Canadian Budget Binder is all about a Canadian Couple On A Financial Journey Using A Budget. I’m from the UK and a permanent resident in Canada and I love my life here in Ontario. I’ve always been fascinated with personal finance, learning to make money and watch it grow while combating debts along the way.
One of the number one questions they asked us was, “How much spending money they would need in Canada?” and for good reason. No one really should bring more spending money on holidays then they need to.
In fact, creating a spending budget before you head out for on holiday for any prolonged period of time you should have some idea of costs for the country you are visiting.
Cash Spending Money
Should you bring cash as spending money when travelling?
Yes, always bring cash in the currency of the country you are visiting and some from your country just in case you need to use the currency exchange for more.
The thing you want to consider is that if you exchange your spending money at one exchange rate it could easily change the next day.
So what was cheap yesterday may cost you double the next or if you’re lucky it will cost you less.
It’s always a gamble although I remember when I was visiting Canada the exchange rate was a whopping $2.52.
So for every British pound, I got $2.52 Canadian.
Sweet deal but it’s not like that anymore but still it’s worth more which means your spending money will go further when travelling.
Also, consider that if you don’t take enough spending money or plan to exchange money in the country you are visiting you may pay more for the process.
Alternatively can use your credit card almost everywhere you travel across the world however it really does depend on your travel destination and the exchange rate.
I’m not a huge fan of travellers cheques where instead of carrying hard cash as spending money you carry it as a cheque.
If you do bring traveller’s cheques with you for spending money always keep a note of the serial numbers and other pertinent information with you and a copy at home.
At least when you get back or if there is someone at home you can contact to get in touch with your bank you at least have the numbers.
The pitfall of traveller’s cheques is when you are in a country in the middle of nowhere and a traveller’s cheque is like fire-starter.
Cash is and always will be KING
Today, even pre-paid credit cards are far more recognized and desired over the travellers cheque although almost all countries will accept your travellers cheque
You might even find that your bank allows you to take money from an ATM outside of Canada but you will pay international fees for doing so.
Travelling with our Toddler
When we planned our holiday to England two years ago with a two-and-a-half-year-old toddler we decided to go with a stop-over to get a connecting flight.
Taking this route wasn’t cheaper, in fact, it cost us a bit more money but we were considering the overall experience for everyone involved.
The idea was that it gave our son a break from being on such a long flight if we flew straight into England non-stop.
Actually, we were travelling to a few destinations so it was important we didn’t bombard him with too much travel time on the airplane.
In the back of our minds, we were also thinking about the passengers because it’s not that much fun travelling with a screaming toddler for hours.
The twist in the story is that he loved it but what you don’t know before you book your travel tickets and what happens after is another story.
Turns out, we could have flown non-stop but now we know for next time although a trip to the UK from Canada is only about 6 hours.
you will want to find out what the currency exchange costs will be when you use it BEFORE you go.
In some cases, you may find the exchange rate on your credit card when visiting out of the country is not much more or the same as it would be if you went to the bank.
Spending Money At The Airport or Docking Ports
If for example you are travelling and you have a stop-over or you’re stuck waiting for your flight at the airport you’ll need spending money.
At the airport, there isn’t much to do apart from spending money on food, drinks, liquor, cigarettes and souvenirs.
The same thing applies if you are on a cruise ship that stops at different ports where passengers can get off to sight-see.
You’ll need some spending money if you plan to experience what the country has to offer for the short time you are there.
I recall while we were in Iceland we did not go prepared with any Icelandic króna but luckily they accepted American and Canadian Money and credit cards.
This is why having cash, credit card, travellers cheques or a pre-paid credit card will come in handy.
You will love how easy it is to make this old-fashioned banana pudding with S cookies.
Recipe type: Dessert
3 medium ripe bananas
2 cups of milk
2 cups whipping cream
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsps flour
¼ tsp salt
½ cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
3 tbsps butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 package Italian S Cookies
In a medium saucepan add milk and 1 cup of the whipping cream, vanilla along with the over-ripe bananas on medium heat and bring to a boil stirring constantly.
In a small bowl add your salt, sugar, flour and cornstarch and mix.
Remove the pan from the heat and mix in your sugar mixture until completely dissolved.
In a small bowl crack eggs and separate the yolks and whisk. Temper the eggs with a teaspoon or two of the hot milk and stir quickly.
Then add the egg yolk mixture to the hot milk mixture and stir to combine.
Put back on the stove and bring to a boil stirring constantly for 1 or 2 minutes until thickened.
If you want a chunky banana pudding leave the bananas chunky but if you want a smooth banana pudding you can use a banana masher or hand blender which I did to make it smoothe.
In a medium to a large round baking dish or serving bowl add a layer of Italian S cookies on the bottom then top with some of the banana pudding. Do this until all of the cookies and pudding are gone.
Add a plastic wrap to the top so it doesn't create a skin and refrigerate for 40 minutes or until cold.
In a bowl or stand mixer add the last cup of whipping cream and a bit of sugar if you want sweet whipping cream. I'd add about 2 tablespoons or leave it as is. Blend for 5 minutes or until a whipping cream forms peaks.
