It is an unending cycle for the vast majority of us: no matter how many hard-earned cheques we deposit, we soon have more bills to pay, more purchases to make, and more reasons to keep depending on those cheques. It may not always be possible to increase the funds coming in, but there are various subtle ways to control your spending so that you save or receive a little extra.
Before beginning, understand that I am neither promoting nor endorsing specific products, brands, or organizations; I simply use examples from my own experience to illustrate my points.
I am aware that I spend more for some items when I buy them at Shoppers Drug Mart®, but I have also been able to redeem more than $100 worth of their Optimum Points within the last year, and I expect to reach that amount on my Optimum Card again by the end of this month. When I plan to buy non-urgent things, I wait until the store is having a promotion – then I go in, spend whatever amount I need to spend to get my extra Points or my reward, and go home happy. To learn about such sales in advance, it is well worth adding yourself to email lists for stores you frequent; that is, unless you are an impulse buyer who, after reading about their promotions feel prompted to shop even though you have other things to do with your money. (I don’t have a problem hitting “Delete,” but to each his own!)
Shop at the Mom-and-Pops
Conversely, patronizing smaller local stores, restaurants, beauty shops, etc. is another excellent way to stretch your dollars. For one thing, their prices are typically lower than at large corporate-owned companies. Also, the owners of small businesses are often able to bargain with their customers, particularly with favourites whom they know to shop there regularly.
Spend and Save
I was skeptical about it at first, but Scotiabank’s Bank the Rest program deposited nearly $75 into my secondary bank account, almost without me realizing it, in just a few months. Regardless of their size, the more stashes you have—a program that quietly deposits money into your savings account, some solid investments, a secret piggy bank—the easier it will be to save.
Many credit cards offer programs wherein you accumulate points which can be redeemed for specific prizes (be sure that you read and understand all the fine print before signing up). If you are eligible for a bonus, make use of that; you’ve earned it. If you aren’t using your points, consider switching to a reward-less card which tends to have a lower interest rate and be fee-free.
Putting a little more thought into where and how you spend your money may be the best reward you can give yourself—old habits die hard, but even a few small changes such as those mentioned here can leave you with more disposable income than you had before.
D C Dolabaille