How to be your own money manager



Becoming your own money manager is something that you should get used to especially if you plan to live as debt free of a life as possible.

I talked about the Money Box a few days back and that’s really where my passion for finance was born and the money manager in me came out.

Learning about finances is not so bad when you are watching television, reading the paper, online posts or even in magazines as long as it’s not about you.

Many people don’t want to learn about their own finances because they don’t want to know how far in debt they are and for some people, they simply don’t care about money.

They could care less if they have to claim bankruptcy over and over again. You may think it becomes a game when bankruptcy becomes the norm and to be honest if you can’t control your spending you really need to seek help.

Bankruptcy is not always the answer to the problem it’s more of a band-aid approach to solve the stresses of bill collectors knocking on your door. I know a couple at work who had it all, a nice house, 2 kids and they both hold decent jobs.

The problem with their relationship was not that they didn’t love each other it was that they loved spending money more than they loved being the money manager of their future. Buying cases of beer each week was more important than putting money away for their children’s education as was buying stuff they didn’t need when their house was falling apart and needed extensive renovations.

It’s much easier to block out what you need to do and put in place those feel good purchases so you forget all about what your real priorities are. Many people tend to forget that sure a new roof might cost $4000 and the $500 they have in the bank is not enough so they blow it without thinking maybe if we just keep saving we will have a new roof in no time.

What I notice from the people I’ve come in contact with in my life that are struggling with being their own money manager is that they put stuff before their life.

If money is owed to them whether it is government cheques, income tax returns etc. they have the money spent before it even arrives. The mere fact that “extra money” is coming into their hands sends them off into a spending frenzy. All those times they missed out on spending money and before you know it there is nothing left.

Better yet, the money is spent on things that for most would not be a priority. Life first, stuff second. If you can’t protect your life financially no amount of stuff will keep you afloat.

If you think about it money is a part of our lives no matter which way we want to look at it. Sure we can wipe our hands clean of debt by coming up with excuses like we’ll make more money, our wages will increase, I’ll find a better job, next pay I’ll pay that debt off. That day may never come for some people so the dream of debt freedom lingers on.

I have to question these people if they really do want to live a debt free life because if you complain about money on a daily basis and aren’t stepping up to be your own money manager then there really isn’t anything anyone can do for you.


Money manager


So how can you become your own money manager? Good question and to be honest it’s no more work than simple math. That’s right if you can add, subtract, divide and multiply becoming a simple money manager should be easy for you. It’s not so much that people don’t know how to do it they don’t set time aside to maintain the system they put in place to make sure they are following their money every step of the way.

Being a money manager in essence doesn’t mean you become an investor or stock broker either. I’m talking about simple budgeting, simple money management skills and following the money so you know where your dollars are going.

It sounds easy and it really is as long as you put some effort into it and stop complaining that life has dealt you a rough card. Sure, we all have problems that’s a fact, some worse than others but we aren’t going to move forward by sitting on the problem.

I know that not everyone knows where to begin when it comes to being a money manager and that’s why there are so many amazing websites and blogs on the web to help get you started.

I don’t admit to being a money manager pro but we’re both under 40 and living a debt free life including no mortgage living in the GTA and it’s not because we were handed money or got lucky every step of the way.

I also don’t make a 6 figure salary either but I’m working hard at making sure that I’m moving up in my profession so one day I can make the income I’ve always dreamed of.

I want to make sure if we have a child that we can afford to save for their education to give them a jump start in life while teaching them about money. I also want to make sure that our child doesn’t have to worry about us financially because that’s just a stress he/she doesn’t need. Financial freedom for us is about having the ability to make the best choices for our life as my friend Jason at Celebrating Financial Freedom says below.

It’s about having the freedom to make the best choices for your life because you don’t have to consider your debt situation first.

What we do is budget, straight up simple math and find ways to save money by living a frugal life by spending money on quality when we need to and buying generic in other areas.

We both struggled just like the next person but we did one thing I encourage all of you do… NEVER GIVE UP! You never know when opportunity is lurking so be ready to grab it and follow your money wherever you go.

Be your own Money Manager 101 …..




Planning the way your money is going to be saved and spent is something that most people shrug off as they view it as tedious and not necessary.

I disagree because we should have a money plan in place so we set goals and targets to achieve success along the way. You may want to put that new roof on like I talked about above but if you don’t plan how much you can or should save each month as well as a time-frame to have it saved you may just kill the plan and spend the money on something else.

