty stomach

Shopping when you’re hungry is a bad idea. You’ll only be concerned with what your stomach says and less interested in sticking to your budget.

How to save money on food and drink

22. Spend less eating out

Eating out at restaurants can be a significant drain on finances. A $13 restaurant meal is about 325% more expensive than a $4 meal you prepare yourself.

You can get more meals out of a recipe if you make it at home, and you can freeze the leftovers.

Eating food at home is not only cheaper; you can ensure you are eating healthier, and your cooking skills will improve.

Look for coupons and daily deals when you treat yourself to a restaurant. Be aware of any potential discounts for children, students and seniors.

Know what to expect regarding sales taxes on food and beverages. Alcohol can quickly add up! Lastly, don’t forget to calculate the tip for your server.

23. Eat less in restaurants

To save money when dining out, share an appetizer. Most appetizer portions are large enough to be eaten as a lighter entree.

Restaurants often offer a cheaper set menu at lunchtime, so why not go for lunch?

24. Use happy hour deals and special offers

Happy hour menus are an excellent opportunity to enjoy fantastic food and drink deals.

You’ll generally find these offers between 2 pm and 6 pm, but it depends on where you live in Canada.

Happy hour offers great deals on food and drinks
Happy hour offers great deals on food and drinks.

Although sometimes limited, OpenTable offers fixed-price customized dining experiences such as tastings, classes, special menus and happy hours.

25. Bring leftover food home from restaurants

If you have leftover food at a restaurant, take it home. Just say, “Can you box this up to go, please?” and your server will bring you an empty food box.

You paid for it, so why waste it? Plus, you save money on lunch the next day.

26. Use a slow cooker

A slow cooker can save you money.

Not only do slow cookers use less energy than an oven, but they also save you time cooking. Just throw your ingredients in the pot, turn the slow cooker on low, and you’re done until it’s time to eat.

Slow cooking is also ideal for turning cheaper, tough cuts of meat into a juicy, tender dish.

You’ll find it less tempting to eat out when you know you have a delicious slow cooker meal ready to eat when you arrive home.

27. Start batch cooking

If finding time to cook is hard, and you want to make cooking more economical, then batch cooking might be the answer.

Batch cooking is when you prepare lots of meals in advance and freeze them in portions that are easy to defrost later. Cooking this way saves time and money, allowing you to stockpile healthy home-cooked meals.

Batch cooking
Save money by batch cooking.

A good time to batch cook is on weekends, in the evening, or any day when you have no distractions. Simply cook a bunch of food, freeze them and take them out when needed.

For some batch cooking recipe ideas, look at these easy freezer meals.

28. Waste less food

Everyone has a role to play in reducing food waste. According to research on household food waste by Love Food Hate Waste Canada, 63% of the food we throw away could have been eaten.

Wasted Food in Canada: Love Food Hate Waste Canada
Image credit: Love Food Hate Waste Canada

Fruit and vegetables represent nearly half of all produce that goes to waste, so buy them in smaller quantities.

Extend the life of your fresh produce by creating high and low humidity refrigerator drawers. Some fridges have drawers with preset humidity levels, while others have a humidity control setting that opens or closes a vent in the drawer.

  • Use a high humidity drawer to store wilting vegetables, such as lettuce, carrots and cucumbers.
  • Use a low humidity drawer to store fruits and some vegetables that rot, such as apples, avocados and peppers.

Always check your fridge, freezer and cupboards before shopping so you don’t double up on ingredients. Plan out your meals with the ingredients you have, understand portion size and be mindful of the best before dates on things like meat and seafood to avoid waste.

Remember that you can practically freeze anything to extend its shelf life.

If you try hard to use everything you buy, you’ll save a fortune.

29. Grow your own vegetables

Grow your own vegetables and herbs at home to save money. Check out this beginner’s guide to growing vegetables indoors.

