15 Genius Ways To Save (And Spend) Money Without Going Nuts!

save money by buying quality items

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy for more information.

Since starting this blog, I haven’t written a post about saving money.  But one of my readers is excited to read more about this topic.  Because we’re off to a new start for 2018, I know that saving (and spending) money tips will benefit a lot of people like you!

By the way, my “spending money” tips are really to help save you money as well. 😉

Whether you’re saving for a vacation, an emergency fund, or a down payment for your home, there are SO many ways you can achieve your goals! And yes, it’s okay to save and splurge on the things you love (as long as you can afford it).

Related content:

How To Save Money on a Low Income (or One Income)

How We Went From Almost $100,000 Debt To Over $750,000 Savings in 7 Years

How To Trick Yourself into Saving More Money [$1,000 Monthly Savings Challenge Included]

5 Crazy Reasons Why Starting a Blog Will Whip You Into Financial Shape

 

Now let’s take a look at how you can start saving and spending the sexy way!

 

(This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more information.)

 

 

1) Cut the Things You Hate

You don’t have to deprive yourself while saving money to reach your desired goals. As Ramit Sethi would say, start off by cutting the things you hate. This includes:

– Bank fees
– ATM fees
– Overdraft fees
– Late fees (start automating your bills)
– Car insurance (negotiate)
– Home insurance (negotiate)
– Cell phone and cable costs (again, negotiate)
– Underused subscriptions
– Mutual fund fees from the evil mutual fund lady (thanks, GYM, for this term. I mention this again below, haha.)

Save money by cutting things you hate
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Speaking of underused subscriptions, review your past statements to see what’s being charged. That could be magazines, Amazon’s shipping service, Linkedin, other online services, and much more. You can also use Trim, an app system that helps you save money.

In the end, why would you be paying for the things you hate?? That ain’t sexy at all!

 

Your best friend, Trim, will help you save money!

This awesome and cool robot is your new personal finance assistant!  He will keep track of your finances and help you save money. For example, Trim will negotiate your cell phone, Internet, and cable bills. It will even cancel the ones that you don’t need! Pretty cool, huh?? Trim has saved their users over $1,000,000 in the last month. You can start saving money with Trim by signing up here for FREE! 

There’s no reason why you wouldn’t want this FREE personal finance assistant!

 

 

2. Save money by earning FREE gift cards!

Some people will tell you to cut those daily lattes from Starbucks to save money, but I’m not going to tell you to do that!

In addition to trimming your monthly expenses, you can save money by earning these free gift cards to the stores you love!

I’ve reduced my spending significantly because I use Swagbucks to earn FREE Starbucks gift cards. Yes, you can earn free gift cards just by surfing the web, playing games, watching videos, shopping online, and completing easy surveys! These are just the things you normally do so take advantage of this free resource!

Aside from the Amazon and Starbucks gift cards, Swagbucks also offers gift cards to your other favorite stores such as Macy’s, Walmart, Target, and more! Check them out here.

In fact, you can grab your $5 welcome bonus just by signing up here. Swagbucks is a 100% FREE resource and it literally takes less than 5 seconds to sign up (see my screenshot below).

I’ve been using Swagbucks since 2009 and I highly recommend them to anyone who wants to earn free gift cards.

 

Swagbucks is 100% legitimate and has paid out their members $288,312,447 to date!

 

 

3) Start Early

If you wanna become at least a millionaire, you gotta start saving and investing early.

This sounds so cliche, but I cannot emphasize how important it is to start NOW. Even if you’re in your 40s, it’s not too late!

Leo from I Saved 5K talks about the easiest way to effortlessly boost your retirement savings by $100,000. Imagine the sexy things you can do during your retirement (i.e nice vacation, drink ‘n relax at the cottage, etc.). I can tell you that poppin’ a can of cat food during retirement because you didn’t start early ain’t one of them!

And while you’re at it, learn a bit about DIY investing. Gen Y Money (GYM) encourages you to DIY because it’s really not that scary and I completely agree with her! Over the years, you will save so much in fees from the evil mutual fund lady.

If you’re interested in creating a passive income machine with dividends, Tom at Dividends Diversify wrote out six simple steps that will teach you how.

 

 

4) Create a Well-Organized Financial Freedom Binder

As y’all know, we were inspired by Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s money makeover shows and that’s how we learned about her clever budget strategy. Having that said, we followed her savings strategy and it worked wonders for us! To help you master your savings, we created our version of her fail-proof budget plan just for you! Yes, it’s 100% free!

In this budget kit, we included a monthly budget tool that keeps track of all your income sources plus expenses. With income in the picture, it’s easy to see how much you can allocate to both your fixed and variable expenses. To make your life easier, I also included a section where you can record your monthly investment contributions. This separate “investments” section will come in handy when you read about my third step below.

Aside from the budget tool, we also made these pretty weekly printables that will keep your budget and savings on track. These free printables were made to give you instant results to boost your confidence in your financial journey.

 

This budget kit is only exclusive to my subscribers, so grab your FREE copy here!

