The Saturday weekend review #37: Stashing cash, is it worth it?

end -of-summer-beach

Only You Know What’s Best For Your Situation

I think stashing cash is worth it but whether people have the cash to stash is another story. I don’t think it’s hard to believe that many people do have about $10,000 stashed away for a rainy day but on the other hand I can completely agree that many people don’t have the money to do that.

Debt for Canadians is a big problem and in reading this article on Yahoo about a survey conducted by the Bank of Montreal it’s no surprise that the writer is saying that most people don’t have the means to sock away 3-6 months of income just in case an emergency would come up. You know last week we had an emergency where I managed to spill liquid on my computer.

Since I blog full-time my computer is a huge necessity in our household and that to me was an emergency where I was thankful that we had money in the bank to cover. We didn’t just hide away the money overnight either and I don’t think any personal finance blogger I’ve come across who talks about emergency savings says it has to be done in a certain time frame. Just like paying off debt a little at a time or putting down a larger amount on the principle I hold true with the emergency savings fund.

Since this past month we have spent a whopping $5000 on stuff, you read that right, “stuff” but all items that were needed in our house especially the computers. Sure we could have done without some of the clothes but we enjoy shopping the end of season sales to get the best bargains. We also didn’t need to spend so much on computers but we wanted to make sure we got quality computers with everything we needed so down the road we weren’t replacing the computer again and again.

We also needed to get new running shoes and sports bras for my wife which costs money because you want to invest in some good articles of clothing when you are working out. Sure many people are drowning in debt and I also agree that we should be paying off this debt but I prefer to tackle the debt on a balanced level if I had any which I have over the years.

The feeling you get when you know you have a bit of money put aside is hard to explain but it’s more about peace of mind if anything at all. Saving the money is always the hardest part because many of us make excuses as to why we need to use the money.

I won’t say that everything we bought in the past month was 100% needed but once we hit that mall all hell broke loose with our budget and it was a grave reminder how fast we can spend money if we aren’t mindful of how many times we are swiping the credit card.

Overall, we did well but this is the only month we will be splurging on us but it was well deserved with all the saving we have done over the years. I wasn’t shocked to read and maybe you won’t either in the article where it says the latest survey from the Canadian Payroll Association says that 42% of people are living pay to pay with 40% using up their net income each month.

That’s the way life goes and if that is the case then we have to start making some changes to our budget, our work, our experiences or simply spend less than we earn. I know it’s always easier said than done and depends on circumstances but for those not in special circumstances there is always time to make a change if even small ones

Many of my fans have accomplished significant strides over the almost 2 years I’ve been blogging and the one thing we almost all have in common is that we needed to be motivated. Sometimes depending on your life situations you may feel stuck in a rut or you may have had someone in a previous relationship say you were nothing and would never be anything. Well, don’t listen to that crap and do the best you can to be more than you can be.

It’s your life

If you have the drive inside to follow through with a hobby and make your fun times into money-making times like many of my blogger friends, then go for it. I have a friend who is pursuing his passion and its taken motivation but he is damn good at what he does and I know he will be going places. He is one of those guys who had an ex that cut him to pieces verbally over the years and is just now moving out from under the rock.

I hope that with my push that he will continue to grow and show the world what he’s made of. If you were born to lead, if you were born to motivate, inspire and share your strengths with others but don’t wait because one day that person might look back and remember what you did for them to help them succeed and pay it forward. It’s a great way to build a better world together.

Sometimes when we hear negativity towards us as an individual enough times that we are nothing or won’t amount to anything we may start to believe it, don’t. If you know you can move mountains, get out there and do it.

Don’t worry about what you should have done when you were younger or why you didn’t go to University or College or that you should have studied something different. Many people are struggling and feel stuck now especially if they have a family with young kids and a mortgage and feel trapped in a career they don’t like. Not everyone knows what the outcome of an education will be for them either. You just have to trust in your abilities.

Little by little you will see how your dreams can come true if you take steps. Just like with the emergency savings fund or using a budget all these things take time and if you are willing to put forth the effort you will start to see improvements if you stay positive and make your way to the top of your success ladder.

Best place for cash

Even though the interest in the savings accounts are crap in Canada we still will keep some cash stashed away for a rainy day. If you want to put money into a tax-free savings account maybe you will find that you get a better return on the money than you would in a traditional savings account.

The article says BMO’s “Smart Saver” account is only 1.1% annually, less than the 2% we get with Presidents Choice Financial and their Interest Plus Savings account although you still have to pay tax on that if you make over $50 in interest over the course of the year so get ready for your tax slip in the mail.