Ways to save money at home

30. Switch Internet, TV and home phone

Switch to a cheaper Internet, TV and phone bundle. Look for better deals and promotions from suppliers such as Bell, Rogers, and TELUS, which could save you hundreds of dollars annually.

Evaluate what you need: If you predominantly use your cell phone, do you need a home phone line? If you primarily use Netflix, why not cancel your TV service altogether?

31. Get rid of cable TV

There are lots of cheap cable alternatives in Canada. You can pay a fraction of the price with services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Crave, Disney+ and Sling TV.

Sportsnet Now offers two plans for accessing NHL, MLB, and NBA games. The standard plan costs $14.99 per month and includes regional NHL blackouts. The premium plan costs $34.99 per month and includes more NHL games plus access to WWE, Bundesliga, IndyCar, and more.

For $24.99 per month or $199.99 annually, DAZN lets you live stream every NFL, UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League game, with access to various other sports.

32. Switch your cell phone plan

While it’s true that Canada pays more for cell phone services than most of the world, many plans allow you to share data across multiple devices without incurring overage charges.

Switch cell phone plans

33. Switch as many of your bills as possible

Why not switch to a less expensive provider if you can do so without sacrificing service quality? There’s always a better offer, and you might even receive a bonus or incentive for switching.

34. Adjust your thermostat

Use a programmable thermostat and adjust the preset temperatures to save 10-20% on your heating bill.

On average, you can save up to 2% for each degree you lower the thermostat. Most people won’t notice these small changes, but they can significantly reduce energy costs.

Nest Thermostat
Adjust your thermostat. Image credit: Nest

Lowering your thermostat when you are not home during the day and while you sleep at night saves the most energy.

Did you know? Using a smart thermostat can help you save nearly 8% on home energy costs.

35. Reduce your hot water usage

Hot water is your home’s second-highest energy expense; most homes use 225 litres of hot water every day.

How your home uses hot water
Image credit: Enbridge Gas

Follow these tips to save money on hot water:

  • Take a five-minute shower instead of a bath (it uses half the water).
  • Only use your dishwasher and washing machine when you have a full load.
  • Wash your clothes in cold water where possible.
  • Lower the temperature of your water heater to 52ºC for optimal savings.
  • Insulate the first two metres of water pipes, but leave at least 15 cm of pipe wrap clear of the exhaust vent.
  • Energy Star® certified dishwashers and washing machines use less water.

Source: Enbridge Gas

36. Use a clothesline

Electric clothes dryers use between 1.8 and 5 kWh of electricity, dependent on the load and cycle configurations.

But you can save money by air drying your clothing instead of using a clothes dryer. Hang your things to dry outside, or use a drying rack to dry your clothing inside.

37. Unplug unused appliances

Unplugging things you don’t use, such as lights, TVs and entertainment devices, can significantly reduce your electric bill, saving you money. Use a home energy monitor to track electricity use and costs.

38. Defrost your freezer

When too much ice builds up in your freezer, it’s time to defrost it. A frost buildup in your freezer increases the motor’s workload, thus using more energy.

39. Use smart power bars

Manage your electrical devices easily with the help of a smart power bar.

While traditional power strips use power when you’re not using them, smart power bars allow you to save energy by turning off power to devices that are in standby mode.

40. Use LED bulbs

LED light bulbs produce a lot of light while consuming very little electricity. They are up to 90% more efficient than incandescent bulbs and last at least 15 times longer.

Installing LED bulbs will help you save money on your energy bill with the added bonus of not having to buy replacement bulbs regularly.

41. Don’t overuse ventilation fans

Bathroom exhaust fans and ventilation units can use lots of energy if left on, so switch them off.

42. Apply for a greener homes grant

The Canada Greener Homes Grant helps homeowners make their homes energy efficient, with grants of up to $5,000 for retrofits, such as better insulation, windows and doors, smart thermostats and renewable energy upgrades.

Canada Greener Homes Grant
Apply for a Canada Greener Homes Grant of up to $5,000. Image credit: Government of Canada.

