Remember those days when you would ride your bike to the candy store to fill a bag with all your favourite cavity-inducing treats? All paid for with that shiny new dime you saw glistening on the pavement. What a lottery winning feeling. Even today, now that you are much older and 10 cents will not buy much, finding a dime causes you to pause and say, “this is my lucky day.”
Wouldn’t it be nice to relive that feeling when you were a kid and picked up that dime? Well, you can and should. And the amount of money you find should be in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars because you may be overpaying for everyday goods and services. By implementing some financial planning strategies and determination, here are some ways that you can find some lost money and brighten up your day.
One expense that no one can live without is our monthly communications bill. This includes your cell phone, Internet service, home landline, cable TV, and business phone lines. When initially purchasing these services, it is common practice to go with the company that offered the best sales promotion. Contacting each of the providers you deal with annually and taking advantage of any new sales promotions may save you some money. But the considerable savings comes when you consolidate services with one provider and receive bundling discounts.
Another area where consolidation of services can lead to savings is banking and interest expenses. These expenses include monthly fees and interest for credit cards, student loans, car loans, mortgages, lines of credit, and savings accounts. Even if you have all of these same bank services, rearranging them can be advantageous. For example, the interest rate charged on a house mortgage is lower than the interest rate charged on credit card balances or unsecured lines of credit. By consolidating debt with a top-quality bank offering the lowest all-in-one interest rate for all your debt and banking fees will save you a lot of money in the long run.
Money spent on insurance premiums is another considerable expense where savings can be made. Start by looking at your house and auto insurance premiums. Similar to communications expenses, bundling both insurance premiums with one provider can result in discount savings. Then compare the additional savings you can find by changing the deductible amounts. All this takes is a phone call to each company asking what options they have available to reduce your premium without sacrificing the quality of benefits.
The AHIP Health & Dental Plan is another area where you can save money if you are self-employed. Rather than paying for family medical and dental expenses out of pocket with after-tax dollars, having your company pay for the premiums means immediate tax savings. Another feature of the AHIP Health & Dental Plan that saves you time and money is the online submittal of medical claims. You can access the online portal at https://portal.manulife.ca/secureserve and use your plan and identification numbers on your benefits wallet card.
Even though many of us do not plan on travelling anytime soon, money can be saved by taking advantage of the emergency medical travel insurance included in your AHIP Health & Dental Plan. For longer trips, rather than go online, you should call the Manulife phone number located on the back of your benefits wallet card. Tell the licensed travel insurance agent that you want to purchase travel insurance and give them your advisor’s name and code. The reason for contacting Manulife directly is to ensure that your travel questionnaire responses are correct and that you are properly insured. The reason for providing Manulife with your advisor’s name and code (John Niekraszewicz #78580) is to allow your advisor permission to escalate any issues you may have in settling a claim if things were to go sideways during your trip.
When saving money on expenses, be careful not to “pick up dimes and throw away dollars" by reducing the quality of the product or service being replaced. This can easily happen if you only look at the short-term savings and forget about your long term needs. For example, in AHIP’s Winter 2013 edition of Signal, in the article “Good and Bad Insurance," I wrote about the risks of choosing low-cost life insurance and bank mortgage insurance at the expense of a death claim denied.
This article outlines several strategies, not all of which will apply to your particular financial circumstances. You should obtain professional advice from a licensed financial planner or financial advisor before acting on any information in this article and navigating your options. Then you can enjoy life & have fun.
John Niekraszewicz (Nick-ra-shev-itch) BMath, FCSI, CFP, FMA is the Certified Financial Planner specializing in Wealth & Estate Planning that is responsible for the AHIP Association Health & Dental Plan provided by JVK Life & Wealth Insurance Group that receives a sales commission. John is also the Principal of JVK Life & Wealth Advisory Group - provider of mutual funds and investments. John welcomes your questions and can be reached at 1-800-767-5933 or email@example.com