Debt is such a dark word; it instantly strikes fear into the hearts of everyone. Whether it’s school loans, credit cards, or mortgages, no amount of debt is easy. That’s why I’m sharing with you all, 5 ways to manage your debt that I wish I would have known earlier.
This is more of a personal post, but I still hope you all can learn from my experiences and my mistakes. When I was born, my parents set up a savings account that they would put money into over the years as a way to ensure that I would have some money if I ever needed it. Being 18 and naive, I stupidly decided that I needed the money right then and there and proceeded to blow almost all of that money over the course of a year. To be fair, I did not have a job this year because I was away at university, but thinking back to all the dumb things I spent money on, namely clothes, I want to kick myself.
I have been trying to come up with a way to start off the financial wellness section of my blog for a while now, but couldn’t find a topic that would be a great starting point and that could appeal to everyone. Then it hit me, it was something that I’ve been trying to do every since I heard the term a few years ago – the 50/20/30 rule.
The 50/20/30 rule is simple; it states that, as a foundation, your fixed expenses should be no more than 50% of your income, you should be saving at least 20% of your income, and the remaining 30% is disposable. This equation is designed to make you feel more comfortable financially, but ultimately is not feasible for everyone. My only disclaimer for this blog post would be that if keeping a roof over your head and food on the table results in your fixed expenses being greater than 50% of your income, don’t sweat it, that is more important than adhering to an equation.
Limiting your fixed expenses like rent, hydro & gas, car payments, subscriptions (yes that includes Netflix) ensures that you are not biting off more than you can chew. For example, if your fixed expenses are currently over 50% of your income, take a look at your subscriptions first. Do you really need a subscription to Netflix, Shomi, CraveTV, AND Hulu? No. Pick one and watch whatever else you need to online on free streaming sites. Do you really need all of those magazine subscriptions? No. Pick one. If you can’t pick just one, give Texture a try in order to consolidate all the magazine costs.
Saving 20% of your paycheque every 2 weeks is no easy feat. HOWEVER, it is a realistic one. When I first began to save money, I was putting 50% of each paycheque into my savings account, but a week later would start taking out that money to use on things that kept adding up. Saving 50% of your income is not impossible, it’s just not realistic to do so and then still have money to spend on other things like going out with your friends. Any money that you can put into your savings is great, however, 20% is enough that over a course of a year can provide a nice cushion if something unexpected comes up like loss of employment or your car breaking down.
This is the fun part. What is the point of working majority of your life if you aren’t able to enjoy the money that you make? Go out for that nice dinner, buy that new handbag, go on that trip. Just make sure that this spending doesn’t become excessive and stays around 30% of your income. When you think about how you get to spend 10% more than you save, it makes it even more fun; that money you are saving becomes no big deal. 30% of your income is just enough to have fun, but not enough to become reckless.
Like I said at the beginning of the post, this equation is not for everybody. This equation will only benefit you if you are in a position where you are wondering how to handle money responsibly and are in a good enough financial position that you can pick and choose what to do with your money. I am by no means rolling in dough, I actually make below the welfare line in Canada, but since I still live at home, I have more freedom with my money.