Stores are Open – Reign in your Spending

Life is trying to get back to normal. As the COVID-19 numbers drop, more retail stores are reopening, which is a great sign for our economy, but may not be as good for your pocketbook. Try to avoid getting caught up in the excitement of things getting back to ‘normal,’ and be mindful of your spending.

Before you shop, ask yourself the following questions.

Is this an Impulse Buy?

Are you shopping with a list? If you are, is the item you’re holding or that you ‘need to buy’ on your list? If not, it’s an impulse buy. Even if you don’t have a list, but you look at things you don’t need or didn’t intend to buy; it’s an impulse buy.

Rather than buying without thinking, give yourself 48 hours. Leave the store or close your web browser without buying the product. After 48 hours, if you’re still thinking about the item, maybe it’s something worth buying. Chances are though, if it was an impulse buy, you won’t even think about it again.

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Master These Budgeting Skills to Succeed in Life

What do you think about when you hear the word budget? Does it send shivers down your spine? Do you immediately think of sacrifice and feeling restricted?

What if mastering budgeting skills could help you win at life? What if it could help you feel more at ease and have more freedom?

If you’re ready to win at your finances, check out the top budgeting skills you need below.

Record your Spending using a Paper or Electronic Transaction Register

You won’t know how much you have each month unless you track what is coming in and going out.  It also helps keep you accountable. You’ll know when bills are due and what you owe. You’ll also know if you’re close to over-drafting your accounts and how much money you can save for emergencies or retirement.

Keep Track of Irregular Expenses

Even if you’re great at tracking your regular monthly expenses – those pesky irregular expenses can get you. Rather than letting them sneak up on you, write out all irregular expenses for the year. Think of expenses like Christmas spending, real estate taxes, annual insurance premiums, and home repairs.

Estimate the total cost of your irregular expenses and divide the total by 12 months. Put away at least this amount each month so that when the expenses come up, you’ll have the funds to pay it.

Get Good at Finding Deals

Shopping is a necessity, but you don’t have to overspend. Know when to buy products that you need, such as linens, clothing, appliances, furniture, mattresses, and cars. Time your purchases during the times these items are priced the lowest.

For example, furniture is usually the cheapest at the end of summer and end of winter; clothing is cheapest at the end of each season, and mattresses go on sale around each major holiday.

Shop with Lists

Shopping without a list, especially grocery shopping can be dangerous. Planning saves you money and stops you from buying things you don’t need.

Before you shop, create a meal plan for the week. Know what you’ll make for all meals and snacks. Plan your meals around the sales and/or coupons you have. If staple items you use often are on sale, stock up on them so you don’t have to pay regular price when you run out. 

Avoid Impulse Buying

Impulse buying can send even the most thought out budget out the window. When something catches your eye, walk away from it. Give yourself 48 hours to think about it. If the item is still on your mind after 48 hours, consider the purchase, but do your research. Can you find it cheaper? Will there be a sale? Can you find a coupon?

Mastering these simple budgeting skills will help you stay on track financially. You’ll know when funds are low and you’ll see where you can cut back or make changes. Staying flexible and adaptable throughout the process will help you feel less restricted and even make you feel like you have more freedom to do what you want. 

How to Cut your Expenses to Stretch your Budget

Money may have become tighter for more and more families. Whether you’ve gone through your savings already or you’re worried about what is yet to come, it’s important to know where you can cut your expenses to save money right now.

While each family has different expenses and areas they can cut, we share some of our top tips to cut your expenses below.

Trim the Entertainment

Yes, we are all bored sitting at home, but there’s no reason to go overboard right now. Entertainment is probably one of the easiest areas to cut in your life. Consider cutting:

  • Subscriptions – How many subscriptions do you have? Do you use them, especially right now? Cutting your monthly subscriptions could save you significant money right now.
  • Movie streaming services – How many streaming services do you need? Can you cut it down to one main service that has most of what you need? 
  • Shopping – While we can’t go to many of our favorite stores, online shopping can be just as dangerous, if not worse. Shopping when you’re bored can lead to excessive and needless spending.

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Don’t Let the Pandemic Cause Financial Anxiety

The whole world is in panic mode right now as we all work through the pandemic of the coronavirus. Whether you’ve had the illness, are out of a job, or your hours were cut, there’s no doubting that it’s scary times, right now, but that doesn’t mean you should panic. We will get through this and when we do, you want to feel good about how you handled your personal and financial life.

So what should you do to get through this time? Check out our top tips below.

Don’t Make Hasty Decisions

It’s important to stop and take a deep breath. When the worry settles in, relax. This isn’t going to last forever. In the meantime, seek advice if you’re worried. Take this time to make a budget and see where you stand. What do you need help with and where can you get it? 

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Creditaid Operational Update – Yes, We’re Open – COVID-2019

To our valued clients,

UPDATE: December 10, 2020
We are open and encourage clients to continue making payments electronically. If you need to make payments in person, masks are mandatory when you are in our office.

Also, we provide consultation meetings virtually, over-the-phone, and in person.

