7 Smart Ways To Save Money Fast | Refresh Financial

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7 Smart Ways To Save Money Fast

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Saving money never goes out of fashion. While this year is already more than half-way through, it's never too late to start setting money aside and saving for the rainy day.

Here are some of the strategies you can use to save money every month.

  1. Use a Budget App

The first step in getting your finances under control is to understand the relationship between your income and expenses. Tracking your expenses manually can become tedious and this is where a personal finance app can come in handy.

You can keep your budgeting simple with free apps like Mint and Wally, or opt for a paid service such as YNAB.

Monitor your money inflows and outflows and find ways to cut your expenses to the bone so you have funds leftover to save and invest.

The best budget apps allow you to set savings goals and they alert you when you go over budget in any of your spending categories. They also connect automatically with your bank accounts which makes reviewing your finances on a daily, weekly or monthly basis easy to accomplish.

If you have family members you want to carry along on your savings journey, choose a budget app that allows you to sync or share budgets across devices.

  1. Automate Your Savings

I have come to realize that good intentions on their own are not enough when it comes to improving my finances. In order to ensure you actually follow through with saving or investing, use an automatic saving or investing app or plan, such as that offered by Mylo, Wealthsimple's Roundup and Tangerine.

A typical automatic savings plan moves money from your chequing account and deposits it into a savings/investment account based on a schedule you set.

Spare change apps round up your purchases to the nearest $1, $5 or $10 and automatically save the difference on your behalf.

With these strategies, you no longer need to remember to manually deposit money in your savings accounts.

  1. Use a High-Interest Savings Account

This is pretty straightforward. Save your money in a savings account that actually nets you some positive returns and not in an account that pays you interest rates that are far below the rate of inflation.

To put this into perspective, if your bank pays you 0.50% interest rate in savings and the average inflation rate for the year is 1.8%, at the end of the year, the purchasing power of your money will have dropped by -1.30%.

While savings rates have been depressed for the last decade, you can make the most of your money by choosing one of the best high-interest savings rates in Canada.

  1. Cut Your Utility bills

Many expenses around the home are somewhat fixed and there's not much you can do about them...think mortgage payments and property taxes.

That being said, there are several monthly expenses you can do something about.

  • Cut cable entirely or choose a bare-bones service that meets your needs and is less expensive.
  • Cut your hydro bill by simply raising your current home temperature by one degree Celsius in summer and lowering it by one degree Celsius in winter.
  • Use energy-efficient CFL or LED bulbs, and when you are replacing old appliances, choose new ones with improved energy ratings.
  • Save on water by installing water-efficient toilets and low-flow fixtures. Install a rain barrel to collect the water you can use around your yard.
  1. Save With Grocery Shopping

I use cash back shopping apps to save $50 or more every month.

Money-saving apps like Checkout 51, Caddle and Drop are easy to use and free to join. Generally, this is how they work:

  • Download the app and sign up.
  • Start your shopping by looking through the app to see what offers and discounts are available.
  • Shop the offer at your favourite store or a designated retailer (if applicable).
  • Earn cash back. Some of the apps automatically credit your account with cash back when you make purchases using a linked bank card, and others require you to upload your purchase receipt.

Earning cash back on purchases you will make anyway is a nice way to save money.

  1. Buy What's in Season

Plan your meals so that you can use produce that's in season. This helps you to eat healthy, eat local and save money at the same time.

Consider planting your own garden. If you have a backyard or even a balcony, you can easily plant vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage and more.

Save even more money when you use water collected in your rain barrel to water your garden and compost derived from your kitchen waste to fertilize your vegetables.

  1. Pay Off Debt Fast

Save on the interest fees you are paying on your credit card balance or personal loans by clearing out your debt as fast as you can.

Paying off debt when you are living paycheque to paycheque can be tough. Factor debt repayment obligations into your budget and work towards making more than the minimum payment.

The more money you put towards your principal debt, the faster you can become debt-free.


Enoch Omololu is a personal finance expert who blogs at Savvy New Canadians. His writing has been featured or quoted in the Toronto Star, MSN Money, Financial Post, The Motley Fool, Zumper, Rockstar Finance and many other personal finance publications.

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