Keeping Your Budget on Track

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This time of year, it can be easy to allow our budgets to get away from us with special occasions and changing seasons. If you don't already have a budget, now is a great time to sit down and create one. Your budget should reflect your income and all of your upcoming expenses. There are many apps available for your smartphone to help you create and manage your money as well. CUA has put together a list of a few common budget busters that people face this time of year and ways to combat them:

  • Raised heating bills - With cooler temperatures upon us, we may find ourselves reaching for a sweater instead of the thermostat for fear of raising our heating bills. No matter how you heat your home, there are ways to maximize its efficiency. For example, some Nova Scotians heat their homes with electric heat. By calling Nova Scotia Power, having your home put on an equal billing plan and by asking them how to use your heat as efficiently as possible, you can reduce your average power bill. If you heat your home through other methods, they may still be able to provide some insight. Talk to your service providers, do research online and embrace the heat (in your home) this winter! 
  • Winter car maintenance - Living in Nova Scotia, we are guaranteed to get at least a few heavy snow falls and icy road conditions so winter tires are a must for most people. If you find yourself in a situation where you need tires immediately, shopping for sales will likely save you a few dollars. If you have time before needing to replace your tires, you may want to consider shopping on Kijiji for gently used tires or, if possible, buying winter tires in the spring and summer when stores have them on clearance.
  • Groceries - Whether you're shopping for special occassions or just looking for a way to slim down that weekly grocery bill, making a meal plan, shopping with a list and not going to the grocery store hungry are great places to start. Watching the flyers and using coupons are great as well but that can be time consuming and costly by the time you factor in the transportation from store to store. Using the Flipp App to view all of the flyers at once is a great alternative to spending hours going through all of the individual flyers. Another great way to take advantage of deals without spending an entire day driving to different stores is to plan your shopping according to your routine. Check for sales in stores that are on your normal route and stop when you get a chance, rather than making specific trips.
  • Deals and sales - It can be easy to get caught up in the hype of all the special promotions, sales and deals. Before venturing into the crowds of happy shoppers, ask yourself if there's a specific item that you're shopping for. If you have a specific list, it can be easier to stay on track and you may be less likely to succumb to impulse purchases because "an item is 70% off and I may use it sometime next year." If you aren't careful, the on-sale atmosphere can definitely contribute to overspending.

These are just a few ways that you can stay on budget over the coming months. If you would like to discuss more tips for cutting costs, methods of saving money with CUA, ways to work with your budget or have any other financial concerns, connect with us.

Revised Jul. 4, 2021

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