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    Default Saving money on household expenses

    Hey everyone,

    So in the past few months my family and I have had interesting circumstances which resulted in us having to spend too much $$. Now, we're trying to review all of our spending and see where we can actually save and recover properly. It seems household expenses (groceries, cleaning supplies, toiletries) take a huge chunk of our income on a monthly basis.

    I wanted to ask for your advice. What do you and your families do to save money on these kind of expenses? Do you utilize any apps/websites that show where the best prices are for food or household items? What is your strategy to ensure getting the most savings?

    Some steps we've started taking, towards making positive savings are:

    -Keeping a record of transactions made (any and every, per day).
    -limit going shopping, to only 1 time per week.
    -not eat out at restaurants (eat more at home, drink/make/take coffee from home).

    I know we have a long way to go, and a lot of waste to cut out, but I realize that I'm not doing a good job on my own, and could really use some help. Please share your ideas, and thank you in advance!

    P.S. if there are any recommended apps, websites, spreadsheets, anything that you think can help, please share. Thank you!

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    For families, just double the recipes

    https://forums.beyond.ca/threads/119...in-the-pad-etc

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    Flipp app for grocery flyers, some stores price match if multiple grocery stops is too much effort.
    Originally posted by max_boost
    Hey baller, any problem money can solve is no problem at all. Don't sweat it.

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    1. Too much house or too many cars. Especially cars - it's tougher if you have kids but you can definitely cut down on transportation costs by being a 1 car household. These 2 alone would be 50%-60% of household income when you look at houses cost around $2k/month and even cheapest car will cost $500/car/mth to keep it on the road. Can you offset by rentals? Car2Go?

    2. Penny pinching on food is hard. Overall grocery is the same everywhere. As long as you don't shop at Safeway/Sobey/Co-Op, you are pretty much at lowest you can spend. Things that you can store and freshness isn't important, buy bulk. Don't chase sales from 3 different stores, you end up costing you more in gas/mileage. Stick to one store, once a week and stick to the budget. Not eating out is good especially how prices has been escalating last few years. Cut out junk food, non essentials as well, you will be surprised what you can do without.

    3. Make sure your insurance coverage is good enough. While I don't like the cheap out, I also make sure I'm covering liability that I should be covering. Like if I have grown kids and mortgage is pay off, there is no need for life insurance.


    Any app that will do budget will be good. Challenge yourself and see if you can spend less month to month is good.
    Last edited by Xtrema; 03-21-2018 at 05:44 PM.

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    Buying meat in bulk and vacuum sealing portions and freezing them is a great money and time saver. You can season/marinate them before packing them to make ready to cook meals.

    In regards to household supplies, we usually just buy more when things are on sale, when you do it enough times, you'll have a pretty good idea of what's considered a good deal.

    Loyalty programs like PC optimum are great too, it's one of a few loyalty programs that gives you "coupons" for produce and meat. I make it a game and try to strategize sales with the bonus points to make things an even better deal.

    Checkout 51 is another app that gives you cash back if you buy packaged foods and household items, I've kinda given up on it though as I don't buy many of the items they promote.

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    It's really hard to save money on a lot of groceries but meat is one easy place. Stop eating beef, eat more pork and chicken and only eat shrimp or seafood when it's in sale. Eat one or two vegetarian meals a week, beans and veggies aren't going to break the bank.
    Superstore and Costco regularly sell entire pork loins that can be cut into very affordable chops at home.

    For the non-grocery items here:s my trick: Make yourself wait 24 hours for any unbudgeted purchases. A lot of things seem less appealing once you sleep on it.

    Another thing is if you have more than one car payment, you need to sell one of the cars and buy something cheaper.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExtraSlow View Post
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    Superstore and Costco regularly sell entire pork loins that can be cut into very affordable chops at home.
    Those, plus sous vide and freezing... deadly

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    Call Shaw/Telus and ask them why new customers get all sorts of credits, discounts and free shit while existing customers have to pay more for the exact same services..... BOOM! $40/month savings for a 15 minute phone call. No arguing or fighting required.

    Do the same with your cell phone provider.

    Shop around for house/car insurance.... while this is a royal pain in the ass IMO you could save decent amount on a per month basis.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 88CRX View Post
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    Call Shaw/Telus and ask them why new customers get all sorts of credits, discounts and free shit while existing customers have to pay more for the exact same services..... BOOM! $40/month savings for a 15 minute phone call. No arguing or fighting required.