What will happen is your roof will just continue to fall apart because you couldn’t be bothered to invest the time needed in planning out the savings to purchase that new roof. So before you go and laugh at your friends who say they can’t afford to do something because they are saving up for a large or even small expense make sure you look in your own money house and clean up areas you need to improve on.




Budgeting doesn’t mean you need to use a budget spreadsheet, paper budget, envelope system and so on… it means knowing where your money is going. Not everyone likes to budget and although I highly recommend it because its what has helped us to get to the point where we are now, it doesn’t mean it’s right for you.

Figure out what money manager system works for you but the most important part of your plan is knowing where the money goes. If you don’t track your money you will never know if you are spending more than you earn and what parts of your lifestyle you need or should be cut back on in order to stay on track financially.




I don’t know a household that can run on its own so if you think your finances can all be automated and you turn your head to say everything is taken care of you might be surprised one day to realize that there is more to being a money manager than automation.

Sure it’s great to pay all your bills automatically each month but that’s just a small part of being a money manager. Although we paid all of our bills manually aside from the fixed expenses we made sure we followed up with everything.

Fixed expenses are easy because you know they will never change but don’t think errors can’t happen. Just last week I noticed our home and vehicle insurance shot up by $12 a month and by sending off an email to our insurance adviser we found out an error was made in the automatic renewal. The account will be credited but if we didn’t follow-up with our expenses we wouldn’t have known.

Having a budget and managing your money for every day expenses requires that you follow-up whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. We sit down once a week and input all of our receipts that we keep from every purchase made as well as automated expenses into our budget. We keep on top of things because if you don’t it’s easy for it to mount up and this is where people throw in the towel.

They view it as too much work. Try to dedicate even 15-30 minutes per week to stay on track so you don’t have a tonne of paper work to do with your budget at the end of the month. That’s just my tip but do what works best for you.

Becoming a money manager is not difficult by any means it’s getting started and staying on track that is the hard part. Whether you make enough money to cover all of your monthly expenses or not if you don’t know the numbers you will never get ahead financially, unless you win the lottery but even lottery winners go broke.

How are you a money manager of your life?

What other tips can you suggest to the readers?



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Should I buy an investment property?

investment propertyDO YOUR RESEARCH


Buying an investment property is a big decision and one that you must do your research into first before saying you want to be a landlord.

Today one of my fans Allyson shares her story of wanting to finish her education and buy an investment property to get her into the real estate market.

Since I was little, I have known that I wanted to move out into my own house. I wanted something that belonged to me that I could sell when I was ready to watch my own family move on.

When I was in high school we had a class that was supposed to prepare me for the future of living away from home.

We had to fill out a sheet with a basic budget format: monthly rent, food, utilities and expenses. I was the only person in the class that crossed out rent and labelled it mortgage.

For some people, renting is a valid option and I can respect that, but for me, renting never made sense in my head. Why would I want to give somebody else my hard-earned money for shelter when I can just buy my own?

Obviously I have a better understanding of that now, as I am currently renting a row house. But it doesn’t sit well with me. I have trouble accepting that once a month, 1/4 of my income is just gone and I will never see it again.

It occurred to me a couple of years ago that I wanted to own a rental property. Maybe a duplex so that I could have a portion of my mortgage covered while I paid significantly less to own my house.

But last week a conversation with a couple of co-workers and a good friend showed me that my dream was just in its infancy.


Owning an investment property


This is what my pipe-dream has led me to. It is my future and I am determined to make this work for me. When I explained my plan to my parents they were surprised, but as usual showed cautionary support but support none the less.

My father asked me what kind of plan I had set up and I looked at him blankly – I had none! So, I set out as I had been trained to do: make one.

Today, I share with you what I have learned. Much of this is applicable to being a first-time home buyer, but mainly in the field of buying a multi-family property. In my case, my first home will be a 4-plex or if I can find one, a 3-plex with basement suites.

Let’s start with the perspective of a landlord. In my research, I spoke with co-workers, landlords and read as much as I could about being a landlord online.

This was where I really had my “EUREKA!” moment. First and foremost a landlord must consider cash flow. This I felt was fairly obvious – money comes in from the tenants in the form of rental income and you pay your bills and it is done.

I thought about it a while longer and realized I wasn’t quite understanding cash flow in a real estate sense. The main things to consider in regards to cash flow is “does the rents being charged COMPLETELY cover the costs”? I knew that I had to have the mortgage covered, but what other rental property costs are there?

Costs associated with owning a rental property include but are not limited to:

  • Mortgage
  • Property Taxes
  • Insurance
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Homeowner Associated Utilities
  • Vacancy

All expenses associated in owning a property should be fully subsidized by the tenants that live there, through the rental income. Now the mortgage is fairly straight forward, but I’ll go over that later anyway.

