Managing Your Finances

Remember when your only financial concern was making your allowance last? Well, those days don't last! As an adult, you are responsible for managing your own finances. Could you use a few tips on how to do it successfully? Here are a few things you should know.

The Basics:

  • First, do you have financial goals? Do you have a plan for how you will reach them? Can you afford to take time to get informed about financial planning, smart consumer decision-making and debt management? Can you afford not to?
  • Use a notebook to list all of your income and expenses for one month to gain better understanding of your spending habits. From your morning coffee to a new surround-sound system, you need to know where your money is going.
  • Establish a budget and stick to it! This will help indicate if you are spending more than you should. Do you need to make some changes? Careful financial planning will help you save money for a car, a new laptop, a new video game or whatever else suits your needs!
  • Watch your debt. Know how much you owe and how much the interest is costing you. Some debt may be necessary to pay for school, a car or a house. Try to avoid going into debt to pay for consumer items. The interest could get expensive!
  • Start saving! If you can, put away some money every month, even if it's just a few dollars. It will start to add-up over time and be there when you need it.
  • It's all about making choices: what can you do without now so that you can have something else later? In the end, you'll enjoy your life more knowing that you will still have money to save or spend after all of your bills are paid. Moderation is the key!

Helpful Web Sites:

  • Use the Spending Smarter tool from Canada's Office of Consumer Affairs to maximise the amount of money at your disposal.
  • Make a financial plan, save your money, learn about taxes and credit options and protect yourself from fraud with the Financial Guide for Post-Secondary Students from the Office of the Superintendant of Bankruptcy Canada.
  • Compare bank accounts and credit cards while learning about managing your finances from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.
  • Service Canada has put together a checklist to help you get your finances in order and help you manage your debt.
  • Estimate the cost of your education and make a budget for yourself with CanLearn's Financial Planner. Compare up to three education options with the Education Cost Calculator and determine if you can balance your budget with the Budget Estimator.
  • Get help from Industry Canada on setting your student budget.