Relearning Life Skills – Managing Your Money

Welcome to Right-On with HFG Happy Families Support Network Inc. (HFG)

HFG is a not-for-profit support group that provides ongoing support to women and children who have experienced abuse

HFG is a free support group for women and children who have experienced abuse, run by women who have experienced abuse

The topic for today is – Relearning Life Skills – Managing Your Money

Financial or Economic abuse: use/misuse of financial resources to make you financially dependent

To make you financially dependent the abuser controls you by not giving you access to money After domestic abuse, you must relearn money management skills; earning, budgeting, spending and saving

Steps to working towards financial recovery and relearning money management skills

After leaving the abusive relationship open chequing and saving accounts in your name only

  1. Get a copy of your credit report from both credit reporting agencies:
    1. Equifax at 1-800-465-7166
    2. TransUnion at 1-(800) 663-9980
  2. It is important to make sure that your finances are separated from your Ex’s and that all joint accounts are closed
  3. If you can’t close joint accounts, notify institutions in writing of your separation date
  4. In the letter to financial institutions, request a freeze on all joint accounts
  5. Change passwords, put your SIN, credit cards and other IDs in a safe place, one that your ex does not know
  6. If you’re concerned that your mail may be intercepted, open a P.O. box and redirect your mail
  7. Notify all creditors in writing of your separation date. Set up bills in your own name
  8. Survivors of abuse have to make money stretch to cover all the family’s needs plus additional costs (legal costs)

The best way to manage your money is to create a budget and stick to it

Don’t let the word budget scare you. Budgeting is a guide to help you control spending, pay bills & hopefully save

Now it’s time to work on a budget:

  1. For the first month, keep track of your spending, keep all receipts to see how much you spend and on what
  2. At the end of the month, take receipts and make a list of what was bought and how much was paid
  3. Go through your list and highlight the items that are essentials/needs, those items should be first on your budget
  4. Essentials list: rent, hydro, phone, medication, child care, groceries, clothes, transportation & emergency fund
  5. Non-essential items go to bottom of budget or on a separate list noting amount spent during the monitoring month
  6. Next write down income sources and your total income per month
  7. Add up your budget, add essentials and non-essentials separately so it’s easier to see where you can cut costs
  8. Subtract the essentials total from your monthly income
  9. If you have money left over, subtract the non-essentials total from that amount
  10. If you still have some money left over, put that towards saving
  11. Hopefully, you find yourself with some “extra” money after paying for your essential expenses
  12. More often than not, you’ll find there is nothing left or the cost of your essentials is more than your income
  13. If your essentials cost more than your income, revisit your list to see where you can cut costs
  14. It’s a good idea to set up preauthorized payments for rent and hydro so they are paid on time
  15. Continue keeping all receipts & balance your budget at the end of every month to see how well you’re doing

Other helpful tips to keep you within your budget:

  1. Use cash instead of debit and credit cards where possible so you can see how much you’re spending
  2. Give yourself a weekly cash allowance and make it last without going back to the bank or using credit or debit
  3. Remember to always keep your receipts so you can balance your budget at the end of the month
  4. Balance your cheque book. You will always know how much money you have & won’t risk overdraft charges
  5. Limit your spending to essentials only
  6. Carry your lunch and snacks to work every day to cut back on your spending
  7. Make your morning coffee/tea at home and take it to work in a travel mug
  8. Take extra coffee/tea to work so you can make another if needed
  9. Bake cookies and take 2 or 3 each day for the 3 pm snack attack
  10. Before grocery shopping, make a weekly menu plan only buy what you need for your menu
  11. Make extras of meals and store them in the freezer for those lazy days so you won’t need to order pizza
  12. If your children are old enough, get them involved in budgeting, menu planning, shopping and cooking
  13. Don’t stress if you go over budget once in a while, be flexible and patient. You can do it

Make sure you update your budget regularly. Budgeting will become easier the longer you do it

Above all, remember that budgeting is worth the effort

Setting up on your own can seem scary, especially if your ex previously took charge of the money

It’s not as complicated as it seem, there’s lots of help available & as you work at it you’ll become more confident

Leaving an abusive relationship is harder if you are worried about money. BUT YOU CAN DO IT!

If you would like tips on weekly menu planning please email

If you would like ideas on quick and easy meals please email

Thanks for joining Right-On with HFG

We look forward to seeing you next Wednesday July 16 for our weekly Right-On conversation

The topic for next week is – Separating Your Finances After You Leave An Abusive Relationship

Please email your questions and comments to

If you would like more information on the HFG support group please email

Have a great day! HFG Hugs!!

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