If we didn’t have to eat, we’d be rich. But alas, we do. And if your daily commute requires a lot of driving, you’ll end up spending hundreds on gas every month.
It can be frustrating when such a large percentage of your take-home pay is eaten up by rent, food, and transportation, leaving little extra for the fun stuff. How can you save money on groceries and gas while still being healthy and getting around efficiently? Here are a few tips to cut down on two of the biggest household expenses most families face:
Did you know some gas stations can be up to 10 cents cheaper than the next? It could be worth it to hunt one down to fill up. The cost of gasoline can really add up, especially if you commute daily or own an SUV. Use the GasBuddy app to compare prices and find the least expensive gas in your area, whether it’s near your home, work, or somewhere convenient between the two.
As for groceries, there are so many options beyond the major chains. Shopping for produce at independent neighbourhood markets can save you upwards of 40 per cent on your fruit and veggie bill. Farmer’s markets, CSA boxes and food delivery boxes are also great options for saving on local, seasonal produce.
Make the freezer your friend
Grocery stores usually have a shelving unit with misshapen or soon-to-be-expired produce that can be ridiculously cheap. We’re talking a-dozen-tomatoes-for-$2 cheap. Use it for your meal that night, or get creative. Brown bananas are way sweeter, for example, so stock up on them, freeze them and then chop them up into your cereal or bake some bread.
The same goes for fish and meat, which is usually too pricey for those watching their loonies: buy when it has a 50 per cent off sticker and then stash it in the freezer.
Is there any app that excites personal finance experts more than Flipp? You no longer need to remember to bring flyers with you and shuffle through them noisily at checkout. Shop at a store that matches the price of local competitors, and enter each item in your cart in the app’s search bar to see if it’s on sale elsewhere. Then just show the cashier, and they’ll adjust the price.
Reward your spending
Along with the tips listed above, using a cash-back credit card is a good way to get rebates for the money you’re spending anyway — it requires no additional effort, and you get a percentage of every dollar you spend on the card back (usually as a credit on your credit card statement).
One top card is the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite because it gives you 4 per cent cash back on gas and groceries. Since it has an $99 annual fee, this is a card that’s better suited to couples and families who spend more heavily in these categories.
Another card is the SimplyCash from American Express, which has an introductory offer of 5 per cent cash back on gas and groceries (up to $250) for the first six months of card membership, with 1.25 per cent back on all purchases thereafter. There’s no limit on the amount of cash back you can earn at the 1.25 per cent rate. There’s also no annual fee, and it comes with additional insurance benefits.
RateHub.ca is an independent financial product comparison site that empowers Canadians to make smart financial decisions by comparing rates on mortgages, credit cards, chequing accounts, savings accounts and insurance.
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