How to purchase the right home appliance the first time

stainless-steel-refrigerator-applianceOWNING A HOME COMES WITH A PRICE TAG

 

Major appliances are a costly home purchase so when they go on the blitz it’s important to make sure you have emergency savings in the budget or potentially be left without until you can afford new or second-hand.

My family has been shopping in the appliance market this last month and while it has been an interesting experience for all of us, I have a learned a few things to keep in mind for future purchases.

Being my first time as part of the decision-making process while shopping for a new fridge and stove, I think I did pretty well. Buying new appliances should be easy right?

While purchasing the appliances for my home was a fairly smooth process, what my mom endured while buying a new fridge for her kitchen was not so much.

 Even after a minor shipping fiasco I am 100% satisfied with the customer service I received and the purchases made. Both my fridge and stove were to be delivered together but somehow they ended up on separate delivery trucks.

After originally being told I would have to wait until the following day for my fridge to be located and delivered, the company went through hoops to get it to me as promised. A truck was sent out to meet the other truck and pick up my fridge once it was finally located and they still delivered it same day.

 

Seek out knowledgeable customer service associates

 

If an in-store associate sounds like they aren’t quite sure what they are talking about then it is highly likely that they don’t know enough about the product to help you make the best decision.

Getting a second opinion from another associate in that same store if available or visiting an entirely different appliance store with more knowledgeable staff will make your shopping experience more successful.

A month ago my mother was in store dealing with a young associate who provided information to her regarding this particular fridge that had caught my mom’s eye based on the specification sheets as to what the height of the fridge was.

The only thing she failed to mention was that some new refrigerators are designed differently from previous models and that there was a slight curve on the top of the fridge to accommodate for the new design.

After waiting a month to the day exactly and not knowing about this modification my mother’s new fridge was delivered only for her to find out that it did not fit in her kitchen as nicely as planned.

Back to the store the fridge has to go because it simply does not fit, end of story.

After a month of waiting for it to arrive she now had to return to the store to begin the entire process of buying a new fridge all over again. Knowing this little bit of information in the beginning would have saved her a lot of unnecessary frustration, unfortunately though the sales person did not inform her of this.

How much information should the homeowner know and what questions should a homeowner come prepared to answer when appliance shopping is very important.

Now a week after the original fridge that she ordered was delivered and a second trip to the store a much more knowledgeable sales person had helped her pick out a model that will fit in her kitchen.

Thankfully there is a secondary fridge in their home as her kitchen is still fridge-less as she waits for the proper fridge to be delivered.

 

Simple is better…and cheaper

 

With all the technology in our world many kitchen gadgets and appliances including toasters and refrigerators with all of their digital screens and pretty blue lights make a kitchen look like a spaceship ready to launch off into outer space. I just want my fridge to keep my food cold not fly me to the moon.

All the fancy extras such as the ice and water dispensers and flashy controls not only hike up the price but then you also have more things that may possibly break down potentially increasing the amount of repairs that you may face in the future. These extras may be appealing to some but by skipping these extras you will find a cheaper a price tag guaranteed.

 

Power consumption  

 

appliance-energuide

Our Canadian government has recently announced that energy rates are expected to increase by 42% over the next 5 years. All new appliances come with an Energuide rating stating the expected yearly amount of energy the appliance will consume. Not only do you they provide the consumption amount for the particular model you are looking at but also where it sits in range from high to low consumption compared to similar models.

This is where doing some research and product comparison is beneficial to saving you even more money on your hydro bill after bringing your newly purchased appliance home.

 

Did you know that new homes also come with an Energuide rating?
According to Natural Resources Canada, ‘An EnerGuide rating shows a standard measure of your home’s energy performance. It shows you (and future buyers) exactly how energy-efficient your home is. The home’s energy efficiency level is rated on a scale of 0 to 100. A rating of 0 represents a home with major air leakage, no insulation and extremely high energy consumption. A rating of 100 represents a house that is airtight, well insulated, sufficiently ventilated and requires no purchased energy on an annual basis. For a brand new house, a rating of 80 or higher is excellent.