For more details about this budget kit, visit my post, The Free Budget Kit you Need To Conquer Your Finances.

 

 

5) Refurbish Old Furniture

save money refurbishing furniture

We live and see our homes every single day, so we may as well make the most out of it and live as comfortably as we can.

I know you get all excited about seeing HGTV’s designs and think it’s not affordable. But honestly, you can spice up your place and make it look sexy for less. Not only will you add value to your space, you will enjoy it as well!

I personally enjoy finding people’s old solid wood furniture and refurbishing it to the style that I love. There may be an upfront cost of buying paint, paint brushes, sandpaper, and tools, but with many pieces that you fix, you can save a ton of money. We all know how expensive nice furniture can cost, right? And at the same time, when you buy cheap furniture, they don’t last very long. That’s why the best value is hunting for quality pre-loved furniture and redesigning it yourself.

Not to mention, if you work on a project and fall in love with fixer-uppers, you can start refurbishing furniture to make extra money as well!

I started flipping furniture last year and I was earning an extra $300 to $500 per month. I did this as a hobby during my spare time on weekends for fun. The most important part is having fun and acquiring new skills.

To help you out, I have a few posts related to making and saving money with old furniture. And to be completely honest, I wouldn’t even consider myself as handy! On a scale from 1 to 10, I’m like negative, haha. Seriously!

 

Related posts:

How To Glam Up Furniture to Save Money (or to Earn More)
Landlording: How I Saved and Made Money Replacing My Tenant’s Old Cabinet

 

Want to start owning beautiful furniture without breaking the bank?

Here are some money-saving products I recommend to bring any furniture back to life!

Click on the product to shop and start saving thousands of dollars (or even making money) on your furniture finds.

1) This is the exact same Purdy paint brush set I have and you will need a couple of these angled brushes to paint the tiny edges of your furniture. Purdy paint brushes are high quality and very affordable too. This is what you NEED to get a nice finishing. Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT invest in poor quality paint brushes. The type of paint brush you use makes a world of a difference and I can assure you that you will thank yourself for listening to this advice!

I recommend this value pack of 3 over a single brush because there will come a time where you wish you had more than one paintbrush. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

 

2) I’m a huge fan of these timeless ceramic pumpkin knobs! When you buy 8 pieces, it works out to be roughly $2 to $3 per knob, which is totally worth the investment to make your furniture look expensive without breaking the bank. They also look gorgeous on kitchen cabinets and/or bathroom vanities. Honestly, this simple swap will definitely change the look of your home decor!

For my Canadian readers, you’ll notice that those pumpkin knobs aren’t available to us (boo!), so you can shop this product that’s almost identical. It’s the same ones I’ve used for my furniture flips to earn extra money and my buyers love them! For such a low price, you can use them to spice up your furniture or kitchen cabinets, which saves you a heckuva money from buying new! The only downfall is I waited one month for them to ship, but the good thing is I was in no rush to use them.

Click on the pumpkin knobs to see how gorgeous they actually look on furniture:

 

3) These gorgeous crystal knobs will bring class to any chest drawer or cabinet. They are very shiny in real life and my friends actually thought I spent a fortune on them, but nope! When you buy the 25 value pack, it works out to be about $1 per knob! What an inexpensive way to add value, huh?

 

 

6) Know the Difference Between Needs vs. the Two Different Types of Wants

Once you have your Financial Freedom Binder organized, it’s time to evaluate your needs and the two different types of wants.

The first type of “wants” are the things we love and worth spending on. Secondly, there are also “wants” we end up regretting and not worth a single penny!

Generally, there are people who become millionaires because they are hoarder-savers (not so sexy, huh?). But there are also millionaires who are smart-savers. The latter type knows not to deprive himself!

Although both types know the difference between a want vs. a need, the sexy ‘n smart savers will still leave room for the things they love by prioritizing.

After all, we live to eat; not eat to live.

So, it’s okay to set aside some “fun” money for the things you love to splurge on as long as you save a reasonable amount for both your needs and future.

Overall, the order should look something like this: Basic needs > wants that we love > wants that we end up regretting

 

A) Basic needs are necessities for survival such as basic shelter, food, medical care, clothes, etc.

Save money for basic needs
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B) Wants that you love are things that add joy and value to your life above and beyond the basic needs.

Save but splurge on things you love
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These things vary based on your preference. This may include a luxury vacation, a nice dinner with your hubby, a renovated home, or that sexy gadget you love so much! iPhone X, anyone?

On top of that, this category also includes charity and donations to the causes you support. I mean, there’s no way you can donate if your basic needs aren’t met.

Choose only a few that you can afford and are most important to you. If they’re all important to you and you can truly afford it, then sure, why not?

On the other hand, if you absolutely love something, but cannot afford it, then it’s time to find ways to earn more money! Eden from Mint Notion has a post that shows you how to do that!

 

C) Wants that you end up regretting are the things you should avoid buying even if you can afford them!

Save money want vs need Bitmoji crying
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These are things you buy and feel “meh” about a day or two later.

