Dump Starbucks, go with Tim’s:
Est. savings: $191.25 per year
Running savings tally: $191.25
It seems ridiculous that you’d have to convince any Canadian to drink more Tim Hortons, but there’s an undeniable demographic who love fancy coffee beverages from that other little chain, Starbucks. Yet, even the staunchest Starbucks supporter will concede the prices on some of the brewer’s drinks cDump Starbucks, go with Tim’s:
an be a bit much. If you can handle a shift in your morning coffee, then, going from a Starbucks short latte ($2.80) to a good, old-fashioned Tim Hortons medium double-double ($1.27) even every other day of the week can pay off big. The savings each workweek may not sound like much, but make the switch to Tim’s on alternating days — Starbucks one day, Tim’s the next, etc. — and we’re talking $191.25 more in your pocket each year.
Bundle, bundle, bundle:
Est. savings: $271.20 per year
Running savings tally: $522.45
It’s a no-brainer, certainly, to bundle your cable TV, Internet and home phone services. But many Canadians still don’t take advantage of such discounts, for reasons — “one service was set up before another” or “I’m a customer of two different telecom providers” — that may not necessarily hold up. For anyone not bundling, consider: using a standard example from Bell Canada (“Home Phone Basic,” “Performance” Internet and “Digital Basic Plus” cable TV), users can save $20 each month by grouping these services together. Accounting for a 13 per cent sales tax, this will stretch to savings of $271.20 each year.
Watch those daytime minutes:
Est. savings: $60 per year
Running savings tally: $251.25
If your employer doesn’t provide you with a cellphone, chances are — whether they be work calls or not — you likely push the limits of your provider’s daytime minutes plan. Most standard plans include a small amount of daytime minutes (as little as 50 with many carriers) per month, leaving users that go over their threshold exposed to nasty penalties — a 40 cent per minute charge, in most cases. Thankfully, Canadians can remedy this quite easily. With Fido, for example, you can up your daytime minutes from 50 to 100 for just $5 extra per month. If that sounds like unnecessary spending, consider that even if you were going over your daytime limit by just 25 minutes per month on average, upping your weekday plan would still save you about $60 per year.
Save that change!:
Est. savings: $150 per year
Running savings tally: $672.45
Are piggy banks for kids? Maybe. Yet every adult worth his salt surely has a change jar lying around; something in the closet or on the dresser where you can dump your loose coins at the end of the day. These jars are good, too, because hopefully they’re a deterrent from over-tipping at restaurants with your change or tossing a couple coins at that McDonald’s clerk to super-size your combo. By most measures, change jars can accumulate at a rate of at least $25 per month with coins from your everyday spending. So, since such a tally isn’t money you totally wouldn’t have had otherwise, let’s split that figure in half and call them savings. If you can save only half of the day-to-day coins you would’ve discarded otherwise, that could add up to $12.50 a month — or $150 each year.
Useless insurance? No, thank you:
Est. savings: $80 per year
Running savings tally: $752.45
There’s a reason the insurance business is worth billions, just as there’s a reason industry giant AIG — after it was able to con its way into a $173 billion U.S. government bailout — continues to churn on: these guys are great salesmen! Yes, the backbone of the insurance biz may be the upsell, which we, as humans, are suckers for. With a little common sense, though, we can fight back against insurance policies we don’t need. For example, when you’re at Best Buy or Future Shop buying a new home theatre system, there may be some desire to protect it with an extended warranty. Yet, you probably shouldn’t, given their cost (up to $80) and the quality of current manufacturers’ warranties, which come standard with the very products you’re buying. Same goes for credit card balance protection policies — the money spent on these (about $1 per $100 of your balance) is probably money best spent towards paying off your purchases, instead.
No-name is your friend:
Est. savings: $150 per year
Running savings tally: $902.45
We’re not reinventing the wheel by suggesting that buying no-name brand goods at the grocery store will save you cash. Like potshots at Air Canada, buying no-name is regular consumer speak. Yet often we don’t fully appreciate, and consider, the savings of buying no-name until we see them in print. According to Bankrate.com, a shopper can save $500 per year by ditching name brand goods and buying in bulk. Even on the most modest scale — with no-name products often going for half the retail price — $150 in savings per year is an easily attainable goal.
Skip the dealership when it comes to oil changes
Est. savings: $30 per year
Running savings tally: $932.45
For many vehicle service procedures, taking your car into a dealership can be quite beneficial. Some lots will even wash your wheels for you when you bring in your car, at no extra cost. Yet, if it’s just an oil change your car’s engine is calling for, consider skipping your dealer’s service department in lieu of the neighbourhood garage, which often does the same work for much less. For instance, a regular oil change at many dealers will run you at least $50 per – and you’re likely to need two of them every year. Even places like Wal-Mart can change your oil for as little as $35 each time, so shop around for the best deal.
Don’t keep a credit card balance!:
Est. savings: $99.95 per year
Running savings tally: $1,032.40
If you step back and look at the big picture, many of the entries on this list are simply Personal Financing 101, though it’s these elementary spending gaffes that continue to define bad consumer behaviour among Canadians. Doing something as simple as not carrying a balance on your credit card from month to month — and we don’t mean some kind of stark, egregious balance that’ll land you in serious trouble, but rather modest balance-carrying that’s more laziness than irresponsibility — can put you over the top when it comes to our $1,000 per year goal. Even if it’s just a balance on your card of $500, accounting for the standard 19.99 per cent annual rate on most cards, that will amount to nearly $100 per year in interest down the drain.