Put the whipping cream in a piping bag and make an x design across the centre of the bowl. Optional
Top with sprinkles of fresh nutmeg and serve. Optional
He’s almost 5 and that’s the only brand and flavour he likes.
Since I have health benefits at work going to the dentist on a regular basis is something we don’t put off.
Picking the right Dentist for your family
Whenever we would go we’d book our appointments back to back so our son could watch us get our teeth cleaned or any dental work needed.
Our dentist is amazing with us and our child and allows us to sit in the dental office to watch her work on each other.
This has helped us to continue educating our son on the importance of visiting the dentist and dental care after each meal.
He had his first check-up at age 1 where our dentist noticed he had a chipped front tooth unknown to us. His second check-up was at age 2 where we managed a stand-up teeth cleaning session.
It was going to take baby steps to get him to lay in a dental chair and plenty of patience by the dental staff.
Finally at age 3 they had our son laying back in the dental chair, sunglasses on and learning the equipment names the dentist will use on him.
They took the time to teach him how each tool worked and why it’s important to brush his teeth pointing to a poster on the wall that compared healthy teeth vs, unhealthy teeth.
He even got to play with the giant toothbrush and teeth mold to practice proper teeth care which he adores since it’s not every day you get a learning tool so realistic.
Obviously the coolest part of the dentist visit is picking a toy out of the treasure chest!
Dental Costs Ontario
Who would have thought that you could get free dental for children especially at the alarming costs for a regular teeth cleaning.
The costs for a tooth extraction in Ontario follow the Ontario Dental Fee schedule which means a simple extraction can cost you anywhere from $75 to $200.
If you need to get any fillings in your teeth you can guarantee to see a bill between $150- $200 in Ontario depending on what materials the dentist uses for the procedure.
Keep in mind that every dentist is different when it comes to costs but do follow a set fee schedule for Ontario.
I’ve even heard of some people taking advantage of visiting a dental school to get procedures done at a discounted cost since it’s a teaching school.
The only downfall is that you have to spend more time for your visit because you may have students working on you and learning from the hands on experience.
I think it’s a fair-trade off especially if you are so much pain that it interferes with your quality of life.
Children Visiting The Dentist Chair
Getting help with dental costs in Ontario is not only beneficial it’s imperative for all children because teeth are vital to our everyday existence as humans.
Both of his teeth cleaning sessions lasted about 20 -30 minutes and was a simple process for the 20 teeth that he has.
It was the dental bill at the end that was pricey.
A dental check-up and cleaning bill comes to just over $120 Canadian dollars which my works benefits covers 100% up to $2500 a year.
The same teeth cleaning costs with fluoride for adults runs around the same costs and we get this done about 3 times a year.
Imagine the costs if you didn’t have dental benefits? This is likely why so many people avoid the dentist because they simply can’t afford it.
Last month Mrs. CBB had her third Crown put in over the past 20 years and each one costs a whopping $1000.
Most dental plans will cover only 50% of the costs up to x amount of dollars each year.
Luckily, I have only had one cavity, needed 1 crown and had my wisdom teeth pulled a year after moving to Canada and that’s about it for dental work.
Employee Dental Benefits
When I wasn’t working Mrs. CBB had work benefits that covered 100% of the costs but without any dental coverage I likely wouldn’t have went back then.
Now that we have a son dental care is even more important for us as a family especially that we could lose our benefits at any time.
Nothing is guaranteed including a career or our health which means if you have no benefits the money is coming out of pocket for your dental visits.
When I stumbled upon the Healthy Smiles Program in Ontario it was only after hearing about a local dentist in our area offering free dental care to low-income families.
This included children and adults and it has become a big thing in our community where people waste no time in getting in to see a dentist and dental hygienist for a cleaning and checkup.
The window of opportunity is only open for so many hours but just giving back to the community says lots about many health care professionals across Canada.
They do care and it’s not always about the money, it’s about compassion for the people and using their skills to help others.
How Healthy Smiles Ontario Works
The idea behind the Healthy Smiles Ontario program is that it provides preventive, routine and emergency services for children and youth under the age of 17 years old that come from low-income families.
If your children qualify for this program treatments such as teeth whitening or other procedures such as braces are not covered.
Did you know the cost of braces can run a family into the thousands for one child or adult?
Mrs. CBB got a quote for Invisalign braces near $6500 and our benefits cover up to $2500 once in a lifetime.
That means we still have to fork out thousands from our savings for braces and the same for our son if he ever needs them one day.
If you are fortunate to have two benefits programs for your family you may see an even greater portion of the costs of the braces covered based on your dental benefits.
This means both you and your spouse have work benefits with dental care coverage where both can be billed by your dentist for the costs.
Not all benefits allow coverage for the cost of braces.
That being said if you have no benefits then you have to pay the full cost for braces out of pocket and for low-income families this may be unreachable.
Free Dental Care Healthy Smiles Ontario
The free dental care procedures that are covered under the Healthy Smiles Ontario program cover regular visits to a licensed dentist in Ontario which covers dental procedures such as;
Fillings (for a cavity)
Urgent or emergency dental care (including treatment of a child’s toothache or tooth pain)
Keep in mind that not all dentists in Ontario participate in the Healthy Smiles Program so it’s important to ask your dental provider first.