This includes “cute” things that we buy impulsively when we’re checking out at the aisle, or when we see something that’s “on sale” (my next point).

This category also includes things that we buy (and cannot afford) just to impress others. Don’t go there, honey!

 

 

7) Don’t Be an Impulse Buyer

save money and stop buying impulsively

Is that Hello Kitty limited edition makeup set from Sephora really a “meh” want or an “I-absolutely-love-it” want?

What about that pair of red high heels that’s 70% off?

Put yourself on a 1 to 2 weeks ban from the product to see if you’re still thinking about it. I bet you’ll forget after 24 hours. Out of sight, out of mind! 😉

BUT if you are thinking about it to the point where you can’t sleep at night, then it must mean you really love it.

So, go ahead and treat yourself as long as you know you will enjoy it. Most importantly, make sure your Financial Freedom Binder (point #3) tells you that it’s within your budget!

 

 

8) Build an Excellent Credit Score

This is one of the most overlooked and underrated points. Until today, it still boggles my mind when people are caught up with coupon savings more than their credit scores. Don’t get me wrong, coupons are great and I love them.

Instead, we should focus our energy on the big wins that yield greater returns.

Believe it or not, having an excellent credit score can save you thousands of dollars over the years. This is no surprise. The higher your score, the less interest you pay.

For your reference, I attached this Forbes article by Rob Berger, How A Good Credit Score Can Save You $83,770. Berger calculates and explains the total costs of what you pay when you have a good vs. bad credit score.

To get started, you can check your credit score here. It’s 100% free and it won’t impact your credit at all, so you have nothing to lose but everything to gain!

 

If you’re Canadian and want to learn more about credit scores in Canada, I recommend reading these posts by Enoch from Savvy New Canadians:

How Your Canadian Credit Score is Calculated

Four Ways To Get Your Credit Score For Free in Canada

Ten Ways To Improve Your Credit Score (this applies to non-Canadians as well).

Take a few moments to go through these articles. I’m really hoping it will motivate you to build a stronger credit score. Overall, a millionaire knows how to build and maintain an excellent credit score over the course of his life.

 

 

9) Learn How To Travel Hack

Is it time to plan a nice vacation this year?

I personally don’t know anything about travel hacking. But if it’s something that interests you, there are many resources online that will teach you how to save money on travels. For instance, Gen Y Money’s post talks about how she travel-hacked to go to Honolulu, Hawaii. Overall, she only paid $277 CAD for 2 Flights, 3 Days Rental Car, and Airport Transportation!

Learning how to travel hack can save you a lot of money on your next vacation. But most of the time, the catch is you’re required to open a new credit card in order to reap the huge travel rewards.

Overall, double check to see how that will impact your credit score, especially if you plan to buy a house, rental property, or car in the near future.

 

 

10) Invest in Yourself

invest in yourself long-term

This includes reading, learning and exploring. As you all know, Benjamin Franklin once said: “Investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

Although I’ve only started taking my finances more seriously since October 2016, I can attest here that reading books and blogs improved my finances significantly. My numbers are lookin’ a whole lot sexier than before! There’s a lot more for me to learn, and I’m never going to stop learning!

This is also something I recommend you to spend money on. If there’s a course (not necessarily formal education) that can improve you as a person or your skills, it’s definitely worth paying for.

 

Related: This Investment is Better Than Bitcoin

 

For example, this article talks about how Warren Buffett had a fear for public speaking. To solve this problem, he took a course at Dale Carnegie to acquire this skill. The article says:

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett says the very best investment you can make is one that “you can’t beat,” can’t be taxed and not even inflation can take away from you… Buffett tells Forbes that you can exponentially increase your potential “by simply being able to communicate better” and “enhancing your talents.”

 

That is, you might be more eligible for more senior positions that require you to deal with important stakeholders. You may also become skilled at networking with others. These are opportunities that can help you earn more which makes it easier for you to save more.

This effect may not show immediately in your savings accounts, but you will start seeing results in the long-term. Also, notice that millionaires and billionaires focus on long-term results.

If you ever want to read more about self-development, Mr. and Mrs. Defined Sight (DS) offers a lot of great posts in this area. To get you started here’s one about how Mrs. DS joined Toastmasters. It’s a step she took to develop herself both individually and professionally so that she can reach financial independence sooner.

 

 

11) Upcycle or Repurpose Old Stuff

Like old furniture, why toss it when you can still repurpose or refurbish it? Not only is it environment-friendly, it’s also wallet-friendly. 🙂

When Warren Buffet had his first child, he upcycled one of his old dresser drawers into a bassinet. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Okay, maybe I wouldn’t do that. Instead, I’d probably want to repurpose it to one of these pet beds (awww, look at how cute that is!).

Either way, you can upcycle almost anything and save a ton of money. Like refurbished furniture, you can also earn more money by selling your unique pieces online.

Here are some inspirational ideas for you to get you saving and having tons of fun! After all, girls (and guys) just wanna have fun, right? Fun is always sexy! 😉

– Serena’s upcycled section @ Thrift Diving (I love her refurbished furniture ideas as well!)

