According to the BDO Canada Affordability Index, more than half of all Canadians are living paycheck to paycheck, one in four say they’re overwhelmed by debt, and 27% say they don’t have enough money to cover living expenses. A lot of people are stretched thin. If you’re one of them, and you’re curious about how to budget and save money, we’ve compiled a list of tips that can help you get a handle on your finances and live within your means.
Know How Much You Make
To truly live within your means, you have to know what your “means” are, right? This goes beyond knowing how much your cheque will be on payday. Do you have a side hustle? Do you freelance? Sit down and do an honest tally of your net take-home pay from all your income sources for each month. Don’t include personal items you sell, etc., as this income tends to be less predictable. Stick to the money you know you can rely on from month-to-month.
Track All Expenses
Really want to save your money? Take an honest look at your expenses. This goes beyond your rent/mortgage, utilities and food. Think about car payments and gas. Eating out. Shopping. Take a month or two and save all your receipts and credit card statements. Consider each line item. This will give you a true picture of how you spend your cash each month.
Spend Less Than You Make
This is where the rubber meets the road. To truly live within your means, you must spend less than you earn each month. It’s managing money 101. Once you’ve tracked all your expenses, you’ll be able to identify unnecessary spending and areas where you can cut back or eliminate purchases altogether. Start small to keep things manageable. Then, once you’ve re-wired yourself to spend less in a particular category (like eating out or drive-through coffees), move on to the next one. And remember: if you can’t afford to buy something, don’t. Easier said than done, yes. But financial self-control is fundamental to success here.
Create An Emergency Fund
Unexpected expenses will happen. They always do. And when things go haywire, an emergency fund can protect your budgeting efforts from going bust, too. The rule of thumb is to save three to six months’ worth of expenses. If you’re just starting out, automate a small amount of money to go into a savings account you can’t easily access. Adopt the “set it and forget it” mindset. You’ll be surprised at how quickly the money will grow. And when things go wrong, you’ll have money to cover the expenses without having to do any unnecessary spending.
Avoid Using Credit Cards
One of the best ways to save money? Don’t use your credit cards. Or if you do, pay them off completely each month. People sometimes think that a credit card is a source of income. If they don’t have the cash, they swipe the card. But that’s the fastest way to spiral into debt. To live within your means, skip the plastic and stick to cash.
Online Payday Loans
It can take a while to get the hang of living within your means. If you find yourself coming up short on cash from time to time, a payday loan from Speedy Cash can help. We offer flexible and quick payday loans that can get you the cash you need the day you need it, often in 30 minutes or less upon approval. And you can qualify even if you have less-than-perfect credit because we don’t do a credit check.