Regardless of income, many of us find it hard to save money – and we don’t have time to figure out how.
Here are five simple, easy ways to save money:
- You’re number 1. Before the mortgage, groceries, or anything else, take a bit of your paycheque and keep it in a savings account. By paying yourself first, spending will automatically adjust to reflect what’s left over. Saving whatever is left doesn’t work for one reason – it’s human nature to spend all of the money you have on hand.
- Divide and Conquer. Decide what you want to save per year. Divide it by the number of paycheques you get, and ask your financial institution to set up an automatic transfer in that amount every pay day. Here’s the payoff – Over time (say 30 years) your $100 bi-weekly transfer, earning 3%, could grow to over $125,000 in an RRSP.
- The Art of Taxation. It’s simple, but the biggest reason for missing deductions is not having the paperwork. Get an expandable file folder and stash all your receipts in it so you know where they all are. RRSPs, RESPs and Tax-Free Savings Accounts are fabulous tax shelters for Canadians. Take your savings and maximize these options. If your employer offers employee savings plans, take advantage of these as well.
- Borrow Smart. Avoid borrowing for things like vacations because it means you will pay 10% to 30% more than the item is worth. Pay attention to interest rates. Consolidate credit card, or other higher interest debt, into one loan. There is a good chance you will dramatically lower your rate, and have a payment plan that will make it easy to see the headway you’re making on paying it off. Paying your mortgage monthly? Stop. Divide that same payment by four and start paying weekly. Why? A $150,000 mortgage, at 6%, with a 25 year amortization paid weekly could save over $26,000 in interest and be paid off in 21 years instead of 25.
- Save the Extras. When you receive money periodically (like income tax refunds, government child benefits, gifts, etc.), save the money instead of spending it. These extras add up over time, even if you save only half and spend the rest.
Following these tips will help you enjoy life today because you have the peace of mind that you’re taking care of tomorrow.