Tips to help you stick to your budget in uncertain times

(NC) If your finances have been impacted by COVID-19, it is important that you have a plan to spend carefully. How can you do that?

Make a budget. Adhering to a budget is an easy, proven way to ensure that you live within your means. If you do not know where to begin, try out the new Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s budget planner.

The free interactive tool offers advice and tips to improve your financial situation. It helps you create a personalized budget and generates charts showing where your money goes. You can even compare your spending habits with those of other people in similar life situations. You can also save and update it  online at any time or download an interactive spreadsheet.

Once you have created your plan, stick to it and review it frequently. If you make it a habit, you are more likely stay on track.

Review your spending. As much as possible, limit your spending to what you can afford and update your planned expenses when your situation changes. This could mean a pay increase or lower bills. Compare your planned spending  against your actual spending every month to assess how you are doing. If you find over time that you are going over your projected expenses, review your budget to make it more realistic.

Plan for savings. Once you have your finances under control, it is a good idea to begin saving to build up an emergency fund, so you can be better prepared for unexpected situations or a future crisis.

Choose financial options wisely. In periods of economic uncertainty it is very important to choose the financial services and products that best meet your needs. Compare what financial institutions have to offer and do your research to be better informed. This will help you make decisions that are right for you. Use the FCAC’s bank account and credit card comparison tools to help you choose wisely.

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