There’s no ignoring that majority of us Canadians are going through a financial rough patch. If you’re a millennial you are more than familiar with the struggles of saving money while trying to make all your payments and bills on time.

As hard as it seems, with a bit of discipline and by cutting some corners it is possible for even the most financially downtrodden to save a few bucks here and there.

Below and some helpful tips to get you through the slump.

Make a budget. Now, stick to it!

Do you have a budget? Making a budget and sticking to it is the easiest (?!) and fastest way to build a bit of saving.

Honestly, there is no magic formula to help you plan for unfortunate events like job loss. The best way to handle a sudden hit to your cash flow and survive is to have a nest egg.

The first thing you need to do is sit down and take a good hard look at your spending. Make a note of your essentials; but more importantly, identify your non-essential spendings.

What you really need is to comb through your spending to find out when and where you can trim costs. Once you figure that out, it’s time to get rid of any non-essential costs.

Making a budget

If you need a bit of help with this, there are tonnes of budgeting apps out there.You can opt for free apps like Mint, or paid ones like YNAB (You Need A Budget) which helps you not only build a budget but also keep you honest when it comes to sticking to it.

If you’re looking for something that’s a little more involved in your savings goals, try Acorns. This app not only helps save you money, but it also invests your spare change for you.  The app tracks your credit and debit card purchases and rounds them up to the nearest dollar, then it invests the difference for you in safe exchange-traded funds in one of five ready-made portfolios that you can choose from. If you spend $69.20 at the grocery store, Acorns will automatically divert 80 cents to your ETFs. How’s that for pain-free saving?

This way, the budget you end up with will help you figure out a realistic money-saving goal that is actually achievable.

Now all you need to do is be strict about sticking to your budget. In no time you’ll see your savings add up.

There’s no rush to buy that house

If you don’t have the money you need to buy a house, just don’t. And no, dipping into the “bank of mom and dad” for help is not a healthy option.

The bottom line is – if you can’t do it for yourself then you’re not ready to be a homeowner.

Frankly, getting a parent to help with your downpayment money – especially parents who aren’t financially solvent, is just not an acceptable option. Not only does it put the parents at risk, you’re essentially putting your parent’s finances at risk to add a new drain on your already struggling finances.

Home ownership

Instead, recognize that there’s no rush to become a homeowner. Take your time, save money and do it responsibly so you don’t end up in debt.

It might seem like home ownership is some sort of benchmark in life that must be attained. In reality, like renting, home ownership is also a choice. Renting suits some people, and it doesn’t mean that they are unambitious in life. Figure out if you really need to be a homeowner, before taking the leap into a mortgage.

Regulate that grocery budget

Cutting corners in your daily spendings can be as simple as being smart about your grocery bill. We don’t always realize how much we are spending on groceries. With the cost of groceries going nowhere but up, by all means, reach for that bag of frozen vegetables if fresh veggies are dragging down your budget.

It might seem like extra work, or make you feel like you’re not “treating yourself”. Saving a few pennies on your grocery bill does add up significantly to your savings.

As with your budget, comb through your spendings to figure out your non-essentials, and what purchases can be replaced with a cheaper option.

Splurge every once in a while. But do you really need the extra bag of cookies?


Get help before you go under

When it comes to money, understandably its hard to ask for help. But, sometimes you just can’t fix your finances on your own.

Despite your best efforts, if you are falling short on managing your debts – debt consolidation is a good option to consider. If you are headed towards collection and your credit is damaged. it’s best to seek help with a lender

Banks are usually not much help when it comes to this situation, but there are alternative lending options to help you get back on track. Lenders such as Progressa, offer financing solutions that facilitate the consolidation of your debts. This way you can get an even footing to start building your credit. Meanwhile, you are only left with one payment per month to the lender which makes managing your money much easier.

Before going to a lender, make sure to do your research and pick an agency that not only offers a bailout but also works with you to build a financing option with flexible payback to meet your specific needs.

Realistic goals will see you through

At the end of the day, the best way to manage your money is to be realistic and honest about what you need to be spending money on.

Tightening that belt is all that stands between you and a flush savings account. So make that budget, set up an automatic transfer to your savings account to set aside your saving for the month and do away with temptation. Its hard, but stick to that budget. Live the frugal life till you are solvent.

Unless you’re counting on winning the lottery, you’re your best bet when it comes to making sure you survive these tough times without sinking further into debt.

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