1. Cut the cost of your debt

High-interest debt from credit cards and personal loans can be a major drain on your bank balance, especially if you’re making only the minimum payments each month.

To slash the cost of that debt, you might shop around for a debt consolidation loan. You’ll trade in all of your current balances — on credit cards, loans, everything — for a single monthly payment at a lower interest rate.

You can apply for a personal loan in as little as 30 seconds. Depending on how much interest you’re currently paying on your debts, consolidating them could save you thousands of dollars and help you become debt-free years sooner.

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2. Hunt down your long-lost money

You do know where all your money is, right?

Actually, people move on and forget all about money in old accounts all the time. It's so common that Americans currently have more than $40 billion in unclaimed funds waiting for them.

Is any of that yours? Search MissingMoney.com, which will show if you left any money in an old checking or savings account, or if you’re entitled to unclaimed life insurance policies from relatives who have passed away. (You'll want to be much more careful when you buy your own life insurance policy.

You also should check with Revenue Canada to see if there are any tax refunds you're missing. You can amend your previous tax returns for up to three years if you were eligible for a refund but neglected to claim it.

3. Use technology to save when you shop online

If you do most of your shopping online — and these days, who doesn’t? — you likely go to the same website again and again. You know the one.

But Amazon doesn’t always have the best prices, and nobody has time to price-check every store.

You can let technology do that work for you. You might download a free browser extension that will automatically find you deals and coupon codes every time you shop online.

You also can set price-drop alerts for your favorite products, so if they go on sale, you’ll be the first to know. Installation of the add-on takes just a moment and could save you hundreds of dollars a year.

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4. Play the market with your extra cash

If you’ve never put money into the stock market, you might think owning a piece of a well-known company is out of reach. After all, stock prices have been climbing higher and higher over the last year.

But one popular service will let you buy fractions of shares, allowing you to ride the stock maket juggernaut with just your spare change. You can by pieces of companies like Google and Tesla for as little as $1 — and when they profit, so will you.

5. Shrink your car insurance bills

If you've got a car and aren't shopping around for cheaper insurance every six months, you could easily be overpaying by hundreds of dollars a year.

Comparing rates from multiple insurance companies may sound like a lot of work, but some websites do the shopping around for you. You might find a better deal in just a few minutes.

You'll answer a few quick questions and be presented with the best quotes from numerous car insurers. That way, you can find the lowest price available on the coverage you currently have.

6. Stop paying too much for home insurance

Homeowners insurance rates have been rising for many Canadians. But if your bill seems too steep, you might be able to cut it down to size with some good old-fashioned shopping around.

Don't stay married to a policy that might be costing too much. Instead, go online and compare quotes from hundreds of insurers. Answer a few basic questions, and you’ll instantly see the best deals available in your area.

You could save serious money on your homeowners policy by comparing rates — while keeping the same level of coverage you currently have.

7. Get paid when businesses behave badly

When companies do the wrong thing, they get taken to court — and sometimes their customers get compensated.

The Consumers' Association of Canada has a website that lists class actions lawsuits. You can check to see whether you qualify to join in any of these suits, which may result in money coming to you.

Recently listed class action suits in Canada include one for owners of lawnmowers and another involving price-fixing of auto parts.

The criteria for eligibility will vary depending on the lawsuit, but in some cases you may not even need a receipt to get reimbursed.

8. Make money with your pocket change

Another way to use the stock market to help you battle rising inflation is by putting your pennies to work.

You could use a trading platform to help you grow a diversified portfolio with investments of as little as $1.

Inflation may be eating away at the value of money, but your pocket change is far from worthless. If saved and invested properly, it could turn into hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.

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About the Author

Ethan Rotberg

Ethan Rotberg

Former Reporter

Ethan Rotberg was formerly a staff reporter at MoneyWise, based in Toronto. His background includes nearly 15 years as a writer, editor, designer and communications professional. His work has appeared in the Toronto Star, CPA Canada and Metro, among others.

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The content provided on MoneyWise is information to help users become financially literate. It is neither tax nor legal advice, is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. Tax, investment and all other decisions should be made, as appropriate, only with guidance from a qualified professional. We make no representation or warranty of any kind, either express or implied, with respect to the data provided, the timeliness thereof, the results to be obtained by the use thereof or any other matter.