Spending Smarter: Tips for Household Savings

Managing a household budget isn't always easy. Selecting different areas of the house will give you access to tips, information and links to additional tools and resources to help you save on household expenses.

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Childcare Roof Clothing Energy Food Recreation Communications Entertainment Transportation

Recreation, Sports & Entertainment

Timeshares, group buying and gym memberships are a few of the topics covered in this section of the house.

  • Recreational activities like athletic club memberships or travel may have hidden costs. Always read the fine print and check for cancellation fees or other additional monthly fees.
  • If you have a seasonal vacation spot, consider your options. Timeshares should be considered a vacation option, not an investment.
  • While abroad, you are still subject to Canadian laws and the laws of the country in which you are travelling; check for travel advice and advisories issued by the Government of Canada.
  • Group Buying websites can help you find great deals on sporting events or other kinds of recreational activities. To make sure you get good value for your money, learn how they work before you commit.

Tools and resources to help:

Principle Accommodation

As the physical home is likely your largest single expense, this section gives you tools and information related to expenses like rent or mortgages, utilities, insurance and more.

  • Create a budget including your income, any debt payments and expenses, and determine how much money you can put towards renting or buying a home. Try to keep your rent or mortgage payments below 30 % of your gross household income.
  • If you're considering renting a home, ask the landlord for previous bills or estimated costs for utilities such as electricity or indoor climate control. In older, less insulated homes, these costs could be higher than expected.
  • Make a list of items or features that includes what you must have in a home and what you can do without. Do the same for essential household items versus luxury items.

Tools and resources to help:

Clothing & Personal Care

Multi-level marketing, pyramid schemes, online shopping and other subjects are covered in this portion of the house.

  • Increase the longevity of your clothing by following the cleaning symbols on the tag.

Tools and resources to help:

Energy Use & Large Appliances

Become smart about your energy use. Learn about ENERGY STAR labels and Smart Meters to help you save energy and money.

  • On average, large appliances consume about 25 per cent of your household energy. Be aware of your energy use.
  • Try using electricity during off-peak hours. If they are available, you can monitor your usage with Smart Meters.
  • When purchasing new appliances, electronic equipment, or light bulbs, look for items marked with the ENERGY STAR label'. For more information on ENERGY STAR, visit the Enerqy and Utilities section of the Canadian Consumer Handbook.
  • Purchasing insurance? Find a policy that offers the best protection.

Tools and resources to help:


Planning ahead on regular purchases like food can help you save money. This section provides information and tools to help you become a wise shopper.

  • Make a grocery list before shopping to help cut down on unplanned food purchases. Prepare extra food in the evenings so that you can bring your lunch to work the next day.
  • Make a weekly budget to help you monitor your spending. Small purchases like a daily coffee can add up.
  • Use the Expenses Calculator and see how your expenses can add up over time.

Tools and resources to help:


Here you can find information as well as tools like My Expense Calculator to help you visualize your debt and get tips on how to manage it.

The following tools can help you learn about your finances and help you to manage your spending.

  • My Expense Calculator shows small purchases can add up over time and how small changes to spending habits can have a big impact on your budget and your ability to save.
  • The Budget Calculator helps you identify your income, savings and expenses to help you achieve financial goals. You can then export the information to a PDF or spreadsheet.
  • The Consumer Handbook is intended to help you become a better-informed and more confident consumer. It offers to help you build your buying skills.
  • If you find yourself frequently paying bills after their due dates, bouncing cheques, or receiving calls from a collection agency, these are warning signs that debt is becoming unmanageable. See Take Charge of your Debt.

Tools and resources to help:

Internet, TV & Phone

Agreements and contracts with telecommunications companies can be complicated. Know your options and how the government protects you as a consumer.

Agreements and contracts with telecommunications companies may be complicated. Know your rights and understand your obligations.

  • The CRTC released its Wireless Code on December 2, 2013 which contains new rules and regulations related to wireless contracts in order to protect consumers. Visit the Wireless Code to find out more information.
  • Bundling your services with one provider may help you save money. Shop around for better deals when considering different services.
  • The end of your service term is a great time to negotiate with your provider to get the service plan that suits your needs.
  • Look closely at your monthly bills: are you being charged for products or services that you aren't using?
  • Become cyber aware. Find out how to protect your personal and financial information at the Get Cyber Safe Website.

Tools and resources to help:

Household Furnishings

Being a wise shopper is not just finding deals; it's also about being informed. This section will provide you with tips related to everyday purchases.

  • Avoid the temptation of "rent-to-own". In the long-term, you may end up spending more on the item than what it's worth.
  • Be aware of "Bait and Switch" situations which occur when a seller attracts customers by advertising a certain product or service at a bargain price and then persuades you to purchase a more expensive item, with no intention of selling the original item.
  • Know and understand your rights as a consumer: read the store's return policy, product warranties and other information related to your purchase.
  • Always keep documents such as receipts and invoices in case something goes wrong with your purchase.

Tools and resources to help:


Whether you own a car or take public transportation, this section has tools for everyone to use. Try the Car Lease or Buy Calculator or tools to help save money on transit.

  • Do you use public transit? Consider a transit pass or discounted tickets. You can save money, avoid driving in heavy traffic and reduce your carbon footprint.
  • If you're thinking of purchasing a new vehicle, consider whether you want to lease or buy, by using the Lease or Buy Calculator.
  • Fuel is an ongoing expense and should be considered when purchasing or leasing a vehicle. The Fuel Consumption Guide can help you compare different vehicles that meet your needs.
  • When purchasing a new vehicle, you may be able to negotiate the price that you pay for the vehicle and some accessories or services.
  • Car sharing programs are one way to access a car without the costs of owning one. Check to see if this is an option where you live.
  • There may be tax credits or rebates that apply to your transportation options. Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) provides tools for Public Transit users to claim your tax credit.

Tools and resources to help: