If you’re trying to save for a down payment, car, trip or anything else, you may find you need to adjust your budget to reach your financial goals. The first step in setting any budget or savings plan is to track your spending and income so you can understand where you can stretch your budget and where you can indulge.
Once you are regularly tracking all funds going in and out, what’s next? Being smart with your money while you’re renting is key. Here are a few tips to make your money go a little further.
Stay in One Place
If you’re looking for a new home, choose a neighbourhood that you can see yourself loving and living in for at least five years. Consider what’s close to work or school, public transportation and important amenities. You may also want to live close to friends and family or in a neighbourhood that reflects your preferred lifestyle — do you like the convenience of older, mature neighbourhoods or the space of the suburbs?
Consider all these things carefully and be intentional where you choose to live. Selling, buying and moving can eat into your savings and cost you a lot of money in the long run if you’re living somewhere new every two or three years.
Unfortunately, your parents were right when they nagged you to shut off your bedroom light every day. It really does affect your utility bill, and conserving that energy is good for the environment too! You can also unplug appliances like a coffee maker, television or space heater when you’re not using them.
In the winter, you can turn down your thermostat at night and throw an extra blanket on the bed. If you like it warm and cozy, you can still turn the heat down when you leave.
In summer, you can keep your place cool by drawing the blinds or shades during the heat of the day. When the weather cooperates, it’s much cheaper to cool your place by opening your windows at night. That will take some of the load off your air conditioner (and help keep your place cool if you have no AC).
All Paragon properties have LED lightbulbs, which are more energy efficient than traditional bulbs.
Become an At-Home Chef
Eating out is tempting, but it’s also tough on your budget. Making your own meals can save you a lot of money and even help you eat healthier. It’s also good to give yourself some “eating out” money for activities with others like dates or group outings.
Plan your meals around sales at the grocery store and try to buy in bulk when you can. If you have free time in the evenings, cut a few coupons (or load up your favourite store’s app) to shave some dollars off your grocery bill. And avoid the pricey lattes and specialty drinks by making coffee at home.
Get Rid of Cable
If you haven’t ditched your cable plan yet, now may be the time to do it. Cable plans can be expensive and often make you pay for channels you don’t even watch. Streaming services tend to be less expensive and let you watch your favourite shows whenever you want.
Take advantage of the free trials many companies offer to see which streaming service you like the best. If there’s a streaming service you don’t use or need, get rid of it right away. If you don’t want to pay for cable or streaming services, many cable channels offer free streaming of their shows online. And don’t forget free entertainment platforms such as YouTube. You might be surprised how much is out there at low or no cost.
Watch Your Transportation Costs
One of the biggest expenses for most people is transportation. Let’s face it: cars are expensive. You may have loan payments for them, and you can’t avoid paying for insurance, gas, parking and regular maintenance. Even an “affordable” car can end up costing you hundreds of dollars a month. That’s a lot of money to spend on something that remains parked 90 per cent of the time.
If you live close to where you work, that gives you the option to walk or bike to work, which can immediately save you a lot of money. Using transit can also save you money compared to driving every day.
You may even consider getting rid of your car entirely. Peg City Car Co-op gives you the flexibility of having access to a car when you need one without the bother of having to maintain it yourself.
Get Your Damage Deposit Back
Keeping your suite in great condition helps you save money and keeps your landlord happy. Make sure to read the lease and take note of what you’re responsible for maintaining. Be present for inspections when you move in and out.
While you’re living in the suite, fix issues right away — either by yourself or by submitting a maintenance request — and talk to your building manager about any aesthetic changes. Finally, do a thorough clean before you move out.
If you want to read more about how to get your damage deposit back, check out our recent blog.
Successful budgeters are conscious about how they spend their money. That doesn’t mean you have to be restrictive — you can still have the things you want, as long as you are intentional with your spending.
If you’re looking for an affordable luxury apartment that fits your budget and meets all your needs, check out our Rentals page.