 

Scope out a floor model

 

Once a store has discontinued a particular appliance to make room for newer models they need to do something with the floor display model. In most cases there is nothing wrong with the appliance but because it sat open on the sales floor they generally knock a good amount off the cost to see it leave their store. I was able to find 2 floor models when looking for my new fridge, both were originally in the $1500 price range.

The reduced price of $998.00 of the one is what caught my eye though it was too tall to fit in my kitchen. The second was priced at $1097.00 and low and behold was the perfect height.

Both of these models had been sitting at marked down pricing for some time and since they were happy to see one go they took an additional $97.00 off the price and gave me free shipping. It was almost like a big thank you for taking it off their hands and I walked out with a big smile saving over $400.00 of the original price. Other than a couple minor scratches you really have to look for, I have a perfectly working new stainless steel fridge in my kitchen.

 

Scratch and dent deals

 

appliance-stainless-steel-stovMany appliance companies have a separate location where you can purchase ‘Scratch and Dent’ products. The extent of these damaged appliances can vary although you may find a fridge or stove for example with huge discounts from the retail selling price because of a slight dent or noticeable scratch. If you are lucky enough you may find one that based on it’s position you may never see these marks once it is in your home.

If a wall is going to hide a major scratch I am perfectly okay with paying a lot less for it.

 

Don’t be pressured by warranties

 

Extended warranties are a great way for companies to profit from more of your hard-earned money and become void if you do not take the appropriate steps when having repairs made. While I stated in a previous post how I will never be caught without cell phone insurance ever again, I was not as eager to say yes to the extended warranty when purchasing large appliances.  Most large appliances will outlive any extended warranty although a small home appliance may not I still probably wouldn’t bother with the warranty.

On the same day that my new fridge and stove were to arrive, I also had a service call scheduled for my washing machine. My dad (and my landlord) being quite the handy man was hoping to be able to just get a diagnosis and then he would purchase the parts and do the work himself.

I mentioned this to the repair man who’s response to me was ‘yes he would save a little money but you would lose your warranty’ My washing machine is 5 years old, my warranty that was paid for at the time of purchase has expired so this warranty he was referring to applied to the new parts that need to presently be replaced.

The costs of the appliance parts needed are $80.00 and $13.00 for a grand total of $93.00 plus tax. He quoted me approximately $200.00 total with labour. I have yet to give this man the bad news as I am waiting to hear when the parts will be available but we will not paying $200.00 so that we have a warranty on $93.00 of parts, my dad can easily do the installation and ‘if’ they need to be replaced again in the future we are looking at the same cost at another, making it the same amount we would pay to have him fix them to just have a warranty on them. Again I said IF they need to be replaced.

I do not recommend making all repairs on your own but these are 2 very basic repairs that really even I could do myself.

Purchasing large appliances makes for an expensive shopping trip regardless of any deals you may find. If you qualify for a store credit card that offers for example ‘12 months No Payments, No Interest’ make sure you pay off the total amount owing before those 12 months are up.

Paying interest is simply a waste of money and if you don’t have to, why would you. While these store cards may provide an affordable way to buy large appliances, if not paid in full  the accrued interest charges will make it a significantly more expensive purchase.

Saving money in your budget for projected expenses is another way to pay in cash especially if you know your appliance are on their last legs.

How do you save money when purchasing large appliances for your home?

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How to get what you pay for when buying online

EBAY-xbox-one-onlineDON’T REGRET YOUR PURCHASES

 

If you fail to take a few minutes to read over the small print you might just be surprised what you are actually buying.

With the holidays fast approaching and many people scrambling to buy their Christmas gifts many people buy online, especially if they can score a great deal.

We often talk about how we like to sometimes buy online vs. in-store whether from Kijiji or picking up the odd items on Ebay or Amazon but with that comes caution when spending our money.

Buying online items is not something new and it’s well secure for the most part but what happens when the buyer is the person who is trying to scam you out of money even though it’s plain to see you are getting what you pay for.

I was reading a Yahoo post the other day about a 19-year-old guy from the UK of all places who was hoping to get his hands on the new X-Box One that was recently released.

He also has a 4-year-old child whom he stopped at nothing to make sure he was able to get the X-Box One for but he was duped at the same time, but was he really?

