The Saturday Weekend Review #13- Happy Easter! Why Can’t People Just Be Happy?

Weekend Review

It’s going to be a Happy Easter this weekend for us but I often wonder why some people just can’t be happy. I’m a Yahoo nerd and I pretty much scan through the headlines every day to see what’s happening in the world. I mean who needs to pay for a newspaper subscription these days when all the glory and misery is at our finger tips. I am generally a happy person that I hope people enjoy being around. I often try to understand the reasons why I might be thinking something negative in order to improve by inner health. I’m also one of those guys who is happy for my friends and family when something good happens in their life.

Why Can’t People Just Be Happy?

We’ve all had friends and family who have had a rough day or are going through tough times in their lives and we should be there to lend an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on. When something good happens to people sometimes the jealousy monster come out in people where you kind of sit back and say, wait a minute, who are you to rain on their parade because you didn’t succeed or you weren’t given something free or won money in the lottery, etc? We had friend who won the lottery years ago and man oh man the rumours about how they don’t need it, they don’t donate, they are greedy bla bla kept coming up.

There’s always got to be the people with the conspiracy theory about everything especially when it’s something good that’s happened to someone. I’m sure if people put more energy into making their lives a bit more happier rather than whining about why it’s not the way they anticipated they’d get further ahead. Remember there is someone else who has it worse off than you.

All this chat above leads me to this Reddit thread I read and on Yahoo Canada about this family who went to the Olive Garden restaurant after their parents house suffered a fire. The manager greeted the family and asked how they were and one of the kids told the manager that her grandpa’s house had burned down. I’m sure if anyone was to hear this especially coming from a child that it would be so compelling to hear because of the genuine emotions of someone so young.

Olive Garden Restaurant Receipt

When the bill for the meal arrived the manager had comped the meal meaning there was no charge. What a lovely gesture on his/her part simply to say, I’m sorry to hear about your grandfather, I hope your days get brighter, keep smiling etc. Whatever the meaning, it came from the heart. It touched this family so much that one member posted the receipt on Reddit which quickly went viral.

My brother, wife, 3 year-old daughter and I went to Olive Garden after a recent house fire at my parents. When the manager asked how everything was my daughter said “Grandpa’s house burned down”. Here’s how we received the check:

What caught my attention was the amount of people who came up with all these theories about whether it was true or not and if it was a ploy of the Olive Garden to market their brand. Seriously people need to get a life and just leave it be. The poor guy had felt so compelled to come back and say yes it was true. Really? Did he need to do that for the idiots who had nothing better to do or say. Why can’t people just be happy for other people? In life we have choices, we have the choice to be miserable because we didn’t get everything we “think” we are owed or we have the choice to make positive things happen.

Olive Garden restaurant receipt

Author:Tankek42

Over 1.7 million views of this receipt and 1755 comments and counting after 2 days of being posted on Reddit.

The next day the original poster Tanek42 has to redeem himself and say it is a true receipt and as far as I’m concerned I don’t think he needed to say anything at all. Let the people complain, who cares and really what is this going to prove anyways? Nothing, so that leads me right back to the point of why bother. He did this to make the critics feel at ease that a total stranger that they don’t even know hasn’t ruined their day by posting a positive story that could have been made up in the best interests of the Olive Garden. Bloody hell, there are worse things happening in this world. Better still, Olive Garden stepped up to say that the receipt was real. There are people in this world that do things out of the goodness of their hearts.

My story is real, and I apologize for not responding faster to my critics, but I posted this last night while working on a law review assignment and fell asleep. Luckily, some crafty redditors were able to search and find my entire life history, including my Facebook page where I had posted the story a few days ago. If anyone needs additional proof/evidence, feel free to ask.

You pick your path in life but what I do know is I sure as hell don’t want to be a miserable person all my life just because I think that others are better than me, get more than me, luckier than me, smarter than me, richer than me or more successful than me. Just be you, be happy, make people smile, laugh a bit and loosen up. You might find that people will want to stick around and chat to you, strike a conversation and tell others what a nice person you are. The more people complain the further away people run so stay positive and think  of ways to improve life even if it means helping others just because you can with no expectations, nothing in return.

