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Living on a Budget

Hey, hey, hey! I hope your guys’ week is off to a good start. I know sometimes it can be a struggle to get the ball rolling again after the weekend. Thank you for tuning into this week’s blog regardless of what you got going on. As I’ve said every other time…I greatly appreciate your time and support.

If I’m being completely honest here…this week has not started off too great on my end. The ending of last week was pretty overwhelming for me, and it has definitely trailed into this week. I’ve been dealing with some legal stuff involving a complaint I made to the landlord-tenant board which has been taking up a lot of space in my mind. I swear my to-do list just never ends. The only thing I’ll say in regards to what I have dealt with is that the stereotype we place on lawyers is for sure true…at least in my own personal situation. I have faith there are some lawyers out there who actually have some empathy, but I mean…who knows at this point. Anyway, I’m crossing my fingers and toes that the week gets a tad better for me after today.

A huge topic we’re all talking about right now is gas prices and inflation. I know, I know. You’re already hearing about this everywhere else…I get it. That’s why I’m not going to touch on how much I hate it (although I am pretty passionate about how much I hate how expensive everything is right now), and instead I’m going to do my best to share some tips and tricks on how you can become more financially free during times of stress. I do not come from a financial background of any sort and I have no educational background involving finances either, however, I do just want to share a few things I try to incorporate into my life that have definitely helped in the past. I’ll also mention a few other ways that may help you save a little for those rainy days or emergency situations.

I’d like to be completely open and honest about this…I have some pretty bad spending habits. I do believe it stems from my mental health conditions at times, and it doesn’t help that I was exposed to bad spending habits from a younger age too. I’m currently trying to break generational habits and let me tell ya…it is not easy. I’m grateful that I have a couple friends and family members who have helped me see spending and saving in a new way. I am especially grateful that my financial advisor looks out for my best interest and is honestly such an awesome human being. I truly did get lucky in that sense.

Let’s start off by talking about some of the things you may spend your money on that could be contributing to what I like to call ‘financial suffocation’. I call it this because money and finances always trigger my anxiety, which almost always leads to a bit of a panic attack and shortness of breath. I think this is one of the reasons I’ve also had such a hard time learning about budgeting. Talking about money physically makes me feel ill. I’m sure many of you understand where I’m coming from, especially with the burden of today’s economy. That being said…I think it is really important to grow a tolerance and an understanding of how to discuss money not only with yourself but with others as well. If this blog is in any way triggering for you, please feel free to stop reading. Although I do feel like there will be some important points on what can help you feel more financially stable for your future.

We tend to spend a lot of our money on things we don’t necessarily need, but perhaps want. I’m totally a culprit of this too without a doubt, but I do not enjoy the aftermath of doing so. Let’s begin with a list of some of the worst things you can spend your hard-earned moolah on:

o Credit card interest

o Bank fees

o Expensive take-out/delivery costs

o Excess amounts of luxurious products

o Brand-name everything

o Emotional spending

o Leasing

o Useless items with no significance

o Rent

o Excess amounts of personal care products

Of course, some of these things are necessary in order for life to go smoothly for you. I totally understand that you need to spend money on some of these things in order to live and in order to give yourself a bit of a break. I guess the phrase “treating yourself” comes into the picture when it comes to spending on certain items you’d like but don’t necessarily need. Trust me…I do get that. Despite this, I would like to remind you that it is really important to save your money as well. Save as much as you can so that you can set yourself up for success during retirement. I have slowly been acquainting myself with this concept because I truly do not want to have the burden of needing to work when I am well past my retirement age. It’s also really awesome to save for emergencies, rainy days, and life in general. You never really know what life will throw at you. The increase in gas prices alone is enough to prove that having a little financial cushion under you is worth it. Here are some ways you can start saving your money without really noticing a huge difference in money fluctuation:

o Talk to your bank about how you can earn money back through your accounts

o Look into opening up a TFSA (Tax-Free Savings Account), an investment account, or perhaps just a general savings account to begin with

o Set-up automated deposits for your accounts

o Look into budgeting tools online or in an app version (I found that this particular app helped me get started on visualizing my bills and budget. )

o Start a savings jar (if you are very new to saving this can be a good start, but should mainly serve as a beginning point)

