Everything seems to cost a lot these days, and the consequences of money mistakes can be serious. But here are a few ideas to help you avoid some all-too-easy mistakes and keep your budget on track:
1. Use credit wisely
Using a credit card that you pay off in full every month will build your credit and show lenders you’re responsible. It sets up good financial habits and prevents you from paying extra in interest. If you can’t afford to pay in full, at least pay the minimum. Set a reminder in your calendar so you don’t forget.
Having no credit history limits your credit score. And even if you don’t plan to take out a loan any time soon, your score could be used by landlords during your rental applications, by insurance providers and even by employers during the hiring process.
If you do need to borrow unexpectedly, good credit will make it possible. What’s more, sometimes a loan, like a student loan or a mortgage, can be a good long-term investment. But a word of caution: Payday loans, which have sky-high interest rates and punishing repayment terms are rarely the best way to go.
2. Save something, anything
Many of us fall into the trap of assuming we don’t have enough money to make saving possible or worthwhile. But no matter how much money you set aside at a time – whether it’s two dollars or 2,000 – regularly putting something into a savings account or investments will put you in a far better financial position in the long term compared to leaving everything in your checking account. Due to compound interest, your money will grow well beyond what you put into it.
The earlier you start saving the better, but it’s never too late to get going. Plus, having a little money socked away can give you a bit more peace of mind and reduce stress.
3. Talk about money and ask questions
Many of us don’t speak openly or ask questions about money out of fear of embarrassment. But many simple money mistakes can be avoided with an ask. So don’t feel bad about asking questions and brushing up on the basics. There are plenty of resources to help, including free programs like Money Matters that aim to help adults in Canada build their financial literacy skills. You don’t want to miss out on valuable perspectives about how others came to their own financial decisions.
Find more information at abcmoneymatters.ca