Financial Literacy

Take Charge of Your Finances

Are you stressed about money? Being in control of your spending is one way of reducing stress in your life.

According to Statistics Canada, Canadians are burdened with high levels of household debt. Simply put, too many people are spending more than they earn. They are saving less and not saving enough for retirement. At the same time, people are living longer.

Living within your means is not always easy, especially when money is tight, but it is the best way to avoid excessive debt. A heavy debt load makes you vulnerable if you lose your job, have unexpected expenses or interest rates go up on your loans.

Here is how you can start:

  • Make a budget. Having a budget that lays out sources of income and monthly expenses can help you commit to a spending plan.
  • Know the difference between your wants and needs. Put your needs first; your wants can wait.
  • Choose your credit card wisely. Pay off the balance in full each month so you can build a good credit history and avoid high interest charges.
  • Think ahead to your retirement. Canadians are living to an average age of 86. If you retire at 65, that could mean you are living off savings for 21 years. Start saving as soon as you can.
SASCU has the tools you need to determine a plan for savings, retirement and more! Go to our Calculators page by clicking the button below:

Live Within Your Means

It costs money to live. You need to pay for food, clothing, housing, transportation, communication, and a dozen other necessary expenses. Then there are things like vacations, eating out, entertainment, gifts and so on. If you want to reach your goals, there are two things you must do with your expenses:

  • Know what you spend.
  • Reduce unnecessary spending.
A budget is the first step in figuring out what you are really spending each month.  Using a budget calculator will help you track your income, expenses and spending. Once you have your budget you can determine where you can save. Remember:

  • Small changes in your spending habits can have a big impact on your overall financial situation and spending less than you earn makes you resilient to economic and financial downturns.
  • A heavy debt load makes you more vulnerable if your financial situation changes or if you need to pay for unexpected expenses.
Reduce temptation with these tips:

  • Set aside the money you can afford each week for miscellaneous spending, and spend only that. When it's gone, wait until next week before spending more.
  • Go shopping with a list, and stick to it.
  • Avoid trips to shopping malls and online buying sites.
  • Leave your debit and credit cards at home and pay with cash.
  • Sleep on it and see if you still want it the next day.
Just as it's important to reduce unnecessary spending, it's important not to deprive yourself of everything. Put aside a small amount of money every week for treats. Your treat may be anything from your daily latte to a weekend getaway or a special item you've had your eye on. If you've saved for these things, you can spend without guilt—and then you'll be less likely to splurge recklessly.