As you know, I'm a shopaholic. I have a little problem, you see. I can't stop shopping! For clothes, books, or household products, if I'm in a store, I never walk out empty-handed. I have maxed out my credit cards time after time, and every time I reach that point, I tell myself (or, rather, my husband tells me) to be more wise about spending money, and to think about what I'm doing before I charge things to my credit card yet again.
I recently received some great financial advice on how I can cut expenses from Kanetix.ca, an insurance company that aims to offer Canadian insurance consumers a better way to shop for insurance.
First of all, there are two ways of looking at things: increase your income, or reduce your expenses. I don't think my income is going to drastically improve anytime soon, so let's focus on cutting expenses. Trimming the amount that you spend can add up to big money in your pocket! (Yay!)
When you shop with a credit card, you lose sight of how much you're spending. I sometimes see shopping with a credit card as using 'free money' to get the things I want. NOT a good thing, friends. Credit cards can quickly turn into a financial trap for consumers.
Some tips I received:
- Resolve to reduce outstanding credit card balances. The interest rate alone you pay on your credit card debt is likely to be the highest of any of your financial obligations, so cutting this down to size can equal great savings.
- Shop around for credit cards that offer relevant benefits for you. I love to travel, and plan on switching to a card that offers airline miles so I can try to get a few free flights!
- Perhaps a straight cash-back card is the best choice for you, if you’re looking for money to pay other bills.
Whether you're renting or own your house, here are some tips I learned that are especially helpful:
- If you rent, research the market, especially in times of economic turmoil. Rental prices tend to fluctuate a lot. Shop around to determine what the going rental price is for places like yours, and if you notice a difference, show your landlord and request lower rent.
- If you own your home, consider refinancing. Even if you refinanced your mortgage loan recently, interest rates continue to remain at record lows and the competitive mortgage market means that many lenders are vying for your business.
- Be sure to perform a cost-benefit analysis to ensure that the upfront closing costs of a refinance don't eclipse the potential long-term savings. Phew. Definitely something to look into!
Insurance for cars, homes and health are all part of a prudent financial plan. But there are ways you can reduce expenditures here, too!
Bundle your insurance with a single provider if you can. Most insurance companies offer discounts to customers who buy more than one type of insurance through them.
Consider increasing your deductibles. You'd be surprised how much this will help reduce your premiums! Just be sure to have the entire deductible amount stashed away in a savings account in case of an emergency.
Groceries and Dining Out
I have a bad habit of buying lunch out every day, since I work downtown. This is terrible for my wallet! With food prices (and everything else) on the rise, it makes sense to look for ways to reduce spending money on groceries and visits to restaurants.
As tempting as restaurants are, they are almost always more expensive than buying groceries and preparing your own food. For inspiration, watch a few of the cooking shows or visit a local farmer's market to see what's at the peak of freshness. Bonus: in-season produce is less expensive than imported fruits and vegetables!
If you have the space for a garden, grow your own produce and herbs. I'm sure the children would love to help too!
When you do eat out, search for coupons and promotions on the internet first. There are specials all the time, if you look carefully.
Another way to save money? How about winning a $100 gas card from our sponsor, Kanetix.ca? Stop waiting for gas prices to drop and enter Kanetix’s $100 gas card contest!
You have until August 3, 2011 to tweet:
"I want a $100 gas card from @KanetixLtd! Follow & RT to enter: http://tinyurl.com/3pgxa3c #kanetixcarinsurance"
Good luck! For official rules and regulations go here.
This blog is proudly sponsored by our friends at Kanetix.ca