Money Management

Money Management

Budgeting

  1. Set Your Goals
  2. Track Your Expenses
  3. Change Your Spending

Download the following tools to get started:

But, start with Step 2.

Track Your Expenses

Write down every place you spend your money. Use a note pad, or keep receipts in an envelope or use our pocket spending tracker. Just fold the tracker so that you can carry it in your wallet. Every time you spend money, write it down. Track your expenses for thirty days. Make sure you include irregular expenses such as gifts, vehicle and home maintenance, dentist, clothing and insurance. Estimate annual amount for irregular expenses and divide by 12 to determine the monthly amount to be set aside for these items.

Now, go back to Step 1.

Set Your Goals

Once you’ve seen where your money goes, consider what you could do with that money instead of where you are spending it. For example, if you have 2 cups of coffee a day at $2 each, that’s $1,200/year. Determine short, medium and long range financial goals. Once you have planned your goals and tracked your spending, it becomes easier to prioritize your spending and save to achieve those goals.

Change Your Spending
  • Develop a realistic budget
  • Don’t spend more than you make
  • Save regularly
  • Pay bills on time
  • Use credit wisely
  • Review your budget plan and re-evaluate your spending patterns

Credit Bureau

To get a FREE copy of your credit report, mail copies of 2 pieces of identification with signatures visible, (e.g. birth certificate, immigration papers, social insurance card), your address and former addresses (back 5 years) to one or both of the agencies listed below. It usually takes 2-4 weeks.

Equifax Canada Inc.
Box 190, Jean-Talon Station.
Anjou, Quebec, H1S 2Z2
Toll-Free: 1-800-465-7166  
Fax:  1-514-355-8502
Equifax Application

Trans Union
P.O. Box 338-LCD,
Hamilton ON L8L 7W2
Toll Free: 1-800-663-9980  
Fax: 1-905-527-0401
TransUnion Application

INFORMATION NORMALLY REMAINS ON YOUR CREDIT BUREAU FOR 7 YEARS

Usual Manner of Payment O  R  I
Too new to rate: approved, but not used 0 0 0
Pays (or paid) within 30 days of billing; pays account as agreed 1 1 1
Takes longer than 30 days to pay, but no longer than 60 days 2 2 2
Takes longer than 60 days to pay, but no longer than 90 days, or two payments past due 3 3 3
Takes longer than 90 days to pay, but no longer than 120 days, or three payments past due 4 4 4
Account is at least 120 days overdue, but is not yet rated “9″ 5 5 5
Making regular payments under a consolidation order or similar arrangement through a third party 7 7 7
Repossession (indicates if it is a voluntary return of merchandise by the consumer) 8 8 8
Bad debt; placed for collections; skip, bankruptcy 9 9 9

O = Open Account  
R = Revolving or Option  
I = Installment

Credit Bureau Habits

You don’t have to have a lot of creditors on your credit bureau. Consistent payment on fewer debts are better than sporadic payments on a lot of debts.

  1. Pay your bills on time. 
  2. Try to pay off any debts quickly. Avoid debts with extended low monthly payments.
  3. Deal with well-known, respected and established companies.
  4. Don’t use credit as an emergency fund.
  5. Read and understand all credit contracts before signing. Ask questions before signing that contract.

Building Credit

Creditors determine your “financial worthiness” before they decide to lend you money. Creditors do not only assess your credit bureau. In total they assess 5 elements before making the decision to lend.

  1. Character – married, single, employed, amount of debt.
  2. Capacity – ability to repay the loan.
  3. Credit – your financial history.
  4. Capital – cash, net worth, value of your assets.
  5. Collateral – ownership of assets, ie house and car.

Option

Interest Rate

Pros

Cons

 Cost of Financing

a $1000 Purchase

Over 12 Months

 Bank Loan

4 – 12%

-lowest interest rate-payment flexibility -loose assets tied to the loan if payments are delinquent-affect credit rating

$54.99 (10% interest, paid annually)

Line of Credit

4 – 12%

-quick access to emergency funds-payment flexibility -build up debt load quickly-affect credit rating if delinquent

$66.19 (12% interest, paid monthly)

Major Credit Card

9 – 18%

-convenience-payment flexibility-air miles & other incentives -affect credit rating if delinquent

$94.46 (17% interest, paid monthly)

Store Credit Card

27 – 29%

-convenience-payment flexibility-air miles & other -affect credit rating if delinquent

$158/07 (28% interest, paid monthly)

Finance/Credit Companies

29 – 33% -less stringent qualifying criteria -high interest rate-affect credit rating if delinquent-loose assets tied to loan

$175.76 (33% interest, paid monthly)

Pay-Later Plans

29 – 33% -balances may be paid before interest is charged -high interest rate if not paid by due date

$0 (paid in full before interest is charged)

Dealing With a Creditor or Collection Agency

  1. If possible, pay the full amount you owe at once.
  2. If you can’t pay in full, contact the agency in writing (keep a copy of the letter) explaining how much you can afford to repay monthly and begin doing so (keep payment receipts).
  3. Never send cash.
  4. We recommend that you do not send a batch of postdated cheques as they may claim they  have not received them and then start cashing both sets of cheques every month.
The Collection Agency Code of Ethics
  1. Must send you written notice of the following:
      • The name of the creditor
      • The balance owing
      • The name of the agency and its authority to demand payment, and wait until the sixth day after mailing before contacting you.
  2. Must mail a second copy of the written notice to an address provided by you if you did not receive the first notice.
  3. Cannot contact you if you or your lawyer notify the agency by registered mail to communicate only with your lawyer, and you provide the lawyer’s name, address and telephone number.
  4. Contact only between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday thru Saturday, between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sundays, and not on a holiday.
  5. Cannot contact you more than 3 times in a 7 day period without your consent, once the agency has actually spoken with you.
  6. Cannot use threatening, profane, intimidating or coercive language, or use undue, excessive or unreasonable pressure.
  7. Cannot continue to contact you if you have told them that you are not the person they are looking for unless they take reasonable precautions to ensure you are that person.
  8. Cannot give false or misleading information to any person.
  9. Must give you notice if it intends to recommend to a creditor that legal action be commenced against you.

If you believe any of the above regulations have been breached by a collection agency, contact the head of the agency (in writing).  State what you need to have changed regarding the handling of your account. If you’re still not satisfied, contact the Ministry of Government Services at 1-800-268-1142 and they will issue a complaint form.

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