Monthly Archives: May 2016

You Can Celebrate Canada Day On A Family Friendly Budget

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It might seem impossible, but let’s be serious, a family friendly budget for Canada Day is possible to achieve.  Canada Day isn’t so much about spending, as it is about celebrating history.  Canadian families can easily have a backyard cookout and reminisce on history and culture without being wasteful.  If you plan on going out on Canada Day, then plan ahead.  Yes, you read it right.  “Planning,” yet again. Isn’t it in everything we consistently talk about here? Without planning properly you’ll never really have a chance to relax and enjoy life.

If you don’t know much about Canada Day, we recommend Desmond Morton’s: “A Short History Of Canada,” as it is much like Memorial Day within the United States.  So, let’s stop and just be creative for a moment.  What can, or do you and your family members look forward to on this historic day?  What kind of budget are you looking at?  What prepping or planning has been done?

Let us help you figure this out!  Read on for some great ideas, tips, and budget friendly activities you can participate in for a memorial day!  We will be keeping this to a $50 budget for a family of 4.

Fun Activities Perfect For Those On A Budget

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If you live anywhere near Spruce Grove, Canada, you can have a great time without feeling you’ve spent a fortune at all!  The concert at the Spruce Grove Jubilee is totally free, and many of the other days activities are either budget friendly or free.  What more could a family of four want?  Of course, if you don’t live near Spruce Grove you’ll want to map out the time it will take you to get here and other expenses.  Let’s look at some other activities you can get involved in besides that traditional family cookout!

If you live in Victoria, Canada-then there are also many celebrations that you and yours can attend, again, many of these are cost free!  The city of Victoria’s fireworks will set off at 10:20, and you don’t have to pay anything to get to visit and enjoy this grand finale!  Also, you can capture free red and white tee shirts early in the day as you walk around and enjoy other live entertainment.  There might be a minimal parking fee and costs for food, but remember, everything is very budget friendly!

Those in St. Albert will be celebrating this 149th birthday in Canada with tons of fun activities as well.  The main activities are going to be at Rotary park–so make sure you plan on coming early to find decent parking.  There is no doubt, on July 1, visitors and residents of all ages will enjoy all types of entertainment and outdoor activities at reasonable costs. Good food, good times and family bonding certainly is the goal all across Canada on July 1!

If you’re interested in volunteering at any of these scheduled venues, city officials would be highly appreciative! Many businesses are also offering one day employment for really good pay too–so you can decide what you’d like to do.  Don’t forget that there will be partnering groups all across Canada hosting entertainment, fireworks and day activities too!  Some of these are listed below, and if in doubt you can check with your local commerce centre to find out more information on just where and what activities will be taking place where you live, or nearby.

And the best news….many activities won’t come near $50.00 so get out and have a great, historic celebration for 2016!

Parliament Hill Fireworks and Entertainment

Calgary Canada Day Celebration and Fireworks

Fort Edmonton Park and City Hall Celebration

Montreal Flag Raising and Gun Salute with multiple other entertainment

Fireworks at Fort McMurray

And so much more!!

Fireword in Fort McMurray

 

 

Do You Know The Credit Card Do’s and Don’ts?

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Yes, credit cards can be useful financial tools if they are used responsibly–unfortunately, credit cards are highly mishandled, everyday and all across the globe.  Too many see these as a means to an end, or a reason to splurge on those things they wouldn’t ordinarily have considered purchasing.  Furthermore, financial experts find that too many turn to credit cards to support their monthly living expenses, something that is a financially suffocating lifestyle. Remember though, individuals or families who use credit cards right can really benefit financially!  This can help boost credit scores and illustrate strong credit worthiness.

Financial experts also insist that blind refusal to credit cards can create long-term financial mistakes.  You don’t just want any credit card either.  If your current credit score is significant enough you can capture a great card with low interest rates.  Remember, using it wisely can really boost your credit score.

Let’s examine some of the most critical do’s and don’ts of credit cards within Canada today.

Top 8 Do’s and Don’ts with Regard to Credit Cards

Just remember to use your card or cards only for high priority items and you will avoid the pitfalls that so many Canadians suffer from.  The headache and hassle is often brought on by mistakes, but you can be smart when you’re trying to build your credit, there’s no doubt about it!