Sure you can save more if you pay down debt because the interest on consumer debt is huge but at the same time for some people who don’t have a home or a home equity line of credit or even a credit card saving a bit of cash in the bank is not so bad of an idea if they like to keep it balanced like I do.

It’s not written in stone what people should have in an emergency savings so put it in what makes you feel comfortable but if you are paying down debt be reasonable with what you are saving and how much you are killing that debt.

The goal would be to get rid of your consumer debt but have a bit of padding just to help you sleep better. Once you pay your debts you can start stashing away more and investing more. That is our plan once we actually pay the mortgage in full. In all honesty, not everyone fits in one category so we all need to custom build what is right for ourselves and stop worrying what everyone else is doing.

Spending less than you earn or making more money is the only way to go. No matter what you choose to do it may turn into a revolving door of cash and credit and the bills just keep on circling or you take the bull by the horns and do what you need to so you can get out of debt once and for all.

I think that people need to simply find what works best for them and never stop learning about ways to improve financially even if that means reading personal finance blogs, magazines, talking to professionals. Do whatever it takes to get your finances back on track. Some people cook from scratch instead of eating out, others shop at second-hand stores and many people don’t even have cable. It’s about choice not what you think you need because most times we don’t really need something.

I know that if Canadian Budget Binder fan Jen were here to comment (and I know she will) she would tell you that her life, her family and the family finances was all worth the struggle this past year and a half to get them on track towards their financial goals. You can read her financial struggles and how her and her husband Ken are working on getting out of debt fast here.

Do you have emergency savings? If not, what means would you use if there was an emergency?

Should you pay all your debts first before saving?

Do you live pay to pay and what have you done to start saving for a rainy day?

Gardening and Landscaping

Fall-Yard-work

Lke I mentioned last week I tore the garden apart and started my Fall clean-up. The back yard looks bare now but it also doesn’t look so cluttered like it did before. I know that next year I will keep it very simple for us as I’m just too busy to get out there all the time to weed and clean up.

Jen’s Garage Sale Finds

garage-sale

The garage sale season is wrapping up for us here and although many people still have indoor garage sales in the Fall and Winter it’s still a great way to find some hidden treasures at a fraction of the cost. So keep your eyes peeled online especially on Kijiji or on Facebook 24 hour auctions for your area to score some great deals.

Jen and her husband have made many improvements to their shopping habits and their budget. You can read all about it in her guest post, Budgeting With Mr. CBB Got Us Back On Track. Jen shares her weekly garage sale finds with us for the summer to show just how much she can save for her family.

My Finds

  • Two hoodies for Adam $.50 for both (they were asking $1 each)
  • Aeropostale sweater (brand name) $.50 (bought for a less fortunate student at my work).

Blog update

Make sure you are subscribed via email because once I leave free WordPress if you are not subscribed via email you may stop getting my posts in your inbox.

You can now follow Canadian Budget Binder via Bloglovin and continue to get my daily posts in this reader.

If you are a regular reader you would have already received these awesome posts in your email or reader but just in case you missed reading one I’ve put them all together here just for you.

PLUS…. check out the NEW FEATURE I’ve added which is my New Free Recipe IndexYou get all the recipes that I have posted here at Canadian Budget Binder in one spot so you don’t have to go looking for them.

Blog Posts On Canadian Budget Binder This Week

Making a difference

freedom35bird
Hello! My name is Liquid. I’m a 26-year-old graphic designer from Vancouver, BC. I run the site Freedom 35 Blog in my spare time and write about investment strategies as well as commentaries about business, finance, and economics.

I started my blog three years ago to track my own financial progress and aim to reach financial freedom by the time I’m thirty-five years old. I also want to help other people learn about money which is why I share all of my financial experiences online.

My hope is that people can be inspired by my stories and learn from my mistakes so they can become more confident managing their own money. After all, even the best financial advice in the world won’t be very useful if people don’t have the confidence to act upon it.

One way to build that confidence is to think outside the box like taking on debt to buy a farm, or leveraging stocks to potentially boost profits. These techniques are usually only used by high net worth individuals, but I want readers to realize that ordinary people can take advantage of these strategies too, as long as they understand the risks.

When I started investing five years ago my profits were quite low, but today my investment returns exceed the income from my full-time job. It’s a learning process and the only way to get better at investing is to practice doing it. Knowledge is power, and the more we know the better equipped we’ll be to reach our goals.

Blog share

I really appreciate when other blog owners recognize my hard work at Canadian Budget Binder and share my posts with their fans or even mention my blog on their blog or website. Here are the blogs that did just that this past week, so please head over and check them out. If I’m missing you it’s because I didn’t get a ping back so please send me an email and I’ll add you next Saturday.

