Our mortgage amortization schedule is going in the bin: March 2014 Net Worth Update (+0.75%)

 amortization schedule dust pan NO SWIFFER NEEDED JUST A FIRE PIT

 

Yes, that’s right no more checking the amortization schedule on our mortgage to see how far we have come and costs involved with our mortgage.

The time is very near where we start the fire and light up those mortgage papers to say good-bye and good riddance.

Although the last few months of our budget have been filled with unexpected expenses we are still on target to say goodbye to our mortgage, for good.

Next months Net Worth update should be titled, Mortgage free at last…. or something to that effect lol. It’s been a long 5 years in this house but it was worth the sacrifices of using the budget (which is free if you want to download it) to save the money for all the necessities we’ve needed so we can be mortgage free before 40 years of age.

Although we’ve had the money for close to a year to pay the mortgage the exchange rate for the UK is at an all-time high since I moved to Canada back a few years ago now.

I’m pulling the money I have over there while I can. The last thing I want is to lose thousands more dollars because something happens with the exchange rate which to me is just as risky as investing your money.

Sure back in early 2007 my money was worth well over double when I came to Canada and I was loving every minute of it. Don’t let that excitement get you too cozy though because what goes up will come down and that is what we learned. Even though we’ve lost money since then and learned lessons along the way we know now that we still made the right decisions to wait it out.

I won’t get too much into it as I’ll save the juicy details for next months post.

 

We have a buyer

 

The interesting news for this month is that we received a letter from a real estate agent who has buyers for our home. I guess all my fancy landscaping and outside maintenance really does look swanky. See, landscaping on a budget can be done and impress even strangers into wanting to buy your home even if they haven’t been in it.

We’re not too surprised since we live in a sought-after area and our street is compiled of affordable family homes for most younger couples. The agent wants to bring the couple through our home for a private viewing to make sure the inside is as nice as the outside but it’s not finished yet.

We are upgrading pretty much everything and so far it looks 100x better than what we bought it for but with minimal investment. Keeping your house clean, fresh and updated doesn’t have to cost lots but when you get into the realms of renovations you need cash to do it.

We bought the house for less than market value so we have plenty of room for improvements. It’s great the way it is now with bits to take care of inside but we want to modernize it and finish off the basement.

Remember when I talked about buying the big house the other day and how it’s difficult to sell it sometimes because of a limited market well this is what I mean. It’s great when you own a home that you can sell fast because it’s affordable and well-kept but too bad for their clients as we aren’t ready to sell.

I was chatting with one of my Facebook fans the other day and told her that just to get some of the desired features in a home that we don’t have which we can really live without i.e. bigger property, walk-out basement, larger upper level it would cost us about $200,000- $300,000 more dollars on top of what we get for selling this house to pay cash for a newer bigger home in our city.

So just for a few extra hundred square feet in a home that is updated top to bottom we would be paying out the nose and having to look at another dreaded mortgage amortization schedule. No thanks, we’ll just stay right here.

The only way we will move is if you want our house so bad you’ll pay us double… how’s that for a deal! lol..

 

Amortization schedule

 

What is an amortization schedule anyways? I’ll tell you in my lame terms so maybe it will make some sense as mortgage jargon for some can get tricky. Don’t say you haven’t trusted someone and just signed on the dotted line.

An amortization calculator is basically a home cost calculator or what your mortgage will cost you over the life of the term or mortgage you have set up with your bank or broker. The calculator you can find free all over the internet and just about every mortgage company offers one for their clients.

You can enter in all your mortgage information and it will give you an amortization schedule which shares with you how long and painful a journey it is to pay off a mortgage when you pay month after month.

You can see how much principle you have or will pay off and of course the dreaded interest that is enough to make anyone bury their head. Mind you mortgage interest rates have been at an all-time low for years now so we can’t complain too much.

I’m sure many of you who owned a home with a mortgage back in the 80′s could share a horror store or two about how high the mortgage interest rates were back then.

I wouldn’t want to look at my amortization schedule back then it would scare me but not deter me from working hard and doing whatever we could to pay off the mortgage as soon as we can.

Sure there are some of you that would never pay off your mortgage because you are investing gurus and you know, that’s great. Some people just don’t know how to invest or want to take risks with their money in hopes they score a return higher than what their mortgage interest rate is.

No one can tell me that they know what the crystal ball will of investing will provide day after day, month after month as it’s based on stats and hope that it gets better hence more returns for the investor.

Many people have been successful that way and hopefully one day that will be us but until we learn more about investing we’ll stick to what we know and that is our mortgage costs us money.

How often do you check your amortization schedule and make changes to speed up the mortgage pay-down process? Do you pay a chunk of you mortgage in bulk each year?

 

Understanding net worth

 

What Does Individual Net Worth Mean?

Net Worth is a snap shot of your financial health sort of like a picture or debt to net assets. In simple terms it’s a total of the value of your assets minus your liabilities.

 

Determining net worth

 

How to Determine Net Worth?

