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Recently one of my children, a 2nd year Uni student, asked me for tips on how to save money as he never seems to be able to save (and oft-times ends up asking for help at the end of the month to pay for expenses that he can’t cover from his two part-time jobs.


Here is my reply which i addressed to all three of my children who have fled the nest.

Hi guys and gal,

A while ago your younger bro asked me for tips on how to save $$$. i guess i learned how from my parents who both grew up during the depression.
When i earned $$$ as a kid i saved it, at least most of it. by the time i was 15 i had saved $500 from my paper route; i only earned a few dollars a week for delivering papers for 5 years. The $500 became the foundation of my trip to Europe as a 19 year old once i finished high-school. After i quit the paper route i got jobs as a life-guard, swimming instructor and grocery bagger. i saved some and spent some. i spent on my collection of vinyl records while my contemporaries spent their pay cheques on smokes etc. Those that lived didn’t get anything to show for their hard work, it went up in smoke or down the toilet literally pissed away; i have a 1000 records in mint condition. Sometimes its about not wasting the $ you do spend.
Things we do to save:
1. Never ever buy on credit: when we use a credit card we always have auto-payment of the entire amount every month, that way we don’t get suckered into paying their 27% interest (should be illegal but it isn’t). nowadays it seems we just can’t get away without using a credit card especially for online stuff i.e. when i book our tickets to go back home every summer. The only time you should really take out a loan is when/if you buy a home. (ok i took student loans when i was at Uni but i made sure i paid them off before i got married to yo momma; didn’t want that hanging over my head while trying to start a family). i have never and will never take out a loan to buy a car. If you can’t afford it you don’t need it. Virtually every where you’ll live and work you’ll find you can use a bicycle more efficiently than a car to get around. For sure it will be cheaper and you’ll have the added benefit of exercise. You’ll recall the last time we lived in a major metropolitan centre in North America we did not get a car but instead we all cycled everywhere most of the time or took public transport.
the rest are common sense:
2. don’t do Fivebucks/Timmy’s coffee. get your own travel mug and use that with instant coffee and hot water.
3. don’t do restaurants/fast food. they may save time but they sure don’t save $. also the food choices are oft times less than healthy.
4. brown bag it. take your own homemade lunch to school/work, don’t do the cafeteria/McD route. too expensive on any income unless you own Microsoft.
5. avoid drinking in bars/pubs. again just too expensive. we still act that way here. i can count on one hand the number of times i’ve gone to a pub here in 2.5 years. i cringe when i see the prices: one beer at the 4 star hotel costs as much as half a case of beer at the govt controlled booze shop. The prices at the 5 star hotel are even more ridiculous. when i was a Uni student i would treat myself to one beer a week, end of story. Just too expensive to drink and save $ these days what with all the taxes.
6. Sally Ann/Goodwill or garage sales for good used clothes and other things you might need. i’ve bought some really nice previously worn clothes at The Salvation Army thrift shop or other thrift shops like the one near your old place guys. You may recall i bought quite of bit of used furniture from garage sales when we lived in Cowtown.
7. Buy used books, not new. This is especially good for text books if possible (i know they always aren’t available but do look around.) These days you can download a lot of free books to your tablet, great free entertainment. And there is always the library.
8. Take advantage of the free stuff on campus, concerts, films etc. for your entertainment.
9. Don’t do anything illegal: the lawyers fees will screw you over. One of my classmates was once caught up by the RCMP in a big drugs sting. His parents had to mortgage their home to pay for the lawyers. We will not do that for you. An another word for the wise, because of the social responsibility work i’m engaged in people may try to get to me through you so please make sure you’re squeaky clean. So i repeat: don’t do ANYthing illegal. We don’t need the hassle or expense.
10. Buy food that is in season. Buy day old bread etc. shop for groceries from a list; don’t impulse buy when at the supermarket and only buy groceries when you’ve recently had a meal. Eat the groceries you buy, don’t let them rot in the fridge.
11. File your income taxes on time, claim every credit you can. You should be able to get $ back every year. If you’re late with your claim you’ll get the $ back late, if you owe $ you’ll have to pay heavy fines.
12. Pay all bills on time or before they’re due i.e. rent, utilities, health care premiums etc. You know you end up paying more otherwise.
13. Put $ aside for a rainy day. Do not spend every cent you earn each time you get paid; put a percentage aside in the bank and leave it there for when you need it.  i used to save 50% of my pay when i was a kid. Later, at uni it was harder but i still kept a cushion in case i had an emergency. You can never tell when you might need $ for something unexpected like a wedding or a funeral… having the dosh on hand to pay for a gift or the needed airline ticket would be nice.
take care,
love you all!