He ordered what he thought was the actual  X-Box One from a seller on EBAY and paid a whopping $750 only to receive a photo of the new X-Box One rather than the actual unit.

So, yes he paid $750 for a photo of an X-box One and although the matter has since been cleared up and his money has been ordered to be returned by EBAY it really made me think and many others about how easily they can lose their hard-earned money if they are not careful.

Here’s the kicker though, the seller did not forget to mention that what the potential customer would be buying is a photo. The young buyer even though he read that it was a photo never gave much thought to that until he actually received the photo instead of the game system. Sometimes what we do is fail to read the fine print or any print when investing our money in making purchases whether online or in-store.

The good thing about buying in-store is that you can easily return an item that you don’t want or maybe purchased the wrong one as opposed to having to ship an item back through the post. You also get the opportunity to physically hold the item in your hands.

Many readers who left a comment had lots to say to this 19-year-old boy about failing to read the fine print but many that supported the fact that the seller was in fact scamming him.

It was clear the seller set out to see who would actually send him the money for the photo with-out reading all of the information that was in plain sight. The product was not misrepresented it was simply a case of let’s see how many idiots are out there. Clearly he was more interested in getting his hands on a product than to read what he was actually buying.

If I am going to be dishing out that much money you can bet I’ll be reading everything I need to know about what I’m getting. I’d certainly be emailing the seller to ask questions about the product to make sure I’m getting what I pay for.

As you can see below many of the fans were more concerned that he had a young daughter rather than trying to motivate and help him so he doesn’t make that mistake again.

For one thing, when I wish to deal with a new (too Me) seller, after reading the full product description, I P.M. the seller and ask Him to tell Me exactly what I will be getting before I make a purchase. If this person lies and sends something else, the proof is in the site’s mail server, and PayPal can use it to get a refund. -Markleaman50

Next issue, not overpaying for something you can get a bit later. Unless it’s something rare that won’t be made for long I won’t line up or pay ridiculous amounts.-cute

It happens and not online only. I paid $CA 1,400 for a laptop including settings, software and everything. I told to come the next day to pick-up my purchase. however, something inside me told me just open the box and see if there are no scratches on the screen. So they open it for me and guess what? Empty box, only a heap of newspapers and old magazines. I am lucky to get my money back simply because it is a real store “BestBuy” and not a virtual one The lesson is that Check it before you kick it, no matter where does it come from or whom it goes to.- Hassan

 

Tips to help you get what you pay for and safely

 

  • Make sure you are on a secure site… normally there will be a symbol of sorts to alert you that it’s secure such as a padlock with a secure statement or https:/ in the url
  • Read the fine print including model numbers and anything relevant to the product
  • Research the product on various websites to price match and see what others are selling for.
  • Ask questions to the seller about the product you are purchasing to confirm all pertinent information.
  • Read the positive and negative feedback which gives weight to the selling reputation.
  • If the going rate for a product is $200 but you’ve just found it for $50, is it the real McCoy?
  • Use a credit card with a low available credit and some form of fraud protection just to be safe.
  • If you receive an email for a great deal don’t use the link in the email go direct to a website unless it’s a trusted website that you receive emails from such as a clothing store etc. just to make sure you aren’t being sent somewhere unsecure or fraudulent.
  • Use a good anti-virus on your computer to keep it safe and check to make sure it is running frequently.

 

How we limit our exposure to fraud

 

The amount of stories I’ve heard over the years that involved e-mail fraud where an e-mail is sent to someone stating that they have won the “Euro lottery” and they should e-mail back their details to claim the prize.

These types of e-mails and phishing schemes are not only fraudulent but plain dangerous. Once you’ve given up your personal details, they’ll ask for your banking details to deposit your winnings. Unfortunately you’re going to be as far away from that $100,000 winning feeling as you can possibly get.

Now that these unscrupulous individuals have all of your details, your bank account will be suddenly devoid of any cash you had in said account. What’s even stranger is the fact that your details will start to buy all manner of items over the internet and be shipped to some weird and wonderful place you’ve probably never heard of.

Identity theft has been on the rise over the last few years and it’s not surprising to see why and another good reason to make sure you check your free credit report every year.

