Monthly Archives: October 2015

5 Budget Friendly Strategies To Keep You From Incurring Debt

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For so many families across British Columbia, no matter how much income is earned annually, this simply appears to never be enough.  This is a common complaint across the region, and possibly even the world. However, you want to try to avoid incurring debt as much as humanly possible.  Incurred debt can feel like a ball and chain weighing you down, crippling you if you let it.  While more than 29% of Canadians utilize the services of a financial advisor, the high living costs across the country make it extremely difficult to really save, but there are definitely ways of moving past this.

The good news here is that Canadians can reach any financial goal they set if they begin to tame their debt.  Most find they can live happier, healthier and more efficient lives.  So, getting control of spending habits should be a priority as this alone can alleviate stress and allow one to find peace within their life. According to The Globe And Mail, Canadians spend more income on housing alone than any other expenditure, with many feeling the pinch of these housing cost hikes.

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Still, the following tips and techniques can help you get your finances on track and help you to avoid debt altogether.  These are budget friendly strategies for Canadians, and they aren’t too stringent so you won’t feel like you’re smothering under the pressure of a budget either.  Let’s take a look at how these just might benefit everyone and change lives for the better!

Budget Friendly Strategies To Minimize Debt

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 Why not write down your future long-term goals?  

This can concrete financial goals and make them feel more real and more obtainable!  Discussing where you might need to cut back and making a plan is smart.  You can also begin planning on paying off old debt as well!

Start paying your bills on time by planning ahead.

If you pay your bills when they are due you can avoid late fees and other unnecessary costs.  This can also improve your credit as well, because you’ll begin showing positive financial transactions on your credit report over time.

Think before you make purchases you might not need.

This can definitely help Canadians keep more money right where it belongs–in their savings account! You have to really consider your wants versus your needs.  This can help you get control over impulse shopping, which so many of us suffer from.

Create a shopping list and stick to it once a week.

When you’re planning your grocery shopping, begin establishing only one shopping visit a week and make certain that you have a pre-planned list so you don’t forget anything.  Research has shown that those who have to make runs back to the store during the week are more at risk of impulse shopping.

Begin creating cost-cutting strategies at home.

A great example of this would be turning your lights off when you’re not in the room, or monitoring how often the people in your home are wasting water by taking excessive showers, or prolonging dish washing. Take the time to look at where the most waste is coming from and begin reigning this in to lower costs.

If you need to you should check into potential debt consolidation if, after reviewing your monthly financial plan you still are finding red areas that could be financially troublesome.  If you can unify debt into one monthly payment you might stand a better chance of improving your financial outlook and minimize the risk of ever incurring any more debt!

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Top 5 Tips For Meeting A Monthly Budget

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It’s safe to assume that no one likes to hear the word: budget, but without one where would you be tomorrow, or next month, or even next year for that matter? Let’s face it, unless you’re wealthy–tips for meeting a monthly budget are highly necessary to keep you financially healthy and on track, don’t you think? Also, it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone was born with the practical ability to budget.

Managing finances can be tedious and numbers can be complex for some individuals.  As you’ve probably read or heard, not all Canadians are great at keeping control of their spending habits or budgets–but this doesn’t make anyone abnormal either.  These tips and strategies can help you easily maintain your budget without you having to pinch pennies excessively.

#Savingmoney on expenses should be kept comfortable as this guarantees you will continue to stay on track!  We want to share the most reliable and worthy tips with you that will help you save money by cutting excess spending from your monthly budget as pain-free as possible!  Let’s get started now.

Meeting Your Monthly Budget Alleviates Money Stress

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According to a poll by Interac, more than 43% of Canadians find budgeting and saving money to be one of their biggest stressors.  Another 25% of Canadians felt overspending kept them from maintaining a budget, but they had no idea how to gain control over their finances.  Listen, not sticking to your budget and living beyond your means contributes to your worries and accumulating debt, but you can beat the statistics.