36 Best Repurposed Old Ladder Ideas for Fans of Upcycling @ Home BNC

DIY Mason Jar Shelf @ The DIY Playbook

Industrial Farmhouse Laundry Hangups You’ll Want @ Home Talk

DIY Pallet Coffee Cup Holder @ One Little Bird (how sexy and cool lookin’ is that??)

 

 

12) Buy Quality and Timeless Clothing

save money buying quality clothes
Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

I personally love brand name designer items that are timeless. I’m not a shopaholic or spendthrift, but I do appreciate the fine quality and services they provide.

Although I blog about money and building net worth, I’m not afraid to admit that I enjoy luxuries.

I am willing to pay a premium for them because of the following reasons:

– I’m all about quality over quantity
– I love timeless items
– the price may increase over time
– it actually saves me money in the long run
– last but not least, I love them!

For example, I still have my same Canada Goose jacket from 2008. Until today, it’s still very warm.

 

Send Your Canada Goose Jacket Back!

For those who don’t know, you can return your jacket back to Canada Goose if you find that it’s not as warm or dying on you.

They will either fix it or exchange a brand new one at no cost to you. Of course, they won’t do anything if it’s normal wear and tear. The company also says that if the exact style is not available for replacement, a product of equal value and similar style will be provided to the customer.

I actually know a few people who returned their old jacket for a brand new one (that’s how I found out about this warranty). I am thinking of doing this next year because my jacket is about 10 years old now!

Here is Canada Goose’s warranty information.

You can start off by sending an email to customer service at [email protected] Apparently, they will email you back and ask for pictures of your jacket, so you can go from there. If they don’t respond, you can contact them at their toll-free number: 1-888-276-6297.

I have to say that the process isn’t as easy as it sounds because you must follow their instructions very carefully. They will also mail you a box and label for you to put your jacket in.

But overall, if they are willing to provide a brand new jacket that costs about $795-$1,500 today (retail price was about $400-$700 back in 2008), I think this “hassle” is worth saving the money!

 

 

13) Buy Quality and Timeless Handbags (ONLY if you love and appreciate them)

save money buy quality

A few years ago, I also bought a second-hand vintage 2.55 medium classic flap Chanel bag for $3,000 CAD after taxes. A brand new one today goes for about $6,300 CAD ($7,119 after taxes). I absolutely love this bag and plan to keep it forever! I also prefer it over some of the other handbags that I impulsively bought in the past (stupid me)!

For those who don’t know, this article talks about how the Chanel 2.55 classic flap bag beat S&P 500 returns over the last 6 years from 2015. Not that it matters if you buy it for consumption. But it’s nice to know that you have the option to sell at a high value (especially when you take good care of it). 😉

 

Now, I’m not here to say that you should go ahead and start splurging on luxuries to save money. It’s just something that I do (and only buy a few of) because it helps me save money compared to when I buy quantity.

For example, how many Coach and Kate Spade bags did I end up donating or selling (at a loss) within less than two years (because I didn’t love them)? BTW, nothing was wrong with them. They were really pretty bags and great quality too, but I just never used them! They were just bags that I liked and thought were cute. Again, stupid me!

Save money fml Bitmoji
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The truth is, I only ended up keeping and using the ones I really love. For example, I kept using my same LV Neverfull bag from 2011, which BTW I plan to keep and use forever. Surprisingly, it’s still in very good condition! And yes, this bag went from $700 CAD to $1,610 CAD before taxes today (and they now include a small removable zippered clutch inside).

Overall, my whole point here is to say that quality beats quantity. You don’t have to buy a Canada Goose Jacket or any luxury handbags if you don’t like that stuff.

This concept can apply to anything from basic clothes and shoes to the material you use for home improvements.

I found a quote that Scott McGillivray said in his book, “How To Add Value To Your Home,” that goes something along the lines:

Only rich people can afford to buy cheap stuff because they have the money to keep replacing it over and over again.

 

 

14) Use Coupons (Bill Gate’s story about Warren Buffett)

I know this point is so cheesy, and I mentioned earlier that I’m not an extreme couponer. But I like to mention this here because it gives me the opportunity to talk about how Warren Buffett used a McDonald’s coupon to treat Bill and Melinda Gates.

How lame am I?

Save money coupon lol
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Not to mention, my fiance and I love using McDonald’s coupons on their breakfast items. That’s our go-to splurge after having too many weeks or months of healthy food, haha!

Anyway, if a billionaire like Warren Buffett isn’t embarrassed to use coupons, then why are you?

According to this article, Bill Gates said:

“Remember the laugh we had when we traveled together to Hong Kong and decided to get lunch at McDonald’s? You offered to pay, dug into your pocket, and pulled out … coupons!”

 

If you have a coupon in front of you that saves you a few dollars, why not use it? As Roy Miller, from David Chilton’s The Wealthy Barber, would say “A dollar saved is two dollars earned!”

