Happy New Year! Welcome to a brand new year, and hopefully, at least when it comes to your financial situation, a brand new you. Have you made your financial New Year’s Resolutions yet? Perhaps the better question is, only one week into 2019, have
you broken your New Year’s Resolutions yet?
Resolutions can be hard to keep, with many, if not most, people ready to give up by February. Financial resolutions can be even harder to keep because, well, money is a difficult beast to conquer. But we’re here to help!
Complete each item on the list and your wallet will be thanking you by the time December 31st rolls around again. Good luck!
1. KILL THE CHEQUE
Look, if you’re still using cheques in 2019–for personal use or with your business–you’re doing it wrong! This year, it's time to #KillTheCheque.
- Cheques are expensive to make and use, slow to process, distribute, and deposit, and susceptible to theft, loss, damage, and fraud.
- Banks may mark up processing charges for bounced cheques as much as 470,000%
- 29 percent of all Canadian bank fraud is via cheque. 60 percent of Canadian said they don’t anticipate using cheques at all in the next 10 years.
- The 2017 PYMNTS Disbursement Satisfaction Index measures consumer satisfaction across payment methods including cash, cheques, direct deposit, instant credit pushed to a card, and non-instant credit pushed to a card. Finishing dead last in the report was
payment via cheque, which ranked only 4.4 out of 100.
Save money, protect yourself, and streamline your life. It’s time to #KillTheCheque and focus on the future of your finances. Prepaid cards are a more secure and less expensive option for issuing payments and transfers.
- Funds can be electronically transferred and distributed within seconds to the intended recipients without the hassle and delay of mailing cheques.
- They can replace a direct deposit or wire transfer, giving a business quicker access and more flexibility to use the funds.
- The funds are immediately available to make purchases or withdraw cash at an ATM.
- Businesses can use the card to pay wages and commissions, reimburse expenses immediately, pay contractors and more, using a single tool, in a faster, more cost-effective and controlled manner.
- A card offers an easier transition to electronic payments than an automated clearing house (ACH) deposit.
2. TRACK YOUR SPENDING
Alright, so you’ve decided to #KillTheCheque to improve your financial flexibility, save on costs, and protect your hard-earned funds. Next up, you need to track where your money is going. “A dollar saved is better than a dollar earned,” as they say. If
you want to cut down on costs and build up a retirement nest egg for the future, it’s important that you know how much you are actually spending on a monthly and yearly basis.
Set up an expense tracker or download a personal finance app like Mint, You Need a Budget, or Wally to help you pay attention to where you money is going, so you end up paying
less for things you don’t actually need or want. This year, make sure your spending fits in line with your other goals.
3. INCREASE YOUR SAVINGS RATE
Saving more for retirement is as common a New Year’s resolution as “exercise,” “lose weight,” or “quit smoking.” According to Statista.com, it ranks fourth out of all resolutions, with 32 percent of respondents expressing a desire to build up a retirement
If you followed #2 on our list, that means you’re already tracking how much you spend. You’re able to identify where money is being spent poorly, and hopefully trim unnecessary spending. The next question is, “how much should you be saving annually?”
It’s recommended that you try to live on half of your take-home pay, i.e. you save as much as your spend. That isn’t always easy, especially if you have outstanding debts (see #4 for help on that!), but even aiming for 30-35% of net income is a move in the
right direction. 78 percent of full-time workers said they live paycheck to paycheck. Protect yourself.
One way to increase your savings rate is to increase your income. Can you negotiate a raise? Transfer to a new position? Another is to cut down on certain expenses. Eating out less, taking public transportation, or saying no to that after-work round of drinks
all go a long way to adding to your bottom line. Another great way to save more is to cut down on debts and high interest credit cards.
4. PAY OFF YOUR DEBTS
According to a poll released by CIBC, 26 percent of Canadians say paying down debt is their top personal finance priority for 2019. This marks the ninth consecutive year in which “paying down debt” is at the top of Canadian’s to-do lists. Approximately 70
percent of Canadian households have debt, with the average indebtedness at an incredible 170 percent of disposable income–in other words, meaning for every dollar households earn after taxes, Canadians owe $1.70.
Make a list of your debts, including balances, interest rates, and monthly fees, and sort them in order of importance. High interest debts like credit cards are a major no-no and should be the first to go. Forget about saving money in the bank, with interest
rates as high as 29 percent you need to focus on paying down these credit cards first.
There are two popular debt reduction strategies: the most obvious is paying off the largest loan first. The other is called “The Snowball Method,” where you pay off the smallest debt first. Doing so is said to provide a psychological effect and positive
sense of accomplishment because you are able to see your progress faster.
5. STOP BUYING THINGS ON CREDIT
To follow up on #4, stop buying things on credit! If you have to incur debt in order to purchase something (especially a non-essential purchase) then perhaps you should rethink things. Instead of using a credit card, look at using an open-loop prepaid card.
Supported by MasterCard and Visa, these cards can be used just about anywhere in the world, both in store and online, but the thing is, there is no actual credit required to make these purchases. Unlike credit cards, with When you use a prepaid card you don’t
have to worry about interest charges, and unlike with credit cards, you also don’t have to worry about going into debt–you can only spend as much money as you load onto the card. You have full control.