Monthly Archives: October 2019

How to Structure Your Monthly Living Costs

Learning how to manage your finances is something that everyone struggles with as a standard part of Adulting 101—and even “being an adult” doesn’t really mean that you are an expert budgeter. Your personal finances are subject to a wide range of fluctuation throughout your life, as you move from one job to the next; change apartments; purchase a home; build a family; start travelling, and so on.

 

Maybe you want to prepare for the unexpected (say, a leak in your roof or a blown tire on your car); pay for a trip; reduce your debt (from student loans or credit cards), or just to get better at building your savings account.

 

No matter what your goal is, learning how to structure your monthly living costs will go a long way in helping you get a handle on your financial well-being. And the good news is that smart financial management doesn’t have to be exhausting. All you need are the right tools and the motivation to start, and you can easily start budgeting today!

 

In the sections below, we’ll take a close look at a tried-and-true method of structuring your monthly living costs—and some expert tips for success—to help you develop a budget that will put your financial anxieties at ease.

 

Structure Your Monthly Living Costs with the 50/20/30 Rule

One popular method of organizing your monthly living costs is by using the 50/20/30 rule. It’s a simple way to take a holistic view of your income and get a handle on your expenses. Not surprisingly, it’s one of the most popular budgeting methods out there.

 

With the 50/20/30 rule, your monthly paycheque is consistently split into three categories and percentages:

 

 

  • Necessities

 

Put 50 percent of your paycheque towards necessities. These are non-negotiables, like rent or mortgage and groceries (no way of getting around it, you need these things to survive).

  • Savings and debt
    Next, put 20 percent of your paycheque towards your financial health, factoring in both savings and debt together. You can split it in half if you want, and put 10 percent into paying credit cards and student loans, and then put 10 percent into your savings account (these are also non-negotiables, make sure you make your credit card payments to avoid hefty interest rates!).
  • Wants
    Finally, 30 percent of your paycheque goes towards the things that you want. This is the fun part of your monthly budget, covering things like going out to the movies, splurging on a new purse, or eating out at a new restaurant. (You don’t need them to survive, but they sure make life more fun.) If you don’t end up using these funds, put them towards your savings!

 

By sectioning off your paycheques into 50/20/30 percent segments, you’ll be able to get a clear look at how you are spending your money and where you can improve. This rule also helps steer you in the right direction, ensuring that your spending—and saving—is both purposeful and designed to set your budget up for success.

Pro Tip #1: Cut Back On Necessities

You can’t stop spending money altogether (and who wants to live in a world like that), but you can definitely minimize the amount of money going out of your account each month. Here are some great ways to start cutting down on the things you need, and the ones that you don’t.

 

While you can’t cut out the essentials like housing, transportation, and food, you can definitely minimize the amount that you spend on them. Here are some great ways to start cutting down on the things you need:

 

  • Limit going to restaurants. With drinks, appetizers, and the tip (assuming your server wasn’t a horrible person), dining out can easily be a big food expense. And with 54 percent of Canadians eating at restaurants at least once a week, there are plenty of opportunities to cut back. Plus, you get the extra incentive to make your future restaurant choice a really good one (see you later, fast food dollar menu).
  • Prep your meals before dinnertime. Be more thoughtful when it comes to buying groceries, and prepping ahead of time decreases the chance that you’ll make the easier choice of ordering takeout —no matter how tempting it is to order from that Chinese restaurant with the amazing egg rolls.
  • Buy generic brands. Just because there isn’t a big-name label attached to a product, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t the same thing. Literally. Save a few bucks here and there by opting for the generic version of baking products, canned veggies, cleaning and paper products, and yes—even water. You can even opt for online stores like Brandless that carry a huge assortment of unbranded goods for a fraction of the price.
  • Minimize your transportation costs. If you have a car, you could shop around for a new insurance rate, start using a gas rewards card, or even trade in for a more efficient vehicle. Walk or bike as much as you can to minimize expenses and get some exercise in (and here’s a plus: you might even be able to cut back on your gym membership costs, too).
  • Be mindful with your utilities. When it comes to air conditioning and heating, a few degrees can make a big difference. Keep your windows open in the summer for a nice cool breeze at nighttime, instead of running the air conditioner all day. Set your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter, and bundle up with sweatshirts and blankets (add a couch and a good movie, and you’ve got a winter escape heaven).

 

Ultimately, the goal here is to get creative and to challenge yourself on taking a closer look at the way you spend your money. Not all of us are wired for smart spending, but it’s a skill that you can learn over time. And of course, don’t forget that any improvement is going to make a difference over time, no matter how small!

 

Pro Tip #2: Maximize Your Budget

Getting a handle on your monthly living costs can be a real challenge, especially if you are living from one paycheque to the next (and who isn’t these days). Luckily, there are tons of ways to have your budget right at your fingertips, making it easy to keep responsible spending and saving top of mind. Online budgeting tools, like Mint can go a long way in helping you stay on top of your finances.

