1.3.5 Ways to reduce spending

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

How to curb unnecessary spending

Reduce temptation with these tips:

  • Set aside the money you can afford each week for miscellaneous spending, and spend only that. When it's gone, wait until next week before spending more.
  • Go shopping with a list, and stick to it.
  • Avoid trips to shopping malls and online buying sites.
  • Leave credit cards at home. Pay by cash or debit card, so you don't spend money you don't have. (But be aware that if you pay your credit card bills on time and in full, a credit card can be the cheapest method of payment.)
  • Reduce the credit limit on your credit card.
  • Sleep on it and see if you still want it the next day.


Just as it's important to reduce unnecessary spending, it's important not to deprive yourself of everything. Put aside a small amount of money every week for treats. Your treat may be a spa treatment, a weekend getaway or a special item you've had your eye on. If you've saved for these things, you can spend without guilt—and then you'll be less likely to splurge recklessly.

Seven easy ways to reduce your expenses

  1. Do it yourself. For example, wash your own car instead of taking it to a commercial car wash.
  2. Eat at home. Get some simple, tasty recipes you enjoy, and stock up the fridge.
  3. Shop smarter. Look for specials. But don't buy things just because they're on sale.
  4. Eliminate unnecessary bills. For example, if you have club memberships and you don't use them, consider getting rid of them.
  5. Use less energy. Turn lights off. Use less heat or air conditioning when you're sleeping or away from home.
  6. Walk, cycle or use public transit more.
  7. Find cheaper ways to play. Invite friends over for a video night instead of going to a cinema. Meet friends at a bowling alley instead of a restaurant. Have a vacation closer to home. Take advantage of free admission times at museums.

Make your money go further

Reducing unnecessary spending is one way to cut your expenses. There are also ways to get more out of the products and services you do buy. Here are some tips:

  • Get a better communications package. You can often save by bundling your services for telephone, cell phone, internet and cable. Call your service provider to negotiate the best package.
  • Make sure you have the best package of banking services, at the lowest cost. Contact your financial institution to see if you can get a lower-cost banking package or a lower-interest credit card. Use the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada's tools to find lower-cost bank accounts and credit cards with the features you need.
  • Pay bills on time to avoid late fees, interest and penalties. Check your bills to spot mistakes and overcharges.
  • For many Canadians, a car is a necessary part of everyday life. Next to a home, a car is often among the biggest purchases an individual or a family will make in their lifetime. If you are thinking about buying or leasing a car, it is important to do your research, mak​e a budget and balance your needs with what you can reasonably afford over the long term. Check out the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada page on Financing a car​.
  • It may be cheaper to use public transportation or join a car sharing organization. Find out about what it really costs to own a car. Consider getting rid of your car.​ Check out the real costs of car ownership at the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) website.
  • Compare the cost of renting vs. buying a home. Calculator available from the Autorité des marchés financiers.
  • Consider forming a money support group with friends or family. In addition to getting discounts through group buying, you can help each other stay on track in reaching your financial goals.
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