I posted this quote on my Facebook wall today and it really does say alot about life and how the simple things in life are free and what memories are built on. Leave the negativity and stop wasting useless energy on things that don’t matter. I hope that family finds the strength to pick up the pieces after this devastating event in the family and move on.

Have you ever dealt with people who were jealous of something you did or got? 

Spending Time With Children

Happy Easter Everyone!

What’s Happening At The CBB House?

It’s Easter this weekend which means we will be working on the Easter menu although we aren’t quite sure what we are making. Last year we wanted to come up with Easter food ideas that might help families enjoy their Easter with the family rather than hanging out in the kitchen. That was the popular Easter Dinner in the crock pot that a fan shared with me and I took to another level with my own ingredients.

It doesn’t always have to be ham and spuds at Easter dinner although It’s not often we pull out the ham card until special occasions. It’s sort of like cooking a turkey when it’s not Christmas which seems a bit odd but it’s not as unusual as I once thought it was. Tomorrow I will be sharing my friend Nicola’s mums Easter Butter Shortbread cookies recipe. I love shortbread but that is what my mum always used to make so it’s a cookie that is somewhat traditional for my family.  

I was talking to my family the other day in the UK and my mum who was babysitting said the kids were working on Easter crafts which I thought was a great way to get them involved other than decorating Easter Eggs. (we never got crafts mum, ha) She said that we can expect some art in the post shortly.

Now I hope the wife hides some chocolate eggies around the house for me to find. When you don’t have kids you can still play find the eggies with your spouse can’t you? :)

Happy Easter Crafts

Other than that our plants are growing at a fairly rapid pace and with the sun shining more each day I’m seeing a vast improvement in our other plants that we brought in for the winter. We really can’t wait to get them back outside because some plants simply don’t like to be indoors, it’s like trapping a bird who wants to fly free.

Next week I’ll be taking the snow tires off our vehicle because according to the weather experts we shouldn’t see any more snow. The worst thing we could do is drive the vehicle when it’s warming up with snow tires. That’s a sure-fire way to wear them down quicker and they cost a bloody fortune to replace, so get them off as soon as you can when the snow is gone.

I’ll be gearing up to get out the deck furniture but I need to prep the deck by giving it a good sand then add a coat of protection and a light stain to jazz it up. It cost me around $2000 to build my deck which would have cost me over $5000 if I didn’t DIY build it. I’m going to make sure that I spend the $25 to protect it so it lasts longer and looks good.

There’s nothing worse than spending money on big-ticket items such as  wood decks, gazebos, lattices, and fences to just let them rot to the ground without maintaining them. Might as well just throw your money out the window. It’s no different from a car, if you don’t maintain it the faster the car will turn into a lemon which will cost you a fortune to run, if at all. ON the positive side as long as I take care of my stuff that’s all that matters.

How are your vegetable seeds growing?

What’s Happening With  Canadian Budget Binder?

This week Katrina joins me in bringing CBB fans some landscape and gardening posts this spring and summer along with sharing her experiences with personal finance. Nothing big has happened on the design home front but I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop. I must say that CBB has done well since the beginning of 2013 where we have seen a steady rise in views and subscribers. By the end of today we will have over 40,000 views this months which is amazing only because that means we are reaching out to more people.

Numbers are only numbers but to me the numbers mean more people are coming around to read and learn and I’m happy about that. I have to thank all the supporters of CBB especially the fans who undoubtedly go above and beyond to share, communicate and make CBB a place of their own sharing their personal experiences.

The personal finance Bloggers that take the time to read, comment and share are without a doubt a great bunch of writers who inspire me more than they know and I will always pay that forward. We are well on our way to reaching our 5000 Likes on Facebook a milestone that I never dreamed would happen but we are getting there slowly but surely. We do have one heck of a Facebook page so if you aren’t part of the gang come on over and introduce yourself. Don’t miss our “What’s for Dinner” post nightly which is the most popular ongoing post on the Facebook wall.

