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  • Krissy Chutskoff

How to Make the Most of Your Money – 7 Steps to Setting Up a New Year's Budget

Having a monthly financial budget has shown to improve financial planning and reduce financial stress throughout the year. The beginning of a new year is an exciting time to take a closer look at your finances and to start a budget! Here are 7 helpful steps to get you started:


Step 1: Take Measure of your Finances Today

Look at your current financial situation and start to gather information about your monthly income, including salary and any additional sources of income. Similarly, compile a list of your regular monthly expenses, such as rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, transportation, and any debt payments.


Step 2: Categorize your Expenses

Identify and divide your expenses into categories like housing, food, transportation, and entertainment. This will help you see a clearer picture of where your money is going each month. 


Step 3: Set Goals

Define your financial goals for the year. Whether it’s building some emergency savings, paying off your debt, or saving for a specific purpose, having a clear goal to reach will help guide your budgeting process. 


Step 4: Create a Realistic Budget

Allocate a specific amount to each expense category based on your income and goals. Be realistic and ensure that your spending plan is sustainable over the long term. Consider using free budgeting tools or apps to streamline this, such as from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.


Step 5: Track your Spending

Throughout the month, monitor your spending to ensure you stay within your budget. This could involve keeping receipts, using budgeting apps or spreadsheets, or regularly reviewing your bank statements. 


Step 6: Assess and Adjust

At the end of the month, evaluate how well you stuck to your budget and, if necessary, modify it for the following month.


Step 7: Celebrate your Successes

Celebrate milestones in your financial journey. Whether it’s paying off a credit card or reaching a savings goal, recognizing your achievements will help to keep you motivated.


Remember, budgeting is not a one-time task, it’s an ongoing process of tracking, managing, and optimizing your finances. By taking these steps, you are helping to set yourself up for a financially healthy and successful year ahead. 


Cheers to mastering your money in the new year!


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