Did you know that the average Canadian has just $200 or less in savings? This figure was released before the COVID-19 crisis, which has caused many businesses to shut down and significant job loss.
Having a financial cushion in the form of savings or an emergency fund is key to having peace of mind. Without it, the ongoing stress and worry of making ends meet can seriously affect our physical and mental health.
Thankfully Sudbury residents can use some simple strategies to start rebuilding their emergency funds right away. Getting your finances back on track can seem out of reach but it’s absolutely possible.
When money is tight it’s time to re-prioritize and get creative. The following are small steps we can all take to improve our balance sheets right away.
Pay close attention to where your money is going
Most of us feel we spend pretty responsibly and are careful with our hard-earned money. But you’d be surprised to learn just how easy it is to lose track of seemingly insignificant amounts on a regular basis. If you track your spending—absolutely every purchase and expense, no matter how small—you’ll quickly get a clear picture of what’s going on with your finances. Start with a week of dedicated tracking, and for best results continue for the rest of the month. Consider each expenditure carefully and decide what you can trim.
You are certain to discover expenses that just aren’t necessary or can, at the very least, be trimmed. Are all of your current subscriptions necessary? Can you take on a few more tasks around the house rather than paying someone else for their services? Can you cut back on eating out or buying prepared meals?
Think like a saver
Now that you’re left with the essentials, how can you pay a little less for the things you truly need? Avoid overpriced haircuts or high-end grocery stores when you could be getting more for your money elsewhere. The good news is that you can find better-priced options in every single spending category, including hobbies, home repair and personal care.
Clean up your environment
Many of us have way more than we really need. Give those unused clothes, toys, tools, small appliances, sports equipment, and art supplies a new lease on life by donating them to a local charity or second-hand store. To make a little money, take items to a consignment store or sell them online.
Sock away any cash saved
For any new savings that you are able to carve out, stash that money away immediately. No matter how small the sum, if you’re able to hold onto it, put it to work for you. Whatever amount you’ve recouped—whether from making your own lunches or switching to the library from the bookstore—transfer it into your savings account or emergency fund. Actively adding money into your account will allow you the satisfaction of seeing your savings grow. You’ll soon develop a habit and will find yourself looking for more opportunities to save.
To enjoy a more financially secure future, invest in your own personal financial education. Learn all you can about your credit score, bad credit loans, managing debt, debt consolidation, saving and budgeting. Free, credible online resources are a great place to start improving your financial literacy today.
“Financial literacy is disappearing from the school curriculum, and as a result, many Canadians aren’t taught the fundamentals of managing money, the importance of maintaining credit, and how to manage debt until they find themselves in financial hardship,” says Andrea Fiederer, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, easyfinancial.
“We know that 48% of non-prime Canadians turn to online resources to learn about how to better their finances but with an overwhelming amount of information out there, it’s hard to even know where to start. With content that is tailored to each visitor’s needs, we know that through goeasy academy, Canadians can begin to learn and develop the necessary skills to successfully manage their finances and make sound financial decisions for the long term.”
Remember to have patience, be kind to yourself and take the long view. Even if the amounts you’re able to set aside seem small, they do add up. What’s most important is that you’re establishing healthy financial habits and taking positive action to improve your situation.