In an earlier post, I delved into my role in our stepfamily as the freakin’ budget maker, watcher and keeper. It’s not always easy with multiple parties involved, but we keep going at it as a team and have come a long way from where we started.
To this day I still struggle with the consumerism aspect of life. That overwhelming feeling when you feel like you REALLY need something but actually don’t. It just takes over and, before I know it, I’m at home looking at a dress I really didn’t need and don’t love.
Just like all those adorable pool inflatables you see all over Instagram or a Canadian Tire store. You know, the pink flamingo, white swan or big donut.
I REALLY need it. MUST HAVES!
No, nope. It’s not a must have.
I have perfectly fine inflatables in my garage and guess how many times they get used? Like 3 - 4 times a year. Max. Although I was really close to buying the poop emoji looking inflatable for my stepson. Not because I think he’s a little turd, it’s an inside joke and it would’ve made the best birthday present. But 2 months after feeling that urge to buy the inflatable turd I’m really happy I didn’t because we don’t need it and it saved us cash.
Going out and not spending, just because I feel like I need something, is an ongoing battle. My husband came up with an idea that we’ve implemented over the past few months, well he actually read it somewhere. But ever since, we’ve been going over our paper statements highlighting expenses that, looking back, were unnecessary. And what an eye-opener that has been!
Cutting cost in our day to day expenses has (so far) mostly been done when I looked at our bills.
First thing out of the door? Cable tv at $80 a month for a basic package with NO extra channels. For a family who rarely watch tv, this just seemed like such an unnecessary expense. We canceled our subscription and signed up for Netflix at $10 a month. Savings: $70
My biggest struggle is our cell phone bill. We’ve switched providers, changed to cheaper plans and even brought our own phones with us to receive a minor discount on our monthly bill. Still, in Canada, there is pretty much a monopoly with the big 3, most likely working in cahoots (my theory which is unconfirmed). Rogers, Bell and Telus charge an arm and a leg. It’s absolutely insane and ridiculous that Canada has the world's most expensive cell phone rates.
Recently, I asked my sister how much she pays for her cell phone plan in Holland. Just like us, she has unlimited texting, calling and 3gb data and bought her phone outright. She pays € 14. Ugh. Reeeeeaally? Yup.
If you’re in Canada and are looking to cut costs on your monthly bill then use red flag deals. This is where I found the $50 4GB unlimited everything plan with Rogers (not available anymore) and all the tips on how to get it as a ‘Loyal’ Rogers customer. Believe me, they don’t want to give it to you. The first phone representative said that it wasn’t available anymore and when I questioned this he resumed to offering me a plan that was even more expensive than the deals they were offering online.
Two phone calls later and I had switched both of our plans to this deal, cutting the bill by at least $100.
Another area to easily cut costs on is your home insurance. Just by making a few phone calls, taking the time to complete the questionnaires and doing my research, I saved around $600 a year.
Same goes for your car insurance. Even though BC, Canada only has 1 government run car insurance company and NO competitors you can still shop around for collision and comprehensive, at least.
I have yet to tackle the water, electricity or gas bills as I would love to first learn how to measure our consumption and learn about savvy and smart ways to save on the overall consumption. If you are totally into this please send me an email or leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you and pick your brain.
These are just a few things we do to cut costs as a family and we’re learning every day. Feel free to share your genius money saving tips in the comments!