Canadian Bankers Association (CBA)
The CBA works to promote an understanding of the banking industry in Canada. The CBA provides easy-to-use resources on banking basics including, electronic banking services, credit and loan products, credit cards, mortgages and interest rates.
Financial and Consumer Services Commission
The Financial and Consumer Services Commission offers a range of financial education tools and resources. Downloadable resources include information on spending and saving, credit and debt, and retirement planning. While developed for New Brunswick, these resources can be useful for anyone.
The Financial and Consumer Services Commission provides women with specifically tailored resources to support their ability to make informed financial decisions for themselves and their families.
The Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada (CCSAC) Inc.
The CCSAC provides solutions to debt problems. The CCSAC offers online calculators to practice financial planning skills.
The CCSAC provides a weekly budget planner for holidays to help people save money and make smart financial decisions.
The CCASC offers a one-page resource to help people understand the importance of their credit scores.
Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), Government of Canada
The FCAC has developed several educational programs and materials to help Canadians increase their personal money management skills and knowledge.
Workshop materials are available free of charge to educators and program facilitators
The FCAC created the Canadian Financial Literacy Database and self-assessment quiz to provide a comprehensive list of resources, events, interactive tools and information offered by financial education providers across Canada. The topics and resources include the following: budgeting and money management; banking; fraud; mortgages and loans; credit and debt management; saving and investing; insurance; taxes; and retirement planning.
Practical Money Skills Canada
Practical Money Skills is a free financial literacy program to help Canadians understand the basics of money management. Created by Visa, the program offers money management resources including calculators, games and lesson plans designed for use by Canadian families and educators.
ABC Life Literacy Canada
Money Matters is a financial literacy program for adult learners that offers free financial literacy resources, including downloadable tools, print ads and a social media guide.
Momentum uses a Community Economic Development approach to offer hope and opportunity to people living in poverty. Momentum has developed an online budget calculator to help individuals manage and save their money.
Credit Canada Debt Solutions
Credit Card Debt Solutions provides free debt counselling. Credit Canada offers a variety of professional credit counselling services and money and debt management programs. The money management tool includes an online credit card debt calculator and a budget calculator.
Youth and Children
Make it Count
Make it Count provides user-friendly free activities and tips to help teach money management skills to youth.
Saving, Investing and Mortgages
Investors Education Fund (IEF)
The IEF offers interactive tools, calculators and resources on investing funds and financial planning for life events.
Canadian Bankers Association (CBA)
The CBA website provides information pages and referral sites about education, mortgages, saving for retirement and investing.
Financial and Consumer Services Commission
The Financial and Consumer Services Commission provides resources on investment basics to help people save money.
Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO)
The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) offers an easy-to-understand video series on the Canadian retirement income system as well as tips and resources to make informed decisions about retirement.
Canadian Foundation for Economic Education (CFEE)
The CFEE works to improve economic, financial, and business ability. The resources offered include: tips for saving; how to increase your savings; saving for your children’s education; saving on credit cards; and saving for your retirement.
Industry Canada offers information on how to protect yourself against identity theft.
Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), Government of Canada
The Canada Revenue Agency offers information in basic terms to help Canadians understand the tax system.
The Canada Revenue Agency provides electronic teacher and student workbooks as a guide to educate young people about taxes.
Apps: Personal Finance Applications
A mobile app is a computer program that can be downloaded and accessed from mobile devices with internet access (e.g. smartphones, tablet computers or music players). Not all apps work on all mobile devices.
To download an app, the first step is to add a Google account on your device. Then go to Google Play or open the Google Play Store app. Search and select the select the app you are looking for. Click Install for free apps and follow the on-screen instructions.
Mint provides a real-time, complete look into all of people’s finances, from bank accounts and credit cards to student loans and retirement saving. It automatically tracks spending, categorizes it, and lets the user know if they have reached their budget limit. Upon request, it can provide custom savings tips. Everything is shown in simple, graphs and charts, making it very user-friendly.
- Level Money
Level Money connects to users’ bank accounts and automatically calculates income and regular bills, and then suggests what users daily, weekly and monthly spending should be.
