How to trim your budget

Here are some ways to help make living on your own more affordable.

7 tips for cutting costs

  1. ShareShare A piece of ownership in a company. A share does not give you direct control over the company’s daily operations. But it does let you get a share of profits if the company pays dividends.+ read full definition a place – Living with roommates can be a great way to save while you start out on your own. Having roommates cuts down on your share of the rent and utilities.
  2. Use public transit – A car loses value with age and costs more. Parking, insurance, repairs and gas are expensive. Taking the bus or catching rides with friends can be cheaper alternatives.
  3. Don’t buy what you don’t need – If you don’t need a TV or microwave, don’t get one. It may be cheaper to do laundry at your local laundromat instead of having your own washing machine.
  4. Avoid eating out and buying costly prepared foods – You can save a lot of money if you cook for yourself. Saving just $5 dollars a day adds up to $150 a month.
  5. Buy used – You can get great discounts on used items like furniture, appliances and textbooks.
  6. Pay off credit cards on time – If you use credit cards, pay them off in full and on time.
  7. Take advantage of student discounts and free stuff – Sites like Craigslist and Kijiji often offer free items, including furniture. There are also sites that advertise free samples and coupons.
Find ways to trim your budgetBudget A monthly or yearly estimated plan for spending and saving. You work it out based on your income and expenses.+ read full definition

Use this worksheet to help you find expenses you can cut back on.

Fast facts

Here’s what the average household in Canada spent on basic living costs out of their total budget in 2009:

  • Shelter: 20%
  • Food: 10 %
  • Transportation: 13.5%

Source: Statistics Canada, Survey of Household Spending, 2010.

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