Now is not the time for a budget. If you’ve lost your job or had your hours cut, the last thing you need is another constraint on your financial potential.

I’m Riley, and I know you have way more money than you realize. How can I possibly know that? Because, every day, I help people like you ‘anti-budget’ in five key ways to put more money in their pockets.

What’s an ‘Anti-Budget’?

An anti-budget is like a money bloodhound. Nose to the ground, hot on the trail of hidden, lost or undiscovered wealth. There is one downside, however. If you love combing through months of bank and credit card statements, tracking spending and categorizing expenses, an anti-budget is not for you.

Increasing Income > Decreasing Expenses

A better strategy than focusing on expenses is to look at ways to increase income. As we know, a budget has two sides. Lets focus on the ‘income’ side first, before tackling the ‘expense’ side. In doing so, there are less items to comb through and a way to discover extra money. This prevents you from working diligently to cut expenses further and squeeze more money from your limited income. Instead think about how to increase your income.


1 – Take a closer look at your benefits

As much as $3 billion was left on the table by Canadians who didn’t take full advantage of their employer pensions in 2014 according to Sun Life Financial.

Dig out that paperwork you haven’t looked at since you onboarded and read it thoroughly. You may be thinking, “I’d rather track my expenses, thanks.” While I understand the feeling completely, I bet a three to six percent raise would change your mind. That’s what’s on the table when it comes to employer benefits.   

Decoding employer benefits can be overwhelming. This section of your employee handbook is unmistakeable – an array of various insurance coverages and a pile of acronyms such as DCPP, DBPP and DPSP. Add your spouse’s benefits into the conversation and it starts to become clear why $3 billion a year gets left on the table.

However, check out how easily your annual salary can increase by more than $10k. (Sunlife Table)

Source: Sun Life 2014 report above shows an example of the types of benefits offered by employers.

Speak with a financial advisor about your family’s benefits package to ensure you are taking full advantage of what is available. This will prevent you from paying more for any overlapping coverage.

Increase your take home pay by ‘opting out’ of certain benefits. Participate in a pension plan that will reduce how much you have to save personally each month.


While asking for a raise is not on anyone’s list of favourite things to do, solid preparation can go a long way in preventing that anxious, pit-in-your-stomach feeling.

Suggestions for employees:

  • Start by choosing the right time to ask: The best time is typically during your review or end of the year, when the company is working through budget and financials.
  • Assess the financial health of the company: Make sure its not struggling financially or laying off workers.
  • Pay attention to your manager’s workload or mood: Is he or she managing well or is under high stress?
  • Identify your salary trends: Check websites to compare your salary with your peers.
  • Create a list of your accomplishments and projects completed. Showcase the value of your work.
  • Don’t be spontaneous: Set a time with your manager or supervisor.
  • Prepare a script for the meeting and expect that your manager or supervisor will carefully consider your request.
  • Expect them to ask you questions about your work, skill set, accomplishments and salary.
  • Thank them for meeting with you.
  • Follow up within a day or two through email, recapping the conversation and your reasons for asking in the first place.

If you have just started at a new company, get things in motion now to prepare you for when the time comes. You can do this by sharing your career and salary goals with your manager or supervisor and asking for their feedback.

Make sure you are earning what you are worth. There is lot’s of great advice online about asking for a raise. If you are curious to see where you compare to your peers click here. Peer Benchmarking Survey and get a free report.

My personal tip: Here is a great read that will improve your negotiation skills in business, marriage, and life overall. Never Split The Difference is a personal favorite.


The buzz around side hustles has been steadily increase for several years and I’m here to tell you the hype is warranted.

Source: Interest in the term ‘side hustle’ from Google Trends

Adding another source of income is not only a direct way to increase your income, it has the potential to be far more impactful than cutting your entertainment budget. Think saving a hundreds versus earning thousands. That’s what we’ve seen many people do. Let’s take a look at how a side hustle changed the game for my neighbours Josh and Janelle.

Step 1: Josh became a part time instructor at his local college while still doing his full time job. He found work as some instructors exited the classrooms due to Covid-19 and early retirement.

Step 2: Janelle added part-time supermarket employee to her full-time mom commitment.

Step 3: Add these two now income streams to the books. High five!


Here are three other strategies that could benefit you:

RESPs: a.k.a. free money fro your kids’ education. Like employers’ pension plans, many Canadians miss out on the thousands of free dollars. The Canadian Government provides grants of up to 20% of your RESP contributions. The math is hard to beat: Up to each child’s 16th birthday, deposit $2500 each year in an RESP and receive $500 per year, per child in free grant money. 

RRSPs and TFSAs: If you have been a do-it-yourself investor (DIY), you have probably spent hours deciding if your savings should flow into an RRSP or TFSA. There is no right or wrong answer. The right savings tool depends on your income level, future goals, investment portfolio etc. Here is a neat example of when an RRSP may be the right answer.

If you are curious to see how you compare with your peers on your saving strategy, click here benchmarking survey. Should you be saving more or Less? A financial advisor can help you project your current saving strategy to see if you are on track with your goals.


This is encroaching on ‘expenses’ territory, but essentially the result will feel exactly like more income. Mortgage rates are the lowest they’ve been in a long time, so there’s a good chance there’s money to be found in this strategy.

If it’s time to renew your mortgage – great. We’ve seen a steady decline in rates since March this year, with 5-year fixed rates currently under the 2% mark

If your mortgage is not up for renewal, there’s still a possibility that you can save interest expense in the long-term. Calculating penalty fees is complex – we recommend speaking to an advisor to determine if renewing early makes sense.

If you are still here, thank you for reading through this article. If its been helpful to you and you need a little extra motivation, click here a personal report comparing your financial situation to your peers across Canada.

Remember, we can guide you through the five strategies listed above to help you discover “Money You Never  Knew You Had”. Consider speaking with us today for a free consultation.

InvestorDNA is a technology driven wealth management firm based in Calgary, Alberta. “Budgeting A Different Way” is 1 of many modules we offer our clients. To learn more about InvestorDNA, Riley, or these modules please visit

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