It is impossible to live your life without money and to get the most out of it you should have a budget. It’s never too early or late to start.
Encouraging children to budget an allowance or money that is gifted to them for a birthday will help them build skills that they will need as they get older. These skills make it easier to do all the things you want and are great skills to have in the workplace.
Once you are working, a budget helps you do all the things you want to do now and in the future. If you have children then a budget will help you take care of their needs. As you get older a budget will help you reduce how much you have to work or allow you to retire. When you retire a budget can help you live more comfortably on a lower or fixed income.
Save as much as you can, as often as you can. There are so many ways to save that it can often be hard to decide where to put your money. Don’t put off saving just because you are unsure of your options. A basic savings account is a great place to start and as your savings grow you will have more choices.
It’s easy to get carried away with money and develop bad spending habits. Track how much you have really spent at the end of every month and see how close to your budget you were. When you start to do this, you will discover what matters to you the most.
Here are some comments from people who took part in our workshops and have already benefitted by improving their financial literacy skills; “It made me realize how much I’m losing on slurpees,” one said.
“I have very risky attitudes and behaviour about wants and unnecessary expenses,” said another.
Remember that money is a tool and budgeting is a skill. Put the two together they will help you live life your way.
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Kirsten Stark is with Literacy Outreach, Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy.