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My 25 Favourite Ways To Save Money On Life's Most Important Things

Favourite ways to save money on life's most important things

Today's post is from Andrew Daniels -- founder of Family Money Plan and Millennial Homeowner

Some people are just born a certain way.

Some are skilled hockey players. Others can write an amazing song.

For me I was born to save money. Saving money has always been a passion of mine: I’m always on the lookout for a great way to keep more of my hard earned money.

The way I see it, there are three big areas in your life that make up most of your daily spending:

If you focus on finding savings on these three first, you can do yourself a huge service down the road. So, let’s get going on how to save on all these ones...

Here are my favourite ways to save money.

How I Love To Cut Our Food Costs

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The One Sneaky Category of Expenses You Need to Watch Out For

The one sneaky category of expenses you need to watch out for

You’d probably think it was hard in some way, like that I spent a ton of time working on securing these savings, or that I cut back on something I didn’t want to cut back on.

What if I added that I made these cuts in about an hour, and I didn’t have to sacrifice anything I really liked doing to get there?

Now that I’ve got your attention, I want to talk to you about recurring charges.

These are the purchases that get posted to your debit or credit card every month without you doing a single thing about it, beyond that one time when you signed up and gave the vendor permission to charge you monthly.

This could be anything from an insurance bill to a gym membership to a Netflix subscription – and unless they’re really big expenses, you probably don’t even notice them when they hit your account.

But if you take the time to notice them, and figure out how much value you’re really getting out of them...

You could save big bucks, just like I did.

How to Get Started

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31 Money Apps, Products, and Tools You Should Be Using

31 money apps, products, and tools you should be using

There are so many tools, products, and apps out there that it’s hard to know which ones to use. There’s so much choice that it’s easy to pass by some great money saving apps and tools without a second look.

It’s even harder to find stuff that works well for Canadians – nearly everything is targeted at Americans because of their larger population.

Even though I’m a tech-savvy guy, I still don’t use as many money tools as I probably should to truly maximize my money.

Some of it is due to privacy concerns – I don’t want to link up directly to my bank, credit card, or investing accounts. But, most of it is that initial barrier to entry of learning something new when what I already do works well enough.

It really helps when someone vets and recommends useful tools first before giving them a try yourself, don’t you think?

So here is a collection of apps, financial tools, and products I either use myself or think are worth using based on the reviews and features they offer.

You can find even more money saving deals and tools that I use everyday on our deals and tools page.

Best Money Saving & Personal Finance Apps

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Calling Customer Service: Your Ticket To A Better Deal

Calling customer service: your ticket to a better deal

Dealing with real people – especially when shopping online – is often the last thing on our minds.

We’ll compare prices, hunt for sales, look for coupons and even use portals for extra cash back…

But, when something goes wrong during the checkout process (and let’s be honest, that happens much more than it should), we’ll accept the wasted time and just abandon our cart.

It’s a frustrating customer experience, and I’m sure we’ve all been there. When you’re looking for the best deal, things can and do go wrong because you’re doing something outside the norm.

People and websites are good at handling norms, but when you throw them a curveball things can slow to a crawl or completely crumble.

I’ve personally had problems with pretty much all the major sites at one time or another (Amazon, Best Buy, Staples, Cineplex, you name it).

In store, I’ve waited for more than 30 minutes while poorly trained front-line staff go back and forth with equally poorly trained managers about a simple coupon, promotion, or price match more often than I’d like to admit.

It’s infuriating but, if you have patience, it pays off. That’s especially true online.

Getting The Deal You’re Entitled To

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$166 – My Cost For High Speed Internet, TV, 2 Cell Phones, Home Phone, Long Distance, And Movies

My cost for high speed Internet, TV, 2 cell phones, home phone, long distance, and movies

Canadians pay some of the highest costs in the world for their communications and entertainment needs.

These costs can do serious damage to your long term financial health because they silently drain your bank account every single month. They're even subject to regular rate hikes to maximize profits for your service provider, often outpacing the rate of inflation.

