Learn More About The Undomesticated & being Twentysomething in the city.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Shopaholic Savings Plan - Part 2: Credit

*The following information is based on personal experience - please consult your bank or financial planner to determine if credit-base spending is right for you.*

It may seem strange to suggest that credit is a good way to lower expenses, organize spending, and actually make you money, but it works for me.

There are 3 C’s to Credit:
Character – determining if you have the honesty and ability to pay back the credit.
Capital – determining if you have any valuable assets to repay debts if necessary (and no – your shoes and clothes don’t count – jewelry might though…)
Capacity – do you have the capacity (income) to repay any debt you might accrue.
These were taken from the documentary “Maxed Out” – I watched it on Netflix. I've recently become obsessed with documentaries on fiscal responsibilities and economic downfalls, totally normal phase, I’m sure.

This year I’ve gone from using debit to using credit for spending.
Important things to remember about ‘credit’ base spending is:
  • Do not spend more than you have allotted in your budget, or to put it nicely: only spend money you have.
  • Consult a financial planner or your financial institute before considering this plan.
  • Keep track of your spending. With a credit card it’s easy to forget that this IS your money.
  • Keep and review all of your bank statements. You never know when they might come in handy.
  • Keep track of withdrawal dates of monthly expenses and document it in your budget.
  • Your building up credit! When all of us twentysomething shopaholics are ready to buy a house, this credit will help to get us an amazing low-rate mortgage! 

This is how I use credit:
  • I have the cheapest debit card (low fee, low transactions) and I leave my cash in there.
  • I have a mid-range credit card that gives me 1-2% cashback on certain purchases. I use the Scotiabank Momentum VISA.
  • I synced ‘monthly expenses’ with my credit card so that: (a) funds will be withdrawn automatically (I’m forgetful) and (b) I can earn cashback. As a reminder, I mark the due date of the monthly expenses I can’t sync with my credit card (Hydro and Car Insurance) to my budget.
  • I use my credit card for everything. From a tea at Starbucks to a shirt at H&M (and I keep all my receipts). I document all expenses in my budget (see SSP Part 1).  
  • At the end of the month, I pay off my credit card. What's the benefit of leaving cash in my debit vs. using it to pay for everything? If I ever have an emergency, my debit is the source of cold hard cash. 
  • Lastly, GET RID OF CREDIT CARDS THAT DON’T HELP YOU. For example: Low, to no, cashback cards or cards that give you nothing in return aren't helping you. Pay them off and cut them up (you can use old credit cards to make art - see above).
In 4 months I’ve earned $200 cashback.  Once a year the bank transfers your cashback to an account of your choice. I’ve opted to put it back onto my credit card (to avoid spending the money I’m saving).

Now that you have a tight budget, and credit sense, remember to SAVE! Check back for 'SSP Part 3: RRSP’s and TFSA’s' to learn how to put money away for both long and short term goals! 

ttfn, Elizabeth
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  1. I have to comment on this. First off, I think it's great you are raising financial awareness to your readers, however, I'm going to assume you are not a certified financial planner, so I would advise against giving financial advice to anyone due to liability issues.

    Secondly, any financial advisor will tell you the first way to reduce your spending is to STOP using credit in any form immediately. If you're looking for good, qualified resources, Gail Vaz-Oxlade or Suzy Orman both have excellent websites. Please do not read this post and think getting a "low interest" credit card is a better way to go. It is not.

    Lastly, this refers to your post about RRSPs and the TFSA. PLEASE do not advise people to invest in RRSPs or contribute to a TFSA without extensive knowledge about both these financial instruments. RRSPs are not as simple as a frivolous blog post and have many pros and cons that all bankers should be aware of. And while saving money in a tax free account is a great way to build up capital in your bank account, if you have existing debts (such as outstanding credit balances) pay them first!

    Financial planning is complicated and advice should be given by qualified, knowledgeable professionals. I think it is great to raise awareness among your readers, but seriously uninformed and misguided.

    1. Hi Money Master,
      I really appreciate your comment as it is true. I had people ask me how I manage my finances and I have outlined it. For each step of the way I've provided information about 'how' I've done it and I mentioned that it requires consultations from your own bank or with a financial planner, especially for a credit-base spending plan. I said I use Scotiabank and advised people check their own bank to see if it will work for them and with the RRSP's and TFSA's I've highlighted a financial planner that I use and provided links to their site and to my own financial planner. Your comment brings awareness that what I say is simply based on personal experiences and in no way is asking people to switch to my methods without proper consultation.

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  3. Thanks for sharing these tips with us. I don't think credit card debt must arise form using a credit card. These cards can be used wisely by everyone. I say this because in your article, you mentioned a lot of habits that take discipline.

    I know that many people have a credit problem and want to know how to repair their credit. You mentioned an essential step in your article. That is, use a credit card and pay off the balance on time every month.

    1. Thanks for your comment - I'm glad you found the tips useful!
      Elizabeth | The Undomesticated


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