Money & Career

Six ways to go from broke to rich

If you always get to the end of your money before the end of the month, you’re not alone. Canadians are racking up debt in record amounts: For every $100 of after-tax income we earn, we owe $164. Use these easy strategies to supercharge your savings, starting today.

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Photo, Ryasick/ Getty Images.

 

1. Automate your savings

If your entire paycheque goes straight into your bank account, it’s easy to spend the whole thing. Ask your bank to set up automatic transfers on payday, and put some money into a savings account, TFSA or RRSP. Saving strategy: Start with as little as 5 percent of your total income, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly it adds up. In six months, see if you can afford to put away even more.

2. Review and reduce service fees

From your phone bill to your credit card and bank accounts, you may be paying for services you don’t use or could get cheaper somewhere else. Saving strategy: Call up your service providers to cancel everything you don’t use and ask for packages that can lower your monthly bill.

3. Treat yourself (for free!)

How many times have you justified a $4 latte or a pricey pair of jeans? It’s easy to think you deserve an indulgence here and there, but you don’t if you can’t afford it. Saving strategy: Top your homemade coffee with a little whipped cream or host a clothing-swap party — after all, one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure.

4. Build better habits

Ever find yourself at the grocery store without a list, so you end up grabbing a jar of pasta sauce just in case; or buying a third black shirt because your closet is a mess and you can’t find the one you know is in there somewhere; or forgetting to pay your bills because they’re lost in that messy pile on your desk? Disorganization costs you money — especially in late fees! Saving strategy: Identify where you’re spending money needlessly, so you know where to save. Try creating a weekly grocery list, shopping your own wardrobe and designating a place for bills so they’re paid on time.

5. Set a spending limit

Your friends go out for $150 dinners, and you tag along; your BFF bought a $200 purse, so you bought one too. Sound familiar? Just because your friends are doing it doesn’t mean you have to follow — especially if it means digging yourself into a deeper financial hole. Saving strategy: Give yourself an allowance for clothing and entertainment and don’t go over your limit. If funds are short, find other ways to hang with your friends, like dinners at home or going for a hike.

6. Create realistic goals

Whether you want to buy a home, boost your retirement savings or start a business, it’s hard to know how much to save if you don’t have a clear goal in mind. Saving strategy: Figure out what your goals are, and then calculate how much you need (and can) save to make them happen. If you find this task challenging, don’t be afraid to get the help of a financial planner; that’s what they’re there for!