Photo cred - Wendy Hollands
It's no secret that a lot of young Montrealers are either broke or living paycheck to paycheck. But what's a poor person do, stop going out and drinking with our friends? Yeah, we didn't think so. Some things are just essential to our mental well being. But there are lots of other things you can do to save money that require little or no sacrifice on your part.
No these aren't life-hacks because the word life-hack is stupid and I want it to go away. So instead here are 10 easy tricks you can use to save money.
1. Use cash
You're much more aware of how much you're spending when you use cash instead of credit or debit cards. People spend a lot less money on average when they have to use cash. That's because there is a greater degree of detachment when using cards, you don't feel like you're actually spending the money and instead you only feel it when you get your bill at the end of the month. Plus you save on interest fees, and you'll never be paying an ATM withdrawal fee ever again.
2. Drink more water
Your body often mistakes hunger for thirst, so keeping your body well hydrated insures you'll feel fuller longer. This means you'll eat less throughout the day and you'll end up spending less money on food. Plus once you get into the habit of drinking water with your meals, sugary drinks won't even feel like an option anymore and you'll save a ton of money on food and on drinks when you go out to dinner.
3. Make your own refills
Swiffers are great for cleaning apartments but paying for all those refills can really add up. Luckily you don't always need a heavy duty micro static cloth, sometimes you just need a quick sweep and that's when a paper towel can do the trick instead of wasting another Swiffer pad. And if you're using a Swiffer Wetjet, don't buy liquid refills, simply unscrew the cap at the bottom and refill it with a mix of soap and water.
4. Toilet train your cat.
I know this sounds crazy but it has been proven time and time again that cats can easily be trained to use the toilet. You'll never have to smell another cat poop and you'll never have to change a litter again. Plus you'll be able to brag to all your friend: "Hey, did you know my cat poops like a human, how cool is that?" Okay it's not that cool, but it'll save you a hell of a lot of money. Video Guide.
5. Save money on your travels
There are plenty of websites that compare flight and hotel deals and they're all competing with each other which means that their prices can vary. The prices on these websites tend to drop suddenly when traffic on the website is down. So for the best deals, visit the site in the middle of the night and you're sure to find to cheaper deals. If you're too lazy to do that, at least remember to clear the search history on your browser. The website will think that you're a new visitor and the price will be on average 50$ cheaper because they're trying to lure you into returning to their site.
6. Reduce your energy consumption
With Hydro Quebec upping its rate again this year, you have more motivation than ever to reduce your energy consumption. First make sure that no cold air is entering your home from the windows and if they are you can either properly insulate them or just get your self a plastic window insulation kit (which is essentially a plastic sheet and some glue to keep your window properly sealed). You can also reduce the brightness on your computer, laptop and TV which will make a big difference in the long run. And if you have a space heater, replace it with one that has a timer so it doesn't run all night.
7. Buy a coffee machine
By brewing your own coffee you can save nearly $2.50 a day which adds up to over $900 a year. That like getting a free new iPhone every year, or an alligator (alligators cost $900 right?)
A lot of your bills cost what they do because that's how much the company thinks they can charge you. You'd be amazed as to how much you can lower your bills by simply asking the right person. Refuse the rent increase your landlord proposes every year (you can usually reduce the increase by at least half without dealing with the Regie du Logement) Call you cell phone, internet and cable companies and tell them you're considering switching providers. Claim you got a better deal and ask them to match it, they will usually try their best to accommodate you.
9. Take advantage of deals and coupons
There are a ton of websites out there (like this one) that offer easy printable coupons for pretty much anything, from toilet paper to televisions. A quick Google search and a bit of patience and you'll never have to pay full price for an item ever again.
Freebies are everywhere, you just have to know where to look. If it's your birthday you can pretty much get anything for free or at a discount: clothing, food, drinks, beauty products, massages, yoga lessons etc... In fact we've written 2 different articles in the past that tell you what you can get on your birthday (Article1 - Article 2). And if it isn't your birthday, you can still have a bunch of restaurant coupons you can take advantage of HERE