Three Financial Game-Changers

I’m back with another Money Monday! Sometimes money can feel like an uphill battle (see what I did there? ;- ) but these little things have made me feel better about it.

Ed. note: Despite the nCoViD-19 panic and the rate cuts, I’m trying to remember that we are taking a long lens and shouldn’t really do anything differently today! So, I’m still running this post about three things that have been game changers for us.

Number One: Tracking!
I did a whole post about just this, but I can’t stress enough how much my sense of our financial situation improved when we started tracking our spending. This means I check our accounts daily (with apps and online banking it’s really easy) and we update our You Need A Budget tracker at least 2-3x/month. You can read a lot more about our tracking system and trends we’ve noticed in our spending with YNAB. If you’d like a simpler approach, you could also use a spreadsheet or automatically-updating app like Mint.

Number Two: Put it on Autopilot
There is no chance that I’m going to wake up regularly excited to transfer money to our savings or retirement accounts. I can think of way more fun things to do! But- when I schedule small amounts to go automatically, I just know that they’re coming and plan accordingly. Plus, I love this little tip- most people are paid every two weeks, which means they have two paycheques per month. But, usually twice per year, you will come across a month with three pay periods. Since you usually get through a month with two paycheques just fine, schedule a transfer for the entire third paycheque to savings. It’s like suddenly putting a MONTH of income aside (two extra per year).

Number Three: Start Investing
I really used to think that investing was just for people who are really money-savvy, or a complicated thing that you have to go to the bank to set up. But we’ve been using WealthSimple to invest really easily, and it seems like such an obviously good way to hold money- especially if you don’t need it for the next several years (always make sure you have an emergency fund first!). But let’s say you’re 35 years old, and right now you put 50$ into an aggressive-risk RRSP. Assuming a return of 7% (pretty conservative), when you’re 65 that same 50$ is 380$. And if you put in an extra 50$ every month, that number grows to more than $59,000!! It’s like free money for future you.

So how did this impact us? Numbers 2 and 3 helped us get our home, and number 1 is how I know exactly how much I spent on Starbucks in 2019. Combined, they’re what let me feel totally great about what I spent on Starbucks (and every other fun thing!).

Have you had any game changers? Or is there something you do that forms the foundation of your financial wellness? I’d love to hear.

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