Someday is not a day of the week. Notes

We hear a lot of jokes about procrastination. For instance, “One of these days I’m going to get help for my procrastination problem.” Or how about, “One of the greatest labour-saving inventions of today is tomorrow.” Then there’s the famous, “Procrastination always gives me something to look forward to.” Unfortunately, while the witty remarks bring smiles, they also point to behaviour that can be particularly unfunny when personal finances go haywire because they aren’t being handled in a timely way. Humming and hawing at debt problems is not the solution.

“If you’re a serial procrastinator, simply telling yourself that you’ve got to do something often leads to only more procrastination.”

If you’re procrastinating regularly, then you’ve got a problem that needs
to be immediately addressed: namely, getting motivated. But here’s the thing: many studies in human behaviour show that getting motivated purely through rational decision making is not the best way to pull yourself up by the bootstraps. In fact, if you’re a serial procrastinator, simply telling yourself that you’ve got to do something often leads to only more procrastination.

So what’s the solution? Well, you need more heart to handle your hesitation. Emotions and desire play a powerful role in taking action. That should be quite obvious. For instance, say you are creative by nature and suddenly realize that you want to practice the art of photography and make fine-art prints. Chances are you will be strongly motivated to get a good camera and learn how to use it. You would plan to gather the resources and set a date to buy a good camera. You would approach that day with great anticipation and enthusiasm.

“Plans to save for retirement take on a highly charged aspect when they are framed by goals that specifically reflect what you want to get from life.”

Which brings us to the subject of goals.

When addressing problems with debt, goal setting is hugely important. It provides both a rational and an emotional framework for you to get motivated to realize hopes and dreams, be they big or small, immediate or long term. Plans to, say, pay off your debt or to save for retirement take on a highly charged aspect when they are framed by goals that specifically reflect what you want to get from life, how you wish to experience life, how you wish to enjoy life, and how you wish to share that enjoyment with others.

Or look at it this way: it’s one thing to simply tell yourself that you need financial planning to get debt free; it’s quite another to tell yourself that you’ve got to get debt free so you can travel the world, or help your children through university, or retire to take up a pursuit that you truly love.

“Give goals life and respect. Put them into writing and keep them on view at home and at work. Search your heart when setting them down.”

Here are some pointers about goal setting to help gain relief from debt problems that can get you motivated.

Give goals life and respect. Put them into writing and keep them on view at home and at work. Search your heart when setting them down. Don’t be afraid to dream, but be reasonable, too, based on what you think you can realistically achieve over the short-term, medium-term, and long-term.

Set big goals and little goals and be specific. Big goals usually relate to medium and long-terms hopes and dreams. Small goals often encompass steps along the way to help you reach the bigger goals, which become milestones in life. When writing your goals down, be as specific as possible about each goal. For instance, it is not enough to simply set “paying down debt” or ”saving more money” as goals. Identify specific projects, crunch specific numbers, set specific dates. And don’t hesitate to regularly and vividly visualize the future circumstances that will come with your achievements.

“A written monthly budget and a spending plan are vitally important to help assist in the process of reaching goals.”

Celebrate milestones. These goals indicate you’re dealing with you debt problems and every goal you reach is a milestone worth celebrating. As you reach each milestone, reward yourself, even if only in some small way. In fact, it’s important not to get carried away with celebrations spending wise or the goal you’ve achieved could count for nothing. But being frugal doesn’t mean you can’t be creative in how you celebrate: a candle-light dinner perhaps where you do the cooking; an afternoon off with the kids to go on a local adventure; a night out for skating and some hot chocolate. You get the idea.

Take these pointers to heart and chances are excellent that you will get motivated and stay motivated to get stuff done. Of course, in terms of personal money management, goal setting is but part of the equation. A written monthly budget and a spending plan are vitally important to help assist in the process of reaching goals. If you aren’t already following these Money 101 practices, you ought to make them goals, too. Do it now.

* Blog content provided through the support of platinum sponsors of Credit Education Week Canada’s Focus Magazine.

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Track your cash and credit-card-debt outlays.

by Credit Canada on June 24, 2015

debt calculator canada

Off the top of your head, can you come up with a figure for what you spent on gas, groceries, shopping, drinks with friends, etc. last month? Include little things such as coffee, candy, pop, magazines, what have you. Chances are you don’t know what you spent. The amount would probably surprise you. Tracking your spending (whether its by tracking your cash payments or calculating your credit card debt) helps you pay off your debts.

