Tips for newcomers to save money

(NC) Among all the excitement and challenges of moving to a new country comes getting used to a new cost of living. With prices for goods and services still at sky-high levels in Canada and around the world, it’s no small feat to make ends meet for anyone let alone someone still learning the lay of the land.

Here are some ideas to help you make the most of your money:

Make use of benefits and credits
Did you know you might be eligible for some government benefit or credit payments even if you don’t have income to pay tax on yet? These might include the Canada Child Benefit, the federal goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit or provincial benefits and credits. You can apply for these tax-free payments if you have a social insurance number. File your taxes, even if you have no income.

Use your budget
A budget, or spending plan, is the cornerstone of managing your money. With a bit of research on realistic costs in Canada, you can set an estimated budget that factors in necessities like food, housing and winter clothing, that also includes room for some more fun and flexible spending. See how it goes and re-evaluate it after a few months, adjusting it to reflect what your life is like. Be sure to include some savings in your budget, even if it’s just a few bucks a month. Investing is also a good idea, even if you start small.

Join the library
Not only does the local library offer free books and movies to borrow, many libraries also offer all sorts of groups, courses and workshops on any topic, from resume writing to website building. In some larger city centres, libraries offer digital only memberships for out-of-town users who aren’t borrowing physical items. Many library programs are also geared directly to newcomer experiences, so it’s a great way to get a leg up and meet new people without breaking the bank.

Get support
Saving isn’t only about competitive interest rates and cutting back; if you’re new to the country, consider looking for support for unique newcomer financial needs. Some Canadian banks, such as BMO, have personalized, no-fee accounts for your first year in the country, bonus interest rates and unlimited no-fee money transfers overseas, so you can save a little more while you find your footing.

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