Net Worth = Assets – Liabilities 

Figuring out net worth is fairly easy as long as you know your personal numbers or monthly finances.

Net Worth is simply adding up all your assets (what you own) then taking away your liabilities (what you owe) which will give you a net worth number.

Understanding your net worth will help you determine if you are on track to meeting or beating your personal financial goals. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

Do you know how to calculate your own Net Worth?

Now you can stop asking yourself the question, how do you find out your net worth? Why? It’s easy to determine.

Why not go ahead and calculate your own using our Free Money saving Tool Net worth Calculator (Canadian Budget Binder 2012)

 

Goals

 

Below are our 2014 target goals some of which are the same from 2013 and many which are new for 2014. I don’t like to move on to new goals if I have other goals that are unfinished but I also like breathing room and play time if you know what I mean.

I hope by posting them each month it motivates me like it has this past year to get stuff done and reach our target goals with some form of ease although nothing in life is that simple.

I find it’s much easier to be held accountable when I share what we need to do with all of you.

Do you set goals for the year?

 

Our short-term goals 2014

 

  • First is to pay off our mortgage in full as of April 2014. :) This is very near… gone by the end of this month yay!
  • To renovate the upstairs bathroom
  • Re-model the spare bedroom (ie: decor, furniture)-done
  • Start working on putting in the new flooring in the living and dining room
  • Install a central vacuum system- Bought and on its way!
  • Purchase a new washer and dryer
  • Purchase all new kitchen appliances
  • Purchase 2 medium-sized freezers
  • Finish the landscaping in the front and back yards.
  • Invest more in our TFSA, RRSP etc.
  • Continue to meal plan, create new homemade meals- I’m always whipping up something new in the kitchen (check out all my new recipe index on the blog)
  • To  sow and grow more vegetables/herbs in the garden to save money- We decided to scale back on this for 2014 summer.
  • Learn more about passive income
  • To read a new personal finance book
  • Learn more about Search Engine Optimization and blogging and how to manage my blog.

 

Our long-term goals 2014

 

  • Finish renovating the entire kitchen
  • Finish renovating the entire master bathroom
  • Save for a holiday
  • Start planning basement renovations (bathroom, bedroom, family room, laundry room, office, storage area.
  • Look at new ways to invest our money i.e. rental units
  • Continuing to educate ourselves on personal finance and investments
  • Continue to network with other like-minded people
  • Continue in my new career in hopes of it becoming long-term permanent

 

Our financial numbers

 

When budgeting anything is possible, we are proof of that although we still have a long way to go in our journey. These are our numbers and our goals, not a means of comparison towards your own goals to others target goals.

We don’t care how much money others make or if they have a high net worth or if it is lower than ours as it’s not a competition. I hope our experiences perhaps will help guide you along your financial path working towards debt freedom.

 

Different paths

 

Not everyone has the same path in life. Some of you may have had to start over like I did or go to school a second time and now have OSAP loans to pay back.

Others may have divorced, lost money in the stock market or other investments, lost a job, fell ill and so on but you can’t let that stop you, I didn’t.

Some of you may have been given trust funds, paid-for homes, paid educations or perks in life that give you a financial kick-start and that’s OK too. Remember what I said, “It’s not about how much money you make, it’s how you save it”.

Focus on you and don’t let the evil eye of money jealousy or keeping up with the Joneses cloud your vision. No one cares about your money as much as you do so don’t waste your energy trying.

The only reason people accumulate wealth is because they know how to save or invest it wisely even if they did inherit money or win the lottery. The smallest improvements should mean big strides in working towards reaching your goals.

Sometimes we have to fail in order to learn and we’ve all been there. Money can be an evil force for some people especially those who are negative towards their own situation.

I urge you to be optimistic and little by little with determination you too should see improvements, if you want that to happen.

 

Our net worth

 

We are always looking for ways how to increase our savings and by tracking our net worth these numbers below show us how well we are doing in terms of meeting our target numbers or what areas we should put a bit more focus in.

 

net-worth-update-march-2014

 

Net worth updates 2014

 

Below you can click the links to read past net worth updates to see if we were on target or if we struggled with some of our numbers.

net-worth-preceeding-12-months

 

That’s all for this month’s Net Worth update. Check in at the beginning of May to see how we made out in April and what has happened to our finances since.

 

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Photo Courtesy of: Freedigitalphotos.net/artur84

Is the big house the problem or the price? : PF Friday grab a brew #66

grab-a-brew-online-reviewGO BIG OR GO HOME

 

We all know someone who bought the big house and later found out it was too much to handle or too pricey for their budget.

We may like to browse online at pictures of big houses for sale but for many it’s just a dream or a distant reality.

We have been through some beautiful big houses when we have toured opened houses and although we are being nosey we love for that moment to feel what luxury is all about.

I was having my morning brew while reading Yahoo news and again another Hollywood star is struggling to sell their big house or mansion as we would all call it.