Thanks to Eva from Teens Got Cent for mentioning Canadian Budget Binder in a recent newspaper interview.

What is a blog carnival?

Some fans have asked me just what a blog carnival is 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.

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

Carnival glory

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 favourite searches that may have even brought you here and you’re reading this, right now.

  • A godly homemaker- Nope that’s not me
  • Yard strap binder- I have no idea
  • Sexy frugal men- I love it!
  • Mommy moron budget- That’s a new one
  • Welfare Cheque grocery specials- huh?

That’s all for this week’s edition of The Saturday Weekend Review stashing cash, is it worth it?. Join me next week same time, same place to see what trouble I can get myself into.

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Financially Savvy Teen Budgets Cash Using The Envelope System!

The Envelope System

Cash and Envelopes, that’s my Budget! From the time I was about 5 years old my parents gave me an allowance. I think that I got $3 each week. I remember having three envelopes and my parents teaching me I needed to put some money in each cash envelope category. My envelopes were labelled savings, spending, and giving. I had three dollars and three envelopes so my decision was pretty clear.

The Envelope System

Fast forward about twelve years and I am still using the envelope system today. I now have six envelopes titled: spending, church, clothes, college, car and retirement.

How Do You Get Started Using The Envelope System?

I’m so glad you asked!

The cash envelope system really is very simple. First, you need to decide what areas you most need to control spending and where it is reasonable to use a cash only system. My mom, for example, has used the envelope system in the past for spending, eating out, and groceries because those were the areas where she wanted to be most careful with managing her money.

Once you decide which ‘categories’ you want to use, get an envelope and label it. We had some red envelopes left over from Christmas one year so I use those. You can use the cash envelopes that the bank gives out or any kind of envelope or divider system that works for you. Keeping the envelopes in your purse, wallet, or your car is a good idea if you are likely to forget them at home.

Every time you get paid you simply withdraw or keep enough cash in order to fund your envelopes for that pay period. It is also helpful to write the amount on the envelope that goes into it each pay period to help you keep track of everything. I don’t have regular income so I do not put the same amount of money into each envelope each week. Whenever I do earn any money I just take what I have and make a decision then about how much goes into each envelope.

Some people use their envelope system to help them save as much money as possible. If they have money left in one of their envelopes at the end of the pay period they remove it and put it into their savings or retirement account or even toward paying off a bill. Others use any money that they don’t spend to treat themselves to something special like a new outfit, going out to a movie, or something else fun.

Most of my envelopes are for long-term savings but I have been known to take some of my spending money and put it towards clothing. It can be a lot of fun to see how much you can save in different areas so that you can do something else with the money!

There are a few reasons that I have stuck with a cash system rather than using a debit card or other method:

Back To Cash

It is easier for me to make wise decisions about my money when I actually handle the cash. At seventeen I don’t have a lot of money to work with and no regular bills. Normally I have about $20 to divide up between my envelopes at any given time. I try to have small bills so that it is easier to put a little money into each envelope but most of the time I don’t have enough to put something into every envelope.

This also makes decisions about spending money easier using the cash only budget system. Can I go to the movies?  I take a look at my spending envelope and the answer is clear. Can I buy a car yet?  Ummmm. NO!  Unless someone has a car that only costs $57 dollars – the current balance of my car envelope…

Spend Less

For some reason I seem to spend less when I have to pay cash. Maybe it’s something about swiping a debit card that makes it too easy.  When I actually have to hand over a $20 dollar bill I think more carefully about the purchase. At this stage in my life I need that accountability. This is one of the reasons I plan to avoid credit cards – it is just too easy to swipe away and not really think about the money you are spending!

Goal_Without_A_Plan

Motivated To Save

There are times when I want or need to buy something specific. One of the great things about the envelope system is that I can just make a new envelope. Having the envelope motivates me to put as much as possible in it so I can make the purchase more quickly.This also works for me with long-term savings.

It is really encouraging to see the balance in my car or college envelope going up! Of course, I try to make sure that I don’t allow my desire to buy something to influence how much I put into my long-term saving envelopes. I may want a new iPod but I want a solid retirement even more!

How To Use Cash

1. Get money. 2. Put money in envelopes. 3. Use money in the way it was designated. 4. Done. This is an easy system that anyone can implement.

Many adults need a system that will allow them more flexibility than the envelope system gives especially for paying large monthly bills. However, using an envelope system for certain areas like grocery money, clothing or spending might be very helpful to you. It becomes more difficult to overspend at the store if you don’t have any cash left in your envelope.

