Things that saved us money recently

The only realistic way to achieve financial independence is to spend less money than you earn and invest the difference. Eventually the investment amount will be large enough to sustain your expenses. This is why we are always looking for ways to save money in our daily lives. An extra dollar saved means we can plant this dollar as a dividend seed and it will grow into a dividend tree in a few years and provide re-occurring dividend fruits year after year.

With that in mind, here are 5 things that we did recently that have saved us some money.

Calling Shaw to ask for a cheaper internet package
A Telus representative dropped by our house the other day to offer a slightly cheaper internet option than what we have today with Shaw. With the Telus option we would save about $100 for a year, then after a year there wouldn’t be any price difference between Telus and Shaw.

With that information on hand, I phoned Shaw last night. Although I had to wait on the line for 20 minutes before talking to someone, I was surprise that the Shaw loyalty representative was very pleasant to talk to and was very professional. After I told her what happened, she said right away that she could provide a better deal. At the same time I also complained a little that the Shaw wifi router we have seems to not be as reliable as it used to.

After another 5 minutes on hold, the Shaw loyalty representative came back and offered to give us the new Shaw advanced wifi router rental for free ($7/month usually) and a faster internet package for $12 cheaper per month than what we’re currently paying. The internet price package is good for a year and she suggested calling back in a year to ask for another deal. I was pretty happy with the offer and decided to take the deal on the phone. A Shaw technician will drop by next week to set us up with a newer wifi router.

The reality is, I didn’t really want to switch to Telus and face the possibility of a couple of days of internet downtime and having to pay both Telus and Shaw for a month. I didn’t tell this to the Shaw rep though.

Total saving per year: $144 + 84 + taxes = $255.36

Home Depot price guarantee
We’ve been wanting to get a chest freezer so we can freeze larger amounts of food. Every summer we buy a lot of fresh blueberries to last us half year or so. Considering Baby T loves blueberries (& food in general), we would love to be able to have enough frozen blueberries to last us the whole year. Mrs. T grew up on a farm and her parents typically would keep slaughtered animals like cows, pigs, chickens and lambs in the freezer so they would have meat that would last the year till next time it was time to slaughter. We want to do something similar with the chest freezer as this would save us the need to go to grocery stores to get meats regularly. Buying bulk would also allow us to get the meats at a much lower cost.

So we did some research online and determined a specific chest freezer model. During our research we found that another store was selling the same model for $10 cheaper. This store is much further away from our home so it was inconvenient to drive there and purchase the freezer. Instead, we went to the Home Depot store close by our home and asked Home Depot to match the price. As it turned out, Home Depot didn’t just match the price but beat their competitor’s price by 10%. This was a pleasant surprise.

Total saving: $70 + taxes = $78.4

Making large portions of soup
We’ve had a pretty hot and dry summer here in Vancouver. This past week the weather turned and it has been very rainy and windy. It feels like fall is upon us. We typically make a lot of different types of soup during this time of the year. It’s comfort food for us and it warms us up. So the past week we’ve been making large portion of soup. We purchased a couple of whole chickens last weekend for making soup. Once the chickens are boiled and most of the meats are taken out, Mrs. T then used the chicken bones and scraps to make home-mad chicken stock. First we made a Thai inspired chicken noodle soup with herbs and onions from our own garden. This noodle soup lasted us 4 day worth of meals. We also made chicken, bacon, mushroom barley soup. Again home-made chicken stock was used and we used kale, carrots and herbs from the garden. We estimate the soup will last 4 days or so.

Total saving: Hard to say, considering organic produce can be expensive… probably $30 for both soups? Just think about how much it would cost us to go out for dinners for a full week!

Buying a manual lawn mower
When we moved from an apartment to a house last fall, we realized that we will need to get a lawn mower. We tried to put off the purchase by borrowing the lawn mower from my parents in May and June. Since we don’t have a truck or a van, moving the lawn mower was a bit of a pain. After doing that a few times, we decided that we need to own our own lawn mower. We looked at the different lawn mowers at Home Depot and found the cheapest gas-powered push lawn mower was $249. This lawn mower, however, didn’t have a high rating online. Furthermore, the Home Depot representatives we talked to said this lawn mower’s engine was based on a very old engine design, making it not as reliable compared to some of the newer gas mowers with newer engines designs. The Home Depot reps we talked were suggesting us in getting a more expensive model that has a bigger engine and has self-propel feature. The cheapest model is $499…

For a moment I felt that I was in a car dealership, getting the upsell talk.

