Inspired slightly by a couple of suggestions made by A.J. and Yana in my Facebook Suggestions posts, I found this interesting video that shows it is possible to shop at a thrift store, save money, and look good after doing it.
A few weeks ago my friend Julian responded to a Facebook request for ways to save money.  He suggested "make more money," which wasn't the exact response I was looking for, but in all truth probably the best way.  It got me thinking and I decided to post this video I found on making a successful online ad for selling stuff on ebay, kijiji, etc.
I've actually sold a few things on kijiji in the past, and found the experience quite satisfying.  I hope you find your experience enjoyable too.  If you save any of the extra money let me know and I will update my Super Savers leaderboard.  I will post other tips/ways to make money in the future.
Our good friend Suze Orman is back, this time with some advice on how to build and use your emergency fund.
Here's a simple way to find a few extra cents every day.

I was enjoying the summer sun down on the Halifax Waterfront one day when I noticed a woman who took an empty bottle sitting on a bench and she placed it in a plastic bag she had in her shouler bag.

I saw this and it gave me an idea.  From this point on I would always take a plastic grocery bag with me every day and I managed to find three to five bottles every day just sitting there, for a whole year. 

Now, I'm not saying I got rich that summer, but I managed to save up a tiny "bottle fund" that my brother (who was living with me at the time) and I would use to have a guilt free "pizza night" or to rent a movie or eat some fancy ice cream, etc.  Plus, I felt good about myself because I was helping the environment at the same time.

Continuing this latest series on disability insurance, we look at the true cost of being disabled.  Many people imagine themselves disabled as being exactly the same, but with an inconvenience of immobility and the inability to work.  Kraig Strom of discusses the real cost of disability though in the following video.
All of us are accustomed to buying insurance for our car, or even for our health.  However, do we consider buying insurance for our biggest asset: our income?  The following video explains the basics of a great product called disability insurance.
How many times have you heard the statement "it takes money to make money?"  I bet you've heard it so often you can say it backwards in your sleep.  Well, it may be true, but this touching story below will prove that it doesn't take as much money as you think.
To continue on with my last post from Sunday, here are some of the rest of the great practical suggestions from the query I posted on my personal Facebook account asking for budget and saving tips.

5)  Tomas linked me to a fantastic website called Budget Bytes, which contains a lot of very delicious and very cheap recipes for those of you trying to save money on meals.

6)  Yana echoed AJ's suggestion - urging us to run to work when we can and shop at second hand/thrift stores.  She also added that we should do a type of self-consolidation by transferring high interest credit card ballances to lower interest lines of credit.

7)  Matthew gave a great tip for saving on electricity.  He shared his own personal method of plugging all of his electronics in a room into one single surge protector/power bar.  At night, or whenever he leaves the room, he unplugs the bar.  On average the TVs and other electronic devices in your home increase your power bill about 10% just by being plugged in over night.  That is quite a few pennies!

Again, thank you to all of my friends who contributed.

Recently I put a request out on my Facebook page for some savings tips from my friends.  I received a lot of great ideas.  Here are some of the best.

1)  Tasha suggested doing your budget based on how often you get paid.  For example, if you get paid bi-weekly create a bi-weekly budget.  All of your excess/spending money should be taken out in cash which will help keep everything straight in your head.

2)  Lindy added the timeless wisdom of preparing your lunches in advance and packing your own Thermos of tea or coffee instead of going to Tim Horton's or Starbucks.

3)  A.J. suggested stocking up on sale items you know you will use regularly, and only buy clothes from second hand stores when possible.  She also suggested riding your bike as often as possible in the summer.  (Editor's note:  I suggest if you want to do this that you save all of your gas receipts and compare them at the end of the year to see how much you saved during the months you rode your bicycle.  I did this personally last year and the result was quite eye-opening.)

4)  Julian reccommended adding a "savings" heading in your budget.  Treat it as an expense and go through your budget and look for any unneccessary extra spending you can cut to increase the amount you can "spend" on savings. 

For time and space reasons I will stop here for now.  Look for the second set of reccommmendations coming soon.  Thanks to everyone who contributed their ideas.

If you've been keeping up with your reading on Finding North the past ouple of weeks, then certainly you've noticed that I'm a big fan of saving.  My friends know this and the other day one of them asked, "how much should I start saving every month?"  My answer was, "anything!"  I wasn't joking either.  People worry about the interest rate on their investments, when they don't even have anything in their investment at all. 

That said, for those of you who are curious, I took the liberty of adding the basic compound interest calculator below so anyone interested can see how saving even a little bit each month can really add up over time.

Hint:  If you don't know what to put for Interest Rate, then try this.  If you're saving for something within the next 5 years use an interest rate of about 2% or 3%.  For goals ranging 5-12 years in the future, use a 5% or 6% interest rate, and for anything over 12 years, you can try 7% to 8%.  That will give you a fairly safe, conservative estimate.
Compound Interest Calculator
Initial Investment
Regular Investment
Interest Rate
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