Here are a few apps and coupons that my fiance and I like to use when they are on the way.

Caddle 

This rewards and surveys program is relatively newer and it’s only available in Canada. It’s similar to Checkout 51 that you get cash back on groceries. Unlike Checkout 51, it gives you cash back for shopping and eating at restaurants. On top of that, you make money by answering very short surveys, watching videos, writing reviews, and engaging with brands on social media. Sign up for Caddle here.

Checkout 51

Every Thursday, Checkout 51 will renew their list of cash-back items. You get cash back by purchasing items mentioned on the list and uploading your receipt through the app. Once you submit your receipt, wait for a few days for them to approve it. When your Checkout 51 account reaches a minimum $20, you can request them to mail you a check. Cash the check into your bank account and you’ve just earned yourself some extra money! Yes, it’s really that simple.

Sign up to Checkout 51 here and start earning cash back on your purchases!

 

 

15) Google Search for Coupon Codes

Before buying something online, I always spare five minutes to google search for coupon codes to try my luck at the checkout. I don’t find success all the time, but when I do, the source is usually from retailmenot.com or retailmenot.ca.

For example, if I’m ordering something from Lowe’s, I would type into google search “Lowe’s coupon code.”

When it does work, I usually save an extra 10% that’s not directly offered from the website of the company I’m buying from.

I’ve also had success stacking two coupon codes directly from the website and one from retailmenot.ca. But I believe some companies have gotten smarter with this, so they may have stopped it. In the end, it doesn’t hurt to test your luck, haha!

 

 

16) Track Your Net Worth

If you haven’t started tracking your net worth, I highly recommend you to do it.

This may sound crazy, but you will become addicted once you start tracking it. That’s a good addiction (better than a shopping addiction) because the numbers will motivate you to take action. Whether it’s saving more money or finding other ways to earn more, you will do whatever it takes to increase your net worth.

Even if you’re in debt, I still encourage you to start because it is so rewarding seeing your negative balance move towards zero. From there, you can start saving and investing to increase your number.

At the moment, I’m using a basic and not-so-sexy template to track our net worth. But when I have time, I would like to revamp it and share it with you. For now, you can calculate your net worth by following this guide at Schwab MoneyWise.

 

 

Over to you

We all have our ways of saving and spending, so not everyone will agree with all my points above. I can already feel that many PF bloggers are against some of my views.

In fact, some of you may think my tips are ridiculous but that’s okay. I rather stay true to myself than to pretend to be somebody I’m not.

I’m sharing my experience and hoping that you will gain at least one insight from this post.

So, in what ways do you save money? What are you saving for? How do you spend your money? Feel free to provide your ideas and/or comments!

 

Did you enjoy this post? If so, don’t forget to share the love on Pinterest! 🙂

 

Resources that will help you in your financial journey

Below are my top recommendations for saving money, making money, building wealth, achieving financial independence, and more!

 

TrimThis cute little robot is your personal finance assistant and his mission is to whip your butt into financial shape. Trim is a FREE app that will help you save money by scanning your accounts and cutting your unnecessary expenses. He will also help you negotiate your cable, Internet, and cell phone bills. Pretty sweet, huh? Overall, Trim has helped their users save over $1,000,000 over the last month with their day-to-day finances.

 

Credit Sesame: So many people underestimate the power of their credit score. But did you know that you can save thousands of dollars by having an excellent credit score? The higher your score, the less interest you pay. As a start, you can check your credit score for FREE at Credit Sesame. This won’t impact your credit score at all and plus, it’s crucial to know where you stand! The sooner you start, the sooner you can improve your score and save thousands of dollars! Hint: having an excellent credit score can save you WAY more (over thousands $$) than clipping coupons.

 

Personal Capital: This is one of the best and FREE resources that will help you track your finances. By putting your accounts together, you can track your savings, investments, cash flows, and your net worth. Personal Capital can also inform you when your bills are due. With that said, this free app allows you to track and view all your finances in one place.

 

$5 Meal Plan: This is a weekly meal plan service that aims to make your life easy by helping you save time and money. For only $5 a month, you will receive a delicious meal plan that costs less than $2 per meal. On top of that, they offer special meal plans such as the Paleo diet and vegetarian option. Not sure if this is right for you? To make sure you’re fully satisfied, they offer a free 14-day trial absolutely risk-free. If you decide that this isn’t for you, simply cancel it with no questions asked.

 

Swagbucks: This 100% free resource allows you to earn FREE gift cards by simply completing surveys, shopping online, watching videos, playing games, and surfing the web. Here are some of the gift cards they offer: Starbucks (my favorite), Amazon, Indigo, Groupon, Bath & Body Works, Cineplex, and many more! My fiance and I have redeemed many $50 to $100 Starbucks gift cards without having to pay for our favorite lattes. Sign up for Swagbucks and receive your $5 welcome bonus here.

 

 

More $avvy Reads for You!