Displaying important information online or even discarding it in the garbage can give some people enough of an edge to gain access into your life. We destroy old bills and wage slips, you can choose how you destroy yours, burn or shred.

There is an internet only credit card in our household, the limit is $400. That way, if information gets plucked from the air waves while buying something, at least we can afford a loss of $400. Don’t use that Gold or Platinum level card, you’re just asking for trouble.

I’ve probably said it before but I’ll say it again, “If it’s too good to be true it probably is”. If you’re unsure about the validity of an e-mail or phone call, don’t just give out information, call your friends, wife or husband and ask their opinion. Advice is free, so take it.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s perfectly ok to go online and shop, just be careful where you go and what you buy. You can use secure payment sites such as PayPal to buy items. That way if something does go awry your credit card number isn’t on the front line.

Try to limit the amount your prepared to pay for something over the internet. If your prepared to potentially lose $1000 by all means go ahead. Personally, I have a small limit, mainly because I’m just not prepared to pay more than $500 for something online without touching and feeling it first.

Have you ever bought something online only to not get what you paid for?

Have you been or know someone who has been a victim of an online fraud scheme?

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The power of plastic points

credit-cards-in-wallet

If you’re like most people, you probably have a wallet full of colourful plastic cards that are taking up space and making it harder and harder for you to close the clasp!

If you look through them, you’ll likely discover that while some of these cards are useful credit and debit cards than a few are loyalty cards you just never use.

It’s understandable how anyone can end up with such a collection. Practically every retailer offers a loyalty point scheme. At the time, it can be hard to think of a good reason to refuse and with a little effort, the points we collect with plastic can be worth it … as the following tips show.

 

Be selective

 

Before saying yes to every loyalty point card which is put under your nose, think about how often you shop in a particular store. Is it really worth the effort of filling out the application form?

Think about where you would shop regularly even if you weren’t part of a loyalty scheme. Once you’ve identified these stores then take advantage of the schemes that they offer.

On the other hand, if you only shop somewhere once in a while then do yourself a favour and refuse a card. Owning it may make you more inclined to shop there, increasing your overall spend.

 

Pick credit cards carefully

 

Loyalty cards aren’t the only ones which offer points schemes. Many credit cards reward customers with attractive points which can be redeemed for a range of goods and services.

For Canadians, this is a huge attraction when selecting a credit card. According to a survey by American Express Canada, 89% of Canadians carry at least one credit card in their wallet with more than half (52%) carrying more than one. Of those who own credit cards, 68% claim rewards programs are important.

An Amex Credit Card is an example of a card which pays customers in points for spending. Again, take advantage of this type of scheme for planned or routine purchases like a new set of furniture or Christmas shopping.

It also makes sense to use a credit card for travel-related purchases such as flights and hotels. The accrued points can be used for future vacation expenses.

 

Control spending

 

A word of warning – when you know that every time you spend you are ‘earning’ money, there is the danger of developing a habit of spending more than you normally would.

In order to make a points system on a credit card or retail loyalty card really work for you, stick to what you buy routinely. Once you’ve gathered a useable number of points, decided carefully how to spend it so your efforts are not wasted.

 

Track your history

 

The best tips concerning card management involve looking at your past behaviour to identify patterns and understand your habits. By tracking your history you can not only establish what sort of cards attract the most of your attention but also how much they’re saving – or costing –  you overall.

To track your history you need to record each use of your card and how much it saves or what reward it offers. Compare this against the amount you spent at the time and work how much better off you are through your use of cards. If you find you don’t use them enough to warrant having them then clear some space in your wallet or purse by getting rid.

Understand all the rules

Loyalty cards generally fall into specific categories, offering set rewards for continued spending over a long period time. However, not all loyalty systems operate in exactly the same way so it’s important you understand all the rules for the different cards in your possession.

This means looking into when you can use them and what rewards you may be eligible to claim. Check to see whether the provider of your loyalty card is associated with any other brands or companies as sometimes you may be able to get rewards or benefits from these places too.

To make the most of your must first understand them so ensure you read all of the terms and conditions in full before making any agreements. This is a tip which you should apply to all other types of card – including your credit card.

