Saving tips

October 29, 2021

That's why it's so tough to save money!

Budgeting is tough, particularly when you're trying to actually set some money aside for the future.

Like losing weight or battling any addiction, saving money resides in the realm of behaviour that sometimes seems immune to rational solutions, says one ex-banker turned blogger. But it's often tough to get out of the gate without some help.

"My guess is that the best person to help you figure out how to save money is somebody who has suffered from living beyond their means in the past, and who has developed effective strategies for overcoming this problem," he says. 

But if that person isn't readily available to you, you still need to figure out what's holding you back. That means tricking that rational mind and helping it get with the program, he suggests, including developing a better sense of just what's going on upstairs. 

Continue reading »

October 23, 2021

Are you getting the most out of your company benefit plan?

If you're lucky to have a decent benefit plan at work, you probably value your health coverage. But are you getting everything you can out of the plan you have?

Corporate health plans increasingly have features that are tied to a 12-month cycle, including annual deductibles, preventive checkups and, in some instance, health-spending accounts.

Employees who don't pay attention to the calendar risk wasting fully covered benefits and paying more than they have to for procedures delayed until the following year.

For example, a dental plan may limit expenses in a calendar year while a vision plan bases its cap on a moving 24-month window.

If your plan benefits do roll over in January, one thing you might want to check is that you aren't missing out on important counselling services or potential stress-relieving perks like massage treatments or physiotherapy. 

Continue reading »

October 08, 2021

Save money and don't over-vaccinate your pooch

Man's best friend is a great companion, but let's face it, they're also a costly member of the family.

While it's important to ensure your dog is in good health, save money by vaccinating your dog once every three years rather than once a year, which many vets continue to push, according to a recent CBC Marketplace investigation. These vaccinations apply to what are known as core canine vaccinations, which are essential to your pooch.

This vaccination timeline follows guidelines released by the American Animal Hospital Association, which is used by veterinarians in North America. It turns out that protection from core vaccinations will last for seven to nine years, according to the CBC.

Continue reading »

October 03, 2021

Federal government may move ahead with fitness tax credit for adults

Forget all those chunky kids, the federal government is moving towards paying adults to get off the couch and into the gym.

After months of preparation, the Parliamentary Budget Office has finally come up with an estimate of what would likely cost to create the adult fitness tax credit it promised in its election campaign. The credit would be similar to the children’s fitness tax credit the government introduced a few years ago. 

If adopted, the rule change would allow taxpayers “to claim a non-refundable tax credit of up to $500 in eligible physical activity programming costs against their taxable income each year at a rate of 15% (i.e. the maximum annual amount to be offset against an individual’s taxes payable would be $75),” the PBO estimates.

The credit wouldn’t be transferable, so only those actually burning calories would be able to claim it.

Continue reading »

August 08, 2021

Nine secrets to earning $100,000

There's no easy way to $100,000 in annual salary. But people who have reached that milestone are offering some advice on how others can get there.

One user on the Reddit website put out a request for anyone making at least $100,000 a year. "What was the smartest decision you ever made?" asked someone going by the name of RicsFlair.

The question generated a wide-ranging discussion about what it takes to climb the career ladder. Some of the predictable responses were in there — work hard, do a good job and the like — but users did have some decent advice for anyone trying to make it in the world.

Continue reading »

Search: ,

August 01, 2021

Is it possible to be just a bit too frugal?

Being frugal is smart, and these days, it's fashionable too. Witness this couple that claims to live pretty well on $14,000 a year.

Sometimes though, it just doesn't make sense to squeeze every last nickel out of every situation. Going too far in your attempts to save can quickly backfire. 

If you’re spending more time on being frugal than enjoying your family, for instance, you may want to re-evaluate the situation, suggests psychologist Lesley Lacny. This is particularly true where one partner has a different approach to saving or managing money.

"If your spending views or habits are on opposite ends of the spectrum, it may be important to find more of a balance. If a spender and a saver are in a relationship, this balance becomes crucial; they will need to blend two different ways of managing finances."

"Unfortunately, instead of bringing balance to the other's approach, they tend to end up arguing and feeling threatened or pressured to change," she says.

Sound familiar? Here are a few other signs suggesting that your frugality has morphed into something that may be a tad unhealthy.

Continue reading »

July 10, 2021

Just how long could you go without a paycheque?

According to a recent survey, 27% of Americans have no money at all in savings.

In addition to those who admit to having nothing in the bank, less than 25% reported having the recommended six months of living expenses stashed in the bank and fewer than 50% had even three months of living expenses tucked away.

Are Canadians any more frugal? Apparently not. A recent poll from the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada indicates that 29% of households here find it difficult to sock away any money once key bills were paid.

So much so that 47% admit they'd be in dire straits if their pay cheque was delayed as little as a week.

Continue reading »

July 09, 2021

Teach kids about money this summer

Forget summer camps.

Teach your kids about saving money this summer and ignite their entrepreneurial spirit.

Starting a first job or a new job can be an exciting experience for your children.

Earning their own money and learning how to start a savings account or save-up for something they really want all adds up to growing up and being responsible with finances.

Continue reading »

June 11, 2021

Younger people struggle to save now more than ever

For many, those born between the mid-1970s and mid-1990s may seem too young to be fretting about their financial futures. But things are much different for Generation Y compared to the good life that baby boomers have enjoyed.

So much so that more than a third of Gen Y (34%) admit they find it almost impossible to save, according to new research from TD Canada Trust. It's not that they don't have a sense of future financial challenges, it's just that they're not quite sure what to do about.

Young people today face fiscal challenges that older generations didn't have to worry about, like working to pay off massive student debts in tandem with managing spending on lower salaries.

Continue reading »

June 07, 2021

Summer spending pushes to a higher degree

Summer temperatures will soon be rising and so will spending.

With the kids out of school and families embarking on day trips, weekends away, vacations, entertainment and dining out, expenses start to heat up.

According to a new report by BMO Bank of Montreal, Canadians anticipate spending a little more over the summer months but they'll be looking for ways to keep costs down.

Canadians expect to spend an average of $3,978 on non-essential expenses and about another $3,000 on summer travel.

Continue reading »


Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...