Spring = Savings
After a deliriously dreadful winter, the coldest for many of us Canadians in literally decades, today finally brought forth some sunshine as the snow beneath our feet continues to melt, and the warm prospect of springtime comes closer and closer.
‘Tis the Season to Save
And what do we associate with springtime? Well, besides BBQ’s, patios, a return to the outdoors, sports, and long walks through the park, savings!! That’s right, there’s a reason why spring savings is a thing, and it’s more than just alliteration. After all, spring is a time where many of our hobbies and activities are inexpensive, or even, free. After five hard months of winter, us Canadians surely don’t take the days we can be outside for granted. As such, it’s a time to leave our wallets at home, and enjoy the outdoors.
And, concerning Spring 2015, spring savings couldn’t have come at a better time. Canadian debt has gotten out of control, with many consumers continuing to make the same financial mistakes, and with the average debt-to-income ratio currently at $1.63. Furthermore, as CEO of the Credit Counselling Society Scott Hannah notes, some 66% of Canadians believe they’re “financially literate” when they’re actually spending more money than they own, racking up their credit card bills, and potentially hurting their credit.
According to Bank of Montreal’s 2015 Credit Card Report, almost half of all Canadians (46%) are currently carrying credit card debt. To top it all off, banks like TD and CIBC are preparing to raise interest rates in April for consumers who are months behind on credit card payments.
And if that wasn’t enough, as stated by the Bank’s report on Canadians and our relationship to credit, most of us (56%) don’t check our scores, or even know what a good credit score is! Which makes utilizing good credit-building practices pretty difficult.
So, with sunny skies and spring upon us, we thought it the perfect time to list….
Seven Useful Money-Saving Tips We Can All Utilize This Spring
1. Do It Yourself (DIY). Springtime often entails spring cleaning, spring fixing-up-the-house, you get the idea. Useful blog This Is Old House has twelve great tips that will help you “slash utility bills, boost curb appeal, and up your comfort all year long.” Great ways to save money here.
2. Garage Sale. While some of you millenials might be shaking your heads in confusion, the rest of us will likely remember how we USED to sell our old stuff before eBay rose to prominence. Well, you might be surprised to learn that garage sales are still very much a thing, and they only exist during spring and summer! Also, there’s something about actually looking at something in the flesh, as opposed to via pictures. Furthermore, chances are no one’s going to buy an old rocking chair or your dad’s old Hawaiian shirts for $3 each when it costs $5 for shipping, but they will buy it when those dazzling prints are staring them right in the face. You’d be surprised at how much you can make in a weekend, particularly if you smile, bargain, and serve free lemonade.
3. Save on Trips. Planning a trip to Europe this year? A cross-country drive across Canada would be nice too (Prince Edward Island is beautiful in the spring). You’d be surprised at how many beautiful tourist locations Canada has to offer. Or if you’re keen on your original idea, then check for all-in pricing, book flights and hotels together as bundling is less expensive, look for seasonal sales, and claim those reward miles!!! As Expedia’s managing director Sean Shannon says, “It doesn’t take a lot of extra effort to uncover what can add up to significant savings.”
4. Trade Your Car/Metro Pass for a Bicycle. If you live in the Greater Toronto Area, you’ll know that the TTC just raised its monthly metro-pass fee to $141.50, which is small potatoes compared to the price of gas + insurance + the payment on your auto loan. And while many of us do need a car to get around for work and other necessities, you can still save on biking and walking for everything else. Plus it’s healthy for you, not to mention great exercise!
4. Save On Your Energy Bill. Take care of the heating and cooling system in your house, and your family will be ultra-comfortable, not to mention save you cash. Check out these four helpful pointers provided by The Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) like getting rid of dust, paying attention to your AC noise levels, and other helpful tips.
5. Cut the Cable, It’s Spring Out There! While we wouldn’t dare tell you to get rid of your Internet, you can get rid of your cable (after all, with Netflix and the net, what else do you really need?) and remind your family of the joys of being outside! Encourage your kids to play sports, go for nice long walks with your significant other, and…
6. Trade In Restaurants for Groceries. It’s a beautiful day for a picnic, isn’t it?! Instead of hitting up your favourite restaurant, why not drop by the local grocery store, pick up some cheese, crackers, and fruits and go for a nice picnic in the park instead? It’s far less expensive than a patio.
7. Get Rid Of Your Gym Membership. If you, like many of us Canadians, pay $50 a month for a gym membership you barely use, springtime is the season where the ‘It’s too cold to exercise outside’ excuse no longer applies. For cardio, ride your bike. For strengthening, check out the local park and do some chin ups on the monkey bars. You’ll be surprised at how many other money-savvy Canadians will be out there doing the same.
Follow these tips and you can save yourself some serious cash this spring! Enjoy the weather out there!! If you’re looking for more tips and advice, join our Facebook page! Our community members are often posting other helpful pointers you may find useful.