Sure, there are lots of ways you could save a ton of money every month: growing your own food, splitting rent with seven roommates, or taking your condo off-grid.
But that sounds like a lot of work, so here are some more reasonable changes you can make to save about $180 a month:
1. Be loyal to your bank's ABMs.
If you withdraw cash once a week from another bank's ABM—or, even worse, a privately-operated ABM—you'll pay between $1-8 for the convenience of that transaction. Use your own bank's ABMs, and you'll withdraw your money for free (or a small fee, depending on your account).
That's easier said than done, of course. If you often find yourself in a pinch and having to use another bank's ABM, consider switching to an account that allows you a few no-fee transactions at other ABMs every month.
SAVINGS: $16 per month
2. Brew your own coffee a few days a week.
This is one you hear all the time, and that's because it can be a big money saver. Coffee makers are pretty cheap these days (like $15-20), and if you like the fancy flavoured coffees, a bit of cream and flavoured syrup doesn't add much to your grocery budget.
It won't taste the same, but if you brew three days a week instead of buying from that swanky coffee shop, the savings make it a tasty alternative.
SAVINGS: $35 per month
3. Move your money into a low-fee/no-fee bank account.
If you live off your debit card and have a lot of transactions every month (like, more than five per week), you could save $10-15 a month by switching bank accounts. Unlimited accounts are a great option for debit-happy folks, and some are free if you maintain a minimum balance.
SAVINGS: $12 per month
4. Cook a big dinner once a week and have the leftovers for lunch (or another dinner).
Often, it doesn't cost that much more to double the servings of a recipe—at the top end, maybe 50 per cent of the total ingredient cost. So, if it costs $10 to make one two-person meal and $15 to make twice as much, that's about $3-4 per meal—a lot less expensive (and more healthy) than eating out for lunch or dinner.
Do this once a week and those savings will pay for a nice meal that you don't have to cook.
SAVINGS: $80 per month
5. Subscribe to a free online coupon site and get a deal on that nice restaurant meal.
Restaurant deals are common, and they often feature 50 per cent off the coupon value (for example, spend $20 to get $40 off). Buy a couple coupons every month and you could save $40 on meals, spa services, fitness classes, and more.
SAVINGS: $40 per month
6. Use a cash-back credit card for your everyday purchases.
Okay, a cash-back card isn't going to really save you money every month, but you will get cash back once a year, and that's essentially the same thing.
If you use a no-fee card with 1 per cent cash back, it's like having 1 per cent off everything you buy with the card. For example, if you spend $500 per month on restaurants and groceries, you can save $5 by using your cash-back card.
(Of course, the cash back is pointless if you don't pay off your card every month—the interest will be more than you'd earn—so make sure you pay off your card.)
SAVINGS: $5 per month
TOTAL SAVINGS: $188 per month (give or take)