Stop spending money on the things you simply don’t need

You have to manage your finances wisely and this means you have to stop spending money on senseless items you will never use.  This might be a bit difficult for those who have never maintained a budget for very long.  However, just this one strategy will keep money in your pocket and eradicate debt.

Set realistic and measurable goals for the long-term

If you hope to retire comfortably, meeting that budget is the best way of getting there.  Keep things realistic and account for the unexpected.  When you keep budgeting simple and straight forward it will keep you accountable of your actions and ensure you achieve financial goals.

Pay credit card bills in full every month to meet your budget 

If you’re looking to save more money and meet your monthly budget easier, pay those credit card bills in full.  This will eliminate finance charges that can build up month after month and keep you in debt.  If you don’t overspend then you’ll be able to carry out this strategy and gain some financial freedom as well.

List the financial goals you’re working towards

While 63% of Canadians review their finances monthly, very few keep up with financial goal planning or setting, which is a terrible mistake.  Just as keeping realistic goals keeps you financially healthy–financial goal planning will ensure you’re keeping your finances in order and applying money where it needs to go, whether this be toward retirement or your next summer vacation.

Become pro-active with regard to your financial activities

Challenge yourself and take a conscientious approach to creating and managing a monthly budget. When you stay involved with the management of your finances you’re going to be more conservative.  You’ll stop and consider the consequences of overspending or taking away from your budget.  Most importantly you’ll be more apse to evaluate your day-to-day spending habits and be prepared to make cuts to maintain your budget.

From now on, take the time to think carefully about your spending habits and what it is you need to do to regain control.  We understand this can be a true challenge, but just imagine how good it is going to feel when you’re finally debt free and able to have real money to use for yourself again.  Once you break free from credit card debt, don’t go back.

If you can stay on track with a budget for the long-term you’ll keep making positive progress!  Don’t be the 55% of Canadians that looks at monthly spending habits–take the pro-active approach and do something about them!

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8 Easy Steps To Get Started With An Emergency Fund

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You need a stable financial plan and honestly, you simply must have one today.  The economy has always been a slippery slope, but then, for that matter, so is life.  Having a plan of action is the smart thing to do, but for so many families it is one of the most complex and difficult to achieve.  The steps to getting started with an emergency fund are only as hard as you make them.  You have to be willing to stick to a budget, possibly even a frugal one. You also have to be willing to seek long-term results.

Current statistics across British Columbia illustrate that Canadians 35 years of age and under who have incurred debt are unprepared for an adverse financial event, whether it be from illness or job loss. According to the CNW, an average 70% of “respondents” have significant debt and have no idea what they would do if a sudden illness or crisis occurred.  While you can’t predict personal life circumstances you can certainly be prepared for them.  Here you’ll find how you can begin taking the steps to start building an emergency fund today.

Begin Taking The Steps To Build An Emergency Fund Today

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Start with a positive plan and have a purpose

If you’re going to start positive you need to have a goal, or a purpose for beginning an emergency fund. Once you define what you’re establishing it for then perhaps you won’t be as likely to dip into it. Remember, it’s important to start small and build from this if you hope to make steady progress.  So, know your goal!

Make sure you discipline yourself at the beginning

Have rules related to your emergency fund so you’ll be able to navigate through the uncertainties in a positive manner.  For instance, if you plan to deposit $25 a week then do so and don’t make excuses. Whatever you set your goals to, you need to consistently meet them.  Don’t look for an alternative, stay on course!

If there is no way for you to take steps to get ahead you might look for an alternative

Putting money aside can be difficult for those families who are already having a financially difficult time. You might be able to start making progress if you reach out to a financial advisor or seek out professional credit counseling services to begin taking steps to gain control of your debt and begin setting goals for the long-term.

Set up your emergency savings fund separate from your primary account

If you establish an emergency savings separate from your primary chequing account you won’t be as tempted to spend it.  Furthermore, establishing precautionary measures is simply smart and will definitely help you meet your long-term goal, which is saving money and preparing for your future!

