8 Budgeting tips for newcomers
By Maria Montemayor
Posted on October 25, 2021
As a newcomer to Canada, you might be facing numerous expenses. Money may be tight for the first few years, so it’s important to start budgeting early. Otherwise, you could find yourself in debt. A budget, quite simply, is a plan for how to spend and save your money. If you haven’t budgeted before, or need some help getting started, check out the tips below.
1. Write down your monthly income
Income means all the money that you earn each month that isn’t considered a loan. You can write down your income on a piece of paper, type it up on your laptop, or make note of it on a budgeting app. You just need to know how much money is coming into your bank account each month.
2. List your monthly and seasonal expenses
Before the start of the next month, write down all of your expenses. You can start by including what you need to pay for on a regular basis, like your rent, food, utilities, internet bill, and phone bill. Next, list expenses you want to save up for like gifts, clothing, or vacations.
3. Prioritize paying off your debt
If you have debt, the best thing to do is to try paying it off as quickly as possible. Commit to paying a certain amount each month, alongside your monthly expenses. Create a timeline of when you want your debt fully paid off, and try your best to stick to it.
4. Set aside money for saving and making unexpected payments
With your monthly expenses and debt included in your budget, make sure to set aside some money for saving and for unexpected expenses. If you ever lose your primary source of income, you can rely on the money you have saved to cover expenses and avoid going into more debt.
5. Adjust your budget as your income changes
You may find yourself making more money in certain months and less money in others. Instead of increasing your spending during the months you earn more, you can increase your savings or start donating to charitable causes.
6. Schedule your payments
To make budgeting easier for yourself, schedule certain days of the week for buying things and making payments. For example, you can do all of your grocery shopping on Mondays or pay all of your bills on Fridays. Create a plan that works best for you!
7. Track your spending throughout the month
Throughout the month, you can check if you are on budget. For example, if you allot $150 toward your groceries one week, you can check if you went over your goal. You can also check your savings for that month.
Here are some free budgeting apps to help you track your monthly expenses:
- https://www.youneedabudget.com/ (free for 34 days)
8. Don’t worry if your finances aren’t on track right away
If you find that your spending habits haven’t changed much, and your debt hasn’t completely disappeared early into budgeting, don’t feel bad. It typically takes three to four months for people to get into the habit of budgeting.