Planning a move checklist

Family moving into home

A well organized move can greatly reduce your stress and contribute to a great experience as you move into your new home. The following checklist can help you stay organized. 

 

6-8 Weeks before you move

  • Make moving arrangements with a moving company or moving truck rental company 
  • Draw out a floor plan of your new home to decide where your belongings will go 
  • Get packing supplies (tape, boxes, tissue paper, bubble wrap, markers etc.)
  • Clean out closets, basement, shed and your garage
  • Advise post office of your new address and moving date
    • Arrange change of address notices to:
    • Phone company
    • Insurance company – Arrange to transfer your household insurance to your new property
    • Financial Institution and credit card companies
    • Utility and cable/satellite providers – Make arrangements to start services on the date of your arrival at your new home

 

2-4 Weeks before you move

  • Cancel or transfer newspaper, magazines, and other home deliveries
  • Reserve an elevator with your building superintendent if you’re moving from a condo or apartment building

Good to be home doormat

2-3 Days before you move

Complete all packing. Make sure that you’ve:

  • Labeled boxes with the room they will go in
  • Placed all important documents in a ‘Safe Box’ that you will transport personally
  • Prepare an ‘Open First’ box with the basic necessities for your first night
  • Label all keys for the new occupants
  • Conduct an initial visit to your new home to verify everything’s okay

 

Moving Day

For your old home:

  • Check all rooms and closets to make sure nothing has been left behind
  • Ensure that all electrical devices are unplugged and the thermostat is turned down
  • Leave labeled keys with the landlord, lawyer or real estate agent

 

For your new home:

  • Check that you have keys to all the locks in your new home
  • Make sure that all utilities are working properly in your new home 
  • Provide movers with the floor plan
  • Check the condition of each box or household item as it is unloaded and make note of any damages

 

After you move

  • Change your address on your driver’s licence, car insurance and with your employer

30 ways to save money on food

Plan, plan, plan

 

  1. Sit down before you shop and make a meal plan. Include the foods you need for breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks
  2. Set a food budget and make choices based on what you want to spend.
  3. Review the grocery store flyers to see what’s on special. This may help you decide what to put in your meal plan.
  4. Identify all the items you will need to make meals for the week and make a shopping list.
  5. Eat before you go to the store. You’re less likely to pick up extra items if you aren’t hungry.
  6. Shop on discount days. Most grocery stores have a day (such as the first Tuesday of the month) where they offer an additional discount on your entire bill.

At the grocery store

  1. Get rewards. Several grocery stores have free rewards cards that help you save on the cost of certain products each week.Bring a calculator to help you track how much you are spending so you can stay on budget
  2.  Plan your route through the store. Start with the outer perimeter. This is where the fresh food is kept. Once you get the items on your list, target the aisles that have the other items on your list.
  3. Don’t wander up and down the aisles. You are more likely to pick up items you don’t need.
  4. Consider store brand products instead of brand names.
  5. Use coupons.
  6. Buy in bulk for items that you can freeze or that are non-perishable.
  7. Stick to your grocery list as much as possible, but keep your eye out for sales on items you use frequently.
  8. Avoid pre-packaged foods (unless the sale price is really good). That convenience often comes with a more expensive price tag. For example, it may cost less to buy a block of cheese than shredded cheese packages.
  9. When trying to decide between two similar products, take the time calculate the cost per portion. Sometimes the unit price is located on shelf label. The lower cost isn’t necessarily the better deal.
  10. If you don’t know how you are going to use an item, don’t buy it.
  11. Watch as items are scanned at checkout. Machines and Cashiers aren’t perfect.

 

Dining out

  1. Dining out can be fun but expensive. Try to reduce the number of times you eat out in a week. Even cutting out one or two meals will save you a lot of money.
  2. Many restaurants offer coupons or specials. Take advantage of them.
  3. Portion sizes at restaurants are often larger than you need. Ask your server to package half and eat it for lunch the next day.
  4. Order an appetizer rather than a full meal.
  5. Ask if there is a half size or lunch size option available.Share an appetizer or dessert with your dining companion.
  6. Drink a lot of water. In fact, skip soda and alcoholic beverages altogether to cut down on costs.

Change your habits

  1. If you normally cook for one or two people, double the recipe and freeze the leftovers. This not only saves you time, but it is often more economical.
  2. Start drinking water instead of soda. A water filter on your tap or in a pitcher costs less than bottled water or other beverages…and it’s good for you.
  3. Cut down on junk food. Not only will you spend less money, you’ll improve your health.
  4. Make your coffee at home and pack a lunch. You’ll save a lot of money each week, even if you only do it every other day.
  5. Try not to shop when you’re tired or overwhelmed. You’ll be more likely to pick up convenience foods.

