Solving Money Problems on Your Own
A huge portion of Canada’s population is living with money problems.
In fact, it’s estimated that as many as 46% of Canadians find themselves $200 or less away from insolvency at the end of each month, and up to 31% say that they can’t afford to cover all of the bills they owe (Source).
Living with stress and anxiety over your finances can feel incredibly isolating, with many people thinking that they have to solve their problems on their own.
Bankruptcy Canada is here to take the pressure off of your shoulders when it comes to your finances, but we also understand that at least an element of this process has to be independent.
You need to identify the root of your financial issues, work to build a budget and plan that enables you to eliminate them, and learn a huge range of skills along the way.
But how exactly can you solve your money problems on your own?
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The Root of the Money Problems
The first step that you have to take when you’re working towards solving your money problems will be identifying the key areas that are causing them in the first place.
There are a number of common causes of issues like these, but the root cause of your money problems isn’t always clear.
You need to approach this with an open mind and avoid being hard on yourself.
#1: Injuries & Illness
Injuries and illnesses can easily change a person’s life.
They can make it impossible for you to work, while also forcing you to deal with increased medical expenses.
Potential Solution: Change your lifestyle to match your income, claim as much compensation and additional support as you’re entitled to, and look for ways to change your career into something that can be done in your condition.
#2: Leaving Home
Leaving home can be a daunting experience for a lot of people, and it can take some time to learn how to manage your money.
Whether you’re at college or working a job, you can’t rely on mom and dad anymore.
Potential Solution: Look for ways to make your lifestyle cheaper, learn about money, or look for additional income through work.
#3: Reduced or No Income
Finding yourself with a reduced income or no money at all can be a very difficult position.
This can happen for a variety of reasons, and you need to act fast.
Potential Solution: Look for a new or second job, request overtime in your current position, evaluate your lifestyle, or look for government support.
Going through a divorce will be a painful enough process without having to worry about money.
This process can often cost a lot for both sides, with one having to pay alimony and the other losing a chunk of shared income.
Potential Solution: Settle your divorce out of court for a fairer result, look for new work.
#5: Starting a Family
Having children or getting married will be some of the most joyous times in life, but they can also be extremely expensive.
Potential Solution: Look for additional work, seek government support, or speak to family members to see if they can help out.
#6: Money Sinks
It’s easy to get attached to things like houses, cars, and other expensive objects that can end up costing you a fortune.
Potential Solution: In this case, you will need to choose between living without the thing you love or looking for additional income to be able to afford it.
In the case of a home, this could mean welcoming a lodger to start making money with rent.
#7: An Addiction or Habit
The modern world is full of things that can get you hooked.
From drugs to gambling, these expensive habits can leave you with significant financial problems.
Potential Solution: Seek professional help for your addiction problems, along with learning how to actively improve your finances.
There are few things worse than the idea of being unable to pay for retirement.
A lot of people face financial challenges at this point in their life, and getting back into work can often be unthinkable.
Potential Solution: Look for passive income solutions like investments or property, or find ways to reduce your living expenses.
#9: Unmanageable Debt
Debt can quickly spiral out of control when you’re using credit cards, payday loans, and other high-interest financial products.
People often find themselves facing serious money problems when they borrow too much to pay back.
Potential Solution: Filing for bankruptcy, submitting a consumer proposal, working on a debt settlement, and reducing your living costs are all good ways to squash your debt.
We can help you when you’re stuck in this position.
#10: Reckless/Impulsive Spending
Money problems don’t have to be the result of anything extreme; some people simply spend too much on things they don’t really need.
Potential Solution: Work to reduce your spending and learn new ways to satisfy the cravings that make you spend in the first place.
#11: Undue Responsibilities
It can be all too easy to find yourself financially responsible for friends and family members who are down on their luck.
You can help people like this, but you have to put your own finances first.
Potential Solution: You can work to support those you care about in other ways or put strict limits on what you’re willing to do based on what you can afford.
Building an Effective Budget
Once you’ve figured out which causes apply to you, you can begin to look at building a budget.
You have to do this carefully if you want it to be successful, but you can make it easier by looking to meet a range of different criteria.
It can make sense to start this process by spending as little as humanly possible.
What Makes an Effective Budget?
So, what exactly goes into an effective budget?
It’s a good idea to avoid thinking about how difficult this will be to follow, instead keeping your mind on the benefits that you will get from going through this process.
- You need to be able to cover the whole budget with your income;
- You need to be able to pay off loans, bills, and other financial commitments;
- Aim to save some money each payday;
- It can help to save a little bit of money to give yourself occasional small treats;
- Your budget should be in-depth, taking each payment into account;
- Your estimates for spending need to be realistic.
What Does a Budget Look Like?
Building a budget can be complicated, and achieving all of the aims above will be a challenge.
It can help to see something like this in action, enabling you to replicate the actions being taken and take advantage of a successful foundation.
Let’s take a look at an example budget to get you started with this.
John and Mary have recently gotten married, bought a home a year ago, and are expecting their first child within a few short months.
John is still working, earning around $2000 each month, while Mary is on maternity leave from a part-time job, still earning $1000 each month.
They had to get a mortgage for their $250,000 home, and this costs them $1500 every month.
Covering the deposit for their first home left John and Mary without any savings to rely on.
Along with their $1500 mortgage spend, the couple also pays $600 each month towards various credit cards and payday loans they’ve had to use to maintain their property.
Their water, gas, and electricity bills come to $300 per month, while services like broadband and Netflix soak up a further $100.
Their food and other monthly expenses can be as much as $400.
This leaves them with a meagre $100 each month to save towards raising their child, but this is enough to get started with.
John and Mary put a huge amount of effort into monitoring their finances.
They use mobile apps to keep track of what they’re spending, read finance blogs to get the latest money-saving tips and have even been learning about investment.
While this isn’t their budget, it all helps to push them towards their financial goals.
Learn & Building Financial Skills
Learning new financial skills is the cornerstone of success with your money.
Websites like Youtube are packed with great videos that can teach you how to handle your money, while blogs and community websites will give you the opportunity to ask questions and boost your financial knowledge.
Learning isn’t always easy, but hard work will always pay off.
Getting Financial Help from Bankruptcy Canada
While it may feel like your money problems have to be solved alone, you’ll be happy to know that Bankruptcy Canada is here to help.
Our expert team can guide you through the process of making budgets, identifying your financial problems, and even learning how to push your money further than ever before.
We encourage anyone who is struggling with their finances to get in touch.
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