Posted at 5:00 am
Buying a home is the biggest investment of a lifetime for most households. Of course, the savings potential is most attractive in this area. According to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, 40% of the population had a mortgage with an average amount of $200,000 in 2019. A quick look at sites like HelloSafe that offer mortgage rate comparisons, at the time of writing, shows a difference of 0.8 percentage points between the best offer (4.34% for Nesto) and the less good (5.14% for Laurentian Bank). an extension for five years at a fixed price.
The difference on a $200,000 mortgage: $73 per month, a remarkable savings of $4,380 over five years. Between research, negotiation and signing, just under four hours are enough to switch financial institutions.
“A basic trick to negotiate your interest rate: consult the interest rates offered on the market and ask your financial institution to do better,” recalls the Autorité des Marchés Financiers in a document published in 2019. If you have the capacity, the provincial organization also recommends paying off your mortgage over a shorter period of time.
Potential salary: $1000 per hour
Do you think your insurance premium is based on immutable criteria shared by insurers? The Autorité des Marchés Financiers did not come to this conclusion when they compared the car insurance premiums of 10 consumers in 2017.
An average saving of $763 per year for just under two hours of work is respectable. But let’s start by clarifying that the President of the Regroupement des Cabinets de Courtage d’Assurance du Québec, Jean-Pierre Tardif, finds this sum of 763 dollars excessive. While he believes it’s important to shop around for insurance, he warns consumers not to rely solely on price.
You have to compare apples to apples. We often see that our customers come up with an offer and, after analysis, it is not the same product at all. We don’t sell prizes, we sell protection.
Jean-Pierre Tardif, President of the Regroupement des Cabinets de Courtage d’Assurance du Québec
He has other savings tips. When it comes to housing construction, for example, we should raise the deductible, “which is very old”. “We still have deductibles of $300 or $500. I would take more, $1000, even $2500. » The renovations, the alarm systems and the automatic shut-off of the water are rewarded. For automobiles, you can get a discount of up to $85 through parts tagging, which can cost as much as $250. Finally, if you combine multiple policies with the same insurer, you can get a discount of up to 10%.
Potential salary: $250 per hour
Whether it’s internet, cell phone or cable TV, we recommend that you contact your provider once a year to negotiate a discount. Without changing anything, in less than an hour you can get almost fifteen dollars a month as a reward for your loyalty.
But there are tricks. “Providers create an index of their customers so they can determine if there’s a good chance they will abandon them,” says Nadir Marcos, CEO of PlanHub, which specializes in internet and mobile price comparisons.
How can you make yourself more desirable? By reaching the end of the contract on a subsidized phone, multiplying calls to customer service, and most importantly, challenging the carrier with a better competing offer. Don’t be afraid to switch companies, says Johanne Le Blanc, budget consultant at Option consommateurs. “I could understand the hesitation when you had to change your phone number and pay an infringement fee. It’s not like it used to be, we’re not tied down anymore, there’s more mobility. »
Potential salary: $180 per hour
According to Revenu Québec, nearly 39% of taxpayers file their own tax returns. Some obviously have complex tax returns and business or rental income that justify hiring a professional. But for the vast majority, say a working couple with two kids, software that costs as little as $20 can often replace an accountant that can cost as much as $330. Three hours are enough.
“I think a lot of people could do it themselves,” says Julie Brissette of the East Montreal-based Cooperative Association of Family Economics (ACEF). But be careful, not everyone is equally familiar with software and the mechanics of tax returns. “In the ACEFs we see mostly low-income people, seniors for whom technology is sometimes inaccessible, people for whom it is synonymous with fear. »
She points out that there are many organizations that offer tax clinics to people on low incomes, up to $45,000 for a couple. “We are taking care of more and more workers, the number of customers is growing,” she notes. In addition to the ACEFs, some of which offer this service year-round, she points out that there is an unknown phone service, 211, linked to a website www.211qc.ca that lists all community and social organizations.
Potential salary: $100 per hour
Did you know that a car driving at 120 km/h uses 20% more fuel than at 100 km/h? “There is less drag when you go slower, and the engine runs slower too,” explains Jesse Caron, automotive expert at CAA-Quebec.
Have fun calculating the hourly wage we could get from this economy. A car driving constantly at 100 km/h covers 600 km in six hours, which is equivalent to Montreal-New York. The same car driving at 120 km/h covers the same distance in five hours. Suppose the car consumes 8 liters per 100 km at a speed of 100 km/h: It has therefore swallowed 48 liters.
At 120 km/h? 20% more, for a balance of 57.6 liters. So we will have saved 9.6 liters by going slower. At $1.70 a liter as of this writing, that’s an hourly wage of $16.32, just above minimum wage. Of course, we have not taken into account the inevitable but more difficult to calculate environmental benefits. And yet motorists are sensitive to it, notes Jesse Caron. “What I am going to tell you now is extremely anecdotal. I, who drive Donnacona-Montréal every Monday, find that some people slow down when gas prices are higher. »
Potential salary: $16.32 per hour (plus environmental benefits)
Three more tips
In Quebec, approximately 400,000 unclaimed items with a total value of $380 million left behind after a move, job change or death are piled up and recorded in a registry maintained by Revenu Québec. Every year $32 million is returned to its rightful owners. At the Bank of Canada, the treasure is even more impressive: there are 1.9 million unclaimed balances worth 742 million. A few minutes are enough for a search.
According to the latest Kijiji Index presented by the University of Quebec’s Responsible Consumption Observatory in Montreal through 2019, Canadians had earned an average of $789 in the previous year selling their used goods. Outdated lamps, dusty furniture, clothes you will never wear again, almost everything will find a buyer on the many resale platforms such as Kijiji, Markeplace, LesPAC and the many specialist shops. Earnings, of course, depend on the products offered for sale.
Nothing is easier than comparing the different credit cards on the market: the Financial Consumer Agency has put online a comparison calculator that allows you to choose a card based on the interest rate, annual fees and rewards. A tip: “You have to pay your entire balance,” recalls Johanne Le Blanc from Option consommateurs. Even if you pay $99 on a $100 balance, you’re accruing over 20% interest on the entire $100. »