My Money Coach

Stay ahead of inflation with these tips on how to spend less

April 27, 2023

We’re living through an era where all the everyday things we spend money on cost a whole lot more than they did a year or two ago.

With that in mind, Save with SPP decided to do a little digging for some new (to us) ideas on how to keep more of your money in your purse or wallet.

The Asterisk blog offers up a few, including the idea of ditching your landline (if you haven’t already). “Paying… for a landline you barely use just doesn’t make sense,” the blog advises.

Other ideas include getting rid of traditional cable and making do with programming from an antenna on the roof, and/or the free streaming apps offered by major TV networks.

The blog also suggests you review your credit card statements each month to look for any subscriptions you can live without.

At the Millennial Money blog, we are urged to “stop paying for music” via streaming services. This is a good one. Here at home, we “ripped” all of our old CDs, stored them in the cloud, and used the Cloud Beats app to listen to them when in the car. You already paid for the CDs, so why not listen to them?

Another good idea from Millennial Money is to make use of your local public library.

“There’s really no reason to buy books or media on Amazon when you can just as easily visit your local library for a virtually unlimited selection of items,” the blog advises.

“The thing to remember about libraries is that you pay for them with your tax dollars. So, if you don’t frequent your local library, you’re literally flushing money down the drain,” the blog adds.

Our late father would like another of the cost-saving suggestions — “turn off the lights.” The blog notes that “people often lose a lot of money because they leave lights on around the house.” Check to see if this is true at your house!

The (Mostly) Simple Life blog offers up a few more.

A good one is to borrow, rather than buy or rent. “I’m sure that I could find a family member or friend to borrow from instead of purchasing something that’s just going to sit around most of the time,” the blog advises. “We’ve borrowed tools, suitcases, and extra bedding for guests instead of buying something we might only need once,” the blog adds.

Another nice idea is to shop with cash, rather than with debit or credit cards.

“If you have a hard time sticking to your budget, don’t bring more cash than you are supposed to spend,” the blog notes. “If you only have $50 to spend on groceries, bring $50 of cash into the store.” Boomers will recall that in the days before widespread credit card use, cash with truly the Monarch of Money — the main, and most common way to pay.

The My Money Coach blog has some great ideas as well.

The blog advises us to “give every dollar a job.” Huh?

This strategy involves finding “a home for every dollar in your budget so you’re not tempted to make thoughtless purchases by thinking `if I have the money sitting around, I’ll spend it,’” the blog explains.

“Start telling your money where to go once you deposit your paycheque: pay all of your bills first, then move the remainder to other accounts, such as a savings account or your retirement fund. By ensuring that every dollar has a home, you’ll be less likely to spend away your entire paycheque. To make things easier, you can set up an automatic transfer on payday to divvy up your paycheque into separate accounts, so you won’t be tempted to spend it,” the blog explains.

Other good advice from My Money Coach includes leaving credit cards at home when you go shopping, and the classics of having a budget and tracking spending.

We’ll add a couple that have worked for us over the years. Guaranteed investment certificates are basically a savings account that pays you interest, but can’t be accessed for a specified term, typically one to five years. Money that you can’t easily get at to spend tends to grow. It’s a piggy bank that can only be opened every few years.

Shopping at thrift stores is another great way to have fun hunting for treasure while saving money. It’s amazing what you can find, and you are usually paying a few bucks instead of $50 or $100. We brag to our friends at the golf course, especially after sinking a long putt, that our vintage putter cost $3 at Value Village.

The Saskatchewan Pension Plan makes it easy for you to automate the building of your retirement nest egg. SPP allows you to make pre-authorized contributions (PACs) to your account. Through PACs, you can have money directed to your SPP account every payday, so that you’re literally paying your future self first! Check out SPP today!

Join the Wealthcare Revolution – follow SPP on Facebook!

Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.

Looking for tricky ways to boost your retirement savings

June 30, 2022

We’re living through some very weird times. First we get a pandemic that keeps many of us from working for an extended period of time, and the rest of us with nothing to spend our money on. Now we’re facing crazy inflation that is making even routine purchases very expensive.

Are there any tricky ways to put away a few bucks for retirement out there? Save with SPP decided to seek out a few new tricks – ideally ones we haven’t covered off before.

A GoBankingRates article posted on Yahoo! offers up 42 savings tricks.

One is to watch the fees in your retirement savings accounts, the article suggests. Here in Canada, this would be in registered retirement savings plans – RRSPs – or Tax-Free Savings Accounts, TFSAs. Do you have mutual funds that charge a high fee, say two per cent or even more? Maybe you can switch to a lower-fee exchange traded fund (ETF). Other ideas include renting out a spare room or an unused garage for extra savings cash, “shopping around” for the best possible insurance rate, and the idea of “putting every tax refund into savings.”

