Take an hour every week to look for savings

If you live in the typical Canadian household, with or without children, there are probably areas in your routine expenses where you could find real savings. This isn’t the usual budget-cutting, avoid-eating-out system. It’s about looking at costs which we take for granted which are not as fixed as we often think. By examining the costs you pay for utilities, coverage, healthcare, and other unavoidable costs, you could save hundreds per months and thousands per year. With only an hour spent each week, you can institute many of these savings plans before the end of 2017.



It may seem unbelievable, but certain seemingly fixed costs are actually negotiable. One of these is the cost of the basic kilowatt hour from your local energy provider. Get on the phone with someone and try to get a better rate. There’s usually more wiggle room in these fees than the companies are willing to advertise. So don’t just accept the quote you’re given by utility companies (ISPs are another good example). A little conversation and negotiation should help you save.



You can also negotiate bills and policies that help you save by bundling. Combining your home, car, and other types of insurance might result in savings. If you have multiple children, for another example, you might be able to negotiate group or family rates at the dentist. Bundling services in this way is kind of like buying in bulk. Oftentimes a company will be willing to give you a deal in this way because having more people involved with their business will get them more business in the long term, even if a discount is applied in the short term.



In places where the energy provider industry has been deregulated, there are many new energy providers coming out of the woodwork. Some of these can give you incredible savings, but if you haven’t heard of them and haven’t spoken to them you won’t get these savings. In many ways competition like this is good for the consumer because it can result in different companies lowering their rates to keep other companies from stealing their business.



When getting a new mortgage, insurer, bank account, credit card, or other cost-associated policy, it’s important to get a bunch of quotes. Quotes are a quick way to understand what costs you will have to endure with these policies, and you can use quotes to help talk a representative into giving you a lower price. You will find in many cases that quotes are all over the place between different insurers, and for different coverage options. It may even pay off to go with multiple insurers for different coverage needs, because of the big differences in what these services cost.

There are ways you can save big on routine purchases and monthly expenses. Most of these require some research, and often getting on the phone with a representative. Fortunately, this shouldn’t take a long time. Reserve one hour a week for a specific savings-finding goal and you should achieve big results before the end of 2017.


Have a story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected] Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.