Want more $avvy tips for help?

savvy reads
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Here are more money tips and motivational reads for you:

Two Secrets to Crushing Your Financial Goals: Solid Advice from Warren Buffett

5 Amazing Money Tips From a Billionaire

This Investment Beats Bitcoin

This Quote Will Make You Uber Rich!

You Can Live Like This Billionaire: Here’s How!

10 Ways To Develop a Rich Mindset: #10 is Seriously Mind-Blowing!

15 Financial Goals That You MUST Achieve: What’s YOUR Score?

 

If you like what you read, go ahead and share the love! Don’t forget to subscribe (at the yellow bar on top) for more weekly money tips and inspiration! I promise that I do not spam. I also do not share anyone’s information.

 

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38 Comments

  1. Great post! All great tips. I have tried travel hacking with credit cards (not as many offers in Canada) but I forgot I had to spend a minimum in the first three months and I missed on the offer:( I am still going to try this year.

  2. Wahoo! Great read Finsavvy Panda! Annnnd thank you for the shout out! Can’t emphasize investing in yourself, the asset that you have to live with for the rest of your life, enough! I’m super pumped you have flipped furniture! I find refurbishing or fixing up things to be one of the most relaxing and rewarding activities, and I hope you enjoy it and continue this as one of your side hustles as well! Love to see more pics!

    1. hehe no worries! Both you and Mr DS offer great tips on self development with a bit of fun humor, so definitely worth mentioning you two 🙂

      I would love to continue and learning about furniture. But for now, learning about blogging is taking up some of my precious time. I am starting to miss the fun of refinishing things :'(

      I am hoping I can work on the next project soon though!

  3. I have always been disciplined with my money, but sometimes it’s still very difficult for me to differentiate between my wants and needs. As you said, before we buy something, we should always ask, “is this what I want or what I need?” More often, if it’s a want, I tend to put the item back more than half of the time.

    Secondly, delaying your purchase can also do wonders for your finances. I definitely spend way less money once I start to differentiate the items that I purchase to wants and needs.

    BTW. Thanks for the retirement post shoutout.

    1. haha I sometimes find it difficult too to differentiate needs and wants. Honestly, most of the time, it’s likely a want because we all have are basic needs met.

      That’s why I rather distinguish wants in terms of “meh” wants or “I-absolutely-love-it” wants, and prioritize those. It’s okay to spend and enjoy as long as we’re on track with our financial goals!

      And yes, I believe in delaying your purchases. I think the future benefits are WAY more than the instant gratification.

      No problem with the shout! I enjoyed that post from you. It encourages readers to start early without feeling deprived, which is what this post is all about 🙂

  4. Loved your post! There is always room for improvement in savings!

    I am a big fan of cutting the things you hate. So many people overspend so much on those things without even realizing it. I now change utility providers pretty much every year. The first time I did it I managed to save over $400 in a year. I couldn’t believe it! Now I don’t save as much, but I make sure I don’t end up paying more every year, as utilities companies increase their prices all the time.

    I am also getting better at not being an impulse buyer. I’ve always been pretty good, but you can always improve!

    1. hehe I’m a huge fan of cutting things we hate. I mean, if we hate it, why on earth would we want to waste money on them But you know, humans can be irrational at times and I wrote this post because it’s a good reminder that our actions don’t make sense (including myself sometimes) lol!!

      We try to reduce our utilities as well. But this one we can’t control as much because we split 60/40 between tenants and us. They pay 60% and we pay remaining 40, so we try our best from our end to be reasonably conservative.

      I think everyone is impulsive to some degree. But when I feel that I am, I give myself the 1 week rule. It works like magic!! 😀

  5. Hi Ms. Panda, Very complete post. I will focus on the investing side as I believe investing in oneself is the best investment one can make. Even though I am a University teacher, one should be very careful with investments in higher ed. It is very expensive and I see many students going into debt to further their education with out a plan to get an acceptable return on that higher ed investment. Tom

    1. That’s so cool how you’re a University teacher!!

      Yes, I think investing in yourself is the best investment (Warren Buffett said so too hehe). I’m not too sure about the higher ed that get students in debt. Those are great to have, but it wasn’t (still isn’t) my priority.

      I was thinking more about other courses that don’t cost an arm and leg.

      For example, people who take a course to improve on their speaking or writing skills. Or bloggers who are serious about their blogs, invest in the right resources that will help them. Just small things like that. It could even be reading books on self development. Those don’t cost very much! 😀

      There are so many great resources out there that many people over look! (or maybe some are just lazy?) lol…

  6. Awesome tips and insights!

    I like you only really began tracking my finances around 2016, and books alone have given me ALL of my financial knowledge. it is amazing how easy personal finance is when you take the time to learn the simple concepts. Get out debt. Invest early and continuously, then ride that compound interest train to retirement!

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hey Sean!

      I’m guessing it was the “Investing for Dummies” book that changed your life, huh? That’s fantastic!

