Times are tough. Here are some tips to stop losing money.
The past couple of years have been hard on our province and with the onset of Covid-19, it has only made stretching our hard earned dollars more crucial. If we can adopt a few habits and /or make just a few adjustments in our day to day lives, it is possible to really cut down on unwanted spending. We have researched some various ways you and your family can save some money. Not all ideas will be a fit for you but maybe a couple could be of use. Look them over and see what might be a good fit.
1. CUT YOUR WATER / ENERGY BILL
Water bills can add up. By lowering your water usage, you will save on your water bill as well as reduce your environmental footprint. Here are some ways to cut your water usage include:
Install low-flow fixtures – faucets, shower-heads…Did you know that low-flow fixtures can save between 25% to 60% in water usage.
Repair any water leaks ASAP.
Update older model toilets ( you can have a slow leak and not know! Try the food colouring test. ) NuVista provides low flow toilets and fixtures in their homes as a standard to assist with better energy efficiency.
Run full loads in the dishwasher and clothes washer
In the spring, mulch your garden or try some xeriscaping. It's beautiful and reduces water consumption)
Heat loss through windows are responsible for 25%–30% of residential heating and cooling energy use. Triple pane windows are the best for reducing heat loss and offer a gain of 35% improvement in ER rating. In addition, it is excellent in reducing outside noise. NuVista offers triple pane windows as a standard in their homes as we know they save to our customers money.
Try installing a rain barrel or timer for your lawns watering sprinkler or system.
2. RENT OUT YOUR BASEMENT ?
Become a landlord and rent out your rarely used basement to help pay down your mortgage, offset your utility bill, or paying part of your property taxes. If you have young adults or extended family, it's a good way to save without the stress of strangers and they have the bonus of reduced cost of living. Or maybe offer a part-time rental with Airbnb. You can place your available room advert on Kijiji, Roomlala, and renfaster.ca . Do a credit and/or background check whenever possible to avoid tenants that will not be suitable.
3. PAY OFF YOUR MORTGAGE FASTER.
Put down additional mortgage payments and keep more money in your pocket over the life of your mortgage. Strategies to pay off your mortgage faster include:
Accelerate your payments such as with accelerated weekly or bi-weekly payments
Make annual lump-sum payments or round-up your normal mortgage payments
Refinance for a lower mortgage rate and keep your payments the same. Put cash win andfalls (bonuses, commissions, inheritance) towards paying down your mortgage. Your potential savings: O 25-year $400,000 mortgage at 2.64%, if you put down an annual lump-sum of $5,000, you will save over $39,000 in total interest payments and lower your amortization by about 6 years!
4. GET A COMPETITIVE MORTGAGE RATE.
You will be surprised at how many people default to their current bank when they want to obtain a mortgage loan or other credit facility. Always shop around!! Loyalty is great, but your bank will not always offer you the best rate possible.
Potential savings: On a $400,000 mortgage loan, a 0.25% point difference in the mortgage rate (for example, 3.00% vs. 3.25%) over a 5-year term is an additional $3,120 out of your pocket, or over $600 per year. Compare rates and terms across several providers – read the small print.
5. GO WITH A VARIABLE MORTGAGE
Numerous studies have shown that you will likely pay less in overall interest when you go with a variable mortgage rate.
If you can bear the occasional hike in rates and stick with variable rates throughout the life of your mortgage, the odds say you will save lots of money.
6. RECONSIDER MORTGAGE LIFE INSURANCE
When you obtain a mortgage, the bank will try to sell you mortgage life insurance as well. Decline it and use well-packaged term-life insurance to protect your mortgage instead. Mortgage life insurance is expensive and is a declining benefit. The bank is well covered… you, not so much.
7. IF YOU CAN, SAVE FOR A 20% DOWN PAYMENT
In Canada, a 20% down payment means that you do not have to purchase CMHC Insurance with your mortgage . On a $400,000 purchase price, this can translate into an immediate savings (maximum) of $15,200 in additional mortgage insurance. A bigger down payment on your home may also help you qualify for better rates that significantly lower your monthly mortgage payments.
8. DITCH ANY INCANDESCENT LIGHTING
Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) or light-emitting diode (LED) ones. LED and CFL bulbs will cost you a little more to buy, but they use much less energy and last for longer. CFLs use 25-35% less energy compared to incandescent bulbs, and LEDs take the crown by using 75% less energy and lasting as long as 20 years or more. Plus, you get much more lumens or light.
9. USE TIMERS ON OUTDOOR LIGHTS
Installing timers on outdoor lights and those used periodically will cut your energy bill and save money. The “set it and forget it” nature of timers means you do not have to remember to turn on/off lighting, thus making life easy for you as well. Of course you'll need to adjust hours for summer vs winter hours.
10. UPGRADE TO ENERGY-EFFICIENT APPLIANCES
When replacing older appliances, go with the newer ENERGY STAR® rated versions to cut energy usage and save money (use 10-50% less). You will also get improved performance and they are better for the environment. Replacing your pre-1994 washer could save you about $110 and replacing a pre-1986 refrigerator could save you about $158 per year in energy costs.
In some places, you may even get paid to get rid of your old inefficient appliances. Check your provincial government sites for program to retire your old appliances!
Even if you try one or two cost savings tips off of this list, you could wind up being quite surprised in the end. Times are tough and trying to retain your hard earned cash is essential. Best of luck!