There are so many ways you can start making your money work for you, and it is a super great idea to start exploring your options…especially once you get into your early 20’s. Personally, I wish I could’ve started saving sooner. I will admit that it is a challenge to save money in your early to mid 20’s. It has always been hard on me…especially while I was in school. But I promise you that it is possible. At first, I thought that in order to save I had to start big. I want you to know that this isn’t the case at all. It’s important to start small and see where it goes. You should start where you feel comfortable starting. In order to find this comfort zone you may need to start making a budget plan before moving onto a savings plan. Or, frankly, you can simply ask for help from a financial advisor or someone who knows a lot in terms of financial planning. Personally, I had somewhat of a natural progression. I started small with a savings jar, moved to a general savings account, then moved to a smart savings account, and soon after I opened up a TFSA. Although I’ve had many financial hardships, I truly believe that opening up the TFSA was the best thing I could possibly do for myself. However, I believe that whatever works best for you will ultimately be what you'll want to do.

Now, I understand that saving isn’t always an option. You see...eventually we begin to accumulate debt, debt, and a little more debt as we get older. This is fairly normal in the

world we live in today. Sometimes you gotta spend that money before you begin to earn it. One major piece of advice I can give is before you even start thinking about saving…it is a very good idea to begin a budgeting plan and start paying off any debt you may have. I highly suggest beginning to pay off debt that holds the highest interest rate first and then move on more seriously down the line to the lowest interest rates. Eventually you'll be able to make a dent in what you maybe thought was impossible to pay off. Interest is something that has accumulated very fast for me. In a way, I almost regret putting more money into savings sooner rather than just chipping away at my debt first. I say this because I am hoping you can learn from this minor mistake I made a couple years ago, especially since it is 100% no longer a minor issue but now a more “in your face” type of situation. I think it is extremely important to start chipping away at your debt first so that future you can put more of that moolah into savings instead of spending your hard-earned money on interest debt.

I wish I was more informed and educated on financial information. Then I could share more insight about how people attain financial freedom. This really is the best I got for right now, but in my defence, I am still learning how to keep myself afloat. I just wanted to share a few tips and thoughts on what has helped me in the past and also in the present. It takes time to get the hang of things and to learn what works best for you. Another thing that has really helped is analyzing and questioning each possible purchase. I ask myself a few things:

  1. Is this product/item/thing going to be necessary for my everyday life or for the moment of my life?

  2. Is it going to bring me long-term happiness?

  3. Will it put me into too much debt or any debt in general?

  4. Do I really need this item or product?

It’s hard to find what works best for sure and to find a level of financial confidence, but I pormise it is possible in one way or another. I know people’s energy is dwindling these days and it’s difficult to stay motivated to save or even just to follow through with anything, however, if you're going to put energy into anything I highly suggest using it for saving, being cautious of what you’re spending, budgeting, and paying off debt as fast as you can.

Obviously, life can really get in the way of our ability to do this. But I guess all I’m recommending is that you do the best you possibly can in order to set yourself up for a happier future. Money isn’t happiness but it does contribute to the emotions we feel in life. So, I guess in a way it maybe kind of is. I just know what it’s like to feel like you hit rock-bottom and I wish someone explained to me sooner how important it is to be somewhat protective over my money. This is me warning you about the repercussions of over-spending, and also me informing you about the personal changes I am trying to make, and the habits I believe are important to build in regards to finances.

I hope this blog helped you in some way. The topic is fairly broad for the most part and I understand there are so many other financial gurus and advisors out there who can explain things 10x better. I do hope you can hear me out though and consider my advice here. I have your guys’ best interest in heart. Anyway, Happy Tuesday and have a great week y’all. You’re amazing! Cheers xx

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