Making Tough Financial Decisions (and ones you won’t regret)

Financial decisions can range from big, life changing decisions, like purchasing a house or a new car, to smaller choices like how much you should be putting in your savings account, or if you should really put the money into upgrading or fixing something in your home. When it comes to your financial choices, it’s important to feel confident in the decisions you’re making so you don’t regret them in the short, or long-term.

We all know people who are exceptionally good with their money. Some may call them frugal, but they are always on top of their budget, are saving, and some people may like to call them frugal. Frugal people have a frame of mind when it comes to making difficult financial decisions that they live by day-by-day. This makes it easier for them, however, most people aren’t like this.

Financial decisions happen more than just here and there, in fact, the most important decisions you make when it comes to your finances are the ones that you make every day to save money and make responsible choices. Whether that’s shopping sale or no name brands in the grocery store, disabling cable to opt for Netflix or a cheaper option, or going the extra mile to save a buck or two. These do, surprisingly, add up quick.

Saving money doesn’t need to be in grand gestures, like putting thousands of dollars into a savings account at a time, or completely living in hibernation so you don’t spend money. It’s about the details and the little things that add up. By being aware of these little things, when a big and tough financial decision comes up, you can be better prepared with how to handle it. 

But first, why is it so hard to make wise financial decisions? Well as we all know, money matters. It comes to no surprise that our finances are important to us. We work hard for our money, and when hit with a financial decision or worse, a burden, we want to make sure we’re being smart with our decisions. This adds pressure to us as most people aren’t 100% if they’re making the right choice or not. 

The National has conducted several studies around the topic of how people’s perceptions of their own thinking influences their tendency to avoid financial decisions. In their initial study with 150 surveyed, they found that more people perceived themselves as emotional thinkers with a higher tendency to avoid or neglect their personal finances. However, this way of thinking didn’t extend into other decisions in their lives like buying clothes or making decisions with their healthcare.

So the question is, is there a way to get around this problem of financial decisions being so challenging? The short answer is yes. To make life easier when it comes to making these bigger, and tough decisions, here are some of our biggest tips

1. Set a deadline

Everyone has been guilty of putting off tough decisions and justifying it as procrastination. By setting a deadline, you’ll hold yourself more accountable. Even if you do procrastinate leading up to the timeline, you know it’s approaching and you’ll need to make a choice.

2. Take your time

At the same time, make sure you are giving yourself enough time in that deadline. First off, sometimes time isn’t in your favour and you’ll have to make a choice quickly, however, if time is on your side, give yourself an appropriate amount of time to reach the decision that feels the best. When you give yourself the time to weigh out the pros and cons you can feel more confident with the choice you make because you’ve put in the time to get yourself there.

3. Explore your options

Take a look at all possible avenues. By giving yourself a number of options, you won’t feel forced to take the one and only route. Options take away from the fear of making the wrong choices. You can weigh out the pros and cons of each of them and decide what’s best for you. Take the time to really gather all the information you need for each option because the more info you have, you’ll be able to feel confident in the choice or direction you go.

4. Come to a solution

Write a pros and cons list, talk to your friends, family, accountant, financial advisor, or whoever you trust, and then come to a solution and an action plan to get yourself there. Through these steps you’ll be able to feel confident about that solution is and better prepared to tackle it versus avoid it. 

In terms of making the right financial decisions, this can apply to so many areas of your finances. There are a ton of financial decisions that you may regret. Let’s be honest, we’ve all done it, purchased something we ended up not needing, or not doing our research and ending up with something that wasn’t a good long-term investment. So choosing what you’re putting your money into is an important (and risky) decision. However, it’s guaranteed that you won’t regret these financial choices:

Paying off your debt

Paying off debt is something most of us have to do each day. Whether it’s student loans, a mortgage, a line of credit, or credit card. There’s no better feeling than paying off a chunk of debt, so putting your money and savings towards your debt is always going to be something that doesn’t leave you with regret.

Here are some of our top tips for paying off your debt: 

  • Create a budget
  • Pay off the most expensive debt first
  • Pay more than the minimum balance 
  • Halt your credit card spending and only spend money you have
  • Put work bonuses or extra income onto your debt
  • Delete credit card info attached to online stores for fast check-out
  • Sell unwanted things in your home versus donating them
  • Take a cold hard look at your daily habits
  • Reward yourself when you reach milestones so you’re more motivated

Investing in your retirement

When it comes to investing your money, you won’t ever regret putting money aside for retirement. Yes, even though retirement can feel like it’s an eternity away, when you get there, we promise it’ll be worth the fact that you had been saving in your RRSP.

Finding the right credit card

Using your credit cards wisely is a very important way to stay on top of your finances, however, what’s really important is that you’re finding the right credit card for you. Each credit card offers different benefits and finding the right one of your lifestyle can help you save money. Whether it’s a rewards card that helps you accumulate points as you use it, or one with a low fee and low credit amount so you don’t overspend. Research your options so you find the best suitable card for you, and make sure to reevaluate every couple of years in case new, and better ones come out.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself while looking for the perfect card:

1. What will you be using the card for?

2. What kind of card is it?

3. What are the fees associated with the card?

4. What is the credit limit?

5. What rewards are involved?

Switching banks

Choosing the right bank is key, and like your credit cards, you want to make sure your bank is working best for you and your needs. Often we don’t reevaluate our bank, we usually just inherit what bank our parents started our accounts at and stay there for life, but we could be missing out on an option that’s better for us. Go in and talk to different banks, keep an eye on their websites, offers, credit cards, etc. and make sure to pick the best option that works for you.

Another thing to keep in mind is payday loans. Payday loans can help keep you on top of those expenses that may come last minute and you don’t have the means to pay them off when you need to. They can be a great short-term solution until you get back on your feet. To learn more about your options, click here.

Making financial decisions can be hard, but if you work through some of the tips we’ve provided in this article, you’ll be able to make them in confidence and they’ll feel less like a burden. The biggest thing to remember is that procrastinating and throwing things to the sidelines to deal with later, won’t get you any further ahead.

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