Looking for ways to stretch your buck? Here are five online resources that can save you money by helping you snag rebates, plan a monthly budget, calculate mortgage and homeownership costs, and otherwise get you on the right financial track.
Money-saving opportunities through the Canada Revenue Agency
This Government of Canada site lists all the rebates and tax credits the federal government provides new homeowners, including the following:
- First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit (HBTC)
A non-refundable income tax credit of $5,000 on a qualifying home.
- GST/HST New Housing Rebate
A partial rebate on the GST/HST you paid on the purchase price or building cost of a new house or condo (major renovations and residential conversions also qualify).
- PLUS, additional provincial tax credits and grants homeowners may qualify for.
Money-saving options using app/tool: Genworth Canada’s What Can I Afford? calculator
The user-friendly What Can I Afford? calculator takes your income, debt payments and carrying costs into account to pin down how much of a mortgage you can afford.
Play around with different budget scenarios to see how much you can save on interest per month with a larger down payment or by cutting your debt load.
TIP: Be sure to enter the Bank of Canada’s five-year conventional mortgage rate as the “rate” value, per the stress-test mortgage affordability criteria introduced in October 2016.
Money-saving apps: Monthly budget apps
By carrying your budget in your pocket, you’re more likely to keep your eye on the prize and think twice before making an impulse buy.
Money-saving app: Canadian Mortgage App
A must-have for first-time homebuyers, the all-encompassing Canadian Mortgage App (rated five stars by iOS users) walks you through your mortgage options, including variable and fixed rate terms, as well as weekly versus bi-weekly or monthly payments. Options like rental income and location-based land transfer taxes or first-time homebuyer rebates are seamlessly calculated.
There’s also an affordability calculator, plus a database of local real estate and mortgage pros that you can hire.
Money-saving budgeting costs using app/tool: Walk Score
Don’t forget transportation costs when budgeting for a new home. Enter the address of a prospective home, and Walk Score will rate it based on its proximity to shops, services, schools and public transit.
You’ll know in an instant if your daily commute will necessitate walking shoes, a transit pass or a car (and insurance, gas and parking!) – key info for your quality of life and bottom line.