How We Let House Prices Influence Our Real Estate Budget: The Saturday Weekend Review #169

HOUSE PRICES 2 INFLUENCED OUR REAL ESTATE BUDGET

REAL ESTATE DECISION-MAKING CAN BE SCARY FOR ANY BUDGET   House prices can make or break you financially so it’s important to know your finances inside-out and make a decision to purchase a home based on affordability and sanity. Everyone knows that house prices have not burst as expected rather they have exploded and keep going up which means first-time buyers and graduates are struggling to slip into the housing market. Living in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) I’ve seen some of the most expensive real estate in Ontario. Back in the UK house prices were and still are astronomical in comparison to what you can buy in Canada. I was never one to complain about house prices in Canada until I started earning a pay cheque and life in Ontario kicked in. When you are a tourist from out-of-town where the money is practically double and house prices are high it’s easy to get excited about the prospects of owning a gorgeous home with space. Although I didn’t struggle to sell my house in the UK when I moved to Canada the current owner is struggling and has been for years to sell because no one can afford the […]

Spring Cleaning Parents Team Up Early To Save Avoidable Home Repairs : The Saturday Weekend Review #167

The Saturday Weekend Review(1)

DON’T PUT OFF WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY FOR TOMORROW   Spring cleaning is a must for our family and something the wife and I have done every year since we bought our house back in 2009. Cleaning the house inside and out after a harsh winter is not appealing but many of us have had all winter to wind up the motor for these Spring cleaning chores. In 2009 we were dual-income homeowners without a child and we pretty much had all the spare time in the world to keep our home pristine looking. Most times people would compliment us on how tidy and clean our house was and thought it looked magazine ready. Although we chuckled when those compliments came in these days we’d LOVE if just one person would compliment our toy-ridden house that has been taken over by a 19 month old “Wreck it Ralph”. He contributes to 99% of the disaster around this house and thinks it’s hilarious. We do too in a parenting kind of way, lol. As a husband and father who works 6 days a week at 2 jobs and blogs I have a pretty tight schedule to fill these days. What […]

grocery game monthly challenge

A Smart Shopper Guide To Prepare For The Grocery Store : The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 #4 Mar 28-Apr 3

A SMART SHOPPING GUIDE FO PREPARE FOR THE GROCERY STORE

GROCERY SHOPPING WITH MR. & MRS. CBB + Jr.   If you want to become a smart shopper plan to invest time into your grocery shopping experience otherwise you’ll be spending money you don’t need to spend and saving less than you should be. Knowing the ropes when it comes to the grocery store is a big deal especially if you are on a tight budget. A fan asked me how they could become a smart shopper like my wife and I have become over the years which caught me off guard. I thought I’ve shared just about every smart shopper trick that I could think of over the years but I haven’t shared exactly what we do. I’m putting together this post to share how we go about grocery shopping to keep our monthly budget at $235 a month for 2 adults and one toddler. I hope by the end of reading this post you feel as if we all grocery shopped together. My aim is to virtually take your hand to have you become a smart shopper by following grocery tricks we’ve learned over the years. Related: The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide (Become a Smart Shopper with tonnes […]

Property Tax Bill-One Bill You’ll Never Burn : February 2016 Monthly Budget Review

budgetupdatepost2016

THE TAX MAN HANGS AROUND FOR LIFE   In February like clock-work we get a letter in the post from the city about our new tax rate along with payment dates for our property tax bill. Whether it’s paying for income tax, property tax, product tax or anything that says tax you know you’ll never get away with dodging it. Which is why there are two certainties in life: death and taxes Every year the property tax bill gets higher and higher but that’s expected I suppose since it goes to pay for various things in the community such as municipal services, police, fire, transit and so on. I received an email from a young couple in the process of buying their first home and they wanted to know what the best way was to pay for their property tax bill. Dear Mr.CBB, My wife and I are just finalizing the sale of our new home and were wondering how we should pay for our property tax bill in order for our budget to balance. What else is there that we need to know about our new property and our tax bill? Thanks for any tips. -Chris and Angela If […]

Family Day Fun In Our House Goes Like This : The Saturday Weekend Review #159

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FAMILY FIRST…TOUGH WORDS TO LIVE UP TO WHEN WORK KEEPS YOU AWAY   Family Day Fun is not something you pay for, it’s something you create together with the people who mean the most to you. There’s a statutory family holiday in February and it’s called Family Day… how will you spend your day? This will be my eighth Family Day in Canada and every year I learn something more about this beautiful country I call home. Today I’m going to share with you what I’ll be doing with my precious family this Family Day whom I love and miss when I’m not home to spend time with them. I’ve learned that even if you are tired and feel you can’t go on the love of your family always makes you go the extra mile.   Family Day Stat Holiday   You don’t need kids to enjoy Family Day fun either. Couples all over Ontario are finding ways of enjoying the holiday with just as much excitement as parents are with their kiddos. Family doesn’t mean “blood” either it can be anyone you consider to be part of your family. Family Day in Ontario is this coming Monday, February 15 […]

Sexy Photo Fun Could End Up A Nightmare Of Revenge Porn – The Saturday Weekend Review #157

