Archive for Budgeting

Is Father’s Day Worth Sacrificing The Budget?

Often times when it comes to holidays, even the most well laid budgets are pushed aside to spend on more extravagant gifts. For example, this Sunday is Father’s Day, and many families could purchase gifts or arrange dinners that cost upwards of $200, all for one day.

However, according to industry insights, Canadians will spend more money on one day of gifts than they will for the entire month on life insurance coverage. The data is remarkable because most families create household budgets to ensure necessary expenses are covered, and only then is leftover money used for other expenses. But when it comes to holidays, the necessary expenses are pushed aside in favour of generous gifts.

Families need to understand that while it is important to show loved ones they matter, a budget shouldn’t be sacrificed to make it happen.

Love Your Father, Love Your Family

This is a guest post

Love Your Father, Love Your Family by LowestRates.ca

Is Your Bank Making Too Much Money Off Of You?

Do you ever wonder if you are giving your bank too much money? Having a mortgage is one thing, but what about all of the unnecessary fees that some people pay without even paying attention.

1. Annual Credit Card Fees

I am surprised how many people have this and don`t realize their bank charges them to have their credit cards. Some of the fees include getting more air miles per purchase, and other beneficial things, but it`s important to check what your fee includes to ensure you`re getting your money`s worth. If you don`t need what they are offering for your annual fee, cancel the annual fee. It just takes a phone call to cancel it.

2. Keeping Credit Card Balances

Banks make a killing off of interest rates. Why pay them more than you have to. Paying off your credit card by the end of the month will ensure you don`t pay a dime in interest. If you often keep balances, or if you are paying down your credit card, call your bank and ask them for a lower rate. You may be surprised to see how easy it is to get a lower rate.

3. Going into Overdraft

There is really no need to go into overdraft if you are paying attention to what`s going on in your bank account. If you know you may be over one month, ask your bank if you can link another account to your checking account. If you have funds in your linked account, rather than going into overdraft, the money would automatically come out of your linked account free of charge.

4. Paying a Monthly Account Fee

Most banks charge a monthly fee just to have an account with them, or they ask that you keep a minimum balance. This requires a lot of monitoring to ensure that you stay within the limited number of transactions that are allowed in your monthly plan, or keeping a minimum balance in your account at all times. Review your plan to ensure you need it. You may also want to consider banking with either PC Financial or ING Direct which both offer unlimited free transactions on their checking accounts.

5. Statement Fees

Some banks charge up to $2 per month every time they send you a hard copy of your statement. Avoid this fee and check your statement online where it`s free. Besides how many times do you actually open your statement when you get it in the mail, especially if you normally check it online or at the ATM?

6. Insufficient Funds

This can cost you over $40 for an NSF charge. This can easily be avoided by monitoring your account. Most often checks are returned for NSF not only because the funds may not be in the account, but the funds may just be on hold. Often times when a deposit is made at a bank machine, a hold is placed on the funds to ensure it clears. If a check is being cashed while the funds are on hold and there is not overdraft on the account, the bank will return the check and charge you an NSF fee.

What are some unnecessary fees that you have paid or are currently paying to your bank?

Photo by Jim Corwin

150 Words On: You Have To Have Money In Order To Borrow Money

I was reading Len Penzo’s amazing blog, and copied his idea of writing on a topic that’s 100 words. Since I don’t want to copy him to the tee, I’ll change it up a bit. I will do topics, or I’ll call it financial nuggets with 150 words on….. Of course I will put my own spin on it! So here goes!

“A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it.” – Bob Hope

Isn’t the whole purpose of borrowing money because you don’t have it? Well unfortunately banks don’t have that mindset. If you can prove to your bank through your credit bureau, meaning you have A1 credit and by having some money in the bank, they would be more than happy to lend you money. Oh yeah, you have also have to have a job.