If they are not accepting patients with the program you will have to call around other dentist offices or contact your public health unit for a complete list.
Services Covered By Healthy Smiles Ontario
For a full list of free dental care services provided by Healthy Smiles Ontario and what are not covered visit here.
An examination or assessment by a qualified dental provider will determine the type and frequency of services a child or youth may need.
Free Dental Care Covered services include (for example):
Oral Surgery Services
Healthy Smiles Program Eligibility
If you live in Ontario and are under the age of 17 and come from a low-income family you may be eligible to apply for the Healthy Smiles Program.
Below is the chart of dated as of July 2018 of eligibility requirements for the Healthy Smiles Program in Ontario.
Number of dependent children in your household
Family net income
$23,170 or lower
$24,924 or lower
$26, 677 or lower
$28, 431 or lower
$30,185 or lower
$31,939 or lower
$33,692 or lower
$35,446 or lower
$37,200 or lower
10 or more children
$38,954 or lower. Add $1,754 for each additional dependent child to determine the income level at which your family would qualify for Healthy Smiles Ontario.
Once your child is enrolled for the free dental treatment the benefit year runs from August 1 to July 31st the following year up until their 18th birthday.
If their 18th birthday falls mid-way through the year the benefits will end by that point.
Your child will receive a Healthy Smiles Ontario Card in the mail which you must present to the dentist each time you visit for a procedure under the program.
Applying for the Healthy Smiles Program
You need help with dental costs you can apply for the program online or by mail but online will always be the fastest process in my opinion.
Before starting the enrollment process you will need a few things to fill out the application.
Social insurance number (SIN) or temporary taxation number (TTN)
Child’s date of birth
Valid Ontario address
Must have filed your income tax return in the past year
If you do not have a SIN or have not filed your income tax return in the past year you can still apply although you will need a Guarantor.
A Guarantor may be a nurse, pharmacist, doctor, dentist, mid-wife, teacher and so on that will verify your identity, age and Ontario residency.
You can mail the completed application to the address below but if you apply online you will have to print and mail a consent form with-in 30 days.
Applications are available at local Public Health Units or at Service Ontario locations or you can apply online.
Healthy Smiles Ontario
33 King Street West
PO Box 645
Oshawa ON L1H 8X1
Increasing your money supply is pretty simple if you look for opportunities although I’ll be honest and tell you that it’s going to take work but it’s so worth it.
This is how we funded our journey to debt freedom and if you’re serious about your finances take a look at what we did to optimize our money supply.
Since becoming debt free including our mortgage in May 2014 there have been many times readers have wanted to know how we are able to increase our net worth so much.
Honestly, there are months we see our money supply go up and months where we see it go down such as December of last year when all of our investments took a nose dive.
Thankfully our retirement investments have pulled through and are earning more money than they ever have which helps keep our net worth on the incline.
5 Ways To Increase Your Money Supply
I wanted to keep this simple for all of you but offer you the resources that we use to increase our money supply and have done for many years.
Some of the resources may be programs you have to apply for or tips for saving money by utilizing programs to help customers lower their overall household expenses.
My number one tip for increasing YOUR money supply is to READ and Network with like-minded people.
If you are interested in a topic and not sure how to go about something learn everything you can and work towards your goals like I did with this blog.
Pay Your Debts
The number way to increase your money supply is to decrease the amount of money that is going out each month. That means if you are paying interest on top of interest you’re blowing money into thin air.
For many of you that might be money that you don’t even have which keeps you in the minimum payment cycle for many years.
This can be heartbreaking especially if you really want to get out of debt fast and onto brighter roads ahead.
Once you increase your money supply and pay off debts in full you’ll slowly see that you have more money in the pot to play with or move around to pay other debts.
It’s simple to understand that paying off one debt leads to having extra money to put towards another which is why the snowball method of paying debt appeals to so many people.
The idea is you pay the smallest debt first while paying the minimum payment on the larger debts and eventually you’ll be debt free.
Cha-Ching, you’ve just increased your money supply.
Budget Your Money
Budgeting is an obvious way to increase your money supply because it gives you an accurate picture of the amount of net income coming in and the expenses going out.
Once you get control of your monthly budget you will be able to gain control of your money so you’re not overspending when you should be saving.
When you save in one area to pay off another you’re still increasing your money supply little by little.
You may not be out of the red but at least you’re working towards it.
If you love to earn extra cash Sign up for Survey Junkie. You earn Points for taking Surveys and earn gift cards for your time.
Earn Extra Cash when you shop online. Sign up with EBATES Canada and receive money back when you shop! So far we’ve received hundred’s of dollars back in Ebates money just for shopping online. YES it’s TRUE!! I have the cheques to prove it. 🙂
There are always people looking for you to participate in something so look on Kijiji and source businesses in your area who do panel discussions, focus groups or study groups.
I remember we did one that lasted a month and we went in once a week for 1 hour and were paid $300 cash each. It was great.
We also drank cups of espresso for $75 in a controlled environment and offered our feedback via computer.
