Today's families face major financial challenges; they are being forced to downsize their goals and dreams to settle for less. My passion is to show people how they can change their lives by getting the protection they need, invest for the future and get out of debt. We teach families fundamental financial principles with an opportunity to build a business and transform their lives. I have a diploma in Civil Engineering as well as being a fully licensed agent working for Primerica Financial Services Company of Canada. If you have questions or wish to contact Trevor, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Making personal finance fun
By Trevor Butt
Most people dread looking at their finances, but maybe looking at them in a different light would change that. Think of finances as a video game. When you play a game, you get satisfaction out of reaching a new high score or getting to that next level. Your finances are really no different.
Edmonton - August 29, 2012 - I know a lot of people dread looking at their finances, but honestly, I’ve never understood why. Dare I say it; I actually enjoy analyzing my finances. In fact, it’s something I often do when I’m feeling bored. Think of finances as a video game, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it seriously, but when you play a video game, you can get a lot of satisfaction out of reaching a new high score or getting to the next level. Finances can be a real life version. You don’t try to get to level 10 right from the start or you’d probably fail quickly and stop trying. You work your way up.
If you’re floundering under a mountain of debt now, it’s unrealistic to set a goal to save six months’ worth of living expenses or buy a house. Instead, set “levels” to reach along the way and be sure to pair the long-term with the short-term. Most of us realize that saving for retirement is important, but it’s so far away for many of us that we can’t get excited about reaching our goal. What most people don’t understand is that we will probably have some level of debt for most of our lives. If we spend our whole life focused on our debt and not investing for our future, we will never have any money for our retirement. There is always a balance on what we need to do today and what we need to invest for our future.
Just pick one or two challenges a month. In order to reach the next level, you’ll need to make changes to your day-to-day habits, but you don’t need to do it all at once. Maybe this month you tackle spending less money on food by taking bagged lunches to work and eating in more. In order to see how well you’re doing, you’ll want to review how much you normally spend in a month on food and then keep track of how much you’re spending now. Sounds tedious, right? Not if you follow the next tip!
Let the computer handle the math. Luckily, with the advent of the computer, there’s little need. With websites like Mint.com, it’s easy to get organized. It automatically spits out facts and figures on everything from your spending habits to your net worth. All you need to do is set it up and categorize transactions as they come in. You can easily set up goals, and it will track how you’re doing throughout the month.
You can also set up a system for yourself easily using Excel. It takes a bit more work, but you can export .csv files from almost any bank or credit card account. Then simply create a column for the type of spending and sort by category - you can see what you spend in each area.
Use credit cards with rewards programs. If you are the kind of person who can control your spending and pay off your bill every month, putting your purchases on your credit card just makes sense. You’re earning money by spending what you would normally anyway. Find a rewards program that goes toward something that you enjoy, such as travel. Then you’ll have an incentive to check on your credit card spending, since you’ll not only discover what you charged but also how close you are to earning your reward. Just be careful not to let the rewards encourage you to spend more. If you think it might, then skip it!
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