Found Money

By Boomer | August 19, 2010 |
Posted in
I have an investment that is fully redeemable without penalty and pays an annual interest rate of 4.74%, much higher than the so-called investment savings accounts out there.  It is my personal chequing account.

If I keep a minimum balance of $1,000 in the account, and limit myself to only 10 withdrawals a month, my monthly service charge of $3.95 is waived.  I deposit this fee to my savings account so it actually compounds.

If 10 withdrawals don’t work for your own budget, there are many other places to find extra money that doesn’t involve the ubiquitous quitting smoking and laying off the lattes.

 

Related: Ways To Save Money

Here is a couple off the top of my head:

  • Some stores, in their flyers, print coupons worth 20% to 50% off your purchases or give you a gift card when you spend over a certain amount.  These go beyond plain coupon clipping and can give you substantial savings; so don’t be too proud to use them.  Michael’s, HBC, Bed Bath & Beyond and Superstore are a few that do this.
  • Many customers have reward cards that earn points.  Air Miles is the big one, but you can earn points at other stores that you can redeem for gift cards or pay for your purchase.  HBC and Shoppers Drug Mart are a couple that do this.  I have been known to purchase a good portion of my Christmas list with points.

I’m sure if you think about it you can discover a lot of ways to find extra money that you can deposit into your financial freedom account and watch it grow.

Tips To Save Money: Meal Planning

By Robb Engen | August 18, 2010 |
Posted in
They say if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  I’ve found meal planning to be one of the best money saving tips out there for young families trying to stretch their dollars.

Knowing in advance what you are going to eat for dinner can save you from many impulse visits to your favorite restaurant or fast food chain, as well as those last minute trips to the grocery store when you don’t have anything left in the cupboards.

Tips to Get Started With Meal Planning

Start the meal planning process by making a dinner list.  I recommend matching the length of your list to your payday cycle.  If you get paid weekly, plan for 7 dinners, if it’s bi-weekly plan for 14 dinners.

I get paid monthly and plan for 30 nightly meals (seriously).  Put your list up on the fridge, this will help you remember to take the chicken out to defrost.

Take stock of what’s already in your fridge, freezer, and cupboards.  From there, use your dinner list to make your shopping list.

I make a list for shopping at Costco (meat, dairy, vegetables, other staples), and Safeway (whatever else I require that doesn’t need to come in size XXL).  For further money saving tips, try and hit Safeway on 15% off Tuesday (1st Tuesday of the month).

Related: How To Save Money On Groceries

I split up the meat into smaller portions and use our deep freeze to store it for the month.  Some people buy a side of beef and freeze it, which they claim can save money vs. buying retail.

This takes a fair bit of organization but since we started meal planning along with tracking our monthly expenses we have saved about $250/month.  We often end up with leftovers to use for lunch, which saves us even more money.

Not only that, my wife and I have lost weight, tried and fell in love with new recipes, and have actually become really good cooks.

Stay flexible.  Although meal planning sounds quite rigid, we switch meals all the time based on our schedule, what the weather is doing (for BBQ’s), or what might spoil in the fridge if we don’t eat it right away.

Related: 35 Ways To Save Money

The point isn’t to live like you’re in the Army.  Use these money saving tips to eat a little bit healthier, and enjoy more time with your family.

The Long and Winding Road

By Boomer | August 17, 2010 |
Posted in
When I saw the classified ad in the newspaper for a Financial Planner for a Trust Company I knew that was what I wanted to do – help people get a handle on their finances and plan for the future.  My dream job!

I worked for a bank and they didn’t recognize financial planning at that time so I took the six correspondence courses over three years at my own expense and passed the grueling six-hour exam the first time (yeah, me!), and became a Certified Financial Planner.

Related: Fee Only Financial Planner vs. Commission Based Advisor

Unfortunately, the bank still didn’t recognize my achievements but I worked my way up to become a Financial Advisor which sounded fine to me, I could still practice what I had learned.

However, this is where my ideas started falling apart.  Banks are like retail stores and they make their profits by selling financial products, and they want to entice customers from other financial institutions with cleverly packaged products that sound great.

As much as you may like your financial professional, make no mistake about it, they are compensated for selling bank products and bringing in more money from other financial institutions.

Related: Can You Trust Advice From Your Bank?

The packaged investment and credit products they sell are pretty much “one-size-fits-most” and there is very little individual about them.  Since it’s human nature not to look foolish or ignorant, most customers will nod knowingly and sign on the dotted lines.

The bank and I have since parted ways and I “retired” several years ago so things might have changed in the meantime but I seriously doubt it.

Now is my chance to do what I originally dreamed of.

From my experience I have found that many (if not most) people have little interest or information about one of the most important things in their lives – money, and it doesn’t seem to be taught in school.

 

Related: Why Your Financial Plan Sucks

It is my intention to post articles on investing and personal finances and help those who are interested in what I have to say to formulate their own individual financial plans.