#FLM2015 | It Feels Good To Use Your Own Money – Finding Your Financial Sweet Spot with Interac

Interac

Even though I don’t use credit cards often, and mostly rely on my Interac Debit Visa – I will be the first to admit that my money spending and lack of saving habits are not too great. In my early twenties I was working in nightclubs, making cash every night and I would often splurge and impulse shop the very next day, which has resulted in an overflowing closet full of clothes and shoes.

My friends and family have benefited from my terrible financial habits though, because every couple of months I will go through all my stuff and purge. I usually find things that I forgot I bought, which still have tags on them – as well as things that I haven’t seen in years and will no longer wear.  This results in friends and family getting first dibs on whatever they’d like, and then I usually donate the rest.

Then, of course, I see that I have empty closet space – and repeat the vicious cycle all over again.

I have to say though, that over the past few years I have gotten a lot better. I’ve moved a few times, and am now in a smaller apartment with less storage space – so I’m more conscious of my spending. Well that is on clothing and shoes – when it comes to food and eating out – that is likely my biggest weakness right now.

I rarely cook at home, I’m usually out and about at events and then the nights I do stay home – I’m usually too tired lazy to cook – so, I will either head out (I love me some chicken wings!) or order in (#PizzaPartyForOne).

This habit is no good for my wallet – or my waist line!

Interac

November is Financial Literacy Month and Interac recently invited me out  for an evening of fabulous food and personal finance fundamentals, to help me (and subsequently you) find the “financial sweet spot” to suit our unique lifestyle and goals.

Financial temptation comes in many forms. Be it eating out too often, buying far too many clothes, concert tickets, vacations – and everything else – we are surrounded by ways to spend our hard earned moola! Of course it’s ok to treat ourselves, but it’s important to find a realistic balance between spending and saving.

“Money management is not something you learn overnight – it’s a skill that improves with practice,” said Teri Murphy, Senior Manager, Corporate and Stakeholder Relations, Interac Association and Acxsys Corporation. “A conscientious approach to personal finance that consists of creating and following a budget and establishing wise spending practices, including using payment cards responsibly, can help Canadians stay on top of their goals.”

Interac

Over dinner, Interac experts Teri Murphy and Caroline Hubberstey lead an interactive session and open discussion on money management while debunking common myths. We went over different ways that we could save and improve our “financial sweet spot.” It’s important to set goals and ensure you have a plan to attain them.

“Having realistic, measurable and attainable financial goals is key to success. But so is making sure you have the right tools – like a budget – and habits to help you achieve those financial milestones.”

Interac Flash Cards

So, here are a few tips and tricks to help you not only get out of debt – but also take the steps necessary to start saving for the future, meet your financial goals and find your “financial sweet spot:”

  1. Have routines such as creating meal plans and having a set grocery list. Meal plans and set grocery lists will help stretch your dollars, and curb your waistline while you’re at it! Wins all around! (Side note: never go grocery shopping hungry!)
  2. Keep track of all of the money going in and out of your bank account, and pay off your credit cards in full every month to avoid unnecessary interest charges.
  3. Set aside time each month to review your finances and see what changes should be made.
  4. No more impulse shopping. If you really want it, snap a pic – wait a couple days and then look back on it. If you still have that burning desire to buy it – review your finances and if it is feasible without setting you back – go for it.
  5. Compare! There are tons of apps out there, such as Flipp, to help you price match and find the best deals. You’d be surprised just how easy it is! Another great one is Checkout 51 which offers different coupons weekly.
  6. Avoid those fancy schmancy lattes. As a non coffee drinker, I’m sure this is easier said than done – but, ditch the expensive daily drinks. Purchase yourself an at-home machine – like a Keurig, and take your drinks on the go. They’re just as good (so I’ve heard) and will cost a fraction of the price – saving you big money in the end.