Ways to save money in Canada in 2023 can be accessed below.
We often buy things that, in the end, are just not worth the cost. A dress worn for only one night. Shoes that sit in the closet because they hurt. Tools that you no longer need when the repair is done. There are better ways to save money in Canada.
It’s easy to save money on clothes, just buy second-hand. Transportation, food and insurance might seem a little trickier at first, but they are no exception. If you’re reading this article, it’s probably because you searched for tips on how to save money. You asked, we delivered! Here are 87 ways to save money when you need extra cash.
Canadian spending habits
According to Statistics Canada, the total household expenditures hit nearly $69,000 in 2019, the latest year for which the figures are available. That’s not to mention that about 53% of Canadians live paycheck to paycheck.
Are you looking to save for a project that is important to you? Has your income dropped because you are going to school? Now is the right time to review your budget, even if it means adopting new habits to save more money. Reducing your expenses will allow you to avoid regretting certain purchases, save money, and free up time and energy for bigger projects.
Ways to save money on everyday expenses
“You have to live a little!” is a phrase often heard by anyone who has reservations about spending money. It’s true, you have to live. But to live without giving in to the unrealistic expecations of a consumer-driven society is real freedom.
Buyer’s remorse is a thing! Unexpected purchases, either on the spur of the moment or because the salesperson was that smooth, are the source of many regrets. What strategies can we put in place to spend less on a daily basis?
1. Make a budget
Before you start looking for ways to save money, take a sheet of paper and a pen and list your monthly income and all your monthly expenses, even the most trivial ones. Determine a maximum spending limit for each expense. Another strategy to save money is to set aside a portion of your salary in a savings account, preferably one with a high-interest rate, or an investment account.
2. Avoid impulse buying
One of the best and most obvious ways to save money is to avoid impulse purchases. You can do this by taking the time to think about what you need, as opposed to what you want. This will help you put your needs into perspective. Try to wait 24 hours or even a week before making your purchase.
For example, you just joined a community hockey team and need to buy some equipment for your new favourite sport. The salesperson is charming and very convincing. They encourage you to get a high-quality helmet in addition to the equipment you were already planning to buy. Do you really need this helmet? Do you already have one at home that could do the trick? Are there any cheaper ones in another store? Facebook local Buy, Sell, Give Away groups are a goldmine.
3. Make a list
Ask yourself the same kind of questions, but this time, do it before you go to the store. Make a list and check it regularly. It’s a great way to stay focused when you’re surrounded by shiny new things! This advice also applies when shopping online, where it’s even easier to just click “add to cart.”
4. Reduce your electricity bill
We know that hydro companies will probably increase rates according to inflation. Washing clothes in cold water, taking shorter showers and turning off the lights in rooms that are not used are some of the easiest ways to save money on electricity.
5. Reduce your heating bill
Did you know that a temperature of 18 to 22 degrees Celsius is optimal for the thermoregulation of the human body? No need to set the thermostat to 25 degrees! Do you need to heat your home to more than 18 degrees Celsius when you’re at work, on vacation, or even at night? Probably not.
Many heat and hydro companies offer dynamic pricing, so why not try it? This is a way to better distribute electricity demand during the winter. It allows you to save money if you reduce your consumption to their demand during peak hours. With the winter credit, during a peak event, each kilowatt-hour not consumed gives you a 50¢ credit.
For example, if you use 13 kWh less than your normal consumption, you will get a credit of $6.58 on your next bill. With this type of pricing, during off-peak events, the price of electricity is lower, while during peak demand, it is higher. So you should use electricity, as much as possible, during off-peak hours to minimize costs.
6. Breaking the habit of buying coffee
Are you tired of hearing about the coffee you buy every day? You probably are! But we’re not just talking about it to make you feel guilty. At $3 a coffee, or even $5, five days a week, it adds up to almost $800 by the end of the year.
Try having your morning coffee at home. But be careful not to be seduced by a state-of-the-art machine unless you want to spend that $800 right away. By making coffee at home with a standard coffee maker, you’re saving money without even realizing it. If you absolutely must have your designer java, look for a rewards card that gives you special perks on coffee purchases, like a TD credit card and Starbucks Rewards.