Open an account that will provide you with more interest on your money

You can ask your financial institution about an account that might bear more interest on the more cash you regularly put in.  This might encourage you to save more than what you normally would.  You also want to shoot for an institution with the lower fees but a decent interest rate–and watch your money accumulate faster when you do.

Automate funds into your emergency savings fund

Set up an automatic transfer into the emergency savings fund that you can’t change and treat this just as you would a bill.  Once you deduct the money from your primary account you mark it off as if it is no longer present. Financial experts believe this helps prioritize better, but you’ll never know until you try it.

Look for ways you can cut expenses comfortably

If you can cut back on entertainment or other areas of your life you can grow your emergency fund faster and you can definitely feel more confident in meeting obligations no matter what happens in your life.  If you go out to eat often, cutting this down to twice a week can make a huge difference.  Target what you can live with and what you can live without and go from there.

Don’t sabotage your efforts, stay focused

No matter how large your emergency fund might grow, don’t look for reasons to use it unless there is a real emergency to do so.  Some make rationalizations for doing so, but this can sabotage your long-term goal and get you right back to where you started.  Manage and maintain your goals and stay focused.

Just remember, the smallest savings can be a clear life saver in times of emergency as even a little bit can help with necessities.  This is a process, but once you become comfortable with it, it will become second nature to you and really give you something to feel confident and positive about.

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5 Real Life Reasons Why Canadians Need An Emergency Fund

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There is no doubt you’ve read and heard about the importance of having an emergency fund.  In today’s questionable economy, an emergency fund is more invaluable than ever.  You never know when life is going to give you some blows, but they’re sure to happen.  From your water heater going out, on to your car breaking down–you don’t want to be left down and out.  But, without an emergency fund that is exactly where you could find yourself.

Now, this article isn’t about preaching to you, the reader. However, this is about making you more aware of how an emergency fund can really benefit you when you need it the most.  If you’d like to live with less stress in your life, it all starts with maintaining and managing a proper budget!  The emergency fund is a huge part of this.  Let’s take the time to examine why an emergency fund might just be your life saver in a time of crisis.

Why Canadians Should Have An Emergency Fund

According to statistics, within British Columbia 45% of Canadians don’t have an emergency fund and no immediate way to deal with an adverse life circumstance.  The CBIC shows that other residents within British Columbia and surrounding areas have less than a month worth of savings to handle an unexpected life event.  Neither of these classifications are good for anyone, but Ontario and Alberta residents appear to be the most at risk with regard to being prepared for an actual life emergency.  You’ll find several significant reasons listed below as to why an emergency fund will allow you to live more comfortably and with peace of mind.

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5 Reasons To Maintain and Manage An Emergency Fund

While you might be familiar with some of the points within these reasons for an emergency fund, it is hoped you might gain more encouragement to prepare and plan ahead.  Establishing a financial plan now can save you significant stress and heart-ache down the road.

1.  What if your car breaks down?

You have to worry about it, unless you have some other form of protection, but most people don’t. Having some funds set aside to protect yourself for this kind of emergency is absolutely necessary.  How would you get to work, pick the kids up from school, run errands?  Think about it!

2.  What if you lost your job or were laid off?

No one is expendable today and you could be laid off without a moments notice.  Without a cash reserve to keep you afloat how would you make ends meet?  How would you take care of a family?

3.  What if there was a serious illness within your immediate family?

While we hope to remain healthy throughout our lives one never knows, sickness is inevitable.  This can create stress due to a loss of work and a lower income.  Without any kind of fall back plan or savings this can be disastrous!

4.  Could you be financial independent if faced with divorce?

Some couples rely on one another to stay financially healthy, but what if there was an end to your relationship?  Divorce is at an all time high so it makes sense to consider the risks of this happening. Could you manage everything on your own?

5.  What if you face major home repairs or improvements?

If you’re a homeowner you understand the expense this can create and if you don’t have enough home equity built up this can fall on your shoulders.  If it is your AC or a roof repair, it simply can’t wait. Planning ahead is certainly vital to a circumstance such as this.