10 Oct

Budgeting for the Holidays

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Posted by: Alexander Slobidker

Everyone knows that it can be easy to go all out when it comes to the holidays. Unfortunately, this often means that you end up saddled with a bunch of holiday debt. To avoid a sleigh-size tab, plan ahead to save money and maximize the payoff! To help you make the most of the holiday season, I have put together a few tips for you:

  1. Order Online – Most people already order online to avoid getting stuck in the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers. However, before you do any transactions ensure that you are ordering from a secure and trusted source. Any websites that provide order tracking will also save you stress as you can keep an eye on your package and know when it will arrive!
  2. Be Thrifty – Start early and keep an eye out for special sales! Many retailers have Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, which can help you get a jumpstart on holiday shopping. Get inspired with coupons and get into the routine of flipping through flyers delivered to your home and online to get the most out of your money.
  3. Trust Your Budget – Your budget keeps you on track during the rest of the year, so why not lean on it now? Starting the season with a plan and a maximum spending limit will help alleviate stress while shopping. There are plenty of free budget-tracking apps that connect right to your bank accounts and can be pulled out of your pocket for reference at any time – especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed at the mall.
  4. Get Crafty – Everyone appreciates the handmade touch in a gift, and DIY-ing this holiday can help you save money. There are wonderful options that can be found online, even for beginners. Examples include homemade wreaths, body scrubs, and fun photo scrapbooks that can be done alone or in a group, and you’ll end up with a gift that money can’t buy. If you’re not sure where to find these clever and cost-effective ideas, Pinterest is a great place to start.
  5. Give the Gift of Time – Instead of buying gifts, spend quality time with your friends and family while you give back to others. Sharing the experience and splitting the cost of hosting a dinner for a family in need will offset the cost of spending money on each person and double the amount of joy spread during the holidays. It feels good to pay in kind.
    Whatever you choose to spend this holiday season, remember that the holidays are not solely about the gifts. The holidays are a time for celebration and creating memories; not for going into debt. This year, make the most of the incredible holiday season YOUR way – within your own limits – and enjoy how much more affordable and less stressful it can be.
7 Oct

Renewing Your Mortgage

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Posted by: Alexander Slobidker

If you are coming up to your mortgage renewal date, you may have already received a letter from your lender. Typically, these are sent out when there are 3 months remaining on your term. While nearly 60 percent of borrowers simply sign and send back their renewal, did you know that this is actually the best time to shop around for better rates and options?

Most standard terms are 5-year terms and, with that much time having passed since signing, the market rates could be very different once the term is up! Despite this, lenders tend to provide higher rates on renewals versus new clients as they are hoping that the ease of renewal will prevent you from seeking out new rates. However, shopping around for a better rate is not as difficult as it sounds – especially with the help of a mortgage broker – and you could end up saving hundreds a month, depending on your situation!

Ideally, you should be keeping track of your own mortgage term end date as shopping for a new rate between four and six months before your expiry will ensure you are able to find the most affordable option for you.

After shopping around, you may find that your bank is actually offering a great rate – in

which case you can simply submit the renewal. On the other hand, if you are able to seek out a lower rate, you will be glad you put in the effort to find out! It is also good to note that renewal time is a great opportunity to make an extra payment on your mortgage, if you are able.

Beyond renewing your mortgage, home owners also have the option to transfer or switch the mortgage when the term is up. While this can be done any time throughout the course of the mortgage, there may be penalties associated with changing the mortgage before the term is up as this is considered breaking the contract. Transferring to another lender is generally done to get a better rate, but you will need to go through the entire mortgage process again – including the ‘stress test’ – which makes shopping around at renewal time an even smarter option.

If your mortgage is coming up for renewal and you want to find out if there is a better mortgage product with lower terms out there for you, contact me today! I can help you find the best option for where you are at in your life now and help you to ensure future financial success.