 

Earn cash back

 

Generally applied to credit cards, cash back is an option which many loyal spenders forget to take advantage of and is therefore something you should look out for. Cash back essentially offers you a small return on your purchases. This may be for a set amount but is more typically represented as a small percentage of the amount you spend.

Depending on the type of card you have, cash back may be available on all purchases you make or only at items which you buy from specific retailers. The important thing here is to know where you get cash back and make the most of it. Don’t go out of your way to buy items in the appropriate places but if you’re shopping there anyway then consider using your card to benefit from the reward.

If you have enough money to pay for these items via other means (such as a debit card or even cash) then you can always use this to pay off your credit card balance straight away so that you aren’t left to deal with the bill later on down the line.

 

Know when to use cards and when not to

 

The most important financial lesson to learn when dealing with cards is to know when to use and when not to use them. At present, a campaign is running in Canada to encourage shoppers to leave the plastic at home one day a week with the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses calling for ‘Credit Free Fridays’.

The main reason behind this is the preservation of businesses (as credit card purchases force retailers to hand over a share of the purchase price to credit card companies) but there are some interesting points to take on board from this incentive.

The main idea is that not every situation is the right time to use a card – whether it be a debit card linked to a bank account, a credit card or even a loyalty card. To ensure that your finances are not adversely affected you need to understand when to use these cards and when to leave them be. Once you’ve mastered this you’ll find it much easier to stay on top of your finances and reap the rewards due to you.

 

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Tic Toc… That’s the sound of your debt clock

time-clock-debtDEBT AND TIME WAITS FOR NO ONE

 

We’ve heard it all before when it comes to debt especially from those people who are sinking and have no idea how to get out from underneath.

Some people think that debt can build over time  like my friend Tony who had to pay back over $100,000 in debt, so it’s true.

Debt isn’t all bad but recognizing that any money owed is debt and it’s a debt that needs to be paid back.

Consequently you can also accrue debt faster than you can shake a stick at when you aren’t mindful of your finances. It’s just another reason I feel a budget is important for our financial health and what has helped us get out of debt.

 

What is debt?

 

We’ll keep this part simple and honest. You want to buy a mobile home that costs $20,000 and haven’t got the savings to buy it out right so you buy it on credit instead. Now you’re in debt, you are now obligated to pay for something you didn’t have the money for in the first place. There are two ways out of this, the first is to pay off the purchase and enjoy it in the mean time. The second is to sell it off if you can’t make the payments.

Along with the initial debt, interest has to be paid. Making money is what a credit company or bank does. I try to buy as many things with cash as possible which keeps my interest payments at zero. I gain extra hours at work and save for a purchase, it’s the way I’ve operated since a young boy with a paper route.

 

Good Debt vs bad debt

 

There are different kinds of debt and not all debt is bad and I’ll tell you why. The more obvious everyday debt that a lot of people get themselves into can be considered bad debt.

Those types of debt include consumer debt from spending too much on a regular basis and yet have nothing to show for it. Eating out, take out coffee, clothes shopping, grocery shopping etc if you are not careful can put a ding in your budget and dig deeper into the debt hole. The reason this is bad debt is that the residual value of the product or service is either worthless or just worth less afterwards.

Eating out multiple times a week isn’t just bad for your diet, It’s bad for your wallet too. After the product has been consumed there is nothing left. If you went into debt because of eating out then that would be considered bad debt.

Even something as essential in modern life as a car is considered bad debt. The car is never worth what you initially paid for it and it costs you every week or month to keep it if you bought it on credit.

This is where bad debts gets worse; when you buy any item on credit you also incur extra charges through the form of interest making the product even more expensive. Financing an item over a long period of time can also lead to trouble, increasing the possibility that you end up still paying for a product after its useful life has expired.

If you acquire too much debt and it exceeds your assets then you will be in negative net worth. Taking on too many debts can also lead to being liable for too many debt repayments. You keep “Robbing Peter to pay Paul” as the saying goes.

At this point a lot of people can become frustrated and overwhelmed with the bad debts that they have built up. Take control of your finances and minimize what you think you need. It’s surprising how little you actually need compared to how much you want.

