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Canada’s Peter Pig’s Money Counter

NEW Canada’s Peter Pig’s Money Counter
Learning about money is fun with Peter Pig. Kids can practice identifying, counting and saving money while learning fun facts about Canadian currency with this interactive educational game.
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Give your students a deeper understanding of money management with curriculum offered by Choices & Decisions: Taking charge of your financial life™.
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Financial 'resolutions' not just for New Year's

Financial 'resolutions' not just for New Year's

By Carla Hindman, Director of Financial Education, Visa Canada

By the summer, many of us have forgotten about our New Year's Resolutions. We've either successfully lost those 10 pounds, or given up until next January. But you still have several months to make good on your pledges, and a whole lifetime to reap the rewards.

Not surprisingly, many resolutions involve money issues, whether it's sticking to a budget, curbing spending or paying off debt. You can achieve all these goals with careful planning, realistic expectations and hard work.

Make a budget and stick to it. You'd never expect to run a business successfully without adhering to a budget, so why should your personal life be any different? It all boils down to how much money is coming in versus how much is going out. If the outgoing exceeds the incoming, you won't be able to overcome debt, much less get ahead and save for the things you really want. Here are a few tips:

  • When calculating monthly expenses, don't forget the small things. Spending $3 a day on lattes adds up to over $1,000 a year.
  • Remember to include larger, infrequent expenses like auto or homeowners insurance and car maintenance.
  • Many tools are available to help with budgeting: one quick internet search and you'll find a ton of resources to help you get started. Visa Canada also sponsors a free personal finance site, Practical Money Skills,, where interactive tools help you track expenses, set up a livable budget, calculate retirement income needs, and more.

Change your spending habits. Think about bringing your lunch to work a few days a week, consolidating errand trips to save gas, and trying generic brands instead of premium labels. There are lots of ways to curb your spending without feeling the sacrifice!

Pay off debts. Resolutions often fail if guilt is the motivating factor, so don't dwell on how you got into debt – concentrate on how you're going to get out. Try these tips:

  • If you can't pay the balance in full, always pay more than the minimum amount due on your loan or credit card bill. This will slice the time it takes to repay the loan and will save you money by cutting the total interest payment.
  • Look into consolidating debt from higher interest rate cards onto one with a lower rate. Just be sure to examine all the terms: Sometimes low rates apply only during an introductory period, or additional fees may drive up the overall cost.
  • Consider using part of your savings to pay off high-rate card balances – just be sure to leave enough savings for emergencies.

As with all resolutions, reducing your debt and boosting saving isn't easy. But the payoff is well worth the effort.

This article is intended to provide general information and should not be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.

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