Have you ever felt like your paycheck goes towards everything but yourself? Part of this could be because you are throwing your money away on simple things that can be avoided. This guide has 11 tips to help you avoid losing money so you have more to spend on the luxuries in life.
Avoid Tickets at All Costs
Most people do not like giving away money to someone else and gaining nothing from it. That is exactly what happens when you get a traffic ticket. Many are avoidable, such as speeding and parking tickets. You know the law, so just abide by it. If you do incur a traffic tickets try to fight it in court yourself. You may have the charges dropped or reduced. Of course, just doing your best to follow the rule of traffic and parking law is probably the best way to go.
Make Sure You Have Adequate Insurance Coverage
There are emergencies that happen in life that are simply unavoidable. That’s what insurance is there for. Some believe that paying out of pocket for these expenses is cheaper than paying a higher monthly fee for coverage. To those people I urge them to consider what will happen if they are under-insured or not insured at all, and have no emergency funding. Claims can be payable in the millions of dollar range and most people just do not have that kind of money laying around. Certainly not those likely to be reading this advice anyway!
Are you prepared to pay thousands of dollars in expenses if you were involved in an auto accident? What would you do if your car is totalled? Are you able to get the repairs completed or could you purchase a new vehicle? Many would then have to turn to payday loans, which get people deeper into debt than ever. Ensuring that you have adequate insurance coverage just plain old makes sense and is a wise investment.
When it comes to taking that additional rental car insurance, make sure your primary insurance carrier will cover you 100% before you decline the coverage. Consider travellers insurance in case you must cancel your flight at the last minute or your luggage gets lost while travelling.
Use Your Banks Online Bill Pay versus Auto Pay
Late fees, interest fees, and bill payment fees are three ways you are losing money to your creditors. And at times, due to a financial mishap, you may incur an overdraft fee or non-sufficient funds fee from your bank. You can avoid each of these if you simply use your bank’s online bill payment option rather than your creditor’s auto pay option.
You see, with your creditor’s auto pay option, they may charge you anywhere from $1 to $10 or more just for you to pay your bill online or over the phone. It’s a convenience or administrative fee. Some creditors have an “express payment” option that allows your payment to post to your account in 24 hours or less. This is useful if you need the credit posted to use immediately, such as with your credit card. However, you sometimes have to pay an additional fee for that as well.
If you make a purchase with your credit card, and do not pay it before the 30-day cycle, you are looking at paying an entire month’s worth of interest fees until you have paid the credit line back down to $0. But most people become so busy they don’t even think to do that. This leads us into the fact you may have a late fee posted to your account because you did forget to pay your bill.
Only Sign up For Necessary Subscriptions
Think about the subscriptions you currently have. You may have additional packages added to your cable programming, or have an expensive gym membership, additional home landline, free 90-day memberships for the food of the month club, and countless magazine subscriptions sent to your home. It’s time to evaluate whether these subscriptions are necessary for you and your family.
- Take your cable programming, for instance. Consider the cost of an add-on package and compare it to a service such as Hulu or Netflix. See if you are able to get the same programs for less.
- Why pay for a gym membership that you rarely use when you can work out at home with a few simple pieces of equipment?
- Just about everyone has a cell phone so consider whether or not having a landline is of benefit to you.
- You can view many magazines only a few weeks behind their publish date online for free.
If you sign up for something because it offers a free trial, remember the trial date is going to expire. You’ve already given your credit card information and the authorization to charge it. So make sure to either stop signing up for trials or cancel them on time. Set up a reminder in your cell phone’s calendar.
Use Your Reward Points
Use them or lose them seems to be the terminology used for rewards points. Some expire while others don’t, but if you don’t lose them, it is like letting cash slip right through your fingers.
These are generally customer loyalty programs and include frequent flyer miles, hotel discounts, and exclusive restaurant dining points. Some banks and credit cards offer gift card reward options to use at your favourite stores or turn into pre-paid gift cards.
Keep Up With Maintenance and Repairs
Another way you can lose money fast is by not keeping up with maintenance and repairs. If you neglect fixing something or keeping it up to par, you risk the snowball effect and may have to dish out even more funds to fix or replace it.
You know your vehicle needs regular oil changes and fuel filter changes. If you don’t do so, you’ll shorten your vehicle’s life expectancy. You could damage the engine and look at a bit over $2,000 to replace it. You’ll also have unnecessary towing fees as well as the cost of a rental or public transportation fees until it gets fixed. Doesn’t it make sense to just take some preventative measures and avoid that whole mess?
Max Out Your RRSP Contributions
Every day, many Canadians leave money on the table at their jobs. They do so by not maxing out their RRSP contributions when their employer will match it. You don’t have to max out fully, just up to the amount your employer matches.
Your employers match is free money! Now the matching contribution is considered taxable income, however, your RRSP plan administrator will send you a contribution receipt of which you can give to your tax preparer when they file your income tax return.
Do Your Homework before Any Investments
Many investment opportunities are available that can make you tons of money. You just need to do your homework to know which will be favourable for you. Trying to depend on others to make financial investment decisions is a bad idea. It’s also not a good idea to make an investment decision, such as with the stock market, based on a company’s past performance. You should understand it, but not depend on it totally.
Make sure you understand the market conditions, world events, and the risks involved. Finally, never put all your money into a single stock. Remember, you have a 50/50 chance of either winning or losing. Diversify your portfolio so if one fails, others may do better.
An easy way to test the waters before diving in, involves using a practice account or simulated account. You can try so many hypothetical situations without spending a dime. Get the hang of things to learn all you can before investing real money. If you are not doing so well, you know it’s not the market for you.
Perform Home Repairs Yourself
Take a weekend to analyze your home. If you find something faulty, look up on the internet how to fix it yourself. You can fix the hole in your wall, a running toilet, fix peeling wallpaper, and caulk.
The same goes with technology. If you are receiving an error message, Google it. If it’s not dangerous such as an electrical issue, try to fix it yourself rather than call a specialist who may charge you hundreds for a simple part replacement.
Take Your Time and Never Accept the First Offer
If you do need to call a specialist, make sure to get more than one estimate. You don’t necessarily want to go for the lowest price, but you want to make sure you are not being ripped off. Estimates can help you judge the true cost of repairs. Also, make sure to get those estimates in writing. They should include labour and part costs.
Shop Around for the Best Pricing
An indecisive decision can cost you extra money. Take your time to shop around for the best price. Your mobile phone can help you. There are applications to download to help you comparison shop based on your location. You can scan the price tags and find the best price.
Also, remember that for some products it’s best to get quality over something cheaper or more affordable. If it breaks down in a few months and you need to replace it, that’s money and time lost. Being frugal absolutely does not mean being cheap. Buy smart. Buy for the best value. No regrets.
What tips do you have to share for avoiding losing money?
Elizabeth Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys travelling, developing easy recipes, crafting, taking on diy projects, travelling and saving money!