“What about this one?” Mrs. T pointed to a manual lawn mower on the demo floor that was labeled $149.
“I’m not buying a manual lawn mower for that price. Shouldn’t it cost way less?”
“Hey what about this one?” Mrs. T pointed to another smaller manual lawn mower that was labeled $99.
“Hmmmm interesting.”

Mrs. T and I then started asking the Home Depot representatives questions about the manual lawn mower.

As it turns out, Home Depot didn’t have any of the smaller manual lawn mower in stock so they offered to sell the floor model for $79. The smaller manual lawn mower is 4 inch shorter in width than the bigger one, meaning it would take slightly longer to mow our yard. However, considering we don’t have that big of a yard, it shouldn’t take that much extra time.

“Let’s get the manual one, I’ll mow the lawn if you want me to, it is good exercise and you save gas and it is better for the environment.”

I was sold on Mrs. T’s statement. 🙂

I used the manual lawn mower a few times this summer and it worked quite well. It would take me about 30 minutes to mow the lawn with my parents’ self-propel gas lawn mower. With the manual lawn mower, it would take about 1 hour. That also means 1 hour of exercise for me.

Total saving: $420 + taxes = $470.40

Side note…. Mrs. T has not offered to cut the lawn for me just yet. :p

Fill up gas in USA
Since we live close to the US border, going to the US to fill up gas has always been an enticing option as gas is much cheaper in the states. This is true even taking the exchange rate into consideration. The only annoyance is that I have to wait in the border lineup both going to US and coming back into Canada. The border wait times meant it would typically take 30 minutes (often longer) to fill up gas.

Recently I got my Nexus card (kind of like pre-TSA). This card allows me to expedite the border clearance process in airports and land border crossings. So the border lineup is no longer a worry for me. With the Nexus card, the process of clearing US border check, filling up gas, and clearing Canada border check can take as little as 10 minutes. This meant now I’m more inclined to go over the border to fill up.

With the current gas price and exchange rate, it saves me about $11 per tank. I typically would need to fill up about 3 times a month, depending on how much we drive.

Total saving: Approximately $33 per month or $396 per year.

With these five simple money saving actions, we have saved approximately $1230.16. More if we make more soups or fill up my car more than the estimated. Pretty solid number if you ask me. 🙂

What have you done lately to save more money for investing?

On a somewhat related note…

Baby T has been saying “Dada arbejde (work in Danish)” whenever I pick up my work bag in the morning to head to work. The other day before going to work I told him…

“Daddy needs to work to make some money.”

Without any hesitation he started saying…

“Dada arbejde… honey!”

Both Mrs. T and I laughed pretty hard. Now whenever I have to go outside or whenever I pick up my work bag, Baby T would say “Dada arbejde… honey!”

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39 Comments

  • Reply
    Adam @ IWTRS
    September 4, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Congrats on the savings. It’s really easy to just keep doing and paying the same for things like internet service. Savings really do add up though when you start adding up the little savings!

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      September 4, 2015 at 8:32 pm

      Hi Adam,

      Thanks. It’s shockingly simple to save money when you put your mind to it.

  • Reply
    Geblin
    September 5, 2015 at 4:27 am

    Congrats on all these savings. In the long run it can run up to a big stack of money when it gets invested wisely.

    Cheers,
    Geblin

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      September 7, 2015 at 4:34 pm

      Hi Geblin,

      Thanks. Will invest this saved up money for sure.

  • Reply
    Sylvia @ Miss PF
    September 5, 2015 at 6:14 am

    Great tips! Thank you for sharing! Have you looked into Global Entry? Also, a great option for traveling and faster security clearance. I love it! 🙂

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      September 7, 2015 at 4:35 pm

      Hi Sylvia,

      Nexus is like Global Entry. I think it’s also called pre-TSA?

  • Reply
    Fervent Finance
    September 5, 2015 at 6:22 am

    Congrats on the savings. People don’t realize that the little wins add up over time, so therefore they don’t take the time/effort to try them out.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      September 7, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      Hi Fervent Finance,

      You’re absolutely right, a few dollars here and there do add up over time.

