Who do you turn to for help when it comes to financial matters? You can ask friends and colleagues for advice and maybe they’ll point you towards a plan to tackle your debt. They might even advise you to file for bankruptcy if you have a struggling business or just can’t stay afloat.
They may not know enough, however, to give you informed advice that takes into consideration your rights and your financial options. That’s where a licensed credit counsellor from David Sklar and Associates can help.
When you consult with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (formerly known as a bankruptcy trustee), you have the chance to learn about your debt relief options from a financial professional who knows the ins and outs of Canadian procedures for debt relief. Bankruptcy trustees are licensed under the government’s Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and they know the specifics of filing for bankruptcy in Ontario or a consumer proposal in Ontario.
Budgets Take Planning and Commitment
Even if you’re in the beginning stages of debt relief, you can start to implement changes into your everyday life right away. If you’re not already living your life and making spending decisions according to a budget, then it’s time to start.
Think of your budget as the blueprint to your money. Your budget balances your income against your expenses and allows you to track any financial goals you may have set up, whether that be saving for a trip at the end of the year or committing to regular payments into your RRSP.
The Four-Week Budget System
If you’ve never lived by a budget and are working on a debt repayment system, then enlist the help of your bankruptcy trustee or certified insolvency counsellor to establish how much of your income is going towards payments and other obligations. It can feel difficult to suddenly rely on yourself to set up financial rules to your spending, but there is a helpful four-week strategy that you can use.
- Week One: categorize your expenses to figure out where your money actually goes. Separate your spending into fixed costs (regular and consistent obligations like rent, student loans, cell phone bill, etc.), non-monthly expenses (irregular but necessary costs like tuition deposits, car registration fees, etc.), and financial goals that you’re working towards.
- Week Two: establish your financial goals and map out a plan for achieving them. For instance, say you want to add another $6,000 to your savings account by the end of the year. Break that number into monthly amounts ($500/month) and add these items to your budget.
- Week Three: prioritize your spending by separating the “wants” from the “needs” and understanding your interest rates.
- Week Four: monitor your progress. Ideally you track your spending on a weekly basis, checking both your long-term and short-term plans. Use a partner to hold you accountable and set up budgeting apps to help stay on track.