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Contest: best non-bank-account money saving tip
December 4, 2011
3:29 pm
Peter
Admin
Forum Posts: 1390
Member Since:
May 15, 2007
sp_UserOnlineSmall Online

Let's do a slight twist on the ongoing best tips contest that ran for much of the year.

Share your top non-bank-account money-saving tip or tips as a reply in this thread. The post can be a couple sentences or a few paragraphs, as long as it is useful.

One post will be chosen from the replies made in this thread only before 11:59pm Pacific Standard Time on December 11, 2011 and the poster will be awarded $100 to their bank account or charitable cause of their choice. Multiple posts will be treated as the same entry.

See other contest rules (other than rule #1) and method of payment here.

December 4, 2011
8:15 pm
Melissa
Guest
Guests

How about using a drying rack for your laundry instead of your dryer? Apparently 1/3 of your household's energy actually goes to running the dryer, so it could add up to major savings in the long run.

December 6, 2011
7:06 pm
Michael
Guest
Guests

1 - Get any credit card (specifically for this purpose), make sure that it doesn't charge for cash advances
2 - Set it up to be able to withdraw cash advances from an ATM
2 - Make a large payment (say $1000), so that you have a positive balance on the card, as if you'd overpaid

Presto! You have an ATM card that lets you withdraw money from any ATM without the $3-$5 transaction fee. This works abroad too!

Just make sure you don't withdraw more money than your balance, or else the cash advance interest fees get quite high.

December 7, 2011
8:12 am
Winnie
Guest
Guests

The best way to save money without banks - buy/banking-scam-email pool account (gold and silver) or actuall physical metal. For example, I use http://www.kitco.com

My personal return for the last 8 years is on average 21% per year for gold! In 2003 I paid $350 for 1 oz of gold, right now price is around $1700.

It's not CDIC insured investment, but it's a physical gold!

December 7, 2011
3:24 pm
88kanaka
Guest
Guests

Credit Cards:
Do not have any credit cards that require a fee.
Try to have any pay back type of credit card credit the same air miles plan, cash back or??

Bank Accounts:
Do not pay any fees for a bank account. Although you may have to pay for a book of cheques for the odd time you will need.

Home Phone:
If you have friends and relatives that can be on Shaw phone, all long distance Shaw to Shaw is free.

Mobile Phone:
If you are NOT a big user of a mobile phone, look at Telus prepaid (or something similar). You pay 10 and month and if you set up monthly top ups the credit rolls month to month. I have over 300 credit….so when I need to use it for a long call…not a big deal. The key to this is if you are NOT a big user and not likely in a lot of cases do you really need that monthly expense or the level of service.

Bills:
Pay any bills by the year if there is a savings. Insurances, cable, alarm monitoring, satellite etc.

Payments:
If you have a credit card(s) pay the full amount every month.
Big ticket purchases and housing; if you use in house financing...make sure you read all of the fine print...otherwise consider the best rate you can find for a bank loan or mortgage.

Paperless Billing:
Don't accept that option unless the biller will reduce your monthly bill by a dollar or two. I know how much it costs to print a bill, paper forms, decollating, bursting, enveloping, labour, and postage.

Subscriptions:
Minimize them. If you have the internet and cable TV, do you need the newspaper delivered or those magazines full of advertising?

Budget:
Build a budget, track your expenses, tailor it to your need to spend and save.

Second hand:
Look at Craigslist, Kijiji etc. There of lots of good quality items for half price or less. For smaller items, if you use Ebay and can wait; why bother driving to town for a specific item when the cost of postage is less than gas and you likely will pay less than your retailer and will not pay tax or duty.

Cross Border Shopping:
You can save by buying in the US. Do a monthly deposit of some US$ in a US$ savings account at your bank. Don't use it until the exchange rates goes beyond what you are comfortable with.

ooops....some of them are banking....!!

December 7, 2011
5:49 pm
Bob
Guest
Guests

More home cooking and less eating out!

An average decent lunch at an average restaurant without booze and dessert is $20, paying for sales taxes (15% average) and tips (another 15% average). That's a lot of money over time.

