Saving money is hard
When your wallet is hurting, look to these tips
By Amber McLinden, Features Editor
Around 42 per cent of Canadians struggle with money-related stress, according to a national survey by Leger on behalf of Financial Planning Standards Council. So when I tell you that you are not alone in worrying about money, believe me.
Hello, my name is Amber and I struggle with money-related stress. This is the part where you all respond, “Hi Amber” and then go on to confess that you too are struggling with similar problems.
Of course you are! You may be a student who is worrying about tuition for the classes you just registered for. You might be working part-time, or even casually, trying to keep up with your rising debt. Maybe you are just worried about how you’re going to make the minimum payment on your credit card and still buy groceries.
It’s something I can relate to. As someone who is slowly taking on the burden of being an adult, and having to pay for things (what do you mean my parents won’t support me until I die?), as well as struggling to save for short and long term goals, I feel the heavy weight of debt creeping slowly upon me.
Have you seen that commercial of a guy on that woman’s back, as she struggles to do daily tasks, and then at the end of the commercial you find out the guy is her debt? I want that guy off my back! So if you want to know some ways to shrug debt off, start saving money, or even continue saving money more efficiently, check out some of these tips.
Talk about it
Leger’s survey also revealed that millennials are more likely than any other generation to lie about personal finances. Thirty-three per cent admit they have been dishonest with their friends, 25 per cent with their family. Did you even read the beginning of this article? Forty-two per cent of people are in the same situation you are. Talk to other people about it and you’ll find someone has something helpful to say. Maybe you have something helpful to say to them.
In any relationship, communication is key. That includes talking to your friends and family about your finances when you feel comfortable doing so. These people can help you. Talking to your family can be super beneficial, and you might find they are going through, or have gone through, a similar situation. If you’re stressed about moving, credit piling up, or just generally need some advice, talking about your situation might make you feel a little better.
Planning, planning and more planning
It’s no secret that planning can help you create a better financial situation for yourself. Something that I didn’t do for a long time was even know how much money I made per month. Yes, it may seem a little ridiculous, but as a university student with various ways of making money besides the traditional job, I didn’t know what I made. That also meant I didn’t know how much was appropriate to spend, or how much I should be putting away to save up for long term goals like travel and eventually paying for an apartment.
It’s super scary, but you need to know. It’s like when you have been really bad at spending money, and you just don’t look at your bank account hoping that if you don’t look, it won’t be as bad as you think it is. You have to look to know how to start planning.
Besides the obvious, it’s no secret that high school and university did not prepare us properly to handle our finances. It’s time you learned. Check out online tools that can help you understand how to save, invest, and budget better. I didn’t even know what a stock was until I spent a summer working at an asset management firm and I asked them, “What’s a stock?” and they all looked at me like I was on drugs.
Stop psyching yourself out
The biggest part of money troubles for me is the amount of time I spend thinking about it. One of my goals is to have enough money saved by January to buy a plane ticket. Hey, did you know that flying places is expensive? So on my part-time student budget, I have to save $1,500. That’s a lot of money for me and it seems like a daunting goal that is always on my mind.
By talking about your financial goals and planning, you should be in a place where you can feel confident about your plan and how much you need to save to get to your goal. Why are you stressed about it? Emergencies often come up that require money, in which case it is fair to be stressed that your saving plans got set back. But besides that, it won’t do you any good to think about it more than you have to.
Yes, this requires spending money. Something to remember when planning for saving and dealing with debt is that you are human and you deserve to be happy. If you are constantly telling yourself no, then you are always thinking about debt and saving and your financial woes. Something you need to do is set a budget for yourself to have a little fun.
That might mean giving yourself $10 towards coffee, or $50 a month towards buying something new from your favourite store. It’s okay to let yourself have a break every once in awhile from constantly thinking about money and just buy something you want.
So those are my money trouble tips from a relatively new perspective. It’s a constant struggle, and everybodys situation is different than mine or yours, so these might not work for everyone. But as a student with some money-related goals, I can tell you getting past the stress is half the battle.