Most financial studies lately have shown that many of us are doing the opposite of what we should be doing with our money.
It’s like we have a never ending love affair with consumer debt, and rock-bottom interest rates aren’t helping.
But there are a few of us that are bucking the trend. CBC recently ran an article on “super savers” – people who have spent their money wisely, lived within their means and hoarded their cash.
I don’t consider myself a super saver but I’d like to think I have a healthy savings rate. Our monthly budget is reasonable, we keep lifestyle inflation to a minimum (or try to) and I almost always buy things below full price.
One family in Ontario has become the example of a super saver family – paying off their mortgage while raising 3 children. They get excited to pay down debt and have managed to save up to 70% of their net income.
This lifestyle paid off when the husband recently lost his job; since they had so much cash stockpiled and paid down so much of their debt they were able to live off one part-time teacher’s salary as well as investment income.
What Do You Value?
For the family featured in the article, they’ve done a good job of figuring out what they value. Dining out means avoiding the time and effort of meal planning, so they prefer fast dining options rather than expensive restaurants.
When determining your monthly budget it is a balancing act between saving money and freeing up your time.
In our monthly budget we allow for one fast food meal per week. This is usually every Friday – we’re both tired from the work week, we don’t feel like cooking and we both just need a break. Is it more expensive than making a meal at home? It definitely is. But we value our time enough to know that we both need a break at the end of the week, and $20 per week dining out will not break our budget.
Others value their free time on weekends and are willing to spend a small amount every week (or month) to have their house cleaned. Sure, they could easily clean their place themselves and don’t necessarily need a house cleaner, but they are willing to make that trade because they value their leisure time on weekends.
No matter what your situation is, it’s important to consider what you value – and make a budget that reflects that. If you value having summer weekends completely free perhaps it would be worth it to pay someone to do your yard work instead of doing it yourself.
I’m all for saving money but I also value my free time and in some cases I am willing to pay to have more leisure time.
Easy Ways to Save Money around the House
Here are some easy tips anyone can use to save money at home:
- Make a list of what’s currently in your fridge and post it on the fridge. You’ll have a better idea of what’s available to eat when you want something quick and when you know what’s in there you’ll be less likely to throw things out (reducing your grocery bill)
- Use your own cleaning solution of vinegar in a spray bottle. Not only does it work well, it’s also environmentally friendly
- Consider installing a smart thermostat that controls the temperature of your home when you are home or away, reducing your energy bills by keeping the optimal temperature for the time of day
- Since most of the energy involved in washing clothing involves using hot water, consider washing your clothing in cold water instead and air drying each piece instead of using the dryer
- If you use paper napkins often considering switching to washable cloth ones, and use rags instead of paper towels
- Avoid buying books and magazines – get them for free at your local library
- If you subscribe to cable consider switching to a lower cost alternative like Netflix or cutting it off altogether
- Avoid buying bottled water – buy a Brita water filter for use at home instead
- If you have the room in your yard consider building a garden to grow your own herbs and vegetables
Conclusion – I don’t consider myself a super saver but I do save money whenever I can. I value my time (especially my weekends) so I’d consider spending on things that free up my time even if they cost me money.
Do you consider yourself a super saver? What do you do to save money around your home?