7. Bring your lunch to work
When you cook at home, try cooking a bigger bath than you need and you will inevitably end up with leftovers for a lunch or two. In a bad situation? A good old peanut butter sandwich always feels good for your stomach and your wallet!
8. Create a cooking challenge with your colleagues
Are your office colleagues reluctant to eat lunch? Are they making fun of your cooking skills? Why not turn the situation into a challenge? Every day, one of you must feed the whole team! A lunch that costs you nothing, that is healthy, and that you didn’t even have to make yourself? This is starting to sound like heaven! This should also give you the opportunity to gently return their mockery.
9. Withdraw from certain types of spending
This will give you the chance to evaluate what you miss the most and what you can do without. For example, cut all entertainment expenses for a week, stop drinking alcohol for a month, or challenge yourself to cook dinner at home for 30 days.
10. Avoid waste
Only use half a block of tofu for dinner? Now think about what you’ll do with the other half in the following days. Planning meals will prevent food from expiring and ending up in the garbage or compost.
11. Take advantage of free activities
There are plenty of free activities offered in your town or city. If you live in a big city, you’re in luck! Festivals offer free entertainment. No matter how big or small your city is, you’ll find at least one free activity. The local swimming pool is often a good example. In the winter, we can also think of outdoor slides. It may not be Calypso, but it will still slide!
12. Turn to discounted activities
For example, museums are very inexpensive on certain weekdays and evenings. Other cultural attractions, like a local art gallery might even offer a monthly free night. At Cineplex theatres across Canada, their discounted “cheap night” is every Tuesday.
13. Work overtime
Not only will you make more money, but during that time, you’re not spending. There are many work-from-home opportunities now too.
14. Find a side job or an activity
Make money with a mini business that you can start in your spare time. Like what? Restore old furniture and resell it online, make jewelry, whatever, as long as you have a little fun. There are so many side jobs and weird ways to make more money.
Ways to save money when you shop
15. Visit thrift stores and stores like Winners
You can often find beautiful, original and less expensive pieces at a thrift store or branded discount store. But be careful! Some thrift stores can sell for surprisingly high prices. The point is not to pay more for an old sweater that you might find in your parents’ basement.
16. Buy used equipment
Whether for cross-country skiing or hockey, you’ll save big. Just be careful about odours. Check out your local sports consignment shop and join your local Facebook Garage Sale or Buy Nothing groups. Better yet, ask your friends and family if they have any equipment you can have or borrow.
17. Take advantage of a credit in exchange
Did you outgrow your own sports equipment? Did the novelty of your new hobby wear off super fast? Try selling your stuff on consignment. Many second-hand sports shops also offer a store credit for your used equipment so you can score even more deals in the future. Better yet, see if you can do a straight swap for a different item of the same value.
18. Sell the clothes you no longer wear
We often want to change part of our wardrobe, even when our clothes are still in good condition. There’s no point in throwing any away! For example, children’s clothes sell quite well online, as do high-end name brands in good condition. Many people have turned this into a successful side hustle on sites like Poshmark and Shopify.
19. Expand your resale horizon
Games, books, bicycles and other motorized and non-motorized transportation also sell well online. Did you know there’s a market for dirty laundry too? Before you throw anything in the trash or give it away, consult Google to see if there’s a market for that thing that you didn’t know existed.
20. Buy on the Internet
It’s often cheaper. True, your glasses shipped from the other end of the world may break quickly. But discount sites like Cleary and Zenni have excellent reputations for quality eye-wear on the cheap. You can start with something less risky, like clothes. Pro-tip, always read the reviews to get an idea of how it fits relative to the sizing chart, quality, and longevity. Also, remember that any item coming from elsewhere may be subject to delivery or customs charges. Make sure you do the necessary checks and the math to make sure you are actually saving money.
21. Use coupons
You can subscribe to these types of sites for free, simply by providing your email address. You then receive discounts for groceries, restaurants, beauty treatments, hotel nights, classes, etc.
22. Buy your winter boots in the spring
This is just one example; any off-season purchase can be done at a cost advantage to you. You can save a lot of money by shopping during the sales, for example by buying Christmas decorations in January or a garden set once summer is well underway.
