How I Avoid Paying Out of Pocket in 2018

Monday, 14 January 2019

Shopping is a "hobby" that can get very expensive, very quickly - mindless shopping moreso.

I'd like to believe my shopping habits are more intentional than mindless because I am very aware that a dollar saved is a dollar earned. I was recently in a consignment store to drop off some clothes that the kids and I have outgrown. After dropping off my haul, I browsed the aisle and was pleasantly surprised to stumble on a brand-new-with-tags pair of black Banana Republic pants in size 6L.

Note: I used to wear size 4L pre-third child but have now accepted that my body has permanently moved into pant size 6L category. I rarely ever find long lengths in store so I'm restricted to buying pants online from sometime very limited inventory of Gap and Banana Republic Canada.

I scooped up the pants mentioned above for $17. Luckily, I had $19 store credit from my previously consigned goods so I ended up paying nothing out of pocket. I felt pretty smug and happy leaving that store! My experience led me into thinking about all the ways I've avoided paying cash out of pocket for goods and services in 2018. Here are the ways that worked best for me:

Hey! Remember when Canada had Target Stores?

Consignment Stores

Reselling mine and my kids clothes in consignment stores netted me a pretty penny through the year. I sold off some of my shoes and handbags as well as my kids' outgrown clothes. Added $312 to the kitty which I kept as cash for buying replacement clothes.

Kijiji

Kijiji is the more popular version of Craigslist here in Canada. I don't bother with Kijiji too much because it's got a higher percentage of flaky people that are not worth dealing with. Still, I occasionally sell specific name-brand items. In 2018, it was a Le Creuset dutch oven for $100.

Online Rebates

I've been a very happy customer of ebates since 2010. If you haven't heard of the site, ebates is a site that gives cashback for online shopping in certain stores. I do a fair amount of shopping online and got $72 for my efforts in 2018 (ebates links above are referral links for me; if you sign up through those links, we both get cash credited to our accounts)

Credit Card Rewards

Early in 2018, I decided to sign up the the President's Club Mastercard because I had a kid in diapers and the Real Canadian Superstore had the best prices for diapers. I funneled most of my grocery shopping in 2018 through Costco and Superstore and was always happy to pay with my rewards points instead of cash. By my estimates, I averaged $40 per month in cashback rewards which went back into grocery shopping

Travel Insurance

Our family vacation destination in 2018 was Orlando. On our way back, we missed out connecting flight due to horrid weather and had to spend the night in Toronto. It was that night that I finally paid attention to the fine print on my credit card and realized that I had trip interruption insurance. THAT little bit of information meant that our $450 hotel stay fee was fully reimbursed. That's what the only hotel in the airport terminal charged for a one night stay. If I was paying out of pocket, I'd have cried as I dragged our family of 5 to the nearest $100-a-night hotel at midnight. Glad I missed out on this experience

All in all, back of the napkin math tells me we saved north of $1400 by leveraging the perks and resale opportunities available to us in 2018. Special shout out to "Million Dollar Journey" blog for cluing me into the benefits of having a PC Mastercard.

How about you? Any special ways you avoid paying out of pocket?

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