Are you looking for personal finance tips and tricks to make extra real money? Then this article is for you.
Talking about Personal Finance, I wish I knew these tips in my early 20’s, it would have been so good for me in terms of managing and handling my finances. Nevertheless, I am sharing these amazing tips and tricks with you all today, so that you can make the best out of it.
Now, let me jump straight into the topic. Managing your personal finance is very important for each one of you, it’s for your betterment and savings. In-turn you benefit from a peaceful and healthy lifestyle, fewer things to worry about such as your retirement or the immediate future and managing your money better. Better than others for sure!
Also, our day-to-day lives are so fast-paced and we almost have no time at all to think of our finance. I’m serious here, don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to criticize you here. I have gone through this phase as well.
It’s very easy to get carried away with life.
You wake up, hit the gym, go to work, slog for 8-9 hours, drive back home, watch Netflix, eat and sleep. Rinse and repeat every weekday. The weekend just flies.
How long do you want to keep doing this? Have you ever looked into your bank account more seriously? Do you think you have optimized your personal finance the way you want? Is your spouse happy about your finances?
Look, we all might not be rich, but it’s ok to be who we are.
You may be making peanuts right now, but that does not mean that tomorrow you can’t make millions.
You just need a plan and make it big through hard work. There’s no substitute for passion and hard work. At least that’s what I believe in. If you believe like me then, wake up and start the action plan. Get hold of your personal finance, because it’s going to protect you when you need it.
In this article, let’s look at 12 of the best personal finance advice and tips that I have, accumulated over all the years, a few of them from my beautiful friends and family. I am giving it out to the world, to all you readers. Let’s get started
Top 15 Personal Finance Tips For 2021
1. Credit Card Debt
Almost every personal finance blogger in Canada or elsewhere will usually have this on his/her list.
This is the most important and the #1 thing to take care of if you ever want your finances to improve.
Your Credit card debt can hit your credit scores and carrying balances for a longer period will Destroy your credit even further.
Especially in a country like Canada. If you do not have a decent credit score of at least a bare minimum of 650+, you can forget about getting a mortgage, car loan, lease and even rent a decent property. That’s because almost at every place, your credit report is asked for or a soft/hard credit inquiry is performed.
Imagine you go to get a new phone from Rogers, forget the new phone a new cell phone connection or a switch, your credit report is pulled up.
Let’s say. Your car’s lease is nearing its end term, you can’t get a new car loan if your credit score is bad.
Always keep your credit card limit utilization to less than 30%.
Say you have two credit cards with limits of 10k combined, try to keep it below 3k max every single month. Also don’t carry the balance month after month, pay it off in full every month.
If you don’t have the money to pay the balance in full at least make honest efforts of paying more and more money until you have paid it off.
2. Emergency Fund
After credit card debt, the next I am going to stress about is having an emergency fund?
So why do you need an emergency fund?
What if you happen to lose a job for no fault of yours, what if you get fired in simple terms? Do you have the financial back up to take care of your family?
Do you at least have a couple of month’s budget saved up?
How good are you in terms of your financial status?
Also, emergency funds are not only for job loss, say for example you are getting married in the next 6-8 months, but you also need to buy a new house or whatever the financial situation that may arise, an emergency fund is going to be your pillar and help you remain strong in difficult turbulence.
So how much should you have in an emergency fund?
There’s no straight answer to this question. However, if you have saved up 3-6 months of your monthly expenses in your emergency fund, that should be good and enough.
Also, never touch your emergency fund unless it’s really an emergency and you have no other funds access.
If you are still renting a place in Toronto, that’s fine. But, if you are planning to buy a new house or a condo. Better be prepared with a good credit score.
A good credit score will not only help you in getting better mortgage rates but also in better shape once you move into the new home and buying new stuff.
If you have already bought a home and paying your bi-weekly or monthly mortgage, I’ll suggest you always try to pay more towards your mortgage, if you have the luxury and income to do so.
Keep in mind, the first preference goes to clearing off your debt, making sure it’s $0. Then comes the emergency fund. Provided you have both these in place, try to finish off the mortgage payments by paying the extra money you have.
Also, another thing to talk about here is, if you can probably make some additional income from your home, like renting it out on Airbnb or renting out the basement or renting out a single room in your home which you probably might not need. Now, this might be a small amount, but over several months can be a real source of your income. Give it a thought.
If you are still renting, try to minimize your expenses by just buying the stuff you need. After all, you are in a rented place. Say tomorrow you do buy a home, the money you have saved up comes in handy and you’ll end having a beautiful home, well furnished.
Save today! Think about tomorrow 🙂
4. Car Finance/Lease Payments
Budgeting is a key deciding factor for everything.
You gotta set a budget. It’s so much more important nowadays with all the unnecessary expenses we make day-in and day-out.
Car payments are usually spread out to a couple of years, the longest being for 7 years.
Personal Finance companies make profits from the interest you pay, the longer the time frame, the more interest you’ll end up paying.
Try to squeeze in the little money you save each month and push it towards your car payments so that you can finish off the car payments early.
Once you are done paying off the car loan, you’ll end up saving the monthly mortgage which you can use to pay off for something else like a mortgage or whatever it is.
Also, stick to one vehicle without changing for brand new cards now and then.
Do remember, cars are anyway depreciating assets – meaning the value on it will never increase. Right from the time you buy, till you sell it – the price keeps dropping down.
In-fact as soon you buy the car, the price on it drops by 20% bare minimum.
If you are into leasing a car, try to buy out the car at the end of the term by paying full cash payment. You have ample time of 3-4 years, depending on your lease term to save up the money and at the end of the lease term, just go and buy the car.
If your cars pretty old like less than 10 years old and out of warranty, try getting the CAA membership for a couple of hundred dollars. It gives you that much more peace of mind and you’ll end up saving a lot instead of buying a new car.
Try to minimize car expenses and maintenance as much as possible, try pushing with the same car as many years as possible. It’s always a good thought.
5. Dining Out
We all end up spending a couple of hundred dollars at least eating or drinking outside with friends and family.
Social life is important.
I am not asking you not to spend money outside. It’ll be stupid of me to say so.
All I am asking you to do is, try to minimize the amount you are spending outside and stick to a budget that you have made.
One of the important parameters in your budget should be for eating outside. Set a budget, stick to it and be comfortable doing that month after month.
I am sure doing so, you are the one who’s gonna be happy and proud of what you have been doing.
Also, keep making changes to the budget as and when required until you feed it’s really the best-optimized budget you can have.
Say you get a pay rise at work, now your monthly disposable income also increases with the pay rise. Instead of spending the money to buy the unwanted stuff, why don’t you increase your savings and spend on something you truly love doing.
Also, for dining out, you can look out for some cheap yet good options to keep the bills low.
It might sound silly or stupid now, but your expensive restaurants won’t pay you when you are short of money to pay bills. So always beware that money in the pocket is money earned. Never lose it out silly things.
6. Utility Bills
We all pay our utility bills every month, some of us, in fact, pay bills for our spouses and children as well.
Now, paying bills for hydro, cell phones, auto insurance, home insurance, gas is inevitable, however, wherever possible try to reduce the number of bills and make sure you have auto-pay enabled wherever possible.
This way, you don’t end up being late for bills and this in-turn won’t hurt your credit score (Paying bills late will hurt your credit score)
Another thing to note here is, for example, you are a household of five people, you, your wife and three kids. If you all are using cell phones, why don’t you all stick to one telecom company; this way you end up saving on the additional line discounts and also it’s one bill. This way it’s easier to track and manage bill payments.
When it comes to auto insurance, the same rule applies.
If you and your spouse drive, for example, stick to one auto insurance company. That way, you get discounts for the second driver on file and also it’ll be easier to manage and track bills.
Always, set-up the auto-pay feature. Almost anyone and everyone offer autopay now. Almost all the bills I’ve seen here in Canada support autopay.
You can also auto-pay your credit card bills through simple online steps.
7. Make Use Of Free services
There are a ton of free services available to you in Canada. You don’t have to spend money on a lot of items in fact.
For example, by downloading the Flipp mobile app, you can compare grocery item prices and price matches to save money. The app’s pretty intuitive and encourages you to pre-select the items you are looking for before you head to the store.
By doing this, you don’t have to compare and price match for items during checkout.
Also, head out to Costco once or twice a month. You can buy items in bulk and Costco offers superior quality items at a heavily discounted price. All you need is a bare minimal membership costing $60.
With the Costco Membership, you’ll also end up saving on gas prices.
If you are into reading books and magazines, head out to the nearby library. Canadian libraries are damn good in terms of book options and volume. You can also get a library card and rent a couple of books you want to read. Doing this way, you don’t have to spend money on buying books unless you have to and it is not available.
Another point to note here is, where ever possible walk, run or cycle around the neighbourhood. You don’t have to take your car everywhere, walk around, use a cycle, it’s good for health as well as nature. Spend less on gas.
8. Rent out your car when not in use
You might have heard of the app, Turo.
If you haven’t, it’s ok.
Using the Turn app, you can rent out your car, when you wish to and for a couple of days every month. It depends on you as to how many days you want to rent your car out, for whom and at what price.
Creating your profile is very easy, it hardly takes a few minutes to rent out your car. You can choose the date, time, meet the person you will be renting it out to and also have special instruction if any.
Turn is great, I’ve tried it and it works seamlessly.
You can look out for these options, which will help you in earning more monthly income and at the cost of renting out your car for a few days in a month.
9. Shop At Factory Outlets
If you love to shop, or if your girlfriend is too much a shopping addict. There are a few options you can look at.
Instead of shopping at the premium malls, why don’t you try going into the factory outlets? There are plenty of factory outlets which offer great outlets and the prices are discounted and quality is premium.
In Mississauga, we have the Dixie Outlet mall, almost every branded store is present here, Nike, Adidas, Puma, Levis, etc. Also, the Niagara Outlet Malls, it’s pretty big and has 100’s of stores for your shopping experience.
Why don’t you check out these places instead of visiting the Eaton Center or Sheridan?
Again, make sure you stick to the shopping bucket in your budget. If you haven’t created a budget yet, please do so. There are numerous software and spreadsheets readily available. Unless you create a budget and have every expense sorted out, you won’t be sure where you are spending money.
Google now for budgeting spreadsheet, also there are tons of options on Reddit.
Make sure, you give importance to the money you earn, working so hard.
We all order food to our homes once in a while. I know a couple of my bachelor friends who’ll order food almost every day after work. I can understand, you are tired after work, watching Netflix and tired enough to walk out of the home to get your dinner. Nor do you want to cook.
I would still recommend you to cook your food, it hardly takes some time, but it’s healthier than eating outside food and you save money and that in-fact helps your personal finance.
Still, If you are into ordering food through Uber Eats, Skip The Dishes or any of the many apps available, make sure you use the valid coupons to get free delivery or $5 off or similar kinds.
There are plenty of coupons available if you Google for one. Use them before ordering your food and save money wherever possible.
We all love pizzas, isn’t it? If you are like me and like to order Dominos, even better, Dominos keeps sending you a promotional email twice a week or so. Make sure you check your email before logging online to dominos and ordering pizza.
Also, make sure you order pizzas online, you’ll get points and can use it to get a free pizza.
At Dominos, they usually have a 60 point timer, each pizza you buy gets you 10 points, so 6 pizzas in one free medium pizza.
Also, Dominos’s website is pretty good, you have a dedicated section for coupons, do check that out and select the coupon based on your preference.
Dominos was just an example here, I am sure Pizza Pizza, Pizza Nova, Pizza Hut all have similar offers and loyalty deals.
Talking about Tim Horton, a Canadian coffee chain which is so popular and plenty available. Make sure you get the Tim Hortons rewards card and swipe it every time you are buying a coffee or a donut.
At the end of 7 coffees, donuts or bagels you end up getting one free item. Make use of it. It is seriously worth it!
Also, McDonald’s has a similar offer, buy 7 small coffee and get a medium free. You need to collect the coffee cup stickers on your coffee cups and claim a medium coffee once you have collected 7 of them.
All these are simple tweaks but so much more beneficial towards your personal finance.
11. PC Optimum Points
PC Optimum points are one of the best and finest rewards loyalty programs in Canada right now.
When you compare the PC Points with any other service provider, earning points here is quick, more than 200+ retail stores accept PC Optimum cards when I say stores I mean Loblaws, Esso, Shopper Drug Mart, Real Canadian Super Store, Joeys, etc.
As you can see from the list of stores, it’s fairly easy accumulating points. And the best part is, you get a weekly personalized offer mail, based on your previous purchases. Also, along with the mail is the bonus offers, say you buy a certain product you’ll get 20X bonus PC Points.
