New Year, New Finances, New You

New Year, New Finances, New You

Written by Bryan Daly
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated March 11, 2020

It’s a brand new year. You’ve had your champagne, you’ve made your New Year’s resolutions, and now it’s time to start checking them off. Like a lot of people out there, you’re probably trying to decide which boxes to check first. There’s improving your health, which is always a good decision. Spending time with family and friends, maybe even going on an extra vacation at some point to relieve some unwanted stress. Doing all these things, however, requires a bit of extra attention to one of the other resolutions at the top of many people’s lists: getting a handle on your finances and spending habits. Time to sit down and start figuring it out. The sooner, the better.

Interested in reading about the Loans Canada team’s New Year’s resolutions? Click here

Your Smaller Expenses

A penny saved, is a penny earned. We’ve all heard this expression, time and time again. As you get on in years and start learning better ways to save money, you’ll start realizing the truth behind this statement. When a decent job has come about, and with all the recent advancements in technology, there are tons of new factors that are put into play in the life of the everyday working stiff. Cell phone bills, internet and cable bills, credit card bills. For most, this is nothing new. How about we start small, and look at the little expenses first?

These days, not many people can get by without a cell phone. Going over your monthly bill, seeing all the things your cell phone provider is charging you for, instead of just paying it automatically, is a good thing to consider. Many companies will add extra fees for things you might not normally notice, like voicemail service, text messages, long distance calls, etc. They might not even tell you about these fees, so you won’t even realize that you’re paying extra for things that should be covered in any basic package. Here, it can be beneficial to negotiate a better contract, or switch providers altogether.

The same goes for your monthly cable and internet bills. Most phone and cable companies will also have some kind of deal where you can get all your hook-ups included in one package. Make sure your provider isn’t charging you for unnecessary things. There are also applications you can get for your computer or Smart-TV where you can stream, rent or download all the movies and shows you want, saving you from having to have cable altogether.

Even if you’re still planning on being healthy, cutting down on an expensive gym membership can help out too. Unless you’re going to work out every day, some gym memberships might not be worth it, not to mention getting to and from the facility can cost you in gas or public transit fees. Investing in an exercise bike and a set of weights could benefit you in the long run. However, if you need the atmosphere of the gym to refrain from becoming a couch-potato, do a bit of research. There are plenty of fitness centers out there with cheaper rates. This, coupled with getting decent food from a grocery store, instead of eating all your meals out, can put a little extra money back in your wallet.

Your Credit Score

If you want this year to be the year you get your finances under control, then you should definitely make sure you’re monitoring your credit score and credit report. Your credit is the backbone of your financial life, good credit will allow you to get approved for the financial products you might need as well as help you create the financial future you want.

Interested in more information about your credit score? Click here.

To start, always make your credit payments on time every single month. On time payments go a long way toward building a healthy credit history. Once you’ve mastered that step, you should focus on paying off any debt you might have as well as keeping your debt to available credit ratio down. Lastly, you should also consider requesting a copy of your credit report and credit score. Knowing where you’re at when it comes to your credit health will allow you to create a plan of action.

Your Debt

According to a recent poll done by the CIBC, paying off their debt is the top financial goal that Canadian citizens hope to reach. However, while 28% of Canadians who took the poll plan to make this their top priority for the upcoming year, only 26% will actually take the proper steps to create a plan, and only 12% will seek the help of a financial advisor.

If you want to reduce your level of debt and save more for your retirement, getting your budget and spending under control should definitely be a priority for you.

If you’re interested in checking out the CIBC poll, follow the link here.

Saving

Not everyone speaks the language of money as well as others. With a ton of numbers, accounts, and percentages running through your head, concentrating and understanding everything about your financial situation can be challenging, to say the least. The best thing you can do in this case when you want to improve your finances and get a proper budget going is to head to your bank and make an appointment with a financial advisor. We know, we’re always telling you to seek the help of a professional, but it’s the truth. With all the other resolutions you might be trying to keep up with, having someone to help reduce the pressure can be a huge help. If you’re not saving as much money as you hoped, a second opinion might go a long way (Check out our Essential Guide For Saving).


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Bryan is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University. He has been writing for Loans Canada for five years, covering all things related to personal finance, and aims to pursue the craft of professional writing for many years to come. In his spare time, he maintains a passion for editing, writing screenplays, staying fit, and traveling the world in search of the coolest sights our planet has to offer. Bryan uses the BMO Cash Back Mastercard to earn cash back on everything from boring bill payments to exciting excursions. He is also a strong saver, holding both a TFSA and an RRSP account in order to prepare for his future while taking full advantage of tax benefits.

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