A very successful real estate agent once told me that buying a home is 90% emotion and 10% finance – and she’s right, it is. If that’s the case, then why is the final 10% so stressful and confusing for some people?

In my blog, It’s the Smart Move, it’s my goal to try inform you and help clarify some of the areas with mortgages that may confuse some people, and of course, provide helpful tips along the way.

Hi, I’m Donna. This month, let’s discuss a New Year’s Resolution that will pay off – 5 ways to plug the money leaks!

Welcome 2017! Is the party really over? Champagne hangover aside, you may have noticed in the news that the days of record low interest are beginning to change – not to the historic levels they once were back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, but they are slowly increasing.

We continue to benefit from low interest rate payments on our loans and mortgages, but we are suffering when it comes to poor returns on our retirement investment savings options. It’s more of a WHEN than an IF that the Bank of Canada rate will increase. When it does, what will this do to our household budgets?

We can’t control everything, but here are few suggestions to get you on the right track.

As we step brightly into 2017, there is one resolution to keep. It’s a great time to review your finances and particularly your spending. Whether you are saving to buy a home or pay one off, your “money leaks” can add up to some big bucks over time.  Here are five ways to find some of your missing money:


Spending while unconscious.  Track your spending and consider your impulse buys at the grocery, gas station, convenience and other stores; the services you are being charged monthly for that you don’t really use; or your brand name buying when generic will do. Look for the leaks, and then resolve to spend consciously. If impulse buying is a big culprit, always make a list and stick to it, only grocery shop once a week and never on an empty stomach!


Convenience costs.  It’s a lot easier to spend more than you intend to when you exclusively use your credit cards because you aren’t seeing the money. You just press some buttons and presto, your purchase is made. You might not be so liberal with your money if you actually had to hand it over. Consider withdrawing a fixed amount of cash for your spending every week.


Examine your bills. Take a good hard look at your monthly bills and go through them line by line. Look for small, unexplained charges, fees, and add-ons. Some of them may be for services you don’t use or perhaps don’t remember requesting. Or they could be for services that you can actually live without. Even if the amount is small, why have it charged every month?


It doesn’t hurt to ask. Whether you are signing up for internet or buying a car, ask “is this the best you can do?” or “can you make it more affordable?”  Do research in advance so you are prepared and knowledgeable on all things related to what you are buying.


Plug your biggest money leak: high interest. All of the savings you make in lifestyle choices mean nothing if you don’t put a plug on paying high interest. Always pay down your credit cards as much as possible.  If debt is choking your cash flow and you have enough equity in your home, you may be able to move that debt to your lower-rate mortgage and save thousands. If high interest debt is a big money leak for you, get in touch. Using home equity to pay down debt is one of my specialties.


It takes approximately 66 days to form a habit, but if you are able to implement some of the suggestions above, you’ll begin to see an immediate improvement and you’ll be closer to realizing your goals.

In my next post, you’ll see the benefit of plugging the leaks when I review the recent changes made by the Federal government with respect to the new rules about mortgages and The Stress Test.







About the Author

Our editorial team solicits professional advice about mortgage markets, financial processes and other relevant information to help our readers make the best decisions about their financial needs.