Giveaways
  • Win! $250 Cash and a copy of the A-Z of Saving Money E-BookClick HERE to enter now! Contest open to everyone around the world. This contest runs from March 18th 2013 to April 1st 2013. At the end of the contest a winner will be randomly drawn to win a free copy of the e-book titled – “The A-Z of Saving Money and $250 cash”.
  • Enter to Win $500 Cash in this Spring Giveaway I’m co-hosting by clicking the link below! Like Canadian Budget Binder on Facebook! While you are here Subscribe to my blog on the home page so you don’t miss any upcoming contests and posts!! Contest runs March 11, 2013- March 31, 2013
  • Click to Enter to win $500 Cash>>> Starting Our Frugal Garden From Seed
Canadian Budget Binder Blog Posts
Canadian Budget Binder Mentions Around The Web

If you are a CBB fan you must check out these blogs. I follow them all!

Survey Compare Named Canadian Budget Binder Blog of the Month and Interviewed me

Carnival Mentions

web search terms

Google Search terms really help me to understand what people are looking for at Canadian Budget Binder! Any typos below are simply how the person who searched Google and typed it in search incorrectly, or me ;-) Another week of thousands of search terms but only a few good ones worth mentioning.

Top Pick: The Importance of Saying Thank-You Quote- Perfect for today’s topic and something more people would benefit from if they just said Thanks for what they are grateful for in life.

  • Turbo Tax the How To Book Canada- I had no idea they had a “How To” book, I thought the program walked you through step by step
  • Parent upset because day care costs too much money- Day care prices are astronomical for some depending on where you go. If you want to have kids be prepared for all these costs.
  • Chocolate- Really? I think that’s great that someone found me with such a common word like chocolate.
  • Inside the Financial Advisors Mind- I hope that’s not another voodoo attempt to get inside someone’s brain to see what the next big thing will be on the stock market…
  • Chocolate Chewy Bites Mr. CBB- Oh ya.. searching for my recipes is a good thing.
  • Witches Spice Rack- I’m only guessing there is a spice rack that is made by a company called Witches or real witches have their own spice rack…. who knows?

Quote-Budget and Money

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Happy Easter Crafts-123RF

How We Designed Our Budget Step 9-Reading Our Bills!

Why you should check all your bills and what to do if you find an error

Does this scenario below sound like you?

You either open the front door, walk to the post box or go to the post office to gather your post…You scan through it all and then you try to avoid the bills but you know you should read them. You proceed to either open it check the total owing and file it or you simply never open it and toss it in the bin,drawer,on top the refrigerator etc.  Is this a big mistake?

You bet it is…It is so important to keep your finances organized and in check!

There’s more to a bill then looking at the total cost of the bill.

For example

When our credit card bill would come in we would have typically opened it and looked at 2 things

1-The Due Date

2- How much we owe

We never gave a second thought to look at ;

1-Where did we spend the money we owe?

2-What did we buy?

3-How much was it going to cost us if we didn’t pay off the bill on time (yep there’s that “time is money” saying without saying it)

We personally like to use credit cards mainly for monthly perks and rarely use cash. If you use cash and save your receipts that is your ticket to all the information you need. You won’t be billed anything further. Good Old saying “Cash is King” stands, I suppose.

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

Sadly, mistakes can happen when it comes to credit card bills or any bills that you are billed for and have to pay. Over the years I’d like to think that I was diligent in saving money but now realize that I could have potentially saved more if I only was mindful of the numbers. Moving forward I read every bill that comes into my hands including receipts from the shops. Human error is a given, we all make mistakes but so can computers..a simple glitch could cost you.

For example just yesterday we used a “Spend $50 save $10 Coupon” at Shopper’s Drug Mart. The cashier scanned our printed coupon for the discount and it presented on the receipt as “coupon”. When I got home I took out the calculator and did the math. The $10 was in fact Not deducted from the bill. I could have potentially lost $10.

Our money after all is hard-earned and to just dish it out without reading all the details is silly. We are also seeing more and more consumers using their Blackberry or Iphones for mobile banking but take caution by reading the Do’s and Don’t s here before you tech up your finances. Also, check with your bank to see how you are protected.