Property taxes are something that is charged every year (or two, four years or not at all depending where you live in Canada). You get a piece of paper in the mail that says you owe your municipal government X amount of money.

With all expenses, you will take the annual total and divide by 12 to see a monthly expense. This example applies to every homeowner. If your property taxes are $2500 a year then you should probably set aside roughly $210 a month to cover them when collection time comes.

Insurance is usually billed monthly, price depends on what you are insuring and often postal code related. Insuring a rental is seen has risky and can be fairly high. Be sure to shop around for a good deal that doesn’t leave anything out.

Insurance can also be mortgage insurance although having life insurance is a route you can also research. As required by law, if you do not have the required 20% down payment to purchase your home, you will need mortgage insurance. This is a cost that you can wrap into your mortgage and in the long run it doesn’t increase your payments by too much, but it does increase them none the less.

Maintenance and repairs can be calculated two different ways but provide vastly different answers. The first example is more applicable to a single family home or apartment.

At least 1-3% of the total purchase price of the home should be set aside each year for maintenance. This provides a large number for a property over $200,000. A more accurate representation for a multi-family home is 10% of the annual gross income from the property.

Utilities that are homeowner associated include garbage and recycling fees, strata (condo) fees, sewer/sanitation and any advertising costs. Unexpected expenses can include an increase in your mortgage interest rate, damage to the property and eviction costs.


The tenants


Vacancy is the last landlord associated expense and it is very important. Vacancy is calculated on average at about 5% a year. So 5% of your gross income is gone.

Maybe a tenant stopped paying their rent or moved out unexpectedly. Perhaps there was an accident and the unit needs to be renovated. Any time a unit does not have tenants residing in it is considered vacant and this must be accounted for.

Finding good tenants can be hard, but it is worth passing over many prospective tenants if something does not feel right or they do not pass your tenant background screening and/or credit checks. Even the location of the property can affect who comes and checks it out and that is something to seriously consider.

Now is a good time for me to mention this. Start early! Look at the properties that interest you now so you aren’t way out of the ballpark when it comes to how much you will need to pay. Get an idea of the market for these properties and check what kind of rent you can charge.

If the property is fully rented it usually mentions the monthly income of the property somewhere in the listing or feel free to contact the agent representing the property. These are all things that the bank will be asking you.

Once you have an idea what you will need to pay, you can begin setting up your financing. It is good to get your pre-approval out-of-the-way because if there is a hiccup in securing your financing the property you are after won’t be sold out from under you.


The bank


From the Bank’s point of view.

They say that they are protecting you when they don’t want to lend you more than a certain amount because it’s all you can afford. In reality they know that if they lend over this amount, you are more likely to default which costs them time and money.

They aren’t really lying, but the banks aren’t really interested in helping you but helping themselves in the easiest, most painless way possible.

This makes the process for you as easy and painless as possible. The first thing the bank will ask you is what kind of property are you looking to buy? Remember where I said look at the market? This is where you can show them a couple of properties you were interested in.

They’ll ask you for your household income (you and your partner) and how much money you have to put down. Next they will look at the potential income of the property and if it is fully rented and put that against the monthly mortgage, but you will need to get signed agreements from the tenants stating that they plan to continue residing there (basically new leases).

  • How long have the tenants resided there?
  • Any plans to evict any of them?

Based on your answers they’ll determine an appropriate lending level and if you need mortgage insurance. They will also ask you if you have a plan in place.

  • What happens if you have a variable rate mortgage and the rate jumps from 3% to 9%?
  • Do you plan on taking advantage of any first-time home buyer grants (if available)?

When banks do calculations for rental unit financing they default to a 5% vacancy estimate and 10% of gross income for expenses. This is why I chose those ratios for my suggested calculations. They also ask if you know what the market rents for the unit are.
There are many costs to consider when purchasing a home. I have summarized the most common ones as best I can:

  • CMHC financing from 80% to 95% ranges from .5% to 3.15% of the total purchase price can be paid up front or absorbed into your mortgage.
  • Many banks have processing fees for mortgages of around $250. Some smaller brokers will not have this.
  • Survey Certificate – To ensure that no buildings cross over the property line. New surveys are around $400 or you can ask the existing homeowner for their survey from purchase. If you are putting less than 20% down this is REQUIRED by the CMHC or you will not get your funding!
  • Property Transfer Tax – Some provinces have this, others don’t. In BC it’s 1% of purchase price up to $200,000 and 2% on anything over. First time home-buyers are exempted from this

If you are buying a rental, confirm with your realtor if you can be exempted if you plan to live in one of the units.

