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With my upcoming move and school starting in September, there are a lot of upcoming expenses I will have to pay within the next few weeks – rent, moving truck rental and gas, car insurance, back to school supplies (including textbooks) and tuition. This means that I will have to trim as many unnecessary costs as possible and here is how I plan to do it:

1. Eat food at home or bring food from home:

I have gotten into a terrible habit of dropping by Tim Horton’s in the morning before work to grab an Egg Breakfast Wrap and a Large Frozen Raspberry Lemonade. Each trip costs me $3.76 and that adds up fast. Luckily, most of my upcoming shifts at work are evening shifts, but for those that are in the morning I will just wake up earlier and eat breakfast at home.

Similarly, I have the tendency to buy A&W, Wendy’s, or McDonalds whenever I have a lunch break during a shift. Not only is this extremely unhealthy but it is also expensive.  Instead, I plan to bring my own lunch and snacks to work or to use up one of my remaining fast food giftcards to buy food.

Estimated savings: $25 to $50  

2. At home car maintenance:

Despite my interest in cars, I am no good under the hood – so I am going to leave my upcoming oil change to the professionals at my work and maximize on my employee discount. Rather, instead of paying for a drive through or coin operated wash, I will wash my very filthy car at home. After all, I did spend a lot of money last year on buying the supplies necessary for at home car washing and then I rarely use them.

Estimated savings: $7 to $20

3. Minimize cell phone expenses:

For the past few months I have gone over my phone’s data plan considerably. Thankfully, my plan only charges me a fee in $5 increments based on the amount I go over. This $5 a month does add up over the months and if I continue this habit it would cost me $60 a year. Saving money starts with small changes.

Estimated savings: $5

4. Shop smarter for Back to School:

I have plenty of school supplies that I have accumulated over the past few years that are either brand new or only half used up. Before going to the store and buying everything brand new – I plan to assess the school supplies that I already have and go from there. Also, I have a $50 gift card to Staples and a $100 gift card to Michael’s craft store that I hope will cover all my school supplies needs.

Textbooks can be very expensive for University. Rather than buying every book brand new, I plan on finding a less expensive alternative – such as used books, loose leaf books (one you would into your own binder), or electronic books.

Estimated savings: $25 to $100

5. Make a Wardrobe Plan:

I will be honest and say that I have A LOT of clothes – far more clothes then I have room for storage. But with back to school and the new fashion season coming up shortly, it is impossible for me to say no to a little style refresher. Going shopping blindly can be a very dangerous mistake so here are some small ways I plan to maximize my wardrobe budget:

  • Shop for Jeans at the thrift store – I found a fabulous, hardly worn pair of jeans for $12 at my local thrift store. Buying jeans brand new elsewhere would have cost me at least $40 (Estimated Savings: $30 per pair of jeans)
  • Browse in store THEN shop online – a service that I am excited to start using is eBates. This service allows you to receive a portion of your purchase cash back as well as exclusive coupons. I plan to combine this with double cash back days or with free shipping days in order to spend less money then I would in store. Not only do I get the instant gratification of getting to try the item on in store but I also get a chance to think about my purchases before paying for it and I get to save money on things I would be buying anyway. That sounds like a win-win-win to me! (Estimated savings: 1 to 5% of my purchases)
  • Make a Top 10 List – Browse through my closet to look for any wardrobe holes that need to be filled and look at the upcoming lines online from my favourite stores. From here I will make a Top 10 List of items I want to add into my closet this fall. When I go shopping I will use this list to help keep me focused. (Estimated savings: $10 to $50)
  • When in doubt, wait it out – if there is an item that I want to purchase but it is either too expensive or not on my top 10 list then I will wait to purchase that item at a later date. Stores are always having sales or issue coupons with a percentage off a minimum purchase – I plan to wait to buy it until then. If I go home and find that I MUST have that item immediately, then I can go back later that week and purchase it. (Estimated savings: 25 to 50% of the cost of that item)

The next few months are going to be hard on my wallet but by cutting as many unnecessary costs as possible, I will be able to save as much as possible. What are some suggestions you have for saving money this month?