Let’s face it: Managing money isn’t always easy, especially when you’re just starting to earn your own income. While financial progress is a lifelong pursuit, it’s never too early to purposefully, consciously set yourself on the path to financial success.
Your focus right now is likely on managing the ins and outs of your daily finances. This is when taking a few small, manageable steps can help build your financial confidence—and help you stay present and in charge. And don’t worry, you don’t have to do it alone.
Consult that confidant. Talking about money with friends may not feel natural, but it can change how you relate to money. Find an Emotional Support Human—that friend who’s successfully crossing off financial firsts, like making their first investment or renting their first apartment and learn from their perspective. Strike up a conversation about their financial experiences—positive and negative—and draw inspiration for your next move (literally or figuratively). Here are some steps to help you take charge of your finances at this stage of your journey:
Set yourself up for success by focusing on essential spending
Staying on top of essentials like rent, car payments, insurance and groceries can help you stay in charge and manage your money effectively.
Grocery shopping, for example, can be a considerable expense, but there are several things you can do to take charge of your grocery costs. One wise approach is meal planning—a great way to save money on groceries since it helps you purchase only the foods you need for pre-planned meals. Another strategy is to shop for just what you need a few times a week (versus doing one big grocery shopping trip) based on the meals you’re making, an approach that appears to be a growing trend.
In fact, year over year, Interac has seen an increase in transactions at grocery stores and supermarkets, along with a decline in average ticket (or basket) size, suggesting consumers are shopping for groceries more frequently. Additionally, as Canadians stretch their dollars further to stay within their budgets, discount merchants are seeing greater transaction growth than their premium counterparts. Gen Zers and Millennials are taking this trend a step further with more than half spending less on groceries overall in the last 12 months, according to a recent Interac survey.
When you’re trying to stay within your budget, if you’re ordering groceries online, using Interac Debit for In-App can help you stay in charge of your finances and monitor your spending in real-time. By shopping using Interac Debit for In-App, you’ll know exactly how much you’ll pay before checking out.
Purchasing essentials like groceries mindfully can help you free up money for other areas of your budget, be in charge of your finances and set yourself up for long-term success.
Take charge of your financial well-being by spending what’s yours
You can feel more confident and in charge when paying safely and securely with your own money using Interac Debit and Interac e-Transfer. Using Interac Debit to pay for everyday purchases not only helps you spend within your means and have more control, but it can also help you avoid interest rates and unexpected bills. Making Interac Debit the default in your mobile wallet or merchant app can help you only spend what you can immediately afford, and track your purchases in real-time. And, splitting costs with others using Interac e-Transfer can help you make shared experiences more affordable as well.
After all, your generation is the most likely to use debit, a wise choice to use your own funds. According to research commissioned by Interac, four in ten Canadians (44 per cent), along with the majority of Gen Z (18 to 24) consumers, report being hesitant to use credit and prefer spending only the money they have.
Consider what’s adding value to your life
It’s wise to think about your priorities when spending and saving. Give some thought to how your present money choices and purchasing patterns impact your financial situation—and how you’re making the most out of life. Assessing and knowing what’s important to you is important to help maximize what you have financially.
Contemplate what fills you with joy and satisfaction, keeping in mind that it’s often the simple, smaller experiences that bring the most happiness to our lives. Once you have a clear understanding of what matters most to you, you can intentionally adjust your spending and saving habits within those values.
Budget for life’s essentials. For example, use Interac Debit for your essential purchases, to make more intentional financial decisions day to day and don’t delay critical payments. Use Interac e-Transfer to pay your rent instantly, so you know money is deducted and you don’t have to come back to that payment later.
You might also consider setting up automatic payments for your recurring bills and expenses to stay in control and ensure that you don’t miss any payments or incur late fees.
Pause and reflect before you purchase
Focusing your attention on the here and now, recognizing where you’re at emotionally and identifying the connection between how you spend and the way you feel are the keys to spending mindfully.
Take a beat and breathe deeply—reflect on and get clear on your intent before spending. Perhaps wait a day or two before making a purchase. Ask yourself if you’re buying something you want but don’t really need? Are you unnecessarily in a hurry? What will your future self think of this purchase?
Think about going into every purchasing situation with a plan, such as when you shop for groceries or for clothing. Do some research before you shop and make a list of what you truly need, whether at an online store or a store IRL. Do yourself a solid and avoid overspending by sticking closely to your list.
Slowly, carefully thinking about potential purchases all the way through—and the impact they could have on your finances and well-being—can help you avoid impulse buying and unintentionally overspending.
You’ve got this!
When you are more intentional and mindful in your spending and saving habits it can lead to a greater sense of financial fulfillment. And, as you grow your skills and confidence, you’ll be in charge and in control—and have more time to do what you love and live your best life.
For more helpful tips and strategies for developing your financial well-being, consider exploring resources like Conscious Economics’ Mindfulness & Money program. The free resource available to all Canadians assists people in incorporating financial therapy and calming mindfulness practices into their financial journeys—and could help you, too.
Learn more with these key resources
For more helpful tips on how to develop healthy money habits to help you stay in charge of your finances today and in the future, check out these supportive resources, including from Interac partner Conscious Economics, a not-for-profit organization fostering a new economic dialogue in Canada.
- Conscious Economics podcast—with episodes highlighting money management through the lens of mindfulness, social justice and more.
- Lunar Studios—events across Canada that blend financial mindfulness and music
- Mindfulness & Money—safe space and support for the development of financial well-being through mindfulness
- Interac Sound Shopping—music designed to help shoppers spend mindfully
- Cultivating financial confidence video from Conscious Economics