How to Save Money Responsibly

$heridan Life: Learn How to Save Money

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By: Melody Yun Chen 

Money talks... mine only says goodbye.

The first time I ever understood the value of money was after spending my own hard-earned money. There was a time I would chase after designer clothes and needed the latest electronics. Shopping was one of my favourite past times. Every time I saw something I wanted I would convince myself that I needed. “It would make all the difference,” I told myself. Looking back now I can’t even remember the items I supposedly could not live without. Despite all my effort, it would be far too generous to say that I had good fashion sense at any point in my life. 

In a world so focused on materialism and fast fashion, it’s hard to keep up. The arrive of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X has suddenly made my iPhone 7 obsolete, or so it feels. The sudden joy of owning the newest and best is hard to resist. There is no shortage of sources trying to separate you from the money you earn. 

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One of my first jobs was working at Forever 21. A company known for fast fashion. Although I enjoyed my time there, something my coworker said really stuck with me. I once complained that a top I had purchased from work ripped after only 2 washes. My co-worker responded with: “Well you wouldn’t want any piece of clothing to last too long, it will be out of fashion next season anyway,” His statement shocked me. 

Since when did fashion move so fast? Am I constantly behind? Is this a normal way of thinking? I began to question myself on the basis of his reply. Over time I have learned that chasing after all these material possessions only bring temporary happiness, which fades quickly as soon something new arrives on the scene. It’s a vicious and impossible cycle. 

A year after my time working in retail, I found myself working in a bank. On a daily basis, I reviewed the accounts of hundreds of clients. Too often a client would contact me saying that they can no longer afford the interest, let along the payments on their credit card. My heart sank knowing that they are falling further into debt and will most likely be forced to declare bankruptcy down the line. 

Daily Budget - Focuses on being simple, easy and actually fun to use.

Daily Budget - Focuses on being simple, easy and actually fun to use.

Mint - Manage your money, pay your bills and track your credit score 

Mint - Manage your money, pay your bills and track your credit score 

We don’t think about these things until it’s too late so I challenge you to take on a simple challenge. Keep a budget, yes, I know it sounds intimidating but it can be incredibly easy with the apps available to us today. Most financial institutions integrate budgeting into their apps. 

Alternatively, there are a plethora of budgeting apps out there that are not tied to any specific financial institution. The one I personally use is called Daily Budget. Its simplistic and minimalistic design breaks down your budget so you know exactly how much you can spend each day based on your earnings. Sometimes a long-term goal can seem unattainable, this app changes saving for big things into a short-term goal. 

Daily Budget is by no means the only budgeting app out there. There are plenty of these free apps for budget planning such as Mint, PocketGuard and Unsplurge just to mention a few. 

Along with budgeting apps, I suggest investing your money no matter how little you have to start out with you should visit your bank and get a tax-free savings account (TFSA). Remember time is on your side, your money will have more opportunities to grow the younger you start investing. I know this can be extremely confusing and overwhelming but the SSU has your back!

Come join us for a workshop on financial literacy on November 22nd from 12pm to 3pm at HMC and Trafalgar.

Let the pros from RBC help you build your future. We’ll provide budgeting advice, resources, food, prizes, and games!

Taking that first step is the biggest challenge but I’m sure we are all tired of saying goodbye to money.