• Stephanie Hinds

How to curb these five common expenses


Nothing serves as quite the wake-up call like sitting down and reviewing your finances.

With a hefty-priced kitchen renovation on the horizon, I sat down recently to make sure this was something my partner and I could truly afford. And in the process, I found a ton of wasteful spending that needed to get ditched if I was going to have my dream kitchen. There were miscellaneous purchases for everything from chai lattes (my certified weakness) to clothes I just didn't need. Here were a few areas I found where cutting costs was necessary.

Takeout

Recently, I started working at my company’s Downtown office. Making the switch from Agincourt to Queen Street is expensive. And it’s not just the added gas and cost of parking that make it that way. It’s the accessibility of seemingly irresistible food joints and must-have lattes.

But after this morning’s review, that’s about to change.

Instead…

Pack your lunch. And pack an exciting one. Cook your meals a few days in advance and have them ready to go so you can’t use the “no time” excuse. If you’ve found a particular restaurant you like, try and find a recipe that best emulates whatever it is you order from there. You’ll find that it takes only a fraction of the cost to make it, and maybe your own modifications to the recipe might make it even better!

Parking

Sure, this is one of those things we assume to be a fixed cost. But with summer in full swing, why not switch it up?

Instead…

Try cycling to work. If you can’t make it all the way, drive to the furthest point you can, and bike the rest of the way. You can also take public transit, or opt for an Uber pool ride. But be careful when trying new routes, sometimes it can end up costing you more. If that’s the case, it takes the sting away from the cost of parking.

Clothes

Personally, one of my favourite excuses for buying new clothes is that they’ll be great for work. But what ends up happening is that I’ve got a closet full of clothes with hardly anything to wear to work.

Instead…

Do a wardrobe inventory. Take a look at every piece of clothing you have and formulate whatever outfits you can. You might have pieces you totally forgot about that serve as the perfect piece. If you do need new clothes, be conscious of what’s in your closet and buy accordingly.

Memberships/Subscription services

Between Netflix, CraveTV and Apple Music, I was already spending almost $30 a month. Did I need Netflix? Obviously. But CraveTV? Just for The Affair? Not so much. (I also held on to Apple music!) Sometimes we sign up for things because we want the free trial, but we forget to cancel. Other times, we sign up for something because we really do value the service. If that’s the case, that’s fine, but still be cautious.

Instead…

Try teaming up with someone and sharing a subscription. My partner and I have separate Netflix accounts, but often watch the same one. Cancelling one subscription could save us $10 a month. It might not sound like much, but that’s $120 in a year! Also, check your credit card statements to catch automatic charges that you may have lost track of. You might realize you don’t need something you’ve been paying for.

Groceries

My justification for spending so much on takeout was that we don’t always buy groceries. I’ve taken several hard looks at the comparison and sometimes, eating out can be cheaper! But if you buy and use your groceries wisely, you can save your household a lot of money in the long run.

Instead…

Rather than going grocery shopping once a week, rally up what you need for each meal and go as often as you cook. By only buying for the meal ahead, you avoid stocking up on snacks, chips and other food that goes entirely to waste. The extra trips to the grocery store might be annoying, but you’re guaranteed fresh items and you’re more likely to catch a deal.

#finances #personalfinance #money #millennialfinances #spending #debt