My take on this: They do have some helpful tips on this Web site, and I certainly agree that it’s not a good idea to dodge invoices and bills. If you do check out the site, please do comment and let me know what you think.
There’s cash. There’s prizes! There’s excitement! Check out Modest Money’s 6 month anniversary giveaway!
Hope everyone had a great weekend! Mine was good, but busy. And I spent time cleaning out a nasty virus. Ugh!
This is my third month of tracking my stats. I think it’ll be a great way for me to keep track of my progress. And send a shout out to all the nice folks who stop by to visit me!
For July 2012
Alexa Ranking: 306, 634. That’s down from about 380,000 at the end of last month. That’s pretty good ! It’s slowing down, but the fact I’ve been a bit more active (but not as active as I should be!) visiting other blogs has helped some. I’m part of the Yakezie challenge, and hoping to crack the top 200, 000 before the first six months are up. I’m not sure I’ll get there with only one month to go, but I’m making progress, and that’s fantastic! I know I owe a lot of credit to the nice folks who stop by, comment, and tweet my posts, so THANK YOU!!
Twitter followers – I have 53 followers now. That’s up from 41 last month. I’ve been trying to get a bit more active on Twitter in terms of retweeting other folks stuff. I know I should tweet when I comment – sometimes I remember to, and sometimes I don’t.
Facebook fans. Nada. None. But I have no Facebook page. I know, I know – I said this last month and the month before that as well. However, this is a “before fall” goal, so I’ve still got time on it.
RSS subscribers – 9. Hmm. I’m up one from last month. That’s not a lot. Ah well. I’ll get there.
Unique Visitors – 1490. OH MY GOSH!! That’s double what I had last month. WOWEE!
Do you post stats on your blog? Do you have monthly goals?
This has been a crazy week. I only got 2 posts up, and just spent the afternoon do a crazy scavenger hunt for work. Mind you, free food afterwards!
What did I blog about this week?
Some of my favourite posts this week – it’s a little light because I’ve been so busy!
Why babysitting is an awesome side hustleby Add Vodka. I gotta admit, she makes it sound pretty appealing!
Newlyweds: How we avoided debt on one income by Canadian Budget Binder. This is a guest post. I actually found it so interesting, I went to her blog to find out more about her. I am not totally clear on why she decided to stay home (no specific reason was mentioned), and was hoping to find out more, but I didn’t find an explanation on that.
Should we be teaching kids to save money? by Prairie Eco Thrifter. I have no children myself, but am very appreciative of the fact my parents instilled taught us about saving when we were growing up. I think kids are better off, not worse if you set limits and help them appreciate there’s only so much money to around!
Five great resources to find new content for your blog by Modest Money. I was just thinking I could use some post ideas..
And only a bit guilt inducing. Here is my tale of splurging. Note to guys – they were fairly girly splurges, so this may not interest you.
The first splurge was a pedicure. Now, I went for the basic pedicure instead of the spa one, but it still ran me 35.00 dollars. I know there are plenty of Wagjag, Groupon, etc options for these, but I ended up booking it on rather short notice. A friend of mine who lives far away was only in town for a few days, and she really wanted to get a pedicure and catch up. So, I just booked it at the spa by me, and didn’t worry too much about trying to hunt around to get a deal. It was more important to me to go somewhere I liked and knew we could chat (they have 2 pedicure chairs, side by side), than save some money. And now my toe nails are lovely purply pink, with just a touch of sparkle to them.
The second splurge was a dress. I did try several second hand shops while looking for dresses, but I only managed to find one. So I hit Winners last week and found this awesome blue dress. It wasn’t crazy expensive, but it wasn’t bargain bin either. And I’ll have to pay to have it tailored because it doesn’t fit right across the shoulders. However – it makes me feel like I stepped out of Mad Men. And that makes it *so* worth it.
I don’t spend a lot on clothes, but I’m still trying to justify the cost to myself. However, I’ve already taken it in to get it tailored, so it’s not like I can take it back now.
What do you splurge on? Do you feel guilty when you splurge? Even if you actually needed the item?
I was inspired to write this post because apparently some idiot at the bank told my parents they cannot open one for their granddaughter (my niece). Seriously, that person has no business running a bank if she doesn’t know some basic information like who can open one!
What is an RESP?
An RESP stands for Registered Education Savings Plans.
Who can open one?
Anybody. Yup. Anybody. But it has to be opened for someone under the age of 17.
What is it?
It’s a great way to save for a child’s education. The best thing about it is that the government will actually give you some free money when you put money into it.
No way – the government wants to give me money?
Yup. It’s called a Canada Education Savings Grant. It can provide an additional $200 on the first $500 you save annually, and up to $400 on the next $2,000 saved.
The maximum lifetime grant that the Government of Canada will give to a child is $7,200.
Even if you can’t afford to put anything in at all – the child may be eligible for a $500 Canadian Learning Bond.
Okay, what about taxes?
You aren’t charged on the interest earned in the RESP, and because the beneficiary should be in a low tax bracket when they withdraw the money, they likely won’t have to either.
Can I deduct what I contribute from my income tax, like I do for an RRSP contribution?
Nope. Sorry. That’s a no-go.
And what if the kid doesn’t go to any kind of “higher education”?
Depending on the type of plan you choose, it can stay open and be used for the child’s sibling. If you wait long enough, the RESP can be closed and the money returned to you. Or, you can transfer the money to your RRSP. If you think this is a real possibility, make sure your clear on what your options are before you open the RESP.