 

Budgeting apps like these can make it easier to see exactly where your money is going each month, with categories for Transportation, Grocery, Entertainment, and more. You can also set up automatic alerts to let you know when you are spending over your set limit for any category.

 

Online budgeting tools are everywhere, so there are plenty of options to choose from and find the app that fits your needs.

Pro Tip #3: Make Saving as Easy as Possible

No matter how you look at it, saving is tough. The average Canadian household has less than $900 saved, leaving barely enough room to cover emergency expenses such as car and home repairs.

 

Whether it’s through your bank or an investment company, sometimes the best way to save is to make it as easy and automated as possible. Make your savings into an automated process so that you don’t even have to think about it. Set your transfers to put aside a little bit of money each week, and you’ll be able to save without even giving it another thought. For example, you can link your checking and savings account for automatic transfers to send $1 into savings every time you swipe your card, or monthly transfers of $25.

 

The goal is to gradually get your savings up to where you can comfortably cover emergency, one-time expenses, like a broken dishwasher or a phone that accidentally got dropped in the toilet (hey, we’ve all been there).

 

With a little bit of extra focus and some determination, you can use the 50/20/30 rule as a foundation to organize your finances and get back on track. Of course, starting out with a budget for your first time can be stressful—and My Canada Payday is there to help you bridge the gap from one paycheque to the next. Be sure to check out the FAQ page to see the loan process.

 

If you need a little bit of help to consolidate your debt, pay off an overdue bill, or just to get a little bit of breathing room, a payday loan can be a great tool to help you start learning how to manage your budget. Give us a call (604-630-4783) or send us an email (getpaid@mycanadapayday.com) at any time to find out more about what makes My Canada Payday one of the top payday lenders in Canada!

How to Make Your Money Work For You

You’ve got a steady job, you can pay your bills on time, and maybe you can even start hiding a little bit away into a savings account—but is your savings account really growing? Isn’t there a better way to build your financial health? After all, making money is just the first piece of the puzzle.

 

For many people, knowing what to do with it afterwards (and how to make their money work for them over the long term) is the greatest challenge of all. Like the riddle of the Sphinx, the answers aren’t always clear cut.

 

Luckily, you don’t need to be a mythic Greek hero to get to the bottom of successful money management. Making your money work for you is something that anyone can start doing, no matter what your financial situation may be. All you need are the right tools—and we’re here to help you start. Keep reading to see three expert ways to start getting a handle on your financial health and make your money work for you, not against you.

 

1. Cut down your debt

What’s the first rule of making your money work for you? Simply put: stop spending outside of your means. Whether you have credit card balances, a car loan, student loans, or any other kind of debt, you’re going to be paying high interest rates and fees every step of the way.

 

And if you’re only making the minimum monthly payments, that debt is compounding by the day. Before you know it, that $300 room at a hotel can turn into $350 or $375—and every little bit counts when it comes to credit card bills.

 

First, write out exactly how much you owe. This can be a huge step, especially if you’ve been avoiding your credit card statements. Make a list of everything that you have left to pay on your credit cards and loans, and find out what your interest percentages are. It’s important to get a full understanding of where you are at—and even more important to take ownership and acknowledge that debt.

 

If you use the Snowball Method, you can work on making double payments to your card with the lowest balance first. Then, once it’s paid off, you simply take that amount and apply it to the next card on your list, doubling down on payments until you are free and clear.

 

You could also consider consolidating your debt, whether it’s combining your student loans, refinancing your mortgage, or getting a payday loan deposited into your account to pay off multiple credit cards at once. You might find that simplifying your finances and taking care of multiple debts in one payment is the best approach for you.

 

No matter how you decide to approach it, cutting down your debt is the best way to start taking control over your financial health. We’re all tied to our debts in one way or another, it’s not always in our control—but once you start taking care of the things you can control, you’ll start to find that life becoming that much easier (and less stressful).

2. Start using a budget

One of the best ways to ensure that every dollar is truly maximized is to give every single dollar—and yes, we’re talking about those spare loonies and toonies, too—a specific purpose. Budgeting is all about retraining the way that you look at your daily spending habits. Over time, being mindful about how much you are spending and where you are spending will help you start to see your money in a whole new light.

Sign up for a budgeting app

There are plenty of ways to make creating a budget (and sticking to it) as painless as possible. If you like the thought of having your budget at your fingertips, 24/7, you might consider signing up for a budgeting app.

 

Apps will keep track of each bank transaction and assign it into categories like Groceries, Entertainment, Restaurants, Bills, and more. Since they sync up automatically to your bank account, it’s a good way to start categorizing your spending habits and get a good picture of your financial health with fun tools like graphs, charts, summaries and push notification reminders when you are exceeding your monthly budget in a specific category.

