Living and saving on a budget


Step 1: Calculate your base take-home pay
Take-home pay is the amount of money you earn and can cash in the bank on a regular basis. Whether it is a regular small job with no paycheck or a paycheck from a company. If your not sure look back at the last few months and if you are likely to have the same income the next few months that is a good place to start.
Let’s say your monthly take-home pay is $1,230.00

Step 2: Calculate your fixed expenses
These are things like rent, utilities, phone bills, bus tickets.
May be those come to $850.00 per month.

Step 3: Set a budget for other things
This is where you plan for groceries, clothes, a cup of coffee on the way to work and all the things you usually spend money on but can't fit into a fixed expense. This is the most important part of staying on track financially.
It's important that you keep the “other expense” budget as healthy as possible. Too tight and you won’t keep your budget, get discouraged and throw away your budget.

Step 4: Set up a budget for personal expenses
Do you want to know my secret to not fighting about money? Make sure everybody has a personal budget that they can spend on whatever they want.
If you have a family it is important that they also have a small budget that they can spend on anything they want. Maybe it is $5 a week for doing chores and homework. Once they earn it – it’s theirs to do what they want.

Step 5: Calculate your savings
Your savings is everything that you haven't spent from your take-home pay. For me, the math looks like:

Monthly Budget
Average Monthly income
Average Monthly Expenses
Rent & Utilities
Cloth & Misc.
My FUN money ( including other family members )
Income - Expenses = Savings
$1,230.00 - $1162.00

Maybe $68.00 a month doesn’t seem like a lot but after a year you have over $800.00 in Savings if you can stick to this.

Step 6: Use allocated direct deposit or automatic transfers to separate your money as it comes in
There you have it, six-steps for saving. Start by figuring out your income. Then your expenses. If you can get a little ahead you might set up some other accounts and do direct deposits.

Now you can go back and figure out where you can save a little money. Money saved is money earned.

Are you living in an apartment or a rental? Are you paying utilities or are they included?

If you are paying utilities learn the tricks to lower your utility bills, turn down the thermostat on the water heater. Turn down the heat and put on a sweater in the house during winter.

Look into a different phone plan. Research Public Mobile or others here in Manitoba – I can talk & text anywhere in Canada and have some data all for $25.00 – It takes a bit of time and energy to set it up but I was paying $40.00 a month for even less coverage.

Take your coffee in a mug and don’t stop at MacDonald’s or Starbucks.

Grow even a tiny box garden on your baloney and you will save $10-25 a month on your grocery bill.

Make sure your kids are all enrolled in the Children’s Education fund from the government at your local Bank and start growing your kid’s education NOW. Your Bank can help you get started.

All these things will help you grow your savings and remember Emergencies will happen and that’s what Savings are for but at least you won’t have to borrow like last time.

Best Wishes and good SAVINGS!

Dan Maxson
Bilal Community Centre Volunteer & newcomer to Canada a long time ago.