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  1. Many Canadians are already aware of this one “don’t”, but here it is anyway–you should never use half of your credit available!  The maximum should be 30% to 35% of your credit, because in this way you’ll show lenders that you don’t need that credit card to live month to month.  It proves your smart and credit worthy!
  2. You don’t need more than 3 credit cards, and 3 is really pushing it.  If you have too many credit cards in your wallet, this can hurt your credit versus helping it.  Why?  Imagine using 30% of all three at a time.  This illustrates you are living on credit–because you’re just shuffling it around.  It’s okay to have 3, but watch how you use them!  With credit cards come responsibility and often times too many leads to disaster, or rather, temptation in over spending.
  3. You should choose credit cards with a low interest rate, ALWAYS!  If you can’t get that then our advice is to wait until your credit is a little better.  The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada can help give concise details and help on what to look for and what to expect!
  4. It should be common sense to know to pay your bill in full every month to avoid those higher interest fees and other penalties credit card companies just love to apply when you don’t!  So, don’t overspend and you’ll be able to do this.
  5. Don’t succumb to those cash advances so many credit cards now provide to trustworthy customers.  You can easily get sucked in and then have a hard time recovering from this.  Try to avoid cash advances at all costs!
  6. Don’t lose receipts!  You should always record and file receipts so that if a charge comes up questionable you have something to go to in order to refute it.  This also keeps your finances streamlined, with regard to credit card transactions.
  7. Make sure you read the fine print of any credit card you sign up for.  If you don’t, you can only blame yourself.
  8. Sign up for spending alerts if you feel you can’t keep track of how much you’re spending.  This will ensure you don’t go over a budget and you stay within that 30% median of credit card usage.

 

5 Tips To Eat Well Without Going Over Budget

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A balanced diet works like a balanced budget, and it is possible to have when you plan ahead and prepare.  Let’s not forget that proper nutrition daily ensures well mental alertness, energy and improved productivity!  This is a wise investment, but you can do it without going way over budget too!  Now, that is good news–right?  If you’re one of those who has believed you can’t afford to eat healthier, you’re wrong.  Learning proper meal preparation can work, even for those on a shoestring budget!  Learn how to shop smarter and be savvy!  The below tips are going to walk you through how to get started.

5 Tried And True Tips For a Wallet Friendly Diet

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When you go grocery shopping there are so many tricks you can apply to avoid the shock and dismay at checkout that happens to so many Canadians!  Before we begin listing the most applicable tips, let’s point out that one of the most critical is to keep track of your spending as you go through the store.  It is sensible and manageable!  If anything, you’ll be prepared for the total costs at checkout.

Tip 1:  Stay on a healthy lifestyle path (avoid end cap aisle items)

Often, retailers will put items we crave at the end caps to capture our attention before we venture on down the shopping aisle.  Don’t fall prey to this marketing tactic!  Make consistent healthy choices and ensure that you have a plan for every item you put into your cart.

Tip 2:  Don’t forget how buying in bulk can save a ton of money

Yes, buying in bulk, at a wholesale store can save you a great deal of money!  For example, a family pack of 10 boneless chicken breasts can be filleted and set aside for two complete meals!  You might even be able to get a 3rd healthy meal from this.  Think creatively and plan, plan, plan!

Tip 3:  Never go without a handy list

We’ve talked about this before.  Plan for what you need.  Establish a weekly meal plan and round a shopping list around those needs.  Add in secondary items at the bottom of your list, like: shampoo, bath soap, pet food, etc.  You can actually cook your own pet food, versus buying processed brands.  You see, just these little things will make a difference.

Tip 4:  You don’t have to go straight for the name brand

You can purchase quite a number of items that are non-brand, yet just as good of quality as the name brand.  Do some research and see what products you can save on in this respect.  You might be pleasantly surprised!

Tip 5:  Waste not want not

Did you know that over $27 billion dollars worth of food goes to waste in Canada every year alone?  It is such a waste, but this can be avoided and you can become the solution here!  Start enjoying leftovers and learn how you can turn leftovers into totally new meals!  So, start using your freezer more wisely and learn how conservation can benefit your wallet or pocketbook!

Azmi Farah, a Hasty Market owner, organizes produce at his Hasty Market location in Toronto on Wednesday, April 22, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Darren Calabrese

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Methods For Conducting A Long Distance Job Search

Job-seekers meet with recruiters and career advisors at the Canada Job Expo held at North York Memorial Hall in Toronto, Canada, Tuesday, May 28, 2013. Galit Rodan/Bloomberg

When you have to move to boost your career goals, or to perhaps increase your financial stability–this should never become something that is impossible.  You can keep this from filling you with anxiety and stress!  The best thing you can do for yourself is stage and plan, just like when it comes down to building up savings.  Everything truly is about planning.  For example, if you’ve landed a job far from your current living situation the best thing you can do is learn as much as possible about the locale before relocating. It makes sense, don’t you think?  If you’re moving from Canada to the US–there is a lot to discover and learn.