As always, if you are feeling sick, have been out of the province, or have had contact with a known case, please do not come to our office.

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UPDATE: April 2, 2020 – In response to the Government of Manitoba’s public health order and for the safety of our clients and staff, we have closed our office for in-person payments and appointments. Our team can be reached during regular business hours by phone at 204-987-6890, by email reception@creditaid.ca or chat with us online at creditaid.ca.

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UPDATE: March 22, 2020 – In light of the recent changes by the Government of Manitoba, please do not come to our office if you have any of the following:
– feeling sick
– have been out of the country
– have had close contact with someone who has returned from an international trip

Our team members continue to be available to help you with any questions by phone and email. Please email reception@creditaid.ca as this email will be monitored each business day.

Additionally, we do have protocols in place to keep you and our staff safe, including social distancing, when you come to make a payment in-person. However, to minimize interaction, we strongly encourage you to send in your payments via bill payment through your financial institution. Note that it takes 1 to 3 business days for an online bill payment to get processed.

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With the concerns here in Manitoba and abroad about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak around the world, we want to update you about what Creditaid is doing in response to this health concern.

First, we want to emphasize Creditaid remains open for business. We are fully operational and have taken steps to ensure we will be able to continue to carry out our work for you under changing circumstances.
We have taken precautionary measures to ensure the health and well being of our clients, team members, and families.

Creditaid has also increased its cleaning protocols in our office to ensure a safe environment for our team members and clients. In addition, to limit the potential impact of COVID-19, Creditaid is also requesting any staff showing symptoms, or who have reason to believe they have been exposed to the virus to self isolate for 14 days.
We are monitoring communications from Health Canada and the Province of Manitoba closely, and we are prepared to respond to the rapidly changing nature of this pandemic. Should the need arise, some team members are able to work remotely, supported by our IT infrastructure. Your information will remain confidential and secure on our servers.


Our team members continue to be available to connect with you by phone and email, or at this time, in person. We ask that you direct your inquires to reception@creditaid.ca as this email will be monitored each business day.


If you normally make your payments in our office, we are suggesting that you make plans to send in your payments via bill payment through your financial institution. Please be aware that it can take 1 to 3 business days for an online bill payment to get processed. If you do require to make payments in-house, our office will be open to take payments by Interac (debit), which is the preferred in-house method, or by cash (exact change only). We do not accept personal cheques.


If you have questions, concerns or require more information on payment options, please do contact our office for assistance.

How do you Track your Financial Progress?

You’ve set your budget – congratulations. Now how do you know if you’re doing it all right?

This is where your budgeting really comes into play. You can put anything you want on paper, but it’s how well you follow the budget in real life that matters. So how do you track your financial progress?

Check out the steps below.

Choose a Tool

Tracking your financial progress comes down to one thing – tracking your income and expenses. You can do this with pen and paper, but that gets tedious and is hard to keep up and stay consistent. Today, it’s easier than ever to track your finances electronically with either an online program or mobile app.

Choose the program that suits your needs and budget (many are free). For example, some financial institutions have tracking tools with their accounts. Whether you use the tools to their full advantage by tracking your income, expenses, investments, and net worth or you just track your income and expenses, you’ll have a bird’s eye view of how you’re doing financially at all times.

Measuring your Progress

Remember, budgeting is flexible. There’s room for change and even errors. That’s the beauty of it and why it’s so important to track how you’re doing. As you go, evaluate your financial status each month. Are you finding that you overspend in certain categories or that you don’t have enough money to put away in savings each month?

Look at the problem areas and figure out ways to problem solve. Do you need to change some of your line items, cut expenses, or maybe get a side gig? If you are spending more than you’re bringing in, it’s time to rethink your strategies to achieve financial freedom.

On the other hand, if you find that you’re doing better than you thought, reallocate some of your funds to your savings and investment accounts. This is a sign that you’re doing well and you can start achieving some of the short, mid-term, and long-term goals you’ve set for yourself.

Be Flexible and Stay Consistent

As you work through your budget, especially in the beginning, it’s important to be flexible not only with your spending but with how you track it too. If you find that the tool you’ve chosen isn’t working, choose another.

The key is to stay consistent, though. Whether you change tools, fix your budget, or keep everything status quo, continually check the status of your budget and measure your progress. If you set goals, check on your progress every few months. What milestones have you reached? If you haven’t reached any yet, what can you do to reach one?

Keep yourself accountable by tracking your every financial move. While it may seem tedious at first, it’s the best way to keep yourself on track. If you notice things not working, it’s a sign to change things up until you figure them out. If things are going well, stay consistent and look for ways to continually add to your savings and investments to help fuel your financial success.

If you need help with your spending plan, give Creditaid a call at (204) 987-6890 or email info@creditaid.ca to for more information.

Creating a Spending Plan to Get out of Debt in 2020

If any part of your New Year’s resolutions has to do with money, you’re in good company. So many people say they want to get their finances straight and get out of debt. But, there’s a difference between saying and acting it. Are you ready to put your words into action? Check out the simple tips to get started below.

