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Aug 26, 2022

15 min. read

With prices surging on everything—from fuel and food to utility costs and travel—Canadian families are feeling the financial crunch. That’s why it’s more important than ever to find creative ways to make every loonie go even further. Here are more than 40 ways to stretch your dollars and help the planet along the way.

Groceries & Shopping

1. Earn CAA Dollars online

Shop online at more than 60 CAA Rewards partners and earn a percentage in CAA Dollars: $1 CAD = 1 CAA Dollar. Spend dollars on trips, luggage, movie tickets, membership renewal and more. Shop through the CAA eStore at caamanitoba.com/estore to earn at Sephora (5%), Staples (3%) and Aldo (6%), plus many others.

2. Use gift cards

They’re not just for giving! Everyday shopping with gift cards helps control spending and prevent credit card interest. CAA Members also get extra perks: Save 5% on the purchase of The Ultimate Dining Card for date nights and family dinners.

3. Cut coupons

They can save you money at the register—but don’t go crazy and buy things you don’t need just because they’re cheaper. Create a stockpile when there is a sale for items that do well in storage.

4. Price match

Many grocery stores will match a competitor’s price if you show them a flyer.

5. Save instantly

Show your CAA Membership card and receive instant discounts at retailers, including Loblaw Optical (save 30%), NAPA Auto Parts (save 10%) and RW&CO. (save 10%).

6. Go small

Studies have shown the size of your shopping cart impacts your grocery bill. When you use a jumbo-size cart, you spend up to 40% more.

7. Make a grocery list

And stick to it! This will help you buy only what you came for and avoid impulse purchases.

A family sitting on a couch watching television.

Entertainment & Lifestyle

A night out—or in—doesn't have to break the bank.

8. Eliminate unused subscriptions

If you don’t use certain streaming services to their full potential, consider getting rid of them.

9. Flash your CAA card

Your membership scores you deals at many local attractions and eateries: Save 20% at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, 10% at East Side Mario’s and 15% at Marble Slab Creamery.

10. Get fit for less

Find a gym plan that fits your budget or consider drop-in classes for zero-commitment fitness.

11. Save on kids’ meals

Some restaurants and eateries offer deals for children. On Tuesdays, kids eat for just $2 at Montana’s BBQ & Bar.

12. Catch flicks for less

Use CAA Dollars to buy Cineplex or Landmark movie tickets at your local CAA Store.

13. Get a family plan

If multiple family members have a music or video streaming subscription, combine them, and create a family account to save on monthly costs.

At the pump

Proven techniques to help gas go further and reduce climate change.

14. Fill up for less

CAA Members save 3% on fuel and more at participating Shell stations across Canada. Conditions apply.

15. Avoid idling

Turn your vehicle off when waiting longer than a minute. Starting the car uses only 10 seconds worth of gas.

16. Lighten your load

The more weight you carry in the vehicle, the more fuel you’ll use over the long run. Remove bike racks and roof boxes when not in use.

17. Slow down

As you increase speed, more power is needed to push the car. Driving at lower speeds can increase fuel efficiency.

18. Get a tune up

Proper engine maintenance can improve your mileage. Check your user’s manual for the maintenance schedule.

19. Check the tires

Under-inflated tires use more gas. Properly inflated tires can boost fuel efficiency by an average of 0.3% (and as much as 3% in some cases).

20. Use the right oil

Using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of engine oil—and changing it regularly—can improve mileage by up to 2%.

21. Ease up on the pedals

Research shows frequent “jackrabbit” starts and hard braking reduce travel time by only 4%, but increase fuel consumption by 39%.

A hand holding a house.

Around the house

With families facing higher monthly bills and increasing home prices, it can be tricky to balance your budget—while also making changes to help the environment. But these tips can help you do both: Trim your household bills and cut energy consumption at the same time.

22. Cut your water bill

Use less water by taking shorter showers, turning off the tap when brushing your teeth and running full loads in the dishwasher.

23. Replace incandescent lighting

Use LED or compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. They’ll cost more upfront, but last longer and use less energy. LED bulbs use 75% less energy and last as long as 20 years, while CFL bulbs use up to 35% less energy.

24. Use a smart power strip

Smart strips turn off the electricity supply to appliances not in use. They are smarter and more energy-efficient than regular power bars.

