While Canada’s inflation rate might have cooled down a bit in August, it’s still at a stage where things could get troublesome, especially after it hit a 40-year high of 8.1% earlier in the year.
From fuel and food to utilities and travel, prices continue to surge on almost everything, thereby letting Canadian families feel the effects of this financial crunch.
That’s why it’s more important than ever now to find ways to make every loonie go even further. Here are 44 clever money-saving tips to keep more cash in your pocket and help the planet along the way.
Save money on groceries and shopping
1. Get cash back
The term ‘cash back’ is pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it?
You spend some money on shopping that suits you and in return get a percentage of it (cash) back as savings or to spend on other stuff. There are many cashback programs in the market today.
If you’re an existing CAA member, you probably already know about the CAA Rewards program and how you can earn cash back in the form of CAA Dollars® ($1 CAD = 1 CAA Dollar).
You can shop online at more than 50 CAA Rewards® partners and earn back a percentage in CAA Dollars®, which can then be used on trips, luggage, movie tickets, membership renewal, and more.
Check out the CAA eStore for some amazing offers from various rewards partners like Sephora (5%), Staples (3%), and Aldo (6%) among numerous others.
2. Use gift cards
Contrary to the popular belief that they are just good for gifting purposes, gift cards are a great means for you to control your spending and prevent credit card interest while you’re shopping.
After all, a penny saved is a penny earned, right?
While every major shopping brand usually has a gift card of its own, you can also look at utilizing combination cards like the Ultimate Dining card, which can be used at multiple places.
Plus, as a CAA member, you’re entitled to some exclusive savings too. Your membership allows you to save 5% when purchasing the ultimate dining card online.
3. Cut coupons for discounts
We’re going old school for this one. Coupons are still a great way to save money on groceries.
You can choose either the conventional physical leaflets that come in your mailboxes each month or go the more modern, digital route by searching them online or on your mobile phone.
Here’s a pro tip though. While coupons can surely save you money, don’t go crazy and buy things you don’t need just because they’re cheaper.
Create a stockpile when there is a sale for items that do well in storage.
4. Look out for price match
Like coupons, flyers that showcase the prices of various products can also help you save money. Many grocery stores will match a competitor’s price if you show them a flyer.
We recommend checking with different grocery stores about their price match policies as different brands might have different caveats attached to them.
5. Save instantly on shopping
In addition to earning cashback in the form of CAA Dollars®, a CAA membership also allows you to explore various deals, discounts and offers to save money instantly on everyday purchases.
Just show your CAA membership card and get instant discounts at numerous retailers, including NAPA Auto Parts (save 10%), RW&CO. (save 10%), and Pizza Hut (save 15%) among others.
Check out the comprehensive list of CAA Rewards® partners here.
6. Go small with shopping carts
Studies have shown that the size of your shopping cart directly impacts your grocery bill. When you use a large, jumbo-size cart, you can end up spending up to 40% more.
And don’t get us started on those horrible carts with those squeaky wheels that refuse to move. 😒
Therefore, the next time you’re at a grocery store, try using one of those smaller, more portable carts (if available) to reduce the number of unwanted items you might purchase and lessen your spending.
7. Buy generic brands
This next tip might be a hit or miss depending on your personal preferences but purchasing generic store-brand items, which are often as good as their named brand competitors, can be cheaper.
For example, maybe you don’t need to buy a certain flamboyant, flashy coffee brand and instead could do with the generic store-brand product.
You could start with a monthly experiment and see if this works. If not, you can always resort back to your preferred coffee brand or any other product brand for that matter.
8. Make a grocery list
Impulse purchases in a store always lead to your grocery bills skyrocketing.
Research states that people who avoid impulse spending can save up to 23% on their grocery bills. Therefore, the next time you go grocery shopping, make a list beforehand and stick to it.
This will help you buy only what you came for and avoid impulse purchases.
Save money on entertainment and lifestyle
9. Eliminate unused subscriptions
In today’s streaming-heavy world, it’s often not surprising to learn that people have paid subscriptions for multiple streaming services at the same time.
However, do we spend time watching shows or movies on all of them? If you don’t use certain streaming services to their full potential, you can consider getting rid of them and saving some money.
If needed, you can always go on a month-by-month process where you pay for one streaming service for one month and then get rid of it for the next month and instead pay for another service.
10. Make use of CAA instant savings
We talked about this point a little in the ‘save on groceries’ section above, but it’s also relevant when it comes to enjoying savings on entertainment and lifestyle.
As a CAA member, you can get deals, discounts, and offers at many local attractions and eateries, thereby allowing you to enjoy instant, on-the-spot, savings.
You can save up to 10% on a Parks Canada Discovery Pass, 10% at East Side Mario’s, and 15% at Marble Slab Creamery, among numerous other deals from our CAA Rewards® partners.
