July 17th, 2024

Mental Health Matters: Plan a budget and stick to it

By Medicine Hat News on July 29, 2017.

Most people are not fully aware of where their money goes or how they are spending it. How often do you go to the bank or an ATM machine and pull out cash for your purchases? Do you ever wonder where your money is going? It is hard to know where all your money goes when you are buying multiple miscellaneous items throughout the month or how many banks fees you are actually paying.

You may need a budget or have a plan. If you think you do not need a plan, that is OK but it is recommended that you take out three months of bank statements without changing any of your daily financial habits and review them and highlight or mark any extra purchases. If you do this, you can see where your free spending money is going. For anyone who does not take the time to review their bank statements monthly or throughout the year, they might notice that they are paying large amounts of bank fees and not really understand why. Reviewing your statements will show you where your money is going. Bank fees are usually free to approximately $15 per month, depending on where you bank. The question you need to ask is, how much more will I pay if I use ATM machines and how much is it actually costing me you to use my bank.

An example for one purchase using an ATM machine is as follows; if you were to use a machine and it charges you $3.00 to pull out whatever amount you need, your bank will charge you at the end of the month another $1 or more. Therefore, to pull out your own money it actually cost you $4 plus your monthly fee of $15. You now paid $20 for your money. If you continue to use ATM machines or fast cash machines to get your own money throughout the month, the costs will continue to grow.

You will save money if you plan for your budget or your activities throughout the month. Be aware of your habits when accessing quick and easy instant cash machines. There are many activities throughout the summer that have ATM machines at their events by planning, you will know how much money you need, or are willing to spend and pull it out ahead of time, at your own bank branch. It is typically free to access your money at your bank branch location.

Remember, every purchase you make with your debit cards, adds up each time you use it, depending on the agreements made by you with your banking institution and your banking plan. Make your budget, sit down, write it out, and understand what your income is, what your bills are, and what you or your family can afford this summer. It should not be painful or hard.

Amy Becker is an educator with the Financial Administrator program at Canadian Mental Health Association, Alberta Southeast Region, located at #204, 1865 Dunmore Road SE, Medicine Hat. If you are interested in learning more about CMHA and are interested about budgeting or financial management, call Amy Becker, BSW, RSW, at the CMHA office at 403-504-1811 ext. 101 or email abecker@cmha-aser.ca. You can visit CMHA online at http://www.cmha-aser.ca.

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