He has the big house that is absolutely stunning on the market for $15.5 million dollars BUT no one has purchased it and he has slowly reduced the price. This is the one and only Bruce Willis which we have learned to love over the years from watching various movies.

The Idaho ranch is now listed at $8.8 million dollars nearly half off the original listing price. If I had $8.8 million dollars and depending on other factors such as location and what the house has to offer I’d say that’s a darn good deal. I would almost feel as if I just won the lottery if I bought that house for nearly half off.

If you are looking for a big house to rent for parties or simply to rent you might just be in luck with some of these sellers who are struggling to sell but need to make cash to pay off the mortgage because they have since left the house to work on other ventures.

The problem?

You may never be able to sell it at $8.8 million down the road let alone the $15.5 million Willis originally had it on the market for. Having a big house is great but we all have to remember there are only a limited amount of people who can whip out a mortgage or pay cash into the millions of dollars to purchase said homes.

Not everyone is looking to buy really big houses even though many of us might dream of having the mansion property with all the bells and whistles. Many homes are becoming less affordable to most people these days.

 

The big house

 

The same goes for houses on a smaller scale and I’m not talking millions I’m talking hundreds of thousands leading up to a million or two dollars. Sure, it’s nice to have all the frosting on a new big house but are you prepared that if the time comes and you need to sell that it might not sell as fast as your neighbours up the street and around the corners house might for $400,000?

We see it all the time in our neighbourhood as some of the homes are in the million dollar range and they sit on the market. It’s not that they are overpriced as we are in a sought after area.

It’s because there is a limited amount of people willing to dish out that kind of money. It’s nice to have a big house but with that mortgage comes bigger expenses as well. Buy a mansion and you’ll likely need staff to help run the property. Sure they eventually sell but not as fast as many anticipated.

Do you remember the post I wrote about the couple a street or so over from us that jumped the gun and bought a pricey house while they still hadn’t sold their house? It took them ages to sell their house on a beautiful street and they had to cover two mortgages at the same time.

Sure the price was reduced over the months and eventually it sold but there’s a reason sticking to a realistic budget is important whether you are rich or not. It’s also important to make sure you can cover the expenses of two properties if you do buy a second home.

Sure most of these celebrities have cash although many of them don’t because we hear of so many of them going bankrupt or the money is tied up in real estate. It’s also because they blow money faster than they make it sometimes because they live on another money planet than most people.

I remember watching a program once where Michael Jackson went shopping. He walked in a store and was just pointing at items and saying he wanted that, and this and so on. Money takes some people to a level most of us will never experience. Some might not want to because money doesn’t equate to happiness. These stars for the most part can afford to do that because they make the big bucks but I still hold true that budgeting your money no matter how much you make is important.

My wife and I had a conversation about buying the big house down the road if we decided to sell our current home. We would like a bit more space, maybe a pool and walkout to a larger property BUT that all comes with more expenses, a new mortgage unless we can pay cash to cover the difference in price for the new home.

We bought our house on one income because we didn’t want to be house poor or stuck if something were to happen to one of our incomes. It’s a tough call and for some risk is better than kicking back like we did. That’s what made us feel comfortable though. We aren’t sure if we are prepared to go bigger as we like the debt free lifestyle and the doors it has opened for us.

If you live in Toronto, $500,000 is nothing for a house but think prices relative to your community so this all makes sense to you. I’m not sure how many millionaires reside in Idaho but I’m sure at one point someone will jump on the 50% reduction on his ranch.

It’s easier to sell a home in the mid-range to buyers and much quicker that the near million dollar home. That doesn’t mean you can’t go out and spend a boat load of cash on buying a big house but if you decide to sell realize that the price you want might not be the price you get.

If you need to move for work or are getting divorced or need to sell fast you might just have to take a price dump to get it off your hands.

I don’t know how much Bruce paid for that big house but like any property it has likely gone up in value. Whether it has gone up enough for him to still make a profit is his business but sometimes people don’t care and just want out profit or no profit.

Do you know someone who bought the big house then struggled to sell it and had to cut the price just to find a buyer?

 

Top recipe

 

marshmallow and white chocolate brownies

If you don’t already know I have a second Facebook page online called The Free Recipe Depot where I share recipes from other Foodie Bloggers from around the world.

Once a week I pick one recipe that has been submitted as my Top Recipe of the week. Trust me when I say this is no easy task as some of these foodies can cook up a storm.

This week that recipe goes to a food blog called “Family Food and Travel” with their Marshmallow White Chocolate Brownies. If you know me I have a thing for brownies.

Don’t believe me? Check out my Brownie board on Pinterest with well over 1000 pins and over a 1000 followers on that one board alone. I’m not the only fan of brownies of all kinds and I can understand why. They are delicious no matter what you stuff or layer them with.

Weekly CBB posts

 

If you missed any CBB posts from the week here is the list of posts you can catch up on reading!

 

Weekly reads

 

Every week I share a few of the best personal finance blog posts that I read online over the past week with all of you so please enjoy my top picks.