Fact is, to manage your finances wisely and avoid money worries, you need a spending plan that helps you track your spending. But to arrive at a spending plan, you first need to know your spending habits. That means you’ve got to take a little time to track your spending and you need to accurately calculate your credit card debt. This needs to be done through a record of day-to-day spending – including cash outlays and credit card debt – that you can later study and apply to your behaviour. For credit card debt please refer to the Credit Canada Credit Card Debt Calculator.

For a good understanding of your spending habits, you should set aside a full month – or ideally two to three months – for the tracking process. Calculating your credit card debt can be done at any time.

Get yourself a handy pocket tool – the Monthly Budget Tracker.

Use this pocket-friendly guide, the Credit Canada Monthly Budget Tracker
Carry the Monthly Budget Tracker with you at all times when you’re out and about. With it you can quickly and easily record purchases. And you should record all purchases – no matter how small – made by cash, by cheque, or by credit card. Do so at the moment the purchases are made.

An app that makes tracking easy.

Here’s a link to an app that helps you organize all of your receipts with a quick photo snap from an iPhone or Smartphone: Justthebill.com
Keep in mind that money gets demystified when you track your spending and debt becomes more clear with our credit card debt calculator. The process can be enlightening. You are likely to become more aware of your wants versus your needs. Chances are you’ll give money more respect, and consider changing bad spending habits. A better understanding of how you treat money also promotes self-empowerment, with feelings that it’s you who controls money, not the other way around.

* Blog content provided through the support of platinum sponsors of Credit Education Week Canada’s Focus Magazine.

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Avoid debt problems through smart monthly budgeting.

by Credit Canada June 17, 2015

Creating a monthly budget can bring calm to financially stormy lives. It’s a proven way to avoid debt problems. But those troubled by finances have to be willing to make the effort to improve their financial knowledge and skills. Once that decision is made, there are steps that can help you achieve financial peace of […]

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Couples and financial planning. Avoid the pitfalls.

by Credit Canada June 10, 2015

It’s said that money is at the centre of most troubled relationships between couples. But there’s another side to the coin. Bonds between couples and family members can be strengthened through a smart approach to financial planning. Rarely is money a home wrecker among couples who practice open communication, honesty, and fair play. If two […]

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Quiz time. Have you got what it takes to get financially motivated?

by Credit Canada June 3, 2015

Credit Canada’s credit counselling experts want to know: Are you financially motivated? Do you disappoint yourself by putting things off? Does procrastination ever worry you particularly in relation to financial planning? If so what do you imagine your best course of action might be to get motivated and achieve success? Take this quiz. It offers […]

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Students and debt problems. Finding free money gets high marks.

by Credit Canada May 27, 2015

What’s the outlook for students and young adults who want to launch for financial success in life? Well, interesting news about the matter comes by way of studies conducted by yconic and Abacus Data, which have looked into the financial health of Canadian millennials. As recently as 2014, a staggering 79 per cent of Canadians […]

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As gas prices drop, Canadians are pumped to spend rather than save.

by Laurie Campbell January 29, 2015

What do falling gas prices mean to you in terms of personal spending and financial planning? Well, if you’re thinking here’s an opportunity to go out and get yourself a great big shiny gas guzzler of a car, truck, or SUV, let me remind you about that famous song by the late Beatle George Harrison […]

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Does my parka look good with these sandals?

by Paulette Thompson January 22, 2015

As I fought my way through my local shopping mall on the weekend I couldn’t help but notice the stores are filled with parkas and flip flops. Yes, that’s right folks. There’s nothing that finishes off your fur lined hooded jacket like a bright new pair of yellow flip flops. It didn’t take me long to realize […]

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Higher interest rates loom. Get out your debt calculator.

by Laurie Campbell January 20, 2015

Got a debt calculator at hand? It could be time to re-crunch some numbers now that experts are forecasting a hike in Canada’s benchmark bank interest rate. It’s worrying people. Experts are predicting an increase of a one-half point base rate increase probably next autumn. While the hike isn’t bound to significantly impact credit card […]

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Resolve to plan your taxes early.

by Phil Brown January 16, 2015

You’ve probably framed or planned your resolutions for the New Year. Maybe they cover solving your debt issues, your diet, or finally finishing that novel this year. But have you considered one of the most important resolutions of all? It’s your taxes. Yes your taxes. There are many people who handle their financial planning like […]

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