Even my grandmother gets cash for her grocery envelope. She just keeps the envelope in her purse and pays cash at the grocery store.  This helps stop her from overspending on groceries. My mom has a smart phone and she uses a digital envelope system. Every time she makes a purchase we enter it immediately so that we always know how much grocery or gas money we have left. Which leads me to my final point:

Teens_Got_Cents

Tracking Your Finances

The method that you use to keep track of your finances really doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have a system and that you use it every. single. day. Or at least on a very regular basis. If you know the envelope system isn’t going to work for you because you will be tempted to buy a new dress with college money then don’t use the envelope system!

There are a number of digital envelope systems and I know people who keep track of everything on a simple budget spreadsheet. I’m sure that there are other ways to track everything that I have never even heard of!

Deciding how much you want to spend (or save) in certain areas of your budget and then tracking that spending (or savings) is one of the most important things that you can do to reach your financial goals. Finding what works for you is great. But even better?  Actually using the envelope system!

Editor’s Note:

Well done Eva, making money for teenagers is tough but saving it can be even tougher. Getting “Back To Cash” is sometimes the best way to go until one gets a handle on spending habits. Some people are just comfortable using cash and that’s great, whatever works is what’s important.

When I read about how financially savvy you are with your budget using cash and the envelope system it reminds me of a time when I was your age. Controlling a teenagers spending habits can be tough for parents and their teenagers especially when you want to teach money lessons to your child. The only difference was I didn’t use envelopes nor did I use an excel budget spreadsheet like I do today to track our expenses.  I just tracked it all on a piece of paper and used my bank passbook for updates.

I was also very responsible with my money from a young age and this is what helped shape my financial future. Having parents who taught me about money early has helped me in ways that I can never thank them enough for. Keep up the great work and I wish you continued success on your journey towards learning more about finances and becoming financially independent.

Thanks Eva for stopping by today.

-Mr.CBB

eva baker

Contribution Post By: Eva Baker is a high school student passionate about preparing for her financial future and helping other teenagers prepare as well. When she isn’t rock climbing at the gym or pinning ideas for her non-existent wedding, she documents her financial journey over at Teens Got Cents.  You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Is Budget Failure Your Own Fault?

Budget Failure

An acquaintance of mine said to me once that “Budget failure is your own fault” when I asked why failure rates were so high amongst some people who try to use a budget then scrap the idea. I’m not so sure how much I agree with him but to a certain extent it’s not the budget that fails, it’s the operator of the budget and circumstances that surround it.

It’s no surprise that some people have no problem spending more than they earn but they are first to challenge all the reasons why they can’t get a second job or earn extra income to pay down consumer debts. Then again anyone would agree that not much elbow grease is needed to spend money as opposed to earning it.

When Cindy shared her story with us at CBB about how she changed her life after turning to credit cards because she couldn’t make ends meet she says, “it’s the one thing she wishes she had never done”. The greatest success for her was to budget and find a way to earn extra money working from home by making jewellery instead of giving up.

Failure Is Scary

Budget failure scares us a bit but we’re human and make mistakes just like everyone else does. A positive way to look at failure in anything we attempt in life is to learn from our mistakes and try again. Since we are both adamant on making sure we pay our bills on time and continue saving enough money for retirement, it’s important that we stay on top of our budget each and every week.

There are many ways to save money and managing your own money is one of the easiest forms of finding ways to save or areas to cut back on.

Last year I wrote a post about seven top budgeting mistakes and the top of my list was “You don’t have a budget”. I wrote that post not only for those that do budget but for those that don’t budget but want to budget yet don’t know where to begin. Budgets can easily scare people because they believe that a budget hinders their ability to “spend money” freely like they are used to doing.

They also believe that every penny has to be accounted for as if they were in money jail. It’s not a great way to look at your own money but if a budget helps us from spending more than we earn then it can’t be so bad, right? If blowing up your finances is a regular occurance  then maybe a budget isn’t such a bad idea.

When we started our budgeting journey it was the first time that we had ever set up our own excel budget spreadsheet on the computer. Budgeting had become a learning process for us both and we messed up at times but as we noticed the gains even if small that motivated us to stick to the plan.

We weren’t in any major debts when we began to budget aside from the mortgage nor were we on the brink of bankruptcy we just wanted to allocate our income into categories so we knew where the money was going and why. Answering the “why” question seemed easy at the time to ask but it really put things into perspective once you think about it.

Budgeting Questions

We sat together and wrote down a list of reasons as to why we need to budget and how we would make the budget work for us. As a couple who didn’t want money to ruin our relationship it was vital for us to make sure we were on the right page.

