I have a unique superpower, one that I can guarantee is very rarely on any list of known superpowers. Are you ready for it? I have the special ability to spend, down to the dollar, all of the money that is currently in my wallet, without even knowing how much that is!
How freaky cool is that, right? I know, I know, you’d love to have a superpower like mine, with the ability to spend all of your cash at a moment’s notice, leaving you with a clean and spacious purse. Well, we can’t all be the same. I’m sure you have your own special abilities. But I’ve learned to capitalize on my own superpower. Since I tend to spend every penny in my pocket, I like to make sure I’m getting the most I can out of that money. And I’ve discovered some secret sources of money-maximizing along the way. Here are my Top Five Ways to Save Money, on things you probably need to buy anyway.
1. SelectSpecs.com: If you wear glasses only occasionally (like if you wear contact lenses), do yourself a HUGE favour, and stop paying hundreds of dollars for them! I currently wear contacts all day, every day, but I have four pairs of glasses. Why? Because they cost $16 a pair (shipping and tax included)! I have a pair in my travel bag, two in a bathroom drawer, and one in our van, just in case. Selectspecs has various price ranges, so you can spend as much or as little as you want. All you need is your prescription (you’ll have to ask the optometrist for it, since they don’t voluntarily give it to you), and your Pupillary Distance (the distance between your pupils – the website explains it all). I’ve ordered twice from them, and have had great results.
2. DaysoftContactLenses.com: Daily disposable contact lenses for $17.98/month (shipping & tax included) — that’s a pretty good deal! And because they’re dailies, you don’t need to spend more money on solution, a carrying case, or anything else. I’ve been using them for at least 5 years now, and I love them.
3. PCTelecom.ca: If you’re like me when it comes to cell phones, all you need is an android smartphone that can make calls and text, will connect to Google Play for your choice of apps, and will connect to wifi at home or at your local Timmies. I’ve looked around a bit, and as long as you’re not looking for serious data use deals, President’s Choice is the way to go. They have Monthly Contract plans, but I prefer the Prepaid Monthly plans. I get unlimited text, video and picture messaging, 150 minutes of talk time, and unlimited local calling to other PC phones, as well as 100mb of data (enough for checking email or Facebook once a day, quick Google searches, or for when you get lost and need to use the phone’s GPS), for $30/month. My phone cost $130 up front to buy, but I’m not locked into a contract at all. If money is tight and I don’t add funds to my account with a top-up card, the account is simply suspended until I do. No credit card is needed at all if you use Top Up cards, making this just about the lowest commitment phone ever. They also have some pretty good sales on phones just before they get a batch of newer ones. My son’s phone (an HTC Desire C) cost $80. Seriously, if you’re looking for a phone that a 13 year old can use and abuse without losing out on a few hundred bucks, this is the way to go.
4. No Frills: I’ve done some serious grocery shopping in my time. I’ve shopped for the five of us, I’ve shopped for the five of us plus five more daycare kids, and I’ve shopped for the Breakfast and Snack Programs for 500 school kids. I’ve done the math. For our average grocery shopping trip as it is now (feeding 5 people 3 meals/day for 2 weeks), we spend $260-ish at No Frills. Anywhere else, that same food would cost us at least $100 more! I hear what you’re saying — I hate No Frills too. Bagging your own groceries, the occasional lag in restocking shelves, and the smaller selection. But really, when I realized how we could cut at least $200 out of our monthly expenses by sucking it up and dealing with it, I was sold! I can handle spending 15 minutes bagging my own groceries if it means we have $200 extra at the end of the month.
5. Thrifting: Really, it’s second-hand shopping. And I was raised learning the tricks of the trade by my frugalista mother. The trick to shopping at Goodwill or Value Village and really getting your money’s worth is to really know your prices. A $20 pair of second-hand boots at Goodwill may only cost you $22 at Walmart. Spend the extra $2 to get the extra life out of a brand new pair. But if you’re looking for home decorating items, especially the items that you want to look like they have a story to tell, second-hand is the way to go. These items are usually a really good price. Baskets, wooden trays, bowls, metal vases, candle holders all usually get relatively little use before finding their way to a Goodwill. And they are usually priced far less than what you might find even at a Winner’s or Marshall’s.
Well, there it is: how I make the most of my superpower by stretching the dollars I know I’ll be spending anyway. And that’s without using coupons or price-matching!