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.
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.
We can all relate to how frustrating it can be to start a new year with last year’s Christmas bills. With Christmas being only a few more weeks away, we can be prepared for shopping season by planning ahead and creating a budget to work off of.
Here are a few tips to help you stay within your budget this Christmas:
- Create a Budget – if you shop without a list, it is easy to overspend or give in to impulse shopping. Download our Holiday Gift Giving Planner that can help you get organized.
- Comparison Shop – starting Christmas shopping early also means you have more time to shop around and check prices at different stores. Many online stores offer discounted prices or one day only sales.
- DIY Gifts- there are many gifts that you can make to give as gifts that won’t break your budget. You can tailor the gifts to the person you’re making it for – all the more thoughtful!
Careful planning can help you debt free – you just need to invest some time now to get organized.
If there is one thing that a student doesn’t need it is the worry of a huge debt hanging over them after graduation. A lot of you are probably thinking, hey, I have a grace period. While it is true that you usually have a grace period of six months after you graduate, on federal and provincial student loans, you are not out of the woods yet. You still have to pay eventually, and your federal loan accrues interest during the grace period.
As difficult as it may seem, you need to get used to making payments on your student loan, right from the offset. Don’t let it stress you too much though; there are ways to ensure you don’t carry that debt for a lifetime. The first thing you need to do, before you can even begin to pay off your debt, is to find a source of disposable income.
Some of you will find yourself employed and in a position to make your student loan payments immediately. For those less fortunate, here are some ideas to help you out.
1. Lower Living Expenses: Remember that time you flew the nest and set out on your own? Well, this may break your heart, but moving back to your parents for a while could help you save the extra cash needed towards paying your loan payments.
2. Revision of Terms: You can ask for a revision of terms; which means you can extend the loan period in order to reduce the monthly payments. Just make sure you keep up with these new lower payments, and as soon as possible, begin paying extra towards the principle.
3. Waiver Period: If you find yourself out of a job, don’t despair. You may be entitled to an interest relief period. During this period the government will pay your interest and you won’t have to make any loan repayments.
Don’t let student debt creep up on you, budget your payments today.
Controlling your spending doesn’t always mean reducing it; however, more often than not it is the end result. Tracking your spending is the best way to manage your finances, and there are a number of ways to do it. Credit cards and other forms of electronic payment come with the benefit of easy tracking. All your transactions are available on your monthly statement or online. However, a typical credit card purchase, on average, will cost 112% more than if you had used cash.
So is cash better than credit? Well, in a lot of instances it is. Credit cards give you the convenience of on the spot purchases that you can worry about later. With cash, you can only spend what you have. The problem with cash is though, how do you track it? There are plenty of programs out there that are great for tracking your finances; Quicken and MS Money are two that come to mind right away. But do you really have the time or inclination to keep every receipt and meticulously enter them into a tracker?
The good news is you don’t have to track every purchase; you just need to control how much you spend each month. To do this you first need to identify the areas where your spending is not controlled. Usually suspects include groceries, clothing, personal spending and general luxuries. Once you have identified these areas it is time to take control. Withdraw the amount of cash that you think you will need for these purchases and put it in an envelope. Make sure to record the date and amount on the envelope too.
Don’t panic if you find that you run out of money, this exercise is about control, and it takes a few months to show positive results. You will notice that you are becoming conscious of every purchase that you make. Every price tag will represent a percentage of what you have committed to spend, and you will think twice about impulse purchases. Ultimately, you will be surprised by how easy it is to control and reduce your spending when you are parting with real hard cash.
Budgeting – Review Your Spending Before You Create Your Budget
If you want to reduce your debt, then you need to have a budget. I know, you have tried this a million times and it is a waste of time. You see, the problem with a budget is that it only works if you know what you are budgeting for. If you sit down and pull numbers out of your head, what you are doing is the equivalent of wishing away your debt. First and foremost, a budget needs to be realistic; which means you will have to do the ground work.
The key to success is in reviewing your spending, before you create your budget. To do this you are going to have to be honest with yourself. The easy part is your recurring payments, such as mortgage, insurance, taxes and credit cards; so start with those. Next you will need to look at your outgoings for less predictable or fluctuating costs. Consider your groceries, clothing, travel expenses, entertainment and any other impulse purchases. Track what you spend on each area for a month to give a realistic view of what you are currently spending.
Now, once you have calculated your outgoings, there is a chance that you will be over budget. Don’t let this dishearten you. You have effectively listed the component parts of an overall formula; you now need to make those components work for you. This is where you budget really begins.
Look at your outgoings; especially those that are not essential or are adjustable, and consider how you can reduce them. Allocate higher amounts from your budget to payments which have high interest rates. If, after you have tweaked the numbers as much as you can, you are still in the red, it is time to speak to your lenders. You may be able to make further monthly reductions by changes to your payment plans.
Whether you are saving for one big purchase or simply as a means of combating debt, you deserve a reward for your efforts. If you have ever played games on social media sites, where you effectively click buttons for six hours, you will appreciate this article. The developers of those games use psychology to keep you hooked. They are based on an effort and reward system, which keeps the player motivated to continue in order to receive their reward.
Saving is just like those games, except for most of us, it is often a long time before we see a reward. So why not have a little fun with your saving, by setting yourself challenges? It is difficult to appreciate the results of your hard work when the goal is in the distant future. By setting incremental goals, with a reward at the end, you will feel that your efforts are worth it and you will also notice an increase in your motivation.
So, let’s say that you set a target of $5,000 dollars and you reach it within your estimated time frame. Now you can reward yourself. Here’s a tip: create two dates; one is your reward date and the other is your ultimate deadline. If you reach your target by the reward date, you can treat yourself to a night out or a similar luxury. Obviously the reward should reflect the target amount, so if you are aiming to save $100 dollars, don’t splash out on a foreign holiday as your reward or anything else that will eat up a large chunk of the money saved.
This simple idea will make saving fun, rewarding and worth the effort. Get as creative with it as you like, as long as the end results are the same.