Do you ever notice that when you don’t use your credit card, that’s when your bank decides to increase your limit, but when you’ve gone over your limit, they charge you all kinds of fees for going over? If that happens to you, ask your bank why they didn’t just increase your limit, so you would save on the fee. Lol! The whole process of course is really so that the bank makes money off of you, since someone who maxes out their credit card, is less likely to pay the bank back.

Photo by Gabriel Souzafaria

Ten Spring Break Tips To Save Money

Are you a student about to go on spring break? I remember when I was in University, I would always look for cheap getaways. Since the spring break is this month, here are some spring break tips to save you some moula:

1. Camping

This can be a great way to spend spring break if you like the outdoors. There are so many wonderful pitching locations and the costs are truly affordable. One week in a multi-person tent can be an unforgettable experience!

2. Be Smart With Your Choices

You can have a great time without actually spending a fortune. As long as you are with your friends, it doesn’t really matter where you are and how you got there. That is why you should truly shop around before you buy a plane ticket or choose a vacation destination. You don’t need to necessarily leave the country to have fun.

3. Buy Drinks Locally

Drinks account for a major part of vacation costs, simply because they are so much more expensive in touristic destinations. Of course bars are a great attraction for students, but they don’t need to overdue it. Getting local drinks is a great way to save money during the spring break vacation.

4. Hostels

The spring break is the time to have fun and explore new things, and meet new people. It is definitely not the time to admire the hotel room. So why pay for a hotel room when a hostel will save you up to 75%? You can always use that money for something a lot more useful than just sleeping.

5. Student Prices For Flights

There are many sites where college goers can find student-priced flights. This is a good way to save some serious money and still enjoy your spring break.

6. Take The Road

A group of friends can have the time of their lives on a road trip. With some good music and great company, you will can enjoy a great vacation without spending a fortune. Plus, travelling by land is a great way to check out the sights.

7. Take A Bike Instead Of Cab

When you are in a new location, you may be tempted to take the cab every time you need to get somewhere. As cabs cost money, you should consider saving the money you spend on cabs and a bike it instead. Besides, it’s great exercise.

8. Student Discounts

Wherever you plan to go, there are discounts available for students. Museums, theatres and so many other places have special prices for students. So don’t forget to bring your student ID. You will be amazed on how much you can save if you simply ask about student discounts before you actually pay.

9. Grocery Store: Your Best Ally

Eating has never been cheap. Eating out on vacation, when you don’t know the best places, is definitely not going to be cheap. What you can do is stop by the grocery store as soon as you arrive and get your supply of groceries and dry items to cover at least one meal every day. You will save a lot of money.

10. Low Flying Traffic Days

There are certain days of the week when airlines have special prices. They are referred to as low flying traffic days, days off, or times off.  You can check online to find the best days and times to fly so that you will pay the lowest rates. It may not be the perfect schedule, but it does save you money.

Are you in school, what are your plans for the spring break?

I Miss Being Able To Withdraw $5 From the ATM

Does anyone remember the days when you could withdraw $5 from the ATM machine? I was in high school the last time I remember banks in Canada allowing us to withdraw a minimum of $5 from the ATM. It was great! Those were also the days when you could buy a meal for $5, so it was wonderful for days when I needed to withdraw just enough money for lunch.

I remember withdrawing $5 and knowing that once it was spent that was it, I didn’t even think about spending more than that. Once they increased it, I was forced to withdraw a minimum of $20 even though I only needed $5. This of course was a problem back in the day because I wasn’t actually budgeting like I am now.

I wish they would bring this back, or better yet Chase and PNC in the U.S now have bank machines that allow customers to withdraw denominations as low as $1, they also have $5 bills. I hope they this gets implemented here as well because there have been many times where I don’t need a multiple of 20, but I have to withdraw it because that’s all the bank will give me. Some machines give $50 bills, so that helps when I am taking out a large sum of money, but nothing beats being able to withdraw exactly how much you need.

To my U.S readers, have any of you tried the new ATM’s? If so, how do you like it? Does it make much of difference to be able to withdraw a lower denomination? To my Canadian readers, would you prefer the new ATM’s?

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