This is a sponsored post by Purplebricks. All views and opinions expressed represent my own.
While many things have turned on their heads in the last few weeks, we are certain that this too shall pass and all will be well with the world again…soon.
How can you prepare yourself for financial success now and in the future? Whether you are in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s or much older, it’s never too early (or late) to put your finances on track.
The seven personal finance tips below will help you manage your money more effectively.
1. Use Money Management Apps
A good understanding of your income and expenses is important. Use a spreadsheet or budget app to track how your money is being spent.
Decide on how much you want to save from your paycheque every month and how much you will put towards paying down debt (if applicable). Remember that a budget only works if you stick to it.
I have found that I’m more intentional with my spending when I have a budget. There is less overspending and I’m better able to assess where I stand financially at any given point in time.
Personal finance apps like Mint alert you when outstanding bills are due. This goes a long way to help you pay your bills on time and grow your credit score.
2. Maximize Your Cash Back
In today’s contactless and technology-savvy world, many transactions including shopping can now be completed online from the comfort of your home.
You can get the most out of your shopping and save money by utilizing free shopping and grocery apps like Rakuten, Checkout 51 and Drop.
Rakuten and Drop automatically track your purchase and credit your account with cash back. For Checkout 51, you can simply upload your purchase receipt using your smartphone to qualify for cash back.
Cash back apps are easy to use and the 0.5% to 2% you get back is extra money in your wallet. Easily dial up your savings even further by using a no-fee cash back credit card at the same time.
3. Invest With a Long Term Mentality
The prices of stocks and Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) have fallen significantly and stock markets around the world are offering up their assets at a significant discount.
For many Canadians, it’s a great time as any to invest and contribute to their retirement plans e.g. RRSP and TFSA accounts.
Technology has simplified the investment process and you can manage your own portfolio using any one of these investment apps.
If you’d rather not get your hands dirty, an online portfolio manager (aka robo-advisor) can do all the work for you while keeping your fees low.
Remember to invest in line with your risk tolerance, stay patient and let compounding interest work to your advantage.
To quote the legendary economist and Nobel Prize winner, Paul Samuelson:
Investing should be more like watching paint dry or watching grass grow. If you want excitement, take $800 and go to Las Vegas.
4. Selling or Buying a Home? Use Purplebricks
A home is easily the biggest investment most Canadians will make in their lifetime. Did you know that you can save thousands of dollars in commissions when selling your home?
That’s what a fixed-fee brokerage like Purplebricks offers to home sellers who want to enjoy the expertise that local REALTORS® offer without paying a hefty commission.
Purplebricks handles everything from providing a market analysis, to an MLS® listing, to negotiations and paperwork on your behalf. Essentially, they provide guidance all the way until your home is sold for the best price possible.
And, with regards to the cost savings you enjoy, how about paying less than $3,000 in fees instead of $25,000 (5% commission) when selling a $500K home? Use those thousands of dollars saved towards paying down debt or investing for your future to make further financial gains!
Selling your home at this time can be a bit challenging. Purplebricks has adapted and now offers virtual evaluations and appointments to list your home. They’ve made it easy for you to stay safe while still providing you with the same level of care.
On the buy-side? If you are in the market to buy a home, you could receive $2,000 in cash back just for buying with Purplebricks! They share the commissions received from the seller’s agent so that everyone wins!
5. Start a Side Hustle
A popular strategy for improving your personal finances is to cut your everyday expenses. While this is a great way of managing your budget, the reality is that you can only cut your expenses by so much.
Supplement your primary employment income with a side hustle so you don’t have to deprive yourself of everything.
Some of the side jobs I have done over the years to make extra money and pay off debt include blogging, freelance writing, web design, proofreading and more.
6. Utilize a Low-Interest Loan If Needed
If you do not have an emergency fund and your financial situation is dicey, you can use a low-interest personal loan to get by during tough times.
Compared to the high-interest rates on credit cards, a home equity loan or personal loan offers a lower interest rate and can be used to consolidate higher-interest debt to save on fees.
Ensure you make your minimum payments on time and pay off your entire balance as soon as possible.
If your credit rating has been damaged and you are unable to qualify for loans at competitive rates, learn about how to raise your credit score fast.
7. Plan Ahead For The Future
One way to win with your finances right now is by learning how to forge ahead even if you have made mistakes in the past.
Here are some ways to plan for your financial future:
A. Build an emergency fund: Personal finance experts advise that you set aside at least 3-6 months of expenses in a savings account in preparation for the rainy day. If you lose your job or something bad happens and you are unable to earn income, an emergency fund will keep you going for a while and you won’t need to apply for an expensive loan.
B. Pay yourself first: Dedicate at least 15% of your earnings towards savings and investments. Don’t wait to invest for retirement…start now!
C. Review your insurance coverage: Adequate insurance coverage is a key part of your financial plan. Ensure your assets are protected (e.g. home and car) and protect beneficiaries by getting life insurance. Shop around for the best rates.
D. Don’t leave money on the table at work. If your employer offers a contribution matching pension program or group retirement plan, maximize your contributions to the plan.
E. Create a Will: Prepare for the unexpected by creating a legal will. It doesn’t have to be very elaborate and you can even start with an online will kit. Your loved ones will thank you.
F. Live within your means: Find ways to cut your expenses and learn to live within your means. In times of plenty, boost your savings and let your net worth grow.
While no one knows what tomorrow holds, we can do our best to be financially prepared for whatever life throws our way.
Hopefully, the money tips and tricks in this post will help to improve your financial situation today and for the future.