Terms and Conditions are also very important to read when you sign up for a credit card but also when paying for anything that might have such a disclaimer. When we started to read our credit card bills we noticed what we owe is at the top of the bill and VERY clear

New Balance $540.24

Balance Due $540.24

Minimum Due $10.00 (cough cough choke… is that all, don’t get happy it’s nothing to smile about, crikey that’s like trying to move a mule)

Due Date: April 30,2012

BUT… in 2 spots one at the top the other at the bottom you will read  in tiny wording like on our Canadian Tire MasterCard Bill…………

The Balance Due is the amount you need to pay in order to avoid interest charges on purchases appearing on this statement for the first time. The Minimum Due is the minimum amount you need to pay to avoid your account going into default.”

and….

Repayment Calculation.. (oh ya this is the kicker, you ready for this)

If you make only the minimum payment required each month, it will take you about 4 years and 7 months to repay the balance shown on this statement.. which is ONLY $540.24.…. seriously  are you ready to pay this for 4 bloody years… think about it the next time you swipe the plastic whether you will paying the bill off in full.

Don’t ignore the numbers, they don’t ignore you. This alone should shake up your financial budget and get you thinking about how to pay off a credit card as fast as you can. We always pay our bill in full but for those of you who don’t, read the fine print.

Also,

Every month when bills start arriving we open our CBBBS and match up any receipts we documented and to what credit card. We make sure that every expense on the bill matches what we have on our spreadsheet. You never know if you are billed twice, or any other errors have occurred. Same goes with any bank fees you are charged.

Make sure you can account for all the times that you were charged. If you find a discrepancy contact your financial institutional. How do you know if someone used your credit card to even make one purchase?  Credit Card numbers in my opinion are so easy to get hold of and fraud happens every day around the world.

Credit card

What is Credit Card Fraud?

According the Royal Mounted Police credit card fraud can happen several ways. If your card is lost of stolen a criminal can use that card to manufacture a new card and use it just about anywhere including shopping on-line or over the phone. You can read more here about how to protect yourself.

You may think oh, it’s only $1.00 or $5.00 but if that keeps happening it will all add up. What would you do if you found an extra charge on your bill? You could be using this  money to pay down your debt but only if you catch the errors. If you don’t well its money out the window! Take steps to protect your credit history and always be on the alert for scammers !

Another reason you need to read your bills is to make sure they get paid on time. If you don’t pay your bills on time if you read closely it will tell you they may tack on a nice percentage to the total bill. I remember our first tax bill we messed it up as it was the first we had ever had to pay. They charged us an extra $10 for being late. I was a new home-owner in Canada and still learning the ropes so the City gave me a break. It’s not an excuse but it was the truth so next time I planned to be informed and ready rather than having to explain myself.

 Here’s another example of our Hydro Bill:

Our May 2012 Hydro Bill

Total Amount Due: $263.73

Pay by Due Date: May 11,2012

Amount Due AFTER Due Date $267.68

So, if we don’t pay this bill On time we will pay a further $3.95  which is compounded monthly (19.56% per year) 1.5% … Have you read this on your bill or something similar?

At the end of the day we’ve always been told to read before we sign but the same stands before we pay, Always read before you pay!

You can Find Canadian Budget Binder on Facebook HERE or Twitter Here.. it’s a conversation you Don’t want to miss! Mr.CBB

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How We Designed Our Budget Step 4-Notetaking

Hi there Folks~ Mr.CBB here…

If we’ve learned anything about budgets over the past year it’s that you need to learn how they work before you carry out one.  I admit we jumped in feet first and have learned along the way. This tactic hasn’t been so bad but it can get frustrating, especially if budgeting is a new world for you.  Learning first then proceeding step by step is what we should have done.

What we’ve learned over the past couple months is that there were ways to simplify our budget. We found errors in our budget and now realize that we need to have a completely separate Emergency Savings account. You will see all the changes when I post our February 2012 Budget Update.

The one thing that has helped us to make these changes is that we kept such detailed notes. This is why I am taking you to this topic in Step 4 Notetaking.

Notetaking is an essential part of budgeting. Why you ask? Let’s take a look together here:

Scenario:

When you were in high school and the teacher taught you a subject did you take notes? Probably, right?

Why?

  • So you could take the notes  home and study them to answer questions on a test and to educate yourself for further development.

Then why do you take notes when you budget?

  • Simply because you can’t rely on just your memory when doing your budget!  It’s also to educate and for further developing  knowledge of your finances. You will and I repeat, you will forget!
If it’s been a long while since you were in school you can read Ten Steps to Good Note Taking. They even touch on abbreviations which will help shorten your notes in your budget spreadsheet.

