Simple Money Saving Tips During These Difficult Times

The world we live in has experienced an unprecedented crisis battling for an invisible enemy. This pandemic has already claimed thousands of lives and a staggering infected individuals reported every day.

As countries around the world scrambled to contain the spread of the virus, it has led to difficult decisions in closing schools, businesses, public, and private offices to prevent further cross infection to the population.

Unfortunately, these efforts have also led to a lot of people being laid off and lost their jobs as businesses are required to close.

Many countries around the world have injected financial aid to help its citizens and those individuals who lost their jobs to help them battle these difficult times.

What can we do to combat the spread of the virus?

Self-isolation, social distancing, and staying at home are our best way in helping government efforts to slow down the spread of the virus.

While the uncertainty of this crisis leads to a lot of people in a very difficult financial circumstance, I consider it as well as the best opportunity to review our financial situation – now that we have more time at home.

Here’s some of our simple money saving tips which hopefully might also benefit in your situations: 

1) We do not hoard and we try to limit our trips to groceries and preferably only one person goes out shopping. We exercise social distancing and temporarily avoid gathering with family and friends for the foreseeable future.

2) Staying at home means less usage of your car and trips to petrol stations.

3) Cancel expensive smartphone or mobile internet plans. Mobile plans are ranging from $40 to over $100 per month. We only use prepaid phones which are provided by Speakout 711. We basically use the phone for emergency calls and text only. We use Wi-fi at home and other Wi-fi hotspots outside to call using social media (FB Messenger, Viber, and WhatsApp) to communicate with family and friends. 

What is good about Speakout 711 is that it’s voucher once activated expires for a year (365 days) and any unused time rolls over when you top it up – unlike other providers whose voucher expires within a certain period maybe a month, 3 months even if it’s not being used. Our smartphone expenses < $20/ month for both.

4) Cancel cable subscription. Internet connection is the only thing I considered essential at home. If you have a smart TV you can definitely watch YouTube for free. You can download the TUBI app and watch movies for free. It may not be the very latest movies but there is a good variety of selections. Therefore, you don’t even need Netflix and Amazon prime subscription to watch movies. Additionally, we have downloaded the CBSN app for North American news.

5) We prepare our meals at home and make our own coffee. In fact, we don’t buy Starbucks and Tim Horton’s coffee. For some reason my stomach can’t tolerate these coffees. (Maybe because of the price!). We rarely go out to eat.

6) In our little effort to help the environment, we don’t buy bottled water. We drink tap water and boiled them when necessary and used a tumbler when we went out and on our travels.

7) We don’t hold any of the big banks minimum balance or monthly fee checking accounts. Some of these big banks require maintaining a balance of $5,000 to avoid any fees and to waive those credit card cards with annual fees. 

In my opinion, it’s pointless to keep my $5,000 with these banks as I could easily earn dividends from my $5K anywhere from $10-40/month. 

We currently hold free checking accounts with NO minimum deposits with Coast Capital Savings, Tangerine, Simplii, and Motive Financial. We have never paid any fees for holding a checking account with any of these banks.

8) We use Capital One Aspire Cash cashback CC (grandfathered) not debit card or cash to pay for everything and pay it off in full monthly so that we don’t incur any interests. Carrying cash nowadays is not advisable and very risky as it may be contaminated and it may transfers easily from one person to another.

9) When shopping online we check on 3rd party cashback websites first such as Great Canadian Rebates (GCR) if it has cashback rewards and use our cashback CC to earn extra cash.

10) We do most of our groceries at Real Canadian Superstore, Shopper’s Drug mart, buy petrol at ESSO, and Mobil gas stations. We use President’s Choice Financial World Elite Mastercard for these transactions to earn free groceries.

11) Selling any of our unwanted items at home. (Although current conditions has prevented most of us from doing this!)

12) On our travels and purchases abroad we use No foreign transaction fee CC (Home Trust Visa Card) (Although won’t be benefiting this for a while!)

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My Final Thoughts

In our fight to prevent the spread of the virus we strictly adhere to self isolation, social distancing, keeping ourselves healthy and staying at home. 

I believe this is also the best opportunity to review our current financial situations to cut down those unnecessary expenses. 

Thankfully, we are able to stretch our limited financial resources by just following these simple money saving tips.

I love to hear what other money savings tips you have implemented? Please feel free to leave a comment below. Thank you for reading.

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3 years ago

Lowering a phone bill is a struggle when companies keep offering high plans. The lowest plan I can get is $45 which covered data and talk and text. I wish we can have Google Fi in Canada. With it, cloud storage (Google One) would be cheaper. I’d been considering Speakout but I still want to be able to have a Wifi whenever, wherever so I guess it’s a no for now. On a bright side, I decided not to get a new phone every two years. I take care of my phone so I don’t need to get a care… Read more »

3 years ago

Hi Rommel, hope you’re doing well! Great post on money saving tips.

I’m an avid online shopper so I’ll definitely check out Great Canadian rebates next time I shop. Curious as to if you’ve ever used rakuten. If so, what are your thoughts?

Also, I totally agree with you on how flexible speakout is. It’s nice to pay only for what you use and not get stuck in a long term contract.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x