“Just stop having nice dinners,” they say. “Make your coffee at home.” “You don’t really need to stay at that boutique bed and breakfast every long weekend.”
This is just a tiny snippet of the same old advice you keep hearing when it comes to carving out a little extra cash flow at the end of the month.
You’ve heard it all before, but you don’t need to give up the things you love to free up some extra cash. That’s why we made a list of some less-obvious ways to help you enjoy additional money in your pocket.
Because, honestly, at the end of a long day, maybe you really do need that nice dinner. Who are we to judge?
Here are 7 helpful hints to do just that.
1. How many "free trials" have you signed up for and never cancelled?
You could be getting billed for services you no longer use. Make sure you review your subscriptions (Netflix, cable, Amazon) and any upgrades (iCloud, one-off internet or mobile services) and cancel anything that isn’t serving you.
2. Disable auto-fill during online checkout
If you’re forced to manually re-enter your credit card number every time you shop online, it makes you stop and think before you make another impulsive purchase.
3. Be mindful of credit rates
Watch for higher credit rates and speak to an advisor about how they can be optimized.
4. Try tracking at least one expense category for a month
Budgeting doesn’t have to mean tracking every dime. Simply pick one category of spending that could be a problem area and track it for a month. Understanding your expenses in more detail can provide useful insights about where you can scale back your spending. For example, using ride-sharing services can really add up without you noticing.
5. Look at your debt-to-income ratio
Your debt-to-income ratio is your monthly debt payments divided by your gross monthly income. Not to state the obvious, but you want your debts to be lower than your income. A high debt-to-income ratio (above 43%) makes you riskier to potential lenders.
6. Bonus money
Has unexpected money recently fallen into your lap? Keep it out of your chequing account and consider investing it or paying off any outstanding debt.
7. Check your banking fees because sometimes it pays to ask
Make sure you’re enrolled in solutions and products that are right for you and always ask about new benefits or packages available.
Go ahead, try these out. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with all the extra cash flow you never knew you had.