25. Seal your home

Cut your energy consumption by up to 25% by using proper weather-stripping and caulking around windows and doors.

26. Mind the trap

A dryer can lose 75% of its efficiency if lint clogs the trap. Clean it after every use to save on the annual operating cost.

A man riding a bike on a bridge.

Travel & Transit

27. Buy a monthly pass

If you routinely travel by bus or train, a monthly pass can save you up to a few hundred dollars a year.

28. Consider upgrading your CAA Membership

Moving from Basic to Plus gives you more than 30 times the towing distance per call, along with other benefits like more roadside assistance calls and free emergency fuel and delivery.

29. Save on car rentals

CAA Members get discounted rates and other benefits—10% off prepaid fuel and two free additional drivers—at Enterprise, Alamo and National.

30. Use an alternate mode of transit

Walk, cycle or take the bus, which are often cheaper than buying gas, and provide the added benefit of daily exercise.

31. Pack your CAA card

Members get exclusive discounts and room rates at hotels around the world, including Best Western, Fairmont, Hilton and Marriott properties.

32. Golf for less

CAA Members save $20 off the online purchase of a Canada Golf Card. This all-in-one golf discount card pays for itself after one or two rounds.


33. Use your CAA Membership

Members save up to 10% on home insurance, and 10% on travel insurance.*

34. Pay premiums upfront

CAA Insurance offers a discount when you pay annually instead of monthly.

35. Discount, please!

Ask your CAA Manitoba Insurance Broker about discounts for being claims-free, mortgage-free or having a monitored alarm.

36. WFH

If you work from home, don't forget to switch your Autopac coverage to a pleasure vehicle for a lower rate.

A group of friends celebrating a birthday.

Put the fun in frugal

Because saving money doesn't have to be boring! Smarter spending can be even more fun than budget busting. As Suchot Sunday of TheCuriousFrugal.com in Winnipeg explains, “in a high-inflation environment, kids can learn about saving up for a special toy or game they want.” She suggests using a three-point money jar instead of a typical piggy bank. “The jars have different slots for save, spend and give to teach children about money management in a more holistic way.” Here are her other tips for fun frugality.

37. Plant a garden

You can grow organic veggies while reducing your grocery bill. It's also a great activity for kids, who will learn how to garden and have fun doing so.

38. Sign up for birthday freebies

Some companies give out free stuff or coupons during your birthday month: Sephora offers a bundle of cosmetics and you can get free frings at Harvey’s.

39. Buy quality items

Name-brand items like clothes, shoes, and bags may be more expensive upfront, but you could save more when you don’t have to replace them quickly.

40. Avoid impulse buying

If it’s not an emergency purchase, give it 24 hours or longer before making a move. “The act of pausing and waiting can deflate some of the desire to spend,” Suchot says.

Personal Finances

41. Ditch the fees

Sign up for credit cards and chequing accounts that don’t have annual or monthly fees.

42. Use cashback or rewards credit cards

Virtually every bank has a cashback or travel rewards credit card. Consider applying for one that will help you save the most money or put points towards a vacation.

43. Open a high-interest savings account

These accounts generally pay up to 100 times the interest rates on a traditional savings account. They are usually offered by online banks.

44. Set up automatic payments

You won’t forget to pay your bills on time. Also consider "paying up" credit card balances before their due date to avoid interest costs.

45. Track of your expenses

Maintain a budget that tracks monthly expenses and income. You’ll see how much you spend per month and what you can cut back on.

46. Use cash

If you tend to overspend when using credit cards, consider limiting yourself to cash or use a cash envelope: Set aside money for each buying category; when it's used up, you're done spending for the month.


Charity Akinseloyin, a personal finance expert at TheFinanceKey.com in Alberta, shares some of her tried-and-true tips for cutting costs without sacrificing comfort.

What are the top three ways you save on household bills?

I cancelled unused subscriptions and switched to a cheaper cell phone plan. I also installed a programmable thermostat in my home, which has helped keep energy costs low.

How has your budget changed with rising inflation?

I’ve changed my spending habits. For example, I have reduced my entertainment and eating-out budget and put off buying a new car to focus on essentials. I needed to earn more money to sustain my current lifestyle.

What else are you doing to save money at home?

I buy generic brands more often now. And rather than purchasing expensive store-bought cleaners, I make my own homemade versions using ingredients like baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice.

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