Most home cooking ingredients have no sales taxes, and obviously no tipping required. It is healthier too. More people should try it.

December 7, 2011
6:17 pm
kilarney
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 146
Member Since:
November 8, 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

-get a set-back heat/cool thermostat and program it to reduce HVAC activity at night or when the house is vacant.

-Buy and own your water heater, renting is a never ending drain on your finances that always rises in price.

-use CFL/LED bulbs

-Call your internet/phone provider and tell them you,re leaving them...they usually respond with some kind of deal or coupon or reduction in your bill

-Use your GPS eco-mode and it will tell you when you are driving in that sweet spot speed for the most MPG.

-Shower with your partner to save on water!

-Scrutinize your home and car insurance to see if bundling them or taking features off can save you some cash.

-Check your local area to see if free over-the-air tv is feasible and setup an antenna and kiss your cable/satellite bill goodbye.

-Install rain barrels on all downspouts for watering.

-Plant a vegetable garden(use water from rain barrels).

-Buy a push lawnmower and cut the cord or dump the gas can for cutting grass.

-Install a clothes line and when possible dont use the dryer(a big energy hog)

-Buy a front load washer(uses half the water and electricity)

-Use power bars to turn off "always on" devices like big screen tv,s and computers.

-Make your own wine/beer from a kit for penny,s a bottle(its not hard to do).

-Do your own basic maintenance on your vehicle.

-Use reward programs as long as there are no charges and you get a return.

-Try to buy what you want first thru local classifieds like kijiji to avoid sales tax.

-Network with friends and family to see who has skills that can be traded for cash free

December 7, 2011
6:30 pm
88kanaka
Guest
Guests

Don't rent (buy it out right) any item that you need as a staple item like:
Home phone
Internet modem
Phone modem
Wireless router
Hot water tank (already mentioned)
TV
Furniture
Alarm system
ETC.

Do rent:
A car on vacation
A tool that you dont need on a regular basis to do a home repair or improvement yourself.

December 10, 2011
8:58 am
Prag
Guest
Guests

The biggest money-savers are usually in the following categories: work location, transportation, housing, and food.

WORK:

a) Live very close to where you work, ideally walking or easy biking distance (for me, a reasonable distance is a 20 minute walk). Similarly, you could ensure you reside within a couple blocks of a transit stop. In most situations, it costs a lot less to use transit or walk or bike than to pay for the gasoline to commute every day - especially if you have a long commute or are in a city with bad gridlock. If you don't need a car any more as a result, and can get by with just transit and a carshare, your costs will drop even more! As an added bonus, biking or walking usually means you can drop the gym membership.

b) Work from home if possible. This is generally only appealing to introverts who don't need the daily social interaction and are very independent and self-motivated. The benefits are substantial: you instantly lose the costs of maintaining a work wardrobe, commuting (whether by car or transit), and for many people the lack of commute will free up two hours or more of every day for you to spend on what really matters to you in life (family, friends, hobbies, etc)!

c) Bring a brown-bag lunch and your own healthy snacks. If you bring bowls of soup or stew, make one large batch a week in advance and freeze them in the bowls for each day. Batch cooking also saves on utility bills for cooking.

d) Get your work wardrobe from thrift stores like Value Village, Talize, or the Salvation Army. You can come home with a huge bag full of fantastic clothes for under $100, including big name brand designer items. These locations also have sporadic 50% off sale days if you get on their email list.

TRANSPORTATION:

c) If you aren't using your car for commuting any more, get the insurance changed to "pleasure use, no commuting" to get lower rates. Inquire with your company about what other discounts they offer like multi-policy discounts. Use free online Canadian tools like http://www.insurancehotline.com to shop around for the best rates.

d) When purchasing a car, only buy used cars (1 or 2 year old vehicles are ideal) as the largest drop in value happens the moment a new car is driven off the lot. Have a used car inspected thoroughly by your own mechanic before buying though! It's worth the comparatively small investment to make sure there's nothing wrong with it.