23. Buy your gifts in advance
This will prevent you from buying them in a hurry at the last minute without considering the price. Of course, one should have a list of potential gifts and not fall into impulse purchases.
24. Make gifts yourself
While this is a lovely strategy, those who receive them will notice if you overdo it. Use sparingly. There are many ways to give a beautiful gift someone will love like a framed picture of a special moment, a jar of your secret receipt spaghetti sauce, or even an artisan recipe box with all your “famous” recipes that the recipient loves inside.
Ways to save money on food
25. Eat before you go grocery shopping
Whether it’s a full meal or just a snack. Going on an empty stomach will cause you to spend more. Everything, and I mean everything , looks good so you’ll put it in the cart.
26. Prepare a list to avoid impulse buys at the grocery store
Avoid like the plague all the sections that offer ready-to-eat meals. Not only do these products cost more per meal, they are often taxed. Plus, they’re usually full of unhealthy additives like more sodium, processed sugar, and other stuff.
27. Check out flyers for deals
One of the easiest ways to save money is online. Get in the habit of using good old Rakuten and other apps like Honey, we don’t judge you! You can score great deals, earn cash back, or both.
28. Buy the house brands
House brands, like stuff at the grocery store, are cheaper than the big brands and often just as good quality. No-name, Our Compliments, and President’s Choice will now populate your pantry.
29. Avoid taking your kids with you to the grocery store
It’s very hard to resist pleasing them. That’s how I ended up with yogurt drinks that “cost an arm and a leg”. Never again, I swore to myself!
30. Look at the top and bottom shelves of the shelves at the grocery store
The cheapest products are often placed there. This is where you will find the house brands, most of the time.
31. Compare prices by quantity by looking at labels on the shelves
For example, with meat, look at the number of grams to see the price difference between two equal quantities. If you hate math, most labels show the price per quantity, for example, $13/100 grams. This is usually not written very large, so be patient at first. In time, you will know by heart where to find this information.
32. Prepare your own fruits and vegetables & do your own baking
Pre-assembled snacks can cost double the price of unprepared food. Whenever possible, always prep your own fruits and veggies when you get home. Bake your own muffins in batches and put them in the freezer for quick breakfasts on busy mornings or for entertaining guests.
33. Reduce your meat intake
It’s funny, it seems that the price of tofu isn’t rising as quickly as beef. Why not start with one or two meatless meals a week? Plant-based meals are not only cheaper, they’re generally better for you too.
34. Take advantage of the sales
If it’s on sale, stock up on your favourite cereal, tomato sauce canes, or anything you eat regularly that is non-perishable. Just don’t go crazy and buy ten bags of six avocados each. Avocados are pricey and spoil in a hot minute.
35. Buy in bulk when it comes to non-perishable foods
Like eggs, they’re cheaper by the dozen! Ok, eggs are perishable but you can save when you buy more while they’re on sale. Stock up on those non-perishable pantry staples like sauces, rice, soups, cereals, etc. And buy the larger sizes so you can get leftovers for lunch, and batch cook freezer meals.
36. Join the Mealprep trend
It’s all about making the majority of your meals for the week in advance. Winter is coming, what are you going to do with your Sundays? It’s the perfect time to try meal-prep and make your followers on social media jealous.
37. Drink tap water
Most of the time, it is perfectly safe to drink. But if you’re in a remote cottage, you might want to check! It’s cheaper to carry a larger water bottle from home than it is to buy bottles of water, which are outrageously expensive.
38. Consider roommates
One of the most popular ways to save money is to rent out a room in your house, or share the space and split the cost of living. The cost of housing is constantly rising, and the increase has been particularly sharp in recent years. Roommates, are you there yet? It’s not for everyone, but if you get along with your roommate, big savings are within reach. You can split the rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, etc.
39. Shop around for your mortgage rate
Shop around and compare mortgage rates from at least 3 lenders. Feel free to turn to new players and less traditional companies, like Nesto. Alternative mortgage lenders are getting more and more competitive with their rates and can sometimes offer more flexible terms if you have a unique situation. Find the best rate with the Hardbacon Mortgage Comparison Tool .
