Save your bucks with easy tips
By Chitwan Khosla, Features Editor
If you’re young, working, and studying using student loans then you’re likely financially strained and in need of a budget. There is not much you can compromise on. You need to pay your rent, medical and phone bills, food and transportation expenses, and once in a while spend a bit on clothes and other miscellaneous things. Basically, you can only save by cutting down on your luxuries. However, by following some quick, easy, and smart tips, you can save yourself a few more bucks which can be really helpful if put in your emergency fund.
Food and groceries: Most of us spend a large chunk of our paycheques on our food, but eating cheap doesn’t mean eating unhealthy. We are talking about buying smart.
Keep a close eye on the flyers and try to shop on weekends. You might have to go grocery shopping two or three times but it is totally worth it. I do the same, and I am pleasantly surprised to notice that I have been able to save about $340 in four months of doing it. I never buy all the groceries at one single store. I make a list of the things I want and I search through online coupons and weekly flyers to see what store has what things on my list on sale or with lower prices. This means you might be buying chips from Superstore and toilet paper from Walmart, but you will see after two or three grocery trips that you have been saving real money.
Sometimes, I buy in large quantities (e.g., cooking oil: $4.99 for 3L and $19.99 for 20L—I get 8L more if I buy in large quantity and save about $13).
Buy greens and other produce from your local farmers’ shops. Not only do you get the freshest of the season but sometimes they have super great sales on items. Don’t buy frozen chicken or boneless chicken and broth; buying chicken or meat from a butcher shop is cheaper and healthier. And don’t throw out the bones. Save them for making broth on your own.
Roughly plan your food schedule for a week in advance, and try buying items that you generally don’t like but are cheaper. They can be used in some great recipes!
Cleaning supplies: We need cleaning supplies for a hygienic lifestyle but it doesn’t mean we need to spend a lot on them. Generic cleaning supplies can be bought cheaper at the dollar stores.
You can use some things at home to help clean your kitchen and washroom. Use bicarbonate soda (a complete wonder packet!) for almost every time you want to clean ceramics and your stove tops. Save your lime peels and use them to scrub bicarbonate soda. You will have a cleaner kitchen and you will save a good amount by not spending on the expensive countertop cleaners or the so-called grease cutters.
If you’ve got leftover soda or coke which doesn’t have any fizz left—that you are probably planning to throw away—use it for cleaning your toilet. I know it sounds gross, but I tried it: coke and other carbonated drinks have a preservative added in them which cuts through the organic waste on ceramic surfaces.
Use old but clean newspapers to wipe off your wet counter tops or floors instead of using a lot of paper towels. Use them only on the surfaces where there is no contact with food items though.
Beauty products and supplies: Why waste money on organic products when you can make them on your own? It’s an all-natural, very effective, and inexpensive choice. There are tons of videos online to teach you how to make masks, creams, and oils that you can use for your beauty regime. You can save money on buying beauty products using coupons as well, but it is still better to try homemade products.
Take coconut oil for example: you can apply it on your hair, wrap a hot towel around your head and give yourself a nice hair spa treatment; apply it as your lip balm directly; rub a generous amount on your burn scars or marks; and of course use it in cooking as well.
Use oatmeal for scrubbing, milk and almond paste for cleansing, green tea as your toner, and lemon as your natural bleach. You can use hot water as your face steamer to get rid of your blackheads and other impurities with next to no cost.
Spending $50–$100 on your waxing? Forget it, you can make your organic wax at home. Honey, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon is all you need—a couple minutes and an organic, cheap wax is ready. Take your old denim or cotton shirt, wash and sanitize it properly with hot water. Let it dry and make strips out of it. Then all you need is a little bit of time and you can have salon-like waxing results at home. The wax can be stored for future uses. You will be waxing 3–4 times at home for less than a single visit to a professional.
Give these little tips and tricks a try and observe for yourself, you will see money piling up in little amounts in your bank account!