e) Once a car is 5+ old and therefore not worth nearly as much any more, and you might be considering getting a newer one in the following five years anyway, consider dropping all perils & collision coverage from your insurance. Just keep 1 or 2 million liability coverage for vehicles over 5 years in age. You insurance payment will drop substantially as a result.

f) For all insurance (home, car, etc) opt for high deductibles. Deductibles are the amount you pay out of pocket first before making an actual claim. They could be set to $300 be default when you could push them as high as $2,000. You want to avoid making claims on your insurance whenever possible, because rates will go up if you do. If it's not onerous to have $2,000 in an emergency fund for these types of things (i.e. a fender bender) then definitely put your insurance deductibles high since it means your rates will be lower as the likelihood of you making anything other than a catastrophic claim becomes much lower.

g) Research the reliability of the car model year and brand you intend to buy. Some are known to be MUCH more reliable than others! The car I currently have - a 2001 Toyota ECHO - has served me flawlessly, gets 45mpg real-world mileage, and I intend to keep it for 20+ years. Here is a good resource for research: http://www.lemonaidcars.com/

h) If you live in an area with horrendous rush hour traffic, ask your employer if you can work 7-3, 7:30-3:30, 9:15-5:15, 9:30-5:30, or 10-6, etc. Commuting right before or after rush hour can save you substantial amounts of time and gasoline.

i) Sign up with a carshare if you don't need a car for work, and don't need one every day, but still need one here and there at times when transit doesn't run, or for hauling more cargo such as family grocery shopping. Most larger cities have a carshare. They keep cars scattered around the city that you reserve, and this is significantly less expensive than owning your own car. Zipcar is one well-know national option, but there are many smaller ones too: http://www.zipcar.com/

j) Buy the most fuel efficient car you can, and install a dashboard fuel consumption monitor (http://www.scangauge.com/)that gives you fuel consumption feedback in real-time. Seeing how your driving habits (accelerating too fast, driving over the speed limit, etc) affect fuel consumption in real time can reduce your gasoline consumption by 15% or more as you start to adjust how you drive in response. Some cars already have those displays (i.e. the Toyota Prius) built-in, but most don't.

HOUSING AND FOOD:

k) Cut your housing costs in half or even more by living with someone (or multiple people) and splitting the bills evenly between everyone. This is becoming more and more common beyond the college years, and into retirement, as people look to save costs and share resources in this persistently down economy. If you don't like sharing your living space, consider buying and renting out an adjoining duplex, or having a completely separate basement apartment that you rent out. You have to be really picky in choosing tenants though, as a bad tenant can ruin things. The income from your tenants can end up coving all your basic living costs, so you won't feel so vulnerable if you lose your job or whatever.

l) Live in a small or mid-sized city where the cost of living is significantly lower than places like Toronto or Vancouver. Examples of these smaller locales in Ontario would be Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, London, Barrie, or Cornwall - all of which are well-served by transit. Housing in huge major metropolitan areas sometimes costs double, triple, or quadruple what you'd pay elsewhere an hour or two away. Wages/salaries for equivalent jobs in large cities aren't double or quadruple what they are in smaller cities either, so your income will go a lot farther in a low cost of living area!

m) Consider eco-villages, co-housing, communes, co-op housing, and other alternative lifestyle options. They are often much, much better designed than uninspiring suburb or highrise living, with more green space, and common areas, like-minded people, and are sometimes more affordable than regular housing in the area.

n) Depending on the zoning of your place, you can turn it into a bed and breakfast or rent a room on a short-term basis to travellers if you don't want people living there 24/7 but still want to make some money from your extra space.

o) If you don't have a car, but do have a driveway and/or garage, or have more space than you use, advertise paid parking or paid garage space. Why let the extra space go to waste? You may have neighbours that are tired of juggling vehicles in their driveway, want to park indoors in the winter, or they may have visitors for a few days but no street parking, and would love the convenience of access to your driveway for a reasonable fee. Parking is in especially high demand in larger cities such as Toronto.

p) Cook dinner after 7pm at night Monday-Friday if you are on time-of-use electricity pricing. This pricing scheme is all over Ontario now, and it will cost you up to 2/3 less to use your electric stove after 7pm and before 7am! The stove is a huge energy suck - cooking dinner pulls thousands of watts.

