A recent joint report between Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph states that “The average Canadian family is going to spend $411 more to fill the grocery cart.”
That’s a huge increase in your household budget – equivalent to receiving an extra heating bill or two. Many people believe that this is a relatively fixed cost and that they would have a hard time reducing it without sacrificing greatly at the dinner table. We don’t think that’s entirely true. Here are some things you can do to reduce the cost of feeding your household next month:
Cook at home instead of eating out
This is the number one, most effective way to reduce food costs. Dining out, whether fast food or fine dining, cost a lot more than preparing your own food. As a bonus, you’ll likely be healthier, and when you prepare your own meals, you always know that they’re made to your liking. You might miss the convenience of fast food, but after a few weeks of home-cooked meals, you won’t miss the food.
Take your lunch to work
This is an extension of the above rule – buying lunch at an average cost of ten dollars per day will add up to over $2000 per year to the budget. That money can buy a lot of sandwiches, and perhaps pay down debt. When you’re preparing your own meals at home, it’s possible to cook a little extra every night for lunch the next (or even the following) day, which will help you reduce your costs even more.
Continue reading “How to Spend Less on Food”
Not everyone knows everything. Some people are good with hands-on skills, so they enter the skilled trades. Others may have great people skills and might make a career as a teacher or salesperson. When it comes to finances, however, everyone, regardless of their strengths or their background, is faced with similar money challenges.
At Creditaid, we’ve developed a program to help you improve your financial situation with our “Build Learn Save” program. This program will BUILD or improve your credit score. You will LEARN valuable budgeting skills that will help you SAVE money to spend on something important like your first home, a new car, or college education. It’s an ideal program for individuals who want to take charge of their financial future regardless of their current income and credit situation.
Continue reading “Build Learn Save Program”
Sometimes, the words we use to describe something can affect the way we think about it. “Budget”, like “diet”, is a neutral word, but we often use it to describe something that is restrictive. Nobody really enjoys having to skip dessert, just like nobody really likes counting their pennies to make sure they can meet their obligations each month. Sometimes, however, circumstances dictate that restrictions be made, both dietary and financial. Your mental approach, however, can make a big difference in the psychological effect budgeting can have.
When you make a “budget”, you can easily fall into the trap of thinking negatively. You’ll put it off as long as possible, and rush through it to get it over with, just because you associate it with something unpleasant, which is not having enough money to buy things at will. The more difficult your financial past, the more you are to hate the whole concept of spending restrictions because they’ll remind you of your past issues, and cause you to stress in the present. One of the biggest obstacles to overcoming the financial difficulty is the (wrong) feeling of shame that accompanies it.
If you change the way you think about it, you might be able to change your attitude toward the act of budgeting. Simply calling it a “spending plan” might make it feel like sitting down to balance income with expenses is a good thing (which it is!) and make you dread it less.
Spending plans are necessary, and not only when debt loads are high and income levels are a problem. They’re more important when things are going well – that’s when a lack of awareness of our financial realities can get the better of us, and lead us to overspend, causing difficulties down the line.
Continue reading “Call it a Spending Plan, not a Budget!”
When we consider all of the stressors in our lives, financial concerns are often near the top. Money worries can cost you sleep, affect your self-perception and confidence, and often result in denial and a kind of mental paralysis that can cause the problems to worsen, while not making you feel better at all. And then there’s the issue of shame – we all know that we’re supposed to live within our means, avoid debt, and constantly strive to “put money away” for a rainy day or for retirement. When we feel like we’re not achieving the goals that we’ve set for ourselves, we get discouraged and stressed.
Here are a few things you can do to relieve money stress.
Acknowledge the Problem
Financial problems don’t just go away. Ignoring a creditor’s phone calls isn’t effective in the long term, and only leads to more stress and bigger problems. Resolve to face the problems right away, and make an action plan.
Do something about your situation right away. No matter how bad the problem is, there are steps you can take to prevent it from getting worse. Find out what they are, and take them as soon as possible. If you don’t know what to do, consider seeking help. (Read “Seek Help” below).
