Nearly half of Canadians are living paycheque to paycheque.  A recent survey by the Canadian Payroll Association found 47% saying they would face financial hardship if their pay was delayed as little as one week.

Living Paycheque To Paycheque

One of the easiest ways to save money is on your bank fees, but it can be tough to change your banking routine when you’re living paycheque to paycheque.

Switching to an online bank or credit union will help save on fees but it can cause you stress in other ways.

Related: Free Chequing Account Comparison

Some banks limit the amount of money you can withdraw or transfer, especially when you don’t have an established history.

Having your deposit held, even for a few days, could mean the difference between making rent and getting evicted.

Still, when you’re ready to turn your finances around, you should start by fixing your banking.  Here are five ways to do that:

How To Fix Your Banking Routine

Stop using debit.  Debit cards are a convenient way to pay, but we pay a premium to use them.  The big banks charge $11 to $15 a month for unlimited debit use.

Related: How Debit Cards Are Costing You Money

Use cash.  Figure out what you spend each month on groceries, gas and other discretionary items and take out the cash you’ll need to pay for them.

Whether you use the jar method or the envelope system, try and make it work on just one or two ATM withdrawals a month.

Switch to a basic banking plan.  If you can stick to cash, you won’t need to use a debit card as often, so consider switching to a basic banking plan.

These plans offer 10 to 15 transactions for about $4 a month.  Fees are waived when you carry a minimum balance of $1,000 ($1,500 for TD customers), which is reasonable compared to $3,000 or more with an unlimited account.

Make it automatic.  Set up all your recurring monthly bills to come out of your account automatically, or make the payments using online banking.  Just make sure to stay within your free monthly transactions or you’ll pay up to $1 for each additional one.

Related: Best No-Fee Cash Back Credit Cards In Canada

Open a no-fee account.  No matter how hard you try, you may find that 10 transactions won’t be enough to get you through the month.  That’s where a no-fee account can help.  Open one online or with a local credit union and use it for making small debit card purchases when you don’t have any cash on hand.

Use one of the 10 free transactions at your main account to transfer a slush fund – $50 to $100 – to your free chequing account so you’re covered for any small discretionary purchases.


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