Keep track of your money with a budget

(NC) If your financial situation has been impacted by COVID-19, a budget can go a long way toward helping you. Creating and maintaining a budget is one of the most important first steps for managing your money.

A budget is the foundation of financial wellness, which means to be able to meet your financial needs, feel secure about your future, and make choices that allow you to enjoy life. Having a budget that lays out your income and monthly expenses is an effective way of managing day-to-day finances that has been shown to help people spend wisely. Also, remember that knowing the difference between your needs and your wants is key to making a smart budget.

If you don’t know where to start, there are plenty of free online tools to help you get started, including the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s new budget planner. This online interactive tool is free to use and designed to help people start budgeting and keep it up. It is unique in the way it uses insights into how people make financial decisions to create an interactive experience that is tailored to the individual. 

The budget planner also allows you to learn and improve your financial situation by providing budgeting tips, advice and alerts, along with suggestions and useful links. You can also view charts that show you where your money is going, and you have the option to compare your budget with those of other Canadians in similar life situations. 

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