Rights & Money

3 Steps to Improve Your Finances

Doing these three things will help you on the path to less debt and more money


By Katrina Caruso


When it comes to money, it can be difficult to navigate what advice to take and what to leave. If you’re feeling that things have gotten too messy or overwhelming, here are three tips that can help you get back on track.

1. Know Your Credit Score
This is an easy one that won’t even take a lot of time or energy—and did you know you can check your score for free? The best way is to go through the Equifax or TransUnion (the two Canadian credit bureaus) websites. Once you’ve received your report, ensure that all the information is accurate: mistakes happen, and those could gravely affect your credit rating.

2. Make a Budget
Making a budget is essential for visualizing and understanding where your money goes, and where it needs to go, in order to pay off debts and save. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has several pages on the Canadian Government’s website that can help with various aspects of personal finance. If you’re feeling clueless about budgeting (or know someone who is), the government’s webpage on creating and sticking to a budget can be a good place to start.

A good rule of thumb, according to personal finance website The Penny Hoarder, is the the 50/20/30 budgeting method. According to this method, your expenses should ideally break down like this:
– 50% essentials (rent/mortgage, groceries, transportation, etc)
– 20% financial goals (savings, reducing debt, and investing)
– 30% personal spending (shopping, entertainment, vacations, etc)

3. Live Below Your Means
Once you’ve begun to look at where your money goes, look at where you’re overspending and try to cut back there. The ideal is to live on 80% of your after-tax income, saving the rest.

Photo: iStock.