Tips for Living on a Low Budget – Part 2

7) Loans, Grants, & Funding

For Artists, Business, Non-Profits, & Charities

Loans, Grants, Funding for Business – WorkBC – Whether you’re just starting a business or looking to take your enterprise to the next level, learn about funding that can help you reach your goals. Take advantage of grant, loan and incentive ops to put position you for success.

Grants for Canadian Small Business Canada Government Grants – Find funding programs for your small business. Choose from many funding types.


Grants & Services for ArtistsCanada Council for the Arts – The Canada Council offers a broad range of grants and services to pro Canadian artists and arts orgs in music, theatre, writing and publishing, visual arts, dance, media arts and integrated (multidisciplinary) arts. The Canada Council awards prizes and fellowships every year to some 200 artists and scholars.

Funding for Non-Profits Organizations or Charities – Alliance for Arts and Culture – If you are a not for profit org or charity, you may find this organization helpful. Their site lists funding and deadline info for many grants.

Financial Aid for ArtistsArtists in Canada – Artists in Canada has a number of agencies listed that offer grants and funding on an on going basis for artists seeking financial aide and arts communities looking to help fund their art projects and events. Check the regional and provincial opportunities as well as the Canada Arts Grants that you may be eligible for.


8) Make Spare Income

Seek Employment as a Work For Hire

Every one of you has a skill set that is unique to you and you alone.  Some of you are visual artist, audio engineers, skilled with making crafts and jewelry, and some of you are computer geeks.  Whatever your skill, there are people who are equally unskilled at what you are good at.  See this as an opportunity for employment.  People are often willing to pay for help.  These are “work for hire” opportunities.

Ideally, you will want to seek a work situation that allows you the flexibility to pursue your dreams. You will have to choose one of your skills that will get you employment but still give you TIME FOR YOU.

Follow the steps below to select an appropriate skill for “Work for Hire”:

  1. Write down every skill you have that you feel someone would pay for
  2. Take your list and eliminate the jobs you hate
  3. Next, remove the skills you cannot do at the location of your choice
  4. Finally, remove the skills that do not give you enough time flexibility

What you have left is a list of skills which are ideal to perform as a part-time work for hire.

Skills that work great within the above criteria are:

Apartment Prepping
Auto Detailing
Carpet Cleaning
Chimney Sweeping
Collection Service
Child Care
Construction Cleanup
Cooking instructor
Dog Walking
Graphic Designer
House painting
Income Tax Preparations

Personal Consultant
Photography Service
Plant Care
Pool Cleaning
Research Service
Resume writing
Search Engine Optimization
Social Media Strategist
Small Appliance Repair
Telephone survey
Translation service
Tutoring service
Web design
Wedding planner
Window cleaning
Word processing

9) Make Spare Income

Repair, Recycle, and Re-Sell Stuff

Recycling is great way to make extra income, specially if you are a handy person with repairs and such. I know people who spend their spare time picking up freebies or cheap stuff off of Craiglist and Kijiji   They repair, recycle, and re-sell.

One friend of mine picks up freebie bikes or buys them for cheap.  He repairs them with a little touch up paint, tightens up the brakes, or sometimes replaces a flat tire and presto!  He often sells the “new” bike for a hundred or more dollars than what he paid for it!


10) Saving Money on Transportation

Look at Transportation Carefully & Save Money

Getting around Van and the Lower Mainland area can be daunting during rush hour and when bad weather hits.  Still, for more of us, travel is a necessary evil.

To avoid a large portion of transportation expenses, try to live in an area where most of your regular needs are within walking distance.  If you must use transportation, consider these as options:

  1. Wait if you can, and plan.  Plan to batch a number activities together before making a single trip.  Why make 3 trips to do three things if you can make one, thereby saving two thirds the cost on transportation in terms of money, time, and even parking costs if you’re driving.
  2.  Walk if you can.  If what you need to do is within a reasonable walking distance, why not take a brisk walk and get exercise at the same time?
  3. Bicycle – Vancouver is fairly localized and has many good bike routes.  Make bicycling part of your fitness routine while enjoying the great outdoors.
  4. Moped – Get a moped.  It’s great when the weather nice and parking is cheap!
  5. Bus and Skytrain – Get yourself a Compass Card
  6. Depending upon how often you require a vehicle, consider using Car2Go or Evo  These services are great if you seldom need a vehicle because you are not burdened with buying car insurance, mechanical maintenance, car washing, and storage.
  7. Carpool when you can.  It cuts down the carbon footprint, saves you and your friends money, and you have someone to talk to on the commute!
  8. Buy Used:  If you must have a car and you are making a purchase, consider buying a used car as new cars decrease in value quickly in the first few years after purchase.

11) Save on Car Expenses & Insurance

A Little Common Sense Will Save You Money on Car Expenses

Sure it would be great to have a brand new Lamborghini or Maserati, but if you’re on a budget that fancy sports car will have to wait.

List of Cars which are cheaper to insure & their yearly fuel cost

Honda Civic – The cost of gas ranges from $1134 per year (for the hybrid) up to $2331.
Hyundai Elantra – You’ll likely pay $1635 per year to $1875 for gas.
Toyota Corolla – You’ll likely pay $1482 per year to $1657 for gas.


