Whether you’re heading back to campus or not, the beginning of fall is always about a fresh start. Like a pristine new notebook and sharpened pencil, September brings with it a feeling of newness, a drive to make positive changes and to carve new tracks for the busy fall season. This year, we’re focusing on our money: how we spend it, how we save it, and tips and tricks to help grow it faster.

TD recently conducted a survey and discovered that many millennials turn to their parents for financial advice and that two-thirds (66%) consider this advice worthwhile. The survey also revealed that the top three money lessons from mom and dad were:

1) Don’t live beyond your means,
2) Save a percentage of every paycheque, and
3) Save for a rainy day.

Sound advice…but what does it really mean? And how does it apply in our current economy?

To help clarify, we asked Shirley Malloy, Associate Vice President, Everyday Banking at TD, to give us her top “moneyhacks” so that we can spend wisely this fall, create new financial habits that make us feel good, and help our money grow.

What they say: “Don’t live beyond your means.”
What they mean: “Don’t mistake credit for cash.”

  • While everyone should strive to be debt-free, Malloy suggests that credit can be a valuable tool when used responsibly, and it reminds us that not all debt is bad.
  • A mortgage or student line of credit can be considered an investment that helps generate income in the long term and increases overall net worth. The key is to have a plan in place to pay it back.
  • TD’s money management app, My Spend, can help track expenses and keep essential and discretionary spending in check.

What they say: “Save for a rainy day.”
What they mean: “Save for a rainy three to six months.”

  • Malloy says everyone should aim to set aside three to six months’ income to provide a financial buffer against any unexpected life events.
  • To start, plan to save a two-month buffer this year, and increase it to four months once you’ve reached your goal.
  • The Simply Save program is a great tool to help build savings. Every time you use your TD Access Card for debit purchases or ATM withdrawals, an amount of your choice is transferred into your savings account.

What they say: “Save a percentage of every paycheque.”
What they mean: “Save 10% of every paycheque.”

  • To invest in yourself, Malloy suggests that 10% of every paycheck should be the goal, but start small if that figure isn’t realistic.
  • Set up an automatic transfer of $50 into a savings account. Then, set a bi-monthly meeting in your calendar so you have time carved out to revisit the budget.
  • Challenge yourself to reach your goal of saving 10% each paycheque over time.

Implement these lessons into your routine, and by the time the holidays roll around, you’ll feel much better about your cheques and balances.

This post has been generously sponsored by TD, but opinions are our own.