    Do the same with your cell phone provider.

    Shop around for house/car insurance.... while this is a royal pain in the ass IMO you could save decent amount on a per month basis.
    True story, you should call your cell, internet and insurance companies about every 18 months to complain about the ridiculous high prices. Discounts every time.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Also if you are having short term cash flow issues most mortgage lenders will let you skip one or two payments without penalty. This just extends the term. Not a good long term solution, but can really help bridge some gaps.
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    Sign up for the Adopt a Family charity. Regardless of how responsible you are for your own situation, apparently they will still let people sponsor you.

    On a more serious note:

    1) Get rid of or minimize quickly depreciating assets. Switching to a cheap car that costs $30/mo in gas and possibly even getting rid of collision insurance (Depending on the vehicle) can be significant savings. If you have a car payment, get rid of it for something cheap.

    2) Don't eat out and cook food that can be used as leftovers for several days. Buy in bulk and cook in things like an Instant Pot, which also avoids having to use the oven.

    3) Buy everything you use often at Costco in big trips instead of numerous small trips to CO-OP / Safeway

    4) IMO the most important one - if possible, don't cut back as much on the things that make you happy and help you live a stress free life

    5) Transfer any credit card debt to an unsecured or secured line of credit (3-6% vs 18%)

    6) Get rid of your cable TV if you have it, and reduce internet and/or phone plans where possible

    7) Scour your bills for recurring/subscription fees and get rid of the ones you don't need or haven't noticed are still active

    8) If you like to read, use the library or download free e-books instead of buying $30 books every time

    9) If you drink or smoke or have any similar expensive vices, STOP

    10) Gym memberships can be had for $10/mo (Fit4Less), so you can get rid of your $50-60+ gym membership if you can live with a basic gym

    11) Check all your toilets and faucets and repair leaks (water bill reduction). A lot of people's toilets leak and they don't even know.

    12) Leave the heat down a couple degrees below normal and put on a sweater.

    13) Get a credit card with cash back and no annual fee. Use it for everything and never use cash/debit.

    14) Join every free reward program where you actually shop on a regular basis

    15) Stop going to Starbucks/Tims and make your own coffee or choke down the office coffee

    16) Transfer any investments away from the major banks and into somewhere that doesn't rape you on transaction fees and/or management fees (I.e. to Questrade). You also might have a bank account fee - get rid of it.

    17) Quit buying brand name things that are identical either in function, ingredient, etc. to non-brand name things.

    18) Get a cheaper cell phone plan, or look into a family/group plan

    19) Take more modest vacations (eg. Banff instead of Hawaii), or keep it in Canada to avoid exchange rate rape

    20) Consider moving if you are house-poor and if your mortgage is a primary reason why you have no disposable income

    21) Further your education and get a higher paying job

    22) Make Christmas/birthdays/occasions more about family and less about gifts

    23) Get $15 haircuts instead of $40 haircuts (or buzz your own haha)

    24) Go through all your stuff and sell what you don't need on Kijiji or have a Garage Sale

    25) Take advantage of the Energy Efficiency Alberta program


    Most cleaning supplies are absolutely dirt cheap, that shouldn't be taking up any significant portion of your income - get off the Swiffer/Dyson train and buy bulk supplies or cheaper products that do the exact same thing.

    Toiletries are also really cheap, I don't know what you are buying that is so expensive. Quit buying the fancy 25-blade Gillette razors and use cheap razors, an electric shaver, or grow a beard haha. Shampoo/toothpaste/deodorant, etc. all costs next to nothing at Costco.

    Restaurants is a big thing for most people - easy enough to just not go. Occupy your time by improving your own home cooking skills if you are really missing it, so you can still look forward to meals.


    Money Managing app suggestion: Mint. The apps are a bit of work though, and aren't smart enough to be fully automated so they need maintenance and it gets annoying after a while. Honestly just looking at 1 or 2 of your credit card bills will tell you everything you need to know in 2 minutes without having to worry about an app.

    I dunno, just throwing out ideas - I have no idea how much of that applies to you. Some of those are pretty minor but every bit helps Good for you for recognizing it and wanting to do something about it though.

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    Guys,

    Thank you so much for all your inputs, it really means a lot. All of you have mentioned some really good points.

    Internet/tv are not an issue as they're on good deals. Cellphones are pricey but on a contract and can't change much.

