Still paying off credit card debt from the holidays? You are not alone. Household debt in Canada hit an all-time high last year with Canadians owing nearly $1.64 for every $1 in disposable income they earn in a year.
But all is not lost if you’re feeling the burden of debt. A little financial literacy goes a long way to curbing our spending and finding ways to pay off our debt quicker. Below are tips provided by BMO Financial Group to help individuals and families save money and manage their day-to-day finances more effectively:
Tip #1: Spousal RRSPs can be an effective income-splitting strategy to help defer taxes right away and reduce overall taxes in retirement.
Tip #2: Invest in a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) to save thousands of dollars in taxes over the long term and to help you grow your savings faster.
Tip #3: Create a comprehensive household budget and revisit it often to help keep your overall finances in check.
Tip #4: Track your day-to-day spending habits and take advantage of rewards programs to make the most out of every dollar spent.
Tip #5: When planning for a new home, housing costs – including mortgage payments, utilities and taxes – should not take up more than one-third of your total household income. If you can land safely within these parameters, then homeownership is an affordable and realistic option.
Tip #6: Use the tax refund generated from your RRSP contribution to pay down your mortgage.
Tip #7: Create a payment schedule, which includes spaced-out payments and planned financial commitments, to manage day-to-day finances.
Tip #8: Use trusted online financial tools and resources to make smart financial decisions and set yourself up for financial success.
Tip #9: Pay yourself first and put 10 per cent of your income into a high-interest savings account to boost your savings potential.
Tip #10: Bring your lunch to work and put the dollars you save towards retirement.
Tip #11: Include an emergency fund in your financial plan to help ensure you are prepared for unforeseen expenses and to avoid incurring high interest debt.
Tip #12: Consolidate high-interest debt into a line of credit to save on interest costs and become debt-free sooner.