Credit Cards & Credit Scores, OH MY!

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How many times have you walked into a big box store like Walmart and have been told by the salespeople about the instant perks you get by applying for their credit cards? Back when I was in University, I was applying to all-sorts of credit cards not really realizing the negative impacts it would have. I wanted the perks! But, how many credit cards do you need?

Honestly, there is no perfect answer!

I know for a fact that you can get an excellent FICO score if you just use one single credit card – the key, however is how you actually use the credit. In-order to even have any credit history you need to have used some type of credit – so it’s not necessary to have actual credit cards. You may have a loan for example that would show lenders your ‘activity’. It’s this activity lenders look at to determine your ’score’. One thing you must remember, however is that whenever you decide to apply for new credit, your credit score can take a little ‘hit’ so be careful with how many you actually apply for in any given time-frame.

How do I get one of these credit cards Walmart?

If you’ve been responsible with a checking/savings account, chances may be good – talk to a bank representative about opening up a credit card. An existing relationship can definitely help.

At the end of the day your activity will determine your credit score – pay your bills on-time and keep your debts low – it’ll go a long way!

5 Ways to Save Money

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Where has all the money gone?

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Given the less-than-admirable current financial state, it’s especially important to look at ways to save your hard-earned money. Here’s 5 quick and easy ways to help you save more money right away:

  1. Buy Grocery in Bulk

Reports outline savings of as much as 10%-15% when purchasing groceries in bulk. Online grocers such as Grocery Gateway are becoming increasingly popular and often offer significant savings for purchasing in bulk. Besides, who doesn’t want five packs of deliciously nutritious Pop Tarts in their cupboard?

  1. Put 30% of Your Paycheck in a Savings Account

It’s really easy to indulge on payday – regulate that urge by putting away 30% of your paycheck in a high-interest savings account. You’ll thank yourself later when that money accumulates toward the purchase of that brand new 5- speed manual BMW. Or that brand new 5-speed mountain bike. Whatever floats your boat.

  1. Reduce Phone Extras

“This message is directed to a voicemail service that has not yet been set up by this customer. Thank you, goodbye.” Seriously, if you’re not going to use your voicemail service, cancel it! You wouldn’t pay extra for a delicious piece of chocolate cake after dinner and NOT eat it, right? (I sure wouldn’t) The same applies to phone extras outside of voicemail – call forwarding, caller ID, long distance calling, etc.

  1. Take Advantage of Bank Programs

The Canadian bank marketplace offers a multitude of money-saving options. Scotiabank’s Bank the Rest program can save you over $500 dollars a year just from purchasing lunch 3 times a month or more.

  1. Track Your Spending

It may come as a surprise, but knowing exactly where your money is being spent most will definitely help you look to what expenses you can cut out or reduce monthly to save money. Sites like spending profile offer a free, useful online portfolio designed to help track your monthly expenses.

Take advantage of these 5 important ways to save money and I assure you’ll see results instantly. It worked for me – I’m now the proud owner of a brand new, shiny 5-speed mountain bike.

Reasons Why We Fail to Save Part 2

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As I mentioned a while back, there are various reasons as to why a person may not be able to save enough money. I focused on the fact of not having enough money to get the task accomplished, however that reason tends to be an excuse for those who do not take the time to find the extra money we tend to have within our budget.

We all have a buffer region in our budget, which compensates any over spending in a certain category. Stop over spending, stay within the actually budget and you can use the money you set aside as your buffer to put towards your savings.

A huge reason we see ourselves fail to save enough money is not starting early in life. Every day that passes without you saving money is a lost opportunity, and it is something you cannot get back. If you start saving early, you increase the number of years you can contribute to your savings, not to mention the benefit you earn from interest.

If you are among those who have yet to start saving, here are a few tips to get you going.

Set up an automatic withdrawal from your account to a savings account. This will allow you to save money without having to set the money aside manually. You add the amount into you budget, so you can account for where the money is going.

Many banks have savings programs, where when you spend with your debit card, an amount of money will go into your savings account at the end of the day. This can help you save on a daily basis, which could possibly make up for some lost time.

No matter what the case is, there is no reason you should not be saving right now. Save early on in life, and in no time you will be enjoying the benefits.

Avoiding Debt in College

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With us in the 3rd week of the month, university students should be adjusting to their new classes, especially first year students.

