Hot tips #1–10: How to bring ‘adulting’ to your finances

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Whether you’re just starting out on your financial journey, or you already have a roadmap planned out to reach your financial goals, it can be tough out there in today’s market. While it’s easy to get caught up in doom scrolling and comparing yourself to others and where they are with their goals, everyone is on their own unique path. With your credit union on your side, we can make great things happen together. Here are a few tips and tricks for keeping the vibes positive and taking steps toward your vision of a healthy financial future. Check them out:

1. Earn your money and OWN IT!

Making your way in the world on your own is an empowering experience. You’re in the driver’s seat of your own life and can spend (or save!) as you see fit—and if that means buying a birthday cake even when it’s not your birthday, you do you. Enjoy that feeling! Whether you just got your first job or have been in a rewarding career for years, put that hard-earned money to work. Check out our Guide to Budgeting to help make the most of it.

2. Establish good credit

Start off strong with your credit score from the day you get your first credit card. Connect with a financial expert at your local credit union to help find a card that fits your needs. By avoiding spending outside your means, you will help keep your credit score high for life. And if your credit score isn’t good right now, don’t worry, we got you. Get in touch with us to work out a plan to build it back up.

3. Have a healthy relationship with your credit card

Go ahead, get those reward miles and cashback offers. Don’t be afraid to use your credit card—it helps you build good credit! Just make sure you’re paying it off every month. Credit cards can do a lot more than you might think, too. Check out this article about some of the unexpected benefits that could come your way by choosing the right card for you. Read it here.

4. Have an emergency fund (three months’ income)

We know, it’s a lot. But future you will be so thankful if any emergencies arise, and you’ll have a nice little nest egg to pay for unexpected expenses without having to take out a loan or maxing out your credit card. Putting away even a few dollars from every paycheck (see tip #1) can make a difference.

5. Track your spending

To get a handle on how much you're actually spending vs. bringing in, try tracking your expenses for four weeks, and then finding areas where you can cut back (don‘t worry, you can always make room to support local with your daily latte from your favourite café). You can go old school with pen and paper, or you could try an Excel spreadsheet or a free app like Mint. Making this part of your routine may take a bit of effort, but it’ll be totally worth it.

6. Set your goals and your roadmap to get there

When you know what you want, it’s easier to put a plan in place to get there. Saving for a down payment on a house? Or maybe a new designer purse you’ve been eyeing for a while? Why not both. A mix of short- and long-term goals gives you something to look forward to soon, as well as in the financial long game. Your financial expert at your local credit union can help you set goals and make a plan to reach them.

7. Have a basic understanding of financial terms

RRSP, TFSA, RESP … What the finance?! The world of money has a language all its own. Don’t be intimidated, we’re here to make sure you’re in the know. Here’s a list of basic financial terms, so you feel informed and in control of what’s going on in your financial world. And even if you don’t understand all the terms—that’s what we’re here for! You’ll be using the lingo in no time; we’ve got your back. Start here.

8. Get insured

As careful as we are, accidents can and do happen. Insurance is a given at this point in life. Tenant, homeowner, car insurance, life insurance—it’s not something you want to think about, but you’ll definitely wish you had if anything were to happen. It’s a monthly expense no one likes factoring in, but your future self will thank you. Do the adulting thing and get your policies set up.

9. Everyday I’m hustlin’

You always want to be bringing in more than you spend every month. Tracking your spending habits can help (see tip #5!), but if you notice you’re in the red, you have two options: spend less or make more. Stories of the side hustle are on the rise, could that be an option for you? In this Honest Money article, we talk to some Atlantic Canadians about their 9–5s and 5–9s. Check it out.

10. Open an RRSP

Even if you’re just starting in the workforce, there’s no better time to start planning for your retirement. Don’t you want to spend it going on cruises in Greece in a full white linen outfit with a big hat and no plans to return until spring has sprung on the East Coast? Just us? Ok well, whatever your retirement dreams are, you can start planning for them now with the help of your local credit union and our RRSP Calculator.

As you can see, there is a lot to consider when you decide it’s time to pull up your socks and get your finances in order. We know, the market feels tricky right now and there are so many things that can make you feel down and less than encouraged. But we are here for you! The tools are in place, your financial experts will help you plan and cheer you on, and your goals are calling to you. When you’re ready to dive in, get in touch. Find a branch nearest you to get started.