The following below tips are sure to help you reestablish yourself in a new job within a new area without the hassle so many have to face.  Keep in mind, if you can learn as much about the location beforehand you’ll be better off.  For instance, understanding the economics of a new area to averaging living expenditures and more can make this kind of transition much easier.

Let’s look at some exceptional ways to enhance your new career and the building of a financially sound future!

Tips To Make A Transitional Career Move Easier

Tip 1:  Long distance job searches do require patience, so plan for it

Unless you’ve already been hired, you’re going to have to prepare for a long job search and a good deal of research. However, for many Canadians (or anyone in this position) it all pays off in the end.  What we recommend is to establish a plan, as previously mentioned.  Call upon friends and family when the time is near for relocating.  Also, be prepared to pay your own relocation expenses versus asking a new job if they offer this.  You’ll receive many more job interviews and hire potentials if you show you’re capable of this type of transition without assistance from a company you’re getting hired on with.  Something to consider!

Tip 2:  Share your willingness to start work ASAP–even when relocating

One of the very best ways to capture a potential employers attention is to put your new relocation address on your resume.  In this way future employers can see you’re already in transition and aren’t expecting any moving benefits from the company.  Also, if you can show that you can start work on the drop of a dime, a new employer won’t really care about you relocating.  In other words, you can take control and minimize the hassle that often comes with hiring someone from out-of-state.  Just proving you’re on top of it all and ready to work clearly makes a huge impression with an employer.

Tip 3:  Be ready to be flexible with salary negotiation as long as it is fair and balanced

When you show flexibility, employers are definitely more apse to consider you over other job applicants! Negotiating a rate that will meet a livable income standard for you is what you’re after.  And also a rate that the possible employer will find satisfying is certainly ideal!  This is some of the best advice job seekers can get!

Tip 4:  Do apply for a job that says “local candidates” if you really are interested

Don’t turn away from those jobs which mention only (locals apply).  It would be a mistake.  If you can show that you have your moving transition under control and are ready and able to begin working, then you’ll stand just as good of a chance as the next candidate will–even if you are out-of-state!

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Money Saving Tax Tips For Canadians 2015-16

Canadian Tax

Are you ready to make the most out of your tax savings?  Though it might be late to be filling, for those Canadians who requested an extension on their taxes, these strategies and tax savings will prove to be more than beneficial.  We’re sure those who are self employed will find many ways to take advantage of these here too! Canadians who can, should claim as many tax deductions and credits as possible.  This will then potentially lower their tax burden at the end of the year.  Furthermore, the end goal is to make certain to avoid all the common misunderstandings, pitfalls and the limitlessness misinformation that does exist.  We will dispel some of this for you right here!

Now, before we actually start listing some of these tips, we want to point out a very important issue with financial gifts or benefits gained on your job.  Some Canadians believe these don’t have to be claimed, as they think they are non taxable.  Modest gifts from your employer might be okay to not claim, but if you’re receiving end of year bonuses that are above $500–and this is every year; these kinds of things have to be claimed.  If it was something like every 3 to 5 years, then you could get away with it.  Unfortunately, the CRA will pick up on discrepancies through audits and by other regulations.

Let’s take the time to look at some of the things you should do and some of those you shouldn’t do when it comes to your taxes and gaining those precious tax advantages!

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2016 Tax Season Tips To Make Finances Easier At The End Of The Year

1)  Don’t be afraid to accept a pay raise or another form of promotion

Just because you receive a pay raise or a promotion doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be in a new tax bracket and have to pay more out in taxes at the end of the year.  In fact, the opposite might be true.  Too many Canadians are losing out on tax benefits by not accepting promotions and raises versus any truth to the latter.  Be proud of your work and your position and accept what you’ve earned!

2)  The CRA DOES reward honesty, so don’t hesitate to point out who might not be paying taxes the way they should

Reliable tips that the CRA receives do profit for some Canadians.  It was just a few years ago that the Canadian Revenue Agency put rewards in place for those who would report on others not properly paying taxes and such.  While it might feel like a snitch position–think about how it can keep you safeguarded when it comes down to auditing and other investigations!  Honesty really does pay off.

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3)  You can file your taxes online without paying more

So many Canadians believe that filing taxes online can lead to unexplained penalties and other unnecessary costs, but this isn’t true.  As long as you’re familiar with how to file taxes and if you have the similar earnings year after year, filing online can save you time and money.  The earlier you can get your taxes taken care of the better!

There are definitely more tax myths out here that intimidate and scare people for no reason.  Filing your taxes might take time, but it’s a necessary evil.  Knowing the facts about the CRA and how it all works makes everything even simpler.  With further investigation and educating, you’ll learn more tips and strategies that might be perfect for you!  If you haven’t filed yet, don’t wait to get that extension approval!