Living as a Couple – Time for the Talk

Your relationship is going well, and you take the big step to move in together. However, reality soon comes crashing down. Before you know it, the honeymoon is over, and you’re disagreeing about every little aspect of your lives together.

One of the biggest sticking points for couples is finances. You may find that you each hold completely different views about the importance of budgeting, or when you do budget, you disagree on what is or is not a priority. These are the times that will try your relationship, but the good news is, you can get through it and reach an accord.

First of all, there is no way around it – you need to be honest with each other. Discuss all your assets and debts, so there are no unpleasant surprises. You then need to decide whether to share financial responsibilities and to what degree. One person may be bringing a lot more debt to the relationship, which is why it is important to have this conversation early in the relationship.

Make sure to discuss your individual credit history, too. Your ability to borrow as a couple will be greatly impacted by your past spending. Don’t panic if your partner has taken out a lot of credit in the past; this is your opportunity as a couple to explore options for getting to a place of financial stability. Talk about setting a budget and goals for clearing debt, and decide on a ratio of responsibility for that debt.

While it is important that both of you contribute financially to your budget and the paying off of debts, you should also play to your strengths. The person who is better at managing monthly bills should take care of that side of your finances; however, it is important that both people in the relationship share the overall responsibility of maintaining the budget.

Compromise and communication are key to a strong financial relationship so make sure you discuss and come to an agreement on where your money is going and when. A relationship takes work, but by having this honest conversation early on and staying on track with budgeting and spending, you may find that your relationship is stronger for it.

New Year, New Start – Budget Bootcamp

New Year resolutions are hard to keep – in fact; did you know most are abandoned within the first two weeks of the year? The same is also true of first-time budgets; which is why we at Creditaid are offering a FREE 5-Day Back to Basics Budget Bootcamp.

Bootcamps are known to be hard work. In order to become a champ, you will have to challenge yourself and push yourself beyond your limits. Once you do though, you will see and feel the results of your hard work – which is why we like the concept of a Budget Bootcamp so much!

Over the span of one week, we will help you create a budget that will work for you and your lifestyle and provide you with all the tools and advice you need to get you on the right track and keep you there. The process is not complicated; you just need to put in the effort.

We understand that budgeting isn’t easy, so we will show you how to work with the money that you have while remaining realistic. There are no quick fixes or shortcuts, just sensible, effective ways to manage your money. The course lasts five days, and by signing up you will receive an email on each of those days which will take you through simple steps to set up and maintain your daily, weekly and monthly budgets.

The sign up process is easy; there is just one form to fill in and then we’ll send you the first part of the series. We do not ask for any personal information other than your name and email address so that we can send you your 5-Day Back to Basics Budget Bootcamp emails. Once you have received part one, you can begin to get your spending under control. This is your opportunity to have a new year with a new start so sign up now!

Scared to Pick Up the Phone?

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.

Shopping for Christmas?

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.

Allocate smartly
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.

Don’t forget to download our Holiday Gift Giving Planner to help you through the holiday season.

Peg City Car Co-op. Fantastic Vehicle Alternative

Photo Credits: Peg City Co-Op

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

Staycation This Summer

With the high cost of fuel prices, traveling any distance can become quite costly. However, that doesn’t mean your family needs to forego your vacation time. Often times, we overlook options that are close at hand when planning vacations.

Plan your week out just as you would if you were traveling to a vacation destination. Take in some local attractions as a family, that you might not otherwise. Take a tour of a historical museum and then eat dinner out at a landmark restaurant or hotel in town. You might plan one day as a nature adventure and go on a hike and pack a picnic lunch. You could end the day with a campout in the backyard. In reality, you don’t even need to leave the house. You could have a vacation from cooking, chores, and laundry for a week and spend the time playing games, hanging out at the pool and eating pizza delivered to your door.

Vacation is about how far you go or how much money you spend. It’s about spending time together, relaxing and having fun. You can accomplish those things at home by simply putting yourself in the ‘vacation mode’.

Getting Your Financial Life in Order

Just as spring is often the time that we clean-out and reorganize our homes, it is a good time to bring some order to our financial lives as well. We’ve put together a few tips to help you do just that.

