Living

25 ways to save $100

Trim your budget and save enough to treat yourself

Wish you could come up with $100 so you could indulge in a massage or buy that new tennis racquet. Well, you could just put it on your credit card. Not into adding to your stress? The alternative is to trim your budget. Here’s where to look:


If you brown-bag it at work three days a week and save $15, you’re just seven weeks away from the spa massage table.


Check to see if your insurance company will give you a one-month premium rebate if you pay your life insurance premium a year in advance.


Increase the deductible on your car from $250 to $500, or even $1,000 and you’ll save big time.


Grocery shop with a list. Retailers count on impulse purchases to jack up your bill by as much as 20 per cent.


Eliminate your bank charges by shopping for free accounts. Yes, they exist. And yes, some even pay decent interest.


Move your credit card balance from that expensive card to a cheapie card and save tons. On a $3,600 balance, switching from a 17 per cent card to a 9.9 per cent card will save you more than $250 a year in interest.


Don’t use ATMs where you have to pay for your withdrawals. It’s worth the walk down the street to save the buck or more in service charges. Or take enough out at once for the whole month and divvy it up into envelopes by the week at home.


Go to the movies on cheap Tuesdays or when matinees are less costly, or see second-run movies.


Since brand-name drugs are usually much more expensive than their generic equivalents, ask your physician and pharmacist for generic drugs whenever appropriate.


Check your local phone bill to see if you have optional services that you don’t really need or use. Each option you drop could save you $40 or more each year.


If you make more than a few long-distance calls each month, consider subscribing to a calling plan. Shop around to see which long-distance company has the least expensive plan for the calls you make.


Consider using an Internet chat service instead of long distance to keep in touch with far-away friends and family.


You can save up to $100 a year on gas by keeping your engine tuned and your tires inflated to their proper pressure.


Hold the mother of all garage sales. Cast a critical eye on the stuff at the back of your closets. If you haven’t used it in six months, chances are you can do without it.


Car pool or use public transportation. This saves on gas, insurance and maintenance costs. Use Canada Customs and Revenue Agency’s 2003 mileage reimbursement rate of 41 cents per kilometre (up to the first $5000, 35 cents thereafter) as a proxy for the cost of commuting to calculate how much you’ll save.


The average household spends about $2,398 a year on clothing according to Statistics Canada. Cut that in half by shopping at consignment shops or off-season sales. That’s almost $100 a month right there!


Go veggie. If you can do three meatless days a week (without substituting pricey fish), you could save $25 a week, or $100 a month.


Are you still smoking? Puh-lease. Lose the habit. Feel better. Indulge in something that’s good for you. For a pack-a-day habit, save $56 a week.

Skip the gym fees and take up walking, cycling, or in-line skating. Swim at your local community centre.


Walkerton aside, Canada’s tap water is some of the best in the world. Buy a snooty bottle, fill it from the tap and save. (You’ll save about a buck a bottle or $60 a month if you drink two bottles a day.)


Cancel the premium channels that usually come in the cable bundle if you really don’t watch them that much. You could save $16 to $20 a month.


Two books a month off the “new-hot-fiction” list will run you almost $80. Use the library. It’s free.



Cut down on your dry-cleaning costs by switching from fancy materials like silk to healthy materials like cotton.


Make your own coffee as opposed to buying a twice-daily gourmet coffee and save $5 a day or $100 a month.