Now I’m not all doom and gloom, there are good debts too. I can remember for the longest time my parents telling me I should invest in “Bricks ‘n’ Mortar” or property to everyone else.

Property values tend to increase over your lifetime and therefore represent good debt even when you have to borrow money to pay for it. There are instances when that grand purchase can be the mill stone around your neck, such as in the event of an economy nosedive. If you suddenly can’t afford that mansion because of job loss that good debt turns bad.

Educating yourself and improving your income potential by getting a loan to further your education or training is also considered good debt, as more educated people tend to work in higher paid fields.

Obtaining debt to increase your income can be a sensible choice, after all, you are taking what you have now and increasing its future value. Even in this day and age though, educating yourself and expecting a great job isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are plenty of stories about students with a lot of OSAP and consumer debt but can’t find jobs.

So, bad debt and good debt is easy to distinguish? Not so, remember the car above, there are plenty of old muscle cars that are worth far more than they used to be because they are now considered classics. One thing I can be sure of, biting off more than you can chew isn’t going to help matters when you need to enter the world of debt for a reason.

We have debt, it’s called a mortgage and so far due to property value increases and hard work paying it off will turn out to be a good debt even though we have the money now to pay it in full. It could have been a lot worse, but when we bought it we were a little on the conservative side and opted for something in the medium range rather than going for the mansion.

 

Debt clock

 

Most countries have debt clocks showing the general public how bad the national debt is and the speed at which its climbing and in all cases it’s fairly alarming. There are no personal debt clocks, but essentially you can interpret your situation into that same scenario.

When you get into debt, no matter how small an amount, the debt clock is already ticking. Your mission should you choose to accept it is to turn back the clock or reset it zero by paying off debt faster, by minimizing the use of credit or paying it off completely.

I personally use credit cards and they are paid in full every month so my debt clock only consists of the remaining mortgage. Tic Toc, this message won’t self destruct in the next fifteen seconds.

Would you consider anything else to be good or bad debt?

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The costs of being too nice

footprints-in-the-sand

Our Footprints Leave Our Mark On Life

Is being too nice a bad thing? Only you can answer that question but for many people on the outside looking in the picture is crystal clear. Most often it’s quite apparent when you can see others who might be taking advantage of someone’s good nature although it may not be intentional it’s a dependency that happens because it’s allowed.

Today my wife shares a bit about her mother growing up and how she was the go-to mom for all of her friends and for her and her siblings. I also talk about my best friend who is a one in a million guy, unique at best but certainly worth having around as a great mate and how his life is surrounded by giving up his time for his loved one’s.

Mrs. CBB

When I grew up my mother and father were and still are very caring people especially my mother who enjoyed hanging around with us and chilling out which no one seemed too worried about. I’m pretty sure my friends would wonder what was up if they came over and my mother wasn’t around to ask them if they wanted something to drink or eat.

My father a hard worker would always give something to someone every time they helped him out with something because to him that was the proper reciprocation along with a thank-you. My mother on the other hand she is all that my father is and more because she would do just about anything for her kids, their friends and her own friends if they needed her.

She was what our friends would call the “coolest mom” in town. Everyone knew if they needed something they could count on my mother to help them out. Looking back I don’t know how she did and it seemed like a hard role to fill.

My mom would always lend a helping hand even to our friends when they needed something like a ride to school, to work or she would even drive us to the club at night and pick us up so we didn’t have to pay for a cab or potentially risk drinking and driving which would never do, but who thinks they ever will in the first place.

If you ever needed money you could ask her for a few bucks and she wouldn’t hesitate to give it to you and most times not ask for it back if we or our friends didn’t remember to pay her back. The thing about my mother is that she would never ask for money from any of us kids or our friends for everything that she did especially for her time and the gas she used to drive us all over town.

My parents were far from rich and there were times when they had to live pay to pay so the extra money would have really helped but my mother was one of those people who had a hard time saying no to anyone. I’m sure in her own way she felt she was doing what everyone else does for their kids but she was forgetting about one person, herself.

