Saving is rock and roll

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Can a house really generate savings? We hear so many owners complain about all the money they can pump into a house that you might end up thinking that a house is a bottomless pit when it comes to your budget. The real pessimistic owners complain about always having to pay and pay.

Two writers offer various ways to reduce our household bills. They have opposite approaches. The first one opts for classic savings; the second one takes the road less traveled.

A reporter for the business pages of La Presse newspaper, Stéphanie Grammond offers her advice in her paperback Acheter sans se faire rouler. In terms of insurance, she invites owners to use common sense. You can save a lot over the years by doing certain renovations, getting an alarm system, not making insurance claims for every little thing and having a deductible higher than $300.

She also says that the idea that insurers don’t cover natural catastrophes is a misconception. Insurers will pay for some damage caused by strong winds, power outages and water damage. Owners should contact their insurance company for more information.

Ms. Grammond argues that getting more information should be a habit when doing renovations and buying products. In her book, she warns owners against several myths. For example, a high price and prestigious brand name are no guarantee that you won’t have any problems.

A coach in personal finances, Michel Martel has been a seasoned investor for over 30 years. In his book S’enrichir grâce à l’argent poubelle, he provides a series of daily actions that will put a smile on your face. Under the description of most actions the author indicates the amount of savings on an annual basis and over a lifetime.

An entire chapter is devoted to savings that you can generate in a house. Examples: renting a friend’s garage generates about $350 savings at the end of a year, or $18,200 in a lifetime. Why not do the same thing with an unused room in the house?

The author admits a preference for the Internet rather than TV. So he cancelled his cable for estimated annual savings of $804 or $41,808 over a lifetime. Other tricks include turning on the oven light rather than open the door when checking the cooking, planning to buy appliances by saving $5 or $10 a week in a separate account, shopping for groceries on a full stomach, and hanging clothes to dry rather than using the dryer. The book is filled with tricks. The author describes his philosophy using the expression “applied voluntary simplicity.”


Acheter sans se faire rouler (déjouer les pièges de la consommation), Stéphanie Grammond, les éditions La Presse, Montréal, 2009, 237 pages.

S’enrichir grâce à l’argent poubelle, Michel Martel, Éduc’argent, special collaboration spéciale Jean Martel, Shawinigan, 2012