Notetaking with-in your budget is exactly the same as taking notes in class.  So if you found that easy this will be a breeze for you. The end mark reflects either a plus or minus in your budget.  Essentially a fail or pass. A fail only means you need to make improvements. Trust me when I say no one ever has a perfect month. That’s why emergency savings are imperative.

Notetaking with-in your budget is important for 3 reasons:

Reason 1

You can make reference to certain receipts- When you input data into your spreadsheet and make notes you can easily pull the receipt if/when needed.

An example would be;

  • February 19,2012- Wal-mart Spent $42.00 Used $4.00 coupons Paid $38.00
  • Notes: Bought vegetables, dog food,DVD-Twilight. Pd with Cash, Credit Card ( which one and who’s), Date of  receipt- You now can easily reference what you purchased or at least have an idea.
  •  We typically would put in high ticket items one’s that we could return. That way if you need to return it, open your spreadsheet and find what month of receipts you need to pull out.

Con- If you fail to track this data you might have to go looking for a receipt which you have packed away in a file folder and have no idea what month to look in. This will waste unnecessary time.

Reason 2

To track extra income or important dates that may have occurred throughout the month- When you sit down to do your month end budget you won’t need to think back x amount of days to what may have happened. Entering important notes such as -sold item on kijiji made x amount of dollars you have that information readily available to you.

Con- If you decide not to keep up to date with important notes you run the risk of your budget not balancing or being incorrect. If you want your budget to truthfully show your finances you must be dedicated to this task.

Reason 3

Simply to educate yourself on your spending habits and where and what you are spending it on.

Recap: In this step we learned-

When designing our budget we felt it was imperative to have a note section to document any key notes for easy reference. This task has saved us lots of time and headache. Budgeting helps to control our expenses to help us become financially debt free.

Next Step: How to keep all your bills organized? This is important because if you aren’t organized it may lead to frustration and failure when budgeting. Keep an eye out for this up and coming post! If your desk looks like this it will be a MUST read for you!

Until then if you are new here at Canadian Budget Binder get caught up on earlier and related posts below!

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Copyright (c) <a href=’http://www.123rf.com’>123RF Stock Photos</a>

Product Price Adjustments Don’t Miss The Savings!

Are you aware that some Canadian big box and grocery stores have a Price adjustment policy?

If you are then you know about the great savings you can pocket if you keep your eyes and ears open. If you aren’t aware read on and learn how you to keep money in your pocket.

We all know about returning products as I’m sure we have all done it at some point in our life. Once you have finalized a buy it is now your product. Most stores offer a return policy for unopened, unused or defective product. On a cautionary note be aware of a possible restocking fee. Typically stores have anywhere from 30-90 days for a return policy.

What is a Price Adjustment Policy?

What most people don’t know is the Price Adjustment Policy for most stores.

If you buy a product and the exact product goes on sale cheaper than what you purchased it for then you can get a price adjustment. Keep in mind the price adjustment policy time frame. This is why it is imperative to always keep your receipts. You can take the original receipt to customer service and ask for a price adjustment.

A price adjustment is the difference of what you paid for the product compared to the price it is on sale for. For example, if you buy a BBQ for $799.00 and next week it went on sale for $399.00 you would get a price adjustment for $400.

Typically when you ask for a price adjustment they will refund the difference in whichever tender you purchased the product. An example would be, if you paid by credit card the price adjustment will go back on the same credit card.

Price adjustment policy terms vary from store to store so the easiest way to find out is to call the store.  Some stores such as Wal-Mart and Zellers offer a price adjustment policy as does Canadian Tire.  You may even find this at certain grocery stores.  Some Canadian Budget Binder fans came forward to say they have used the Price Adjustment Policy at the following stores but like I mentioned I would call them to verify prior to heading into the store.

  • Real Canadian Superstore
  • Future Shop
  • Toys R Us
  • The Gap
  • Old Navy
  • Reitmans, Penningtons,  Smart Set, Thyme, Cassis, RW&Co, Addition-Elle
  • The Source
  • Staples
  • Sears
  • Giant Tiger
  • Shoppers Drug Mart

Canadian Tire

Why is the Price Adjustment Policy in place?

