Try these five ways to stash more cash
I’m on vacation now. It reminds me summer (while fun) can get expensive. So for today’s post I’m going to cut right to the chase. I’ve thought about a few simple everyday things we can all do to stash more cash. Some of these things take very little effort at all. Other items on this list will take some discipline to sustain over time.
If you’re struggling with how to save money I encourage you to use one or two ideas from this list below, start with those, and build momentum from there. I’ll provide some commentary on each about what we do, have done, or continue to do to stash our cash.
- Avoid ATM and banking fees
This should be a layup for everyone but I do appreciate many Canadians still pay frequent bank fees. For starters, avoid using other banks’ machines to save some money. Keep a modest balance in your chequing and/or savings account to avoid ongoing monthly surcharges. Better still open and maintain a no-fee account.
Bank fees are something we try and avoid. Other than the odd fee incurred for an email money transfer or obtaining a bank draft we don’t pay any bank fees.
- Shop with a purpose
Make a list. Check it twice. Buy items on your list when shopping for groceries or daily household items. Have a plan before you spend money. Consider taking an hour or so every week to plan your meals for the upcoming week. Continually dining out will eat into your budget – very fast. The take-home message is dine at home more often than not.
We’re pretty diligent at this and it works well for us. We love dining out (and do so now and again) but we cook and eat most of our meals at home.
- Use a change jar
Honestly, this works. For example for every loonie and toonie you have dump it into a change jar. You’ll be surprised at the results after a few months.
To be honest we haven’t done this as much of late but I did manage to save about $350 a few years ago doing this, after one year. We used this money to buy Costa Rican currency (Colon) for our winter trip to that country. It actually paid for my surfing lessons and much more. With some motivation from this post I intend to establish my savings jar again to help support our next international trip.
- Round up your purchases and use the difference for savings
Let’s suppose you bought a new pair of shoes. The total cost was $85.21. Consider putting the $0.79 difference (rounding up to $86) towards savings. Do this for every transaction for a month. Do it longer than that if you can. Again, you’ll be shocked how fast spare change adds up.
I tried this experiment last year. I was quickly surprised to see about $50 in savings after rounding up for one month.
- Automate your savings
This is the granddaddy of all savings hacks – pay yourself first through some form of automated savings plan. That could be setting up an online money transfer every week, bi-weekly or every month, whatever you prefer really.
We’ve done this for many years now and it continues to work its magic.
For long-term (retirement) savings and investing purposes we have automated transfers set-up for our TFSAs and RRSPs. This ensures we maximize contributions to our TFSAs every year – ideally in January. It also helps ensure we max out all RRSP contribution room available (my RRSP is maxed out).
For short-term planned expenditures (<5 years) we have monthly contributions going into separate savings accounts. A couple of those accounts are earmarked specifically for travel and for a future car. In fact, by automating our savings for future planned expenses this is how we had some cash to pay for this newer vehicle here.
Money is not always easy to manage. I fail at it now and then – so I’m far from perfect. But I’ve learned you don’t have to be perfect with money. You and I just need to get the basics right more often than not. Try some of these tips to stash more cash. Your bank account and your stress levels will likely thank you in the end.
What are your favourite and most successful ways to stash more cash?
Banking fees was one of the first things we cut when we started really tracking our finances. So much wasted money on bank fees! We’ve banked with PC Financial for the last 9 years and haven’t had an issue yet.
Big fan of PCF here Owen. Good on you to be mindful of fees. Keep up the good work.
We did the same thing over 10 years ago and haven’t looked back. Haven’t had an issue and saved a bundle of money on fees. It has left me wondering why people are still paying this ‘bank tax’.
Another way we have been saving up extra money was through our recycling deposit refunds. Any money we get from returning our empty drinking bottles/cans we have been putting aside for something fun.
Smart to be doing that. Nothing wrong with getting some cash back from beer 🙂
It has a higher yield then Enron stock too!
Great post! Interesting you suggest rounding up your purchases for your savings, a lot of new popular apps (e.g. Acorn in the US) are doing that to automate people’s savings.
I am always shocked when friends tell me they pay for banking/ ATM fees. I usually keep a minimum amount in my account and that way I don’t have to pay fees.
Smart. Always keep a min. and you can use your emergency fund to help with that buffer. Cheers!
My favorite way to save is to delete any email that wants you to by something instantly and avoid clicking on advertisements or watching Live TV (better to record and FF through the commercials). Found your site via Dividend Growth Investor.
For me it was going shopping once a week, being retired I was tending to go everyday and ended blowing my shopping budget out of the water
I could certainly see that happening easily Rob. Especially if you’ve been in “saving mode” for so many years.
I swear I remember hearing years ago that the government was stepping in to eliminate the fees charged by other banks at their ATMs. I can understand smaller ATM chains, but does a multi billion dollar giant like TD really need to be taking 3 dollars a transaction because the person made a withdrawal at their machine with a BMO account?
I must have heard wrong though. That was quite a while ago.
I can’t see this happening really. We’ll see – never say never about the future Dan!
Just paid my last Hot Water Heater rental bill. At $32 per month, I could have bought it 5 times over! Outlay was approx $1000, but I can now shake that monthly bill! Watch out for those recurring expenses. They often go unnoticed but can really add up.
Good call Chuck. We don’t rent our hot water tank either.
My favourite way to stash cash is to get free money on top of my savings. First, I would automate my employeee share ownership plan to get a 50% top up on my savings from my employer. Put those money towards my RRSP. At tax filing time, I get a tax refund and use that to contribute to my kids’ RESP and get a 20% in government grant.
These three simple tricks added thousands to my savings and allowed me to earn an easy 72% return when I save.
That’s an entire set of other posts for sure Leo – how to stash cash by taking advantage of various accounts, offers/incentives from employers and other tactics. Well done – adding thousands to your accounts. Cheers. Mark