Knowing that, I try to review my service costs regularly and keep them as low as I can while not depriving myself of what I really need. Now that I have a home office, I need top speed and rock solid internet for example. I also need reliable cell phones with lots of minutes and data - whereas I used to be able to get by without that in years past.

Here's a breakdown of my current services for my household of 2 adults and 2 children - all prices include taxes and fees.

$85.04 – High Speed Internet (130mbps Down / 50mbps Up)

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11 Ways To Lower Your Power & Utility Bills

11 ways to lower your power and utility billsUtility costs are a fact of life.

Water and heat (like food) are non-negotiables…

But it doesn’t mean we can’t find ways to shrink this monthly expense now, does it?

There are plenty of ways to save money on utility costs. And anyone can do some of these simple changes.

Whether you live in an older, less efficient home or a new build - there are lots of tips and tricks you can use to save and lower your bills.

Let’s get started.

Minor Household Changes

Here are 4 minor changes you can make to your home to save on your utility bills: Keep reading » about 11 Ways To Lower Your Power & Utility Bills

magicJack In Canada - My Review 5 Years Later!

magicJack in Canada review, 5 years laterI first reviewed magicJack more than 5 years ago when I chose it to replace my home phone service while going internet-only.

It was a rocky start - but once I ironed out all the issues the lack of monthly phone bills has been amazing!

Home phone service costs about $30 + tax every month. Five years worth of that is $2,070.

With magicJack, I paid $50 for the original device which came with 12 months of service and cost around $20 per year thereafter + $10 a year for a Canadian phone number (all figures in US Dollars).

A couple of years later, I decided to purchase an upgraded magicJack Plus so I could plug it directly into my router without needing to keep the computer on. That one cost $80 including shipping and offered another 12 months of free service. The price of additional service for the new device rose to $35 per year + $10 for my Canadian number.

All told, I’ve spent $429 CAD at today’s currency conversion rates for devices and service over the last 5 years - an impressive savings of 79% when compared to the cost of a regular home phone.

I also enjoyed big additional savings from the unlimited long distance to Canada & USA included with magicJack and the long list of calling features it has at no extra charge.

magicJack Is Incredibly Simple To Use

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How to Watch Sports for Less

Tips on watching sports for lessI love watching sports. Especially LIVE in person...

In fact, I go to a couple hockey games per year. And then watch the rest at home.

The main reason comes down to this:

Money and time.

It’d cost thousands of dollars to attend all games during the year. Not to mention the time factor driving to and from the venue, finding a decent parking spot, and the hunt to find your seats.

Then there’s the snacks...And maybe souvenirs, if you’re really splurging.

YES - it’s a thrill to watch a game in person. But let’s face it:

There are cheaper alternatives...

Watching at Home

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5 Ways to Hack Your Cell Phone Bill

5 ways to save money on your cell phone billWho doesn’t have a smartphone these days?

In fact, two thirds of Canadians own a smartphone.

And as their capabilities become greater, so do the data requirements...and costs.

Here are some easy ways I save money on my cell phone bill:

  • use wifi whenever possible to avoid extra data charges,
  • use a separate sim card when travelling to the US, and
  • use a smaller service provider.

Want to slash your cell phone bill even more? Read on...

5 Ways to Hack Your Cell Phone Bill

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6 Alternatives to Owning a Car

6 alternatives to owning a carThis is no stunning revelation. But vehicles cost a lot of money to maintain.

Things like insurance, fuel, parking, tires, maintenance and repairs can add up at an accelerated rate.

One way to keep your monthly costs low is to find an alternative to owning a vehicle.

When I was in university I owned a vehicle but only had it insured during the summer months. This meant I didn’t have to pay for vehicle costs for about 8 months of the year and was able to save big.

At that time I had no choice - I was a student with little to no income, so I had to cut costs where I could. Even today, after graduating, I still try to drive as little as possible as I know vehicles can be expensive, especially with the rising cost of fuel.

Mr. Money Mustache, a Canadian-born engineer who retired at 30 and now lives in the United States, explains that vehicles are costly for most of us and advocates using a vehicle as little as possible.

6 Alternatives To Cut Your Costs

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