  • Reply
    Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet
    September 5, 2015 at 6:33 am

    I’m in the process of renewing the mortgage and was able to get a lower rate through negotiating, it turns out a lot of the lenders now are facing stiff competition which works in the consumers favour. The lower rate will help to reduce the monthly interest costs

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      September 7, 2015 at 4:37 pm

      Hi Dan,

      Nicely done on able to get a lower rate through negotiating your mortgage. Since mortgage is a big payment, a small difference the interest rate can save you lots in the long run.

  • Reply
    Six for Saturday (#3) | Miss Personal Finance
    September 5, 2015 at 6:38 am

    […] a bonus, here is this week’s Six for Saturday! 1. Saving Money Saturday Here are some great tips to save you money. How have you saved money recently? One of my favorite tips is to never buy […]

  • Reply
    Steve Miller
    September 5, 2015 at 7:31 am

    Great job on the savings! I replaced my wireless router to a LInksys EA6100 model and my internet went from 1mb to 17mb by just doing that. Why not buy a router rather than renting one?

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      September 7, 2015 at 4:38 pm

      Hi Steve,

      Wow that’s a huge difference in internet speed! We have a wifi router at home already but for Shaw you need a cable router. We can purchase one but since these routers are always getting updated, it’s better to just get one for free if we can.

  • Reply
    Dividend Diplomats
    September 5, 2015 at 7:48 am

    Tawcan,

    I like the savings ideas! I have used the internet call SO many times and works like a charm. I bought the manual lawn mower this summer – you’ll enjoy the workout. Also – making large portions of soup is interesting and something that I now plan on doing once I stop traveling this week for 2 weeks, I think I’ll make it on a Sunday night and hope to eat it for 5 days to save some money and time. Great tips!

    -Lanny

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      September 7, 2015 at 4:39 pm

      Hi Lanny,

      Manual lawn mower is great, saves money in the long run because no need for gas and you get some exercise.

  • Reply
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank
    September 5, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    Thanks for sharing these things that saved you money Taw. I am considering now to replace my manual lawn mower.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      September 7, 2015 at 4:39 pm

      Hi Jayson,

      Go for the manual lawn mower if your yard is not that big.

  • Reply
    ambertree
    September 6, 2015 at 11:39 am

    That are some interesting ideas to save money. There is one on my todo list I need to take care off: look for cheaper electricity.

    Now that Baby T. starts to speak and interact, you will have so much fun. It is great to see kids grow up. One of my favourite moments were the “Why” periods. It really is a challenge for your patience and creativity

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      September 7, 2015 at 4:40 pm

      Interesting that you can look for cheaper electricity. Here in Vancouver electricity is through BC Hydro and the rate is fixed. No possible way to negotiate. 🙁

  • Reply
    Mrs. Crackin' the Whip
    September 6, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Mrs. T hasn’t offered to mow the lawn yet? LOL There’s a girl at work who always brings me the car wash coupons. In conversation, I told her I no longer needed them and that Mr. Crackin’ had even made comments about washing the car.

    The following Monday she notices immediately the Mini Cooper is clean and asks me about it. I said something along the lines of “I put on my big girl pants and washed the car at home. Mr. Crackin’ had more important things to do; things I’m not skilled to do!” She said, “Good girl.” Um, I’m still not sure what that means and I think she may be a bit old fashioned but I took it as a compliment.

    I can remember her saying that previously but I can’t remember what the conversation was…

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      September 7, 2015 at 4:40 pm

      Hehe I picked on her about that and she was like “well you haven’t asked me to do it yet.” 😀

  • Reply
    Mr. Budgets @MrandMrsBudgets
    September 7, 2015 at 6:45 am

    Nice, Mrs. Budgets called the internet company since she noticed that the cable bill went up. She talked to one rep and asked them if they could lower it back down. Rep said, no, that they have no promotions going on. Ugh! Mrs. Budgets calls back the next day and they lower it back to original price! I like the soup idea and it might be something we do for the winter!

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      September 7, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      Calling a couple of times usually works. I used to call my cell provider and ask for a discount every 3 months or so.

