(Graphic by Wade Thompson).

Trim the fat on your finances in 2014, pain free

Don't worry about your finances in 2014. (Graphic by Wade Thompson).
Don’t worry about your finances in 2014. (Graphic by Wade Thompson).

David Cameron Moore

If you’re like many Canadians, you’re thinking about which corners you can cut to reduce your spending and improve your financial health in 2014. Perhaps you’re considering buying less coffee, eating out less or even cancelling your satellite service. While these can certainly help, if that’s all you’re doing, it’s likely you’ll miss some bigger opportunities to save without any pain or sacrifice. This article contains three ways to dramatically increase your net worth without giving up much more than an hour or two of your time.

Taking control of debt is easier than you think, and it may be costing you more than you realize. One of the most obvious ways to save money on interest and lower your monthly payments is to consolidate, either with a personal loan or by refinancing your consumer debts into a mortgage.

Another method is to shop around for low introductory rate credit cards with balance transfer options. When all else fails, you can use a snowball approach, paying the same amount each month regardless of declining minimum payments. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can be debt free and save a ton of money in interest.
You’ve also got to stop every once in a while and examine your monthly payments. Is there a gym membership you’re paying for but stopped using three years ago? Movie channels you pay for, but watch mostly online content instead? A home phone you never use because your cell is more convenient? All of these can equate to money in your pocket and can add up very quickly. Why sacrifice the coffee before you’ve cleaned up the expenses that give you no value?

Many people I speak with believe that a house or a car is their biggest expense. In reality, most of us pay more to the tax man every year than to our mortgage company. You can (politely) tell the tax man to take a hike in a number of ways, including regular RRSP contributions, spousal RRSP rollovers and converting non-deductible interest into a tax deduction, to name a few legal tax planning strategies. True, it’s boring and can be time consuming, but what you’ll save with a bit of strategy will have a huge impact, especially when compared with that proverbial cup of coffee.

Even without a financial diet on your radar for resolutions in 2014, there’s a good chance you’ve got a lot of opportunity to control your debt and interest payments, cut a few extra expenses and tell the tax man where to go (politely and legally). In the process, you’ll improve your lifestyle, your net worth and your family’s future opportunities in 2014.

David Cameron Moore is a Financial Consultant with Investors Group Financial Services Inc., practicing financial and investment planning, and insurance, tax, and estate planning with successful individuals and families in KW Region. Find him online at davidcameronmoore.com.

A real child of the nineties, Tegan’s interests are rooted in anime, lame kids movies/shows, and graphic novels. Looking through old photos also confirms her fashion sense included many a neon colour or floral print (read: still does). She aspires to have her own wall to wall, ceiling to floor library; where she can hunker down in a comfy chair by a fire, close off the world, and read a few good books.