Use the 50/20/30 rule

You may have heard of the 50/20/30 rule before: it’s a tried and true method for organizing personal finances that is widely recommended by financial experts. The main idea behind the 50/20/30 rule is that you separate out each paycheque into percentiles: 50 percent, 20 percent and 30 percent pieces. From there, each piece has its own assigned purpose:

 

 

  • 50% goes to Necessities

 

Take half of your paycheque and put it to the things that you absolutely, positively, without a doubt need to spend money on. Your necessities might not be the same as your neighbor’s, but generally speaking, everyone falls into at least the same breadth of categories.

Necessities apply to things like buying food, mortgage or rent payments, and any minimum payments that you need to make to debit on student loans, credit cards, or car loans.

  • 20% goes to Savings
    Split 20 percent of your paycheque into boosting your financial health. This chunk of money belongs to things like a retirement account, building your emergency savings fund, or making extra payments on your credit card.The key to making this part work for you is treating savings as a non-negotiable, just like filling up your cart at the grocery store. Once you get into the mindset of assigning 20 percent of your paycheque away towards saving and paying down debt, you’ll be much more likely to follow through.
  • 30% goes to Wants
    This is the fun part of living by the 50/20/30 rule: you get to put a whole 30 percent of your paycheque towards fun things. Wants include going out to eat, your Netflix subscription, buying a new pair of shoes, a cocktail night with your friends and more.

Once you start getting used to splitting your income into Necessities, Savings, and Wants, you might find that your percentages have been completely out of whack—like blowing half your paycheque on a weekend trip with friends, or going to restaurants every night instead of the grocery store (we’re all guilty).

 

Learning how to make your money work for you is all about finding the approach that works best for your lifestyle—and the 50/20/30 rule is about as simple and straightforward as they come, making it a great solution to anyone who feels overwhelmed just by the thought of managing their money.

 

 

3. Invest, invest, invest!

Now that you’ve got a little bit of savings under your belt, it’s time to start making passive income. This is the ultimate way of making your money work for you, because it requires almost zero effort on your part! Investing is a great way to ensure that your money is always put to work, even at 3 A.M. when you are fast asleep (except for the night owls, but hey, the point still stands).

Make a Change

There are plenty of ways that you can start investing, but here are two of the most common:

Pension Plans

Find out if your employer offers a pension plan. If they do, you might want to think about enrolling. You can start putting money towards your retirement while getting a little bit of free money from your employer—and let’s be honest, that type of opportunity doesn’t come around often!

 

A pension plan is super simple. You decide how much you will contribute each pay cheque, and a portion of your pre-tax earnings will be sent to your RRSP, or retirement savings account. Then, your employer uses that amount as a basis to determine how much they will contribute. The amount is different for everyone, but usually employers will pledge to match a certain percentage of the amount you put away each year.

Build a portfolio

The stock market can be a complicated beast if you aren’t familiar with it. Creating a portfolio of investments might feel overwhelming if your day job isn’t being a stock broker—but luckily, there are tons of companies out there that make investing accessible and easy.

 

Finding the right company or financial planner makes it easy to manage your savings and investments, and can help you plan for retirement, purchasing a home, paying for your children’s college education, and even your dream vacation. Be sure to read online reviews to be sure they’re a great fit.

 

If you prefer to do it yourself, you can start looking into a collection of low-cost index funds to help you start building your passive income. You’ll pay a 0.25 percent annual fee—but for the ability to grow your finances without lifting a finger, the cost could be well worth it.

 

Investing apps could also be an option. Something like Acorns takes a slightly different approach to investing—instead of putting large amounts away into an investment portfolio, this app rounds up all of your debit card spending and puts the leftover change into the stock market. It’s a great way to automate your savings and start learning how investments work without putting a ton of thought into the process.

 

If those options seem overwhelming, you can even choose to set automatic weekly deposits into a high interest savings account at your local bank. Having even a small amount of interest earnings per month could really add up.

 

At My Canada Payday, we are proud to be one of the country’s leading payday lenders. Helping our customers get back on their feet and learn smart financial habits is our passion, and our 5-star customer reviews prove it! Call (604-630-4783) or email (getpaid@mycanadapayday.com) us at any time to get in touch with our support team and find out why Canadians across the country are choosing My Canada Payday for their payday loans!

Does Saving Money Really Work ?

Simply put, saving money is hard. Just meeting your monthly bills can be challenging enough, and it’s tempting to put extra cash towards fun things, like a day out with friends or an impromptu date night. Getting into a consistent habit of saving takes dedication and it can certainly be stressful if you’re already tight on budget.

 

Even if you can only put away small amounts each week, is all of that effort and frustration worth it? Does saving money really work? The short answer is that yes, saving money works! And you don’t have to be putting away thousands of dollars at a time in order to see the benefits.

