Saturday, July 11, 2015

How to Save Money

Hi everyone! I've been thinking about doing a finances video for quite some time, but I hemmed and hawed about it because I wasn't sure if anyone would find the content interesting. A couple of you asked me to talk a bit about how I save money and budget for big purchases so I thought I would share a few tips. Nothing groundbreaking but I hope you find this video helpful. Please keep in mind that these are the tips that work for me - everyone has a different financial situation so my personal choices may not be appropriate for you. Here are the tips in case you don't feel like watching the entire video.


I think this is the most important concept to implement - it is critical to understand where you spend your money if you truly want to make a change in your financial situation. Most of the other tips depend on having this foundation. Once you start tracking your expenses, you may find yourself surprised by how much you spend in at least one or two categories. Little purchases add up quickly and it is very difficult to accurately estimate where your money goes without some sort of tracking tool.

Here are a few free sites/apps I found that you can use if you don't want to create your own Excel spreadsheet. I haven't used any of these but they are popular so it may be a good way to get started:
Pocket Expense
More suggestions

I inserted a couple of charts in the video to show you how my spending has changed over the past 10 years. In 2005, I was single (dating my now-hubby but he was still in school), renting an apartment on my own, and didn't have a lot of disposable income to put towards travel, clothing, beauty products and the like. You will see that my expenditures reflected this as I had to adjust my spending to cover my basic needs, i.e., food and shelter. I was also trying to save a ton of money leading up to 2006 because that's when I purchased and moved into the condo where I am now.

Contrast this with 2014 - we paid off the condo in 2011 so now we have a lot more disposable income to spend on travel as well as other material goods. Please note that while I am showing wardrobe and travel as 23% and 21% of my expenses respectively, the percentages are a little distorted because I no longer have the huge expense of rent or a mortgage. Another major change is that we have 2 incomes now that we are married and my hubby is also working full-time; however, I still track my personal finances separately as well as our shared household expenses. The 2014 chart reflects my personal finances plus my half of our shared expenses. While it looks like I spend a lot of money on travel, clothing, etc., I still save over 50% of my take-home pay as my dream is to retire early and I am very risk averse so I would not feel comfortable retiring unless I have a huge nest egg.


I started my dedicated savings account in 2002 and it has really helped me save. I put lump sum payments into my account whenever I can whereas my hubby prefers to have automatic monthly withdrawals (or you could do both) - either way, the key is to be consistent and you will see your savings account balance grow. Try to choose an account that pays a decent amount of interest (I use Tangerine, formerly ING Direct but now owned by Scotiabank). If you know you will not use the money for a while and do not want to invest in stocks or bonds and the like, you can also put it into a GIC or a TFSA GIC (for Canadians)… these generally pay higher amounts of interest and the good thing about maxing out your TFSA is that the interest is tax-free.


This is not easy but if you track your finances, it becomes a very simple equation of income less expenses equals savings. The more you can increase your income or reduce your expenses, the more you can save (or put towards paying down your debt). I look at all my cash flows as a simple equation and it really takes away the stress and anxiety of feeling like you have insurmountable debt.


Once you start tracking your expenses, it will be very clear where you spend most of your money. Then, it's time to look for ways to reduce. Don't shy away from unconventional approaches. Just because everyone you know spends money on something, it doesn't mean you have to too. For example, it is common for people to have cars and cable TV but it doesn't really make sense for our lifestyle so we cut out both. We now rent a car when we need one and we stream the things we want to watch (Netflix, YouTube,, etc.). My hubby and I also saved a ton of money on our home because we are happy living in a small condo. If you want to own a larger space or need a larger space because you have children, that is likely going to come with a larger mortgage and additional expenses but again it is about choices. The good thing about tracking your finances is that you can find the balance/solution that is right for you.


This is the newest thing for me and my hubby has really helped me with this one. I'm all about convenience so I never sold anything in the past. I would either keep it or just give it away/donate it. My hubby started selling our old camera gear, small kitchen appliances, DVDs, etc. and it really opened my eyes as to the amount of stuff I could have sold to add to my "income." While this is still a struggle for me, I am feeling motivated about this at the moment because of my decluttering kick. It's become a nice way to reduce the number of things in my home while making a bit of money back.

That is it for now! If you would like any other videos on finances, I can definitely do more. Feel free to let me know if you'd like to see more details about anything in particular.

Not sponsored.

  © 2011-2019 | ellesy the petite pear | all rights reserved

Back to TOP