1. Balance your checkbook. For some people, this may be a ‘duh’ statement, but for others it is actually a big step. If you have not been balancing your checkbook with your monthly bank statement each month, now is the time to start. Knowing that the balance in your checkbook is accurate can relieve a lot of stress and save you plenty of money in overdraft fees. If you’re having trouble getting it balanced, take it into your bank and ask them for help. They can help you get to a good clean starting place for the spring.

2. Write out a monthly budget. It doesn’t have to be overly detailed, just start by listing out all your monthly bills and the average amounts due each month. Then add in budget amounts for groceries, fuel for your vehicles and other expenditures you make that do not come to you in bill form, like entertainment, giving and clothing. Schedule when each bill will be paid on a calendar, based on its due date and when your income comes in.

3. Make an appointment for credit counseling. There are experts available to help you sort through your finances and give you the advice you need. Pick up the phone and make an appointment with one of our credit counselors.

4. Open a savings account. Even if you don’t have much to put into it, open a savings account and begin the process. Determine an amount to deposit into it each week or each month. Perhaps you’ll want to set aside a few dollars from each pay check, or maybe you’ll do the ‘save my change’ game and deposit your extra change each week. No matter how small it is, begin the process of building a savings account for yourself.

These are just four simple steps to help get your financial life in order and heading in the right direction. Spring is as good a time as any to start fresh.

Spring is Here … Time for a Financial Tune-up

The warm weather is finally here. Your thoughts turn to spring cleaning and outdoor living. So have you given any thought to tidying up your finances along with your patio?

Here are a few ideas for putting a spring in your finances:

Double Up on Payments- If you’re like a lot of people, the holiday season has you off to an already sluggish start financially. Why not consider using that tax return to make an extra car or house payment? It’s an ideal opportunity to give yourself some breathing room early on in your fiscal year.

Shop for Deals – Take a look at what you’re paying each month for phone/internet/TV services, insurance, etc. Contact providers about getting a better deal. Are you watching all of those channels in your cable package? Have you used all of those features/minutes in your wireless plan? Check for better rates on home and car insurance.

Cash in on Spring Cleaning – You’ve probably got money laying around the house that you didn’t even know about. Books, clothing, tools, and assorted goods are just taking up space. Instead of paying to store it all, make some extra room in your garage and your budget with a yard sale.

Check Your Credit Score – Make sure all of your accounts are up to date with all three major reporting agencies, and look for any erroneous entries.

An honest assessment of your finances along with a little creativity can go a long way toward a fresh financial start this spring.

How to politely say “No Thank You”

Are you finding yourself on the right track of saving money?  Do you find that it is sometimes derailed by the good intentions of family and friends with their invitations for dining out, at home selling parties and fundraising events?

Here is an article that we found online that provides 7 Ways to Politely Say No.
1.      That won’t work for me but I could do this instead.
2.      I’m on a strict budget right now.
3.      Sorry, I can’t make it to that event.
4.      It’s tough finding people to pay for these things, isn’t it?
5.      I already ate but I could come just to hang out with you.
6.      Why do you want me to spend on this item?
7.      I would prefer not to.

Click here to read the article in its entirety7 Ways to Say No by Kathryn Vercillo.

Holiday Spending Hangover

You did what you said you wouldn’t do over the holidays and that was over spending. Unfortunately, what’s done is done, you beat yourself up over it, and now you just need to move forward to fix it.

First thing to do is to assess the situation. See how much you have spent over the holidays and how much damage was done to those debit and credit cards. Then figure out a payment plan. Determine which debts to pay off first and prioritize when you will pay them off. While doing this, take a look at how much you will be bringing in over the next couple of months and if you have money left over after paying off your fixed debts, put that money towards your extra debt you accumulated over the holidays. Also, stop all unnecessary spending habits such as shopping, dining out, movies and entertainment, and vacations. It may be painful to give up some of your luxuries for a while, but it will be worth it once you have paid off your debt.

Additionally, to find extra income during this financially trying time, try getting your taxes done early and you never know, you might receive a significant amount on your tax return that you can put towards your debt.

The final tip is to learn from this preventable mistake. Plan ahead for the next holiday season and you are sure to make all the right choices next year.