“It’s tempting to use the extra money from your tax refund on a new toy or vacation,” the article states. “But these spurts of cash provide the perfect opportunities to give your retirement savings a big boost.”

The My Money Coach blog has some great ideas, including freeing up money for savings by paying attention to your pre-retirement cash flow.

“A very important key to saving for retirement in Canada – that many have lost sight of – is to earn more than you spend,” the blog explains.

If you are following a budget and still have little room for savings, the blog continues, “the next thing to do is to up your income. You can ask for a raise at work, or you can apply for a job that offers a higher pay and better benefits. You can also pick up extra shifts or take on a second job during the weekends or evenings, if your schedule allows it.”

Other ideas to boost cash flow (and create more savings) are “a side business or freelancing,” the blog notes. “Capitalize on one of your passions and see where it takes you.”

From the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) site comes a little bit of savings psychology advice.  “Try this little trick to motivate yourself,” the site suggests. Simply change the name of your savings solution. Seeing “My world trip,” “Better living” or “Playa del Carmen 2030” every time you log into… e-banking or (a) mobile banking app will remind you of your big dream, and give your motivation a boost,” states Daniel Bregenzer of UBS.

Other tips from UBS include making it “harder” to access your savings account so the temptation to spend it is lessened, “like keeping a box of chocolates out of sight,” and making savings an automatic habit.

Save with SPP can add a couple more.  First, if you get a cash gift card – say it’s issued as a rebate on a purchase of tires, or contact lenses, or whatever – did you know that you can use that gift card to make contributions to your Saskatchewan Pension Plan account? SPP allows you to make credit card contributions, and we have used gift cards quite a few times over the years. Here’s the page where credit card contributions can be made.

And, if you have a cashback card, what better place for the cash than your retirement savings plan – just set up SPP as a bill payment on your bank website or app, and when the cash is deposited, contribute it.

Whatever way you can wring a few extra bucks out of your living costs will work, and your future self will greatly enjoy the work your current self has put in!

Join the Wealthcare Revolution – follow SPP on Facebook!

Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.

Jun 4: Best from the blogosphere

June 4, 2018

Whether you’re just starting out on your own, building your nest and populating it, or gearing down for the golden years, there’s one constant you can rely on. There’s always room for more money.

So how to save? The lady of this house has developed what she calls her Rules of Acquisition, which she thinks of before buying anything. Before paying full retail price, she asks – “can I get it on sale?” Better, she wonders, “can I get it used?” And finally, “can I get it free?” There’s no shame and much to be saved by checking out yard sales and thrift shops, she advises.

Here are some more suggestions from a quick search of the Internet:

The U.K. based Mumsnet site had a great discussion on the topic. The three most common ideas were shopping for sale items, reviewing insurance (home and auto) and looking for cheaper options, and avoiding restaurant meals – “packed lunches every day,” one poster advises. You can see the full website here.

Closer to home, the My Money Coach blog suggests collecting your change and depositing it in savings account, and thinking of savings more like we think of bills – putting a set amount aside each month. The blog offers helpful steps on this second point, the “pay yourself first” approach that can be automated, and concludes with discussion of the importance of a written spending plan. Here’s where you can have a look at the rest of the blog.

The Huffington Post agrees on the idea of less restaurant eating, and adds putting a nix on daily coffee shop indulgences and online shopping. Their post is here.

Our good friend Steve Martyn’s one-page financial plan focused on knowing how much you are making, and how much is going out. If you spend less than you make, you are winning the battle. Steve also advises paying very close attention to hidden fees.

Our late Uncle Joe advised us all to live on 90 per cent of earnings. “You will never have any problems in life if you do that,” he said.

Sifting through all this advice, three themes emerge:

  • You need to be aware of how much you are spending, versus how much you make – a plan
  • There’s usually a way to get things you want for less than full retail price – be a patient shopper
  • Just as you plan your spending, plan to save; pay yourself first

You can make good use of the savings. A great destination for retirement savings is the Saskatchewan Pension Plan. If you’re a member, direct some of your savings there – and if you want to sign up, visit their site today.

Written by Martin Biefer
Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. After a 35-year career as a reporter, editor and pension communicator, Martin is enjoying life as a freelance writer. He’s a mediocre golfer, hopeful darts player and beginner line dancer who enjoys classic rock and sports, especially football. He and his wife Laura live with their Sheltie, Duncan, and their cat, Toobins. You can follow him on Twitter – his handle is @AveryKerr22