  • Legal Fees- You will need a lawyer to check over your purchase documents to ensure that everything is worded correctly. Ranging from $900-$1200 when purchasing and up to $1700 when selling.
  • Purchase Adjustments- If you purchase your home after Property taxes are paid for the year, you will need to repay the current owner your portion of the taxes. So if you bought your home on August 1st, you would need to pay the equivalent of 11 months of property taxes to the previous owner unless they have opted for some other form other than total payment.
  • Property Inspection – Many lenders these days will not give you financing without a property inspection. Expect it to be roughly $400
  • Strata Fees- Also known as Condo Fees, they are the monthly maintenance fees. A form will need to be filled out to ensure that the previous owners do not owe any strata fees.
  • Fire Insurance – Speaks for itself I think, you pay for what you get, so it can be as high or as low as you would like it to be.
  • Interest Payments – This is a fun option. This determines when your first payment is. Usually persons set their mortgage payments to the first of the month. With how mortgages work and when you purchase your property, your first payment can either be a full payment or just the interest portion. So if you purchased your property 6 days before the 1st of the month you could choose to make a full months payment (pay it down baby!) or pay the interest portion of the payment and begin full payments on the following 1st of the month. (Takes you an additional month to pay off your mortgage in the long run.)

There are spreadsheet templates available online to help you figure out if this property will be a good buy or a bad buy for you called Real Estate Pro Forma but if you work with a realtor they can help you do this much more quickly.

All in all, if all your expenses cannot be fully subsidized by the rental income then you will not see a profit.

Seeing as profit is the whole point of owning a rental if it doesn’t work, pass it over and wait for the next golden opportunity. And as with all properties, the larger your down payment, the less of the property you need to mortgage, the more your cash can flow!

Do you own an investment property?

What did you learn about it after that you wished you’d known before you purchased?

Post contribution: Allyson is a long-time fan of Canadian Budget Binder who lives in the Sunny Okanagan in beautiful British Columbia. She works for a crown corporation and is saving up to go back to school full-time and finish debt free.



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Do you need financial motivation?



Financial motivation doesn’t normally just jump into your head when you wake up in the morning.

Motivation for many typically happens because something is either wrong or you want to make changes to your life.

Some people need personal motivation to get through daily, weekly, monthly and yearly tasks and if that’s what it takes, go for it.

Asking for help is not easy to do especially if you are a strong, independent person who struggles with showing weakness in any form.

I know plenty of friends especially my male friends who won’t even ask for directions because they don’t want to look like they don’t know where they are going. These days we combat that with the GPS but there’s only so much a GPS can do.

The same goes with letting our finances ride out on their own. You can’t expect to see optimal growth in your savings account if you aren’t focused on growing it.

Same goes with paying your bills on time and earning enough money to pay cash for something you want rather than putting it on credit.

Motivation to have patience and wait until you have your feet on the ground financially before jumping into any big decisions is something that many people seem to toss aside unless they are forced to think about it.

Many people rush out and buy a house with a small down-payment and nothing in the bank for an emergency.

What happens if you need a new roof and have no way to pay for it? Asking for financial help is not a bad thing whether it be buying your first house, getting OSAP for your education or learning how to do something financially that you aren’t too sure of.

The person who fails to ask the questions are the one’s who fail to get the answers because they fear failure.

Don’t let that be you. Failure happens because you let it happen. You let the world take over your life and you wallow in the memories of what you should have done or should not have done.

Move forward. Ask for help. Don’t back down.


Personal motivation


How to motivate yourself?

It’s not always easy to motivate yourself but sometimes starting with a pen and paper is a good start. I know that sounds old-fashioned but writing something out might hit home rather than typing it into a word document.

The written word for me has always carried strength because it’s your own handwriting. I know this may not work for everyone but do what works for you.

I have people searching this blog for motivational quotes all the time and that tells me people want to either encourage themselves or others.

If you really want to succeed at motivating yourself you have to be dedicated to the mission. Whether you need financial motivation to get out of debt or motivation to start something new and see it through to completion the puck is always in your court. If it’s not, then find a way to get it there.

When I moved to Canada as a permanent resident I needed financial motivation especially when it came to finding a job. Being new from the UK didn’t help my cause because I didn’t have any Canadian working experience.

I wasn’t old by any shot but I certainly wasn’t young and had to make the decision to go back to school.

