Painless Ways to Slash Your Monthly Expenses

Cut these unnecessary purchases from your budget and you'll be amazed at how much money you can save.

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Natural cleaning products
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Speciality cleaning products

So many of the store-bought cleaning products taking up your cabinet space really could be replaced with a few pantry items. DIY-ing your own cleaners with the likes of baking soda and vinegar is easier than you think—it’s mostly a matter of getting into the habit—and the right formulas really do work. Commit to replacing just one of your regular cleaning products with a homemade option. These simple cleaning hacks are a great place to start.

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Watching cable TV
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Television cable

Cancel your cable bill. With services like BritBox CanadaNetflix Canada and Prime Video, you can now watch almost anything immediately, and for a fraction of the cost of cable TV. Options such as digital antennas and Roku work for those who love live TV, too.

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Online shopping - Woman on laptop with credit card
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Impulse purchases

We’re not just talking about the items that catch your eye as you shop hungry or wait in the checkout line—but certainly resist those too. All the time we spend online makes it easy to see something we never knew we wanted and then, thanks to a few touches and swipes, have it heading our way within minutes. Make a rule that all items must sit in an online shopping cart for a minimum of one day before purchase. Bonus: Some companies offer you a discount when they notice you haven’t yet pulled the trigger. (Though be sure that in the end, need, not that discount, informs your decision.)

Want to regain control of your spending habits? Put these mindful shopping tips into practice.

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Fresh produce in a brown paper grocery bag
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Unnecessary groceries

According to a recent study by Second Harvest, a Toronto-based food rescue charitable organization, 58 percent of all food produced in Canada—35.5 million tonnes—is lost or wasted. That’s bad news for your wallet and the environment. Some tips to help: Plan your meals weekly, keeping what you already have on hand in mind, and make a grocery list to support it. Stick to that list and shop smart when you do. Get creative with leftovers and using your freezer. (For example, a running stash of about-to-turn fruits and veggies make perfect smoothie starters.)

Discover the best apps to save money on groceries.

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Paper towel rolls on counter
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Paper towels and napkins

A 36-pack of microfibre cloths costs you about the same as a 12-pack of paper towels, but it will last you way longer. Invest in a stash of pretty cloth napkins, too. Keep a mini hamper under the sink to corral the dirties—and effectively keep paper products out of your kitchen.

Find out 50 proven strategies to save more money.

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Putting dryer sheet in the dryer
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Dryer sheets

Invest in a few reusable wool dryer balls instead. You’ll save money on repeat dryer-sheet purchases, plus you’ll cut down on dry-time by up to 40 percent!

Here are the best financial podcasts to help you manage your money.

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Greeting cards in store
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Greeting cards

All those $5 and $7 purchases really do add up. Switching to free e-cards instead can save you money on postage, too. Can’t stand the thought of not giving them something to have and to hold? If making cards is up your alley, go for it! (Hold an afternoon card-making session to build up a stash.)

Looking for a fun way to kick-off someone’s day? Send them one of these funny good morning GIFs!

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Vintage clothes on rack
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New clothes

Stop before you buy new and consider less expensive (and more eco-friendly) thrift and vintage items instead. Vintage items—those 25 years or older—are great for special occasions and statement pieces, especially. They’re easiest to score at local vintage stores or online at specialized sites such as the Etsy vintage section.

Here are 11 things you always snap up at a yard sale.

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Dining at a restaurant with friends
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Meals out

Dining out is a $2,200 annual expense for the average Canadian household, according to Statistics Canada. While no one wants to completely give up on going out, there are all kinds of ways you can bring that number down. Plan to take lunch to work or school more often. (Make it fun so it doesn’t feel like you’re skimping.) Go out during happy hour when drink prices are reduced, meet for lunch instead of dinner, or opt for an appetizer potluck at home instead of an evening out once in a while.

These budget-friendly three-ingredient recipes will provide plenty of inspiration.

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Signs of hearing loss - Handsome young man in black hoodie wears big wireless music headphones and changes audio tracks on smartphone, he smiles when looks at phone screen
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Apps and in-app purchases

Schedule some time to review your app subscriptions and quit any you no longer use. (Subscriptions that are automatically billed each month are easy to forget about.) If there are any you do use that have a particularly high in-app purchase rate—Candy Crush, we’re looking at you—research free or low-cost replacements. You could also set a monthly limit that you’re comfortable with, and disable in-app purchases once you’ve met it. And here’s an idea: Use apps to save money instead.

Here’s how to find the cheapest gas station near you.

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Bottled water
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Bottled and canned water

If you haven’t already, it’s time to stop paying nearly $4 for a bottle of water when you can get it at home for virtually nothing. If you’re concerned about taste or quality, invest in a water filter and reusable water bottle. Canned sparkling water isn’t exactly cheap, either. If you’ve developed a fizzy-water habit, consider an every-other rule to help you cut back: Drink a glass of regular water between every can.

These money mistakes are costing you thousands.

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Happy man shopping for groceries
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Name-brand items

While it’s true that some generics items don’t compare quality-wise to their higher-priced brand-named counterparts, it’s also true that some generic products are literally identical. This is case for hundreds of items, including patent medicines, food, household items, and more.

Next, find out 50 money saving tips you’ll wish you’d known sooner.

The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman

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