Fave 5: Financial Success

It’s that time of year again. The time of year when you need to unstick your head from the sand and take a cold, honest look at your financial situation. It’s tax time.


The great David Chilton (author of the famous Wealthy
Barber
series)
wrote:
The great truth about saving is
that while everybody says you should do it, nobody really wants you to, except
you
.”



This is truer
than ever. 20-somethings in particular are still finding their place in the
job market, getting their first apartments, or investing in that
killer work wardrobe.
But looking ahead financially is getting more and more critical as the years pass, and as always,
we’ve got your back. 
Here are five easy ways to make the most of your financial
situation – it’s not as scary as you think.



1. Do your own
taxes. Doing your own taxes, especially before you have many investments, is
fairly easy. It saves you money, gives you a good idea of how the tax
system works and gives you an idea of the type of deductions that are
available, valuable knowledge as you actually start to save money and make investments (which is what you’re working towards, right? Right?). Our friends over at 
Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada have some great tax savings tips here


There are quite a few free tax programs
that you can download, but we like
Studio
Tax
, as it takes you
through a step-by-step process. Hang
onto those old transit passes and throw a little more money into your RRSP and
you may actually get something back this year.


  

2. Get your personal finances in order. There are a
few cool websites for budgeting
out there, including mint.com, where you can sync your financial accounts
(securely) and track your spending habits. It will even recommend ways to save
based on your personal profile, and you can’t beat that. You can also check out
Yodlee and Buxfer.  


3. Make your money work for you.  Does your company match RRSP contributions?
Do you have the best tax-free savings account around? Is your cell phone plan
the best one out there? These are some questions that are easy to look into.
Contact HR, ask your bank for the best rate they’ve got, or just start
Googling.  Look out for yourself in 2013. No one will take care of you like you will.


4. Stop spending on a daily basis. Once a habit is
created, it’s tough to break. But there’s absolutely no reason not to bring a
lunch to work, now that adorable lunch bag purses are on the market. You can
brew your own coffee at home or in your office instead of buying one every day.
In his
new
book
, Dragon Kevin O’Leary refers to the funds spent on these daily
expenditures as ‘Ghost Money’
and
explains that it is a complete waste. The subject has brought up some
controversy, but the basic logic applies: do the math. How much do you actually
spend on coffee per year?

5. Follow
the golden rules of finance: spend less than you earn. Pay your bills on
time.
When you don’t understand something,
walk away. And when you do spend your
hard-earned money, spend it on things you love!

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