It was a financial motivation for me because I knew I needed some sort of skill to get me the career that I wanted in Canada. I achieved that by never giving up on my dream of becoming who I wanted.


Words to motivate


Sometimes keeping motivational words that are positive in nature such as determined, focus, success, opportunity etc. on your radar is important.

Positive motivation gets people through all sorts of events in their lives whether it be an exam at University, a job interview or getting their finances on track.

Keeping a positive mind-set can not only change your outlook on life but the way you move forward with tasks that you might be afraid to tackle out of fear of failure.

No one likes to fail but if you don’t start, how do you know if you are going to be good at it?


Financial motivation


I find when I talk to some fans who email me or even people in my circle of friends who have financial difficulties that motivation is lacking.

There are typically more excuses then there are reasons why they should make changes to their finances. You may be able to talk to someone about their finances but never can you make them change the way they execute their spending habits.

They are the only one’s who can challenge themselves to make better choices and to spend less than they earn. When we started using the excel budget we designed it was new to us and something we had to get used to.

We weren’t sure how it would affect our life but we certainly didn’t back down because we feared the outcome. We wanted to see those financial numbers month after month and find out if our efforts were being realized.

Sure enough a few years later and we are still budgeting our money because we have seen the positive impact that it has had on our finances.

Personal motivation will always be the hardest of all but it doesn’t have to be unless you let it become a fear in your life. Just like we need motivation in the workplace when we do a good job or excel in what we do, the same is needed in our personal life.

The problem is sometimes the only form of personal motivation comes from with-in. If you know someone who needs some financial motivation, share this post with them.

What are some ways you personally motivated yourself financially?



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Driving distractions and making your own rules of the road cost



Driving a vehicle takes skill and that’s why in Ontario a licence is not handed to you on a silver platter.

If you factor in the cost of purchasing a car, obtaining auto insurance and licence plate stickers, just owning a vehicle can be expensive.

Add in the cost of getting your driver’s licence, renewing it every five years, gas to be able to drive your vehicle as well repairs and regular maintenance and the cost of driving quickly goes up.

So if owning and driving a car takes up a significant chunk of our budgets, why do some of us choose to make driving even more expensive than it already is?

While these expensive choices eat away at our budgets they are often also unsafe.


Distracted driving


drinking coffee while drivingWith the wide use of smart phones these days, distracted driving is most often referenced as ‘texting and driving’.

Even though texting is what we most often hear about, it is not the only thing that classifies as distracted driving.

Having two kids in the car can be a distraction I will admit, it’s hard to ignore. Sometimes they get upset because I can’t pick up their boot off the floor and put it back on them at that very moment because obviously I am driving.

Anything that you do in your vehicle that takes your attention off the road and/or your hands off the wheel can be classified as distracted driving.

A gust of wind alone could make you lose control of car, even a hands-free device can be a distraction.

Eating, talking to other people in your car, changing a cd or radio station, grabbing a cigarette, are all requiring you to take some form of attention off the road whether it’s visual, taking your hands off the wheel or getting caught up in a thought or conversation.

Sending a text message or updating your Facebook status while you are driving requires you to take your eyes and attention away and your hand(s) off the wheel, and right now will get you a nice fine of $155.

I don’t like getting my cell phone bills as it is, I don’t want to pay $155.00 for one text.

Is this fine having an impact?

As of March 18, 2014 the fine for distracted driving in Ontario will be $280.00. The reason for the increase?

Because as a society we just do not seem to get it, we have become so attached to our iPhone’s that $155.00 doesn’t seem to stop us from picking up the phone while slowing down for a red light or talking away while driving down the highway.

The Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice with no prompting or requests to look over this law decided maybe this might makes us open our eyes a little and put our phones down.

And it should, that’s $288.00, I don’t have that kind of disposable income, maybe you do but is it really worth it?

There is discussion of demerit points eventually accompanying the fine that may also likely increase, again.

The fine alone doesn’t seem to make people want to think about their safety and the safety of everyone around them so the possibility of losing their licence might.

Demerit points are used by the Ministry of Transportation to assess your risk as a driver, they can revoke your licence or make you explain to them why you should be able to keep your licence.


Demerit points


You start with zero demerit points but the more you get the more likely you are to have your licence revoked, they stay on your record for 2 years.

Many traffic offenses are part of the demerit system including speeding and not wearing a seat-belt.

Distracted driving has been the cause of too many accidents, fatalities and property damage and with our technology generation it is only getting worse.


Drinking and driving


Everyone knows Drinking and Driving is wrong. Not only illegal but put the lives of everyone at risk. Too many people still do it though.

