Tuesday, 16 April 2013

five money saving tips

One of the topics I feel passionate about when blogging is money management. It might sound boring, but I believe that our world needs a voice that can say, "I'm there, I know what it's like to struggle, and I'm getting through it." I think that so many Canadians (and Americans, etc) are struggling financially, and are just doing a really good job of "hiding" it. It's not something we talk about, but it is something we need to talk about and learn how to get through successfully.

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 laugh
let's call it the comic relief in an otherwise un-funny post

I'm going to try a post 2-3 times a month on different money saving topics. Today I'm going to give you five general money saving tips that I always live by.

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?

1 comment:

  1. Great post Brianna! Living within your means is such a good principle to live by. My husband and I abide by this and have done so since getting married. I can't even imagine having credit card debt. In order to save enough money for a down payment for a house we even lived with my in-laws for 2.5 years and only bought a house 6 years into marriage. Sure it took time but we are and have been debt free other than the mortgage. We have also purchased two cars with cash in that time because we have been able to live with in our means and save money every chance we get.