I could probably come up with many Financial Tips but there can only be one best tip from me. When I started writing this blog at the end of January 2012 I told you a bit about us and our journey towards debt freedom. Although we now have the money to pay our mortgage in full we have had our fair share of debts along the way.
I’ve never proclaimed to be a financial guru rather just an average guy that wants to get from point A to point B with minimal fuss. I’ve learned that there are brick walls and once you get stuck in the maze it can be tough to find your way out. Don’t hang your head in despair, where there’s a will there’s a way. Sometimes the solutions may not be the optimal choice but we learn from our experiences and do our best to not let them happen again. I’ve met many people who take the time to set goals yet they are so unrealistic even I would fail at them.
Today I’m blogging for financial literacy which is led by Glenn Cooke of Life Insurance Canada.com. This a day where we come together as personal finance Bloggers on November 15, 2012 to share our best financial tip in recognition of Financial Literacy Month so we can all continue to educate and grow.
I’ve read many excellent personal finance posts this year and my education level went up a notch or two. No, education is not my best financial tip but it is a cornerstone to building financial knowledge so you make informed choices. I’ve read a some great financial books this year ranging from The Millionaire Next Door to The Wealthy Barber Returns over to Financially Fit Parenting to finishing the Gail Vaz Oxlade Series. I learned something special from each but what I took away from all them were the concepts to “budget” and “pay yourself first”.
I know it may sound cheesy coming from a blog called Canadian Budget Binder but it really is how Mrs.CBB and I realize our goals. It’s a simple concept to budget although some people pull a funny face when they hear the word budget and that’s why I wrote a 10 part budgeting series. When it comes to money though we have to do what’s right for us and what we value not what other’s perceive to be right or wrong. You need to make that call as we all value money and life experiences differently. This series details our personal journey of budgeting and how we put a budget to work for us.
- Gathering All The Information
- Tracking receipts
- 5S -Organization
- Who Does What and When?
- Balancing Our Budget
- Knowing our Coupon Savings (or any savings ie: Store Savings, Gift Cards)
- Reading Our Bills
- Projected Expenses
My Best Financial Tip is to Budget
I believe education comes with experience and of course reading and learning from others who have walked the walk. When we designed the first step in our budget we knew we were on to something special. We didn’t want to end up having money fights and money problems like other relationships that end in a bitter divorce. Every step of the way we realized that in order for this to work we would both have to give 110%. There was no “my” money it was all “our” money and you guessed it one bank account. Whether you believe that a budget is right for you is your choice, it’s your life after all, but what we do know is that without a budget we wouldn’t be where we are today. It’s not as bad as some people make it out to be.
Budgeting has changed our lives and it will yours if you know where your dollars are going. I know, I know asking for receipts and documenting expenses is tedious BUT wait a minute, will that trip to Hawaii or that new snowblower or better yet potentially NO DEBT change your mind? Is it worth the supposed blood, sweat and tears that it will take you to sit down and look after number one. The answer should be yes. We had debt, we had a mortgage but we are debt free just by being a pain in the arse and asking for receipts, working together and learning about frugal ways to save money. Did you know that besides the mortgage or rent the next biggest expense is the grocery budget?
Knowing your prices, eating at home, cooking meals instead of convenience meals and saving where you can through coupons, price matching etc will all help you. One may justify a huge purchase with “I’ll be getting a bonus” or “I’ll work overtime” rather than taking time to budget the money so they can pay cash. When instant gratification takes over it can put a dent in plans. Putting your “wants” on hold until you have the cash in your budget will assist in stopping you from making those silly on the fly purchases. Not everyone will agree but that’s where it boils down to what we value in life as individuals.
I also understand that people are in debt for a myriad of reasons and it’s not always because they are spending frivolously on items they don’t need. I recognize that saving is a struggle for some people and that for some they don’t make enough to make ends meet and credit helps keep them afloat. I also realize that we can make changes in life even if they are small ones. Saving $1.00 is better than nothing at all.
So whether you want to believe it or not spending a bit of time investing in your finances each week will potentially help you to get where you want to get. You won’t become a millionaire overnight nor will you have all your debt paid off in an instant but what you will have is stepping-stones. Stick to your budget and you will feel proud that you are making progress towards your goals. The more you learn the more you are empowered to make the right decisions for you.
My Best Financial Tip to budget is just that, the best of a list of tips that can go on and on because finance is an umbrella term that encompasses a road to potential freedom you just need to decide what path you want to take.
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- CBB Family Net Worth Update~October 2012 (canadianbudgetbinder.com)
- Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) In Canada…Did You Know? (canadianbudgetbinder.com
- How To Have The Wedding Of Your Dreams And Still Be Frugal (canadianbudgetbinder.com)
- My Biggest Money Mistake-Co-Signing and Taking On Debt (canadianbudgetbinder.com)
- Financial Literacy Resources (centreforfoundationallearning.wordpress.com)
- The people’s debt: B.C. has the most heavily indebted population in the country – and the number is growing (theprovince.com)
- Want to be debt-free in 2013? You’re not alone (theglobeandmail.com)
- Why Canadians fail financially, and what to do about it (metronews.ca)
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