If your expenses and financial goals exceed your income, consider working extra hours, picking up  a part-time job, or cutting down on non-essential expenses. 

  • Focus on paying the biggest items in your "must" spend first, like rent – you can move somewhere more cost-effective or take on a roommate.
  • Cut from your "fun" spending - don't remove everything as you'll likely become more miserable than before.
  • Consider buying groceries/household/personal items in bulk or at discount stores. Buy private labels instead of brand names and take advantage when things are in season or on sale. Cooking is cheaper than take-out. Meat protein is more expensive than plant-based, and alcohol / recreational drugs can make a sizable dent in any budget.
  • Transportation: Owning a car is more expensive than using public transportation and Uber.
  • Consider paying for small items with cash, rather than debit or credit card - many people find that it's harder to spend cash than plastic.


Monitor your expenses to avoid running out of money:

  • Every month, check how you did relative to your planned budget: download your chequing and credit transactions, collect your receipts, and group them into ‘must’ and 'fun' spend categories.  
  • Check with your bank if they have a budgeting app that does this for you - sometimes they do.
  • Avoid free / payed third-party budgeting apps like Mint. They connect to your accounts and cards to help you track your spending alongside your budget. To use them, you'll have to provide your banking information. Not only is this a violation of the banking agreement you signed when you opened any account / card, but it's also incredibly irresponsible to share your personal financial data with anyone. 

Once you know how much you're earning / spending, start managing your money.

what if your budget doesn't add up?

keep up with your budget


If you work a standard job you'll likely be paid bi-weekly (this means twice a month). Make sure your paycheque is deposited in your chequing account. ​​

If you freelance / work irregularly, you need to 'create' a regular paycheque. Whenever you get paid, deposit or transfer it all to your savings account (make this a direct deposit).

When a new month begins, transfer your average monthly income back from your savings accountto your chequing account - it's like a personal allowance / paycheque. Don't transfer all of it - keep some in your savings account as your rainy-day fund (money for emergencies).

​​As soon as you get a paycheque, put aside the portion you earmarked for your financial goals (savings / investments, debt payments, and insurance premiums).  

  • First, make debt / insurance payments.
  • Then, transfer what's left to your savings / investment accounts.

​​​The rest stays in your chequing account - it's for short-term ongoing expenses during the month.

  • If you're planning larger one-off or longer-term purchases (like textbooks / a car, or house, it makes sense to have that money saved / invested properly - tucked away until you need it.
  • At the start of month you're planning to make these types purchases, transfer the money needed from your savings / investment accounts to your chequing account.

If you've been budgeting well and are spending less than expected, you may have some extra cash in your chequing account at the end of each month. Great work. When you feel there's too much idle cash, transfer it to your savings / investment accounts.​​