Why Saving Money Now Is More Important Than Ever
As the pandemic rages on, people continue to suffer from its economic impact, with the unemployment rate pegged at 8.5 percent as of November 2020. However, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel, as experts say that the country’s labour market is slowly bouncing back, adding 62,000 jobs in the same month. Still, if there’s one thing COVID-19 has taught us, it’s that uncertainty is a given. With a number of both big and small businesses struggling to stay afloat, it’s a wise move to examine one’s financial health and deduce whether it’s strong enough to survive these challenging times.
Overall, Canadians have realized the importance of saving money. In fact, according to a report released by Scotiabank, since the pandemic began, 79% of Canadians have been careful on how they spend their money, with 58% say they put extra money they’re not spending into savings accounts, while 38% are adding to their investments. With all our lives seemingly put on a pause, travel and entertainment expenses have become a thing of the past, and this is one area in which people see savings potential the most.
Of course, if you don’t count yourself as among the 79% who have turned financial savings savvy during these COVID-19 times, it’s not too late to start making an effort now. Below are surefire tips that will point you to the right direction.
Examine how you spend your money.
Take time to thoroughly do an assessment of your spending. Go through your online banking account, credit card statements, and bills, and see if you notice a pattern on how you’re spending your earnings. If you tend to shop online as soon as your pay cheque comes in and then wait a few days before paying your bills, come up with a plan that will reverse this habit. For example, set up automatic payments for your phone bill and other necessities and don’t think about shopping online until all your monthly bills are paid. In addition, never settle for simply paying the minimum due. Paying off the whole due amount should be your goal.
Set up an automatic savings plan.
Along with keeping your bill payments in check and curtailing your online shopping, set up an automatic savings plan. This way, you have funds set aside as soon as money comes into your bank account, and you will not have to worry about setting a budget each month on how much to save. This allows you to be more disciplined with a savings plan because the amount is set – there is no need to do bargaining tricks with yourself to figure out how much to set aside. It doesn’t have to be a big amount of your earnings. You can start small and then work your way up gradually once you’re comfortable with the idea that a chunk of your earnings is put into your savings account automatically.
Always have a shopping list – and stick to it!
If you’re heading to the supermarket, be sure to make a list of the things you need first. Sure, it sounds old-fashioned, but it’s a great way for you to keep your spending in check, instead of picking up items at random because you have a craving for them or they are in the discount pile. Create a meal plan each week, if you can, so you have a clearer idea of which items to buy. And don’t be shy in utilizing those grocery flyers and supermarket coupons. When you’re saving money, a little always goes a long way.
Maximize customer rewards programs.
If you do have to shop for new clothing items, electronic products, and school supplies, choose stores that offer a customer rewards program. This way, you’re actually getting something back for your spending, even though it may take a while for you to earn the necessary points to get those rewards. But beware of the temptation to shop more to rack up points – this is a tactic for those businesses to get you to spend more. Sometimes it pays off, but most of the time, it tempts you to buy items that you’re not necessarily looking to buy in the first place.
Negotiate for better deals.
This one may be a bit of a long shot, but it’s still worth a try. Check your subscriptions, including online magazine, cable, movie and TV show streaming, and others. Reach out to the customer service team and do your best to negotiate for a lower price. For example, if you have cable, check for the channels that you don’t normally watch and mention that when you’re on the phone with them in hopes of getting a better deal. There’s no guarantee that they’ll say yes, but if they do, it’s definitely worth the effort, wouldn’t you agree?
So there you have it – great tips to turn you into a savings specialist. Start saving!