Financial Literacy Month 30-Day Check List

Financial Literacy month check list

Work your way to a better outlook in 30 days

November is National Financial Literacy Month, and to help consumers, Consolidated Credit has created a 30-day action plan. It’s designed to help you build your understanding of key financial topics and take action.

Each week has a theme, including budgeting, setting goals, saving, and borrowing intelligently. Whether you use this plan during Financial Literacy Month in November or anytime you need a little brush-up on your finances, we hope this financial advice helps to improve your finances.

Day 1-3: Prepare Your Mindset

Take these four actions to improve your day-to-day budget strategy:

Calculate your monthly income.

It’s key to your budget. It’s also useful to expedite things like new credit applications.

Make a bill calendar OR set an auto-pay schedule.

Set dates to pay bills and ensure you have funds. Set up the payments to disburse automatically at the right times if you use online or mobile banking. This will ensure you space your bills out strategically around your paycheques so you don’t have cash flow problems.

Find one unnecessary expense to cut.

Discretionary expenses are the “wants” in your budget. They include the things you buy regularly that you don’t really need. Find one unnecessary expense you can cut out to increase your cash flow.

Check your credit.

Request your free credit report and check your credit score. Knowing this information will arm you with knowledge and prepare you for the rest of the month.

 

Day 4-10: Start with a Budget

Basic needs factor into budgeting. Take these four actions over the next few days:

Evaluate your yearly utility costs.

Utility costs like electricity and even water usage can vary widely throughout the year. Review last year’s bills so you can plan effectively for this year.

Review your mobile plan.

Make sure you’re using all of your data or not going over your data for extra charges. You should also check for extra fees and monthly charges. Call your provider to adjust your plan or ask about special discounts.

Give a little love to your car.

Take today to check on your vehicle. Adjust the tire pressure in your wheels. Remove heavy items that increase weight, and take your vehicle in for an oil change. All of these actions decrease your fuel consumption costs to help you budget.

Improve your home energy consumption.

The following can help cut your energy bills:

  • Replace the bulbs in your home with energy-efficient options
  • Lower the temperature setting on your water heater
  • Clean out your dryer vents
  • Check windows and doors for gaps and leaks

Day 11-17: Set Financial Goals

Goals are essential in any endeavor. Set yourself up for success by clearly defining your financial goals. Establish smaller milestones along the way.

Many people set SMART goals to better visualize and maintain accountability. Below are some simple goals to consider:

Set spending targets for 3 non-bill expenses.

Determine how much you spend on food, fuel for your car, and entertainment. Then set reasonable limits in each category to prevent overspending.

Find one spending leak to close.

Spending leaks occur when you’re spending more money than you need to be on a necessary expense. For instance, eating out too much increases your food budget. Identify one leak and close it to increase your cash flow.

Day 18-24: Save Money

Here are three actions you can take to build a better the saving strategy:

Calculate your personal saving rate.

Divide the amount of money you set aside each month by your monthly take-home income; ideally you should be saving at least 10%.

Assess your financial safety net.

Experts recommend you need savings to cover at least 3-6 of bills and budget expenses. Assess what you’d need if you had no income coming in. Then set that as the minimum target amount.

Check the interest rate/growth on your main savings account.

If you see your money is barely growing month after month, shop around for a different savings account.

Make a plan for one investment this year.

Allocate savings for a new bond or CD. Then see how much you need to set aside and start saving for that goal.

Set up savings for one major purchase you want in the next 6 months.

Want a new TV or need a new mattress this year? Instead of using a credit card or financing options, set a savings goal. Make that purchase in cash once you have the funds available.

Here are a few actions you can take to build a better banking strategy:

Review the fees on all of your accounts.

You may be spending a few dollars every month on fees or because of an error.

Divide your direct deposit to help you budget and save.

If you have direct deposit, most companies allow you to divide income between multiple accounts. Send some of your money directly to savings, or split your income between multiple accounts.

Review cash-back credit card agreements for bank account tie-ins.

Some cash-back reward credit incentive putting the rewards money into an account with the same provider. If so, you may want to consider opening an account that maximizes your cash-back benefits.

Day 25-30: Borrow Money Wisely

Borrowing money is not something we usually recommend. But if you’re going to do it, do it wisely. We asked several experts their thoughts on the subject, but the main principles are relatively simple.

When borrowing money:

  1. Determine if you actually need to make this purchase
  2. Shop for the best rate
  3. Ask yourself if the purchase can enhance your financial standings
  4. Do not take out a higher loan simply because you qualify for it
  5. Know the terms and conditions

The above are just the tip of the iceberg. Avoid making emotional decisions and have a plan in place to pay it off as soon as possible.

Can’t get there in 30 days?

Use this Financial Literacy Month Check List as a frame of reference. If you’re struggling with debt or need help to reach your financial goals, seek help now. Most people need help managing their money, so what better time than Financial Literacy month?

Use this month to enhance your personal finance knowledge for the long term. We can help. Call Consolidated Credit at to talk a trained credit counsellor today. Get some free recommendations to help you get back on the right financial path.