Make 2022 the year of finance by improving your financial direction from the start! Even if you are living paycheck-to-paycheck, a few changes to the way you spend and look at money can make all the difference. It’s never too late to start again and reverse course! Here are a few simple ideas to get you started:
- Create a Budget: In order to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck , you need to know where that paycheck is going. Creating a budget is simple with Google docs, or look into other online tools and sites to get started.
- Pretend You Earn Less Than You Do: Give yourself a cut in pay. The goal is to put 10% in savings from each paycheck into your savings account. The easiest way is to do an automatic direct transfer from your chequing account to your savings every pay period.
- Pay Down Debt: If you have a lot of credit card or unsecured debt, try paying the minimum on all but one of them and aggressively pay down that one card. Once it’s paid off, attack the next one. If you’re so deep in debt that you can’t fight your way out, consider consulting with myself or your local mortgage broker about your debt consolidation options and if your mortgage can be used to help you clean the state. They will be able to review your debt and possibly recommend a way to consolidate it into one simple payment with a single point of interest charges.
- Build an Emergency Fund: Once you have your budget in place, review it and break it down into non-discretionary expenses (rent, groceries, utilities, etc.) and discretionary expenses (eating out, entertainment, clothes, etc.). See where you could cut down on discretionary spending and put that money towards your emergency fund. Even starting with just a little amount is great and helps you build the habit of saving.
- Don’t Forget Your Future: Putting at least 3% of your paycheck into a retirement fund is a great idea, or maybe when you get your first raise instead of thinking of it as free money, simply put it into a fund and forget about it. You’ll be glad it’s there when you need it in the future.
- Consider Downsizing: It may be time to consider a lifestyle change. Consider moving to a smaller place. Get rid of that cost of going to that expensive gym with a trip to the local park. Think about if you really need that brand new car or if a used one would work just as well.
Anastasia (Staci) James