Needless to say we were full of energy when we left the building. That only took us 20 minutes and we made $75 EACH.
Cha-Ching- Increased Money Supply.
Another time I spent one hour talking about driveway salts with 4 other people and a moderator and we got to take as many bags home that we wanted.
The room was filled with different brands and I STILL have some in our garage years later plus was paid $100 and they fed me.
As you might already know there was a point in my career where I was working two full-time jobs just to get where I am today.
It was my foot in the door and although it took up all of my time and I earned lots double the income it also helped increase our money supply. Finding a second-job is always a nice boost to the income but a drain on time.
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 will help guide you along your financial path working towards debt freedom.
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, suffered job loss, fell ill or injured on the job and so on but you can’t let that stop you from achieving your financial goals.
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”.
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 have a negative attitude towards their own financial situation.
I urge you to be optimistic and little by little with determination you too should see improvements, if you want that to happen.
Net worth updates 2019
Click the links below to read our net worth updates for the year.
How to host a successful garage sale? Sell Food and Drinks for starters.
Hosting a yard sale, boot sale, tag sale or rummage sale with kids is a great opportunity for them to earn some extra money by selling garage sale food and refreshments.
It’s the best opportunity to get your kids set up to learn the value of buying and selling with their own little business while you’re off doing your thing.
When there is food and drinks people will come and only say this because I watch people who go to Costco shopping and how they dive into the free samples.
People LOVE food and if you have something good to sell and it’s in demand there is money to be made so why not offer garage sale food the next time you host a sale?
Even if you don’t have kids who are eager entrepreneurs there are benefits to having garage sale food and drinks at your next sale.
Draws in the crowds
Essentially you want to sell everything you put outside for your garage sale because no one wants to haul it back in.
The idea around having garage sale food and drinks is that it draws in the customers and adds that extra edge to your garage sale advertising.
I’d rather visit a garage sale early if it has items I’m on the hunt for AND coffee and muffins and other sweet treats.
Most people who go to garage sales are up very early including the hosts and often it’s a mad rush out the front door.
There have been plenty of times Mrs. CBB and I have went out looking for weekend bargains and found garage sale food and drink available for purchase.
If for example if it’s a Spring garage sale you are hosting perhaps offering some hot coffee, hot chocolate, orange juice, bottled water or juice boxes along with homemade muffins and squares for breakfast.
If you’re talented in the kitchen you can make savoury breakfast muffins with eggs, ham and cheese.
I’ve also been to a yard sale that hosted garage sale food that included a BBQ with hotdogs and burgers run by the husband and the wife was doing the selling.
It was quite amazing because they had fun music playing in the background and people were hanging around eating, drinking and looking at what items were up for sale.
That’s the kind of garage sale that you will want to host or that people talk about and trust me they do.
I remember when Mrs. CBB and her friends would text each other garage sales to visit that were what they called, “worth it”.
The reason behind that is when someone hosts a garage sale without much thought they don’t sell as much because it’s evident that it’s a sale just thrown together.
When you host a vibrant garage sale with all the fixin’s you’ll have far more luck selling your stuff at reasonable prices, negotiations will come in from all angles and you can make a profit selling your favourite garage sale foods and beverages.
Last month we went to a Maple Syrup Festival where the streets in a small community were shut down for a parade and all the vendors.
Would you believe there were homeowners out hosting garage sales and selling beverages along the end of their driveways for a buck each?
I thought, what a brilliant idea. Here you have thousands of visitors to a small community for a huge event and even if you sell 300 bottles of water for a buck each that’s a huge profit.
The same goes with pop and juice although there were more than enough vendors selling food that it wouldn’t have been much unless you had something unique that went viral through the streets.
Making a profit from Garage Sale Food and Drinks
Let’s have a look at some garage sale food recipes and drinks that I think would be a hit with frugal customers.
Here’s the thing, frugal is the keyword here because even though shoppers don’t mind donating a bit more money when it’s kids or they are desperate for convenience, pricing matters.
The last thing you want is for your garage sale food and drinks to sit and no one buys them because you’re asking too much money for them. Keep the prices simple and the goals for offering garage sale food and drinks.
For example, here’s a few questions you will want to consider if you decide to have garage sale food and drinks available.
How much did it cost you to bake or buy what you are selling?
Will there be a profit?
Are you just selling food and drinks to draw in the crowds to sell your stuff?
If you buy 2 cases of bottled water on sale for $1.99/24 plus 2 bags of ice $2.99 each that equals $11.28 with taxes. If you divide $11.30 (rounded) into 24 you will need to sell the bottled water for at least $0.50 each to break even.
That means to get your money back. If you sell the bottled water for $1.00 each you will make 100% profit and double your money. This is where you will want to be IF you are selling for profit or fundraising money to give to a charity.
You would do the same math with your garage sale food as well. If you bought a bag of chocolate chip cookies for $2.00 and there are 20 cookies in the package you would have to sell each cookie for $0.10 each to make back your money.
If you sell each cookie for $0.25 each you will earn back $5.00 which means you’ve made over 100% profit. Essentially you’d have enough to buy 2 more bags of cookies and still have $1 profit left.
