Fri, 07 Mar 2014 19:15:00 GMT | By Alison Griffiths, MSN Money

Eight tips to put money back in your pocket

These easy ways to save are a good place to start when putting your finances in order.

Alison Griffiths

It’s the time of year when the financial world starts closing in on Canadians. The RRSP deadline has passed, and most didn’t contribute anywhere near the maximum allowable. Also, many of us spent a wee bit too much during the holiday season and credit cards are still bearing the pain. On top of that, tax time is here. Sure, you’re getting a refund — but it’s just a return of your own money — not a windfall.

Coming up on the horizon for families is the cost of summer camps and hopefully a summer vacation.

Too few dollars are chasing too many wants and needs. But fear not, here are eight ideas to get your financial train back on track.

1. Start small: Cut or reduce spending on smaller items first to instill confidence. Cancel subscriptions, lunch out twice a week instead of daily, takeout coffee en route to work instead of a java jolt going there and back.

While you are at it, jot down what you haven’t spent. It is a wonderful pat on the back at month’s end.

2. Delay: Stretch the time between regular services such as manicures, massages or haircuts and colourings. Even delaying a couple of weeks can have a big impact for a family of four. Or try doing your own nails with a treat manicure twice a year. It’s easy, saves time and quite a bit of dough.

3. Read the small print: Most of us have dozens of contracts for everything from cable to banking. Look through them for services and protections you don’t need. If you are never overdrawn, why have overdraft protection? And if you don’t carry a balance you don’t need balance protection.

Examine your house insurance carefully. A higher deductible plus lower contents coverage could save you a nice chunk.

When I reviewed my car insurance I found that I was paying for a $100 collision deductible on a 23 year-old-car.

With the help of my children, I was able to cut our television package in half and bundle together the TV, Internet and phone to save even more. However, don’t bundle assuming you will save just because the service provider says so. Do your research first.

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