Top Inflation-Busting Tips From 5 Canadian Personal Financial Experts
From embracing change to saving on your credit cards, Canadian financial bloggers weigh in with their top money-saving tips. Photo: Malte Mueller/Getty Images
Whether it’s reducing your shopping bill, reducing your cell phone bill or cutting your investing costs, everyone likes to save cash, especially in this era of high inflation and economic uncertainty.
To help you get started, we asked five Canadian financial experts to send us their top cash-saving tips.
Mark Seed, self-taught financial adviser
Blog: My Own Advisor
Mark’s Tip: Change is hard, and can get harder as we get older. We’re stuck in our ways and that can create more biases and blind spots. Plus, there’s inertia to overcome. What I tell others is to focus on one area of personal finance and do it well — learn about a new form of budgeting, tracking expenses or delving into a particular finance topic — to become savvier. This way you start small, and it’s far more manageable and less overwhelming.
Bottom Line: Once you focus, practice, test and learn, change is more attainable.
Save on Credit Cards
Barry Choi, personal finance and travel expert
Blog: Money We Have
Barry’s Tip: Credit card providers are practically paying you these days. Annual fees are being waived for the first year, welcome bonuses can be worth hundreds of dollars and websites such as creditcardgenius.ca offer you a cash rebate when you apply. For example, there are cards offering up to 15 per cent cash back on your purchases. I’ve also seen travel credit cards with bonuses worth more than $1,000.
Bottom Line: Although it may seem like a pain to chase new cards, the sign-up offers are worth it.
Play the Competition
Kerry K. Taylor, financial journalist, host of The Cash and Kerry podcast
Kerry’s Tip: Whether you pay separately for internet, TV and cellphones or have a bundle, it’s a smart move to ring up your service provider to ask for a better deal. Life gets busy, so it’s easy to coast with the same telecom provider and pay non-competitive rates for years. Clever negotiation may be needed, but rate cuts are often offered to those who want to leave due to escalating costs. Researching a competitor’s introductory offer is your proof that there are better deals.
Bottom Line: Avoid bill creep by negotiating your services and save anywhere from $25 a month to more than $1,000 a year, depending on your telecom needs.
Cut Your Investment Fees
Dean Kendall, financial organizer and adviser
Blog: Ideal Life Experience
Dean’s Tip: Whatever financial goal you want to achieve, you can reach it years earlier by reducing the impact of fees on your investments. Because of the compounding effect of management fees you pay to your bank, wealth manager, financial adviser or brokerage firm, over the course of your life, you’re at risk of achieving substantially lower returns. Always make sure you know exactly how much you’re paying in fees and never assume that the figure quoted is the total amount you’ll pay. The costs of getting it wrong — investing in high-expense, actively managed investments when low-expense options are available — are extremely large.
Bottom Line: Remember, the less you pay to invest, the more you get to keep for yourself.
Try Discount Brokers and Advisors
Dale Roberts, stock market and investing columnist
Blog: Cut The Crap Investing
Dale’s Tip: Investment fees are wealth destroyers, and many Canadians pay some of the highest fees on the planet, forking over as much as 2.5 per cent of total investment assets every year. You can build your own ETF portfolio for about 0.15 per cent in total annual fees. There are also well-diversified, all-in-one ETF portfolios — called asset allocation ETFs or one-ticket ETFs — where the costs are about 0.25 per cent. To purchase ETFs, you would open a discount brokerage account. If you want advice and financial planning, you can look to Canadian robo advisers like WealthSimple or Justwealth, where the portfolio options range in price from 0.40 per cent to 0.70 per cent.
Bottom Line: Thanks to exchange-traded funds (ETFs), you can own a well-diversified, global portfolio for about 10 per cent to 40 per cent of the cost of traditional mutual funds.
(A version of these tips appeared in the Feb./March 2022 issue of Zoomer magazine)