43. Insulate your home

Upgrading your home’s insulation is a great way to save hundreds of dollars on energy bills. A Greener Homes Grant of up to $5,000 is available for retrofits.

44. Use solar energy

Reduce your hydro bill by using solar energy.

Solar power is a small but rapidly growing source of electricity for Canadians. Under the Canada Greener Homes Grant, you can receive a grant for installing solar panels and an inverter. After your initial investment, solar energy is free.

45. Set up a home gym

Save the monthly gym fee by exercising outdoors. Run, walk or cycle in the sunshine and fresh air, and you can cancel your gym membership.

Alternatively, buy cheap home gym equipment or use YouTube workout videos to lower exercise costs.

Set up a home gym to save paying for it.
Set up a home gym to save money on a monthly fee.

46. Cut your own hair

Cutting your own hair can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

During the pandemic, thousands of YouTube tutorials showed us how to cut hair at home, so there are plenty of videos to pick up the basics.

47. Make your own smoothies and juices

Many individuals drink smoothies and juices as an easy way to increase their intake of fruit and vegetables. However, they are expensive to buy on the go, so make your own using a blender or juicer to save a significant sum of money.

48. Recycle your clothes

Some fashion retailers have launched take-back programs, allowing you to recycle unwanted clothes and shoes. Some offer coupons and thank you vouchers, such as H&M’s Garment Collecting program.

49. Sell unused items online

Sell new and used stuff online at sites like eBay and Kijiji to declutter your home and make some extra cash.

Ways to save money every day

50. Make coffee at home

A grande latte at Starbucks costs $3.65, which equates to $949 per year if you drink one every working day.

If you cut back on coffee shops and prepare coffee at home, you might save thousands of dollars every year depending on your caffeine fix and whether you use a machine or not.

Making coffee at home can save you hundreds of dollars.
Making coffee at home can save hundreds of dollars.

51. Save money on travel by walking

By walking instead of driving, you save money on petrol and parking. Plus, it’s good for the environment, good exercise, and free. Alternatively, buy a bike.

52. Use public transport

Owning and maintaining a car is expensive, so pay a flat monthly fee for public transit instead.

53. Quit smoking or vaping

Quitting smoking is hard, but you’ll save hundreds of dollars a year on cigarettes or vaping equipment if you give up the habit. What’s more, if you quit smoking before you buy life insurance, you’ll pay less.

54. Cut back on hobbies

Hobbies can often help us live healthier lives by providing a feeling of purpose, contentment, exercise or stress relief. But if you need to save money or want to get out of debt, cutting back for a while makes sense.

55. Consider skill swapping

Skill swapping essentially lets you pay for items with your skill. If you know someone who can provide a product or service, why not exchange your skills?

For example, if you are a graphic designer and your friend or neighbour is a mechanic, perhaps you could offer to help with some graphic design work in exchange for car maintenance.

Both parties can benefit as there are no costs involved.

56. Negotiate a better deal

There’s usually flexibility when it comes to pricing. Revisit contracts and negotiate a better deal on your expenses. Follow these tips to haggle like a pro before you buy.

57. Start a side hustle

A side hustle is something you do to bring in extra cash on top of your regular job. Examples include starting a blog, driving for Uber or Lyft or becoming a virtual assistant.

Marketplaces such as TaskRabbit allow you to make extra cash through freelance work like house repairs and errands.

58. Save money on Uber & Lyft rides

If you don’t have a car and need a ride, you probably use Uber or Lyft. Both are cheap and reliable transportation options, but there are ways to save money on your rides:

  • Check the cost of both Uber and Lyft before you ride. For example, in Toronto, Lyft is predominantly cheaper at peak times.
  • Avoid booking during fare surge times, such as after a hockey game or concert. Wait for prices to drop or move a few blocks away and see if the price goes down.
  • Share your ride using UberX Share or Rideshare with Lyft.
  • Refer people with an invite code to get free rides on Uber or Lyft.
Lyft is often cheaper at peak times.
Lyft is often cheaper at peak times.