40. Think about the accelerated mortgage payments
How is this a saving, you might ask? It’s a savings in interest paid to your lender, over the long term. Interest charges are a percentage of the balance on the loan. The quicker you reduce or pay off your mortgage balance, the less interest you end up paying. Bonus, paying off your mortgage early also eliminates the big mortgage payment from your budget.
41. Consider investing in real estate
Buying a duplex or triplex instead of a house or condo can kill two birds with one stone. Not only will the rent help pay the mortgage, but you can generate an additional income stream too. That extra money could be used to save, pay down debt, or better yet, invest to make passive income from returns!
42. Rent a room to a student
During the school year, it could help you make ends meet if you rent a bedroom to a student. In addition, they will probably leave during the summer vacation and even on weekends, to return to their parents! What other space do you have that could you rent out?
43. Learn how to do the repairs yourself
Learn how to fix stuff yourself, you’ll be proud of yourself and save money too. No matter what it is, there’s a video or article that shows you how to do it. Consult Google and YouTube before hiring a professional. If it’s too outside your comfort zone, consider swapping skills with a friend or neighbour who can change your taillights and you can fix their computer.
44. Rent tools you don’t use often
It’s more economical and you won’t clutter up your space unnecessarily. An alternative is to buy them and offer them for rent later.
45. Choose electrical appliances when replacing your old ones
Add this feature to your checklist next time you’re shopping for a new appliance. The washing machine is often a good example. New models are more energy efficient which can lower your monthly utility bills.
46. Use compact fluorescent lightbulbs
They use less energy and last longer than other types of bulbs. You save money by not buying new ones as often, and it helps lower your utility bill too.
Many institutions charge fees based on the number of transactions you make. For example, you may pay $5 a month just to deposit and withdraw money from your account. The Hardbacon Chequing Account Comparison Tool will help you find the best account for your needs, at the right price. Hint, there are many digital financial services providers that offer free accounts with unlimited transactions and other out-of-the-box solutions. Here are other ways to save money too:
47. Open an RRSP account
This is a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) that allows for some tax savings. It is especially advantageous if your income is average or high. You get a tax break for making deopsits to an RRSP, but you will get taxed later when you withdraw money.
48. Open a TFSA account
The earnings generated by your savings will be tax-free, even when withdrawing. For both the RRSP and the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), be careful not to exceed your annual or accumulated contribution limit.
49. If you have children, open an RESP
A Registered Education Savings Plan is an investment account where the Government gives you free money when you make deposits, up to a certain amount per year. Government grants are generous and offer a certain return on the money you invest in a registered education savings plan.
50. Choose the most advantageous investments
For example, exchange-traded funds ((ETFs) are a hot commodity. Similar to mutual funds, they have much lower management fees if you get them yourself on a direct brokerage or robo-advisor platform. Use the Hardbacon Online Brokers Comparison Tool to find the best self-directed investing platform or the Hardbacon Robo-Advisors Comparison Tool for more hands-off investing.
51. Choose a credit card with benefits
For example, if you rent cars from time to time, some credit cards offer insurance. The best travel credit cards should include travel insurance. Look at cash back or points you can earn by using your credit card on everyday purchases. Some offer higher points or cash back on certain kinds of purchases like groceries, gas, restaurants, and more. Use the Hardbacon Credit Card Comparison Tool to find the best one for you.
52. Try to pay off your credit cards in full each month
Otherwise, you will have to pay interest and the cost of credit comes at a very high rate! For example, a $2,000 purchase at a 20% annual rate can double in price if you just make the minimum monthly payment for too long. Use our free Hardbacon Credit Card Repayment Calculator to see how interest accumulates.
53. Negotiate the price of your car insurance
Is this really that important? Yes! Plus, car insurance is mandatory in Canada. But there is no need to over-insure. An old “bazou” is probably not worth being insured like a new Mercedes. So keep it to a minimum. Use the Hardbacon Car Insurance Comparison Tool to find better options. And try choosing a type of car that is generally cheaper to insure as well.
