Start the year off right by reducing your expenses

2024 promises to be a turbulent year financially. All the more reason to find ways to reduce your expenses. These tips will help you.

To start the year off on the right foot, Lucie Dal Molin, budget advisor at ACEF de l’Est de Montréal, recommends taking stock of the last 12 months. Are you in deficit and you must systematically resort to credit? “In this case, you will have to review your priorities and make choices,” says the advisor.

Here are seven ideas to maximize your budget and save.

1. Reduce your electricity bill

To avoid unpleasant surprises during the winter months, sign up for Hydro-Québec’s equal payments plan. This means you will always pay the same amount all year round.

Installing smart thermostats that can be programmed or even controlled remotely will also generate significant savings. You will have to pay for their purchase and installation, but this investment is worth it.

Hydro-Québec also offers dynamic billing plans, which, when you reduce your consumption during peak periods, save money.

2. Negotiate your insurance premiums

“Recently, a person who came to consult us was able to reduce their auto insurance bill from $320 to $111 per month, for the same coverage,” argues Lucie Dal Molin. How did she succeed? Simply by shopping around for competitors’ offers and opting for the cheapest. It is possible to do the same exercise for home insurance, even if the room for maneuver is usually less.

If you don’t want to change insurers, at least try to negotiate a reduction or cancel an increase. Also note that by increasing the deductibles, you can reduce the amount of the premium. In the event of a claim, however, you will have to assume a greater share.

3. Eliminate unnecessary subscriptions

Do you really need to subscribe to two, three or even four content streaming platforms (music, movies, series)? Eliminate those you use little or not to reduce your payments by tens of dollars per month. Also examine your television package, there may be certain specialty channels that you no longer watch.

4. Review your telecommunications packages

“I often recommend that people check what their actual data usage is for their cell phone. Some are surprised by the low use they make of it compared to the package to which they subscribe,” underlines Lucie Dal Molin. Because when you are at home or in the office and rarely on the road, you can connect to a wifi network. See how much you consume on average per month and change your plan accordingly.

Most providers also offer discounts when you subscribe to several services. It might be worth having everything under one roof, including cell phones for different family members.

5. Sign up for loyalty and rewards programs

Most grocery stores now offer loyalty programs allowing their members to benefit from discounts, special promotions and rewards. Become a member of those offered by the grocery chains you frequent.

Also check that you are taking advantage of all the benefits offered by your credit card (points to exchange, reimbursement of certain fees, etc.).

6. Eliminate your debts

Pierre Fortin, president of Jean Fortin et Associés, recalls that getting into debt is expensive in terms of interest charges. “For example, by only making the minimum payments each month on credit card balances, you extend the repayment period enormously and the interest bill weighs heavily,” he says. To relieve your budget, focus on eliminating your debts, starting with the most expensive in interest (credit cards).

7. Buy now for next year

Lucie Dal Molin explains that she shopped for her son’s boots and winter coat in March 2023. By getting started very early, she got them at 70% off! Follow his example and take advantage of the interesting end-of-season sales to buy clothes, skis, etc., for next winter.


  • Indicate in a calendar the major upcoming expenses for the next 12 months: vacations, back to school, birthdays, Christmas gifts, changing tires, etc. Evaluate the overall amount, divide it by 12 and set up automatic withdrawals each month to a savings account. By doing this, you will have saved the money in advance and will not need to resort to credit.
  • The motivation to save can eventually fade over time. This is why it is important not to tighten your belt too severely so as not to abandon your good resolutions after a few months. Also set short, medium and long term goals, so that you want to continue your momentum.

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