Best Garage Sale Food and Drinks to Sell
I’m going to compile a simple list of garage sale foods and drinks that I believe would drive customers and bring in a profit for the seller.
Ideally buying all the products you are selling while they are on sale will yield even more profits from your garage sale food and drinks.
Garage sale drinks
Cans of pop
Homemade Lemonade, Iced-Tea, other juices. Make a lemonade sale sign or whatever drink or drinks you are selling.
Coffee and tea can be tricky because you have to also provide sugar, sweetener, milk, cream. You could buy a bucket from the coffee shop and sell it for more money but I don’t think you’ll see much profit if any. If you make coffee at home to sell you’d definitely need treats to see a profit.
Garage sale food
Below are some easy foods to sell and make money or you can buy them pre-made and still make a profit based on selling price as described above.
You may have customers who don’t trust what you make because they don’t know you but it’s no different than buying food from a bake sale at work or school in my opinion.
Offering a variety of store-bought and homemade might make a difference to your overall sales.
My one big tip- Keep the messy garage sale food to a minimum and offer treats that are simple to eat. I also suggest that you keep some paper towel or napkins handy for your customers. (another cost to add into your sales pricing).
Homemade cookies mainly chocolate chip, oatmeal or other simple cookies that include chocolate. Always label if there is nuts but I would put a beware nuts could be in these products sign to be safe for those with allergies.
Fruits such as bananas and apples or even watermelon slices
Homemade or store-bought muffins or squares (including brownies, ha)
Alternatively you could offer iced-tea and lemonade for free to your customers just to put a smile on their faces and perhaps they might just buy something from your garage sale.
Discussion: What other garage sale food and drinks can you think of to sell at a sale?
Home and Blog Update
What a wonderful two weeks we’ve had since our last update. No one has been ill and nothing major has broke down around the house. I’ve been busy like most homeowners outside getting ready for Spring and lots of sunshine.
So far, I’ve got all our herbs planted for the summer, hanging baskets are up, fertilized the lawn, added mulch to our front yard flower beds and fixed up our rock garden (no weeds still).
The basil is already peaking out as is the dill and garlic so we are very excited. We even have a stray onion we are nurturing although Mrs. CBB thinks she planted it last season from a cut-off she had in the kitchen.
Oh, and the rhubarb is on it’s way to making magic again this summer. I swear we get so much rhubarb we are stuck with what to do with it.
I also went ahead and gave our big stainless BBQ away for free and bought a small Kamado charcoal grill which we do not regret. The taste of the meat and vegetables far surpass that of any propane or gas grill.
Plus, we love the extra space and we can bring it in out of the rain and winter without a hitch. So easy.
Other than that I managed to clean out part of the garage but I have more to get done as well the back-yard is next on my hit-list. I’ll update you on that for the next Saturday blog post.
On the blog I’ve been working with my amazing designer Sara to improve the look and layout again plus we became publishers with Mediavine in hopes of bringing in more revenue for CBB to help pay for what it needs to continue to run.
This blog doesn’t run on coal I’m afraid, hehe! You may see some changes as the weeks go on but they may be subtle.
Thank you again for your support, reading the blog, commenting and sharing our posts with your friends and family on social media. I started this blog for us and the people in 2012 and look at us all now.
Here we are 2019 and still helping people out of debt even if it’s only through experience and motivation. It all matters.
Have a great two weeks!!
CBB Posts You May Have Missed
These are the blog posts I’ve written the past two weeks that you can catch up on if you’ve missed them. If you don’t already please subscribe to the blog and you will get my posts come straight to your email. Ta-da…CBB in an Instant.
With all the important death blog posts I’ve been writing lately this is another great reason to understand everything you need to when it comes to your money and anything you may be leaving behind if you were to pass away.
In fact this topic came up for discussion last week when we met with our financial advisor from Mr. CBB who was curious to know. I’m sure she just wanted to know if she was better off if I was dead or alive, haha!
To start off with the good news, RRSPs can generally “rollover” tax-free to qualified beneficiaries such as:
a spouse/spousal trust/common-law partner;
financially dependent children/grandchildren under 18;
or disabled children/grandchildren of any age.
So, yes if I were to die we’d roll over the investments into my wife’s name or vice-versa.
Garage Sale Finds
If you have some awesome deals you’d like to share from your garage sale outings this Spring and Summer email me your photo and tell us what you found and how much it cost you to be featured.
Here are today’s amazing finds :
2 packs swimming goggles and moisturizing lotion $5 (asking was $7)
Shave gel, skunk spray and chewing spray (for my new puppy) $1
Bath bombs $1
Total spent $7
Frugal Recipe Find
Fiona at Just SO Tasty has these White Chocolate Brownies that I could turn away from seeing once my eyes found the recipe. I just knew I had to share with all of you brownie lovers out there.
As you already know I have a sweet spot for brownies with thousands of Pins on my Brownie Pinterest board. This recipe is next on my list especially since I have a bag of white chocolate in our freezer to use up.
Mr. CBB’s Motivational Corner
I always wondered how many seeds you should plant in each hole when getting ready for our Spring and Summer vegetable garden.
Honestly I would just play it by ear but there is an actual amount that you should use in order to avoid wasting and overcrowding.