q) For the same reason as above, only use your electric washer and dryer on weekends or after 7pm. Wash in cold water only, and set your dryer to "low" or "medium" to use less energy. Better yet, dry your clothes on a clothes line.

r) Use microwaves for cooking or re-heating as they cook much faster than stoves and use less energy. This works well combined with bulk batch cooking on weekends that you reheat throughout the week.

s) Stock up on frequently-used food items only when they are on sale at grocery stores - you can save quite a bit that way. For example, "Lean Cuisine" frozen dinners are sometimes 40% off some days, and I only buy them on those days, and buy a whole bunch at once. I've also noticed that, in most cases, prices are definitely cheaper at places like WalMart or Food Basics versus higher-end stores like Loblaws.

I hope you enjoyed my tips! :D

December 10, 2011
8:31 pm
msl
Guest
Guests

The real problem would be then to this situation is procrastination; because it all starts with the mind. Having read kanaka, kilarney, prag and the rest of the gang; the person would surely have a lot of ideas how to save. [Plus] If he/she even goes to the library and rent any books about personal finance then much better. But then again, the thing about saving money is ... after you save "the money" then what will you do right? in the end, you'll still be spending "the money."

Okay, maybe the "goal" is to save money. That's it. Whatever happens with the money is out of the question already because this is about saving "the money."

And then it hits me: you need a MEDIUM in order to save money. be it putting in your mattress or sewing your money inside you're suit.... bottom line is [seriously] the
best way to save money is actually:

OPENing a BANK ACCOUNT and start saving! (ironic LOL!)

December 11, 2011
7:56 am
MrMatt
Guest
Guests

Pay your life insurance lump sum instead of in installments.
I was shocked to find that the lump sum payment was about 10x the monthly payment.
They actually charge almost a 20% premium to do monthly payments.

It gets better if you consider that on average you're only borrowing the money for 6 months!
You're paying an effective rate of close to 40%
That's a crazy rate, if you don't have the money you can get a LOC you'll come out ahead.

I plan to see if home and auto offer a similar discount.

December 12, 2011
9:10 am
Prag
Guest
Guests

MrMatt said:

I plan to see if home and auto offer a similar discount.

I always pay my home insurance in a lump sum since it's not very costly, but pay my car insurance monthly with a direct debit from my bank account and the surcharge with that particular insurance company (Royal & Sun Alliance) is only 3%. Still, I could be saving 3% if I paid in a lump sum, and should probably start doing that since every bit counts!

Paying for a year of cell service in advance can also net very substantial discounts. Mobilicity offers that option, and maybe others.

December 12, 2011
9:37 am
Peter
Admin
Forum Posts: 1390
Member Since:
May 15, 2007
sp_UserOnlineSmall Online

Thanks everybody for their very useful tips. I read quite a few of them that I hadn't thought of before. Hopefully this has been useful beyond the actual contest aspect.

Prag has been chosen as the winner!

December 15, 2011
8:18 pm
paj
Guest
Guests

I use to do this in the 80's and 90's, it was also the greatest way for getting the best fx exchange rate as the credit card companies used narrow spreads between buy and sell.
Sadly,after traveling the last few years I researched and found it doesn't work anymore…the credit card companies now charge a transaction fee (MBNA and I think all others charge 7.50)on all cash advances, even if you have a positive (overpaid) balance they still consider it a cash advance…so now it is best to use your atm card overseas as now they do work overseas and there is less fees (PC financial 3.50?) I concluded it is best now to travel with US dollars and/or US Travelers cheques.
PauMichael said:

1 – Get any credit card (specifically for this purpose), make sure that it doesn't charge for cash advances
2 – Set it up to be able to withdraw cash advances from an ATM
2 – Make a large payment (say $1000), so that you have a positive balance on the card, as if you'd overpaid

Presto! You have an ATM card that lets you withdraw money from any ATM without the $3-$5 transaction fee. This works abroad too!

Just make sure you don't withdraw more money than your balance, or else the cash advance interest fees get quite high.

Please write your comments in the forum.