      And yes, it becomes easier to understand once we read and learn more about it. The hardest part is getting started, but once you start, that’s already half the battle. The other half is just continuously learning and improving ourselves 🙂

  7. Holy massive post! Thank you so much for all the mentions!!

    Wow, I’m so impressed about your Chanel and LV bag purchases, that’s amazing! I don’t own either, but I did touch an Hermes bag recently (my friend’s $8000 bag) and it was immaculate and she said she uses it every day.

    I recently gave my Roots bag to my friend after trying to sell it for a few weeks, no one wants it. Mind you it’s not in good condition as it has pen marks everywhere. I bought it for $140 but did use it daily for 4 years haha!

    I had no idea about the Canada Goose jacket! I should tell my husband, he has one that was gifted to him.

    Also, still so impressed about your hobby of refurbishing furniture. Someone bought a side table of solid wood for $10 from my mother in law (she’s downsizing) and I wonder if they are going to refurbish it? 🙂

    1. Hey GYM!

      Yeah, I realized that it was pretty massive. I think it was going at 3,000 words and I was like “OMGOSH… I need to stop.” I have a problem with writing too much. Sigh……..

      Wow, Hermes are beautiful but I wouldn’t be able to afford one of those. Even a Chanel was too much for me and that’s why I opt for a pre-loved one in excellent condition (bc I love it so much)! Your friend must really keep it in pristine condition given it’s such an expensive handbag.

      Roots are great quality! I love their stuff! Especially their sweat pants are so comfy. Using a bag for 4 years is very good! I had bags where I just didn’t touch at all… (so much regrets).

      I can’t imagine you guys wearing Canada goose over there!! Isn’t it warm most of the times? haha, or was it a light jacket because I believe they make windbreakers as well?

      That person who bought your $10 is either going to use it “as-is” or they plan to make a profit out of it by adding value to the table haha. Maybe you can stalk that person down on Varage/Letgo/Kijiji. I’m sure you’ll be able to recognize the before vs after hahaha.

  8. Saving is so key to getting ahead financially in life. I was able to save 48% of my income last year, and it’s definitely helped me build a solid foundation for the future.

  9. Invest early and in yourself are great tips. The earlier you invest the better because you have a great head start on building your net worth. Continuing to read books is one thing I always want to do because you gain so much knowledge from it. You may not remember everything from a book you read a few months ago but you at least remember one point from it.
    Liked how you mentioned that Warren Buffet re-purposed an old drawer into a bassinet for his kid. We looked into doing that too for Baby with Cents for re-purposing an old drawer into a play kitchen/bathroom sink. Pinterest has so many projects for it.

    1. Yep investing early and in yourself are the best combinations!! I’m glad to hear that books have improved your life substantially.

      Turning an old drawer into a play kitchen/bathroom sink would be amazing! They also have those Ikea hacks where they turn it into children’s play place. Google or Pinterest them, it’s pretty creative and looks fun to make!! haha… ohhh you gotta love Pinterest these days 😀

  10. I LOVED THIS POST!!!! I’m sure you knew I was going to say that but the finance binder is awesome and I’m going to check out the link you gave for their print outs! I haven’t tracked my net worth but will! And I totally agree with purchasing quality over quantity and truly loving what you have!
    It’s best to write about what you believe and something tells me that a lot of people are going to learn so much from you 🙂

    1. Aww thanks so much for the encouragement and kind words! .<

      And yes, if you ever want to check out budgeting or travelling tips, Eden from Mint Notion has a lot of thoughtful and well-written posts about them. She also talks a lot about living a rich life within a small budget.

      And yessss, quality over quantity! I love Scott McGillivray's tip: "Only rich people can afford to buy cheap stuff because they have the money to keep replacing it over and over again."

      It's a not-so-common quote out there, but it's so true! haha

      Also, tracking net worth really keeps you motivated. It makes you wanna find ways to increase it each month, quarter, or year.

      I am SO glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂

  11. This is a great post!

    I am pretty good at cutting off the things I hate…cancelling stupid subscriptions, negotiating and shopping around, and I absolutely hate paying fees!

    That being said, you can find my budgets and other financial goals on scraps of paper here and there, so need to work on organizing a good-looking financial freedom binder 😉

    I love the avatars!!

    Thanks for the mentions – appreciate it!

    1. Me too! I hate paying fees and other charges that I don’t need to

      Hey, at least you write your budget and financial goals down… I haven’t written mine down yet on paper *hiding my face* haha…

      thanks for dropping by. I really enjoy your page because it’s specific to Canadians! 😀

  12. The low hanging fruit is cutting the “leaks” that no one enjoys paying anyway! Love that one.

    I agree with you in buying high quality items that you love. Make sure they will last and you will always appreciate them. To many things are fast and cheap these days. Food, clothing, tinder dating! Find the things in life that are quality and last!

    1. The sad part is A LOT of people leave the low hanging fruit… I know SO many people who just don’t do it because they’re “too lazy” to save money on the easy stuff.

      LOL to your “tinder” comment… yes, I really believe in quality over quantity 😉

  13. Starting early is SOOOOO huge and it works for everything. Start investing early, start learning about money early, start everything early and you’ll do great in the long run. I think most people fail in that aspect and only realize they should start something when they fall behind instead of starting it to get ahead.