11. Get fit for less
We understand that staying healthy is an important part of life. So, before you assume it, no we’re not telling you to cancel your gym membership. We value the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle.
However, that does not mean you must spend an exorbitant amount of money on one. To save some money, find a gym plan that fits your budget or consider drop-in classes for zero-commitment fitness.
12. Save on kids’ meals
Eating out with your family has the potential to get costly. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing it.
Many local restaurants and eateries offer deals for children. For example, did you know that kids eat for just $2 at Montana’s BBQ & Bar on Tuesdays? Check it out. Oh, and don’t forget to take your CAA card.
13. Catch flicks for less
Speaking of having fun with family, another mode of entertainment is watching a movie at a cinema.
A few theatres like Cineplex and Landmark have special offers on some days of the week when the tickets are relatively cheaper than on other days or on the weekends.
However, a cool way to save money on movies is to use your CAA membership and save up to 20% on Cineplex tickets when purchased at your local CAA Store.
14. Get a family plan
Another great (and easy) way to save money is to choose family plans for subscription services.
For example, if multiple members of your family have a music or video streaming subscription, you can combine them and create a family account to save on monthly costs.
Save money on fuel
It is possible to save hundreds of dollars on fuel each year, lengthen the life of your vehicle by preventing unnecessary wear on your vehicle, and help save the environment at the same time.
All you must do is follow CAA’s fuel-efficient driving tips.
15. Lighten your load
The more drag a vehicle faces, the more fuel it consumes. In addition to that, if your vehicle has a lot of stuff in its trunk that’s making it heavier, this too could lead to high fuel consumption.
Therefore, when possible, remove extra things like roof boxes and bike racks from your car as that will help decrease the drag and help you save more when fueling up.
Also, remove any unnecessary items from the trunk of your car. This will help lighten the load on your car and thereby lead to better fuel efficiency.
16. Check the tires
Having underinflated tires is a very common issue that many people fail to recognize. Did you know that driving your car with underinflated tires can increase fuel consumption by up to 4%?
Yes, that much. So, the next time you’re about to hit the road, make sure you check your tires for proper inflation. It’s important to regularly maintain your car so that it runs more efficiently.
17. Try to combine tripsTry to plan your route to combine visits or errands into one trip. Your vehicle is more fuel efficient when it is warmed up, so several short trips with a cold engine can use twice as much gas as one longer trip.
18. Coast to decelerate
Instead of braking at the last second, look ahead at how the traffic is behaving and coast to decelerate by taking your foot off the accelerator when it’s time to stop.
You can often see well in advance when it’s time to slow down. Use that to your advantage whenever it’s safe and possible to do so. This can help you conserve fuel in the long run.
19. Ease up on the pedals
You must have already heard about “jackrabbit” starts. For those who haven’t, a jackrabbit start is something that occurs when you get your vehicle moving forward with a rapid, sudden movement.
Statistics indicate that frequent jackrabbit starts, as well as sudden braking, might reduce travel time by only 4%, but they also increase fuel consumption by 39%.
Therefore, ease up on the accelerator when getting your car moving, overtaking a slower vehicle, or climbing an elevated surface like a ramp or an overpass.
20. Slow down and avoid speeding
As you increase speed, more power is used to push the car. Driving at lower speeds or maintaining a constant speed can increase fuel efficiency.
You can also use the cruise control feature in your vehicle when you’re on the highway. This will help you maintain a constant speed and help save on gas.
However, please be careful while using such features in wet or icy conditions as it could be dangerous.
21. Avoid idling
Research shows you can waste one litre of gas every 20 minutes your vehicle is idling. So, turn the vehicle off when waiting for durations that are longer than a minute.
Now, we understand that it’s not possible to turn off your engine every time you stop for more than 60 seconds. It might even be unsafe to do so when you’re driving in heavy traffic.
But in most other situations, it is possible. Idling can be avoided, especially considering the harmful impact it can have on the environment and your pocket.
Save money around the house
With families facing higher monthly bills and increasing home prices, it can be tricky to balance your budget—while also making changes to help the environment. But these tips can help you do both:
22. Cut your water bill
Cutting down on your water usage can be challenging but can have a big impact on your monthly bills.
Save money by using less water. You can do so by turning off the tap when brushing your teeth, by running full loads in the dishwasher, and by taking shorter showers.
Hey, last we checked, even Academy Award winner Leonardo DiCaprio showers only twice a week 😉.
23. Replace incandescent lighting
Another way to save money at home is to use LED or compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs.
They’ll cost more upfront, but last longer and use less energy. LED bulbs use 75% less energy and last as long as 20 years, while CFL bulbs use up to 35% less energy.
24. Use a smart power strip
Many households often have situations where appliances like televisions might be left running, thereby leading to waste in consumption and elevating that electricity bill.