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ONE OF THE EASIEST WAYS TO GO BROKE IS TO COMMIT A CRIME   What happens behind closed doors in an intimate relationship should stay closed. For those who feel wronged in a relationship or have other ulterior motives “revenge porn” may be their ticket to getting the last laugh or to cash in. It could also be the worst mistake mentally, physically and financially one could commit if they are caught in such a situation. Let’s not forget about the victim who has to suffer the consequences of their private life splattered on the web. It’s a horrible situation. The word “Porn” may be labelled a dirty word but it’s one of the biggest money-making industries in the world. Nobody wants to talk about it nor read about it but it’s everyday people who get caught up in crimes like revenge porn. Individuals who feel they have a power over someone with pornography need to understand that the consequences of their actions will not be tolerated by the law. It’s also important for parents to discuss topics like this with their teenage children because they know about sex whether you choose to believe it or not. Don’t get upset […]

grocery game monthly challenge

Big City Savings Tips To Survive Grocery Shopping : The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 #4 Jan 25-31

big city savings tips to survive grocery shopping (1)

OPTIONS ARE ENDLESS IN THE CITY   Many people who live in the big city choose not to drive, can’t drive or can’t afford to drive. This means rolling their shopping cart into a large parking lot to load groceries only to whiz home around the corner is not an option. Many of us take for granted the luxuries of living in a smaller city while shopping especially when it comes to parking and space. You’ll get more of that than you will living in the big city where space is at a premium. Related: How a small town family saves money on groceries The smartest tip that I can share with you today about shopping in any city is to be ORGANIZED. Without organization you risk having a less than ideal shopping experience. I find when we have things planned out it’s almost always smooth sailing. Unless of course we have a tired toddler, dirty nappy or it’s feeding time. Download my Free Printable Tools to get you started on the organizational train. With millions of people who live in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area you will certainly find just about every grocery store on the market. In […]

grocery game monthly challenge

5 Ways Price Matching Can Significantly Lower Your Grocery Budget This Year : The Grocery Game Challenge #4 Dec 28, 2015- Jan 3, 2016

PRICE MATCHING CANADA 2016

ALWAYS FIND THE BEST PRICE   Many stores have a price matching guarantee which means if you’re not taking advantage of this wonderful money saving tool then you’re throwing money out the window. Don’t believe me? You are because what takes a few minutes of your time might take you longer to earn the money you are splashing without cashing in on the savings. Prices hardly ever go down on groceries these days and with produce prices going up in 2016 consumers better start thinking about how their grocery budget will be affected. Have you seen the price of cauliflower these days? One head runs from $5.99-$8.00 at some grocery stores. My wife wanted me to buy one for her but I’m not “Splurging” on cauliflower when it was $0.99 in the summer. She can wait to indulge when it’s cheaper. If spending money on food is not a big deal to you then you probably won’t care but you likely wouldn’t be here reading this in the first place. If you are critical about the money you spend in your grocery budget or you’re trying to get back on track with your spending you should learn about price matching. […]

How to handle a billing rate increase on a tight budget

HOW TO HANDLE A BILLING RATE INCREASE ON A TIGHT BUDGET(1)

IN ONE DOOR OUT THE OTHER   Ask almost anyone about their “spare cash” and I bet they laugh and say, What spare cash? The difficult part with a tight budget is there’s not much wiggle room for most people especially if there is a billing rate change, interest increase or price hike such as groceries or living expenses. It’s been a while now that we’ve paid off our mortgage and living debt free which has opened up some avenues for us financially. Our budget is lean and any savings left at the end of the month gets distributed into our savings account. I received an email from a guy who uses our family budget and wanted to know how to go about adjusting the budget when the net income he earns along with any income from his wife covers just about everything they have to pay every month. Hey Mr.CBB, I just wanted to shoot you a quick email to ask you a question about your budget and how I go about making changes to accommodate rate increases such as the current Hydro pricing increase. I’m not sure what more we can do so we could free up some […]

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 […]

Does your neighbours home improvement really affect your property value? : The Saturday Weekend Review #101

house property value

BABYSITTING THE PROPERTY MARKET   Your property value is determined by many factors and whether your neighbour paints his garage door pink or purple that has nothing to do with how much your home is worth. Sometimes I can’t get over how some neighbours pick on each other for the silliest of things. Earlier this year we talked about one of our neighbours who hardly ever cuts the lawn. We got serious about overcoming laziness as a homeowner and joked about renting a goat. That was a legitimate complaint because there is a city by-law against leaving your lawn to grow to a certain height. Sure if the homeowner were to sell his house it may impact how much someone would be willing to pay him. The house might deter potential buyers of other homes that are well-kept but for the most part I don’t think it would bring down property value of all the homes. When a homeowner lets their home fall apart that’s when I’d start to worry but not if they are making improvements to the home and keeping the property looking good. It becomes a pain in the butt when the neighbourhood patrol group picks on […]

To Take Or Not Take Early CPP

Happy Non-Retirement

CANADA PENSION PLAN DILEMMA   My husband just turned 62 and we’ve been in a quandary about whether he should take his Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) early (before 65) with penalty or not. We’re both still working and plan to be for the next 4 years while we pay off a whack of debt. Because of penalties introduced in 2012, the amount you receive by taking your CPP early is less than before this legislation was introduced. Let me try to walk through the peculiarities of our situation and how we reached our final decision.   The CPP Rules   While I can’t walk you through all the rules, I will highlight the key ones or ones that were relevant for us but refer you to the CPP website which is actually pretty clear.  I just want to point out that the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) has a different set of rules, up front. Normally CPP was collected at 65, with penalties and premiums if you elected to take it anytime from age 60 to 65, or from age 65 to 70. Contrary to popular belief, with the new rules introduced in 2012, the age for CPP has not changed […]