Community Links teaches the basics of money management
Tax season is here and Airdrie’s Community Links can help with money matters in its budgeting basics workshop, to take place March 12.
Community Links has been offering this workshop for seven years now and it’s for anyone in any financial bracket geared towards those without formal budgeting training.
“A lot of people who attend the workshop have tried budgeting before and it hasn’t worked,” said Laurie Jacob-Toews, community development services manager for Community Links. “Or they’ve tried it and they’ve been successful in the past and they’ve fallen off the wagon.
“People share their stories: what has worked for them, where they struggle. We brainstorm and it’s about sharing and problem-solving, and trying to figure out what will work and then giving people some basic tools to get them started down the path of creating a budget.”
Jacob-Toews explained the first thing to do when budgeting is create goals, both short- and long-term.
That gives you an idea of where you want to be and then you can figure out how to get there.
“A lot of things in our budgets we don’t have a lot of control over,” she said. “We all have to pay rent or mortgage, we all have to have electricity. We all have to eat, but how can we spend less on food? How can we be creative with our rental situations, do you have a room that you can rent out?”
She encourages everyone to start tracking all of their spending for an entire month to give a broad idea of how much money is going out.
She added, it is important to take sporadic spending into account when determining a budget.
“We all think about monthly expenses but we forget about going to the optometrist and getting new glasses. We forget about the dentist, we forget about Christmas, we forget about birthday parties,” said Jacob-Toews, adding putting money away monthly for those once-in-a-while expenses can make the effect almost negligible on a budget.
“Those things that happen only once a year or very sporadically and those are the things that often get to people.”
Jacob-Toews said organizers will also discuss the importance of communication between couples.
“We’ve heard a lot from people who, one spouse takes care of all the finances and then if something happens to that spouse, if there’s a separation, if that person goes away for a while or ends up in the hospital, that other spouse just doesn’t have a knowledge of what happens,” said Jacob-Toews.
“In most relationships it works best if one person takes the lead, but both people really need to be aware of where their money is going and making sure you’re on the same page with regards to what you’re saving for.
“If our ultimate goal is to pay off the house, then that’s what you’re saving for together and maybe you need to build in flexibility within your own budget so that you each have some freedom to do what’s important to you yourselves.”
The workshop costs $5 and runs from 7 to 9 p.m. at Community Links South. To sign up, call the organization at 403-945-3900.