For radishes you only need 4 seeds as do peppers but I had no idea, now I know. Oh, and look at squash only 1 seed needed.
At some point in our lives we may face financial hardship but that doesn’t mean that we won’t be able to overcome it.
What I’ve learned over the years from my readers is that where there’s a problem there’s also a solution especially with money.
If you’ve never had to write a financial hardship letter today I will show you how with a sample letter and some resources where you can seek support.
A reader sent me an email asking me about financial hardship and how he could approach the people he owes money in hopes of having them evaluate the debt he owes.
I didn’t think it was a bad idea given the situation he was facing and that it wasn’t going to be permanent.
The worst thing you can do when you don’t have enough money in the bank to pay your debts is to ignore it.
Whether it be your credit card, mortgage, rent or any other loans you MUST make the minimum payment required. Sadly when it comes to rent or a mortgage payment there is no minimum it’s a fixed expense for your budget.
Defaulting on your mortgage payments can mean BIG consequences so writing a mortgage financial hardship letter is important.
Not paying your rent will get you evicted and possibly living homeless until you can find emergency shelter.
What is Financial Hardship?
Financial hardship is when your cash flow has been significantly impacted by certain events in your life and you simply can’t make ends meet no matter how hard you try.
You must exhaust all avenues for earning money or adding cash before reaching the end of the barrel , sort to speak.
You know you’ve reached financial hardship when there’s nowhere else to turn.
Perhaps your financial priorities have changed based on life events that need to be addressed.
Unforseen events such as death or divorce may be the sole reason for your financial hardship which can lead to missing your obligatory debt repayment.
Changes in employment status such as job loss, restructuring or even injury and health decline can all add to financial hardship that must be addressed.
When should you seek financial hardship support?
The moment anything affects your income is when you must evaluate your financial position.
This may mean reworking your budget or exploring your emergency savings to see how much time it will buy you.
The emergency savings is there to help buy you some time until you can get a plan of action in place or at least your Plan B.
I often tell my readers to never depend solely on emergency savings and to always have that extra plan in place just in case the worst happens.
Do you remember when I mentioned that my mother-in-laws bank account was frozen after her husband passed away last year?
Well, we made lots of phone calls to explain the financial hardship she was having in order to keep creditors in the loop.
They appreciated that.
Other financial hardship support;
Family or Friends
Student Financial Aid Support
Contact everyone you owe money to that you can’t pay back and either talk to them or send them a financial hardship letter.
Make a deal with them to see if you can manage your finances with lowered interest rates or perhaps a lowered minimum payment until your situation changes.
Number one priority is to always let them know of your financial hardship.
Debt Reduction Spreadsheet
Earlier this year I created a debt reduction spreadsheet that you can personalize and print or keep on your computer to track paying down your debts.
If you are struggling with financial hardship one of the most important things you can do for yourself is to use a budget and track everything.
I know it sounds like a daunting task and it may be just that for someone who is not a numbers nerd like I am but it’s a must if you want to get your finances back on track.
There is one good thing about tracking your expenses in order to reduce them and that is you’re doing something about your debt using a visual.
Seeing your debt numbers vanish is probably one of the most happiest times for anyone who carries debt. I remember when we had our mortgage loan and how scary the numbers were with added interest over the years.
Once we set up and printed our pay-down chart it was nice to start crossing off payments in order to evaluate where we stood and how much further ahead we would be if we could crush even more debt.
In other-words doing and seeing are very important when it comes to your money. It’s all part of being a responsible adult and taking charge of how much you earn, where your money is going and keeping debt to a minimum if any at all.
Sample Financial Hardship Letter
Besides making a phone call you can also write a letter which is why I crafted a sample financial hardship letter for anyone who struggles with writing
Below is a financial hardship letter that I wrote and that you can use by downloading and saving the word document to your computer to edit.
I’ve kept it fairly simple so all you need to do is insert your financial hardship and personal information before sending it to the person in charge of your account.
City, Postal Code
City, Postal Code
Attn: (Insert Contact Person)
Re: Consolidating/Restructuring/Forgiveness for Debt related to Mortgage, School, Credit Card or other loan payment.
To Whom It May Concern:
I’m writing you today because I’ve fallen into financial hardship and am struggling to pay my debts back on time.
I’m hoping we can work together to help come up with a restructure of payment, consolidation or reduce my monthly payments to avoid going into default.
My financial problems began when (Insert problem here death, divorce, illness etc. but be very specific.) Since this time I’ve only had (insert how much money you get monthly) to work with each month that is being used in areas such as (insert where your money goes groceries, rent, daycare, other loans) and am struggling to balance my budget.
I am not trying to avoid my responsibility paying back my debt as I’m truly embarrassed by this situation but have no other choice but to seek financial relief.
If I can offer a suggestion that might help me balance my budget perhaps (insert suggestion or money amount you can afford) until my situation changes.
This amount would help me balance my monthly expenses and continue to pay back the money owed to you.
I look forward to discussing my options with you so please contact me at your convenience.
(Your name here)
Get Ahead Of Your Debt
No matter where you stand financially always be ahead of your debt so you understand everything that is required by you even in emergency situations.