Well, that’s a wrap for this PF Friday’s Grab a brew #66. Happy budgeting and I’ll see you here again next week when I do it all over again.

-Mr.CBB

 

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Should you be decorating and renovating when you rent?

Decorating Paint roller and trayWATCH WHERE YOUR MONEY GOES

 

Decorating a living space makes the space a more inviting place to enjoy for many people. They say the rich get richer and that may be true especially when we give money away when we simply don’t have to.

We may not be literally handing over money at the time but the landlord where you rent will be all smiles when it’s not coming out of his pocket.

Sure your landlord could potentially deduct renovations to the rental from his/her taxes but why bother if you’re paying for them out of your own pocket?

We all decorate our houses from time to time when the need takes us or just a change of décor inspires us. Decorating and renovating doesn’t have to be expensive handmade screen printed wallpaper or exotic hardwood flooring.

It can be as simple as painting and that is probably the best return on investment there is. Painting will brighten any room in the home instantly and give it that brand new feeling back.

I’ve talked before about decorating your home and which renovations tend to be better than others along with which ones we’ve done to our abode.

There is however some decorating tips that I would give out that involves no decorating what so ever and it includes painting, or lack of it.

 

Decorating

 

Although painting gives you that instant pop for the cheapest possible price it is possible to get zero return on investment. How? By decorating someone else’s house.

Decorating and/or renovating a rented house is throwing money down the drain. It may look great after you’ve finished but who is ultimately going to enjoy your care and attention? The landlord and they will love you for your effort.

I used to live next door to a couple of roughly the same age in the UK when I owned my first home. The difference between the two homes was I owned mine through a mortgage and they rented theirs.

My mortgage was roughly half of what they paid in rent in those days which was bad news for them. They also got the first home bug and decided to decorate from top to bottom at their expense. I’ll admit it looked better than mine, but I wasn’t the one losing out.

For everything they paid out and the hard work they put in, the ultimate winner was the landlord. When the couple left the house it was instantly rented out again, probably because it was beautifully decorated inside.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be indoor decorating either, outside the home can easily use up the same amount of money or more.

I used to know someone back in the UK that lived in a rental property and decided to re-grade the back garden and build a retaining wall believing that they would stay there for a number of years.

They also re-painted, installed new light fittings among other things. In the end life happened and things changed and they moved out a lot sooner than they had anticipated.

If you must have a garden full of flowers and bushes where you rent don’t go to a garden centre and spend your money. Why? It’s not like you are going to dig them up and take them when you leave.

Reality is most renters leave at some point or move to another location for various reasons. Think smart and find free plants and easy ways to save money on gardening by using everyday tips that most people don’t think of.

The cost of materials and the labour were all lost to the landlord who reaped the benefits of the improved garden, or should I say the new tenants.

Pots or hanging baskets would have been a better way to add that certain something to a rental property. The difference is, they have the added advantage that they can be taken with you when you leave.

Now I know that long-term renters may disagree with me as living for years in a completely bland white wall box of a house can be very dull and uninteresting. It doesn’t have to be that way if you are creative and a smart decorator.

I’ve seen some rentals in my time where the whole house could do with a coat of paint just to hide all the dirt, scrapes and damage that earlier renters have inflicted.

Some people may live in a rent-to-own home and have the opportunity to buy out the property at some point at the end of a rental agreement.

This may make a little more sense if you insist on decorating although some rent-to-own schemes have a little left to be desired.

There was a TV series broadcast on Home and Garden Television (HGTV) that was called “For Rent” where a couple or small family would look at rental options and then the presenter and the production team would redecorate or renovate.

They would ask the landlord for permission in which most were obliging mainly because they were getting a bargain out of the deal.

The one thing that got me thinking was these people were often looking for a rental property on a certain budget because money was tight.

Why would you go and blow more money on decorating or renovating the property at your expense if you’ve got a tight budget?

We know people who have renovated kitchens, bathrooms, added on a deck or finished a basement with their own money just so they could enjoy the space in their rental. Not smart investing if you ask me, but that’s just my opinion.

Of course the landlord approved it and made sure permits were in place where needed but likely went home laughing about how much money he saved because they spent theirs.

 

Decorate smart

 

There are still ways you can decorate your rental without having to lose out. Just because it’s not your own doesn’t mean you can’t make it a space you are comfortable in.

Wall hangings and/or paintings can add colour and a focal point to a room. Just check with your landlord before putting holes in the walls.

Rugs can cover over bad carpeted areas. Curtains tend to be easier to move from one house to another rather than blinds as they tend to be custom fit. Don’t rush out to buy brand new when you can try to find free decor online or shop garage sales for cheap items.

If you insist on changing out light fittings, make sure you keep the original so you can re-install it when you leave the property. Why leave your new light fixture for someone else to enjoy and reap the rewards of your hard-earned money?

Sometimes the shiny brand new effect can get the best of us and start to pull you off your path and away from your goals.