54. Negotiate the price for home insurance
It is not always mandatory, but it is certainly useful in many cases. Do you have the means to mop up the bill after flood, or even a house fire? Find the best price on home insurance with the Hardbacon Home Insurance Comparison Tool.
55. Consolidate all your insurance
One of the best ways to save money on insurance is to bundle it all together. What does that mean? In some cases, you could reduce your premiums by consolidating all your insurances together with the same company: car, house, life, etc.
56. Increase your deductible
The deductible is the amount you are responsible for paying in the event of a claim. If you can afford to pay it in the event of a claim, choose the highest deductible you can afford. It will lower your insurance payments for monthly savings.
57. Take advantage of tax benefits
There are a wide range of tax benefits, you just need to know about them! Moving for work, first-time home buyer, business expenses, partially reimbursed childcare expenses, tuition credit, medical expenses and more.
58. Budget all your expense items
Do it by year, month, and week. Use your credit card and bank statements to do this. This will give you a realistic idea of your expenses.
59. Budget your savings
Budgeting is the only way to save money by tracking your habits to break the bad ones, and create good ones. Yes, by creating your budget, you will calculate this outflow of money as an “expense.”Saving represents a much better reward than any item you purchase and have forgotten in a few weeks. Better yet, invest what you save to grow your savings even faster.
60. Set up automatic savings
Pre-authorized payments are a good way to save without even realizing it. This way, you won’t “forget” to put aside $200 at the end of the month. It will automatically move money to savings for you on a schedule you choose.
61. Choose your bank’s ATMs carefully
If you are with Bank X and need to withdraw from an ATM at Bank Y, you will pay a fee for each transaction. Planning will help you avoid the situation. Check out our page of ATM Reviews for banks across Canada.
62. Put a limit on your restaurant and entertainment expenses
We all have room for dining, going out, and entertainment in our budget. Set a monthly maximum for yourself and withdraw that money from the ATM on the first day of the month. When there’s no money left in the wallet, that’s it! Or, choose a credit card with the best cash back or rewards for things like restaurants and entertainment, but only if you can pay the balancing off in full every month.
63. Use prepaid credit cards
An easy way to save money is with prepaid cards like KOHO, which pays you interest and helps you to not overspend. You load them with money you already have, and decide how much to put on the card. Bonus, they act like a credit card but without a credit check, interest, or debt.
64. Use sites that offer cash back
Most cash back sites are free to subscribe to and you can put money back in your pockets. One of the most ingenious ways to save money is to make money on the stuff you have to buy anway.
65. Ride your bike
This is a convenient way to save on gas while getting some exercise. It’s also a lot better for the environment.
66. Use your car less often to reduce your insurance
Notify your insurer that you are driving less. You are now a cyclist! Your insurer will inform you of the possible savings by reducing your annual mileage.
67. Buy a used car
By choosing a vehicle that is 4-5 years old behind the bumper, you will avoid paying for its major depreciation. Pro-tip, if a used car is still “new enough” it might still have some bumper-to-bumper warranty coverage.
68. Consider leasing a car
This is one of the hidden ways to save money. When done properly, you can save a ton of money on a leased car instead of financing one.
69. Consider a hybrid or electric vehicle
You’ll save on gas. In addition, it is unclear how long governments will offer generous subsidies. You might as well take advantage of it now!
70. Try carpooling
It’s very affordable, whether it’s for long distances or for your daily commute to work. You can share the cost of gas and reduce your carbon footprint too. Some cities even offer a dedicated highway lane for carpoolers.
71. Rent your car on Turo
One of the most obvious ways to save money is to make more of it. In recent years, the digital economy has come to the rescue of drivers who don’t use their cars very much. Turo, for example, is a platform that allows you to rent your car to individuals when you’re not using it.
72. Drive slower
If you want to save money on gas, ease off the gas peddle. Fuel consumption decreases when you lift your foot a little and avoid sharp stops and starts. Also, use Google Maps to find the most efficient route.
73. Do some research before trading in your vehicle at a dealership
Do you want to sell your vehicle to buy a new one? Before you meet with a dealer, check classified ad sites for asking prices on vehicles similar to yours, taking into account mileage, options selected, model, etc. If the dealer makes an offer to buy the vehicle you no longer want, you’ll be able to determine if it’s a good deal.
