Saving money can be classy
I’ve mentioned multiple times that investing a part of our income became a priority for our family. This year, our goal is to invest at least 30% of our working income towards future. You know, the good old “pay yourself first” principle that nobody really understands at first.
At the same time, we don’t make a lot of money. We’re still young, still lacking education and fancy titles, and our paychecks are much lower than we’d like them to be. But hey, it’s not just how much you make. It’s also how much you spend! And this is where saving money comes into play.
We enjoy saving money on things – especially when we can put these savings to work by investing it or spending on something we truly enjoy, like traveling. I don’t advocate living like monks and eating cat food just for the sake of saving money. But if you can save money without comprising anything and direct the savings towards something meaningful, saving money can be a beautiful thing.
Saving money by making eBay my friend
Before I started buying things on eBay, I used to think of it as a place where people traded their old underwear and sold old computer games to like-minded geeks. You know, world’s largest garage sale online with a complicated bidding process to boot.
But after scrolling through millions of items listed, I’ve discovered that eBay became a huge market of new household items available at fixed price. Sure, there are some weird items like MiG-21 fighter jet and city of Bridgeville, California (pop. 25). But it’s also filled with items you can buy online with considerable savings as opposed to buying them locally at a big box store.
Since then, searching eBay became a part of my routine before buying anything. New bike light? Check eBay. New knives? Check eBay. Laptop battery? Check eBay! With some exceptions, most items can be bought on eBay with considerable savings without compromising the quality. The only downside is waiting few days before the item arrives in the mail.
Here’s an example. Recently, my iPhone charger decided to end its miserable life by tangling itself. It survived, but exposed wires were a clear sign of an upcoming trip to electronics farm were all electronics go when they get old.
So, I’ve decided to stop by a local electronics store to buy a new one. A well-mannered sales clerk informed me cheerfully I’ll have to spend $50 on a genuine Apple charging cable. Instead, I’ve pointed somewhere behind him shouting “- Watch out for the T-Rex!” and promptly left the store while he wasn’t looking.
When I got home, quick eBay search revealed that I can buy iPhone charges for less than $1. These charges will do the exact same job as $50 charger bought locally, but the end result would be more money in my pocket. Thank you eBay for saving me yet another pile of money so I can put away more money towards our future while still being able to charge my phone.
Savings? I’m usually able to save at least 50% off the item. Downside? I have to wait a few days until the items are dropped off by Doug, my favorite Canada Post employee.
Buying parts for my car online
I don’t know what car parts cartels control car parts industry in Canada but they’re clearly doing a great job. Car parts are extremely expensive in my neck of the woods. How can anybody be saving money with these prices?!
Our car is a gazillion years old, and once in a while it requires a part or two. After paying a couple of hefty bills for repairs, I got curious to see what goes into it. Good portion of it were parts my mechanic would order from local parts store. So I thought – what if I buy parts myself and bring them to my mechanic to install thus saving money? And it worked beautifully!
Now before any work is done on my car, I ask my mechanic to provide a list of parts needed. Once I get an email with parts’ numbers, I head to http://www.rockauto.com and order the parts from them. After receiving them in the mail, I simply bring all the parts needed for my appointment.
Savings? I’ve never saved less than 50% off my parts even if you calculate shipping fees into equation. Sometimes it can be as high as 70-80%. In some cases, instead of simply saving money, I choose to buy higher quality parts than available at the local parts store, and still come out ahead of the game. Take that, Canadian car parts cartels!
Warning: Not all shops allow you to bring outside parts. Just like movie theaters prohibiting outside drinks so they can charge people $7 for a bottle of water, some mechanics will cringe when you ask them if you can supply your own parts. After all, they do make a bit of money off parts when working on your vehicle. Dealerships will flat out refuse this since this is where they make most of their money next to financing.
My mechanic on the other hand doesn’t mind this practice at all. Since he is my go-to guy for anything mechanical (simply because I can’t tell the difference between screwdriver and a wrench), he’s been working on my vehicle for years and years. He’s happy to charge me labor when working on my vehicle, and I’m happy to save serious coin on parts when it’s needed.
Not paying bank fees of any kind
I refuse to pay bank fees or service charges. Also, the pittance most banks are paying as interest is just appalling. That’s why I only use banks that provide a great service, offer a competitive interest rate, and are completely free.
Currently, there are two banks that fit my criteria – President Choice Financial and Tangerine Bank. See my post on which one I think is better (although I still use both).
Savings? I know what you’re thinking – “Hey, banks don’t charge much for their service, good job on saving pennies, you dummy!” But it just so happens that I know exactly how much money I’ve saved over few years by choosing Tangerine (formerly known as ING Direct):
In just few years, we are $2,500 richer just by switching our bank account. And twenty five hundred bucks is no small potatoes. If this seems like chump change not worth a few keystrokes to you – hey, good for you. But to me, it’s a serious amount especially if you think of the future value of it after investing it for a few years.
Bonus: Currently Tangerine offers free money just for opening an account. You can make easy $50 by opening a savings account and $120 for opening a checking account and depositing your work paycheck. Check this post for details on how to score free cash!
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