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Practical advice to help relieve your financial stress

From inflation and shrinkflation to rising interest rates and fuel costs, we’re all feeling a pinch in our wallets. And worrying about finances is one of the biggest stressors in many people’s lives. Here are four ways you can take control of your finances. 

Get informed 

You won’t be able to stay on top of your finances without a solid grasp of the basics of financial literacy. This includes understanding the differences between chequing and savings accounts, how interest rates will affect your debt level and knowing important information such as the fact that you can cash a cheque from the federal government for free at any bank. Organizations like the non-profit ABC Life Literacy Canada provide free resources and workshops where you can learn more financial literacy skills. 

Build a budget 

Almost every article you’ll read about personal finances will talk about creating a budget. And there’s a good reason for that. Keeping a detailed account of your income and expenses is the only way you can accurately highlight areas you can cut back on. But, according to some studies, less than half of all Canadians have a budget. Search online for “How to make a budget” to find one of the many free templates to get started. 

Plan your grocery runs 

The rising cost of food is many people’s main concern when it comes to finances. So, it makes sense to make a grocery list before you head to the store. Start by taking account of what you already have in the fridge or pantry. Try to find recipes that can make use of leftovers and fresh food before they go bad. Review flyers and grocery store websites to find the best deals on the items you plan to purchase. Also, follow this age-old tip: do not go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. You’re more likely to make unnecessary impulse purchases if you do. 

Consolidate loans 

If you’re just not able to get on top of your bills, talk to your lender about consolidating your loans. This means that instead of having to pay off multiple loans throughout the month at varying interest rates, you’ll only have to make one monthly payment. Consolidated loans also generally have a lower interest rate than many of your previous bills, particularly credit card debt. 

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