What’s the lifetime maximum that can be contributed?
Have you opened an RESP? Would you?
What did I post about this week?
- What buying your lunch is really costing you
- Feeling deprived? Try cleaning out your basement.
- Prices in 1987 vs. 2012
Some of my favourite posts around the blogosphere this week:
- Optimal Blog Keyword Research for SEO by Modest Money. This guy is just full of information.
- House Issues: A Rant by Bog of Debt. Not a great week for poor “Bog”.
- Mr or Mrs. Money Bags..Is that you? by Canadian Budget Binder.
- Simple Financial Lessons: Breaking Bad Style by From Shopping to Saving. Someone just suggested tonight I really should watch this show.
- Yakezie Challenge Update – So Close, So Far. By Mo Money Mo Houses. I think Mo is *almost* there!
- Six ways to reuse your plastic grocery bags by Prairie Eco-Thrifter.
- Don’t pay market price by Add Vodka.
That’s it for this week! My cat is making “Pet me and pay attention to me noises” so I must go.
I pulled an article from the April 2012 Report on Business magazine, comparing prices from now to 1987. It was fairly interesting. Here’s a few of the highlights.
Cheaper now than 1987
- Top of the line Apple computer
- Large screen T.V
- Ralph Lauren Women’s Cotton Shirt
More expensive than 1987
- Harvey’s Hamburger and fries – 6.76 now vs 2.13 then.
- Basic cable – 38 now vs 10 to 12 then
- Bottle of Dom Perignon – 220 now vs. 85.25 then
Way way more expensive than 1987
Toronto home – 481,000 vs 195,000!
It also indicated the average Canadian family income was 37,118 in 1987, and it’s 62,500 now (well, as of 2009 according to Stats Canada). I’m guessing it’s both inflation and the fact there are more 2 income families that have made it rise.
Did you find this interesting? Anything surprise you? I knew fast food was getting more expensive!
Last weekend Mr. Canuck Buck and I did a task that we’ve been putting off forever – we started going through our stuff in the basement. We have several bookshelves that started off relatively tidy and organized, but slowly started getting disorganized with things just thrown here and there. We took everything off the shelves, and divided it up into piles as follows:
1. Stuff we want to keep – favourite books, movies, etc.
2. Stuff we don’t want to keep, and will try to sell and make a few bucks off.
3. Stuff we don’t want to keep, but someone else may enjoy – we’ll donate.
4. Stuff that is just junk – such as old VCR tapes we recorded stuff, but will never use again.
Going through all this stuff made us realize – we own a lot of DVDs! I think it’s important to take stock every now and then of what you own – it makes you more aware and appreciative, and hopefully will curb the urge to purchase anything new (at least for a bit).
The other thing we did was go through photo albums – labeling, putting things back in where they were originally, and figuring out what we need to make prints of (we haven’t printed anything since 2009!). I’ve been feeling a bit sorry for myself as I don’t think we’ll be taking any big trips this year - but looking through all my old albums made me realize just how much traveling I’ve already done in my life.
So, now everything is tidily organized and looks much nicer. We have some empty shelves we’ll try to *leave* empty, and we now have a nice pile of movies we’d forgotten about that will keep us busy over the summer.
Are you good about going through all the stuff you own every now and then? Does it help you reign in the urge to buy more stuff?
I recently read an article about a survey done by Visa Canada about how often Canadians buy their lunch out and what it costs them. Here are some of the highlights:
- 60 per cent of Canadians eat out once or more a week
- The national average cost of buying your lunch is $8.80.
- Sixty-one per cent spend between $7 and $13, while nine per cent sometimes go as high as $25.
- Ontarians eat out the most (I can certainly attest to the fact it’s very common in Toronto!), whereas the virtuous folks in Quebec, Alberta, and B.C, brown bag it more.
- Those meals add up over time. After tax, eating out three times a week at $8.80 each time can add up to about $20,000 after 10 years.
20,000 dollars? That’s crazy!! I have a co-worker who buys his breakfast and lunch every day (although he tries to spend no more than 4 dollars on lunch). That still really adds up though.
There’s also the nutritional impact – a lot of what’s out there is deep fried, greasy, or covered in sugar laden sauces.
I’ll freely admit that when I first started working downtown, after being out in the “boonies” for almost 10 years, I bought lunch almost every day. Being me though, I wanted to be cheap – so it was often McDonalds, or a bagel with peanut butter and jam. It didn’t do my wallet or my waistline any favours! It took a move out of town, and a big increase in my transportation budget to make me realize I had to cut back somewhere, and lunch was one place I could do it. I still do buy my lunch sometimes (like the day I got a filling, so I had to find something very soft to eat!), but I try to make it a once a week thing, or a special occasion thing.
If you’d like to start bringing your lunch more, but just don’t seem to be able to do it, here are some tips:
- Pack up leftovers immediately into lunch sized containers
- Make something up (like sandwiches) on the weekend and put them in the freezer. Take one out each morning.
- Buy stuff to eat at work – cans of soups, crackers, peanut butter etc.
- If you’re lucky like me, you have a grocery store nearby – I would buy lunch meat and cheese for the week, then a fresh roll each day, and make a sandwich!
Do you buy lunch a lot or know people who do? Are you surprised by how much buying your lunch out can cost you?