This extended price policy as I like to call it is a good gesture in hopes of retaining customers who might be unhappy. Don’t be a scammer though as it costs the company time and money. I’ve heard of people who have gotten upset so they buy the product at the cheaper price and use the original receipt to return the first product. I’m just happy the retailer is thinking about the consumer’s pocket-book even a small gesture like this.

What did we have price adjustments on?

In 2011 we saved over $300 in price adjustments just by watching the weekly prices in the flyers. One of our best price adjustments was a Swordfish UV Filter System which we paid $157.99 plus tax then it went on sale for $89.99 plus tax the following week.

So there you have it, saving more money in the budget! :-)

What is the best price adjustment you have ever received?

It's Not About How Much Money You Make It's How You Spend It

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How We Designed Our Budget Step 3-Tracking Receipts

Perhaps it’s been a bit of work to get this far in the budgeting process but it will be worth it. In Step 1 we learned what a budget was and what information you needed to gather before moving on to Step 2.

While Step 1 might have been a daunting task Step 2 in Designing the budget should have been a bit easier. You learned how to divide your Net earnings into a budget and spend less than you make.

In Step 3 of designing the budget you will learn the importance of documentation.  Documenting everything you spend is crucial to succeed when budgeting.

Tracking all your Receipts

Keep track of what you spend. Why you ask?

Read the following scenario;

If you spend $5.00 on coffee in cash and fail to document it that’s $5.00 you have lost a trail to in the budget. You now have to figure out why you are short $5.00. I always make sure I ask for a receipt even at Tim Horton’s.

Another loss leader in the budget is trying to hide spending from your spouse/partner ,simply “don’t do it”.

What do we do with all these Receipts?

Every time we receive a receipt at the register we are mindful of where it goes. Yes, in order that it doesn’t end up in a bag, on the floor or blowing across the parking lot put it in your wallet in a safe place. :-)

When we get home……

We take all the receipts from our wallet and insert them into our file folder. I will post more information about setting up a file folder shortly.

Then what do we do with all the receipts in the file….

Typically at the end of the week on a Sunday when we are making the “grocery game” shopping list we enter the receipts to an excel spreadsheet.

The worksheet has been formulated so it does all the work for you.

  • All you need to do enter the figures.

The Monthly Worksheet Contains;

  • Date of Purchase
  • Where you purchased the items ie: store drop down list
  • How much it cost?
  • How much in coupons you used?
  • Did you use a Gift Card to pay?
  • What did you use to pay? ie: debit, credit card (which one)
  • What items did you purchase? – simply put a snapshot of purchases made
  • You will also see how much you actually saved during the shop! :-)
  • There is an area for notes which have come in handy more than a million times for us.

This data, when saved is also saved on your Budget Sheet from Step 2 and updates as you input data to the worksheet. You can easily see how much you have spent in each of your designated categories according to the numbers you set.

If you say “how much have we spent on groceries this month” you can easily see how much and what you have left to spend. It’s like having your money in Jars but with the ability to see the instant amount left in the jar without having to count.

If I can teach my parents how to do this you can to!

Write it in a Notebook if the computer is not for you;

I was never really good at writing in books when budgeting but you might love it. If you like to write in a book you can use all our Steps documenting in a Notebook.

NOTE: ***Make sure you check and double-check your numbers since you will be manually using a calculator to do the math for you.

If you have a basic understanding of Excel you can  put a worksheet and budget together.

Or

If you prefer to budget using the paper and pen method you now have 3 important steps in the process you can work on.

Budgeting is part of a lifestyle like a healthy diet is. Once in a while you may fall off track, stay positive and get back on the track. When you give up is when you fall into the debt trap. This is why people sink further and further into ruins. This is why relationships fail, don’t let this happen to you.

You have to make sure you either;

  • Have an emergency fund for unexpected expenses
  • Save for what you need and pay CASH
If neither of these can occur expect to have debt and pay it off as fast as possible. 

Keep an eye out by visiting my blog as I will have our Budget Worksheet FREE to my subscribers shortly.

Step 4 in designing our Budget is Note Keeping and it’s importance.  Stick around to read more…….

Happy Saving Everyone!


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