The cast of Friends featured sitting at Thanksgiving dinner for our post on financial tips we're grateful for.

7 Financial Tips We’re Thankful For

This time of the year is a great opportunity to reflect on where you are, how far you’ve come and the lessons you’ve learned along the way. Practicing gratitude is crucial for all aspects of your life, but especially towards your finances. It’s all too easy to feel down-trodden with the state of your bank account or feel overwhelmed with all the information out there.

So instead of focusing on the negative, our Money Mentors client counsellors throughout Alberta are here to share with you the advice and financial tips they are thankful for, that helped shape their lives to get their finances in order.

Tip #1: Have an emergency fund

“Having an emergency fund, even just $1000, has been a godsend many times!”
― Suzanne McKay, Calgary

Tip #2: Think about your purchases

“Before making a purchase, I give myself a waiting period because I once heard that if you really want it, you’ll still want it in 6 months. It is all about thinking about my future self and setting myself up for success.”
― Nyamal Guet, Edmonton

Tip #3: Track your spending

Tracking my expenses probably does more than anything else to keep my finances on track. Everyone runs the risk of overspending if they try to keep track in their head. It’s difficult to stay on top of where money goes over time. Tracking as many expenses as possible using a spreadsheet, phone app or pen and paper shows me exactly where I’m spending and makes sure I stay within my budget. That in turn, makes sure that I’m not relying on credit to cover budget shortfalls that result from inadvertent overspending on regular day-to-day items. It’s not a glamorous tip, but it’s one of the most important things people can do to stay on track. Knowledge is power.”
― Jason Krausert, Calgary

“I use my debit card for as little as possible and rely more on automatic withdrawals and cash because it is so easy to lose track of spending when it all happens on a card.”
― Stacey Townsend, Calgary

Tip #4: Live within your means

“’Neither a borrower nor a lender be…’ Live within your means.”
― Deanna Tasker, Calgary

“The truth I keep returning to is ‘live below your means.’ And the best way I know to do that is to be content with what I have, which also happens to be the 10th habit in our Break the Cycle class and timely for Thanksgiving too!”
― Laurel Wyton, Edmonton

Tip #5: Set goals for your personal finances

“The best advice I was given was to get into the habit of setting goals for my finances. Having a game plan lets me know what I want to do with my money versus randomly spending it.”
― Iris Martin, Grande Prairie

Tip #6: Stay alert―watch out for investment scams

“One financial rule I live by is also an old proverb my parents taught me at a very young age: ‘A bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush.’ Keeping that in mind as I get older, I try to steer clear from investments that seem (and usually are) too good to be true. Although this may be too conservative for some people, I would rather feel comforted by a secure savings account than the risk in hopes of getting a huge return quickly.”
― Kevin Roberts, Calgary

“My favourite saying is ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.’ There are so many things out there that want to separate you from your hard-earned money. Fraud is on the rise with the advances in technology. There is no fast or easy way to fix damaged credit. If someone tells you otherwise, they are lying to you. Always question, question, question everything that is coming at you.”
― Denise Olsen, Edmonton

Tip #7: Pay yourself first

“What keeps me grounded and my finances in check is knowing that I am paying myself first. This means that before I buy any wants I make sure that I have put away at minimum 20% of my take home salary. I do this by contributing the maximum to my employer match savings RRSP (registered retirement savings plan) and maximizing my TFSA (tax-free savings account) contribution each year. This allows me to know that I have a safety net in case of an emergency and puts money away to build toward my retirement. Because of making this a priority, I may have to let go of some other extras/luxuries in life but for me, it is worth having the peace of mind of knowing I have financial security.”
― Kathryn Anderson, Edmonton

“I believe in saving money, so the old save 10% of your paycheque in a savings account helps get you ahead.”
― Eric Everitt, Red Deer

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