Under new legislation that was introduced in Ontario in 2009 you will receive a 3 day driving suspension for your first offense of a having blood alcohol concentration of 0.05-0.08.

A second offense will come with a 7 day driving suspension and you must attend an alcohol education program.

Finally with a third offense you will be suspended for 30 days from driving, must attend an alcohol education program and have an Ignition System Breathalyzer installed in your car for 6 months as a condition of your driver’s licence.


Cost of drinking and driving


Drinking and driving

This is Mr.CBB I’m cutting in Katrina’s post to share a personal story from a friend which is very important.

Besides not losing a life this story ends with a happy ending and lessons learned.

Now the young lady below I will talk about is taking it upon herself to share her experience to help save others’ lives.

Think twice if they will pay to have the breathalyzer installed and removed that’s coming out of your budget.

The costs are astronomical when you are caught drinking and driving let alone potentially losing your life and those you are putting at danger.

A close friend I spoke to told me she paid in total $6000 for lawyers, fines, breathalyzer and a pardon.

She blew well over the limit after a fun night out drinking with her friends and ended up in jail for the night, lost her licence and the nightmare began.

She didn’t know what she was doing because she was so drunk yet the passenger did and didn’t try to stop her because she wanted a ride home. Boy, I hope she got a wake-up call as well.

It could have all been worse. When I asked her the lesson she learned she told me, “take a cab, it’s cheaper and will save your life and anyone else’s life”.

Not to mention losing points on her licence and your insurance premium may go up you have to deal with a breathalyzer and for her it was a year not just 6 months.

It’s nothing compared to what I would have had to go through if I had killed someone, myself or put the families through. It brings me to tears every time I think about that one night that changed my life.

One year of embarrassment and blowing into a machine to start her car but she understood and accepted what she had done and the consequences that had to be paid.

She knows we all make mistakes in life and she wishes this wasn’t one that she had to learn. It’s common sense to make sure you arrange a ride before you get drinking if you plan to drink.

She was young and was out drinking all the time with her friends and didn’t have a care in the world other than paying her bills, working and friends.

She knows this happened to teach her a lesson and to stop her before she killed herself or someone else. Normally she did arrange a ride but this time she didn’t.

She said she knows so many young people who leave the bar and drink and drive. Probably why we see police cruisers waiting outside. People may get upset but come on, they are trying to save lives.

You don’t think how one or two or even four drinks can affect you. “That night changed my life forever”, she said.

It was all the little things that added up she said but she had to pay for everything. The breathalyzer ran her about $100 a month for a year not including install and removal.

“Think twice before getting behind the wheel”, she says.

According to statistics 16,000 people every year are convicted of drinking and driving being over the legal limit of 0.08 in Ontario.

That’s 16,000 people who thought they were okay to drive and put the lives of others at risk and risked losing their own life and vehicle.

Not only are you putting people’s live at risk but if you are dependent on your car to get to work how are you going to get there for the next 30 days?

Do you drive for a living? You may need to start looking for a new job.

If you kill someone while driving drunk you are most likely facing vehicular manslaughter and jail time.


Stunt driving and speeding tickets

I have had a couple of speeding tickets over the years with almost 10 years since my last ticket ever.

As I have gotten older I have realized that I have a lot more reasons not to speed than I do to speed to make it to work on time or rush to an appointment.

Not only because a speeding fine has to come out of your budget somewhere and I am sure most people do not include a ‘speeding ticket’ category in their budget, but for the safety of myself, my kids and everyone else on the road.

If we plan ahead and give ourselves enough time to get where we are going there is no need to speed. As it has been said many times, it’s better to arrive late than not at all.

If you are caught driving 50 km/h or more over the speed limit, street racing or driving aggressively it is an offense under Bill 203 The Safer Roads for a Safer Ontario act.

You may face a fine of a minimum $2000 up to a $10,000 fine, immediate suspension of your driver’s licence up to a maximum of 2 years and your car will be impounded for seven days.

A 10 years driving suspension may be enforced if you are guilty of a second conviction.


Our actions have consequences


Unfortunately too many distracted and impaired driving charges have been laid only because of an accident caused or a fatality.

As kids we are taught that with every action comes a consequence. We need to remind ourselves of this often and think about how we do things affects those around us.

If you feel you can’t control yourself from picking up your phone when you are driving then put it in the trunk.

If you are planning to have a few drinks then make the proper arrangements ahead of time for a safe way home.

You are not only putting your budget at risk of fines but the safety of everyone else on the road.