We have rented short-term before to save money because bills were included in the rental and this helped us get to where we wanted to go.

In all the time we spent there we didn’t once get the urge to decorate let alone renovate, although it needed it. Yes, it would have been much nicer to live in a better looking rental but a tight budget is what we set ourselves.

That was our choice because we knew we weren’t going to stay long-term nor would we spend the money even if we were. It did however get a very thorough cleaning before and during our stay and the day we left.

The end result of doing without enabled us to put down a larger down-payment on our house purchase. Saving on not decorating a rental apartment helped us by transferring the savings on to decorate and renovate our new house.

Even if you have the mind-set that you will never own your own home you need to stop thinking that way or you never will. Put goals into place and start saving for your down-payment today even if it takes you years of renting before you can get into a house.

If you insist on renovating or decorating a home/apartment you rent accept the fact that your money is as good as gone, no return on investment.

Our house has been decorated to a certain extent and is currently under planning for the next phase. The end result will be money in our pockets and not the landlords’ bank account.

Have you renovated somewhere you’ve rented?

Why did you make that decision and how much did you spend?

What are some other ways you can decorate where you rent for less?

 

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When the sole provider of the house loses their job

job loss unemployedBE ONE STEP AHEAD OF THE GAME

 

When you are the sole provider of the house and you lose your job you’re now faced with a bigger reality that I hope you are prepared for.

I enjoy getting emails from my fans and just this weekend I received one that really was unique and it’s a situation many people fear.

I’ve talked about strategies to survive unemployment, job loss and disability when it comes to work and covered everything from emotional well-being, budgeting to emergency savings.

A Canadian Budget Binder fan sent me an email the other day telling me her husband who is the sole provider for the family lost his job.

She was thankful that she was ahead with the bills and had some savings to get them by but she was not sure where to turn next.

They are not Canadians rather live in the USA and so they both took on the only jobs they could find which are commission based.

The reality is that no matter where you live this could happen to you. This could happen to a single person, or a single parent with only one income.

 

Losing your job

 

How will you manage this situation? Not everyone is entitled to employment benefits in Canada so you must be prepared at any given moment for that pink slip.

Even if you are entitled to EI benefits in Canada you still have to wait to get them if approved and that could take weeks. You still need to eat and although most cities have food banks living on the edge can rock the financial boat and put you in a tight spot.

Investing is a great way to stash money away for the future but it’s not always savvy to cash in your RRSP’s to pay off debt. Some people are left with no other options but this option also depends on many factors.

Many people have been there, many have failed but many have survived. I’m sure there are people reading this post right now that would love to share their story to help others learn from their mistakes and fortunes with losing a job, not having savings, too much debt and so on.

I don’t know may people who don’t have debt so it’s a rat race we are all playing and the finish line is when we are buried and in the ground. Even then, money and debt lingers on in your name.

 

Decision-making

 

It’s not an easy place to be in living day-to-day not knowing whether you will wake up to having a job or not but sometimes we have to make decisions that may change the course of our life.

Not everyone likes to make decisions that will entail drastic changes possibly for the good because we fear the inevitable.

We fear giving up what we have worked so hard for whether it be a house, a car or stuff we have acquired over the years.

What we fail to understand at times is that may be the golden ticket to get you where you are to where you want to be.

Whether you want to go back to school, downsize or find another job but don’t want the hassle of being a homeowner with all the extras to pay for.

Instead you may opt to rent a smaller place which is easier on your budget so you can not only save money in an emergency savings but look for a new job or go back to school.

When we step outside of our comfort zone it can be a scary place and that’s why so many people would rather go into debt by maxing out credit card after credit card just to stay afloat because they fear the unknown.

No one wants to have to think about bankruptcy but for some people it was a wake-up call and for others it was the start of a new life for them.

Others are happy it didn’t get to the point of bankruptcy because they made some serious changes to their lifestyle to compliment the situation they were in.

Nothing in life is meant to be easy and for those that do have it easy remember what goes around comes around so we all need to be prepared.

The emergency savings fund in my opinion is critical to everyone because if you have no back-up plan you have the weight of stress on your shoulders every single day if you are in any of the above situations.

 

Debt is real

 

Why put yourself and your family in that position? Being miserable about money can linger on and on and for some put them in a deep depression because they don’t know where to turn.

One of my Facebook and blog fans from the USA had this to say and its true not only in America but all over the world.

Many people here are still diving into credit. I have none by choice. If anyone watches the news would be afraid to add any debt.

Everything is going up. Home fuel, car fuel & people fuel. It is as bad in many ways as the depression. They just change the names.

Medical is sky rocketing and insurance is a big iffy! People have got to wake up. We have to learn to take care of ourselves. Save, save and save.

No more 20 pairs of shoes & jeans in the top brand. Get down to needs. When these are met and you have a nice nest egg then a few luxuries are OK. Key word being a few

They may know the answers but are too scared to make that change but to be honest waiting until the walls come tumbling down isn’t always the smartest option.