Don’t Let Money Problems Shame You
Many people experience, at one time or another, financial difficulties. Money troubles don’t mean you’re a failure and are far more common than you think. Don’t compare your situation to other people’s. Your neighbours might appear to be prosperous, but might be drowning in debt you can’t imagine. Make financial decisions that fit your life.
Financial difficulties can be complex and confusing. Luckily, you don’t have to go it alone. Creditaid has been helping Manitobans manage and overcome their debt for more than a quarter century. We provide credit counselling, budgeting, and other solutions that can help you restore your finances and rebuild your credit. Take the first step toward a secure, debt-free future. Contact Creditaid today for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Another year has come and gone. For some, it’s been magical, and for others, a little less so. The new year is a time for retrospection, to look back at what’s happened, evaluate where we are, and make preparations for the coming year.
Let us offer you one piece of advice – a few simple steps can give you a whole lot of peace of mind when it comes to securing your financial future. Make 2019 the year that you prepare for unforeseen financial challenges with an emergency fund. The security you’ll feel when you know you’ve protected yourself from an urgent home or car repair, a “blip” in your employment, or any one of a million other unforeseen circumstances is one of the best goals to attain.
How Much is Enough?
The amount of money you need in your emergency fund is really up to you. We’d say, the more the better, but in the end you’ll have to make your own decisions. How much will get you over a rough patch – a month’s salary? Six month’s salary? A thousand dollars? Ten thousand dollars? It’s unpleasant to imagine all of the bad things that can happen to your finances, but it’s important to determine a worst-case scenario to help you set a savings goal.
Continue reading “How to Set Up an Emergency Fund for 2019”
We all love the holidays. It’s a time visit with loved ones that we don’t get to see often enough. We share special meals and spirits and enjoy the fun around the annual gift exchange with our friends and family.
It’s easy to get carried away at the moment, believing the January bills to be far away. In the 26+ years, we’ve spent helping Manitoba families manage their debts, we at Creditaid have often seen the negative impact that too much indulgence at Christmas / holiday season can have on our clients’ finances in the new year.
Like many areas of your financial affairs, the key to successful and safe holiday gift giving is adequate planning. Ideally, we are all saving a bit of money throughout the year to meet our December expenses. And before we set foot in the mall (or log in to our favorite online retailer’s site) we need to have a clearly established plan. We need to know how much money we’re going to spend on gifts for the Holidays, and how many gifts we want to purchase, and for whom.
That’s why we’ve developed the Holiday Gift Giving Planner. It’s a tool designed to help you plan gifts for all the special people in your life, while adhering to a budget that you design ahead of time.
Continue reading “Use Creditaid’s Holiday Gift Giving Planner to help make this Holiday Season Great!”
Creditaid’s Brian Denysuik share his financial wellness tips with Keith Macpherson, renowned motivational speaker and author of Making Sense of Mindfulness.
Listen to discover, connect and be inspired by Keith’s positive energy and open mind around finances.
Listen to Brian Denysuik, President of Creditaid, discuss Manulife Bank’s survey that shows Canadians cut back spending on extras as interest rates rise CJOB’s Hal Anderson.
Continue reading “Are You Cutting Back on Spending?”
The following article written by Libby Giesbrecht originally published on CHVN95.1FM Radio on August 10, 2018. Creditaid’s Brian Denysuik, discusses the tough choices homeowners make later in life due to increasing mortgage rate costs.
To read complete article, click here – CHVN95.1FM 0 Increasing Mortgage Rates Can Hurt Less
The following article originally appeared in the Manitoba Teachers’ Society Balance Wellness Magazine.
In today’s world, there are many of us that have what I will call multiple streams of income. This can come from different sources, such as two or three part-time jobs versus one full-time job. It can include a second job throughout the summer months, a side business or a combination of receiving a pension and working part-time.
Continue reading “Calculating Multiple Streams of Income”