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How to find even more room in your budget this year

If you’re working your hardest just to get by and you’re still having trouble making ends meet, you know how important it is to find all those spots in your budget where you can squeeze out an extra penny.

How can you cut more from your budget when there’s nothing left to cut? This is something our clients often ask when they get serious about achieving their financial goals.

It may seem impossible to find even more room in your budget when you’ve already cut as much as you can. We get it! But there might be a few tips and tricks you haven’t thought about that can help your personal savings account.

1. Download an app

Do you have an account with ATB? Then you can download TrackIt — their free online and mobile app that helps you see what you’re spending and where you’re saving on all your accounts across North America. OK, we get it, it can be really scary to even look at your bills when you know you’ve got a lot of them that you can’t keep up with. But if you start looking you’ll start seeing those micro purchases here and there that can translate into big savings for you throughout the year. If you don’t have an ATB account try some of the free tools at Mint!

2. Be ruthless when it comes to your needs versus wants

If you’ve been budgeting for a while you’re probably used to looking at your expenses and making the hard decisions about what your needs are and what your wants are. It may be time to do another sweep through your expenses and take an even closer look at this. Do you have a landline and a cell phone? Do you need Netflix? Many libraries nowadays have online streaming programs for free or cheap. If you live in Edmonton, check out the online resources from the city libraries. You can stream CBC programming as well as over 30,000 feature film and television titles with just your library card!

Penny pinching isn’t fun, but it is rewarding. And remember — it won’t last forever. As you get closer to your financial goals you can look forward to a time when you’ll get to eat fast food on a whim once again!

3. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help

Don’t be embarrassed to take advantage of programs to help low income families in your area. Food hampers exist for moments when you’re having a hard time paying the bills and can’t cut anything more. Often, cities have recreation programs for low income families. If you live in Edmonton, for example, check out the Leisure Access Program which can give your family 75 percent off recreation activities and unlimited, free access to most city facilities.

4. Stop paying bank fees

If your bank account has a monthly fee — find a better option pronto! That’s money down the drain. With our Everyday Use Account there’s no monthly fee with direct deposit. Plus we’ll pay you 25 cents back on every transaction. Unnecessary fees are a terrible drain on your budget. We make switching bank accounts hassle free, but even if it was a hassle we’d still recommend switching because you deserve to spend your money on more valuable things than bank fees.

The little pieces all add up

Let’s say you took our advice and downloaded an app that helped you cut out at least $5 of extra spending a month. Then you switched from your Netflix account to accessing entertainment through the public library, which would save about $9 a month. Switch to our Everyday Use account and cut out bank fees — let’s say those are about $10 a month. With just those four really easy actions alone you’re already cutting another $24 a month out of your budget. Over the course of a year that’s $288. Doesn’t sound like much? Imagine having almost $300 extra to spend at Christmas! Or — imagine putting almost $300 toward your debt! Now we’re talking.

Just a few small adjustments and you can find even more room in your budget when you thought you had no room left!

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