    One thing you guys mentioned was car payments. So here's the thing, my car is being financed and is still a good 2-yrs away from being paid completely. How would I be able to get rid of it?

    I'm not sure how selling financed cars works exactly. The car is being financed through a bank, not a dealership.

    Second thing is, I have a decent education but no job in my field. I have been applying but not getting any offers of employment. So I"m stuck in a customer service job. I definitely want to increase my income, but beyond my degree I'm not sure what else I can really do. [Whoring myself out isn't an option, no one would pay :'-) lol]

    I will be re-analyzing all credit cards for any missed subscriptions but for the most part I think I know the ones I have, and they're not too pricey. That being said, will still see what I can cut back.

    In terms of food, i think the main issue is we do eat out a lot cuz it's easy, and when we are at home we make too much so end up wasting lots. So definitely need to cut back on the waste.

    Are there any apps or website you'd recommend for price comparisons?

    Thanks for your help guys, plz continue to share if you have any further tips and ideas.

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    Easiest thing from yiur description is to eat out less and always always save leftovers and eat those. If you aren't eating leftovers three or four meals a week you are wasting money.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitsu3000gt View Post
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    3) Buy everything you use often at Costco in big trips instead of numerous small trips to CO-OP / Safeway
    The only think I would caution about Costco is sometimes and some items are just too bulky for small families. My cousin always got shit from Costco that was good deal but never able to consume in time before expiry. End up wasting a lot.

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    I'm not sure how selling financed cars works exactly. The car is being financed through a bank, not a dealership.
    ....

    Are there any apps or website you'd recommend for price comparisons?

    ....
    If you are financing thru a bank, you basically have to check what's the balance you owe and what you can sell your car for in this market. 9/10 that you will be upside down (IE owe more than your car is worth).

    So the question would be, is it worthwhile to take the loss and stop the payments and find an alternative or keep paying until it's paid out. That decision is quite personal. As they say, most roughnecks in Alberta will lose their house before they lose their truck.

    As for deal apps and websites, be careful. Site like Redflagdeals actually may promote spending instead of savings, (hey look, I can save $1000 on this TV that's used to be $4000!). Like ExtraSlow said, sleep on it.

    Grocery, you can't beat Superstore and Walmart on price. Walmart got cheaper meat but Superstore got more and better produce choices. Stop buying processed food. They are not good for you anyway.
    Last edited by Xtrema; 03-21-2018 at 05:58 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xtrema View Post
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    The only think I would caution about Costco is sometimes and some items are just too bulky for small families. My cousin always got shit from Costco that was good deal but never able to consume in time before expiry. End up wasting a lot.
    We went from a household that had 7-8 adults living in it two years ago to just my wife and I - that certainly requires adjustments and the grocery volume deals are something I find us passing on quite frequently as we don't eat enough in our home anymore. I still buy coffee by the big can but it lasts a long time with me just having a cup or two a day. Milk, still getting 4 litre jugs of 3.25% but as my wife doesn't drink it I find that I can't get through a jug before it starts turning. Meat, well freezer burn is becoming an issue again as we just don't consume it as often any more.

    So now we are buying smaller, more expensive items which is okay because throwing out cheaper bulk buys/large volume isn't saving us any money either.
    Ciao, beyond.

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    As someone who used to have a 6-figure salary to 10,000/yr as a Grad Student (slightly less but whatever), I feel like I've been woke the fuck up about spending habits.

    1) Go to a free credit counselor!! I'm sure they will do something similar as this thread but honestly it's nice working with someone that does this day-in, day-out. For me, it was also a mental thing. It was acknowledging that I needed real help with a problem instead of just hoping the problem would go away by "try to spend less."

    2) Find out what you really NEED in your life and without it would be really stressful. Example: If you enjoy cooking, don't cheap out on groceries. My personal opinion is that your diet influences your body and mind regardless if you like cooking but c'est la vie. Get a decent spice rack of good quality spices. Even the most mundane food can be enhanced with quality spices from Silk Road (probably cheaper online somewhere). Spices at all groceries stores are pure, old, bland shit -- this isn't even being a food snob. Go buy Paprika at any major grocery store and then at Silk Road.

    3) Be prepared to sell shit. This was hard as fuck for me. I had a bookcase almost full of camera gear that is now almost empty because the reality is I like food and being able to go out sometimes more than I like cameras. This was a hobby I loved and I had to nearly get rid of it but was a conscious choice.