 

Grab your dreams

 

Taking control of our lives like this fan is trying to do now is important but I’m sure it will teach them both a valuable lesson.

They don’t want to be in this position again and just that she came to me for help tells me that moving forward they will make a financial plan that will support some sort of savings plan for rainy days like this.

The problem is they have to wait to earn some money if at all to get themselves back on the financial track.

In the meantime she is applying for state aid but there’s no point waiting to hear if you are going to get money or not because the bills still need to get paid.

They have 2 vehicles which are needed to get back and forth to work and apparently nothing left to sell in the house.

 

Reader question

 

Here is her email to me…

Dear Mr.CBB and Fans,

A week ago my husband came home with the news that he lost his job, our only income. Thankfully I had already budgeted for the next two weeks and paid the bills.

We had a little saving since we were working on building a fund to start a debt free snowball. We had two weeks to find income or lose the house and many other things.

Thankfully we were blessed with help that saves us from being late on payments for things in the house (they are now paid off and it’s nothing we can’t sell) and we now have a month of expenses to live from.

The job market is so poor here that we have both accepted commission only jobs but they come with a month of training and state restrictions before we can earn income.

That uses our one month expense reserve. We’d like to avoid bankruptcy but are unsure it’s possible given the timeline to bring in income.

Our only debts are two car payments (at the moment we still need two cars) and the house.

Update: They are applying for State Aid on Monday Feb 24, 2014.

Do you or your readers have any advice?

As you can see from the above post she is desperate to hear from others who may have been in their position that could offer some words of encouragement.

 

The fans speak out

 

I can tell her what not to do in order to get into that spot the next time but moving forward I’m sure she knows what she needs to do.

I posted this question at her request to my fans on Facebook and here are some of the answers from the fans.

Keep in mind we were not initially aware that she is from the USA. I had updated my fans after I posted the question to let them know so some of the answers may seem Canadian based.

Even so if any Canadians are in the same type of position some of the fans may have some great tips for them. My team of fans come together to help others in need and it certainly shows.

  • If you NEED 2 cars to earn the income so be it but is there any way that one car would do? I dropped hubby off at work and picked him up after work before/after I put in my own work day for over ten years. It allowed us to stay with one vehicle and that saves oodles on gas, insurance, repairs etc. If it is truly a MUST because you are travelling hours in opposite directions, the house can be let go if need be. You can live in the cars in order to get to and from where you can start earning again and you get back on your feet. You use the showers at a local community center or the YMCA and a laundromat for laundry as long as you have at least one vehicle. Good luck!
  • Do you have an education/jobs centre nearby? Our area has what’s called an Employment and Education Centre. They have counsellors on site that help people get jobs, credit counselling, computer courses and more (free of charge services funded locally and by the government). Many of the jobs that go through this place are unadvertised and only filled by that agency. Are there any temp agencies near you that you could be on call for work? There are three in our city of less than 30,000. It may not be the most fulfilling work, but it will put food on the table or get some bills paid. From factory work to desk jobs the temp agencies do a lot. Again, these temp positions are never filled with advertisements online or in newspapers. If you are from Ontario, check out Employment Ontario website.
  • Check with your church. Many will help. There are food banks. Living in a car would be the very last resort. I would choose anywhere besides that. Been there done that. Putting up with your worse relative beats that. Sometimes you just have no choice but to start over from scratch. So many are losing jobs and homes. Many consider getting a travel trailer & going bankrupt. Then think smaller. Smaller home with less frills. We have all gotten bigger and thought we had to have so much stuff. Now you see how fast it can be gone. Way too much stress. Living within our means is something we all need to do. Things will get worse before they get better. You can get some great ideas from minimalist blogs. They have great advice. Wishing the best for your family. God bless.
  • If they could stay with someone they might rent their house out to make payments until they got back on their feet. That way they could keep their home.
  • If they have room they could take on boarders and pay the mortgage that way, with maybe enough for increased bills (just don’t include food)
  • My long-term look at their situation would include… what state are they in? Some states are in worse shape than others as a result of the recession and have poorer outlooks for recovery any time soon. The getting back on firm financial footing is likely not going to be a single step process. Is it time to consider changing states? What skills to they have and where are those skills needed at this time?? What age are these folks and how is their health? Seasonal farm work is not far off in some states. You don’t get rich with farm labor but if they are both working, it may be a slow but doable recovery while you continue to look for work in your chosen fields. Have either of them volunteered in the past? Can they tap into those “connections” for a few paid hours on the side? This is going to be all about no job too small and no amount too little in order to get back on your feet. When my hubby lost his position and went back to school to re-train… I worked two full-time jobs (70-80 hours a week not including travel time and very little sleep) for that year. He had an overnight shift a couple of times a week in the bakery of our local grocery. He also cut grass and shoveled snow for a fee. It was an awakening how lucky we were when we were both employed full-time with benefits.
  • Same author as above ^- My mistake… the writer did not indicate whether the house payment is rent or a mortgage. I would fight to get the house sold if there is any equity built up but many folks the mortgage is still more than the current market value. We know many folks that walked away from their home as their home had turned into a money pit that didn’t hold any hope of a large enough market value increase before the mortgage was up for renewal. They were throwing good money after bad. It’s tough but sometimes you really have to hit rock bottom before you can start building again. I moved in with my parents when my first marriage hit the bricks, I moved right across the country too… but one step at a time, my finances got better. I was lucky to have no little mouths to feed at the time.
  • I would have to suggest looking into a Temp Agency for a short-term solution on an employment solution.