Mazda Mazda3 – You’ll likely pay $1504 per year to $1766 for gas.
Chevrolet Cruze – You’ll likely pay $1548 per year to $1918 for gas.
Volkswagen Jetta – The cost of gas ranges from $1314 per year (for the hybrid) up to $2207.
Ford Focus – The cost of gas will range from $1548 per year to $1940; however, some Ford Fusions run on ethanol (E85) and fuel pricing for these models is not available.
Volkswagen Golf – The cost of gas ranges from $1478 per year (for some diesel models) to $2108
Hyundai Accent – You’ll likely pay $1657 per year to $1679 for gas.
Toyota Camry – The cost of gas will range from $1243 per year (for the hybrid) to $2071.


11) Fuel Your Car – Not Your Expenses

Tips on Saving Money on Gas Expenses

Fuel Budget Strategy

All of us would love to walk, bike, or take transit to keep this planet more green, but many of us need a car.  With long distances between stops and tight timetables, some of us have to drive.  That being said, why not save on fuel if we can?

Purchase a Nexus Pass – If you live in the Vancouver area, consider applying for and purchasing a Nexus Pass.  With streamlined access to United States, you can purchase your fuel just across the border in Blaine or Bellingham. Combine your trip with grocery purchases and you could find yourself saving a lot of cash.

Reduce Air-Conditioner Use – this will reduce the work your car’s engine has to do and conserve gas at the same time.  Putting up with a little discomfort on those shorter trips will save you money.

Avoid Overfilling at the Pump – avoid spillage.  Besides, all that gas that you are wasting is hurting our environment.

Use Lower Octane Fuel – Buy the lowest grade of gasoline that is appropriate for your car.

Fill When Empty – The longer you wait between fill ups, the less stops and starts you’ll use. Also, you car will be lighter as your tank nears empty, therefore pulling a lighter load.

Tighten Your Gas Cap – Reduce gasoline evaporation.


Find Credit Card Discounts – Some credit cards offer gas savings when you use the card for purchases.

Apply for Gas Company Membership – Some brands offer membership benefits.

Keep an Eye on Gas Prices – fill up on gas up when the price is low.  If you live int the Vancouver area, and you can wait for an opportunity to fill up out of town, you can save as much as ten cents a litre.  Abbottsford, and Mission often have much lower gas prices.

Download the GasBuddy App – Save money, save time. Using information provided by GasBuddy users, start saving with fuel price information from around your area.

Proper Tire Inflation – properly inflated tires give better gas mileage.

Tune Up Your Engine – A worn out plug or out of tune engine will greatly decrease your fuel efficiency.

Replace Dirty Air Filter – A clean air filter greatly improves gas mileage and can save you as much as 10% on gas costs.

Use Manufacture Recommended Oil Grade – Choose motor oil with the words “energy conserving” on the API performance label.

Decrease Air Drag – ski racks, bicycle racks, or luggage racks from your car if you don’t need them. Close the sun or moon roof.  All of these things can increase air drag and fuel costs.


Lose the Dead Weight – Remove extra tires and other unnecessary weight you don’t need to be packing around in your car.

Watch for Gas Leaks – Check the driveway for gas tank leaks. Even little ones can waste plenty of fuel over time.

Use your GPS – Save time, and gas.

Use Traffic Reports – Plan your route accordingly to avoid traffic jams.

Keep Warm-Up Time to a Minimum – Turn the key, wait a minute, then get going. Newer vehicles don’t require a lot of warm-up time.
Steady As She Goes! – Maintain a steady driving speed. Avoid jack rabbit starts and hitting the brakes hard to save fuel.

Combine Trips – Combine several errands into one trip. Plan your route carefully for the most efficient use of fuel and time. Take into account one-way streets in your rip planning.

Can It Be Delivered? – Find companies that offer free delivery with their goods and services wherever possible. Amazon, dry cleaning delivery services, food, are a few options that will save you money and time.

Walk or Bike as an Alternative – If you can afford the time, why not get excercise and fresh air while walking or biking instead of burning up fuel. It’s Green, too!

Let Your Fingers Do the Driving – Before you head out to make a purchase, use the internet and newspapers etc to pre-shop before driving to make your purchases.

Drive at Off-Peak Times – driving during off-peak hours will reduce time spent idelling in traffic, wasting gas, time, waiting for lights, and stop the gray hair from growing in.

Take Public Transit – As a cost cutter, public transit often makes sense. After factoring in fuel costs, car insurance, stress, and parking, and a bus or taxi may not seem that inconvenient or expensive after all.


I hope you have learned some helpful tips in this article.

If you missed Part 1 of this article, click the BIG BLUE BUTTON BELOW!

In Part 1 you’ll get helpful tips about:

  1. Keeping Housing and Rent Costs Down
  2. Choosing a Bank and Saving Money on Bank Fees
  3. Keeping Food Costs Down
  4. Finding Cheap or Free Fun, Games, and Entertainment
  5. Where to Find Free Stuff
  6. Professional Services for Cheap or for Free

About the Author

This blog was written by Trevan Wong aka “Bucky” and friends of Buck A Shot Photo Studio in Vancouver, BC Canada.
Supplemental information provided by Alphonse Leong.

Trevan is regarded among the best actor headshot photographers in Vancouver.  His body of commercial work consists of over 20,000 headshot sessions, fashion shoots, and advertising and product shoots since 1980.

When not shooting commercially, Trevan works on photographic art and songwriting.  His art is collected worldwide and his worked has displayed at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Robson Square Media Centre, and The Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre. As a songwriter, Trevan’s songs have made it on several indie artist’s CDs, on Itunes, in documentaries, and full length feature films.

trevan_wong headshot photographer vancouver

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