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March Newsletter - Spring housecleaning

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Spring is a time when we look at everything anew.  Time to get rid of the old baggage and address those things that we have been putting off all winter.  These are the things that nag us in the middle of the night.  The things we know we should deal with but we put them off….’til spring i.e. NOW!

 

Let’s get started.

 

Cutting costs

We all know we have ways that we could stop even minor leakage by just being more mindful about spending. There are three simple ways to do this.

 

Track what you spend. The old expression is “If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it”. There is a simple app that you can use to help with this: Dollarbird. Our habit is to say no when the cashier or waiter asks if we want the receipt. Instead, just say yes to that question, and you will have a tangible paper trail of your expenses and very likely a fairly big ball of receipts in your pocket to account for.

 

Go through your credit card statement to see what regular, monthly transactions you have and question them. Do I need it? Is there a cheaper/free option?

 

Of those regular monthly transactions that I can’t get rid of, can I renegotiate for a better price. Name it, Rogers, Bell, your mortgage, your car loan. Most often if you engage with that creditor (yes Rogers and Bell are creditors) you can easily renegotiate for a lower fee. Not a big deal.

 

Plan ahead

 

We all know that there are events that happen each year that we are excited about but fail to plan for.  Vacations, graduations, birthdays, conferences.

 

For vacations, booking flights and hotels early are big helps. Looking into either or both of Airbnb and VRBO can give you an extraordinary experience for a fraction of the cost of a hotel. Plus, you get a local experience with at-home amenities that save dollars, pounds, euros, pesos, etc. You will have a washer/dryer, kitchen for eating-in, in a local lovely hangout.

 

Even if you are not sure about your travel, book it anyway at a discount. You can always change dates later but hold the cost of the flight at the original price.

 

Use points. We all have them and albeit they are confusing to use. We should.

 

Spend to save

 

Prepay what you can. Every supplier wants their payments early and are willing to give up terms to get that. If you know that you have to pay for parking, or singing lessons or anything else, just ask the question. They are in business too. They will get it.

 

Mind your P’s and Q’s. This is an old English term. Mind your Pints and Quarts. In that time there were Tavern owners that would look after the best interest of their patrons. This is not necessarily the case anymore. The barkeep (read bank) is incented to sell more of one product than the other (read sales) in order to appease the shareholders (read owners) to achieve their own goals and get a bonus for doing so. This is in no way in the best interest of the client.Be savvy with your bank – recognize that they are vendors of financial products, not advisors.

 

Check your Credit Score

 

You can find out what your credit score is by simply going to www.equifax.ca. It will cost about $25. The reason you do this is, is so that the next time you go to renegotiate your mortgage or line of credit you can say “So how is it that with an excellent credit rating as posted by Equifax that this is the best rate you can offer?”

 

Take advantage of your work benefits

 

Do you understand what benefits you have?  Are they adequate?  If you don’t know the answer to either one of those questions, your to-do is easy.  Send your benefits booklet to us and we’ll break it down for you.  If you don’t already have one, just ask for an employee booklet on benefits. 

 

There are many services that you likely now have that you are not using.  Either for you or your family.  Your booklet will have all the information on the services available and if you are not already using them, you probably should be.