Review Your Existing Financial Situation

First, you don’t know what you need to improve until you know your financial situation. Sit down with the last 12 months’ of bank statements. Go through each statement carefully, adding up your income and expenses for each month.

Do you see any trends as you tally up your totals? Do you find that you go over budget often – spending more than you make? That right, there could be a reason for your debt. Now, take out your credit card statements – again, looking at the last 12 months of statements. What do you notice? Did you buy things you didn’t need? Did you make minimum payments rather than paying your debts off in full? Take note of each of these habits as we move onto the next step.

Figure Out What’s Important to You

Now it’s time to think about what’s important to you. After you’ve looked at your statements, you know where your money went. How much of it resonates with you, and how much of it makes you frustrated that you spent your money that way?

This is a great place to start as you figure out what’s important to you. Creating a spending plan shouldn’t be about sacrificing or feeling like you can’t do anything. It should be a good balance between fixed expenses, variable expenses, saving, and giving. Knowing what’s important to you and what you aren’t willing to give up is a big part of the puzzle.

Create a Budget That Includes Debt Reduction Plans

Once you know where you stand, it’s time to create a budget. Don’t let that be the dreaded ‘b’ word in your life. Creating a plan gives your money a job or a purpose. Would you get up out of bed every day without a plan? You might, but it would be a lot harder to be productive, right? The same is true for your money. You know how much you earn, now figure out how best to spend it.

Once you create your budget, put it on paper. Make sure you are flexible, though. Don’t assume the first plan you set will solve all of your problems. You may have success in the first month, or you may find that you have to make some adjustments, and that’s okay. It’s about awareness, flexibility, and taking the steps necessary to put your plan in place.

Are you ready to get yourself out of debt in 2020? If it’s more than about debt consolidation and more about debt elimination, we’re here to help. Call Creditaid at 204-987-6890 or email info@creditaid.ca for a FREE debt consultation. We’ll help you see where you stand, what you need to do, and how soon you can say that you, too, are debt-free.

Get Your Finances in Shape with a Financial Coach

get-your-finances-in-shape-with-a-financial-coach

According to a 2019 study by the Canadian Payroll Association, 43 percent of workers are financially stressed to the point that their work performance is suffering. Almost 25% of working Canadians spend nearly 40 minutes of each workday distracted from their work by their financial situation.

The distraction is a problem of enormous magnitude, which steals an estimated 16 billion dollars each year from the Canadian economy. Finding solutions to an individual’s financial worries can benefit our economy as a whole.

But what is the solution? At Creditaid, we’re specialists in helping relieve financial stress. There’s no single solution to an individual’s financial worries. However, we’ve found that there is a simple approach that can ease the pressure for many, if not most. We can start by approaching financial literacy as a skill that can be taught and a process that can be coached. It would help remove the stigma that is wrongly attached to people who seek help.

Consider financial planning like your golf swing, or yoga, or anything else you want to learn and improve, and find an expert who can help you. Financial literacy isn’t a mystery – it’s something you can learn, and the more you learn, the more confident you become. A financial coach can help you create a budget and plan for your financial future in both the short and long term. No matter what your present circumstances are, they can be improved.

Many people are intimidated by the thought of sharing their financial situation with a stranger. If you’re experiencing stress over your finances, engaging the services of a knowledgeable financial coach could result in far less stress, not more.

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How to Maximize your Spending Plan (AKA Budget)

Maximize Spending Plan

Get the Most for the Least by Shopping Carefully

Budgeting can be like strong tasting medicine – it’s one of the most challenging remedies to take, but its effectiveness cannot be denied.  Whether you’ve got money troubles or not, a budget will help your finances.  You don’t make a budget just to fix problems – you have to do it all the time.

A spending plan is more than just a list with numbers.  It’s a willingness to do things that may seem inconvenient at the time, but add up to a considerable advantage when you’re looking to cut costs, without sacrificing quality.

Here are some everyday actions you can take that will make your bottom line look better:

Check Prices
Ok, so you’ve decided to make a purchase, and you’ve budgeted for it.  Before you expend precious funds, make sure you’re getting the best value for your dollar.  Ask yourself the following:

“Can I save money by buying used?”  A lot of times, a used item will serve just as well as a new one.  Appliances, for instance, are often available used, many from dealers who will offer a warranty.  Clothing, too. Many discount stores offer name brand clothing, gently worn, at a fraction of the original cost.  If you’re ok with previously enjoyed clothes, you’ll find that you can start dressing really well for really cheap.

“Is another store having a sale on this item?”  Is the sale good enough to justify the extra travel time and expense?  Try to avoid paying more just for convenience.

“Is it less expensive online?”  Sometimes it’s worth having to wait a few extra days for delivery.

Prepare your Own Meals
We can’t stress enough just how much impact this one simple act can have on your bottom line.  Take out or delivery costs several times as much as preparing a similar item at home, and when you make it yourself, it’s how you like it.  Compare the savings to the time spend preparing meals, and it’s like you’ve got another job that pays really well.

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