According to Statistics Canada, the majority of millennials in Canada make on average $40 000. 00 per year or around $3300 per month. While for some, that may feel like a lot, when you deduct the basic costs of living, it really isn’t. Take into consideration the population that struggles to find work, doesn’t receive fair wages, or relies on federal pensions and the struggle is even worse.
If you feel overwhelmed by the cost of living, stressed out by the amount of debt you have, frustrated with living paycheck to paycheck, and sick of barely making ends meet – don’t despair! With a few simple, albeit sometimes challenging, changes, you can start turning things around for the sake of your wallet and your health.
GET BEHIND THE CHANGE
The first step in rectifying your personal finances is a psychological one. It’s easy enough to have a goal and make a plan. The real challenge is sticking to the plan, breaking bad habits, and saying no to things you ultimately want and deserve to have. Try the following exercises to help you develop solid determination.
- Your Health. Remind yourself of the consequences money troubles have on your mental, emotional, and even physical health. Nothing is worth that panic-stricken feeling of being unable to pay your next utility bill or put food on the table. While you prepare your mind for the task at hand, prepare your body as well, making an effort to manage your stress as best you can.
- Your Household. Even when we might personally be ready for the challenge of getting a handle on our finances, the rest of our household might not be that keen. Set up a family meeting at a time when everyone is usually relaxed and able to concentrate. Whether it’s your partner, children or roommates, explain your plan clearly and honestly. The bottom line is your health is at risk, you are dedicated to rebuilding your personal finances, and you need their support.
- You can teach your children about finances and use it as an opportunity to instill good habits while they are young.
- You can ask your partner to support you by making the plan together, setting small milestones so that no one feels too overwhelmed by the prospect of cutting out things they love.
- Ask your roommates to consider your position when planning activities. You can create a jar of fun day plans that don’t cost anything or make a challenge of it.
- Create a Timeline. Create a timeline with baby goals. Not only will this help you keep track of your progress, but it will also minimize the psychological withdrawal of cutting back on what you love. The goals can be ultra-simple.
- Celebrate one week of cutting out your morning latte.
- Celebrate one month of working on your goal.
- Celebrate saving $100.
- Celebrate paying off a small debt.
DO THE DIRTY WORK
Before you can move ahead with your new financial plan, you have to actually do the math – yes, the literal math, but hey, that’s what adulting is all about! Consider what comes in, what goes out, and where you can reduce spending.
- Your Income. Calculate not only what you make at work but also anything you receive monthly from the government or social programs. Don’t worry about how much you make, since success is based on how you spend your money, more than how much you bring in.
- Your Expenses. Next up, calculate your fixed expenses—rent, car lease, insurances, utilities, credit card minimum payments, etc. Anything you must pay on a monthly basis should be listed.
- Your Spending. Next comes the regular weekly spending. Mark down what you usually spend per week on groceries, gas, take-out, etc. These are expenses you can play around with and try to reduce.
- Your Splurges. Next comes the stuff you might even buy on a daily basis, although the frequency isn’t necessarily the focus. Think lattes, clothes (that you don’t actually need), home goods, tech, tv/music/audio subscriptions, etc. These are the expenses you will experiment in reducing if not eliminating (don’t panic…eliminate as a regular basis purchase) them all together.
- The Audit. Once you have your income and expenses listed out and tallied, it’s time to examine the patterns and see if you can’t reduce your overall costs.
- Try listing your top three daily expenses that bring you pleasure. Is it your morning (and maybe afternoon too) latté? Is a nice take-out lunch the highlight of your day? What about the Uber to work so you can sleep in? While these small joys are essential for making life enjoyable, they aren’t necessarily healthy or required. Rather than eliminate them all at once, which is most often a recipe for disaster when it comes to sticking to a new routine, try eliminating one at a time. You may find you prefer a latté on Fridays as a little ritual to celebrate a week of hard work; it might even taste better! You may find a little preparation and forethought to make a healthy lunch is preferable, and you’ll no doubt feel better too. If you love your sleep, why not pick one day of the week for a good sleep-in, opting to get up early and bike or walk to work the rest of the days. You will look forward to that sleep-in day and find yourself healthier and no doubt happier as well with all that serotonin.
- You can also look at reducing your fixed expenses. Try calling each company to see if you can negotiate a better monthly cost or interest rate. You will never know if you don’t try. You can also look for ways to stay cool in summer and remain warm in winter without cranking the thermostat.
- Try a meal plan in order to reduce your grocery spend. You’d be surprised how much you save when you know what you need and stick to the list. You’ll also end up wasting less food.
- The Budget. Last but not least, work on your “moving forward” budget. There are so many types to choose from, and you might need to give more than one a go before finding the budget best suited for your lifestyle and goals. Need some inspiration? Listen to some financial podcasts or read some blogs for great advice and relatable experiences.
Expect to hit a few snags, make adjustments as you go and be reasonable. You want a financial routine that you can stick to long-term. As your stability increases, you can reassess your goals and eventually even set aside some “do whatever you want with” money! Don’t be shy to celebrate small milestones and make the best of whatever situation you are in. A positive mind, determined spirit and a willingness to improve is all it really takes to get back on your feet.
What is Credito? We are a Canadian online credit brokerage corporation that is dedicated to the financial health of hardworking families. No matter what your credit report looks like, we can provide you with a personal loan. You can always count on our professional, discreet and humane service.