How to save money on credit cards

59. Don’t pay interest on credit card debt

Credit card companies make money on the interest they charge you if you do not pay off your outstanding balance on time each month.

The best way to avoid paying interest on your credit card debt is to find a 0% intro APR credit card. Do a balance transfer to this card to avoid paying interest for a fixed time while paying off the balance.

Set up automatic payments to avoid missing minimum payments and damaging your credit score.

Alternatively, just pay off your existing credit card, and you’ll save money this way, too.

60. Pay your credit card twice a month

By paying your credit card bill twice a month at a slightly higher rate than you usually do for the entire month, you can pay down your debt faster and save money on interest charges.

Paying your credit card twice a month to save on interest
Pay your credit card twice a month to save on interest.

61. Use credit card rewards and cash back credit cards

You may have credit card rewards saved up that you’ve not used, or you might not even know that you have rewards available through your card.

You can earn thousands of dollars annually using a cashback credit card that rewards you with points or cash back incentives.

62. Consider paying some bills by credit card

If you can make utility and insurance payments by credit card without additional fees, you could take advantage of credit card rewards such as cashback or points.

But remember, pay the balance immediately to avoid interest.

How to save money on shopping

63. Earn cash back

Save hundreds of dollars annually using cashback sites and apps to get money back when you shop online.

Simply click on the link to the retailer from the cashback website, check out, and the site will reimburse a percentage of your purchase.

  • KOHO: use their prepaid Visa card to earn 0.5% cash back on all purchases and up to 10% cashback when shopping online or in-store with selected partners.
  • Rakuten: 750+ stores with up to 30% cashback.
  • TopCashback: save money on online purchases with these cashback offers.
  • Caddle: earn money by purchasing products, responding to surveys, watching ads and providing reviews.
Earn cash back with Rakuten
Earn cash back with Rakuten and save money on shopping.

64. Use discount codes

Discount codes are a combination of words and letters that you can enter during checkout to reduce the amount you pay.

There are discount codes for everything online, from 10% off to as much as 50%. However, not all of them work, and you may have to search for a while to find one that does.

Thankfully, many coupon sites offer a free browser extension that shows you how many coupon codes are available for that particular site.

They’ll even do the legwork for you by automatically testing the codes at the checkout:

Honey's browser extension can find and apply the best discount codes for the site you are using.
Honey’s browser extension can find and apply the best discount codes for the site you are using.

Some of our favourites are:

65. Save money with coupons

Look at any coupons you receive in the mail from grocery stores and other retailers. You never know what you’ll find! You’ll often receive fast food coupons for McDonald’s, Domino’s and Subway, to name a few.

66. Use rewards programs

The PC Optimum rewards program allows you to earn and redeem points at participating retailers such as Loblaws, Shoppers Drug Mart, No Frills and Fortinos. For every 10,000 points you earn with PC Optimum, you get $10 off your next purchase.

Hudson’s Bay Rewards members get points for almost everything they buy in stores and online. If you have a Hudson’s Bay Mastercard, use this to double your points and receive cashback benefits at other stores.

Hudson Bay Rewards
Hudson Bay Rewards. Image credit: Hudson Bay

For $29 a year, you can sign up for the Beyond+ program at Bed Bath & Beyond. You’ll get 20% off everything you buy online and in-store. You’ll also get free shipping every day of the year.

Sephora’s Beauty Insider Program lets you earn points for every dollar you spend on Sephora products. You can use these points for discounts on purchases. You’ll also get free shipping, end-of-year discounts, a free birthday gift, plus many other perks.

67. Comparison shop

Sites like PriceFinder and ShopBot let you compare the price of products before buying.

68. Price match

When a retailer agrees to match a lower price from a competitor, this is known as price matching. Many large Canadian retailers will offer to match competitors’ prices, so take advantage of this.

