Buy the least expensive house in the most expensive neighbourhood

neighbourhood house for sale

BE PICKY WHEN HOUSE SHOPPING   Typically we like to buy quality when we shop which included shopping for our home. This is why we scoured every available neighbourhood around our city for the best deal. The only thing we don’t like is paying full-price which meant we had our work cut out for us. Thankfully, it worked out in our favour. When buying a house you want to make sure that if you are buying a $400,000 house that the neighbourhood matches the price tag or you might struggle to sell as fast as you’d like down the road. This is why we hear over and over not to over-renovate but then again a smaller house in a bigger neighbourhood might have more luck finding a buyer than a house that costs far more than smaller surrounding homes. Today I have an email from a guy who is a first-time home-buyer with his wife and wants to know if they should spend the money and get the biggest house they can or a smaller house but in a more expensive area. Note: If you have a question for me please send me a detailed email similar to below so […]

How Should We Budget $5000 of Discretionary Income?


PLAYING WITH SPARE CASH   Not many people can say they have extra discretionary income kicking about every month where they have to drum up ideas about how to spend it.  For those of you that do you can still manage that money with a budget if you want to stay on track with your financial goals. When Mrs. CBB and I paid off our mortgage in April 2014 it was a grand time for us. We managed to break down our mortgage into pieces and pay it off far sooner that we had ever dreamed of. The reason that happened was due to perseverance and a drive to be successful at whatever we did. I guess in a way we were pushing ourselves to earn more money but we knew in the back of our minds that it was all stepping-stones for our dream career roll. Now that our mortgage is paid we have lots of discretionary income which we just recently worked into our budget. Lots of people would be more than tempted to start spending money especially if they’ve hit it big time and the money is rolling in.   What is Discretionary income vs. Disposable Income? […]

One Year of Savings After No Mortgage Payments : May 2015 Budget Update

Canadian Budget Binder Monthly Budget Update Logo 2 compressed

A MORTGAGE IS A HEAVY DEBT   Kissing our mortgage payments goodbye one year ago this month was one of the greatest accomplishments we’ve achieved financially as husband and wife. Honestly it was my wife that reminded me that it has been a year since our final mortgage payments were processed. Time certainly does fly by but I’m certain since having our son time is just a big blur to the both of us.   Mortgage Payments are reality   Having no mortgage payments have not gone unnoticed though as our budget has shrunk and our net worth has jumped up to just under $700,000. It would be nice to be worth a cool million before I turn 40 although that may be super optimistic of me. When we conquer one hurdle we set goals to conquer another. Having mortgage payments will add bulk to any budget but it’s not the end of the world if you have one. The reality is that most people who have a mortgage pay for it until the end of their term unless they pay extra to shave a few years off here and there. That is great if you can do this as […]

Why the fixer-upper house might not be for you: PF Weekly Grab a brew #83


EXPENSES BEHIND THE WALLS   It’s true that our dreams can get crushed when we don’t have the cash to do what we thought we would especially when you buy a fixer-upper house. Of all the people I’ve ever met they said they didn’t feel that renting was helping them to build a financial future for their retirement years. Although this is a wide-open topic that will bring in all sorts of controversy it’s certainly a personal decision that we must make on our own. Acquaintances of ours in their early thirties are looking to buy an older home that is their dream home but the catch is they want a fixer-upper. They do plan to have kids as well in the near future. He asked me my thoughts about older fixer-upper homes since many homes in the UK are very old. I was honest with him but ultimately it was my opinion and they need to make their own. I don’t want to be responsible for one of the biggest purchases of their lives. They are currently renting and have never owned a home before so owning a home is like the golden ticket for them or anyone really. […]

Is there such a thing as healthy debt? :PF Grab a Brew #79


WHAT DEBT MEAN TO YOU   When does owing money become healthy debt or unhealthy debt? When will you be debt free? Can you handle having debt? What does handling debt mean? These questions and many more can only be answered by… you! I was reading a recent article on Yahoo about how Canadians are potentially facing debt fatigue which keep people on the beaten debt path. It’s not surprising though with the amount of people who are swimming in debt with nowhere to go. What I found interesting was that maybe many Canadians find having debt less of an issue because interest rates are so low. Really? Is that how you feel? I would hope that we as Canadians take that as a warning as well as a blessing to make sure that we are money ready just in case some twist of financial fate comes our way. I’m a planner so when we started using our budget spreadsheet it was a relief knowing that we were spending less than we earned with some room for movement just in case.   When will you be debt free?   A recent poll by CIBC suggests that age 53 is when […]

Does Buying Secondhand Leave You Out of Touch with Real Prices?

second-hand, used, for sale, discount

PRICING MONSTER ON YOUR SHOULDER   Over the years as a couple, we have come up with ways to save money in our budget by buying things we need secondhand. More Canadians are finding bargains and are realizing that they too can save money without having to go broke. We buy clothing secondhand when we need to although we are picky with what we buy because not all secondhand prices are equal these days. Some thrift type stores are taking advantage of the secondhand pricing wars of used items and prices are becoming over the top. They see more people buying so they boost the prices to the point of craziness, considering they got it free. Pretty soon they may find some people will head back to buying new because it’s worth it if you know your prices. It’s always hit or miss but it’s not just clothes on our secondhand hit list. Clothing only scratches the secondhand surface as we tend to look for everything we need that is new to us or never been used. Why? It saves us money and it’s not just us, many people do it. You only have to look at the hordes of […]

Will signing a room rental agreement feel like moving home?

room rental bedroom

BEFORE RENTING A ROOM……   Signing a room rental agreement could feel like you are moving in with your parents but it could be worse, you could be moving in with Sheldon Cooper. Although renting a room is a great way to save money in the budget it also comes with pros and cons but it’s best to do your homework first before signing on the dotted line. Not all families or couples are the same so like the homeowner who may interview you to see if you are the right fit to move in you want to do the same. If you are someone who likes to live in clean, quiet environment then search out rooms for rent that fit that description. If you don’t mind kids and pets you can easily find a room for rent because lots of families are looking to supplement their income if they have a spare room in the house. Kids are costly after all. Today I have a fan question that came in that I was easily able to answer since I’ve been in his shoes before. I’m happy when the fans do their homework because not only are they saving themselves […]

Saying goodbye to the mortgage payment: April 2014 Net worth update (+0.31%)


BELIEVE IN YOUR DREAMS   Yes, after much talk about us getting rid of our mortgage payment once and for all, the time has arrived. This month’s Net Worth update is a little special for us as it marks the final mortgage exit we’ve been waiting for. No, we didn’t have the winning lottery numbers but what we did have was a desire to become debt free before we were 40 years old and have finally achieved this goal. My blogger friend Laurie at The Frugal Farmer said something this morning about paying off debt and making it personal which reminded me why we chose the path we did to pay off our mortgage. It was our plan but a personal plan even though we did have opinions coming from every direction about what to do with our money. You don’t have to do exactly what we did but what you need to do is plan. We made our own plan but one that worked for us and all I can do is share our journey with all of you. Just because a plan works for somebody else doesn’t mean it will work for you, and I think this mindset is […]

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


 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 […]

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

marshmallow and white chocolate brownies

GO 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 […]

Should you be decorating and renovating when you rent?

Decorating Paint roller and tray

WATCH 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 […]