Financial Friday #60: $200 From Bankruptcy?

$200 From Bankruptcy?

There has been a lot written over the last few years about Canadians being within a few hundred dollars of bankruptcy. The latest survey from consultants MNP claims, “53% are $200 or less from not being able to meet all of their bills and debt obligations each month”.

We hope your household margin is not that thin, but the pandemic coupled with rising prices and taxes means everyone is feeling the pinch. To that end, we have come up with our top 3 tips on how you might pocket and extra $200 from your house each month.

Short-term rentals (post-pandemic of course)

You don’t need a suite. If you have a spare bedroom, you are in business. A quick search online will indicate the demand and price in your area, but you could quickly pick-up $200 with only a few nights each month.

Sharing your home with a complete stranger is not for everyone. However, sites like Air B&B have a guest recommendation system, they allow you full control over who can stay, when and for how long, and they also conveniently collect the fee.

Hosting international students is another post-COVID option, although these arrangements are not usually that lucrative.

Become a master of DIY

The entire notion of “not being very handy” has been kicked to the curb by YouTube and Home Depot. Before you pay $200 to have that leaky bathroom faucet fixed, you owe it to yourself to hit the internet and find out just hard it is.

Washing machine not filling properly? Dishwasher leaving spots? Try Google and do some troubleshooting on your own. It could be dirty inlet screens on your washer or food debris clogging the check valve flapper deep in the bowels of your dishwasher.

Chances are somebody on YouTube has already been there, done that, and filmed and narrated the entire how-to process for you.

Utilities – the obvious and not so obvious

Your mobile and cable TV are the lowest hanging fruits. If you are anywhere close to being $200 from insolvency, you need to cut the cable wire. If the essentials for your mobile include streaming cute wombat videos on the bus to work, you may want to re-evaluate your data needs.

At the very least, review your current plan and try and take advantage of the fierce competition between carriers, especially if you have a contract expiring.

Next on the hit list is electricity. LED's save tons of power so swap out any light bulbs if you haven’t already done so. After that, gains are harder to come by and the pain factor is higher. Dishwashers use plenty of power (especially to dry) and you don’t even want to know about the espresso machine!

The main point here is that it all adds up, so a collective, house-wide approach is required. Log into your electricity provider’s website and view your daily consumption details to analyze your power reducing efforts. It's up to you to decide if the pain is worth the savings!


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