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Budgeting

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It’s that time of year when the weather is starting to turn, and it feels like spring might be just around the corner. I don’t know about you, but I always find myself more motivated to get things done now than I do at the start of the year. I’m spending more time outside, thinking about what’s going in the garden this year, and getting motivated to deep clean the house. Why not carry-over that spring cleaning mentality to your money? Many of us set goals at the beginning of the year to spend less, earn more, or start investing but I bet some of that initial drive has started to wane. That makes now the perfect time to kick things up a notch and get back on track. To help get you started (again), I’ve got 18 small steps you can take to make your money work for you.…

There is nothing I recommend more to people wanting to understand their finances more than budgeting. Seriously, it is an essential first step. Budgeting, Really? Yes, really! What’s the first thing you think of when you think of budgeting? Unless you’re a fellow personal finance geek, you probably had words like ‘boring’ or ‘uncool’ or ‘not my thing’ cross your mind. It gets a bad rap, but that’s just not fair. Nothing can turn your financial life around faster than the right budget. Notice how I said the right budget? I truly mean that. Your budget can (and should) be as individual as you are. I’m all about balance and want to save you from a super restrictive budget. I’ve been there, done that, and you know what? It sucks. If your impression of a budget is something that takes away all your fun money, you’re wrong. A good budget will open…

Have you ever felt pressured into spending money? I’m sure 99.99% of us answered yes. And I’m also going to guess that the most common reason behind that pressure is because your friends are planning or buying something you want in on. The fear of missing out is real. And it’s powerful. Here’s an example… Garth Brooks did a nine-concert stand here in Edmonton and it was all everyone could talk about for a while. Am I a Garth Brooks fan, nope? Did I almost convince myself I should buy tickets to the show just because EVERYONE else was going? Absolutely! But I was talked off the Ticketmaster ledge by my more rational minded (aka. more country music hating) friend. And when the concert dates arrived was everyone raving about how amazing he was and flooding my social media accounts with pictures. You know it. Am I sad I didn’t…

Everyone knows that eating out is expensive and a few extra restaurant meals can really blow your monthly budget. This is something we struggle with in this house ALL the time. I like going out to eat, trying new restaurants and having someone else cook for me…kind of the best right? But do I like it more than being able to pay all my bills and hit all my savings goals at the end of the month? Nope…well, almost always nope. Sometimes a new fried chicken place opens just down the street, and you overindulge a little, whoops. Not only is eating out hard on your wallet it’s also not so great for your waistline. I’m more likely to overeat when I’m at a restaurant than if I’m eating at home. It is also easier to make healthier choices when meals are planned and prepped in advance. Everything in Moderation…

I love summer, like so much, and this one has been no exception. It feels like every weekend has been jam-packed with activities. Edmonton isn’t called ‘Festival City’ for nothing! It’s one of the things I really love about the city. There are constantly events happening, and I have a hard time saying no to fun in the sun. Here are a few highlights from our summer, thus far: The Tragically Hip concert…such a great show and so many feelings. All the festivals…Street Performers, K-Days, Taste of Edmonton are always favourites. Football and baseball games…there’s not much better than drinking beer, watching sports, and sitting in the sunshine. Good eats…we made it out to Corso 32 for the first time, discovered Elm Cafe and had too many food truck dinners. All of that sounds amazing, right? Sure does, but there’s one little problem…it all costs money! Every year I get…

When you’re in a relationship, there will come a point where your expenses will start overlapping, and you’ll have to decide to keep your finances separate or combine them. This might be when you get married or when you move in with each other. But how do you know which method is right for you and your partner? There’s no right answer to that question. It depends on what you are comfortable with. Today I’m going to lay out the pros and cons of each option so you can make the decision based on your situation. How We Manage Money In Our Relationship I’m in the ‘separate finances’ camp…at least for now. I’ve been with the bf for over ten years, but we’ve never taken the jump to going joint. Honestly, I don’t really have a good reason why not. We bought a house together (7 years ago), have pets…

Maybe you are feeling inspired to get your money matters in order, or maybe you just want some summer reading that’s a little less fluff and a little more substance. Whatever has brought you here looking for a new read, I’ve got some good ones for you. Here are my top reads for all things finance; most of these are personal finance based but there are a few that venture out of that world and look bigger picture (let’s be honest, there’s only so many times you can read advice on making a budget!) I find that sometimes the books that inspire me to save the most and rework that budget aren’t actually personal finance books at all. Wealthing Like Rabbits by Robert R. Brown This is a really great intro to personal finance and covers all the basics you will need to get going. It’s also a pretty entertaining…

If you’re like me and haven’t filed your taxes yet there’s probably a pretty good chance it’s because you owe money to good old CRA. When I was just out of school and had all those education credits to claim I always had my taxes filed within days of receiving all my slips so I could get that refund. These days I seem to owe every year, so I procrastinate for as long as possible. Now, who hates having to pay up come tax time? Everyone right…my hand is raised. The thing is though, it’s actually a positive to have to cut a cheque to CRA. How does that work? Well…if you owe money at the end of April it means that you didn’t pay enough tax during the year. If you think about it, this means that CRA has given you an interest-free loan for the year. Not a…