Times are rough and life will throw you costly curve balls. You need to know how to manage your money and maximize your saving skills so you are ready for any financial emergencies you may have to face.
If you’re receiving any kind of financial help, you may be thinking, “I don’t really need to worry, I have help if something were to happen”. The truth is these options may not always be there. Learning how to fend for yourself will make costly times a lot easier to handle and give you a rewarding sense of independence. So let’s get to it by prioritizing where your money goes:
Housing and Rent
Credit and Banking
Utilities and Telephone
Housing and rent. If you’re working, a good way to budget yourself would be to split your paycheques up to make sure you’ll have your rent ready for the end of the month. If you get paid bi-weekly, every two weeks split your rent into two and save that amount from each pay. So if your rent is $500, save $250 per pay. This is a safe way of ensuring you are saving for rent and can also budget for other things during the month.
Transportation. Take advantage of bus tickets and bus passes depending on the amount of traveling you do and try to be productive in your travels. If you drive, that applies to you too. Make a plan before you leave and go from point A to point B strategically to save gas. If you’re one of those good people who are always giving lifts to your friends, it’s okay to ask your friends to pitch in a bit of gas money from time to time. Give them the opportunity to be a good friend, too.
Credit and banking. Bank fees aren’t too bad these days (especially if you are a student) – it’s your credit card you have to be frugal with. Having a credit card at such a young age is one of my biggest regrets. Ince you have got yourself into credit card debt, its really hard to get out. We are living in a material world and it is very tempting to go shopping and buy things we really don’t need and could very well live without. Try your best to be smart in these times. Credit cards are for emergencies only – you don’t want to have to use them unless you really need to.
Health care. In Canada we are lucky that most things are covered by our government health plan. But some things may not be, such as dental appointments. Many post-secondary institutions offer health plans with your tuition to help cover these types of costs. If you are under a certain age, you may still be covered by the health plan your mom or dad has through their employer. Be sure to check into both of these options.
Utilities and telephone. Be energy smart: if you don’t need a light on, turn it off. If you don’t need the water coming from the tap, turn it off. I admit I used to leave the water running while I brushed my teeth for three minutes. Once I stopped doing it, I saw a huge difference in my utility bill just from not running my water senselessly for six minutes a day. As for your cell phone, there are plenty of good plans out there – but also plenty of rubbish ones. Make sure whatever plan you’re choosing is really working for you and that you’re not paying any more than the amount you agreed to. If you are, it is time to change your plan or service provider.
Pets. Dogs and cats are adorable, I know. We all see them and instantly want them. But if you’re in school and working, you usually don’t have time for them. They are costly and require their own food, medical attention, and grooming. Make sure you’re making the right decision for you AND your furry loved ones.
I hope this has given you a bit of an eye-opening incentive to be smart with your spending so you can live a less stressful life and be ready for any sudden expenses that might come your way. Happy saving!