How to Grow Your Family’s Finances Without (Much) Sacrificing
Gas, groceries, utilities, kids. The financial imperatives of running a modern household boggle the mind (and rob it of sleep, no doubt). Give yourself some much-deserved inner peace — and, just maybe, eight quality hours a night — with these five strategies for growing your family’s slice of the pie without scrimping to the bone.
Develop a Comprehensive Investing Strategy
You don’t have to be a numbers person to appreciate the value of a sound investment strategy. Choosing to put your money to work over the long haul is among the most important decisions you can make for your family’s financial future. Start by seeking out and evaluating financial professionals that offer comprehensive investing services, ideally ones that are specific to Canadian investors — and don’t be afraid to ask tough questions to ensure that these services align with your goals and risk tolerance.
Seek Out High-Yield Savings Accounts
Interest rates have been at rock bottom ever since the financial crisis of the late 2000s. That’s been a serious problem for conservative savers — sensible types leery of putting their money in the stock market.
Whether it’s actually sensible to be scared of the stock market is a separate question. However, it’s not up for debate that every household needs liquid savings: most experts recommend an emergency fund equivalent to at least three months’ income, and ideally six or more.
Where to park that money? In the highest-yielding savings account possible, that’s where. At current rates, yield is relative, but signs of an impending rise in prevailing rates are multiplying. In a year or two, those accounts might actually pay you back while you wait.
Invest in Energy Efficient Upgrades
Your home is leaking money. Not literally, of course, but — well, you can probably draw a detailed map of your house’s drifts and drafts from chilly memory. And those old appliances? Forget about it.
Not every energy efficient home improvement project pays for itself over time, but many do. Some common, cost-effective ideas:
- Caulking and weatherstripping older doors and windows
- Swapping out single-pane windows for double-pane alternatives
- Upgrading to LED lighting
- Using a smart or programmable thermostat
- Installing low-flow water fixtures
- Upgrading your furnace, boiler, laundry machines, and kitchen appliances to late-year models
Plus, various governments across Canada offer lucrative tax credits for energy efficient projects. Use that link to see what’s available in your area and by when you’d need to get started.
Hold a Yard Sale
Is your garage, basement, or attic absolutely overflowing with old junk that you’re pretty sure you’re never going to use again? Some of that stuff is worth money — at least, to the right buyers. Why not hold a yard sale to slough some of it off?
As long as you follow common-sense yard sale tips, an informal sale is a great way to get rid of excess possessions and downsize your life. Be careful about selling more valuable items at the same time, though. If you’re looking to offload a second car, motorcycle, or boat, you want to devote your full attention to finding and vetting buyers. That above-book final selling price will make it all worthwhile.
Look Into Side Jobs
Ambition, meet reward. If you have free time — a big “if” — you can take advantage of a virtually unlimited palette of extra income opportunities, most of which are available from the comfort of your own home.
Contrary to what you’ve seen in comment-section spam, you won’t get rich from these gigs. But an extra $50 or $100 each week is probably enough to make a difference for your family’s budget. Start with a freelance platform like Upwork, then hone in on the opportunities that best fit your skills.
What’s your family doing to grow its finances without undue sacrifice?