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Budgeting on a Low Income

Amber Cannon is a Momentum volunteer and participant. Here she shares the reality creating a budget when on a low income.

My first class at Momentum was Budgeting. Probably the best class to have, at the very beginning of my savings circles program.
I learned about what kind of relationship I had with money. Good, bad? When I hear the word “money” I think of it as bills and trouble. When I hear the word “budget”, I think of restrictions placed on me. I never really learned about money from my parents, they didn’t feel it was necessary to concern us children with money.
I’ve always paid my bills first and that’s really the only things that I have “managed” my money. My biggest fear about money is that I might become homeless.
So, I began with learning that, and figuring out where I spent my last 10 purchases. Which were really luxuries for the most part. Pens, pencil crayons, coffee. But I also spent it on rent and a bus pass and a pill organizer for my medications.
I learned about my needs, and my wants, what my spending habits were, and then I added it all up. Those teeny, tiny purchases, add up to a lot!
So then I worked on a budget planner, but this still continues to be a struggle for me until this day.
This month, my income was $361.00 from Alberta Works.
Plus the $124.34 I make every two weeks from employment.
That makes $609.68 for the month of October.
So my bills were:
Loan Payment: $64.94
Enmax: $63.56
Shaw: $73.50
Credit card: $110.00
Bus Pass: $5.05
Monthly bank fee: $14.95
I was already withdrawn in my bank account by the time my Alberta Works cheque came in. So I was unable to make my rent for the month of October. I am now making payments to catch up on that.
I have to say, budgeting is not easy for someone with a low-income. There is no money to save, or spread.
Although, I try my best and save my change.
At the end of this year, my loan payment will be paid in full, and I’ll be able to concentrate on paying off my student loan.
I’m glad that I learned my relationship with money and this budgeting piece.
It gives me better insight, on where to distribute my money on a monthly basis.

For more of Amber’s experience living in poverty in one of Canada’s wealthiest cities, check out her blog: https://simplecalgarian.blogspot.ca/
To learn how to create your own budget, join us for free Money Management workshops on Monday evenings or Tuesday afternoons. View the upcoming schedule and register online.