Frugal Living

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Sometimes being frugal requires us to sacrifice fun for the bare minimum – but it doesn’t have to be that way! Believe it or not, you can enjoy fun and free activities on a budget. Here’s how:

1. Eating out

Buy groceries on sale: You can find seasonal vegetables and fruits at lower prices so look out for the mangoes and broccoli in March!

Make your own lunch: You could be saving $5 each day or $100-$150 each month! Most workplaces and schools will have a microwave or kitchen to reheat your delicious and healthy lunch.

Drink tea instead of coffee: Both have caffeine, but tea is much cheaper than your usual $5 Starbucks drink. If you feel like cutting back some more, use your own tea bags and bring a mug or tumbler for hot water.

2. Weekend fun

Invest in the Entertainment Book: There are some great deals to Vancouver’s favorite restaurants and spots. As well you can check out new places at discounted prices.

Borrow a book: For a quiet weekend, enjoy a book or movie from the library. You can always find the latest reads and all type of genres there.

3. Shopping

Use coupons: Browse the internet, magazines and newspapers for sales because a dollar here and there can amount to a lot more. Take for example the popular show, Extreme Couponing!

Reuse: Be creative and turn shoe boxes into storage containers!

Do it yourself: Half the fun is making it! Look up projects like redecorating or cooking online and do it yourself for less money and a lot more fun.

Frugal living is about being creative with what you already have. What are your resourceful tips or ideas?

Setting up a Personal Budget

Let’s face it – with these busy schedules and constant exams, no one has the time or the patience to make a personal budget for themselves. I’m here to tell you that this small effort of sitting down and figuring out your goals is crucial.

Plan: Create a personal goal that is reasonable and within a time-frame. This goal can be based on an upcoming trip (Italy, anyone?), or simply saving up for tuition and textbooks.

Write: Writing down what foods you consume helps you get a sense of what you’re putting in your body. Similar to a diet, the same goes for making a budget. Writing down your income and expenses will give you an idea of what is a realistic goal for your budget, and will also tell you how long it will take to achieve.

Revise: Once you realize if you’re actually spending more than you earn from subtracting your income from expenses, you might want to sit and revise your budget so that you don’t stray from your goal. You personal budget goal should motivate you to move forward, not backward!

Support: Having patience and a support system of friends and family are also essential aspects that shall not go disregarded. If you tell a friend what you’re trying to achieve, then there is a greater chance you will accomplish your goal as you would have another person to keep you on track.

Patience and organization is key. Remember, setting a personal budget should not be a tedious task. This helps you in the long-run, and is there to help you attain your purpose.

As a financial presenter and Workshop Leader for Count on Me, I cannot stress how important writing goals down is for your mindset. Teaching students about financial literacy is a great reminder of the little things we forget that make a huge impact on our lives. Budgets may be the last things on people’s minds, but it is truly a feature of finance that should not be forgotten.

Good luck everyone!

Why Should I Attend a Financial Consultation?

Since the financial world out there today is highly complex, it is difficult to make smart monetary choices to plan and protect your financial future, hence it is one reason why investor literacy is low in Canada. Therefore, I would like to ask you, when does it come to the point where you decide that you are in need of a financial planner to provide you with advice about your finances? Well, here are the top three reasons you may decide to see a qualified financial planner (a.k.a. financial advisor).

1.       You do not feel ready to create a financial plan on your own.
Financial planners have a broad set of skills that allow them to make a financial plan that is customized and right for you. Overall, they will help you put your finances in order.

2.       Your life has changed (ex. new job) and you do not know if or what changes you should make to your financial plan.
Financial planners are trained to help you adjust as your life changes by knowing what questions to ask.

3.       You need advice so that you can understand and choose investments that are going to help you achieve your financial goals.
Financial planners will help you develop an investment strategy that will fit your goals and your comfort level.

If any of these three questions relate to you we advise you to seek financial help, but be cautious! Check a financial planner’s background to ensure that they are actually qualified professionals.

Tips: Buying Textbooks

Are you in shock from the amount of money you just spent on this spring’s textbooks? Here are some tips you can use to make some money off of your old textbooks and to help you save money next semester, so that you do not have to go out and take on extra student loans.

1. Wait until your first class to buy your books.
Sometimes, when you get to your first class, your teacher will inform you that you do not even have to buy the textbook suggested.

2. Resell your previous textbooks.
If you do not feel that you will need the textbook for further reference, try to resell it as soon as possible. Some examples of websites where you can sell them online are www.books2go.ca, and www.saveonbook.com. Also try searching up some Facebook groups for your school where you can also sell and buy used textbooks.

3.  Buy used books when you can.
Used books are cheaper and you can sell a book that has been used twice for the same price as a book that has been used once more often than not.

4.  Buy online.
There are many websites for students geared towards helping you find the best deals on university textbooks. Some examples are: www.DirectTextbook.com, www.amazon.com, and www.Chegg.com.

5. Share with a friend.
Make friends with someone in your class and share a book, this will cut your textbook price in half.

6. Rent your textbooks via Kindle.
You do not have to own a Kindle to read rented books; once you rent them they can be accessed using Kindle reading Apps for PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Windows phone, and Android phones.

Hopefully these tips will help you save money so you can buy more pizza and coffee!

Happy studying!

References

http://www.today.com/id/26161407/site/todayshow/ns/today-back_to_school/t/ways-beat-system-when-buying-college-textbooks/#.UQMxz_Ln9-E

New Year’s Resolution – Saving, Goal-setting

Happy New Year’s everybody! I’m sure we all have resolutions for the new year, and here are some of my tips on helping you achieve and maintain your New Year’s Resolution.

Here are some tips to help you get started:

1) Make a list: List out your resolutions.

2) Prioritize: Ask yourself what do you want to achieve the most? Pick your top three.

3) Plan a schedule: Realistically plan out how long it will take you to reach those goals and the step-by-step actions required to achieve your goal.

4) Start early: Once you have all of the above completed, start gathering your resources. The earlier you start, the faster you will reach that goal!

5) Find motivation/Tell someone: If your goal is to save up for a car, motivate yourself and have pictures of the car you want and post it somewhere visible (ie. your refrigerator) as a source of motivation. Tell your friends and/or family members about it so that they can hold you accountable and keep pushing you to reach that goal!

6) Pay yourself first: Most resolutions often come with a price. Always remember to save a portion of your pay-cheque or allowance for your goal before you spend it on anything else.

7) Work towards your goal day by day: You are not expected to reach your goal within a few days – it’s an on-going process, but as long as you do something each day you will eventually get there!

8) Never give up: It’s okay to get off track as long as you know to get back on track. Self-determination is key!

Thank you for reading, I hope this was helpful to you!

Have a happy 2013!