What I found difficult in my first year was managing my expenses efficiently as to not overspend, and end up going into debt. Generally, first year students face the expense of living on their own for the first time, and maybe a part time job, which does not give much room to save any money.

The best advice I can give for first year students is to live within your means.

You have to start limiting your spending from the beginning in order to avoid piling on the debt.

In order to limit your spending, you have to create a budget in order to efficiently manage your expenses. In your budget you have to be sure to include food expenses, entertainment costs, etc.

The biggest problem you may have with your budget is that you do not take the time to track what you have been spending, and cutting back where you can. With that said, seeing as it is a new environment for yourself, create a test period. For 3 months, use the budget you have created, and test it. If you do find you have plenty of room to improve on it, make adjustments. By then you will be nearing your fall exams and probably will not have any time to go out, making it a great opportunity to adjust your budget.

Remember, in your post secondary life you are meant to build a foundation for your future, not a foundation of unnecessary debt.

Reaching the Saving Goal

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When it comes to saving, I find it to be one of the most difficult tasks, no matter what age you are, or what you are saving for.

If you think about it, saving requires much discipline, you are have to put away a portion of your money, and manage to make it to the end of the month without touching it.

What no one can deny is that the moment you have reached your saving goal, the feeling is one of the best in the world.

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For me, I recently decided to save for a watch, a Raymond Weil to be precise. I find their watches to be fantastic, and fell in love with their Freelancer Models. Just today I reached the halfway mark for my savings goal. Just looking at my bank account with the money sitting there was getting me excited for the moment I can go out and purchase the watch.

Now some people might ask why not just purchase the watch on credit and pay it back monthly? The answer is easy, I do not wish to purchase something I cannot afford, and paying off my credit card with such a purchase would only put me in a position where I am paying off interest as well. Which as you know makes the purchase cost even more.

I am all for purchasing on my credit card to earn the reward points, and paying it off immediately, but of course that does require me to save the money first.

Remember, setting a goal is essential for anyone who is savings. Without stating the obvious, you will definitely be able to enjoy your money more if you have something you want to spend it on aside from daily expenses.

Money Saving Tips for Beginners

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Saving money is the key to financial success. The more money you save, the greater financial freedom you gain. Ultimately, you will be able to meet your financial obligation without any hitches. Money saving tips for beginners is a commonly researched topic. Many people, especially those in college or just out of college, are increasingly on the lookout for ways of investing their money, for a better future.

Best Money Saving Tips for Beginners

Money Saving Tips For Beginners

Below are some useful tips for beginner investors.

1. Set Up A Budget

Drafting a budget is the first step to taking control of your finances. Having a budget will give you a quick snapshot of all your sources of income and expenditure. It is recommended to capture as much information as possible in your budget planner. Also, you can write your budget on a piece of paper, use a budgeting app, or a spreadsheet. Budgeting helps you in identifying items to save on, keeping focus, and eliminating debt.

2. Get Your Budget Back On Track

The next step in saving is to work towards putting your budget under control. Tips for getting your budget on the track are Paying off your debts and cutting on your monthly spending.

3. Settling Your Debts

It is nearly impossible to save before you take an active step to put your debts under control. The rule of the thumb is to begin by paying off the high interest-earning debts. Cut back on your credit card spending to the bare minimum. You can reduce your credit card balance by gradually reducing your monthly spending to the point that you don’t have to use the cards anymore.

4. Cut Back On Your Monthly Spending

Your spending should always be less than what you earn. List down all the items that you use on a monthly basis. These items include food expenses, fuel, beauty products, clothing, rental, entertainment, gym membership, and subscriptions such as cable T.V.

Take a close look at each item and eliminate all the unnecessary costs. For example;

-Canceling a gym membership that you rarely use.
-Carpooling with a neighbor to cut on the cost of fuel
-Find a roommate to cost-share your rental spending
-Paying all your bills before they are due to avoid incurring interest charges.

5. Open A Savings Account

Consult with your local bank on the best savings account that suit your long term life’s goals. Opt for an account with a cheque book or an ATM, to eliminate impulse withdrawals and spending. Alternatively, you can save your money online. Online saving earns you higher interest rates. The costs saved in terms of manpower is transferred to clients in the form of interest.
Once you begin saving, make it a habit and be patient as you watch your investment grow.

Key Issues To Note As Begin to Save

Now is the time to embark on your saving plan.

