The brisk back-to-work attitude of September makes it a great time to review your finances and particularly your spending. Whether you are saving to buy a home or pay one off, your “money leaks” can add up to some big bucks over time. Here are five ways to find some of your missing money:
- Spending while unconscious. Track your spending and consider your impulse buys at the grocery, gas station, convenience and other stores; the services you are being charged monthly for that you don’t really use; or your brand name buying when generic will do. Look for the leaks, and then resolve to spend consciously. If impulse buying is a big culprit, always make a list and stick to it, only grocery shop once a week and never on an empty stomach!
- Convenience costs. It’s a lot easier to spend more than you intend to when you exclusively use your credit cards because you aren’t seeing the money. You just press some buttons and presto, your purchase is made. You might not be so liberal with your money if you actually had to hand it over. Consider withdrawing a fixed amount of cash for your spending every week.
- Examine your bills. Take a good hard look at your monthly bills and go through them line by line. Look for small, unexplained charges, fees, and add-ons. Some of them may be for services you don’t use or perhaps don’t remember requesting. Or they could be for services that you can actually live without. Even if the amount is small, why have it charged every month?
- It doesn’t hurt to ask. Whether you are signing up for internet or buying a car, ask “is this the best you can do?” or “can you make it more affordable?” Do research in advance so you are prepared and knowledgeable on all things related to what you are buying.
- Plug your biggest money leak: high interest. All of the savings you make in lifestyle choices mean nothing if you don’t put a plug on paying high interest. Always pay down your credit cards as much as possible. If debt is choking your cash flow and you have enough equity in your home, you may be able to move that debt to your lower-rate mortgage and save thousands. If high interest debt is a big money leak for you, get in touch. Using home equity to pay down debt is one of my specialties.
Vancouver’s Foreign Buyer Tax
The BC government moved to address the lack of housing affordability with an additional 15% property transfer tax on foreign nationals and corporations buying in Metro Vancouver. Foreign nationals may now look to other cities, adding some price pressure to those markets. The measure isn’t expected to have a significant slowing effect. According to the Provincial Finance Minister, foreign nationals accounted for only a small percent of the overall market, 5.1% of sales in the region during a 3 week period in June. In today’s shifting marketplace, it’s never been more important to get expert and timely mortgage advice and access to as many options as possible.