Do you panic every time the phone rings? At Creditaid, we help people take back control of their lives. Many of the people we have helped have been where you are today – too scared to answer the phone or check the mail when it is delivered, missing out on spending time with family or friends for fear of spending money that you don’t have. Life is too short to live in constant fear – it is time to take control, and start living your life again. Call to speak to one of our qualified counsellors who will walk you through each step of the way to becoming debt free – whenever you’re ready, just give us a call at 204-987-6890.
A New Year’s resolution is often about learning from the mistakes you made in the previous year. This is especially true when it comes to budgeting. You can really get ahead of the game; setting yourself up for a debt free year. For a long-term budget, we have some great tips to include in your New Year’s resolution.
Don’t get taken by surprise when it comes to your finances. Remember last year when your car broke down, and you had to break into your budget to pay for the emergency repair? Well, to truth is, this coming year isn’t going to be any kinder to you. There will always be some emergency to deal with, so having a safety net is important. Saving a little extra for a rainy day will help you avoid having to pay for emergencies with your credit card!
Think About Your Small Purchases Too
Everyone has their little pleasures in life, but indulging in them doesn’t have to break your budget. If want to splurge on treats, make sure to keep the costs reasonable. If you like to drink coffee in cafés, try finding one that offers a loyalty card or rates. Most businesses today offer discounts, so try to reserve your splurges for occasions when you can get a deal.
Give yourself something to look forward to by setting budgeting or having saving goals. Don’t set your sights unrealistically high; instead take one goal that is achievable within a fixed time scale, and then focus on that. You can save for a car, new furniture, a clear credit card bill, or anything else that will give you a sense of achievement. When you reach your goal, remember to give yourself a pat on the back!
Do you toss and turn at night, worry every time the phone rings or hesitate to check the mail for fear of seeing more bills? It’s time you start living your life again. Call us today.
The New Year is fast approaching – and it’s a great opportunity to take some time to think about what you would like to accomplish in 2014. If getting your finances back on track is on your list for the year, take this opportunity to drop by and see one of our counsellors.
We are available today and tomorrow –
Monday December 30th 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Tuesday December 31st 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Have a wonderful holiday season!
For many people, a Christmas shopping budget consists of whatever they can spare in the last months before the holiday. However, to have a truly magnificent Christmas, you really need to budget throughout the year. You will find the holiday season much less stressful, and you will find that you’re able to afford gifts that will bring a smile to everyone’s face. To help you stay within your budget this holiday season, here are a few simple tips:
Incorporate your spending into your monthly budget
By incorporating your Christmas spending into your monthly budget, you are essentially making that money untouchable. Treat it exactly as you would credit card fees; only instead of paying for past spending, you are paying for what you will spend in the future. Before long, your Christmas spending money will just become another part of your monthly budget.
Set aside a budget
Your Christmas budget is a little different than regular payments in that you will have to calculate what you need, given the time you have to save. Be realistic with your budget, and try to aim for saving enough to buy the items you need throughout the year. When you have spare cash that isn’t allocated to your budget, make a point of picking up cheaper items while you can afford to.
If you need to buy gifts for ten people, do not work under the assumption that each gift will cost the same. Gifts for smaller children do not cost as much as gifts for teenagers, for instance. Don’t forget that you will need to buy food and drink over the Christmas season, so make sure to incorporate those costs into your budget, too.
Give yourself plenty of time to do your research
There is no point blindly choosing an amount to save each month, only to find that you have woefully under-budgeted. Do your homework, before you sit down to work out your budget, and you will have a realistic monthly figure to aim for. Some clever detective work will help you determine what’s on everyone’s Christmas list.
Are you afraid to check the mail for fear of seeing your credit card bills? Especially during this time of the year, we understand how credit card balances can be overwhelming. Give us a call and we will help you, every step of the way to becoming debt free.
The holiday season is upon us – don’t let the thought of debt affect this special time of the year.
Christmas is coming around, which means that plenty of parents are scrambling, trying to snatch up those last minute deals. If you are one of the millions of parents whose budget is stretched, don’t panic just yet. There is still time to save Christmas and start budgeting the right way for the year.
Ebay Best Buys – Ebay is a great site to find all your gifts. If you haven’t used the site before, here are a few insider tips to live by. Don’t jump on the first listed item that you see – shop around to see if other sellers have also listed the same item. Look for sellers who have received great feedback and have verified status so you can take advantage of the best prices for quality items.
Free Shipping Prices – Remember, during the Christmas season big order outlets have a lot of stock to shift. Those items need to sell before the season’s end, so retailers will often offer free shipping as an incentive. Not only that, but you can search for free shipping coupons online for each of your favorite stores. If there are no coupons available, simply try searching “free shipping” on the site, or look for a filter that has free shipping listed as an option.
Family Christmas – Make time this Christmas for fun and games with your family. Break out the board games, watch some Christmas movies, or play your favorite Christmas songs. Sitting around the table together, sharing those special moments is worth a thousand gifts, but it won’t cost you a penny.
Prepare for Next Year – Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Plan your budget at the start of the New Year, but be realistic. Avoid buying gifts in the early part of the year, if you can. Kids go through phases; so what he liked this year may see a dramatic change by next Christmas. Regardless, the money that you budget should be considered untouchable for other expenditures.
Most of all, remember what Christmas gifting is really about – sharing, loving and appreciating what you already have. If you live it, your children will, too.
Do you wish you had access to a vehicle anytime you wanted but didn’t have to pay the monthly loan payment, insurance payment, gas and repairs? Imagine being able to drive a car anytime you needed one but also saving thousands a year on car costs? Peg City Car Co-op is here for you. This organization has 9 cars located in and around the downtown area waiting for you to pick and use anytime you need one. You pay a low hourly (plus kilometer) rate with no further charges- not even gas! They have 2 programs available for you to choose from depending on your expected car usage. One of these programs is accessible without a credit card. It’s perfect for anyone in a credit counseling program or someone without access to credit.
