For the month of September I wanted to set a money goal for myself and I was inspired by two books – The Wealthy Barber Returns by David Chilton and The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley and William Danko. If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year it’s that if you don’t manage your expenses and spending, you’ll never have enough money no matter what you earn. My current monthly savings has bumped all the way up to 61% this year which is great! However, I wanted to see if I could take it even further and I decided to take another pass at my expenses and see if there were any items I could reduce further or eliminate totally this year. Here are the categories I was working with and in bold are the ones I targeted.
Food, Gas (non-existent), Donations, Subscriptions (Netflix + Prime), Car Insurance, Parking, Mortgage and Home Expenses, Phone
After everything, this exercise ended up saving me what will be a recurring $255 monthly! Here’s how I did it.
You sort of get accustomed to your monthly payments when you’ve been with the same insurance provider for a while, but it’s worth taking an hour or two to call around and see what rates different companies are offering. I had a membership discount with my previous insurer that had ended this year in 2020 which caused my rate to go up slightly. I decided to call a few different insurance companies for competitive rates and ended up switching to the provider that we also have home insurance with. They even had a discount for the specific university I graduated from, which minimized my rate even further and resulted in me saving $80/mo.
If you live or work in downtown Toronto you know how expensive the parking is, but I’ve always had a trick to find more affordable parking: most churches in Toronto offer monthly parking for a much cheaper rate. You just have to reach out, see if they offer parking and if they do, ask to be put on the waiting list. My parking at the church by my office was $75/mo. which beat all the parking options in the area by a long shot. However, this month I decided to give up my spot and get put back on that waiting list. To be honest, this one was more a residual effect of finding out that we would be working from home for much longer than anyone had anticipated but either way, I’m looking forward to having that extra $75/mo. to save or invest.
Food and Restaurants
I’ve gotten so much better at grocery shopping and meal planning the last few months and I now set a monthly food budget and stick to it. This month I was able to cut down my food budget by $100 and there were a few things that contributed to being able to do this. We shop weekly for only what we need, this has resulted in a lot less waste on our part. We eat less meat; I’m not a vegetarian but I’ve never been a big meat eater and it’s made a huge difference. We shop at cheaper grocery stores, and lastly, meal planning has been a game changer. Out of pure curiosity I frequently break down the cost per meal of what we make to see how cost-effective it is and I have to say, it is strangely satisfying to find out that your meal works out to be $1.79 a portion.
If you’re at home wondering “why can’t I save more?” or worse, “I can’t save money!”; build a budget or just start by listing all of your expenses and tackling them one by one. I promise you that once you start, you will find so much joy in controlling your expenses and saving that it’ll become more of a habit or a competition for you.