  • Reply
    NRG
    September 7, 2015 at 8:06 am

    McDonald’s Coffee and Tim Hortons is now available as ground coffee from your grocer. Get a coffee maker that has the option of a small
    single serving basket instead of the Keureg cup. Save $1.75 a cup not going to the drive thru, or .75 a cup not using the Keureg. Times that by 365 days and you get a savings of $275 to $640 per year per person.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      September 7, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      Better yet, don’t drink coffee at all and save that money for investing. 😀

      • Reply
        Mr. Budgets @MrandMrsBudgets
        September 9, 2015 at 5:39 am

        We get up quite early but I try and push back the coffee until I get to work since it’s FREE!!

        • Reply
          Tawcan
          September 9, 2015 at 8:41 am

          I’ve been up at 5 AM each morning for the past 2 months but have been avoiding coffee. 🙂

  • Reply
    Financial Forager
    September 7, 2015 at 9:09 am

    Great tips! One I would add, is start a vegetable garden. Over the years it’s has saved us a lot of money and not to mention the health benefits!

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      September 7, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      Hi Financial Forager,

      We started a vegetable garden this past spring. There’s a bit of initial cost but it’s totally worth it in the long run!

  • Reply
    BeSmartRich
    September 8, 2015 at 9:26 am

    Look at you. You are exactly like me trying to save from every opportunity I get. It may be a bit extreme but I, my wife and my dog went for a walk to a Beer Store to collect can/bottle deposits from all the beers and wines we drank for last 2 months. We got $7.20 which got me another 3 cans of beer!

    Cheers,

    BSR

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      September 8, 2015 at 1:59 pm

      IF you save that $7.20 instead of buying 3 cans of beer you’d be golden BSR!

  • Reply
    Hannah
    September 8, 2015 at 10:41 am

    We also have a reel mower because I can’t start a gas mower (or I’ve never been able to in the past). Thankfully, our yard is pretty small, so we can get away with the reel mower just fine. Usually, I start mowing the lawn, but as soon as my son comes out, he wants to play with the mower which means that my husband ends up finishing the lawn later in the day.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      September 8, 2015 at 1:59 pm

      Haha that’s a good strategy to get your husband to finish mowing the lawn. 😀

  • Reply
    Vivianne
    September 8, 2015 at 10:43 am

    we’ve just used some points and $60 to scored 3 nights stay at the ocean front hotels for Labor day weekend. That’s easily translate to $700-800 savings. Years before, I had a co-worker that would rent out his timeshare for super cheap also. Most people at my work don’t like to talk personal stuff, but if I don’t mingle with people, I wouldn’t know that he was having it for rent :). Networking is a great tool.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      September 8, 2015 at 2:00 pm

      Hi Vivianne,

      You’re right, networking is a great tool to find out what people are doing to save themselves money when it comes to vacationing.

  • Reply
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply
    September 8, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    Ahhh the manual lawn mower…that’s what I used to mow the lawn when I was a teen living in my parents house. Fortunately, it was that big…mowing wasn’t bad…it was the raking and packing up the grass that was a pain. With gas…the price in NY and NJ are very different…NJ is much cheaper but I only go there if it’s along the way since it would be a huge inconvenience. And with Home Depot, as well as some other stores…I like to buy discounted gift cards (9% off at Home Depot on cardpool.com) while using a shopping portal (2% for buying gift cards at topcashback.com) and then shopping online at home depot at the shopping portal (5% cash back). Select pick up at store if shipping is not free.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      September 8, 2015 at 2:02 pm

      We just leave the grass on the lawn so it decompose and provide nutrients to the lawn. I can see racking and packing up the grass would be a big pain.

      Good point on Home Depot gift cards. Will have to take a look at those if we buy more stuff from Home Depot.

  • Reply
    Abigail @ipickuppennies
    September 9, 2015 at 11:04 am

    Not that it really matters, but I’m confused about the Home Depot savings. You said that the freezer was $10 cheaper and there’s the 10% match. How does that come out to $70 plus tax?

    Anyway, we were able to use miles to book my husband’s ticket up to Washington. (He doesn’t like to sit around at home while I’m at FinCon.) That was around $300 saved. Then I checked multiple travel deal sites for car rental prices. I was able to save about $80 on Orbitz compared to the rest of the sites’ prices.

    And I waited for Labor Day sales/did some cash back shopping for a few items. It saved us around $60 total.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      September 9, 2015 at 11:31 am

      Hi Abigail,

      The freezer was about $700 so when they do the 10% price guarantee, the saving comes out to about $70. Congrats on saving money on your side.

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