Financial Literacy

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September – A Time for New Beginnings, including Your Budget

September is such a beautiful month with the cooler, crisper weather and all the vegetation turning into the brilliant colours of fall, including a few of my pumpkins I planted in the spring.

For many of us who still have the muscle memory of starting school in September, this time of year can feel like a new beginning. For me, it’s a time for reflection on how the last eight months of the year have gone and then I step into that fresh piece of paper and a pen and start to dream about new goals.

This time of year, can also bring about a lot of change and transition. Perhaps you’ve just started school and are still wrapping your arms around the whole experience. Maybe you’ve embraced the ‘great resignation’ and decided to change jobs or retire. Possibly you’ve welcomed a new family member into the world or said goodbye to a loved one. All of this change can create stress and/or joy but one thing is for sure, these changes can impact your finances.

You may have to pay for tuition and books, reinstate your bus pass because you may be returning to your workplace, or put your car back on the road.  Many people living in Canada have adjusted, at least somewhat, to this new normal of pandemic living.  This includes the budget we’ve been living with over the last 18 months and introducing a new expense can feel uncomfortable.

This is actually a good thing – that uncomfortable feeling is your internal warning system giving you the heads up to pay attention. Paying attention doesn’t require us to panic, it just means we need to be conscious about the extra cost and integrating it into our existing budget.

Now if this sounds like it’s stressful or too much work or not interesting enough, fair enough. Your experience and feelings about this are totally valid. And here’s the great news, there’s someone who can be a coach, guide, or even a partner throughout your whole financial journey, including creating a manageable budget because a lot of people think budgeting is boring.  But not our credit counsellors, financial coaches, and financial educators, they LOVE budgeting!

I like to think of non-profit credit counsellors and financial educators as the person you take on a road trip, a financial one that is. You decide on the destination (e.g. being debt free, rebuilding your credit, saving for an emergency or a goal) and they’ll help you create the roadmap to get there.  They’ll make sure you’ve got good tunes to carry you through (e.g. financial tools and resources) as you progress towards your goals. They’ll cheer you on when you’re weary, they’ll hand you tissue when you feel overwhelmed and need a good cry, and they will celebrate with you when you achieve your goals, big and small.

If you want to start your fall feeling positive about your money, come chat with one of Credit Counselling Canada’s member agencies. They are non-profit organizations dedicated to helping consumers in Canada resolve their debt and build solid financial skills for a lifetime.

As an aside, speaking of new beginnings, I would like to introduce myself – I am the interim CEO for Credit Counselling Canada. I’ve had the privilege of leading teams of credit counsellors and financial educators for the last 13 years and I’m deeply passionate about eliminating financial shame for consumers in Canada. I live on a small farm in BC with my husband Brad, dog Duke, and kitties Lasercat and Keanu. In my spare time, I love to be outside farming, walking, reading, and working with stained glass.

Stacy Yanchuk-Oleksy

CEO, Credit Counselling Canada

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