The new year is a wonderful time for making a change for the better. Personally, aside from hitting the gym even harder, cutting back on the chocolates, and making more time for reading, I want to make my finances really secure.
Since we’ve spent so much money, well basically all our savings, on IVF, I have become much more conscious of how much I’m spending and looking for opportunities to cut back.
To really do a good job of this I have to do more than just take note of my incomings and outgoings, I need to budget for all areas of spending and break them up into a few categories:
These are bills that can’t be adjusted, like rent, the phone bills, car payments, and life insurance, commuting expenses, pre-school, etc.
Food for the family that fills the fridge and the freezer. Tip: Eat what you buy, don’t just leave it and top it up.
Coffees on the way to work, popping out for a sandwich, treats for when I’m really peckish.
Entertainment and Leisure:
Going out for dinner, going swimming, family activities that cost money.
Gifts, treats, and things that we don’t really need but make us feel good.
Everything apart from the ‘Untouchable Bills’ can be pre-budgeted for and moved around. That’s why it’s such a good idea to set the money aside at the start of the month and put on prepaid ‘open loop’ (like a bank card instead of a store-specific gift card). That way you know how much you have to spend and if there’s anything left at the end of the month then you can add that to your savings and slowly start to save some more up or pay off existing debt.
The list above is also in order of necessity. The untouchable bills need to be paid, the groceries are also important, but the daily food accounts for popping out for a sandwich or food that you could have taken from the groceries but you chose to get something nearby instead. Then there are the entertainment and gift categories which are nice-to-haves, but not really needed.
More and more people are using prepaid open loop cards to arrange their finances, and the cards can be used anywhere the card network (American Express, Mastercard, and Visa) is accepted, including online. They’re replacing cheques as a less expensive and more secure option for payments. Open-loop prepaid cards look and function like traditional credit and debit cards at the point-of-sale and have the same fraud protection as a regular bank card.
Disclaimer: This post was supported by the Canadian Prepaid Providers Organization. All opinions and plans to sort out my finances are completely my own.
About The Canadian Prepaid Providers Organization (CPPO)
The CPPO is a not-for-profit organization and the collective voice of the open-loop prepaid payments industry in Canada. It is the only association solely focused on this growing industry and is supported by major financial institutions, card networks and other industry players. The CPPO is focused on awareness and education so that consumers and businesses can have the best experience with these popular products. For further information, visit www.cppo.ca. Connect with CPPO on Twitter and LinkedIn.