By Younas Chaudhary
When I first moved to Canada, I worked for $3.31 per hour, drove an old beat-up Volkswagen Beetle to its grave, purchased used household items, ate the cheapest cuts of meat, and saved as much money as much as I could.
With those savings, I purchased my first home in less than 2 years after moving to Canada. Despite my wealth, once in a while I still try to live under $200 a week. Here are some tips for you:
1. Find motivation to live under $200 a week by creating a weekly budget excluding your fixed costs like utilities, mortgage, and insurance.
2. Savings happens only when you are motivated to achieve certain goals in life, like being debt-free and having enough savings to live happily. I feel that’s a blessing.
3. Use digital or print coupons at every opportunity. In my younger days, we would religiously cut coupons from newspapers and take them to the stores to purchase essentials.
4. Buy grocery items on sale. For example, in my early years in Canada, supermarkets sold shank meat at deeply discounted prices. That is what I ate.
5. Always go shopping with a list and pre-plan your visit. Buy just enough for a week and empty your pantry and fridge before your next visit. Ask questions: Why do I need 10 apples when six are enough for a week?
6. Assign one family member to purchase groceries and other essentials.
7. Use cash whenever you can because once you feel cash slipping from your hands, you will understand its value. Cash is a psychological motivator.
8. Set daily and weekly spending limits with discipline and stick to them. Stop indulgences like going to the coolest new coffee shops and realize how much of your weekly budget will go for that!
9. Build “no spending” days every week and make sure that you don’t fall into temptation.
10. Use common sense to run your overall day-to-day life. For example, cook at home and enjoy healthy meals instead of eating expensive junk from outside.
11. Buy store brands and generic drugs instead of going for brand names. The less you spend, the more you save.
12. In an inter-connected society, Tik Tok or Instagram will give you dumb ideas to waste money through impulsive buying. Ask yourself: How much do I actually need?
13. Take advantage of public transportation and use bus passes for your commute. Avoid using the toll roads.
14. Closely monitor every dollar you spend and once you achieve your goals, keep repeating it.
Learn to live on a budget. Stay Blessed!
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. Further, I make no warranty regarding the accuracy or effectiveness of my recommendations, and readers are advised to consult other advisors as well as their own judgments in making business decisions.