Life here in Canada is not that easy, sometimes you have to think of measures how to sustain your needs, especially for new immigrants, low-income families, people with loan because of the “Show Money” and “Plane ticket” used just to be in this country, stay at home happy Moms and Dads who cannot work because they need to babysit their kids etc. So, here are some TIPID (Saving) TIPS that I may share while living in the “Land of the free” (Canada):
- Maximize all the Government Benefits.
In case you are not familiar, there are Federal Benefits you might be eligible to apply, like Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB), Goods and Services Tax Benefit (GST), Rent Assist etc. etc. Just visit the http://www.canadabenefits.gc.ca/ for more information and downloadable forms.
For Provincial and Territorial, just look in your community if there are monetary benefits you can apply. You might be missing something, so, go on a search!
- Food Banks
Many don’t encourage Immigrants to go to food banks because it is for the less fortunate. But it is really a great help especially to make ends meet. There are food banks here in Canada; they strive to meet the short-term need for food. You might like to check your local area where to find a food bank. But some items are nearly on their expiration date, so better check it before you eat it. You can try and see what it looks like. Then, when the time comes that you don’t need to go there, give back or be a contributor to food banks.
- Mobile Phones/Prepaid Sim cards
For all those still coming here, you can bring your Samsung Phones (I’m not sure to other phone brands) because you can use it and buy a Simcard only rather than buying a plan or a new phone. You can monitor your calls and save for a monthly phone bill. Take note, here, INCOMING and OUTGOING calls do charge. But you can also check your local providers for Best Offers.
Based on my observation:
For Big Families, it is practical to rent/buy a house.
For Small Families, look for an Apartment that includes all utilities in the rent (water, heat, hydro/electricity), best deal!
For Single, look for rooming/room for rent, or look for Stay in Jobs.
We need to include this in our budget. For example, a family of 3 with baby/toddler, they can spend $60/month for washer & dryer only (laundry detergent not included). So, if you can hand wash your small-medium clothes, go ahead to save! Note: Just make sure you find a perfect and safe place where you can hang your wet clothes.
A necessity! We need it for job hunting, communication to our love ones in the Philippines and also a way to forget the feeling of homesickness. It is okay to look for promos!
- Search for Sale items at grocery stores.
Scout for sale items you might need, like, dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, BIGAS etc.(Totoo po ang SALE dito, bargain talaga). For perishable sale goods, always check the expiration date.
Keep the grocery store flyers (if available in your area). If there are Ad match, in your province, maximize it. That means you don’t have to go to another store to chase the Sale goods. Just present the flyers and make sure it is the same item, and then the store will match that price.
- Bank/Credit Card
Choose your Bank Package wisely. Preferably base it from your transaction needs. Some bank packages have a MONTHLY FEE but offer free unlimited banking transactions. Others, NONE, but have charges on some bank dealings. So choose your bank package wisely!
You also need Credit Card (CC), one way to establish a credit history. But TIPID tip 101 for CC, get a CC without an annual fee. Just use it to accumulate points/rewards. Pay it before the due date so that no interest will be collected. Don’t be tempted to spend beyond your budget. And I think 1 or two CCs are enough.
Some loyalty cards here are free and no renewal fee. You might like to get and check in your area and can save for their perks and rewards.
- REMITTANCE CENTERS
For all those who send money to the Philippines, most of the remittance centers here offer free remittance fee for 1st-time clients. And some of them offer online services and e-transfer which is cheaper than going to the center. You can check for Ads here at Pinoy-Canada.com (might help). But be careful and choose it wisely!
- FREE STUFF/GARAGE SALE/AUCTION SITES
Accept those free stuff from relatives, friends and coworkers. Your Living Area might be full of furniture from the contribution of our fellow Kababayans. You might think it’s a donation, but it’s okay, you can save lots of bucks from it.
Uso po dito ang Garage Sale. Pwede po kayo lumibot sa area nyo. You can also participate in Auction Sites. Check the auction tab here or click https://pinoy-canada.com/auctions/ if you live in Winnipeg. You might find something bargain and useful.
- SOCIAL GATHERINGS/HOBBIES/PASYAL etc.
If you think you are spending MORE beyond your budget on social gatherings, MINIMIZE IT! We need it for NETWORK, personal development, making friends or even as a stress reliever. But just make sure it fits to your budget.
- Research on Free Programs for Career Development
All jobs here are good but we need a better job for improvement. Continuing education is a must here in Canada if you want to find an upgraded job. Explore your area, there might be free programs offered.
If you want SIGNATURE CLOTHES, you might want to visit some subdivision in your area. They might have an annual Garage Sale, you might be lucky to find an Original North Face Winter Jacket for only $20-$35, Orig price $200+. You’ll never know. Or check your local community for best deals or you can also buy online.
During winter (depends on the province), you don’t need to buy branded winter jackets and winter boots. Search for cheap winter clothing, but make sure you are bundled up and will not be exposed outside for a long period of time. Try to Google “How to bundle up for winter in Canada (or specifically in your province).”
Based on my observation:
Cars – practical for big families especially with infants/kids, people working outside the city, people working at places not accessible by bus and people working in the evening or night shifts.
Bus (depends on availability in your community) – If you are commuting every day, buy a monthly pass (keep the receipts and bus pass for the tax credit) it will save a lot rather than buying daily tickets.
Last but not the least…
- PRAY for Wisdom for other TIPID TIPS applicable to you and your family.
Sometimes you might feel, ang hirap sa Canada and it is easier back home if only we have lots of money. But here are some verses I like to share since andito na po tayo:
Prov.3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your Heart and lean not on your own understanding.
Ps 46:10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Matt 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
1Th 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
If you have other Saving Tips wanted to share, please feel free to leave a comment below.
GOD BLESS US EVERYONE! 🙂