From August to October, we are sharing first-hand stories from Meaghen Stock – a Mobilizer alumni.
Written by guest blogger Meaghen Stock:
My money saving tips while in the program
A very important part of having a job is saving money. It is always smart to have some savings while working in case of an emergency or to use after you are done the program. For example, if you break your ankle while out at a placement and need to take time off work for it to heal, it would be nice to have some savings to lean back on. Here is how I learned to save money while working with Mobilize and travelling in Canada, my top 5 money saving tips.
#1. Start to save 10% of each paycheque
Something that I have always tried to do since my very first job at age 16, is that as soon as I get paid, I automatically put 10% of my earnings for that pay period into my savings. The only time I don’t do this is if I know I’m treating myself to a special trip (for example, an overnight stay at a hotel in Banff to visit other Mobilizers). It is surprising how fast the money can add up and it has come in handy on many different occasions. If you are already in debt, instead of putting that 10% into savings, you can also put that 10% towards your debt, and work to pay that off before starting a savings fund.
#2. Create a budget
Creating a budget can help you sometimes add more than the initial 10% into your savings. For example, I know on average I spend $50 on groceries a week, so I need that money to spend. I also try to keep enough money for one meal out to spoil myself and then an extra $50-$100 for fun activities that may come up, such as snowboarding, tubing or a day trip to Banff. If by the end of that pay period I have extra money and know I have an average paycheque coming in, I move the leftover money to my savings.
#3. Take advantage of opportunities to save money
Depending on where your placement is, you may be limited on choices on where to buy your groceries. If you’re in a location with more than one grocery store, look through your flyers and coupon shop. While living in St. Albert, this method saved me a lot of money throughout the six months I was there. There is a Wal-Mart and a Save On in the same plaza, so I would go through the flyers to see who had to best deals so I would know where to go. Also invest in point cards. It is amazing how many points you can earn over six months, and I ended up getting some half price groceries on my last grocery trip before leaving. For more grocery shopping tips, read my previous blog.
#4. Look for the cheapest transportation
Anyone who has been on a greyhound for a long period of time will know that is is not the most comfortable form of transportation. Your butt gets numb, your legs get stiff, and how can ANYONE sleep comfortably on a packed bus. Yes it is a little more inconvenient than flying, BUT MOBILIZE IS AN ADVENTURE! Taking the Greyhound across the country is something you should try being positive about because you get to see the whole country out your window, not something everyone gets to do. Document your journey and it will be something you will never forget.
#5. Take advantage of your Mobilize review money
Here’s a money saving tip that is unique to the Mobilize program: you can earn some happy dollars in review money from Mobilize. This gets paid out at the end of each placement. When you find out where you are going next, book your Greyhound ticket right away to save some money. Then depending on your reviews, you may earn enough money to cover your trip, plus some more money to add to that savings account.
These slight changes I have made in my life have helped me earn a decent savings account even though I am only making a basic wage. My money saving tips and habits have helped me out time and time again. Without a backup savings fund I would of found myself in a lot of tricky spots on this journey. I recommend starting a savings account to anyone joining the program if you don’t already have one. Happy travelling!