69. Leave items in your shopping cart

Log in to your account, add items to your cart and wait. You might receive a discount by email or a special offer to persuade you to check out in a few days.

You need to have an account with them and be logged in when you add items to your cart.

70. Get birthday freebies

If you are signed up to a rewards program or email list, you’ll often receive birthday offers when the big day arrives. There are tons of birthday rewards and discounts available.

71. Check your receipt

Many Reddit users will testify that cashiers often make mistakes. After all, they are only human, so always check your receipt to ensure you haven’t been incorrectly charged for any items.

Know the Scanner Price Accuracy Code

The Scanner Price Accuracy Voluntary Code ensures accurate scanner pricing on behalf of its participating retailers, like Best Buy, Canadian Tire, Costco, Home Depot, Loblaws, Metro, Pharmasave, Shoppers Drug Mart, Sobeys and Walmart.

If the scanned price of an item without a price tag is higher than the displayed price, you are entitled to receive the item free of charge if it is worth less than $10. If the correct price is worth more than $10, you are entitled to a $10 discount.

Know the Scanner Price Accuracy Code

72. Scan receipts for money

Some apps like Caddle and Checkout 51 allow you to scan receipts, and they’ll pay you for doing so.

73. Cancel subscriptions

It isn’t easy to track all your subscriptions, especially ones accumulated during the pandemic.

Whether it’s a streaming service, gym subscription, dating app or free trial you forgot about, cancel the ones you don’t need. There are even apps that can help you trim down your subscriptions.

How to cancel PayPal automatic payments

PayPal automatic payments let you set up subscriptions and recurring payments that are deducted from your financial institution regularly.

You might have signed up for a trial subscription and no longer require it, or you might not even realize that some subscriptions are active.

To stop an automatic payment, follow these steps:

1. Log into your PayPal account.

2. Click the gear icon:

Choose the gear icon in PayPal

3. In the submenu, click Payments:

Payments in PayPal

4. Click View beside the Manage your automatic payments:

PayPal Automatic Payments screen

5. A list of all active payments will appear. Select the one you want to cancel and click Cancel.

Cancel PayPal Automatic Payments

How to cancel a Google Play subscription

YouTube video

How to cancel an Apple app subscription

YouTube video

74. Take advantage of free trials

Use multiple email addresses and credit cards to take advantage of free trials, but remember to cancel before you are charged.

75. Buy second hand

Visit your neighbourhood’s garage sales and second-hand/thrift stores to pick up some real bargains. You can also find many nearly-new items on Kijiji or Facebook marketplace.

Saving money at work

76. Pack for lunch at work

Brown-bagging lunch is an easy way to save money, and it could save you over $1,000 yearly. Bringing your lunch to work is also a great way to eat healthier, eat less and reduce food waste.

How to pack a lunch for work

When it comes to preparing lunch for work, follow these simple tips:

  • Shop once a week.
  • Put time aside every week to prepare lunches in advance.
  • Freeze meals as individual portions.
  • Buy versatile food items that you can use in different ways throughout the week, such as salad ingredients, wraps, meats, fruits, vegetables and canned foods.
  • Ensure you have good-sized food storage containers, plastic wrap or brown bags.

77. Work overtime

If you have the opportunity to work overtime, take advantage and make some extra cash. Working a little overtime each week can add up, and you might even be paid more to work on weekends.

Work overtime

78. Save extra money earned from work

Save the money you make on top of your wages, such as raises, bonuses, overtime pay and commissions. Put this money into a high-interest savings account. Because it’s extra money, you won’t miss it.

79. Take advantage of workplace savings plans

If you contribute to a workplace savings plan, take advantage of the free money available. Many employers match contributions, which can significantly boost your retirement savings.

80. Use workplace benefits

Many workplaces have benefits and perks that you might not know about. Some benefits, such as health insurance, are required by law, but others, such as paid vacation, are optional.

You might be missing out on perks such as paid parental leave, staff discounts, dental insurance, flexible hours, childcare assistance and wellness programs.

