For such a seemingly uncomplicated commodity, money can be pretty confusing for a lot of us, which can your financial life a bit harder than perhaps it should be.
There are always short term options like www.CaptainCash.ca to fall back on if you need some cash to pay an unexpected bill, but your ultimate aim when it comes to managing money, is to take a few small but necessary steps towards simplifying your financial life for the better.
Consolidate for a clearer picture
It can be easy to accumulate bank accounts over time for whatever reason, and if you are a couple who share your finances, it can double the complication.
Trying to get a clear picture of exactly where you stand with your finances can be a tricky job if you have several solo checking accounts, a joint checking account and separate savings and other banking arrangements.
Trying to keep on top of that lot is going to give most people a headache, so if you can, it would be far easier to pool your resources and consolidate to just the one checking account and one savings account.
This makes a lot of sense if you are both committed to a financial future together and if you are just looking at your own financial arrangements, the same logic applies, which is to try and slim everything down into something more manageable, which should save you some running costs and charges too.
Tackle those credit cards
Staying on the consolidation theme, if you are carrying balances across more than a few credit cards that you have accumulated over time, take action to try and at least consolidate this borrowing by switching balances to cards with the lowest interest rate.
Ideally, you want to be aiming at paying off your credit card debts altogether, as this can be an expensive form of borrowing that almost always attracts a higher rate of interest than a personal loan.
Swapping from one loan to another is not always ideal, but if you can clear your credit cards with a loan that is at a much lower rate of interest, it is not a bad starting point for developing a strategy to simplify your finances.
If you do decide to take this route, just remember that closing your credit card accounts down in one go and reducing your available credit, can affect your credit score, so cut up the card to avoid any spending, but wait up to six months between each closure, rather than actioning a sudden reduction in your lines of credit.
Use your mobile device to help you take control of your finances
Many of us have a mobile device like a smartphone and it rarely leaves our sight while we are out and about, which makes it an ideal tool for keeping track of where you are with your finances.
There are a number of free online tools and apps which allow you to gather all of your financial information in one place, which you can then access securely from your device, in order to input details of your spending, track where your cash is going and even set a budget.
It makes perfect sense to take advantage of the technology available to help keep track of your finances and organize them in a way that you find easy to access and understand. Having all this data to hand on a device that you use all of the time is also going to make you much more disciplined about keeping up to date, than if you had to remember to log in at home on your PC when you want to check something.
Try using cash
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the idea of spending cash rather than using a card seems like a backward step, when you consider the payment technologies available today.
The point about using cash, is that it often provides you with an excellent wake-up call as to what you are spending and how much even small purchases can add up to. Try taking exactly the right amount of cash that you want to spend the next time you go to the grocery store, and you are almost certainly going to end up being more cautious about what you put in the basket than if you were paying by card.
Cash makes your money seem more tangible than a number that you put on your card and is a great way of getting you into some better spending habits, which can make all the difference to your finances in the long run.
Eloise Poole works in a personal finance consultancy role and enjoys helping people manage their money properly. She writes articles offering easily achievable ways to save more and get a handle on the day-to-day finances.