4 tips for balancing your personal finances
Immigrating to Canada involves many expenses. Here are some effective tips for organizing your finances and saving money.
1. Take a look at your financial situation
To better visualize your future finances, it’s important to understand where you’re at today! So start at the beginning.
Draw up your budget
First, take stock of your assets and recurring income. This is an essential first step in planning the next months and years of your life in Canada. Savings, salary, financial support, scholarships, allowances and government benefits: Think of everything!
Calculate your expenses
Whether they’re fixed, variable or unforeseen, expenses are part of everyday life. To get a complete picture of your finances, make a list of all your monthly payments and possible debts.
Once you’ve taken this first step, you’ll see things a little more clearly! Check out these tips and tricks for saving when you’re budgeting.
2. Manage the unexpected
Create a savings account
Having a dedicated savings account makes it easier to set aside money. By getting into the habit of saving regularly, over time you’ll feel less deprived and might even come to enjoy saving.
Set up automatic savings
It’s always reassuring to have a little cushion to help you deal with life’s unexpected events and emergencies. It will come in handy sooner or later. To give yourself peace of mind, make sure you budget for that extra cushion.
A great way to save is by automating it. All you have to do is set it and forget it. You’ll get into a regular savings habit and every little bit of money will grow faster than you think. Here are 4 good reasons to set up automatic transfers.
3. Resist impulse spending
Take a step back
A big change is the perfect time to review our priorities and lifestyle. Take this opportunity to look for opportunities to save!
Beware of super sales
Sales are a classic marketing strategy, but remember that you’re not saving any money when you buy an item on sale, you’re simply spending it! Pay attention to your buying habits to adopt avoidance strategies.
Set a spending range
Budgeting is good, especially if you’re not always struggling to stay within your limit. By setting a maximum and a minimum, you’ll benefit from aiming for the minimum to save the difference. Go ahead, try it!
Use free returns
Do you regret a purchase? Many retailers offer free returns. Before unpacking something you don’t really need, why not send it back?
4. Reduce your debt
Focus on paying off your debts
Credit card balances, loans from family and friends, purchases in instalments… be sure to make a list of all your debts.
Then look at the interest rates (for example, 0% for one, 19% for another) and pay off the debts with the highest rate first. By following this strategy, you’ll pay off what you owe more quickly.
Limit your use of credit
This is especially important with a credit card if you can’t pay the full monthly balance. Unlike interest on a fixed-amount loan, credit card interest charges can be high.
Lines of credit and loans from your financial institution usually have lower rates. Find out more!
Plan within your means
Some debts are necessary (house, education, car), while others aren’t (you know which ones). To finance things you want to do in the medium- or long-term, set goals and open a dedicated savings account to save for them. First cover your regular expenses, and be sure to pay off your most pressing debts!
Most importantly, you’ll want to talk to a Desjardins advisor to get help, plan well and balance your personal finances.