    4) Go for more walks. Talk about what you appreciate in your life.

    5) Drink less. If you feel like boozing, honestly don't go for cheap stuff. Buy what you normally do but view it differently as not just "available" but as a "reward." Budgeting is changing a mindset so you have to trick yourself at the beginning which leads into a pattern. If you're feeling the need to drink every day, that's a whole other thing.

    6) Superstore is your friend. Get the points card and PC Mastercard. Understand how to 'Load Deals'. DO NOT go on the weekends (produce selection will suck).

    7) Explore hobbies that don't involve a lot of money. Google.

    8) SET A BUDGET. Sit down and make a spreadsheet or have the credit counselor help you make one (seriously just go make an appointment).

    9) Since you guys go out to eat a lot, make a category in your budget that differentiates "convenience eating" vs. "special occasion eating." If you guys have a date planned, or it's so and so's bday..fine. If you get home at 6 pm and don't feel like cooking so you go out, acknowledge that, don't ignore it like it didn't happen. Halfway into the month you'll realize just how bad it is by looking at it.

    10) Meal plan. This will take effort to stick to it but there's loads of guides online for free. It makes going to the store more efficient and have left overs (this has been stated numerous times and it's for a reason). Leftovers are great when you feel lazy because you take it out of the freezer and end up being happy that you have it. Figure out how much you would have spent that night and appreciate you "saved" it (even if it just means you didn't spend it).

    11) One of the big things I learned as well was to control impulse buying. This meant that if it wasn't food, I would sleep on it for two nights. If I still felt like, yeah I could really use that, then ok. Otherwise the urge to hit "checkout" diminished and I later laugh to myself about feeling the insistence need to have...whatever it was.

    Budgeting is all about changing behaviors and let me tell you, it is not easy, especially when you had a spending problem like I did before. The issue was that my salary said it was fine, I still could manage very well and have savings etc etc. It's unfortunately now when I'm flat on my ass that I realized it and in the end, grateful it has happened -- I will be better off in the long run.

    Good luck.
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    Spice Road is cheaper per gram for spices than anything at the grocery store except for bulk.

    Don't ever eat out.

    Make a pledge: Don't buy anything for six months that's not groceries. Nothing. Not even replacement clothes.

    I'd say drop the gym membership but I need the stress relief and seeing girls in skimpy tight clothing. Also there's hot girls in thongs in the pool area.

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    http://www.gailvazoxlade.com/resourc...nancially.html
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    I wouldn't take workout advice from her but money management advice, I would.

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    We have a budget and thought we were doing well keeping to it. Month of December we put a deposit on a used van on my Visa. Also bought my mom flight ticket to Hawaii, bought a bed, and a bunch of Amazon.ca purchases. We did a couple extra charitable donations plus a few other 'extra' spending. Our one Visa's total was over $16xxx.xx. for that month! I also paid my tax installments (Corp, personal and GST) and then I realized man our bank account is getting low.

    In January we started to look at our Visa statements and our bank account's transactions they add up and we said dang did we really spend that much? Some expenses are relatively the same month to month. Mortgage, car payments, insurance, and to an extent utility. What fluctuates would be things like cost to eat out, groceries, and miscellaneous 'extra' expenses. We spent more carefully in January and February and when we looked at the numbers we found we still ate out more that we like even though I now bring breakfast and lunch to work 90% of the time. Groceries for family of two adults and a toddler is close to $1000. Extra spending were about $1800 for the month of February. Nothing big but many little things here and there! For February even being more careful we were still $1500 over what we budgeted.

    Point is we need to look at our statements and simplify. Eat out less, don't buy stuff we don't really need. I have been taking the bus instead of paying $340 for parking at the Bow. We don't have season tickets to the Opera anymore, etc.

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    I use Mint to get a good overview of my spending habits and trends. Set budgets for each category, get alerted when over. It helps, a bit.
    I can eat more hot wings than you.

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    I’m not sure if you’re with RBC but their online banking system has this “NOMI insight” thing that basically pie-charts your spending into different categories so you can see where the money is going. I travel a lot, so I end up eating out about 20 days a month. It’s crazy how much money you can spend just on eating out alone. It’s easily in the thousands. Unfortunately, I don’t have a choice, but if you cut back on eating out, I’m sure you’d notice a big difference.
    ...

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