 

If you want to be able to afford that new car you’ve been eyeing, finally take the vacation you’ve been planning, start planning for retirement (and you should, because we all know that retirement isn’t always a given these days), or just get a little bit of breathing room for emergency expenses, you’re going to have to start saving.

 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed already, don’t despair: starting good saving habits can be super simple. In fact, keeping it simple is the best way to ensure success. Once you find your own personal way to start, there’s no limit to the ways that you can see this pay off (literally)! See below for a list of our favorite ways that you can start saving money today.

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1. Cut down on your subscriptions.

Online streaming services are great—but when you’re trying to save money, it’s time to re-evaluate and see which ones you are using the most. Services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO can range from $5.99 per month to $16.99 per month on their own. If you have more than one, you could have a high bill on your hands!

 

Take a good, hard look at the way that you are using your subscription services. If you only log on a few times a month, it might be worth it to cancel temporarily. Think $16.99 a month doesn’t sound like a lot? Over a year, cutting that subscription cost could save you over $200—and you can put that right in the bank, instead of having it sit unused on your TV.

 

If you have one that you just can’t let go of, consider signing up for free trials using each email address you have. It’s a hack that won’t last forever, but it could get you through a couple of months of free binge-watching (which could be a life-saver in the winter).

2. Minimize your monthly bills.

We all have the monthly costs that we can’t remove, like rent or mortgage payments, electric and heating, internet and phone bills, car insurance—the list goes on. The good news is that you can take steps to minimize them and keep them under control while you are saving.

 

  • Rent/mortgage—This is a big one: if your rent or mortgage is overwhelming and is stopping you from saving, you’re going to need to make some changes. Moving isn’t always an option, but you may be able to bring on a roommate as a means to cut down on costs. You could also refinance your mortgage or consider creating a listing on AirBnB a few times a month to bring in some extra cash.
  • Internet and phone bills—Let’s face it, communications companies love selling us on their highest possible speed and data plans. Look closely at your monthly bills to find opportunities to downsize. Switching your internet speed or downgrading your data could be a great way to minimize your monthly living expenses.
  • Car insurance—It’s not always easy to think about switching car insurance companies, especially if you have been with them for a long time. Car insurance premiums vary across provinces and depend on a variety of factors, but shopping around for a better rates could help cut down your monthly and yearly costs.
  • Heating and cooling—While not always the most comfortable of options (especially in our harsh Canadian winters), you do have a lot of control over how much you spend on your utilities. In the winter, adjust the thermostat a few degrees and layer up with blankets and sweatshirts. During the summer, use box fans or choose to adjust the A/C at night when it is naturally cooler. There are plenty of creative ways to decrease spending on utilities, so do what works best for you!

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3. Spend time with friends at free events.

Think about how much you spend on an average weekend with friends. It’s so easy to make spending time with friends into an expensive outing. Whether you’re going out to brunch, meeting for dinner, or enjoying a few Saturday night drinks, the costs can quickly add up.

 

Instead, start boosting your saving power by getting together for free or low-cost events. It’s a great way to get out and explore your local surroundings, find something new and interesting to do, and maybe even get outside to a local park, hiking trail, or farmers market.

 

Many local communities have a calendar of free events happening in the area, so check online to see what your city offers (and don’t forget to sign up for newsletters or alerts when something new is added)!

4. Keep yourself accountable.

Everyone has their own unique style and needs when it comes to saving, but finding a way to hold yourself accountable can help train your brain to start thinking like a master saver. There are plenty of approaches that you could take to this, but here are a few ideas:

 

  • Write down your savings goals and keep them somewhere visible so that you see them multiple times throughout the day. Tape them to your bathroom mirror, keep them in your wallet, or leave a note on your fridge to keep saving top of mind.
  • Make your plan as specific as possible. Break your savings down into smaller steps and set mini milestone goals for each. (This is super helpful for long-term goals, since they often feel out of reach.)
  • Talk about your savings goals with friends and family members. Saving is a great goal to have, and you don’t have to keep it to yourself! Don’t be afraid to share your goals with others—they might have some great tips for you, and at the very least, they’ll offer support and encouragement.
  • Enroll in a budgeting app, like Mint to help you track your progress in real time.
  • Use free budget spreadsheets to get hands-on with managing your finances.

 

Saving money can be challenging, but even taking small steps can have a big payoff in the end! Of course, sometimes the hardest part is getting a handle on your current financial situation. If you want a boost to consolidate some debt before you begin saving, you might benefit from a payday loan. My Canada Payday is proud to be one of the top lenders in the country, and we love helping our customers achieve their financial goals. Call us (604-630-4783) or send an email (getpaid@mycanadapayday.com) to learn more about our lending process.