Let’s remember to keep our eyes on the road when driving and do what we have set out to do….drive!

It is safer for all of us and really, isn’t it nice to get away from our cell phones sometimes?

Take a break from Facebook and text messaging and you may find you’ll really enjoy it. Let’s plan ahead, slow down and NEVER drink and drive!

In 2013 the Ontario Provincial Police issued 19,000 distracted driving fines and they plan to move ahead full force to make sure we keep our roads safe.

Will the increased fine of $288.00 stop you from texting and driving?



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Forcing your financial belief system never works



Someone always has a financial belief system that will change your life and believes that it will not only change their life but yours as well.

Eventually you have to believe in someone, even if that someone is yourself.

The pushy sellers will stop at nothing to try and change your mind by forcing their financial belief system on you but when it’s your money, it’s your decision.

What is the definition of belief anyways?

Simple, it’s what you as a person trust to be the true answer, having faith in something or someone or a proper way of doing something.

At least that is what it means to me. In order for me to believe in something I have to trust the source. There is always risk no matter what you believe.

When no one believes in your financial decisions what do you do?

If no one believes in my way of thinking the answer is easy for me because I’ve never been one to follow the opinions of others unless I found them to be beneficial to me.

Financial news lurks everywhere, online, on the radio, in print and at your front your door even on your telephone.

Everyone hopes they are doing right by their own finances but are we really? If you find yourself struggling to stay afloat then maybe it’s time to search out alternate ways to get back on track financially.

If you tell people you are struggling they may offer you advice and say their way is the only way or suggest ways for you to save money. Believe what you want.

They say to always have a back-up plan in life because you never know what can happen. An emergency savings will only get you so far. Unless of course your savings includes many zero’s. It’s great to have an income source coming in from more than one place.


Financial decision-making


Sure there are times we will question what we are doing financially and we should. Never has there been a time where I’ve jumped into making financial decisions without doing a bit of research and getting opinions from financial experts that I trust.

The fact of the matter is nothing is for certain when it comes to investing but trends and statistics are what keep us going.

My parents for example invested their money in real estate and said it was the best investments they’d ever made. That was their belief system back in the day and it still is today.

We plan to do the same one day if we can save up enough for a down-payment on a second home. Of course it won’t be our only plan of action towards senior life living like my parents.

Once our mortgage is paid we also want to focus more on our investments as catching up is a place we need to be at.


Hiding money


These days many people are scared to hand over their money to anyone so it stays at home hiding under a mattress, in a drawer or in a closet in a box. You’d be surprised if people came forward to tell you where they stash money around the house.

That’s probably why we hear these stories of people finding thousands of dollars in items they bought used at a thrift store or while at a garage sale.

People forget where they stash their money or someone might pass away and you know, forget to mention that they hid $100,000 in the back of a book.

I believe the reason for this is because it’s their financial beliefs that their money should be saved this way. You can’t change their minds.




My parents are living an early retirement now always on vacation for weeks at a time and life is good. Best part is those houses they bought years ago and are paid off keep paying them every single month.

Some people may shun the investing in houses for your retirement theory but clearly it’s working for some people.

Many successful millionaires are where they are because they took chances listening to a financial belief system they trusted because they felt they had enough evidence to support their decisions.

On the other hand bad business deals have led to some people losing their life savings because they put all of their eggs in one basket. Remember that some people are good talkers and can sell anything to anyone. If it’s too good to be true it may be.


Financial belief system


When we said that we were going to pay our mortgage off in full rather than invest the money there were countless comments and emails about why we would make that decision.

I’m going to write a more detailed post on that soon but the short of it is, because it’s what makes us happy. It’s part of our financial belief system to get us where we want to be.

When you know a sure thing like your interest rate, you can’t go wrong in my opinion. Try and tell me what investments will make you money 100% without a doubt and I’d still be skeptical, but that’s just me.

There’s something about concrete that sounds better to some than variable does to others. Risk, you bet but I pick and choose where that risk gets laid because it’s our money and our financial beliefs.

When people don’t believe in how you spend your money you don’t have to tell them anything. In fact that’s just another reason why I never talk about our money let alone what we have because for some it turns into a financial debate that is never-ending.

Don’t get me wrong I love chatting about finances but talking about what’s in my own bank account with friends and strangers is not my cup of tea.

I never try to force my financial beliefs on anyone although I do enjoy listening to what others do or have to say. That’s part of the learning process in my opinion.

On many occasions we’ve had friends ask us why we chose to shop at thrift stores like I mentioned in yesterday’s post and the answer has nothing to do with what people think.