    1. Hello time in the market!

      Yes, starting early is a huge part and I still encourage those who didn’t start yet to start now. It’s still not too late for them. As they say, the best time was yesterday but the second best time is TODAY! 🙂

      Thank you for dropping by! I can’t wait to check out your blog.

  14. Great write up there. My first time visit to your blog, loved your story. Keep up the good work. I paid off my house debt 15 year mortgage in 15 months by staying focused and devoted. I totally know what it is like to be in debt and what it feels like to be out of it too :).

    Keep up the good work. There will be people who may argue why you want to pay debt with 5% interest rate while you can make 7% in S&P 500, and my answer to them all the time is, that’s the difference between certainty and uncertainty. 5% interest is certain if you don’t pay it off since it debt. 7% return is not guaranteed, for example someone who may have invested in S&P 500 in spring of 2000, wasn’t very happy even by 2010 for opting to invest in S&P500 as oppose to paying off his debt.

    Great work there and keep it up.
    TDK.

    1. Hey dividend karma!

      Thank you for your kind words! 😊

      Wow, 15 months is really fast! That’s awesome. Congrats to you!! 👍

      And yes, there is a risk premium for taking on risk. In your example, 2% may not be high enough to take on that risk depending on the person. Overall, when interest rate >=5%, that’s when i’d probably prefer the guarantee return by paying off the debt.

      Thanks for dropping by and reading. I bet you’re killing it with your finances! 🤗

  15. Still LOVE Hello Kitty!! Hee hee…I should be way past that. But I haven’t spent any money on Hello Kitty in a loooong time, so I suppose I’m doing okay. Great post! I love your humor and I think they way you have consistently stuck with your Bitmoji-branding is awesome. 🙂

    1. It’s not a surprise that cash flow Kat loves hello kitty! 😉 Lol I tend to have a weakness for hello kitty… it’s too cute!

      Hehe I like to use Bitmoji to express my feelings and tell a story, but I wouldn’t consider her as a brand. And she says “yasssssss” lol

  16. Hi Fin$avvy Panda,

    Great post! I love saving money in ATM fees and shipping for things I buy online. I must admit I get pleasure from these two –I hear a Cruella De Vil laughter on my mind when I accomplish this, haha. I also love saving money in making my own coffee at the office, as opposed to doing a Starbucks run. Also, when shopping online, I use your same strategy of Googling for a coupon. I also like using Ebates, Earny, Honey and shopping thru the credit card portal (I use Chase) to get more points per purchase.

    I couldn’t agree more with No. 11 thru 14. I would also add Michael Kors to the list of Coach and Kate Spade. That paragraph captures the essence of how I’ve felt so many times, and the emoji too! Haha. The terrible thing is that many of the luxury consignment websites won’t even buy these brands so you’re stuck! 🙁

    I also liked your suggestion of refurbishing old stuff. I’m crafty and recently took a free lesson at Home Depot and learned to use power tools, but have never ventured into actually making anything because of: 1) the initial expense on tools and, 2) fear that after spending money on materials it’ll end up being a total waste. I always thought of making stuff from scratch but after reading your article it dawned on me that refurbishing could be a good place for me to start!

    Btw, the pet bed killed me, it cracked me up that the dog’s name is Lily! 🙂

    1. Hi Lily!

      I read on Miguel’s page that you’re a master when it comes to looking for shopping deals! That’s fantastic! I also love getting the best bang for our buck using whatever I can that doesn’t require much effort 👍

      As for caffeine, I think lucky for me, I’m not a coffee person. I actually don’t like drinking coffee so I can naturally save money there. Believe it or not, I enjoy plain water with lemon for the entire day, haha! I’m paranoid when I don’t drink a lot of water…

      But I do spend on green tea lattes and white chocolate mochas once or twice a week because I love splurging on them. Thank goodness I don’t like drinking them every day or I’d get sick from too much.

      I also wanted to try building furniture or things from scratch but I wouldn’t know where to start! So I’ll just stick with the easier stuff for now which is refurbishing/fixing.

      When we were renovating our basement, our contractor wouldn’t let me touch anything or help out! He said I am not made for this type of work and I really wanted to show him that I could do it if I tried! It definitely takes a bit of time but if you enjoy it, then it’s worth having fun with!

      I saw the kitchen you designed on your page. It’s really nice. You’ve got great taste when it comes to design and decor! 🙂

      And yes… Lily, the pet was defintiely a coincidence haha!! 🐶

      Thanks for dropping by!!

  17. Great ideas. I love all the quotes from the experts too. I love teaching people how to be money conscious and learning new ideas to add to my bag of tricks (just a great bag I got on clearance at Kohl’s)!

    1. Hi Angela!

      Thanks for your kind words! I’m sure you are a very savvy saver! 😊 I’m always trying to find new and creative ways to save as well! Thanks for dropping by! ❤️❤️

      P.S. I love shopping in the clearance aisle as well as long as I know I’ll be using it!

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