Financial hardship can be depressing but if you reach out to the people you owe they may give you some space or make arrangements to help keep you out of the bankruptcy office.
It’s a bad place to be but explore all your options and fear no one.
Discussion: Have you ever experienced financial hardship and how did you handle it? Leave me your comments below.
Money earned in March 2019
Where did all the money go?
One budget category that jumped for us in April was telecommunications as we upgraded to android boxes. The only problem is that we have 12 months of cable renewal with Rogers so we will cancel that next year and stay strictly with the android boxes.
Another big expense went to dental because Mrs. CBB needed a crown and will need another in May. That means another $600 charge. Her dentist also suggested invisalign braces to help with her clicking jaw and spaces.
Like most benefits ours covers $2500 lifetime for braces but I’m sure the grand total will be around the $5-7k mark.
Both Mrs. CBB and I reviewed our budget categories in April and updated each as prices have increased for most services related to our home.
We try to do this as often as possible but it’s easy to become lazy and view it as overage when in fact it’s the actual bill.
For example you might get a notice that your Rogers Cell phone bill will be going up by $5 so you must increase that number in your budget.
Next month we will see a huge increase in our insurance payments as we’ve taken a slightly different route with that as I will discuss in an upcoming blog post.
We will also see a decrease in our investments as I’ve had to stop my RRSP for 2019 to avoid over-payment which I will also discuss.
Overall it was a busy month and as most homeowners experience during the Spring and Summer lots of money ends up on home maintenance and renovations.
Again, if you are not saving monthly for projected expenses you may find you have to dip into your emergency savings or create debt if you haven’t saved the cash for the above.
How do you save money for renovations and maintenance to your home? (leave me a comment below)
Have a great month everyone. See you in June.
Budget percentages April 2019
Our savings of 52.75% includes investments as well as any savings for this month based on the income of $8609.89.
We put money away for the projected expenses for things that need to be paid for in the coming months.
All of the categories took 100% of our income which shows that we accounted for all of the income in the month of April.
Our monthly expenses
Below is a breakdown of our expenses which helps us to understand where all of our money goes.
Since May 2014 we’ve been mortgage free so much of our money will be directed at savings, investments and renovations.
I appreciate that you enjoy this budget update each month but I do hope you view this as an educational tool rather than comparing your own financial numbers as our situations are all unique.
Spending less than we earn and budgeting our money has been the easiest way for us to pay down debt and save money. It may be different for you.
Chequing– This is the bank account where all of our debt gets paid from.
Projected Expenses: These are expenses we know we will pay for throughout the year = $324.98
Total Expenses Actually Paid Out: $5622.27
Total Expenses Actually Paid Out: Calculated is $8609.89 (total net monthly income) – $324.98 (projected expenses) –$2662.64 (savings to emergency fund) = $8609.89
Actual Cash Savings going into Emergency Savings: Calculated is $8609.89 (total monthly net income) – $5622.27 (actual expenses paid out for the month) – $324.98 (projected expenses) = $2662.64
Our budget results
Time for the juicy category numbers and to see how we made out with our monthly budget. Below you will see two tables, one is our monthly budget and the other is our actual budget for the month of March 2019.
This budget represents 2 adults and a toddler plus retirement investments.
Budget colour chart: If highlighted in blue that means it is a projected expenses
Note: We’ve decided to keep our grocery budget at $410.
Just in case you missed our budget updates and want to do a quick search I’ve compiled them all on one handy page: monthly budgets.
2019 Budget Challenge- 7 Monthly Budget Reports
When I was looking for people to join the CBB 2019 Budget Challenge back in December I had over 20 people interested in joining.
It looks like we are missing two of the 7 budget update reviews so we are down two people for the year although I will give them until the end of today to submit.
As our budget challengers ventures along you may see their budget reports increase in data which I expect especially because it’s a learning experience for everyone. The more you do a task the better you get at it and the more you learn about what you are doing.
The budget reports below will remain anonymous unless the writer chooses to use their name and each one will be unique. They get to choose how they report their budget back to us.
Last week we met up with our financial advisor to review our retirement plan and life insurance policies and got more than we bargained for.
It was there that we began talking about what documents we should keep in a fireproof safe at home.
Yes, another thing to consider as a renter, homeowner and even handy for students, but worth every dollar.
The conversation went from ensuring that our life insurance policies were stored safely in the event of a fire or loss that we ventured onto the topic of other items and valuables to stash away.
When my father-in-law passed away last year he had a fireproof safe in the home, however there was nothing in it and still in the original box.
I’m sure the idea was to store important valuables and documents inside but the task was pushed aside due to health reasons so it never was completed.
Literally the next day we had to hunt through garbage bags and drawers full of letters, documents and paperwork that my mother-in-law had stored away over the years.
Her organizational skills were horrible although at least she kept the stuff and didn’t throw it all out. My father-in-law was no better with piles of medical documents and other important information sitting in a box on the top of his dresser.
Finally, we found both their wills and the house and property information along with the ownership to their vehicle with banking information.
We honestly thought we were going to be in big trouble if we hadn’t found this information so we got lucky.
