You’ve got a steady job, you can pay your bills on time, and maybe you can even start hiding a little bit away into a savings account—but is your savings account really growing? Isn’t there a better way to build your financial health? After all, making money is just the first piece of the puzzle.
For many people, knowing what to do with it afterwards (and how to make their money work for them over the long term) is the greatest challenge of all. Like the riddle of the Sphinx, the answers aren’t always clear cut.
Luckily, you don’t need to be a mythic Greek hero to get to the bottom of successful money management. Making your money work for you is something that anyone can start doing, no matter what your financial situation may be. All you need are the right tools—and we’re here to help you start. Keep reading to see three expert ways to start getting a handle on your financial health and make your money work
you, not against you.
1. Cut down your debt
What’s the first rule of making your money work for you? Simply put: stop spending outside of your means. Whether you have credit card balances, a car loan, student loans, or any other kind of debt, you’re going to be paying high interest rates and fees every step of the way.
And if you’re only making the minimum monthly payments, that debt is compounding by the day. Before you know it, that $300 room at a hotel can turn into $350 or $375—and every little bit counts when it comes to credit card bills.
First, write out exactly how much you owe. This can be a huge step, especially if you’ve been avoiding your credit card statements. Make a list of everything that you have left to pay on your credit cards and loans, and find out what your interest percentages are. It’s important to get a full understanding of where you are at—and even more important to take ownership and acknowledge that debt.
If you use the Snowball Method, you can work on making double payments to your card with the lowest balance first. Then, once it’s paid off, you simply take that amount and apply it to the next card on your list, doubling down on payments until you are free and clear.
You could also consider consolidating your debt, whether it’s combining your student loans, refinancing your mortgage, or getting a
deposited into your account to pay off multiple credit cards at once. You might find that simplifying your finances and taking care of multiple debts in one payment is the best approach for you.
No matter how you decide to approach it, cutting down your debt is the best way to start taking control over your financial health. We’re all tied to our debts in one way or another, it’s not always in our control—but once you start taking care of the things you can control, you’ll start to find that life becoming
much easier (and less stressful).
2. Start using a budget
One of the best ways to ensure that every dollar is truly maximized is to give every single dollar—and yes, we’re talking about those spare loonies and toonies, too—a specific purpose. Budgeting is all about retraining the way that you look at your daily spending habits. Over time, being mindful about how much you are spending and where you are spending will help you start to see your money in a whole new light.
Sign up for a budgeting app
There are plenty of ways to make creating a budget (and sticking to it) as painless as possible. If you like the thought of having your budget at your fingertips, 24/7, you might consider signing up for a budgeting app.
Apps will keep track of each bank transaction and assign it into categories like Groceries, Entertainment, Restaurants, Bills, and more. Since they sync up automatically to your bank account, it’s a good way to start categorizing your spending habits and get a good picture of your financial health with fun tools like graphs, charts, summaries and push notification reminders when you are exceeding your monthly budget in a specific category.
Use the 50/20/30 rule
You may have heard of the
before: it’s a tried and true method for organizing personal finances that is widely recommended by financial experts. The main idea behind the 50/20/30 rule is that you separate out each paycheque into percentiles: 50 percent, 20 percent and 30 percent pieces. From there, each piece has its own assigned purpose:
Take half of your paycheque and put it to the things that you absolutely, positively, without a doubt need to spend money on. Your necessities might not be the same as your neighbor’s, but generally speaking, everyone falls into at least the same breadth of categories.
Necessities apply to things like buying food, mortgage or rent payments, and any minimum payments that you need to make to debit on student loans, credit cards, or car loans.
20% goes to Savings
Split 20 percent of your paycheque into boosting your financial health. This chunk of money belongs to things like a retirement account, building your emergency savings fund, or making extra payments on your credit card.The key to making this part work for you is treating savings as a non-negotiable, just like filling up your cart at the grocery store. Once you get into the mindset of assigning 20 percent of your paycheque away towards saving and paying down debt, you’ll be much more likely to follow through.
30% goes to Wants
This is the fun part of living by the 50/20/30 rule: you get to put a whole 30 percent of your paycheque towards fun things. Wants include going out to eat, your Netflix subscription, buying a new pair of shoes, a cocktail night with your friends and more.
Once you start getting used to splitting your income into Necessities, Savings, and Wants, you might find that your percentages have been completely out of whack—like blowing half your paycheque on a weekend trip with friends, or going to restaurants every night instead of the grocery store (we’re all guilty).
Learning how to make your money work for you is all about finding the approach that works best for your lifestyle—and the 50/20/30 rule is about as simple and straightforward as they come, making it a great solution to anyone who feels overwhelmed just by the thought of managing their money.
3. Invest, invest, invest!
Now that you’ve got a little bit of savings under your belt, it’s time to start making passive income. This is the ultimate way of making your money work for you, because it requires almost zero effort on your part! Investing is a great way to ensure that your money is always put to work, even at 3 A.M. when you are fast asleep (except for the night owls, but hey, the point still stands).
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There are plenty of ways that you can start investing, but here are two of the most common:
Find out if your employer offers a pension plan. If they do, you might want to think about enrolling. You can start putting money towards your retirement while getting a little bit of free money from your employer—and let’s be honest, that type of opportunity doesn’t come around often!
A pension plan is super simple. You decide how much you will contribute each pay cheque, and a portion of your pre-tax earnings will be sent to your RRSP, or retirement savings account. Then, your employer uses that amount as a basis to determine how much they will contribute. The amount is different for everyone, but usually employers will pledge to match a certain percentage of the amount you put away each year.
Build a portfolio
The stock market can be a complicated beast if you aren’t familiar with it. Creating a portfolio of investments might feel overwhelming if your day job isn’t being a stock broker—but luckily, there are tons of companies out there that make investing accessible and easy.
Finding the right company or financial planner makes it easy to manage your savings and investments, and can help you plan for retirement, purchasing a home, paying for your children’s college education, and even your dream vacation. Be sure to read online reviews to be sure they’re a great fit.
If you prefer to do it yourself, you can start looking into a collection of low-cost index funds to help you start building your passive income. You’ll pay a 0.25 percent annual fee—but for the ability to grow your finances without lifting a finger, the cost could be well worth it.
Investing apps could also be an option. Something like Acorns takes a slightly different approach to investing—instead of putting large amounts away into an investment portfolio, this app rounds up all of your debit card spending and puts the leftover change into the stock market. It’s a great way to automate your savings and start learning how investments work without putting a ton of thought into the process.
If those options seem overwhelming, you can even choose to set automatic weekly deposits into a high interest savings account at your local bank. Having even a small amount of interest earnings per month could really add up.
At My Canada Payday, we are proud to be one of the country’s leading payday lenders. Helping our customers get back on their feet and learn smart financial habits is our passion, and our
5-star customer reviews
prove it! Call (604-630-4783) or email (
) us at any time to get in touch with our support team and find out why Canadians across the country are choosing My Canada Payday for their payday loans!