With the Alberta economy on your mind, you may be looking for ways to watch your spending and keep more money in your bank accounts and your community. You probably think you’ll have to drastically change your lifestyle, but that isn’t necessarily so. With careful planning, you may only need to make minor adjustments.

Here are some ideas to start you off.

See How Much You Can Save [Infographic]

Click the image to see the full size See How Much You Can Save Infographic

Pay yourself first

This is the golden rule of personal finance. Before you pay your monthly bills or buy groceries, put part of your income into a savings account. For example, set up a pre-authorized contribution plan with your credit union or bank. Using this kind of plan removes the temptation to skip a month’s saving and the risk you’ll spend the money before you make a contribution. Even as little as $5 a week will add up to more than $260 by the end of the year.

Cut down on your vacation spending

Instead of going on an expensive trip abroad this year, explore places around Alberta. Did you know our province is home to five of Canada’s 13 UNESCOWorld Heritage Sites? Or take a staycation in your community. You can have fun all summer going on picnics, checking out fairs and festivals, visiting museums and attending free community events. So grab a map, pick a destination or activity and be a tourist right here in Alberta.

Spend your money locally

When you spend your money at locally owned businesses, up to four times more of your dollars stay in our community than when you buy from a chain or big box stores. That’s because locally owned businesses recirculate a bigger share of their revenue (more than 50%) into our local economy.* Next time you feel like eating out, why not try a mom and pop restaurant? Or get your prescriptions filled at your corner drugstore.

Do it or fix it yourself

Taking on your own projects can be a lot easier on your bank account than hiring out or buying ready-mades. No matter what you try — home renovations or repairs, canning, landscaping, gift making or a myriad other things — start small and learn before you do. That way you won’t need to spend money fixing mistakes. Take a workshop at a hardware or craft store. Watch YouTube videos. Read how-to books and magazines. Talk to friends. You’ll not only save money but also develop new skills.

These are just a few suggestions to get you started. Talk to a Servus financial advisor today about savings plans specifically tailored for you.

*Sources: Civic Economics; Institute for Local Self-Reliance