All we hear from the media lately is how expensive it is to live in Toronto, and as someone who lives and works in this beautiful city, I’ll admit that it’s not cheap. That said, nor are most big cities. So instead of just moaning about how bad we have it as everyone else does, we thought we’d try a different approach.
So, how does one save money in this expensive city? We thought we’d share some tactics that work well for us, so we can still do the things we love while being smart about how much money we are spending.
Ready? Let’s begin!
Budget, budget, budget
This is an easy concept when it comes to saving cash, and however, many Torontonians still don’t do this. Budgeting can seem like a complicated task that no one wants to do, but with apps like Mint and KOHO, it can be as simple as grabbing your morning coffee. Monitoring your spending on an app should help you start to manage your money better.
Get rid of or reevaluate your services and subscriptions
If you have any monthly subscriptions, you don’t use them. It’s time to get rid of them. Your fun monthly underwear or cosmetics subscription boxes may seem like a small harmless investment in exchange for an exciting package. However, you don’t NEED these things, and the fees can quickly add up. The same goes for your services. Be sure to do your research on this topic. If you feel you’re paying too much for the Internet or TV, chances are you are. Do your research on different providers.
Get to know your neighbourhood to save on entertainment
Free entertainment is something a lot of Torontonians don’t realize is available. Getting to know your community will allow you to take full advantage of any festivals, events or other things to do in your area. Look for the Facebook groups of your residential association or neighbourhood to get the scoop on all the things happening right on your doorstep. Community groups are great to get information on anything from outdoor movie screenings to dance shows and theatre productions, and the best part is they’re almost always free, so why not enjoy it?
While getting all your groceries in one spot may be convenient, it’s more cost-effective to shop around for the best prices. For example, the protein bars I love are oddly cheapest at Loblaws downtown, while other items in the Loblaws are usually more expensive. Trust me; I’ve price-checked on the same day. Knowing where to buy what products at the lowest price can add up when looking to save money. Another perfect example; Shoppers downtown tends to have toilet paper on sale every month. Get it while it’s discounted, and you’ve just saved almost 7 dollars.
Another example, you might think that products are the cheapest on Amazon, but it turns out that the dog food we buy for Manny is way less expensive at the local pet store, with delivery.
Shop smart, and you’ll find yourself saving money almost immediately, but don’t go out and spend that just yet.
One of the biggest budget busters is food. We’re all guilty of running to our food apps come lunchtime at the office. We suggest limiting your takeout and investing in meal prep instead. This may seem like a lot of effort, but if planned out properly in advance, we guarantee you’ll enjoy it. Start with just a few simple recipes; a quick Google search for “Meal Prep Recipes” should give you all you need to get planning your week. Once you have a list of ingredients, hit the grocery store. Apps like Checkout51 will help you save on shopping by giving you cashback for purchasing their listed brands and products. After one Sunday of meal prep, your lunches will be set for the week – easy and affordable!
We know by now, buying your food and making it is usually cheaper than buying it out. The same goes for alcohol. Buying the ingredients for cocktails and making them with friends at home is way less expensive than a night out on the town and gives you the chance to unleash your inner mixologist.
So if you find yourself asking why you don’t have any extra money at the end of the month, it could be simply that we aren’t watching the numbers as closely as we should be. The good news for most of us is that we can turn our financial worries around with a few minor adjustments.