Talk with your employer to see what is available.

How to save money on banking

81. Switch bank accounts

When it comes to banking, brand loyalty is dead. Switching banks could result in a cash bonus and other perks such as higher interest rates, lower fees and rewards.

Simply put, your money could be working harder elsewhere.

82. Switch to a no-fee bank account

You’ll pay no monthly fee with unlimited transactions if you switch to a no-fee chequing account. These are the best bank accounts because they won’t cost you a cent, and some even pay you interest on every dollar.

As a result, you don’t need to have a minimum balance in your account to avoid any fees, which means it’s not sitting idle, and you can put more of your money into savings or investments.

Lenders like Tangerine, PC Financial, EQ Bank, and Simplii Financial offer no-fee chequing accounts.

83. Understand pre-authorized debits

Pre-authorized debits (PADs) are a convenient way to pay necessary bills on time, but they allow a firm to take any amount of money from your account whenever they want.

If you must pay this way, check monthly to see if the money withdrawn matches up with what you agreed to. Tell them about a mistake or withdrawal within 90 days if they don’t.

84. Avoid NSF fees

The key to saving money is avoiding unnecessary fees and interest charges.

Non-sufficient funds (NSF) occur when money is taken from your bank or credit union using a cheque or pre-authorized debit, but your account does not have enough money to cover it.

Tips to avoid NSF fees:

  • Monitor your account and keep an eye out for transactions that do not leave your account immediately.
  • Set up automatic alerts to notify you when a transaction occurs or your account hits a certain amount.
  • Add overdraft protection to your chequing account.
  • Keep some additional money in your account to avoid being overdrawn.

85. Use a high-interest savings account

For long-term savings, you want the best interest rate.

High-interest savings accounts earn more interest than traditional savings accounts. Because these financial institutions are exclusively online, they can offer these higher interest rates.

The EQ Bank Savings Plus Account is popular because of its 1.25% interest rate with no monthly fees or transaction fees. It also offers free Interac e-Transfers® and bill payments.

How to save money on insurance

86. Save money on home insurance

Save on home insurance by increasing your deductible and installing improvements like a sump pump to protect against potential flooding.

87. Save money on car insurance

You can find cheaper car insurance by using car insurance comparison sites such as Ratehub or LowestRates.ca. But some insurers don’t appear on these sites, so you’ll have to go direct for some quotes.

Save money on car insurance

Some insurers will give you a better deal if you have an existing insurance policy, such as home insurance. This also applies if you are insuring a second car.

Don’t assume you are getting the best deal; compare car insurance quotes and ensure you are paying the lowest rate. You can save hundreds of dollars a year.

How to save money on car insurance:

  • Drive safely with no accidents: some auto insurers use apps to track your driving habits, significantly reducing your car insurance premium.
  • Lower annual mileage can reduce your policy.
  • Pick a safe and affordable car that’s cheaper to insure.
  • Increase your car insurance deductible.
  • Pay your insurance annually to save up to 9%.
  • Improve your credit score to lower your monthly car insurance premium.
  • Ask about student discounts.

88. Save money on life insurance

Term insurance can be up to fifteen times cheaper than whole life insurance. Before you decide, learn the differences between whole life insurance and term life insurance.

How to save money on housing

89. Negotiate rent

Most people don’t realize that they can negotiate their rent. If you are a new tenant, perhaps you could offer to pay some money upfront or sign a longer lease in return for a monthly discount.

Having a good credit score to demonstrate your creditworthiness to any prospective landlord is advantageous.

Negotiating an existing lease can be difficult, but if you are a good tenant and have a good relationship with your landlord, they might be open to an agreement.

90. Share an apartment

Finding a roommate to contribute towards rent and bills can dramatically lower your outgoings.

91. Negotiate a better mortgage rate

Traditional bank mortgage rates are usually high, so use a mortgage broker or compare the best rates online to reduce how much you pay.

