What you focus on – increases.
I started this habit a couple years ago, and have been refining it ever since. My goal is simple: each month I write down what my account balances are at the beginning and what my balances are at the end. I want to see the amounts grow between the beginning and the end!
The first step is to write down your income for each month. Then, write down the bills. What are the fixed expenses that must be paid monthly? Jot those down, tally them up and reduce your monthly income by the fixed expenses amount.
Now you’re left with discretionary income. Take a moment and think about how you want to pay yourself . Consider yourself a fixed expense too! Here’s where I split off at least half of the discretionary income into seperate saving accounts.
If you don’t yet have seperate savings accounts for key areas in your life – I highly recommend starting that now! It’s usually quite simple to open more savings accounts with your bank, especially in today’s day and age of online banking. I have a few key areas that I put money aside for each month:
- Car Account. Putting money aside for car insurance, maintenance and general costs that come with owning a vehicle. I calculate what my non-negotiable expenses will be for the car this year, and aim to put aside at least that amount divided by 12 – et voila!
- Emergency Fund. I like knowing that I have a decent chunk of money put aside in case of emergencies. A last minute flight (although not these days!) or an unexpected expense, are less stress inducing if there are a few dollars in the rainy day jar! I have had this account wavering at about $1,000 the past years, but I may bump that goal up to $2,500 for 2022.
- Trip Account. Although we haven’t left home the past couple years, it’s nice to see my savings grow in this account – for when travelling will be the norm once again. This hasn’t been a priority savings account, but I do throw at least $50 in here each month.
- Treat Account. Life is all about balance. I know myself, and if don’t have a visual on how I am paying myself – I am liable to splurge and spend fivilously. Silly, I know. But getting to know my sepnding habits means that I can outsmart myself… with some planning ahead!
Go ahead and jot down a couple key areas that you want to save for each month. Are you saving up for a house? Kids education? Do you want to buy a Peleton? Think about what you would put your dispensible income towards, given some time to plan for it.
My final note is on TFSA’s and RRSP’s. These are registered accounts in Canada, and each one offers financial perks. Read more on TFSA’s – Tax Free Savings Accounts – here. Read more about RRSP’s – Registered Retirement Savings Plans – here.
In a nut shell, the tax free savings accout allows you to save money and withdraw without penalty. An RRSP contribution reduces your income by that amount, and puts that money aside for retirement. You will be penalized for withdrawing money from an RRSP account. It is advisable to connect with a financial planner to discuss how you can best leverage these kinds of savings! However, it never hurts to open these acccounts (especially a TFSA) and start saving money. This way, you have a little pile going as you decide what you want to do with this money for future you.
What you focus on – increases. So focus on the money in your life!
Wishing you a prosperous new year.
With love, Esta.