When you have nothing left but the roof over your head and the home you live in the sad reality is you may be faced with having to let something go or hope to find another job that has a regular pay cheque to get you by.

If you have any tips for her please share in the comment section of this post. If you have been in a similar position and can offer words of encouragement remember we all need to smile and have hope. When you believe that you can make your dreams come true, they will flourish. Have faith.

Mr.CBB

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Could I live in a 420sq ft Micro-Apartment?- The Saturday Weekend Review #56

micro-apartment skylineLIVING THE HIGH LIFE IN A SMALL SPACE

 

Living in a small space even if it is a 420 sq micro-apartment that transforms into 8 rooms may be perfect for one person and a nightmare for another.

I love reading about small houses/apartments and how these designers go about taking a small space and transforming it into a living space fit for a King or Queen.

Ok, maybe I’m going too far with that but let’s be honest when you see the video you will be shocked to see how well the designer Graham Hill also the founder of  treehugger.com puts this space efficient apartment together. He will not disappoint you, especially if you don’t mind sleek spaces that are magically transformed.

When faced with a shortage of space these designers have to put their heads together and start thinking outside of the box and to be honest this is when we start to see the real creativity flowing.

Not everyone can handle the functionality of a small apartment like the one in the video below (video removed as it was removed from Yahoo) not only because of the sleek modern use of space but because of the effort involved to live in that space.

 

Even smaller

 

Earlier in 2013 I wrote a post about whether you could handle living in a 230 sq ft home and to be honest this 420sq ft apartment is like living the higher life in New York compared to that home.

Both spaces are equally designed to keep the people who live in the home organized and functional on all levels except this new one is much more up to date and modern especially with the moving walls.

 

Growing up

 

Before I moved to Canada I had lived in some larger houses growing up in the UK and my grandmother she was well-off back in the day and lived in what I would consider a mansion back home.

My parents went on to own some larger homes of their own on some decent sized properties and although I got used to that lifestyle I soon realized the reality of living in the UK when It was my time to own my own piece of property.

Since then they’ve downsized and made use of their money by investing in more properties and renting them out.

The homes have since paid themselves over and have brought them in a nice retirement income that helps pay for their many trips around the world for weeks on end. Life is good.

Living in the UK compared to Canada is much different and although I can make many comparisons housing like in New York is costly and at a premium.

The first flat I bought at age 21 which for many is a young age to begin with was a small space. You get what you pay for in the UK and to be honest all I cared about was that I had my own place.

It was more like a bachelor pad than anything although it was an actual one bedroom one bathroom apartment and not an all-in-one space or as a bachelor apartment might consist of.

It was perfect for me and to be honest it cost me less than it would have if I was to rent a place so why would I have not saved up the money to buy it. Besides if I were to live at home like most of my other mates I’d likely be hanging out in my bedroom most days, out with my mates or working.

Anything is better than a bedroom at your parents house, so I thought. My parents were great to me and I wanted to start my road to financial freedom early and that’s the only reason I left to venture out on my own at such a young age.

I did the math early and checked home prices and it worked for me especially since I would be owing the home on one income. Like the guy in this video I made good use of every inch of the property I owned because it was necessary.

You would find things hiding in every spot in the house but I am meticulous when it comes to keeping an organized space and I don’t keep much around either.

I’m not one for collecting lots of stuff rather I’m the in with the new and out with the old type of guy or I simply just don’t spend money on things I don’t need.

The only things I’ve ever collected was a few cookbooks and carvings from my travels around the world but nothing over the top.

 

Collectors need not apply

 

If you are a person who likes to collect things living in a small space even a 420 sq foot micro-apartment might not only be a struggle for you but you’d literally hate being cooped up in the space.

I’ll admit looking back at my first flat (or condo or apartment whichever you choose to call it) that it was small but I made the most of the space with what I was given to play with just as the guy in this video has done with the design of this apartment.

When I bought my house just a few years later it wasn’t much bigger although it had a second level with 2 bedrooms and a full bathroom.

The lower level had a large lounge, kitchen and small eating area, back gardens and that was it. My house was more like a small apartment with an upper level with sleeping quarters.

Not too much to write home about but again I made use of the space.

 

Our home

 

Even now our home is just right for the two of us but there are many spaces of the home we simply don’t use because it’s too big of a space for us. The intention was to buy just a bit more than we needed so we could start a family and didn’t have to move again.

Living on the main level is just about all we really need because that is where we spend most of our time and to be honest seems like we do live in an apartment.

I think many of us over-think the home buying process and we buy much more than we actually need thus spending more and potentially a bigger mortgage.

Our goal was to buy a space that was reasonable in size and price that we were comfortable with in hopes of paying off our mortgage early and paving the way towards early retirement and living a debt free lifestyle. Not everything in life has to be big and beautiful to be fancy all you need is to be happy with what you have accomplished and the rest will come.

So to answer the question whether I could live in a 420sq ft micro-apartment the answer is, if I had to then yes. Having a roof over my head is better than having no roof at all.

I think we do what we have to to adapt to a living space and unless you have some fear about small spaces or for health or mobility reasons I believe that anyone can adapt if their options are limited.

What about you?

Could you move from living in a larger space to living in a small space like the 420sq ft micro-apartment?

 

Canadian Budget Binder this week

 

If you missed any of my posts from the week here is the list of posts you can catch up on reading!

 

CBB at home and the blog

 

Life has been pretty quiet the past week but with the cold and the snow it’s kept it adventurous none the less. I’ve lived through only 6 winters now in Canada and to be honest this one tops the list of worst winters.

We’ve had a bit of a crazy week in our house and in time I’ll get around to updating you all about how 2014 has been going for us. I’m hoping to make some transformations in 2014 and I can safely say that this year will certainly be a year to remember.

 

Fan deals and inspirations

 

Submit your Brag or Inspiration If you have a brag that you want me to share email me at canadianbudgetbinder (@) [yahoo] [.ca] or fill out my contact form by Friday each week to have your brag considered for the Saturday post.

This week CBB fan Angela M. shares the deals she found while grocery shopping for her family.

 

fan-deal-of-the-weekHi Mr.CBB,

Our best deal last week came from No Frills.

We only purchased a couple of their flyer specials that appealed to us the most.

Blueberries were on for $1 each, which is phenomenal at this time of year (I’ve seen it priced from $2.97 on sale to reg $4.99 recently).

No name whole wheat flour 2 kg was on sale for $1 as well and it’s usually $2.97-$5 depending on the week.

I can say I’ve never paid that little for flour, not even on clearance.

We purchased 1 of the flour since we already have one unopened on our stock shelf.

We purchased 6 blueberries (one is missing from the photo as that got eaten up really quickly).

Total for 7 items: $7

 

 

 Making a difference

 

money-soldiers

Hi, CBB readers.  My name is Arnel and I’m from the Philippines and run the blog called Money Soldiers.

Growing up, I always knew our family had little money. Thrift was instilled in me at a young age. In high school, I started saving money to fund my college education.  I wanted to attend the University of the Philippines.

Being smarter than most folks, I wanted to give myself an advantage in securing a high-paying job by graduating from the top university in my country.

But reality came around. If I wanted to be wealthy, I could not depend just on my salary. Money Soldiers was born because I needed another source of income other than my salary.

For the past 14 months since I started Money Soldiers, I was able to make more money from blogging than from working on my day job as a Civil Engineer.

The extra money I made I am now using to invest. In the near future, I am looking forward to discovering new ways of using money to make more money.

I hope to make a difference with Money Soldiers by inspiring people to take charge of their financial future and realize the immense power they have in their hands to reach financial independence.

I do not wish to change the world, that is the job of Spiderman. Changing one person’s life for the better is enough for me.

For that one person, if I can ignite a tiny spark in his heart and blow the ambers and nurture them into lasting flames of desire for financial literacy and discipline and help him fight for his financial independence, then I’d be happy and know that I have accomplished my goal with Money Soldiers.

Thanks Arnel for sharing your blog with us and your story!- Mr.CBB :)

 

What is a blog carnival?

 

Some fans have asked me just what is a blog carnival so a little explanation is due here for anyone reading for the first time or for my long-time fans.

A blog carnival is where a blog or website hosts what we call a carnival of blog posts from around the web. Most blog carnivals have a theme and certain rules for submitting which must be followed.

If you are a blogger and would like to learn what blog carnival directories I submit to each week you can find the information in a previous Saturday Weekend Review post that I wrote.

 

Carnival glory

 

A big thanks to these pages for accepting my blog posts and sharing them in the following carnivals…

 

Google search terms

 

Google-web-search-terms

Every week I get thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog.

Here are a few of my favorite searches that may have even brought you here and you’re reading this, right now.

  • Speaking out about the $600 a month grocery bill- I have no idea what this is about but it sounds interesting
  • Alberta work for 31 a week for family of four can I survive- I’m going to say… no.
  • Being friendly doesn’t cost a thing- Well said

 

That’s all for this weeks edition of The Saturday Weekend Review #56-Could I live in a 420sq ft Micro Apartment?

Have a great week and catch me here again next Saturday with more updates.

-Mr.CBB

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