As Global News reported, more than half of Canadians are just $200 away from not being able to pay their bills. That’s not a comforting position to be in. While financial security should always be the goal, here are a few mistakes you should stop making now to help your financial future.
Paying pointless fees. Far too often we pay fees just because we don’t plan ahead. All these small fees—overdraft fees, other ATM use fees, fees on bank accounts and subscription services or gyms you no longer use—add up to a significant chunk of change at the end of the year. Get your finances on track, reduce pointless fees and cut out those services you’re not using.
Taking on consumer debt. The Government of Canada actually released a consumer alert on managing debt since the Bank of Canada has increased interest rates three times in the last year alone. If you are carrying debt, now is the time to repay as much as possible. It’s also important to avoid collecting anymore debt while interest rates are rising. Pay off the balance on your credit card every month, and if you can’t, make yourself aware of just how much money this debt is going to cost you over the years.
Saving when you have debt. While everyone knows it’s important to have a financial safety net, it is counterintuitive to save more than you’d need for an emergency fund when you have credit card debt. That debt is costing you money in interest, so the best use of any extra money you have is to pay down the debt as fast as possible and avoid the interest fees. Once it’s paid down, you can start building up your savings without throwing away money on interest.
Buying a new car. There is no bigger financial waste than buying a brand-new car. The minute you drive it off the lot it begins to depreciate, and only continues to lose value as the years go by and miles pile up. If you can’t afford to buy it with cash, you’re also paying interest on a depreciating asset, which is a bad move. Buy a fuel-efficient, used car for a third of the price of a new one instead, and watch your savings increase.