Are you looking to save money? I have the person for you. Stephen from How to Save Money. His blog HowToSaveMoney.ca shows people from all walks of life how to save money on everything they buy and does it without cutting back. It’s all about getting exactly what you want for as little money as possible. Then, the leftover money you have can be spent however you choose: savings, investments, entertainment, travel, clothes, cars, jewelry … it’s up to you. He does not try and tell people what to spend their money on, just how to spend less of it.
Let’s learn a little more from Stephen in this week’s Simple Inspiration Interview:
What event lead you to start How to Save Money?
Beginning to earn and spend my own money in my college years really got me thinking about how much things cost. I used to think the price on the shelf was the price you paid, but then I noticed that every store had a different price for the same product.
That realization led me to do a lot of research on saving money on the things I bought which in turn led me to be active on money saving forums. I found a goldmine of information there that was inaccessible to the general public so I decided to make it easier to read and more accessible through HowToSaveMoney.ca.
What is the biggest financial challenge you see from readers of How to Save Money?
The site is more geared to teaching people to maximize the value of their dollars no matter their status in life so there is no one financial challenge that really sticks out.
How have you simplified your personal finances?
My finances are far from simplified because often the best money saving deals involve a little bit of extra work and complexity. You can earn thousands of dollars opening new accounts and trying new products and services.
Lately I have simplified some by cutting down on my accounts, always sticking with no fee banking from the start, and not worrying too much about budgeting. I find that being money conscious and trying to save on every purchase is enough to not over spend.
What was your biggest challenge or roadblock when it came simplifying?
It’s really the generous sign up offers and rewards available from having multiple accounts that makes it difficult.
How did you overcome this challenge or roadblock?
I try to balance the upfront reward with the extra time involved to make sure it is worth the effort because there is nothing I value more than my time.
How has simplifying changed your life?
The more I simplify, the more I’m able to focus on the things I enjoy in life. Again, it’s a balance, but I’m definitely open to more simplification in the future.
How long did it take you to simplify?
It’s a work in progress that will probably never be done =)
How much of your personal finances have you automated?
Most of my finances are automated at this point. The one thing I never automate is my credit card bills which I prefer to pay manually twice a month. That way I can review all the charges and ensure they are correct.
What do you automate?
All my bills really: internet, cell phone, water & sewer, home and auto insurance, ETF investing, etc. I do pay my life insurance bills to save money on their automation fees once a year.
What advice or tips would you give to others who want to simplify their finances?
Simplification is good but make sure you aren’t over simplifying. You could be missing out on some big rewards if you never try something new or re-evaluate your finances. If you put it on auto pilot, make sure you check it every now and then to ensure it isn’t steering you into an iceberg!
What’s your best savings tip?
My site is overflowing with tips on how to save money, but my best one single tip is to plan ahead when it comes to everything. A little planning will both save you and earn you a ton of money!
What book, blog, or podcast would you suggest to someone who is looking to simplify or improve their finances?
My favorite personal finance blogs other than my own are My Own Advisor, Boomer & Echo, and Million Dollar Journey.
If money was not a concern, what would you do for fun?
My favorite things to do are spend time with my family, travel, and play video games so I would probably do more of all than that!
Do you have an emergency fund established, if so how did you determine the amount needed to fund it?
I have lots of funds that can be accessed in case of an emergency, but none of them are designated as an emergency fund. I don’t believe an emergency fund is always necessary because there are lots of ways to get funds in an emergency.
Thanks Stephen for sharing your story. As well as offering some great tips to help simplify your finances.
To read previous interviews in the series click below
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If you are interested in sharing how you have simplified your financial life, send me an email and I will follow up with you. Enjoy the rest of your week. Til next time, take one step at a time to simplify.