74. Sell your car yourself
Dissatisfied with the offers of the dealerships you visited? Sell it yourself. Dealerships will offer under true market value because they need to make a profit when they resell it. If you put in the work, you can sell it yourself and get the full fair market value for yourself.
75. Analyze your cell phone habits
Keep track of your talk time, especially long distance, and how much data you use. Adjust your plan to cover what you actually need. There are also discount mobile service providers who sell cheap plans at a fraction of the cost of The Big 3 telecommunications companies.
76. Get a second-hand device
Time for a new phone? Buy an older refurbished one instead of the newest model on the market. You’ll save a lot of money.
77. Change your cellular data plan
Do you work from home now? Chances are you’re using a lot less cellular data. You could change your existing plan so that it is better suited to your new daily life.
78. Keep one streaming service
Netflix, Crave, Apple TV, do you need three services at the same time, in addition to cable? Do the same with your music subscriptions too. And be especially vigilant with auto-renewing subscriptions. They’re easy to forget about, but they keep charging your account each month.
79. Bundle your services
Asker your service provider if they offer any deals or incentives to bundle your services. The Big 3 telecommunications companies typically offer deals if you get your internet, phone and TV services through them. You can probably save money if you just ask.
80. Look at the offers of small suppliers
There are smaller internet service providers out there other than the Big Guys. They are often less expensive and provide the same quality internet that you’re used to.
81. Keep your devices as long as they work
Do you really need a new computer, a new TV? If it still works, you don’t need to spend money on the newest generation.
82. Explore local tourism
Rather than flying across the Atlantic and spending money on accommodation, you could explore your own backyard. Become a local tourist by going on an adventure in your own province or another one.
83. Use travel points
Take advantage of Aeroplan points or another similar program. The best way to do that is by using a credit card that earns travel points, then use them to plan your next vacation.
84. Stay in cheap rooms
Try to find free or inexpensive accommodation for your next vacation. Use comparison sites like the Hardbacon Hotel & Apartment Comparison Tool, choose credit cards that offer flexible travel points or are partnered with a travel provider, and check out sites like Home for Exchange.
85. Rent your house on AirBnb
If you are a little more high maintenance, no judgement, and prefer to rent a hotel, why not offer your apartment or house on AirBnb while you are away? Be careful, because the regulations are stricter than in the past.
86. Change your mobile data plan
If you’re visiting another province or country, see if you should change your mobile data plan to avoid receiving a hefty bill when you return. Roaming charges are sneaky and really add up fast if you’re not careful.
87. Pause your Internet subscription
If you’re going to be away, you can call and pause any telecommunications service during your trip. Unless you promised it to your Airbnb guests!
88. Be flexible with your travel dates
You can save money on plane tickets and accommodation. Test different dates on booking sites. Leaving a few days before or after the anticipated date could be less expensive. You can find the best price on flights using the Hardbacon
89. Buy your plane tickets early, or last minute
Sometimes buying your plane tickets well in advance can save money if you snag a sale. Other times, you can get great deals on last minute flights. Try apps like Hopper to plan your trip; it tracks the historical prices of things like flights and hotels to give you insight about the best time to buy a ticket or book a hotel.
90. Choose a less expensive destination
For example, for a vacation in the Caribbean, prices can vary greatly from one place to another. If you want to save money, do your homework. Also, travel rewards, like Aeroplan, fluctuate in redemption value based on what region you are flying to and when, so keep that in mind.
Why implement all these strategies? Let’s be honest, no one does all of them. But the more you do, the more you save. You get used to it and accumulate a ton of savings with little or no effort.
Whether it’s to pay down expensive debt or to invest in the stock market, every dollar you save has the potential to produce a chain reaction. For example, a $500 savings on the price of your insurance can be used to pay off your credit card with a 19% interest rate. That’s almost $100 less in annual interest payments.
Or, you might want to invest in a tax-advantaged account, like an RRSP or a TFSA, and watch it grow over the years. One hundred dollars is not a lot of money, but it’s the fruits of one of these tips. With the 87 tips we suggest, you’re sure to find something to your liking!