Budgeting, saving money and emergency help
Learning how to approach your finances can help keep you out of debt and prepared for the future.
Managing your money is important for taking care of yourself now and in the future.
Here are a few important money-related terms to know:
- Bank account: this is a place to keep your money at a bank. You could have a savings account (for setting money aside), a chequing account (for everyday purchases) or other account offered by your bank. Check out your options by visiting multiple banks. Each bank will have a different approach when it comes to rates and fees.
- Interest: this is a portion of money, calculated as a percentage and over time, that you sometimes pay back on top of money that you’ve borrowed (loans, credit, etc.).
- Credit card: these cards allow you to borrow money to pay for things you need or want. After charging money to your card, you have to pay the credit company back within a certain amount of time, or you’ll pay interest. It’s very important to take ownership of a credit card seriously, as it’s linked to your personal credit score (how you rate with credit companies) and will follow you for years.
- Loan: this means borrowed money that you have to pay back later on (e.g. student loan, bank loan, line of credit, etc.). Loans collect interest over time, so it’s important to pay them back as quickly as possible.
In order to save money, you need to spend less money than you make. While this can be tough, these tips may help:
- Spend less: make a list of the things you need and a list of the things you want. Try to spend less on the things you want.
- Wait for sales: it’s tempting to buy new items when they first hit stores, but they’re likely to come on sale in a few weeks.
- Shop at thrift stores: shopping at vintage or second-hand stores can help you save money and define your own style.
- Make food at home: cut back on how often you eat out and bring your own lunch to school or work.
- Make a savings account plan: set aside a certain amount of money every month for a savings account.
If you need immediate help or are thinking of moving out now, there is financial support available.
If you’re seriously considering moving — or you have to move out — due to conditions at home, here are the types of support (including financial help) that are available to you.
In most provinces, it’s legal to leave home after the age of 16. It can be hard to find housing in an emergency situation, but there are options:
- Crisis shelters: adult and youth shelters provide beds in an emergency. They can also offer other services such as counselling, tutoring and employment help. You usually have to be between the ages of 16 and 24 to enter a crisis shelter.
- Social housing: housing provided by the government or non-profit organizations is available to people who make very little income. It can be difficult to get this kind of housing because there are often long waiting lists.
If you don’t have a job, but have to leave home, you may be a candidate for social assistance. Social assistance is money collected through government programs, which is then given to people in need.
There are places where you can pick up free groceries, which are donated by people in the community. Food banks usually have criteria for who receives food, but some allow you to pick up food with no questions asked.
To find out more information about emergency help in your area, try talking to your school guidance counsellor or visiting Resources Around Me.