92. Make a large mortgage down payment

When taking out a mortgage, a large mortgage down payment of at least 20% means lower monthly costs and may also lower your interest rate.

You’ll also avoid paying mortgage default insurance, which is required for less than 20% down payment mortgages.

Additionally, a larger down payment means you have equity in your home, which may allow you to borrow against your home using a home equity loan or another line of credit.

93. Rent your house on Airbnb

If you own your property, why not rent your house or apartment on Airbnb when you’re on vacation or out of town?

Rent your home on Airbnb.
Rent your home on Airbnb.

How to reduce car costs

94. Find cheaper gas

Gas prices have soared recently, so use Gas Buddy to find the cheapest gas in your area. Take advantage of the many gas rewards programs to get cashback on your gas purchases.

95. Reduce car fuel consumption

Save gas by keeping your tyres inflated, driving with your windows up, and avoiding braking aggressively.

Every extra 50kg your car weighs increases fuel consumption by 2%, so get rid of the excess weight in your boot and only carry what you need.

Source: Mobil: 10 ways to reduce fuel consumption

96. Buy a fuel-efficient or electric car

Consider buying a car with good fuel consumption to make massive savings every year. Better still, go for a hybrid or electric vehicle.

Tesla only make electric cars.

97. Buy a smaller car

Smaller cars cost less to run and use less gas.

98. Buy a used car

Buying a used car can help you save money while also allowing you to drive a better model than you could afford if you bought it new. A used car can also cost less to insure.

Before buying a used car, have it inspected by a competent, independent mechanic.

99. Use one vehicle

Cars are expensive, underused, and require gas, insurance and constant upkeep. If you have two vehicles in your household, consider getting rid of one to reduce your outgoings and save money. Take turns using the car and use public transit when you have to.

100. Rent your car on Turo

Share your car whenever you’re not using it to earn extra cash. Calculate how much you can make using Turo’s car calculator.

Share your car with other Turo users to make extra cash.
Image credit: Turo

How to save money on taxes

There are many ways to save money on taxes in Canada. Ask your accountant or tax advisor about these tax-saving tips and common tax deductions that the average Canadian can use to save money:

101. Use an RRSP

When you put money into an RRSP, you lower your annual taxable income and may be eligible for a tax refund.

You are not required to pay income taxes on your RRSP contributions until you withdraw them. If you are in a lower tax rate when you take the money out of the plan, you will pay less tax.

You might also benefit from a spousal RRSP which may allow you to pay less tax as a couple.

102. Claim child care expenses

In Canada, you can claim childcare expenses on your tax forms, lowering the amount of taxes you pay.

At the end of the year, Canadian taxpayers can claim up to $8,000 per child for children under the age of seven and $5,000 per child for children aged 7 to 16.

You can also claim child care costs for daycare centers, nursery schools, caregivers such as nannies, boarding schools and more.

103. Claim medical expenses

Claim medical expenses as a tax deduction, such as glasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, home renovations for mobility, private medical insurance premiums and some dental expenses.

TurboTax Canada recommends having one spouse claim all the medical expenses for the entire family and any dependents you support.

104. Claim business-use-of-home expenses

If you are self-employed, you can claim expenses if you use part of your home as a workspace, as long as you meet the required conditions.

This allows you to deduct a portion of costs based on the workspace area divided by the total area of your home.

You can include expenses such as heating, home insurance, electricity, cleaning materials, property taxes, mortgage interest, and capital cost allowance (CCA).

105. Save tax refunds

If you receive a tax refund, put this money towards your savings. To find out more about tax refunds, speak to your tax advisor.

106. Check if you have an uncashed cheque from the CRA

Approximately $1 billion in cheques with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) have gone uncashed. Follow these instructions to determine if you are owed money.

You’ve learned the best ways to save money

If you made it to the end of this post, congratulations on learning some of the best ways to save money in Canada.

It’s more important than ever to manage your money carefully. Be smart with your finances, don’t waste money and try to put some aside for savings.

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