Just because people may have money doesn’t mean they should run out and blow it at the first available moment.

You see, we all have our own financial beliefs and no matter how hard you try you can never force those beliefs on anyone.


Investing beliefs


I follow many personal finance blogs and I read many blog posts during the week. I take every post I read seriously but if I was to follow a certain financial path that someone else had tried I’d certainly do my homework.

My friend Mark at My Own Advisor is doing an amazing job with his investments and reaching his dividend income goals.

Anyone would want to know his secrets and even if he told you, you’d have to do your own homework. Mark has a large following of fans and for good reason because he’s showing them how his investments are working for him.

It’s his belief system that tells him that once he reaches a certain point he will reach his personal financial goals. I believe he will get there.

I’m sure Mark has spent countless hours learning about investments and made money and lost money because it’s all about risk but I can bet you he won’t do something with his investments just because someone said so. You have to realize that money and risk go hand in hand in anything you choose to do with it.


Behind closed doors


What works for one person might not work for you. Just because your grocery budget for 5 people is $600 and for another family it’s $900 we can’t judge each family because they may be shopping according to their own financial and health needs.

We don’t know what lurks in someone’s financial health. Just because you see what’s on the surface certainly doesn’t mean that’s the light in the background.

We’ve talked about The Millionaire Next Door and my other friend Mark from Money Saving Dude did a great review on the book. Just because your neighbour drives a beat up car and doesn’t dress the best doesn’t mean they don’t have money.

I’ve been subjected to people treating me differently because they see or hear where I shop yet I may just have more in the bank than they do. Does it really matter? Not really.


Work from home


What is a blog? You’re reading a blog right now. It’s a place where someone or many people share their beliefs about a certain topic or many topics.

What about if you want to give up your full-time job like Holly from Club Thrifty, Pauline from Reach Financial Independence, Michelle from Making Sense of Cents or my good friend John from Frugal Rules to pursue your work from home dreams?

They all run blogs and are good at what they do. Not all blogs are successful though and to make money be prepared for blood, sweat and tears.

You will always be met with opposition but if your financial belief system tells that you can make it, then go for it. Giving up a steady income for the unknown might be hard to do but many people have succeeded but it’s not for the faint of heart.

It’s hard work if you work from home because you are now fending for yourself. Nothing anyone says will stop you.

You only have to look at some of the incomes that these bloggers bring in from freelancing (those that share their numbers) to know they know what they are doing.

That’s why I say you should never worry about what others are doing and focus on your own financial health.




If you want to make positive changes to your finances finding someone you trust is a good start. Just because I say to use a budget doesn’t mean it will work for you like it does for us. Budgeting is part of our financial beliefs and has gotten us over the hump towards debt freedom.

Sure you can try it out but if you don’t give the budget your 100% effort like we do you will not succeed and say you hate budgeting. Boo on you, but I won’t judge you because I worry about my family first.

If budgeting is not your thing then I hope that you find something suitable to get your finances beliefs on track.

Saving money isn’t rocket science but investing your money takes a skill and a risk tolerance some people aren’t willing to take.

That’s the way you roll and I can’t change that. Only you can. So the next time someone tries to force their financial beliefs on you saying that you must or should do something, figure it out for yourself.

You might even catch me telling you should do something but like anything do your research and know what you want from of the outcome.


Your life


Never judge someone because of the way they choose to spend their money because you can’t change them. Their belief system is their own and in the end they are the final judge.

You might see someone who spends their money eating out every single day and blowing money on crap but you can’t make miracles happen for them.

What I’ve learned is you can listen and if they ask questions you can answer but you can never change someone.

Sometimes hitting rock bottom, get laid off or fired, losing everything and going bankrupt is the only wake-up call some people will need before their ears are open. Even then your financial beliefs may not be a right fit for everyone.

Have you ever had someone say that it takes too much time to cook so I just eat out?

If they believe it takes too much time you can’t change that they don’t want to cook nor that they are spending more money eating out than eating in.

You can argue all you want with someone why they should buy a name brand product rather than buying a no-name brand but if that’s all they can afford who are you to judge? Maybe they like the no-name product over the name brand.

The fact of the matter here is that if you could open the door to someone’s life you will find their financial health to be different from your own.

You may find some people who are similar but it’s rare to find someone who thinks and acts just like you do.

So, the next time you want to dish out your financial belief system to someone just remember that whatever they choose to do depends on how they view the outcome for their own life.

Have you ever had someone try to convince you that your financial beliefs were wrong? How did you handle that? Did you make changes to your finances? How did that work out for you?



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