Sitting down as a couple for many people is probably the first barrier to getting the budget rolling so I always like to encourage couples to talk about money so they understand their financial feelings towards it.

The number one question you should ask yourself before you start a budget is why you want to budget because if you don’t have the same feelings towards budgets then you may end up on the side of budget failure. A budget only works when everyone is involved with the process. Anger and raw emotions about budgeting in a relationship where one or the other doesn’t agree can bottleneck success.

You’re Not Cut Out 

There are many people who simply are not cut out for budgeting and many people who fancy running numbers in their head and manage to keep themselves afloat that way. Personally I think the way someone tracks their money is their own business but I’m used to the budget sarcasm we get from some people.

It’s what we want to do and I suggest that anyone who wants to really know what their overall money picture looks like that they should at least give it a shot.

My Life Is A Business

Although a business budget is for a business I often equate our personal finances as our “Life’s Business” that we certainly don’t want to see fail. There are those people who do survive financially even if they use the “I know how much money” we have to spend each money tactic or “We are good with our money” so we don’t need to know where the money goes as long as the bills are paid.

We know, we did just that but we weren’t saving to the capacity we are today while using the budget which made a huge difference to our overall net worth.

I also believe that there are budgets that work and budgets that aren’t quite suitable for certain individuals. I have seen some budgets that are way over the top for us, pulling more information than we would ever need. Then there are easy budgets that didn’t quite give us enough information. We decided that we would learn how to prepare a budget so we could customize a budget template for us to use that made sense.

Do You Use A Budget?

Last week when I did a quick survey on Facebook asking the fans “Do You Use A Budget” and out of 18 responses 11 fans said “Yes, I/we always use a budget, 4 fans said “No I/we don’t use a budget” and 3 fans said “I don’t know how to use a budget” but want to learn how.

Jen a CBB fan who worked with me to prepare a budget for her family of 3  says, she can’t believe how much her life has changed since using a budget.

When people tell me they don’t use a budget because they don’t make enough money, my spouse doesn’t want to or they think it’s silly to budget and a waste of time it’s at that moment when I realize that nothing anyone says or does will change their minds. Sometimes it does take hitting rock bottom for someone to understand change is needed. Budget failure is your own fault when you set yourself up to fail before you have even begun.

If you speak negative about yourself or your own skills and say you will never get any better, they are better than me, life sucks, I’m no good at this, than you invite worry, stress, jealousy, anger and de-motivate yourself from ever firing through tough times. Don’t give up, get up and take charge, you ARE your own boss when it comes to your finances.

Why Budgets Fail?
  • You see a budget as a short-term plan rather than budgeting for life
  • You don’t understand why you are budgeting
  • You give up when you fail or make mistakes
  • You don’t take the budget seriously
  • You don’t work as a team if you are in a relationship
  • You talk negative about budgets
  • You fail to plan or set time aside to work on it
  • You feel budgets are for people who have debt
  • You feel budgets are for those with low incomes
  • You guess at your numbers and don’t take time to do your research
  • You don’t believe in yourself or your abilities
  • You fail to ask for budget help
  • You have unexpected Lifestyle Changes
  • You are not realistic when it comes to your numbers
  • You return to your old ways of wants over needs

Where I don’t believe budget failure is our own fault is when unexpected lifestyle changes takes over our finances until someone can figure out a plan of action. There are many people who have been injured on/off the job, diagnosed with illness or disease, chronic conditions, job loss etc all which can severely impact a budget with no prior sign that something will happen.

You could also find yourself as the caregiver for someone and stepping aside from full-time employment to help your loved one’s can impact your budget as well. Budget failure should not be looked upon as a set-back rather as an inspiration to try it all over again. Don’t freak out if you make mistakes, learn from them and understand that we all make them it’s what we do with them that counts the most.

Preparing an emergency fund for these situations go hand and hand with budgeting especially if you do not have insurances that cover you in the event of a situation that is beyond your control. If you’re not budgeting at least saving a portion of money for times when money is slim is better than having nothing saved at all.

Many lifestyle changes can have a drastic effect on anyone’s finances and sometimes telling someone to get out and get a job is easier said than done. Either way budgeting takes a positive attitude, knowledge, dedication and a desire to take control. I believe that a budget is vital in order for anyone to see their overall financial picture whether you are working or not.

Only you can answer why a budget has failed and perhaps understanding why it has failed and what you need to do in order to successfully implement a system that works for you means simply asking for budget help.

A budget isn’t going to solve all of your money problems in the blink of an eye but what a budget can do is perhaps give you a glimmer of hope that you are on the right track towards reaching your personal finance goals.

What other reasons can you think of that budgets fail?

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