**This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Capital One Canada. All opinions are my own.
Over the last few years, I feel like there’s been more education about personal finance. Maybe it’s because I’ve been blogging about the subject for some time now and have seen more bloggers join the community, but I’ve also noticed many major media outlets also producing great articles on how to be smarter with your money.
Despite this increased awareness, 44% of Canadians believe that their financial situation negatively impacts their mental health according to a recent study by Capital One Canada and Credit Canada Debt Solutions. This is shocking, but not surprising news since money management can be difficult for many people.
31% of those surveyed said their total debt load was their biggest financial stressor, followed by affording essentials (20%), credit card debt (16%), and housing affordability (15%). These are concerns anyone can relate to, but there are a few things you can do to be more money mindful.
Talk about your money and make a plan
Many people stress out about money because they don’t have conversations or a plan in place. It doesn’t matter if you’re single, in a relationship, or you’ve been married for decades, you need to have regular conversations about your money. For single people, things tend to be a little easier since that plan usually just means coming up with a realistic budget and sticking to it, but for people in a relationship, things can be complicated.
Talking about money isn’t fun! Heck, 11% of those surveyed said they would rather eat dinner with an ex-friend or ex-significant other. Trust me, talking about your finances isn’t that bad. For starters, it’s an opportunity to discuss what money means to each partner. Not everyone has the same values when it comes to their money, so it’s important to discuss what your individual goals are.
Once you’ve had that initial discussion, you can come up with a budget that works for everyone. The benefit of this budget is that you hopefully won’t resent each other for purchases if they fall within the budget. It’s never healthy to argue about money, so find that happy medium for each other and stop stressing about money.
Make sacrifices, but don’t sacrifice everything
It’s not uncommon for Canadians to make sacrifices to become debt free, but what are you willing to give up? Vacations, eating out, and shopping? Those are all things you should definitely cut out if you have high interest debt, but if your only debt is say your mortgage or a car loan, there’s no reason why you still can’t enjoy yourself.
Quite often we can go to the extremes when we’re trying to eliminate debt or save money, but that can be an unhealthy habit. It’s okay to spend. Your budget should always include some fun stuff since that’s what’s going to keep you sane and your mind off your money. If your budget allows you to spend on coffee and eating out, then you shouldn’t feel guilty when you make those purchases.
Make smart decisions
Despite the fact that I often talk about credit card perks, things can get quickly out of hand if you’re not smart about your money. I shouldn’t have to remind you that you should always pay off your entire bill on time every month, but I’m reminding you to pay off your entire bill on time every month. It doesn’t matter how many perks or points you’re getting, paying interest on your purchases is never worth it.
If you haven’t checked your credit score in some time, you may want to take a look now with Capital One’s Credit Keeper. This is important since having a good credit score is usually a requirement if you ever plan on getting a loan in the future such as a mortgage. Don’t stress out if you don’t have a perfect credit score, just focus on increasing or maintaining it.
Now if you’re still constantly worrying about your finances, it may make sense to talk to a professional to get you back on track. There are great money coaches, financial planners, and debt counsellors that can advise you on the next steps. You don’t need to handle these things on your own.
Stressing about finances can happen to anyone, you just want to make sure it doesn’t consume your daily life. Educate yourself, make adjustments and check out the Credit Education Week website to find out what events are taking place across the country.