To learn more call 204-793-3912 or visit their website at www.pegcitycarcoop.ca.
You are 18 and all your friends are going to university so you follow the pack and sign up for some courses too. You intend to work part time so you only borrow $8000 in provincial and federal government student loans for the first year to help pay for your expenses.
In September you move out and put a deposit on an apartment. But now you need furniture so you buy some. You dip into your student loan money for both. You reason that since that you have a roommate- you can afford it.
After going to Mexico for spring break, your money runs out in late February. But you still need to get through two months of school! You increase the number of hours you work but then your marks suffer. You don’t finish your first year with straight A’s like you imagined.
Year 2- You still want to go to school but are not sure what field you want to go into. You decide to take more general arts or science course. You don’t want to run out of money again so you borrow $12,000 in student loans this time.
Year 3- Because your marks aren’t high enough to be accepted into law school, you decide to stay in university and declare history as your major and psychology as your minor. Or you dream of being a doctor and continue with your general science courses. You borrow another $12,000 in student loans.
Year 4- Ditto, and another $12,000 borrowed.
At the end of four years did you get into medical school? Or law school? Or another high paid profession?
If not, you could be in serious financial trouble. Even if you graduate with a B.A. or B.Sc., where are you going to find a job paying you enough money to be able to pay rent, your living expenses, make a car payment, PLUS your student loan re-payments. You now owe $44,000. The interest has been calculating since your last day of school and your payments are set at $444 per month. You are likely to have this payment for approximately 10 years. Unless you now have a high paying career as a result of your 4 years of education, you may struggle to pay your rent, car payment, and other living expenses for the next 15 years! What about being able to buy a house or starting a family?
Here are some tips to avoid the above scenario:
By all means choose a career that you think you will enjoy as you will be spending up to 1/3 of your life working at it. But be realistic. Ask yourself these questions:
1) Am I smart enough and do I have what it takes to successfully finish the schooling for this?
2) How much does this career pay? Some careers pay a higher salary in relation to others that required the same amount of education: 4 year Bachelor of Nursing degree, Pharmacy or Engineering degree vs. 4 year general arts or sciences degrees. If you graduate as a nurse, pharmacist or engineer your salary would likely be over $70,000 per year. With a general arts or science degree you might be lucky to find a job paying $35,000.
3) What are the job prospects in the province I want to live in? If you want to become a marine biologist but continue to live in Manitoba, find out what the job prospects truly are. In order to find work, maybe you need to become an aquatic biologist instead.
4) Choose a career where you are actually trained for a career that is in demand. Don’t study arts or science courses unless you intend to go into education or graduate with a master’s degree in that field of study.
5) Consider alternatives to university or college. You could join the military (Department of Defence). Because they require all sorts of professionals such as dentists, doctors, pharmacists, nurses, lawyers, etc., you may qualify for a program in which they pay for your schooling.
6) Reduce your expectations. If you had your heart set on becoming a doctor but your marks are not high enough, consider another medical related career such as a cardiology technician, sonographer or respiratory therapist. Or if you want to become a lawyer but your LSAT mark is too low, consider alternative career choices as a parole officer, government policy analyst or a career in human resources which deals with employment law.
7) HERE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP: Don’t make the mistake of overlooking a career as a tradesperson. It has been estimated that by the year 2020, Canada will have 1,000,000 vacant positions. The apprenticeship system usually involves six months of schooling followed by six months of practical paid work (for a four year period) which can drastically reduce the need for student loans. There are many trades that pay six figure incomes. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a university education will pay you more as this is simply not true.
Here are some general tips to avoid the student loan trap:
1) Buy everything USED. Second hand school books, clothing, furniture, equipment (including refurbished phones and computers) can save you thousands of dollars during your school years.
2) Make a monthly budget and keep track of your expenses. Be disciplined. If you struggle, instead of telling yourself ‘No’ and feeling sorry for yourself, tell yourself you can buy it once you are working full time.
3) Do not USE your student loan money to buy a car or go on a spring break trip. It should only be used for tuition and books. Do everything in your power to reduce your expenses while you are in school.
4) You are finally an adult and want to be on your own but it is in your best interest to live at home until you are finished school and working. Even if you have to pay ‘rent’ at home, it will likely be far less than if you move out. Then you’ll be paying rent, utilities, groceries, tenant insurance, cable and internet expenses, etc.
5) Do not ask (or let your parents) co-sign your student loans. As an adult you need to be
responsible for your own debt. Someday, if you are not able to repay your student loan
payments your parents will be forced to. If they are not able to make your payments their credit rating could be affected. It is also possible that their wages could be garnished.
6) If you move- always update the student loans departments with your new address. Don’t make the mistake of thinking ‘If the government can’t find me, they can’t make me pay’. If you do, two things will happen. The first is that your wages will be garnished. (They can track you through your social insurance number). You will lose up to 1/3 of your pay cheque until the debt is paid in full. The second is- you will now have a negative rating on your credit report. You may not be able to purchase a house or a car because of this. In order to rebuild your credit you will have to repay the entire student loan debt, plus the accumulated interest. It could take many years to rebuild your credit so that you qualify to buy a house or car. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can outrun your student loan debt no matter how many years have gone by.
Written by Creditaid Credit Counsellor, Laurie Boudreau. Whether you’re a current student dealing with student loans or a recent graduate trying to make ends meet, speak to one of our counsellors today. We have many tips to help you manage your debt.