November marks Financial Literacy Month across Canada. After a difficult year for many Canadians, more and more people are facing financial hardship. Financial Literacy Month, now in its 10th year, aims to help Canadians learn how to better manage their finances in challenging times.
“Financial literacy gives Canadians the confidence to make smart financial decisions, and if this year has taught us anything, it’s that it’s never been more important to be able to understand your finances and make good decisions,” says John Eisner, President & CEO of Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada. “As we go into Financial Literacy Month, we encourage Canadians to be honest with themselves and reach out for support if they need it. With so many Canadians lacking financial literacy, know that it’s okay to seek help.”
In a June 2020 survey by Globe Media, it was reported that two-thirds of Canadians were concerned about their ability to pay bills, and with 27 per cent borrowing money to buy food or other daily expenses.
In honour of the 10th anniversary of Financial Literacy Month, Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada offers 10 practical money-saving tips that anyone can implement right now.
- Always have a shopping list. Never go to the grocery store without a plan. You’ll end up buying things you didn’t need. With a shopping list, you can be sure to follow it and only it.
- Use your local library. Libraries have an endless supply of books, movies and music – all for free!
- Go thrifting. Ditch the overrated and expensive clothing in typical retailers and go shopping at the thrift shop. Not only will you save money, but you also likely won’t run into anyone wearing the same outfit as you!
- Get holiday decor on sale. By shopping at the end of a season or after key holidays, you’ll benefit from huge sales. For example, in the fall, purchase next year’s bathing suits, and in the spring, buy that coat for next winter.
- Ask for a lower credit card rate. Call your credit card company and ask them to lower your rates. Tell them you are considering a balance transfer to a low-interest card. Most companies will try to keep your debt and will therefore reduce your rate, lowering the amount of interest you’ll pay. If they say no, transfer your balance to a card offering a low or 0% promo offer.
- Wait 30 days. Avoiding instant gratification is one of the most important rules of personal finance. Next time you want to buy something, wait 30 days before doing so. This way, you’ll have time to decide if you truly want it.
- Get generic medication. Ask your doctor if you can switch to generic medicines instead of brand name. Oftentimes they have the same ingredients, but simply cost less.
- Don’t speed. Not only will you save lives, but you’ll save money! Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 100 kilometres per hour. Each 10 kilometres you drive over 100 kilometres per hour is like paying an additional $0.30 per litre for gas.
- Shop locally and in-season. Choosing seasonal fruit or visiting a local farmer’s market will save you money. While apples are often cheap, the prices of other fruits, like pears, can beat them depending on the season.
- Exercise more. Exercise is a free activity that’s good for your health and your wallet. Financial trouble is the leading cause of stress, so exercising can help offset some of that.
If you need help with debt, contact our accredited credit counsellors for a free consultation. Visit www.solveyourdebts.com for more information.