 

 

How to become mortgage free faster

List of accomplishments

You want to pay your mortgage faster, but there is only so much money in your budget. Here are some easy ways to find a little extra cash that will add up to a big difference. 

 

 

Some strategies to find extra cash:

Dollar symbol with sprinkles

  • Earn Profit Share dividends on your mortgage and your other Servus banking. Use the money to pay down your mortgage faster. 

  • Put some or all of the extra money you get from a raise or cost of living increase toward your regular mortgage payment.

  • Invest in your RRSP and use your tax refund to make a lump-sum payment on your mortgage. 

  • Round up your mortgage payment amount up when you first set your mortgage term. For example, if your bi-weekly payment is $520.67 round it up to an even $525 or $550. You probably won’t notice the difference.
  • Don’t reduce your payment, even if the interest rates go down. That extra money will be applied to your principal.

Extra cash infographic

Shorten your mortgage with payment options

Good to be home doormat

Owning your own home is a great feeling. At Servus, we can help you become mortgage-free faster by shortening your mortgage with these payment options. 

  1. Make a larger down payment 

    Don’t borrow as much money in the first place and you’ll have that mortgage paid off sooner.

  2. Increase your payment frequency

    When you make your mortgage payment weekly or bi-weekly you pay more toward your principal, saving you thousands of dollars in interest and shortening the amount of time it takes to pay off your mortgage. If you choose an accelerated payment plan, not only do you pay more frequently, but you make extra payments over the course of the year.

    List of accomplishments

  3. Increase your payment amount

    If your mortgage has an option to increase your payment amount, and you can afford it, boost your payments a little. The extra money goes directly toward your mortgage principal.

  4. Make lump sum payments

    You have a few options here. If you have an open mortgage you can pay money toward your principal at anytime. If you have a closed mortgage you may have pre-payment options that allow you to make annual lump sum payments. You can also make a lump sum payment when your mortgage term comes up for renewal, before your new term comes into effect.

     

  5. Select a shorter amortization period

    Decide how much you can afford to  pay each month. If you can afford the higher mortgage payments then select a shorter amortization and save thousands of dollars in interest.

 

Mortgage payment options

 

Home buying checklist

Home in quiet neighbourhood

If you are buying a new home, this checklist can help you gather the information you need to make the home buying process quick and easy.

 

Information for buying a home

Information about the property that you are buying:

  • MLS listing
  • Purchase and Sale Agreement; including any schedules and waivers
  • Contact information for your lawyer

Information required about your finances:

Confirmation of down payment through one of the following sources:

  • Savings account
  • Gift letter from immediate family member 
  • Proceeds from the sale of another property
  • Other assets

Other Documentation:

File folder

If you’re employed you need:

  • A letter from your employer on company letterhead that includes your name, salary or hourly pay rate, name and title of the person signing the letter
  • 6 months paystub history
  • 6 months direct deposit history
  • T4s from last two years

If self-employed or on contract:

  • Notice of Assessments (NOA) for the last year
  • T1 Generals for the last two years

Other income sources:

  • Ask your Servus Financial Advisor or Mobile Mortgage Manager about what confirmation will be required

Additional questions to consider:

  • What current assets or savings do you have?
  • What current liabilities do you have? Includes outstanding balances and monthly payments
  • Do you have critical illness/life insurance coverage?
  • What are your current annual property taxes?
  • How much are your utilities per month?
  • If you own a condominium, what are your monthly condo fees?
  • What is the square footage of your home?
  • What is the square footage of the land?

To learn more about how you can get your mortgage with Servus contact us by email, phone 1.877.378.8728 or visit your nearest branch.

4 tips to raise your credit score

glasses, computer and pen on table

A good credit score can be a benefit or a burden. It can improve your chances of being accepted for credit cards, loans or even a mortgage. Without the right care though, a bad credit score can severely hinder the amount of money and credit at your disposal.

You have an important role to play in your credit score and you can influence your score by making responsible credit choices. 

Tips to raise your credit score

Pay your bills on time

Paying bills online

Make sure your bills are paid every month, and on time.

Watch your balances

Don’t carry high balances on your credit card, even if you’re making the minimum payments every month. Outstanding debt influences your credit score.

Avoid retail cards

Every inquiry for credit it kept on your credit report, and too many can cause a potential lender to wonder why you suddenly need so much credit.

Take your time

Remember, it takes time to establish a credit history. Open a credit account and keep it open to establish a history of credit use. 

Raising your credit score can take time. By paying your bills on time every month, and maintaining a low balance on your credit cards you can work towards your goal of a higher credit score. 

Tips for raising your credit score