It also comes up with the amount users should be saving every month and subtracts that from their monthly budgets. It offers an auto-save function, and any cash left unspent from the users’ budget will automatically rollover into their savings account.
Digit automatically scans users’ incomes and spending patterns, and transfers a small amount of savings that it determines the user will not need into a separate account that it manages. The savings account, withdrawals can then be made from the savings account anytime.
- Credit Karma
Besides offering free credit scores and reports, Credit Karma allows users to monitor their spending patterns by linking to their credit card and bank accounts. Based on that information, Credit Karma recommends better credit card or loan offers that can further improve users’ finances.
Goodbudget is an app that allows users to create “envelopes” for each of their budget categories (i.e. groceries, transportation, shopping, etc.), and decide how much they are going to put in each envelope. Users can then record and track how much they are spending from each envelope.
Wally is an expense tracking app that shows a complete picture of users’ spending habits. Users can view how much they spend daily, weekly or monthly, while dividing expenses into separate categories. The app allows users to simply scan their receipts and it automatically inputs all the details of the users’ purchases.
- Level Money
This budget tracking tool syncs with users’ bank and credit card accounts to quickly display how much money can be spent today, this week and this month. After linking accounts to the app, Level Money estimates the user’s income, identifies bill expenses and then asks the user to determine a percentage of their income they would like to put towards savings. After that, Level Money displays how much money the user can afford to spend in an easy infographic.
8. Your Bank’s App
Many banks now have apps. With bank apps, users can check their balance, pay their bills and check their mortgage, investments, credit cards and any other financial services they may be using.
To find your bank’s app, search the App Store for the name of your bank.
In the south, it can seem like banks are everywhere. There are ads on television, the internet, newspapers, radio and billboards – all over the place – encouraging you to get an account at a bank. In the north, the selection of banking services is much more limited and you may not have any choice at all. In the past several years, internet banks have become very popular. These banks are only online and offer some great options for people to do most of their banking from home without having to go into a physical bank.
What do banks offer that everyone seems to need? Banks offer security and a wide range of services that people need on a daily basis. People need to keep their money in a safe place that they can access when they need it. Banks also offer the ability to move money around between accounts, people and businesses, which can be through cheques, bank drafts or e-transfers. These methods of transferring money are generally safer than just carrying around a bunch of cash. Banks usually guarantee the security of funds that are being transferred using these methods. This means that banks can help people protect and control their money. Just imagine what would happen if you had all your money in your house and there was a fire!
Banks pay interest on some accounts, usually savings accounts and investments accounts. Just like you have to pay interest on loans when you borrow money from the bank, the bank pays you interest for keeping your money in the bank. The bank sees this as you loaning them your money until you take it out. But the interest that the bank will pay you is pretty low. Banks also offer a number of ways to help people save through savings accounts and a wide range of other methods of saving money, including guaranteed investment certificates, bonds and other investments.
Another major service area of banks is loaning money. For many people, banks can be the first place they go to borrow money after they have considered relatives and friends. Banks can loan money for buying houses, cars, starting a business and many other areas of activity.
Banks also provide financial advice, some kinds of insurance, credit cards, debit cards and a wide range of other commonly used financial tools. But, it is important to remember that banks and most places that offer money services are private companies. This means that their goal is to make money, usually through fees and charging interest on loans. It is good to get advice from the bank, but always try to do your own research to make sure you are doing what is best for you.
It is often best to try and keep most of your banking with one bank so you will only have one place to go and one company to deal with. The bank will already know you, you may get lower fees and the application processes for different services will be easier.
The “What” and “Why” of Budgeting.
What is budgeting and why is it important? Budgeting is simply tracking what you spend (expenses) and what money you have coming in (income). Hopefully these two things at least equal each other. If they don’t, then you are either going into debt (spending more than you bring in) or you are saving (spending less than you bring in). By developing a budget, you will be taking an important first step in understanding where your money goes, how much you need to cover your costs and how to start saving some extra money. Remember – in financial matters, knowledge is power.
