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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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Eating Out At Restaurants: The Ultimate Guide To Spending Less

Eating out at restaurants: The ultimate guide to spending lessEating out is great isn’t it?

No cooking, no cleaning, no groceries, and no hassle -- what’s not to love?

There’s just one problem: eating out is expensive. Ok, two problems. Restaurant meals often aren’t as healthy as a home cooked meal either, but they sure taste good!

Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to make the bill that comes at the end of your meal a lot more palatable so you can eat out more often without feeling nearly as guilty, or just pocket the extra dough for something else you enjoy.

Want to save money when eating out? Grab this PDF download with 34 strategies – including a 1-page worksheet to list your top 5.

Here’s how you do it:

Related: Do You Splurge?

Combine As Many Discounts As You Can

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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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Back-to-school Shopping Tips

Back-to-school shopping tips

Yes, it’s that time all over again.

You’ve sat on the beach, driven the kids to summer camp, gotten an awful sunburn and wondered why you wait so long to take vacation every year.

Yet, sadly – as with all good things – summer always comes to an end, and with that, comes back-to-school shopping.

Yet, there’s no need to fear! I know this can be an especially expensive and anxiety-inducing time of year…

But I’m hoping these tips would make the process more efficient...and less painful. Especially for your wallet.

What do you really need?

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Pointers On Building Your Stockpile

Pointers on how to build your own stockpileThere’s many sizes of products in any brand lineup…

And it’s not surprising that it can get confusing sometimes as to when they should purchase short term or long term supply of many items.

I know I get confused. And so do other stockpilers.

I’m more at ease when I’m ahead by a month’s supply in many non-perishable items. But sometimes the savings are greater when we don’t supersize everything.

That being said, good stockpiles are built over a longer period of time, through strategic shopping using couponing techniques, loss leader shopping, clearance sales, etc.

If you’re purchasing items for your stockpile at full price, it defeats the purpose.

To get started, first things first...

How to Unit Price

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8 Apps For Spending Less On Groceries

8 apps for spending less on groceries

We can’t do much to lower some of our monthly expenses, as much as we’d like to chop that mortgage payment in half…

But groceries are one of the variables we can control.

Choosing generic products over name-brand products can sliver a bit off the grand total. And so can looking for sticker deals on items that are about to expire.

But one of the easiest – and most effective – ways to spend less at the grocery store is by using the apps designed for this very purpose.

Grab your phone, sit back, and I’ll share my favourite digital apps for saving money on groceries...

Plan ahead

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7 Ways To Declutter Without Spending A Fortune

7 ways to declutter your home without spending a fortune

Organization storages bank on the fact that we’re attracted to those clear lucite boxes, monogramed fabric bins, or classic wooden divided trays…

They’re crisp and beautiful, with the promise that we can buy our way to a more streamlined, organize life.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t far cheaper options available elsewhere – including in your own home right now.

Here are some of my favourite ways to get organized without a costly trip to the store for sets of matching bins and baskets.

Make your own

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A Surprising Way To Save $50 On Shaving

A surprising way to save $50 on shaving

I love to save money where I can.

After all, a penny saved (or a nickel now) is a penny earned, right?

So, while you can probably find amazing deals (whether through Dollar Shave Club) or your local flyers…

I’m going to suggest that the best way to save money with shaving is go to back to the future and use a very old technology:

Double-edged safety razors.

Old is new again

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The War On Debt: Reining In The Food Budget

The war on debt: reining in the food budgetI must admit, I don’t even look at sales flyers.

The blue plastic bag is tossed on our driveway Thursday night. On Friday morning, I drop the whole thing straight into the recycle bin.

After talking with Katie Peterson, a registered dietitian, mother of five and meal planning expert, it looks like this is one more thing I need to change.

Katie’s blog is filled with tips on organization and time-savers, particularly for busy, young mothers. She also teaches how to eat on a budget (she calls it “Frugalicious” meal planning) via home parties and Facebook.

After speaking with her, I felt better about our $800 grocery bill in January, since she told me she aims for $780 per month for her family of seven.

“You have five adults,” she says. “Eight hundred is not too bad. I tried to cut back to $600 in January and found it quite challenging. But our grocery bill includes eating out, toiletries, laundry soap, coffee—everything.”

Of course, I didn’t admit that $800 was likely a cheap month. Sometimes we’ve spent upwards of $900. What usually blows it wide open is the purchase of convenience meals on a weeknight when we don’t feel like cooking, or eating out too often for the same reason.

This, Katie tells me, is the problem in most kitchens.

“If you want to stick to a budget, you need a plan. I’ve been doing it for 11 years, so now it only takes me about 30 to 40 minutes for the whole month.”

Frugalicious Meal Planning

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