Don't believe me?
>> In March 2012 nearly 900,000 people used food banks in Canada, that's enough food to feed the entire population of Ottawa for five-days.
>> Unemployment in Canada is at an all-time high, with 200,000 vacancies.
>> The Conference Board of Canada rated Canada the second lowest country for poverty rates out of seventeen countries that we evaluated, the US was the only country with a lower rating.
this picture is meant to make you laughlet's call it the comic relief in an otherwise un-funny post
1. create a cushion. nearly 50% of Canadians live paycheque to paycheque. I believe this is an atrocity that attests to the fact that Canadians are too focused on "keeping up with the joneses". Get out of that mindset, and start saving. I'd say having a savings equivalent to three months pay is both doable and necessary.
2. consult with your partner. If you're married, don't ever spend more than $20 - $50 without consulting your spouse. Debiting your account multiple times a day adds up quickly, especially if your spouse is doing the exact same thing. My husband and I basically don't spend a dime without talking to each other, but you need to decide for yourself what your cap is.
3. write it all down. I recently started doing this, and it's so eye-opening I don't think I'll ever stop. Every Friday morning I sit down, take out a book, and literally write down every single penny that we've spent. I look through my debit and credit transactions (because who uses cash anymore?) This way I can determine whether or not we've had a good week, or a bad week, and how we're doing for our monthly budget.
4. stop comparing, and live within your means. Stop comparing yourself to Mr. and Mrs. Smith. I do it, and I'm sure you do too. There will always be someone to compare yourself to, and perhaps at some stages in life, you can compare yourself materially to every one and come up short. Just stop comparing, and start being grateful for what you do have. Lately I've started sitting down each morning and writing out everything I can think of that I'm thankful for. It puts things into perspective, so try it.
5. pay off your credit card every month. Being in debt to a credit card company will only cause you anxiety. Canadians owe 73.7 billion on their credit cards, a number that is so catastrophic that the Bank of Canada governor has said, "the greatest risk to the domestic economy is household debt" (source). My husband and I have had a credit card since we were 19-years-old, and not once have we carried a balance on our credit card. Trust me, if we can do it, so can you.
What are your suggestions to maintain healthy finances?