It’s a great feeling when you know you are in control of your money. The best way to do this is to create a budget for you and your household.
Whether you’re saving for a wedding, a car, or just next month’s groceries, tracking how much money comes in, and where it goes out, is the first step to getting there.
Once your budget is in place, you can then start saving. We have easy steps to do that, too.
Your Guide to Budgeting
- Step 1 What is a budget?
- Step 2 Why is having a budget important?
- Step 3 Get started with our Money Finder Calculator
- Step 4 Set up these online functions to track your spending and income
- Step 5 Start with paying down debt
- Step 6 Set up automatic saving
- Step 7 Book an appointment
What is a budget?
In a nutshell, budgeting is about looking at the big picture, deciding where your priorities are, and making a few short-term changes to reach your financial goals.Some things to keep in mind when budgeting:
Know your goals and plan for them — What am I saving for?
Small changes can have a big impact over time — Do I use all these subscription services that are billed monthly?
Think twice about impulse purchases — Will I still want this tomorrow?
Why is having a budget important?
Having a budget is important for a number of reasons:
It helps you live within your means
Living within your means is essential to avoiding unnecessary debt. If you know how much money is coming in, you can plan for how much money is being spent. This makes it easier to avoid any unwanted surprises when it comes time to pay the bills.
It prepares you for emergencies
With a budget, you’ll be able to more easily set aside money for an emergency. A good goal is to have about 3 to 6 months of living expenses saved up.
It helps you accomplish goals
Whether you’re planning on buying a home, going on vacation, or retiring, saving that amount of money takes planning. A budget will help you figure out how much money to set aside now, so you can reach your goals later.
It gives you peace of mind
Not knowing where your money is going can feel overwhelming. Staying on top of your spending can provide a sense of control.
Get started with our Money Finder Calculator
The Money Finder is a free budget calculator designed to help you create a spending plan for your household. It compares your income and expenses and gives you a better sense of how much available money you have to put towards your savings.
It takes just a few minutes to complete, but you’ll start to see how your income and expenses stack up, and how much you might have left over.Try the Money Finder for yourself and then come back and continue with this guide.
How did you do? If you’re in the positive, congrats! You have money to set aside for savings.
But don’t worry if you’ve overspent. Here are just a few ways you can start to cut expenses:
Pack a lunch one extra day a week
Make a list when grocery shopping to avoid impulse purchases
Use public transportation more often, get a bike, or carpool
Shut off the lights when you leave a room
Watch for coupons and specials at your grocery store and when dining out
Accelerate your mortgage payments with extra payments to the principal
Set up these online functions to track your spending and income
There are many different ways to track your spending. With digital banking, you can access your accounts anytime, anywhere to more conveniently watch your spending. If you haven’t set it up yet, you can use our online setup guide.
Once you’re ready to get started, you can take advantage of the digital budgeting features available to you.
InfoAlerts. InfoAlerts help you stay on top of your transactions in real-time. Once activated, you’ll get app notifications and emails about your balances, withdrawals from ABMs, Interac transactions, bill payments, and more. Here’s our step-by-step guide to setting up InfoAlerts.
eStatementsWith eStatements, you can view, download, and print up to seven years of statements online. Follow the demo and steps in our eStatements set-up guide to get started.
Start with paying down debt
Aside from a mortgage, it’s usually a good idea to pay down any debt you may have before setting aside money for savings. A budgeting plan can help you reduce your expenses so you can tackle your debt payments.These two methods are helpful to know when paying down debt:
The debt avalanche method This method focuses on paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first. After that’s paid, you shift to the debt with the next highest interest rate and so on. It’s a highly efficient way to pay down debt.
The debt snowball method
Many people find this method easier to stick to. The goal here is to start by paying off your smallest debt first. This can create a sense of accomplishment, so you can use that momentum to move on to the next debt. You can find more helpful ways to manage your debt.
Set up automatic saving
There are a few resources available to help you save more easily without even having to think about it.
Pre-authorized contributions (PAC)
Once you’ve figured out how much money you can spare per month, you can set up a recurring contribution to your TFSA, RRSP, or other savings account. Even putting away $25 per month can make a big impact in the long run. Here’s a guide to setting up PAC.
The Bank the Rest programYou may not miss your spare change now, but it can add up over time. With Bank the Rest, every transaction made with your Scotiabank debit card will be automatically rounded up to the next multiple of $1 or $5 and transferred to your savings account. You get all your ‘change’ put into your savings without having to lift a finger.
Book an appointment
Your financial plan can start with a simple conversation.
Give us a call at 1-866-698-5927 and book a meeting with one of our advisors.Call us to book an appointment 18666985927Call us