If you’re looking for simpler and more efficient ways to manage your money, we’re offering up seven practical tips you’ll want to consider implementing. Given the current financial turmoil going on in the world as well as here at home, we’re sure many Canadians are looking for ways to alleviate some of the stress we’re experiencing. And one way to reduce our stress levels is to look at some better ways to manage our money.
Money management is important for all of us these days – from retirees on fixed incomes to those starting out in their careers to those entering mid-life, and everyone in between!
The following tips, in no particular order, could help you and your family feel more secure when it comes to your financial health and may actually go a long way to ensuring your peace of mind when it comes to managing your money.
1. Eliminate Unnecessary Interest Fees
Make a list of your current bills – monthly living costs, credit card payments, utilities, car loans, mortgage or rent – any and all expenses. Ensuring you pay them off on time and in full every month will help eliminate costly interest or penalty charges.
2. Make a Budget
Make a list of all your sources of income – salary, pensions, bonuses, interest on savings and investments and other sources of financial remuneration. Add up the amounts received and then make a list of all your expenditures plus what you’d ideally like to put away each month as savings. If the expenditures exceed your income, you’ll need to create a budget that balances if you wish to live within your means.
3. Trim Costs to Reduce Spending
Identify areas where you can save and reduce your daily/monthly costs. Bundle your cell phone/internet and TV, search for more affordable home and auto insurance, reduce your entertainment budget and discretionary spending, implement a grocery/meal plan, take your lunch to work, use public transit or ride-share. Eliminate take out coffee and fast-food meals. Become a one car family if feasible. Shop secondhand, consign your used but in good condition clothing and other items.
4. Set Some Goals
If you want to increase your savings, or there are specific items you wish to save for, it’s helpful to identify what they are and how you plan to do it and for how long. Decide how much you can put aside each month and set yourself a reasonable time frame in which to achieve your goal. A handy tip that works well is to pay the amount to yourself and automatically deposit it into a dedicated savings account every month just as if it were a bill with a due date.
5. Use Online Banking Tools to Help You Stay on Track
Setting up automatic payment reminders, notices and scheduled bill payments using your bank’s online services is a great way to avoid missing payments, or to ensure you deposit money into your savings account, TFSA or RRSP each month. Your financial institution will provide monthly statements which help you assess and keep track of how well you’re doing too.
6. Consolidate Debt
If you’re overwhelmed by debts and are paying high interest rates on them, it may be time to consolidate them all into an “all-in-one” type of account. Try to pay off those debts with the highest interest rate first. If you have to carry debt, pay off the monthly minimum at the very least. Or secure a line of credit that enables you to make just one single, less stressful payment each month. A conversation with a debt counsellor may also help you find solutions that fit your particular situation. Be sure to avoid predatory loans with massive interest rates! Instead, your credit union advisor can offer personalized guidance.
7. Start Saving for the Future
It’s never too early or too late to start saving more. Consult with a financial advisor about the many tax advantageous ways to put away or invest money for the future. An advisor can help you develop a personalised financial plan and prepare a strategic roadmap that includes all those future financial milestones or hurdles that are inevitable as we navigate our futures.
Help is at Hand
Everything Retirement’s credit union partners at Interior Savings, Coastal Community Credit Union and Coastal Community Private Wealth Group are available to help you and your family navigate the turbulent times we’re experiencing these days, so give one a call. They’re ready and willing to offer help and a viable money management solution tailored just for you.