Overtime the points will accumulate to something well worth it.
For Example – If you fill gas at Esso, you can use both the PC Optimum and Esso Extra to get rewards.
$40 of Gas at Esso gives you roughly around 400 PC points. With Esso Extra overtime you can get free car washes. Make use of these benefits. Aren’t they worth it?
Redeeming your PC Points is easy too!
All you have to do is, during checkout, redeem 10,000 points for $10. As simple as that!
If you still feel earning 10,000 points is not for you, read my PC Optimum article here on how I made 28,000 points in one transaction spending $75 at Shoppers Drug mart.
Also, PC Optimum is free to join, you don’t have to pay an annual fee, no credit checks nothing.
You just need to add the membership card to your Apple Wallet and scan it before checking out, just like Air Miles. After your checkout, your PC points will get updated for you in App pithing 10-15 minutes.
12. AutoPilot Investing
Investing in spare change and making a fortune out of it is the new mantra around the globe.
If you are new to the auto-pilot investments and the personal finance world, first of all, a warm welcome!
What are Auto-Pilot investments? Why do you need them?
Look we are all lazy enough or way too busy in our lives with office, work, kids. It gets tedious and tiresome over time. Who has the time to look at investments? At the max, we will do RRSP through work or an e-series TD Mutual Fund for our kids RESP.
This is where auto-pilots are so good.
Checkout the Wealthsimple app. It’s proudly Canadian. It has a beautiful app, excellent features, extremely simple to sign up and use.
All you have to do here is, link your bank accounts (multiple banks – debit and checking accounts), set a multiplier (2X or 5X) – whatever you are comfortable with. That’s it!
Wealthsimple takes care of the rest.
Now here’s how it works – Every week Wealthsimple will auto-debit the spare change from your account and invest it into an ETF managed by professionals.
Example – You buy a coffee at Tims for $1.30, Wealthsimple takes the spare change of Wealthsimple takes the spare change of $0.70 and puts it into your ETF portfolio.
Again you have different investment portfolios to choose from depending on your age and risk factor – Moderate, Growth and Aggressive. The difference between the different portfolios is that – based on your age and risk appetite your portfolio’s debt and equity ratio changes.
For Example – Wealthsimple’s Growth portfolio has a 90% equity and 10% debt – government bonds
Another thing to note here is – Wealthsimple automatically investments all of your dividends back into the portfolio, thus generating compounded returns over time.
Also, they have a beautiful chart representing how well your deposits will do over time.
Apart from the spare change, you can also deposit $100 for example or even $1000, it is up to you to choose the amount; every week or every bi-weekly into your TFSA, RRSP account at Wealthsimple.
The beauty about this is, with compounded growth, you’ll see that by the end of the first year you’ll have –
52*100 = $5200
That’s 52 weeks and $100 per week, which equals $5200
Let us assume your portfolio gets a modest return of 8%
That is at the end of the first year, you’ll have $5616, that too not considering your dividends. All this, by contributing just $100 weekly for one year.
What more to say, Wealthsimple’s iOS App is simple and too easy to use. It also got the latest security features including Face ID. Of course, it is the #1 Investment Platform in Canada. Recently they acquired SimpleTax tax software as well. So they are expanding horizons as well.
I’ve personally been using Wealthsimple and would recommend it wholeheartedly ( Please I’m not getting any commissions for doing this – it is just that they are doing a great job helping people save and grow themselves)
Now, those were the 12 Personal Finance Tips and Tricks, personal suggestions I wanted to share with all you beautiful people out there.
If you liked the post or think I’ve mentioned something useful here, please do like the post, share the post as much you can and leave your comments down below.
I’ll really appreciate you doing that!
That’s all for now, I will connect with you through my next article! Until then, take care and make more money!
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Sagar Sridhar is an accomplished personal finance blogger hailing from Canada. With a unique blend of quirkiness and enthusiasm, he has established himself as a prominent figure in the personal finance industry. Sagar’s passion for finance, coupled with his engaging writing style, sets him apart from his peers. While he has a background in computer engineering and a Master’s in Project Management, Sagar’s true passion lies in helping others manage their money. His writing has been featured in several top Canadian finance publications, solidifying his status as a sought-after voice in the field. Despite juggling his work and blogging schedule, Sagar remains resolute in his mission to make a lasting impact on the personal finance world.