Your Money-saving Secrets: The "best" best-practices

A little bit of organization lets you save a lot of money in the end!

Marie-Christine Daignault | Desjardins Group

Saving is easier said than done. Luckily, many of you shared your secrets for building up your savings in the real world from day to day.

Here's a list of the 5 most common tips for successful savings

1. Hang on to your change
This is definitely the tip that was shared the most by our readers. Saving your "small change," including loonies and toonies, is very popular. The only catch is that it needs to be rolled up before you can deposit it... but it's worth your time, according to Kathleen: "When I pay for something in cash and get change back, I don't use it to buy a coffee from Tim Hortons or get a snack! I automatically put it aside, in a cute piggy bank. Doing this made me realize how quickly change adds up--I needed a bigger piggy bank in the end!" 

2. Make it automatic
Why do it the hard way when you can do it the easy way? For a lot of people, automatic contributions are built into their financial habits and it pays off! That's the case for Caroline, who knows it's important to pay herself first. "My method is really simple: I have money automatically transferred to my savings account every month. It's bundled into my expenses and I know the money won't be spent anywhere else."

We were so excited to learn that many of you use our Hop 'n S@ve app, including Julie, who said, "Every time I resist the temptation to buy myself a drink or treat, I put the money I saved into my Hop account--it's going to help pay for my daughter's tuition!"

3. Don't waste money
We got a lot of tips about how to avoid spending too much money for no reason. Nina likes shopping online so she gets what she wants and doesn't "get off track," Myriam prefers taking out cash for her monthly nights out, so she can treat herself without overspending, and Cynthianne chooses to hang onto her things until they're completely worn out and buy used whenever possible. A lot of you look for sales, clip coupons and make your own lunches... so that you can save up for a vacation, trip, etc.

François sums it up nicely. "It's easy to save: just don't create needs you don't really have." 

4. Get the most out of rewards programs
A lot of you use your credit cards to make purchases and automatic payments, so that you can earn more rewards. Valérie and Annick both know that this method works best if you pay off your balance every month. Chantal, though, makes sure that she keeps "a balance in her account that's high enough to avoid paying user fees." 

5. Pay down your debts
The fewer debts you have, the more money you have to save. Here's Mary Anne's winning formula. "I couldn't save because my bills and rent took up almost all of my salary. Step 1: pay off my debts [...] credit cards (at least half of the balance), taxes, etc. Step 2: create a budget so that I can pay all of my monthly bills. Step 3: analyze my bills to see where I can cut costs (e.g. cancel TV channels I never watch, reduce utilities, etc.). Step 4: redo my budget to save at least $100 per paycheck. Repeat all of these steps until I've built up my savings."

The magic ingredient in this recipe is perseverance. 

Our final words of wisdom come from Valérie. "When you're just getting started, it seems like a lot of work, but it becomes a habit. I think you just need to start with 1 or 2 actions, and then work others in gradually. A little bit of organization lets you save a lot of money in the end!"

Isn't that inspiring?

Thanks to the many of you who answered the question we posted in Co-opme, our newsletter and on Facebook. Feel free to keep sharing your best advice for getting a handle on your personal finances. 

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