Managing your money

Organize your life, and you could save money too

Avoid financial hang-ups with these tips

New year, new you – or so the saying goes. So it makes sense one of those new things should be getting your finances in order. While we may hear this message a lot, it often doesn’t happen. Something stands in our way and it falls by the wayside, like so many of our New Year’s resolutions.

So how can we avoid these financial hang-ups – and figure out what we need, and let go of the rest?

Here are some tips to help you organize your life, and save money at the same time.

Take a hard look at paid subscriptions, memberships and services

Did you sign up for cable just to watch Game of Thrones, but haven’t watched TV since? Was your last trip to the gym more than a year ago?

Paid services, subscriptions and memberships can really add up. Make a list of all the ones you have and ask yourself, “Do I really need/use this?” If the answer’s no, it’s probably time to cancel.

If you’re in a relationship, you and your significant other may have duplicate services, particularly when it comes to health benefits. If one partner has great dental coverage that covers everyone in the family, for example, you may not need coverage for both. And that of course means extra money in your wallet.

Are you getting the best deal?

Taking a hard look at how you spend your money also means looking at companies you’ve been with for awhile. Just because you’re loyal to them doesn’t mean you’re getting the best deal.

Focus on what matters and let go of the rest... it can help you be more organized and prosperous in 2018.

For example, if you’ve paid off your smartphone, research what other mobile companies can offer. You may end up with a better, cheaper, plan.

And don’t forget to check out how much you pay in bank fees. You may get a better deal, with lower fees from a competitor. Why pay more if you don’t have to?

Watch out for FOMO

Your favourite social media site may be super addictive and offer plenty of useful advice. But they can also lead to FOMO – or fear of missing out. You’ve probably seen dozens of articles that, whether intentional or not, make you feel guilty about what you’re not doing. Such as:

  • Things you should do in your 20s or 30s
  • At what age you should buy a house or car
  • Where you should travel before you're 30
  • What luxury items you need to own

However, ask yourself, are they really things YOU want to do? Or are you checking off items on someone else’s “bucket list”? Create your own list of goals, focus on them, and let go of the rest.

Bye temptation – get rid of email flyers

Speaking of FOMO, those flyers from your favourite store also create that feeling when they hit your inbox. Even if you don’t exactly need anything, it’s hard to resist when the sales are so good. And the temptation can be a big drain on your wallet. Time to hit unsubscribe and spare your bank account from impulse buying.

Get rid of old paperwork

It may sound like a small thing, but old bills and receipts lead to clutter, which can distract you from getting your finances in order. Be green and recycle all that old paper, although double-check that it doesn’t contain personal information and that you don’t need it for income taxes in case Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) comes calling. CRA recommends you keep important receipts for at least six years.

So take a few minutes and look at what you use (and what you don’t use but pay for anyway) and you could save yourself some cold, hard cash.

Not only that, but when you focus on what matters and let go of the rest, it can help you be more organized and prosperous in 2018.

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The information provided is based on current laws, regulations and other rules applicable to Canadian residents. It is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of the date of publication. Rules and their interpretation may change, affecting the accuracy of the information. The information provided is general in nature, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for advice in any specific situation. For specific situations, advice should be obtained from the appropriate legal, accounting, tax or other professional advisors.