5 ways to save on everyday purchases

The cost of living is rising across Canada, and while inflation may be finally slowing down, it never hurts to find solutions to save money. Whatever your financial goals for 2024, keeping more in your bank account is always a bonus!

Here are five everyday things you can save money on:

1. Groceries

The rising cost of food is a concern for many Manitobans, with some families adjusting their grocery lists and making do without favourite items.

Flipp may help with that. The free Android and iOS app compares prices, coupons and sales discounts at more than 1,000 retailers, including Superstore, Co-op, Safeway/Sobeys, Save-on Foods, Giant Tiger, and many other popular stores. Shoppers find the best deals near them by entering their postal code into the app.

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If you’re looking for a low-tech way to cut food costs, you can visit a local farmer’s market to pick up fresh produce. Plus, it’s the perfect time to grow fruits and vegetables in your backyard. Start with high yield and easy-to-grow veggies such as tomatoes, carrots and potatoes. When limited on space, city gardeners can use pots or planter boxes—and to shield your garden yield from bunnies, deer and an eventual Manitoba frost, you can build a cold frame using an old door or window. That could extend your season a tad bit longer!

2. Takeout food

After a long day, ordering in with delivery apps is an appealing option over cooking. However, that convenience comes with an additional cost. These apps charge participating restaurants additional fees, and that gets tacked on to your bill.

To continue supporting local businesses while watching your budget, there are other options to get your food fix.

Once in a while, it can be cheaper (for both you and your favourite eatery) to call in your order directly. Some restaurants are even offering discounts if you pick up your order and pay in person—no delivery fees or extra tipping required. This ensures restaurants keep as much of the profit as possible—a welcome bonus since many have been hard hit while operating within razor thin margins.

You might also consider dining in. By eating at the restaurant, you’ll also skip those pesky delivery fees, and you can choose establishments with daily specials. As opposed to takeout, where food lovers can be tempted to order a little extra, you may also find that dining in helps keep your order, and your bill, in check.

3. Fitness

Think you need to join a gym to stay fit? Think again! Beyond walking, running and biking, many affordable ways to stay physically fit are available. How about a workout involving lower body, upper body, strength, cardio and flexibility—using stairs? Yep, you can do a lot more with steps than simply walking up and down them!

If you want to keep your workout indoors, consider free online exercise routines. YouTube is a great resource, and the YMCA offers free at-home workouts as well.

You can supplement workouts with resistance bands or dumbbells for an extra challenge. Don’t want to spend money? Soup cans or water bottles can sub in for weights in a pinch.

If you do prefer a gym membership, options exist for the budget-conscious. Consider Planet Fitness, famous for its $ 15-a-month membership. This chain offers a no-frills approach to workouts, with plenty of space and equipment to break a sweat.

4. Entertainment

Nine out of 10 Canadians have a streaming TV subscription, and over half subscribe to music services like Spotify. Other popular subscriptions include meal delivery and online news. While these services entertain and inform us, it’s easy to lose track of how much we spend on each.

Experts recommend creating a list of your subscriptions and their monthly costs. You may be surprised at how much you’re spending! Once you decide which subscriptions are essential, consider choosing a cheaper, ad-supported tier. Don’t forget there may be a free option to replace a paid service, such as Tubi or The Roku Channel.

For more free entertainment, visit the Winnipeg Public Library (WPL) website to access downloadable e-books and audiobooks, movie and music streams, and digital magazines and newspapers—all for free. Winnipeg residents who don’t have a WPL card can get a temporary digital library card online.

5. Cellphone and Internet

Given how much time we spend online, now is the time to shop around for the best Internet and mobile phone rates. To ensure you’re getting the best deal, browse aggregator sites like RateHub or WhistleOut to compare plans and pricing among Canadian carriers quickly.

Avoid giving in to the temptation to upgrade your phone too soon. While carriers tend to lure customers with the promise of a “free” upgrade, hidden costs can tack on an additional $20-$40 a month to your bill. Your phone should last you up to four years if cared for properly.

Remember, budgeting doesn’t need to feel overwhelming. You’ll often hardly notice changes to your purchasing habits, but your savings will be noticeable. For help on budgeting and growing your savings, talk to an ACU advisor.

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About Christine Wong

Christine Wong has been covering business and technology since 1995, when Mark Zuckerberg was in sixth grade. A former associate producer at Business News Network and Slice TV, Wong freelances while chasing after the biggest story of her life — Ben, who is 10.

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