Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada, Inc.
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Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada, Inc.

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>> Entertainment   >> "Pocket" change
>> Travelling   >> Saving money on gas
>> Meal planning    

 

Entertainment

Looking for cheaper "entertainment" options? Look no further.  CCSAC has some suggestions on how you can save money and still have fun

  • Renting a movie instead of going to the cinema can save you a bundle!  Tickets to a new release cost $10 for each person and you still need to add the cost of popcorn and drinks.  Put this money in your pocket by visiting your local video store and pick up a movie for $5 or your local library which "rents" movies for free!
  • Do you really need 400 televisions channels?  Determine which channels you actually watch and not the ones you “need” and change your plan. This can save you anywhere from $10 - $120 per month.
  • Attend a gallery opening. These are usually free and provide free refreshments and music.
  • Take in a free community play or concert. Pack a blanket, some snacks and drinks and enjoy a cheap outing.
  • Stop buying magazines.  Get the latest copy at the library, read them at a doctor’s appointment or swap them with your friends.  Join a book club.
  • Use your cell phone in emergencies only and cut down on chewing up your phone minutes and texting costs.
  • Eat in and save hundreds of dollars per month.  Replace these restaurant meals with healthy home-cooked ones.  Not only will you save money you will also eat healthier and possibly lose some extra pounds!
     

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Travelling

Getting ready for a trip?  Before you pack your bags take some steps to make sure you are spending your hard-earned money wisely.

  • As you plan your trip research free and inexpensive sightseeing options available.
  • Stay flexible on your dates and times.  Be open to other dates because you can often get a cheaper price by taking advantage of promotions and off season tickets.
  • Use traveler's cheques instead of credit cards.  It's easy to go a little crazy on vacation and start spending like there's no tomorrow.  Limit yourself to the cash you have in your wallet and you will think twice before spending.
  • Limit yourself to one keepsake item for each family member.
  • Don't order room service and don’t eat or drink anything from the hotel mini-bar. The prices are always significantly marked up.  Buy snacks and bring them to your room for when the munchies hit.
  • Use the in-room coffee makers and complimentary coffee. 
  • By staying in a hotel room with a kitchen/kitchenette you will be able to save oodles of money by making your own meals.
  • Another way to save money on vacation is to participate in a house exchange.  Contact a local house association to list your home, and contact the association for the area you want to visit to see if a house is available.
  • When taking a road trip pack a cooler and fill it with drinks, sandwiches and snacks.
  • Always ask if there are any specials or for a hotel’s best rate.
     

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Meal planning

Convenience foods are practically considered a food group of their own.  They can be found everywhere from supermarkets to big-box stores.  Convenience might make your life is easier but it also depletes your bank account.  But there are ways to save and still have a stress-free dinner.

  • Save time with big batch cooking.  Choose one weekend out of the month and devote it to preparing a variety of meals and freeze them in meal-size portions.  Simply take it out of the freezer, thaw and reheat for supper.  It will save you time and is much cheaper than any of the pre-packaged food you can buy.  There are a number of websites to help you choose recipes and freeze the food properly.
  • If the idea of cooking all weekend is daunting, double the recipes when cooking, then freeze half to use later in the week for a quick supper.
  • Choose seasonal fruit and produce.  While apples are often cheap, the prices of other fruits, like pears, can beat them depending on the season.
  • Canned veggies, which can be just as nutritious as fresh varieties, make another affordable choice.
  • Eat one meat-free meal a week.  The price of meat is rising and by having a protein filled supper using meat alternatives you can cut the impact to your pocket book and waistline.
  • Limit your intake of junk food and alcohol and drink lots of water.
  • Buy in bulk when you can as it is almost always cheaper, but make sure they are items you actually eat.
  • Use less expensive cuts of meat for casseroles that you slow cook.  Add extra vegetables and beans to make the meal go further.
  • Look high and low to find the less expensive generic or store brands on grocery shelves as stores deliberately place the highest-priced brand-name items at eye level.

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“Pocket” change

Odds are you have more money than you think.  You just need to be able to get your hands on it.  Here are some tips to access this “extra” cash we all have lying around.

  • Collect your loose change. Every household has loose change floating around in pockets, in the bottom of purses, in car dashboards, etc.  Start saving the loose change in a jar and see how fast it adds-up.
  • Sell some of your unwanted items at a garage sale or local consignment shop. Turn things you or your kids have outgrown into cash.
  • When you get a raise, overtime or bonus save it and continue to live on what you made before.
  • Make it hard to raid your emergency fund.  Set up a separate account at a bank or credit union that is not convenient. That way, you'll be less likely to grab money out of the account.

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Saving money on gas

With gas prices on the rise every day there is no way to actually save money on gas.  Rather, we should start to use less gas which will save money.

  • Combine trips. If you know you're going across town stop by any store(s) you might need to visit in that area. Try to group errands geographically.
  • Park as soon as you find a spot instead of driving around to find one that's close.  If you're going to make several stops in the area, leave your car parked and drop off packages between stops.
  • Use the lowest recommended octane for your car.  Most cars on the road today can go with the lowest-octane (and cheapest) gasoline.
  • Always fill up when you've got a quarter of a tank or less. You get better gas mileage with a lighter load, so that means gas mileage improves as you near empty.
  • Empty any extra weight in the trunk of your car as it reduces fuel efficiency.
  • Take care of your car through regular oil changes and improve gas mileage. Be sure to regularly change air filters, keep your tires properly inflated, and use a fuel injector cleaner, too.
  • Use your air conditioning on highways only. Open the windows when you're going 65 kilometers per hour or less.
  • Obey the speed limit.  Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 100 kilometers per hour. Each 10 kilometers you drive over 100 kilometers per hour is like paying an additional $0.30 per litre for gas.

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