Don’t let the term “budgeting” make you nervous – you already know all the things you spend money on and where your money comes from. A lot of people don’t keep track of it all and just hope for the best. They may have a rough idea of whether they have enough money to pay for things or not. The trick is to get it down on paper so you can begin to get a better understanding of how your financial life is working and how it can be improved. Ultimately this will result in better planning, less stress and a stronger financial you. A good first step is to begin tracking your spending for about a month, this will give you a good understanding of exactly where your money is going and will make it easier for you to plan your budget. Some good ways to track your expenses are to save all your receipts and add them up once a month or keep a notepad where you write each expense down as it happens.
You should aim to save more than you spend. Savings are great because they can provide you with a “rainy day” or emergency fund to help you with unexpected expenses such as repairing a vehicle or a surprise in your cell phone bill. It can also help build up money to buy something bigger like starting a business or a new vehicle. Savings give you a bit of padding to help you deal with those things that can cost a lot of money or to help reduce the impact and stress of unexpected expenses.
We will now go through setting up a basic budget to give you an idea of how to develop your own budget. At the end is a sample budget you can use to put your own numbers in.
Listing Your Income – What do you make?
The first, and usually easiest part of budgeting, is figuring out what your income sources are and how much and when the income is paid. Income sources include money from jobs, which usually comes every two weeks in the form of a paycheck. Other common forms of income can include child support payments from government, employment insurance payments, social assistance payments and investment income such as interest from bank accounts. Older people would include any pension income including Old Age Security, Canada Pension Plan payments and perhaps pensions from employers or land claims organizations. If you are not working yourself, but have a partner who is working include their income in your monthly budget to get an overall household budget.
To start to figure out how much income you get each month, determine when you get your income. Most employees get paid every two weeks. To get a monthly total multiply the “net amount” on your cheque by 2.167. The net amount is what is left after all the various deductions (like taxes) are taken from your paycheck. We use the 2.167 as there are several months when you get three checks in a month. For other types of payments, use the following formulas. They may look a little tough, but it is quite easy especially if you use a calculator! Determine your pay after deductions, and then use the following chart to help figure out what your monthly take-home pay is:
- For weekly cheques, multiply by 4.333
- For cheques you get twice every month – multiply by 2
- For cheques you get once a year, divide the total by 12.
For example, if you had a job that paid you $500 every two weeks and a child tax credit of $250 a month, your monthly income would be $1,333.50. We get this total by multiplying $500 by 2.167 which equals $1083.50. Then we add the $250 for child tax credit and get the total – $1083.50 + $250 = $1,333.50. Enter the two income sources in the blue section of the budgeting table below.
Listing Your Expenses – What do you spend?
There are two kinds of expenses for most people – those that are regular and don’t change much each month and those that are more irregular and maybe only happen a few times a year. We need to identify which of our expenses are regular or irregular to get our monthly budget completed.
Regular expenses are those that you pay every month and can include telephone bills, rent or mortgage payments, heating and electricity bills, car payments, food, daycare, cable and internet charges, fuel for vehicles. These may go up and down a little, but generally stay about the same. Don’t forget to add an amount for things like entertainment. After all, life isn’t just about budgeting, you also need to have some fun. Put your regular expenses in the purple section below. (Hint: People who like to save money put an amount into their monthly expenses that they take put aside as savings).
Irregular expenses are things that are only paid every few months or maybe even once a year. For example, some people pay their car and home insurance once a year. Other costs to include in this category include repairs/maintenance for vehicles, gifts, back to school supplies and summer camping/harvesting supplies. You may not know how much you are going to spend on some of these items, but think back to what you have spent in past years and give your best guess. For these once-a-year expenses, divide by 12 to get a monthly average, this way you can plan for these expenses all year and there will be no surprises when they show up. Put your irregular expenses in the yellow section below.
Totaling Your Budget – Compare your income and spending
Now for the fun part. Take the three totals you have completed (Income, Regular Expenses and Irregular Expenses) and put those totals in your budget. Take your Income amount and subtract (minus) your Regular Expenses from it to get a total. Then take this new total and subtract the Irregular Expenses to get a negative or positive amount. If your final amount is negative, it means you are spending more money than you are bringing in. You will either have to reduce your spending or increase your income. If the number is positive, you are spending less than your income and gaining some savings. Remember savings are good! They can help you deal with emergencies and unexpected expenses and help you save for important things like harvesting equipment or starting a business.