Since we ended up with all of the important documents and valuables from their home at our home we took the fireproof safe with us.
Inside of it you will find everything that is needed for my mother-in-law who is no longer able to take care of her finances in the event they are called on.
We also have both of their jewellery stored in the fireproof safe after locating it in his bedroom at the bottom of a garbage bag ready to be donated.
Unfortunately Mrs. CBB’s mother lost her wedding ring to a theft when she hosted a highschool party that got out of hand and the police had to get involved to close it down.
I’m not saying that your child will do the same but you never know who is going to come into your house or what WILL happen when you go away.
Even the best mannered children have gotten into some dangerous situations that their parents never dreamed their child would be a part of.
Choosing the right fireproof safe
The fireproof safe that we have is only small so it doesn’t hold any of our own important documents and valuables so we went shopping for one.
What we learned was that there are MANY types of fireproof and waterproof safes on the market and ideally you’d want one that has both fire and water protection.
You can buy something small or go big to store everything and anything from keepsakes to valuables to your most important documents.
We’d like to find something with the longest fire endurance time that is fireproof, waterproof and not too big.
Below are a few fireproof safe suggestions that I researched that you might be interested in.
The executive fire-safe seems to be big enough for us and certainly the price is worth it considering what we will be storing in it.
It really boils down to personal preference when buying a fireproof safe so write down what you want from your safe and consider what will be stored in it.
Sentry Safe Executive Fire-Safe is the optimal security safe that also provides fire and water protection. Your records and valuables will be safeguarded and organized with the thicker door, 9 oversized locking bolts ( 30 mm) , multi-position shelves and carpeted interior.
This executive safe has a standard fire protection-ETL verified for fire endurance ( 30-minutes at 1400 F ) to protect documents, records and valuables stored inside from fire damage.
This unit is also ETL Verified water-resistant for 12-Inch of water for 72 hours.
We have yet to buy one however we are contemplating buying a large safe that we can store in the basement or cold room for our family.
Keep in mind that not all fireproof safes can withstand fire for too long which means you also risk losing the contents of what’s inside the safe.
Some homeowners go as far as to install a fireproof safe inside the wall to keep it off the ground and safe from would-be thieves.
That’s another thing to consider as well. If a thief were to break in even if they don’t have the key or security code for your safe if it is easy to carry they WILL walk out the door with it.
That was the explanation my brother-in-law gave me when I asked him about the fireproof safe he built into his house. It wasn’t big but it held his spare cash and anything that was valuable to him.
We even gave our family one each for Christmas one year and they loved it. No more storing a spare key under the front door mat or flower pot.
I think just about everyone who considers owning a safe will put some form of spare cash in the event of an emergency.
This is a great idea especially if you need to prove to your insurance company that you had an item which has been stolen or lost in a fire, flood or other acts of nature.
I’d also suggest to keep any important receipts for big ticket or valuable items in your fireproof safe as well.
You can never get family photos back unless you have the negatives or the USB or other digital storage it came on.
Do yourself a favour and back it all up and put away for safe keeping.
We have 2 small boxes of my wife’s family photos that we brought to our house. There are no negatives so if they burn or get stolen they are lost forever.
Memories are so important so protect them.
Jewellery and Valuables
If you don’t want to store your valuables in a bank vault you can keep them in your fireproof safe at home.
Anything from wedding rings to jewellery handed down through the generations.
Perhaps you have an item that is worth big bucks which is not jewellery but valuable, put it in your fireproof safe.
Password Managers and Personal Information
If you want to keep your passwords for just about everything online you can store it on a piece of paper or an a stick so you always have access to it.
Alternatively there are many Password Manager apps that allow you to store passwords and usernames although it’s important that the people who will look after your affairs when you are gone know how to find or get access to this information.
Some of the top password storage apps for 2019 are simple to use and affordable or free such as Dashlane, Sticky password, Robo Form, Keeper and Password Safe.
You may also want to consider keeping a copy of your social insurance number, health card and driver’s licence.
Renting a Safe Deposit Box in Canada
Finally, if you aren’t comfortable leaving any of the above in a home fireproof safe then consider keeping original copies in a bank safe deposit box and backup at home.
Over at Royal Bank for example they offer customers a safe deposit box for what I would consider a reasonable price.
Safe Deposit Box rentals range from $60 to $500 annually plus applicable taxes. However, depending on your banking account, this service may be available to you at no additional charge or at a discount.
If you’re looking for a way to protect your valuable documents and small items, consider keeping them in a safe deposit box that’s securely stored inside the vault at your local RBC Royal Bank® branch.
Safe Deposit Box rentals range from $60 to $500 annually plus applicable taxes. However, depending on your banking account, this service may be available to you at no additional charge or at a discount.
Annual Fee as of June 1, 2018
GST/QST/HST will be added to these prices.
A bank safe deposit box is worth the investment especially for important documents and valuables that are hard to replace or you need easy access too.
Whether you choose to own a fireproof safe, safe deposit box or nothing at all just consider what your life will be like it were gone.
Discussion: What do you keep in your home fireproof safe? Leave me a comment below as I enjoy reading your feedback and learning from my readers.