My mother was always tired and eventually her long beautiful hair got cut and she started to age and life started creeping up in front of her. My mother always put people first and herself second and although it seems lovely and genuine we should always take care of ourselves so we can be strong for others.

I often wonder how she ever had the time to work, take care of us kids, our father, clean the house, tend to the yard work and help all the people she did. I can clearly see how strong of a woman she was and still is because my mother is still the same way today although she is now retired along with my father.

Healthy relationships

My parents have been happily married for um…. many, many years and it’s because they worked together and complimented each other, most of all they laughed together, had fun together, cried together and learned to talk about anything together rather than hide from each other, at least that’s what she tells me. That to me is the definition of love in a relationship.

I’m not sure if she is going to give me the relationship 101 talk but I know that when you are kind to others it is a reflection on the type of person you are and were raised to be. Both my parents are like this even though we are all far from perfect, but who is.

In many ways, I’m like this and I also fear that I might upset others if I don’t help them or do my best for them and that’s because I saw how my mother and father were and that’s how they raised me. I was raised to see the good in everyone and recognize that money does not define people, it’s what’s inside the heart that counts.

Almost twenty years later now and I can safely say that many of us might have unintentionally taken advantage of my mother’s generosity even though she would have never said a word to any of us because she was too nice. I wonder how many hours and minutes we took away from her already busy life that she won’t get back because she was too busy carting us from point A to point B.

The funny thing is we didn’t live in a big city and you could easily walk from one end of town to the other in about an hour and the bus system is like any other, running full speed daily. So, why are so many kids so dependent on adults and why are adults giving in to the kids when they ask? Is being too nice the real answer or is it because they don’t want people to think badly of them?

My mother is a lovely woman who no longer drives (she has her license though) has all the time in the world since she has retired early and us kids are no longer living at home she has all her time back and she can now enjoy the pleasures in life.

My parents go for bike rides every day and sit by the water to enjoy a beverage or a snack that they brought along with them and they talk, they enjoy each other’s company and the world around continue to grow as a couple. I often wonder why we have to wait until we are retired to have this luxury in life and why it’s so hard for many people to say no, I’m not available or no I can’t afford to lend you money.

Many a time we talk about how financial education should be taught not only at home but in the school system but i also believe that we should teach our children how to say no and why it’s OK if you can’t please everyone because in reality it can run you into the ground. Some parents will go as far as to go into debt by racking up credit card debt just to please their kids and family. We see it happen all the time.

Too tired to care

An ex of mine his mother was the credit card queen and everyone knew it.

She had a great job in the financial field for many years although she was a workaholic trying to please everyone so she knew what she was doing with numbers. We would often go out to eat as a family and the only person that paid, was her. She would pull out the credit card and pay for the entire bill often times at over $200 for the dinner. Time and again she was too tired to cook so his parents would say, let’s all go out to eat.

The thing is we were not little kids we were in our 20′s and working full-time but no one stepped up to pay or even leave a tip. I could only imagine now how much it must have cost them in relation to just buying groceries and someone, anyone cooking at home if she didn’t feel up to it. This was how dependent everyone became of her. It was wrong.

I was and still am a frugal girl and even I feel bad that I didn’t step up to leave a tip and looking back I feel just awful about it. I’m like my mother in many ways and often I hurt when those I love are not happy or if I at least don’t do all I can to try and make them smile so they have a better day. My ex’s family and extended family all did the same to her and that credit card just kept on swiping and her generosity became the norm.

She pays. I will admit it didn’t teach her kids a darn thing as our relationship ended because of money. He was a spender and I was a saver and it was difficult for him to see that you have to still pay the credit card bill when it comes in. His mother taught him that he could swipe when he needed and that didn’t lead him down the right path. It’s hard for people to say no just like for my mother.

New Start, New Beginning, New Life, Change, Divorce, Seperation

It’s me Mr.CBB again……

Not only are you losing your own precious time you are spending money that you might not have for others who are able to do things on their own or pay for on their own yet are too lazy to get up and get going. What happens is when we rely on something it’s too hard to give it up.

With the right guidance it can be done and soon enough those that were once so dependent feel powerful in their own way because you gave them the strength to be independent. It’s not wrong to give but it’s also not wrong to say no in order to let someone learn how to do it on their own.

