Personal Finance By News Canada 1169 Views

4 tips to keep your budget on track

(NC) Smart consumers know the value of establishing a budget – and sticking to it. But with high inflation and rising interest rates, many of us are struggling to stay on top of our finances. Here are four ways you can better balance your budget.

Cut back on energy consumption
Little things like washing your clothes in cold water and air drying them on a clothesline can add up to significant savings on your monthly bills. You should also be aware of “phantom power” – the energy appliances use even when not in use. Only plug in countertop appliances like your toaster when you need them, and unplug your phone and other electronics as soon as they’re done charging. If you have a programmable thermostat, use it to turn down the heating or cooling while you’re out of the house and overnight while everyone is sleeping.

Automate bill payments
With our busy lives, it can be easy to forget little things, like paying every bill on time. But if you miss a bill payment, you’ll be charged a penalty and interest on the overdue amount. Avoid these extra fees by setting up automated payments for all your bills. Just make sure to regularly monitor your bank balance to make sure you don’t go into overdraft.

Do it yourself
It’s certainly convenient to hire a house cleaner or use a food delivery service to bring your dinner. But if money’s tight, you should consider taking care of tasks like these yourself. Depending on your comfort level with tools, you can also tackle some household projects on your own, like replacing a broken light fixture or changing the oil in your car. There are plenty of great online tutorials to help you learn.

Opt out of the RRO
The regulated rate option, or RRO, is the default energy rate for Albertans. The rate can spike significantly based on market conditions month to month, making it hard to predict the impact on your monthly budget. Providers like ATCOenergy offer fixed rates on electricity at far lower rates, so you know your precise rate every month and don’t have to worry about energy price spikes.