Procrastination is the thief of time. The earlier you begin saving, the more you will have in the future owing to the compounding rates.

Consistency And Patience

Your savings will not compound overnight to a six-figure amount. Save in all financial circumstances, be patient and with time, you will attain your investment goals.

Home Buyer Tips

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With new mortgage rules coming into effect and mortgage rates due for an increase as the Bank of Canada’s rate increases; Canadians will soon find themselves in a bind when purchasing a home.

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To help ease the stress of purchasing a home, I have a few tips you may want to consider following.

1. Lock in Mortgage Rate

When you apply for a mortgage, you will be able to lock in the rate. This is generally for a maximum of 120 days. This guarantee will let you have the rate you want despite any increases made during the time period.

2. Consider Future Possibilities

With rate increases bound to happen soon, and you are worried about affordability, take into account a 1 – 3% increase in your payments. By doing this you can have peace of mind knowing the whether or not you can afford a home now or in a few years.

3. Leave Room

With a pre-approved mortgage, you will know what you can afford, however do not make any rash decisions. Take into account your current lifestyle, and consider any future changes. You should purchase a house within a comfort zone, which will help if any unexpected costs come up.

Stopping the Senseless Spending

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Today, I will discuss the importance of how we should stop any senseless spending. We all probably have a different definition of what “senseless spending” is, however the fact is that it exists, and most of us tend to do it.

As humans, we have the tendency to spend our hard earned money on goods and services we do not need. Call it what you may; it can be impulsive shopping or just indulging in what the world has to offer.

With that said, it is important to realize that it is not just one habit or item that we have to cut out of our life in order to accumulate wealth. In order to become wealthy, one must adopt a disciplined lifestyle and budget.

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This means that people who are looking to retire well in the future have to sacrifice now, in order to benefit in the future. This can be anything from eating out less, traveling less; in general cutting back on unnecessary expenses.

Keep in mind, this does not mean you have to stop having fun altogether, however you have to do everything in moderation.

If you can start saving young, you stand at a better chance than most as you can save a great amount with only a few adjustments to your spending habits.

Set a budget, and stick to it. You will find yourself living the best of both worlds. You will be able to have a life, and save for your future to enjoy an even better life.

You will find yourself saving so much more money once you erase the senseless spending. Take it in moderation; let go of a few things in life slowly and soon you will even wonder why you did them in the first place.

Using Your Budget at its Fullest

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When you want to save, you have to ensure that you are dedicated to the task. There are no shortcuts to saving; it will take time and dedication on your part in order to reach any goals you may have set.

To help keep you on the path of saving you need to stick with any budget that you set for yourself. Whether or not you keep to your budget will require a lot of effort on your part, however if you take the necessary steps you will find yourself easily saving towards your goals.

Creating a budget is essential to this entire process. As such you will want to keep in mind a few points when making your budget.

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Your budget does not have to be the bare minimum to survive. Rather it should be taking into consideration your lifestyle and what you can afford to do each month, which includes a few luxuries here and there.

When you do create your budget, be sure to include money for the necessities first. This includes how much you will be putting away into your savings account each month, what you need to pay your bills and money for any entertainment expenses.

At the end of the day, by following your budget you will be able to save without the stress, and if you happen to stray off the path of your budget, you will be able to get back on track once you begin to follow your budget again.

Avoiding Debt in College

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With us in the 3rd week of the month, university students should be adjusting to their new classes, especially first year students.

What I found difficult in my first year was managing my expenses efficiently as to not overspend, and end up going into debt. Generally, first year students face the expense of living on their own for the first time, and maybe a part time job, which does not give much room to save any money.

The best advice I can give for first year students is to live within your means.

student-debt

You have to start limiting your spending from the beginning in order to avoid piling on the debt.

In order to limit your spending, you have to create a budget in order to efficiently manage your expenses. In your budget you have to be sure to include food expenses, entertainment costs, etc.

The biggest problem you may have with your budget is that you do not take the time to track what you have been spending, and cutting back where you can. With that said, seeing as it is a new environment for yourself, create a test period. For 3 months, use the budget you have created, and test it. If you do find you have plenty of room to improve on it, make adjustments. By then you will be nearing your fall exams and probably will not have any time to go out, making it a great opportunity to adjust your budget.

Remember, in your post secondary life you are meant to build a foundation for your future, not a foundation of unnecessary debt.