The above situation reminds of me of my best friend a single father who I will say is the “go-to father” who has a young daughter of his own (the picky eater). He does not deny that he spoiled her yet regrets it but I don’t think he knows how to change that without his daughter getting upset with him as she is still so young. I don’t know how he does it most days. He also has step daughters, one a teen and one in her twenties who have boyfriends who hang out at the house when they want, wash their clothes there when needed etc.

His home is like an open door for drop-ins as is his cell phone that rings at all hours of the day and night or he gets texts while he is trying to get sleep he so desperately needs. He works odd hours of the morning which means he gets up very early while most people are still sleeping and enjoying the peace and warmth in between the sheets.

When he gets home from work it’s pretty much his night-time and for everyone else it’s the afternoon but his kids fail to see that. They are old enough to take the bus to work but they don’t they call him on short notice and he jumps.

He’s a nice guy, he’s better than that though because he’s my best friend and I know he would do anything for anyone like he does for his kids and has a heart of gold. The problem is that he is tired all the time, probably spends a fortune on gas driving the kids and boyfriends back and forth to work. His time is worth its weight in gold but he always puts himself last.

He is in love with a beautiful woman but I sometimes wonder how he will ever find time for her since he’s always tired and his kids take up his spare time, although they are both head over heels for each other. His daughter loves her to bits and tells her often which really does put a perspective on his life and she motivates him to make the changes he wants.

He feels he is aging faster than most and in reality with lack of sleep that can happen because when we are physically drained all the time our body doesn’t have the time to rejuvenate which we get through proper sleep habits or at least 8-9 hours of sleep per night.

I’m sure if he read this he would laugh because he doesn’t remember the last time he had that much sleep but I’m sure he would agree that he wants his world to change so that he can be the man he’s always wanted to be for himself, his daughter and his girlfriend. His youngest daughter is very active as he had her later in life and he struggles at times to keep up with her but loves her like no other. She’s his angel.

He often says he will die from a heart attack and although it chills me to hear that it’s clear he needs to make changes in his life starting with his career which he despises and his home life. His stress is apparent on his face, in his eyes, his actions and his body is telling him to slow down. He tells me that everyone’s situation is different and I agree but I also think that he needs to step up and take control of his life before it takes its toll on his health.

We often say what we feel and potentially forecast for the future but we can change the direction of our life. Like my wife’s mother he struggles to say no to anyone, lives pay to pay or ahead a pay when he can (I’m teaching him how to budget or at least that’s my goal he just doesn’t know it yet), has little debt, two mortgages and never asks for anything in return. Building the confidence to tell someone exactly how you feel and to stick to your guns and not worry if they are upset because you can’t be at their beck and call should be of great importance.

He is not only going to teach the kids responsibility to catch the bus so they make it to work on time he will get back his own valuable time that he do desperately needs. He will also save money and wear and tear on his vehicle because he’s not spending most days running around town for them.

Most of all he will teach them that he can’t hold their hand through every step in life and that he has to let them go to become and grow as adults. There comes a time when kids are old enough to tell them that they need to learn what it is like to be an adult because we are doing them no favours by doing it all for them. The hardest part is saying no, I can’t, I’m not able to but its life and we are not super hero’s we are human.

If they don’t understand today, they will understand when they get older like my wife where you can clearly read above how she can look back and wonder how her mother did what she did. Her mother today still feels worn out and does not look her age because she aged far too fast. The stress of life got to her but now she’s taking the time to live her life the way she wants to.

They say we will do anything for our kids and it’s true but we also have to remember that doing everything doesn’t mean we have to forgo teaching them the responsibilities of life, being an adult and how it takes time to make money and it doesn’t grow on trees. It also doesn’t mean that we have to put our own happiness last.

Although he says he’s just a nice guy and that’s why he always does what they want he needs to start thinking about himself as well as his young daughter who desperately needs to change her controlling ways over him when she doesn’t get what she wants. There is a cost to being too nice and often it is to our own well-being in mind, body and spirit and often times our bank account.

Is it possible to be too nice?

What would you say to my best friend about his situation and how he could go about handling it?

Money-quote

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