How to Stay Motivated when Getting out of Debt

Starting a plan to get out of debt and keeping that plan are often two different things. It’s a lot like starting a diet when the New Year starts. You start off good, but then a week or two into it, you quickly fizzle and go back to your old habits.

So how do you stop this from happening when you’re trying to get out of debt?

Here are X ways to stay motivated to get out of debt.

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How to Manage Debt with Inflation on the Rise

Debt Management with Inflation

You’ve likely felt the effects of inflation already. Your grocery and gas bill probably felt it first. Suddenly it costs a lot more to feed the family or fill your gas tank, but these are things we need so we have to adjust elsewhere, right?

One area many people struggle is managing debt during inflation. If your wages don’t keep pace with inflation (most don’t), then keeping up with your debts may feel impossible.

Here are a few ways to help you manage debt with inflation rising.

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How Social Media Affects our Spending

Social Media Increases Debt

Social media is a way of life for most of us, but did you know it could affect your spending? You may not even realize the direct connection, but we’ll show you ways that you might be spending more than you intended all because of your Instagram or Facebook feeds.

Comparing Yourself

How often do you watch someone’s feed and think poorly of yourself? Maybe they have something you don’t, or you want to be just like them. What do you do?

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Hosting a BBQ on a Budget – How to Survive Summer Parties Without Breaking the Bank

party-table

Manitoba summers are notoriously short, so it’s understandable that we celebrate our respite from frigid temperatures with zeal. Unfortunately, for those of us on a tight budget, seasonal celebrations can prove to be a strain on the budget, especially because we tend to throw caution to the winds once the sunny weather comes. Here are some strategies to limit the pressure your budget:

Resist the Temptation to Pay for it All
Chances are your friends will understand your need for budgetary restraint. Most of them probably feel the same way. There’s no need for you to take on a huge expense in the name of entertainment for your friends. If they don’t understand you need for restraint, then perhaps they aren’t really your friends. Ask them to share the cost by bringing their own alcoholic beverages if they choose to drink, and consider asking them to bring a dish to accompany your barbecue as a potluck. It’s a good idea to co-ordinate the things guests bring so you won’t have too many macaroni salads!

Spend Your Money in the Right Places
barbeque-skewers-party-on-a-budgetIf you’re going to splurge, do it in a way that people will notice. Shrimp skewers for appetizers, or a really nice cheese plate become a focal point of your party. Don’t spread your money too far.

As for barbecue, there’s really no need to grill expensive cuts of meat. Hotdogs and hamburgers are traditional summer fare, and they’re reasonably economical. Consider making your own burgers rather than buying pre-made patties. It’s cheaper, and nearly always better.

Make Do With What You Have
Resist the urge to make big purchases in the name of entertainment. Summers here are short – don’t spend a lot of money on expensive outdoor furniture you can’t use most of the year. There’s no shame in asking your guests to bring their own lawn chairs to your party, and your buffet table doesn’t need to be a new shiny glass-top from the big box store – your old one, or even a door on a couple of sawhorses will look just as good with a table cloth on it.

Plan Ahead
Make sure you have enough propane or charcoal for the barbecue, and that there’s no need to purchase condiments or anything else from the convenience store at exorbitant prices.
Above all, remember that summer entertaining is about the people, not the party. There’s no need to expose yourself to financial risk in the name of entertainment. Go ahead and have fun, but exercise restraint.

Creditaid Offers credit counselling and debt management solutions for individuals in Winnipeg and across Manitoba, including areas such as Portage la Prairie, Brandon, Winkler, The Pas, Flin Flon, Thompson, and many others.

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.

November is Financial Literacy Month

November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada! If you haven’t heard of this campaign before, it is a national initiative aimed at helping Canadians increase their financial knowledge. This is something we firmly believe in, here at Creditaid. We believe that when people are better educated on how the credit system works, they will be able to make better and more informed decisions when it comes to their personal finances.

If you are interested in participating in Financial Literacy Month – start by picking up or downloading a copy of the 2014 “Money Matters” calendar! The calendar will feature information and valuable money-saving resources for young people, families and individuals nearing retirement, including tips on managing debt, reducing the cost and length of a mortgage, talking to children about money and recognizing personal investment scams.

To download your copy – visit the Manitoba Securities Commission online at msc.gov.mb.ca.

Get Closer to Your Goals with Multiple Savings Accounts

Have you ever tried to perform mental gymnastics with your finances? It is no mean feat, and you are quite likely to forget at least one important payment. Creating a budget is one thing, but ensuring that all the funds in your bank account go where they should is not so easy. When you created your budget, you probably divided all your payments into categories. If you didn’t, then now is the ideal time to create a system that is both efficient and easy to manage. This will make life so much easier, once you split your payments across multiple accounts.

You would imagine that trying to manage multiple bank accounts would be a nightmare. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Separating your monthly expenses and savings across multiple accounts will help you focus on your budgets and goals. There are cost effective accounts like Tangerine Bank where you can have multiple accounts and even name the account the same as your budget category.

If you have financial goals that you are determined to achieve, focus on each one individually. Create an account where you can save towards specific goals. Once you have reached your target, you can use that account to work on your next goal. Keep all your regular payments in one account, where you can allocate a set amount each month, with the security of knowing that you will not overdraw. Next, create an account for your irregular payments. This account should allow for enough breathing room to accommodate ad hoc payments.

Should you be lucky enough to consistently have cash flow to spare, you may want to set up an account for luxuries. Filter your spare cash flow into this account, whenever you can. Once you have been using your multiple accounts for a while, you will find that management your finances becomes much less of a chore.

Empowering the Independent Woman: Take Control of your Personal Finances

Gail Vaz- Oxlade has a message for women everywhere – be an “Island” before becoming a “Peninsula”. The tough-talking money expert and host of popular reality TV shows such as Til Debt Do Us Part and Princess maintains that all women should be financially independent , even in marriage rather than expecting a partner to become their financial safety net.

In her latest book, It’s Your Money: Becoming a Woman of Independent Means (HarperCollinsCanada, $21.99), Vaz-Oxlade argues that women have unique challenges when it comes to managing money such as motherhood, divorce, widowhood, disability and caring for the elderly. Instead of relying on others, whether it be a partner, parent or financial planner, women should take action to understand and plan around their unique needs.

The first step of taking control is keeping track of where money is spent. Vaz-Oxlade suggests keeping receipts and entering expenses into a journal or spreadsheet and to distinguish clearly between the wants and the needs. Read the full article from the Winnipeg Free Press on Gail’s financial tips for women here.

Credit Aid is a proud sponsor of “You and Your Money with Gail Vaz-Oxlade” taking place in Winnipeg on February 9th, 2012. Tickets are $45 and can be purchased at www.youandyourdollar.com or by calling 254-2595.