A great way to solve that problem is to get smart strips that turn off the electricity supply to appliances that are not in use. They are smarter and more energy-efficient than regular power bars.
25. Seal your homeSpeaking of energy bills, you can cut your energy consumption down by up to 25% by using proper weather-stripping and caulking around windows and doors.
26. Mind the trap
Did you know that a dryer can lose 75% of its efficiency if lint clogs the trap? That’s quite a big number. To save on your annual operating costs, clean the lint filter after every use.
In addition to that, you can also take a thin brush and remove extra lint from the gap in between.
Save money on travel and transit
27. Buy a monthly pass
Consider buying a monthly transit pass instead of buying daily tickets if you routinely travel by bus or train. A monthly pass can save you up to a few hundred dollars a year.
28. Consider upgrading your CAA Membership
Moving from a Basic to a Plus membership gives you more than 30 times the towing distance per call, plus access to other benefits like free emergency fuel and delivery.
29. Save on car rentals
You can also save money on car rentals whenever you’re on vacation or just need one in town.
CAA Members get discounted rates and other benefits—10% off prepaid fuel and two free additional drivers—at Enterprise, Alamo, and National.
30. Use an alternate mode of transit
With fuel prices on the rise, it might make sense for you to leave your car and take alternate modes of transportation wherever possible to save some money.
Walking, cycling, or taking the bus are some of the means that are often cheaper than buying gas and help you stay healthy by providing you with the added benefit of daily exercise.
31. Save on hotel accommodations
Another advantage of having a CAA membership and the CAA Rewards® program is the discounts that members can enjoy on our numerous hotel partners, when available.
CAA members get exclusive discounts and room rates at hotels around the world, including Best Western Hotels & Resorts, Hilton, and Marriott properties.
32. Golf for less
For all you golf enthusiasts, it’s no secret that renting a golf cart on the course can add up to those monthly expenses. Some courses charge as much as $15 an hour to rent a cart.
As a CAA member, you can save more on the course with the purchase of a Canada Golf Card. This all-in-one golf card pays for itself after one or two rounds and allows you to enjoy a variety of discounts.
Save money on insurance
33. Use your CAA Insurance discounts
We’ve already talked at length about the discounts that CAA members can enjoy through the CAA Rewards® program. In addition to that, there are also discounts that you can benefit from on insurance.
34. Pay premiums upfront
When purchasing insurance, many insurance companies give you the option to make an annual payment instead of making monthly payments on your premium.
Choosing to make an annual payment instead of a monthly one can help you save an administrative fee.
While shelling out a huge sum in one go might be a challenge initially, you can be assured that in the long run, you’ll surely end up saving more.
35. Bundle up and save more
You can enjoy up to a 10% discount when you bundle your auto and home insurance premiums.
At CAA, members can get a 10% discount on their CAA Home Insurance premium if they choose to bundle their CAA Home Insurance and CAA Auto Extension Insurance policies.
Many insurance companies also offer multi-vehicle discounts on insuring more than one car.
Save money on personal finances
36. Ditch the fees
Sign up for credit cards and chequing accounts that don’t have annual or monthly fees. You might indeed lose out on some interesting features, but the extra savings could surely be beneficial.
37. Use cashback or rewards credit cards
If, however, you’re okay with paying a fee, you could think about applying for a cashback or travel rewards credit card that helps you save the most money or put points toward a future vacation.
38. Open a high-interest savings account
Almost every bank provides you with the option of opening a high-interest savings account.
These types of accounts generally pay up to 100 times the interest rates on a traditional savings account. They are usually offered by online banks that might offer other savings as well.
39. Set up automatic paymentsAutomatic payments or automatic renewals are a great way to remember to pay your bills on time. You could also consider paying up credit card balances before their due date to avoid interest costs.
40. Keep track of expenses
Just like making a grocery list enables you to avoid impulsive buying, similarly, maintaining a budget that tracks your monthly expenses allows you to see how much you spend and what you can cut back on.
You might realize that you’re maybe spending a whole lot more than needed when it comes to eating out at restaurants. In this case, you can always hold back and save a little extra each month.
41. Use cash instead of cardsIf you tend to overspend when using credit cards, consider limiting yourself to using a cash envelope. Set aside money for each buying category; when it's used up, you're done spending for the month.
General money-saving tips
42. Sign up for birthday freebies
Some companies give out free stuff or coupons during your birthday month. For instance, Sephora offers a bundle of cosmetics, you can get free frings at Harvey’s, and Starbucks gives people free beverages.
Do note that in order to utilize most of these offers, you will need to sign up for their rewards programs.
43. Plant a gardenYou can grow organic veggies and save money. It's also a great activity for kids, who will learn how to garden and have fun doing so.
44. Avoid impulse buying
If it’s not an emergency purchase, give it 24 hours or longer before making a move. The act of pausing and waiting can deflate some of the desire to spend, thereby allowing you to potentially save money.