CalendarBudget Blog

Personal finance matters as they pertain to saving money, living within your means and using CalendarBudget to solve your personal finance problems and to manage your money online.

Can I Afford to be a Stay-At-Home Mom?

Can I Afford to be a Stay-At-Home Mom?

Have you ever wondered if your income is making some if any difference in the overall income of the house?

There are many different criteria to take into consideration when making the decision to start/continue working or to stay home. One is the money aspect. I just came across this great calculator, Chatelaine's "The Stay-at-home calculator", that I thought may help you identify how much you do contribute to the household income. After you've found out how much you can/do contribute, think if the trade off is worth it. Is your child in school during those hours anyway? Will your child have most of their interaction with babysitters and be taught morals and life principles from them instead of you? Who is your child building a relationship with to turn to when pressing questions come up? Are you spending sufficient time with them to satisfy your parental duties/needs and the childs' needs?

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CalendarBudget now accepts transaction export from mint.com!

CalendarBudget now accepts transaction export from mint.com!

If you are a mint.com user, this post is for you.

Mint.com pulls your data directly from your bank account and attempts to auto-categorize your transactions. While it is quite convenient, it still lacks the ability to plan ahead. Here's where CalendarBudget helps. You can now take advantage of the account history you have in mint.com and import that into CalendarBudget.

Here's how:

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My Cheap Vacation - How I Did It!

My Cheap Vacation - How I Did It!

I just got back from an overnight family vacation, which was a trip from my near Toronto, Ontario home to Palmyra, NY. There's an outdoor pageant there which I've wanted to bring my family to see for a long time, and we finally decided to do it. Aside from being lots of fun, entertaining, bonding (kids first time in a hotel), it was inexpensive to boot!

Total cost: About $230

Here's how I did it.

First - some fixed costs which I couldn't change:

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Time is Money Monday: Economic Ties To Your Performance

Time is Money Monday: Economic Ties To Your Performance

No this is not about bonuses or pay raises

Its about an idea I read about recently to help overcome procrastination. We all know procrastination is evil. It robs us of the benefits of proper prioritization, wastes time and since time is money, procrastination wastes money

Here's the idea:

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Business Advisory Centre Durham and CalendarBudget

Business Advisory Centre Durham and CalendarBudget

We are excited to announce that Business Advisory Centre Durham (BACD.ca) has introduced a new tool, "BACD Money Manager" (powered by CalendarBudget), for their clients to categorize and track daily spending, and plan their future transactions. The "BACD Money Manager" is prominently featured on their "Helpful Links" page as a way to help new start-ups and small businesses with their budgeting needs and manage their financial forecasting. It has been very delightful to work with a very energetic group of people that are keen on helping new start-ups and small businesses succeed.

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How Learned Behavior Affects Your Finances

How Learned Behavior Affects Your Finances

While there is no accurate answer, best guesses put about 10% of our behavior as innate while about 90% of our behavior is learned (in adults). This means that 90% of what we do is a direct result of either conscious thought processes or habit. I suggest that nearly 100% of our financial habits are learned behavior. Let me illustrate with an example. (This is a great story - worth taking the time to read it)

In a famous behavior experiment, 4 guinea pigs we put into a cage.

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Pain

Pain

I saw a phrase on a shirt today while I was grappling at the Jiu Jitsu dojo I go to... it said:

"Pain is weakness leaving the body"

I think the shirt was an advertisement for the marines or some armed forces division.

It got me thinking that the sqeeze everyone is feeling because of the poor economy is just our excess, pride and overspending leaving our system (or at least it should be). A little pain every once in a while is not necessarily a bad thing, so long as we react properly to it and make adjustments to not have that pain.

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CalendarBudget Providing an iCal Feed?

CalendarBudget Providing an iCal Feed?

Late last night during an email exchange with one of our saavy users, it was suggested that we provide an iCal feed of CalendarBudget data. iCal is a calendaring format which can be consumed by calendar programs such as those on mobile devices and other calendaring software.

This could be a way for us to easily get onto mobile devices before we planned to. It also addresses some previous requests to combine regular calendaring items and financial information.

Imagine it - you are looking at your calendar events for the day and you also see your balance (as an "All Day" activity) and transactions that occur that day as timed entries (perhaps timed for 11:59pm so they are last on your list. It could be really convenient.

I'd love to hear some feedback on the idea and how it may be used.

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Finovate Startup 2009

Finovate Startup 2009

On April 28th I attended Finovate Startup 09 as a Startup presenter. We presented on Moday the 27th as a pre-recorded demo, while other presented on the 28th. The demo video is being professionally edited and will be available in about a week. I`ll post it when its available.

The event was a lot of fun, we met a lot of great people, saw what the competition is doing and what our real strengths are. Surprisingly, there are only a few companies who allow for planning future finances. Most only focus on reporting on whats happened in the past. Planning for the future is clearly one of CalendarBudget`s strengths. Also, our calendar format is a clear winner when compared to the other interfaces, most of which just show transactions and planned events in a list. We did glean some ideas for future development, however, we`ll have you the users vote on what we should be doing next.

We have a little bit of clean up surrounding our subcription code to complete this week, then we`ll start posting more `whats next` ideas for you to vote on.

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CalendarBudget introduces Bank Reconciliation Assistant

CalendarBudget introduces Bank Reconciliation Assistant

There are 2 camps of personal finance products.

  1. Those that connect directly to your online bank account and pull your financial information for you and attempt to automatically categorize your purchases.
  2. Those that require manual input but are much more secure since they don't touch your actual bank account.

CalendarBudget falls under camp #2. We feel that security these days is one of the most important aspects of online personal finance management. Since this model does not connect directly to your bank, there is some manual input required to get your data into CalendarBudget. 

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Time is Money Mondays: Chopping Time When Cooking

Time is Money Mondays: Chopping Time When Cooking

The most time consuming and dreaded part I face when cooking is chopping/grating the ingredients like cheese, carrots, peppers, or onions (ingredients I use quite often). With a family of seven it requires much more time to do the chopping/grating because I need to make larger batches of a recipe, usually 2 or 3 times what a recipe calls for. The trick was to make that process go faster and not so dreaded.

I've recently RE-discovered one of my kitchen tools, my food processor. At least 4 of my 5 girls don't like onions or peppers so I need to chop them fine enough to not be seen (what a tedious job), but can still add flavor. My food processor chops it much smaller and much faster than I can do so it's perfect. 

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Being Shy Limits Your Wealth

Being Shy Limits Your Wealth

As any wealthy entrepreneur or high and mighty executive at a large corporation can tell you, its all about networking.

If you are working at a job and want to climb the corporate ladder, you have to make connections to get noticed. Being great at what you do is only part of the game - you have to make your face seen and get noticed.

If you are an entrepreneur, you know better than most that no one can be an island and be successful. You MUST network and socialize and talk to people to get things done, to make sales and to prosper.

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Think and Grow Rich

Think and Grow Rich

I started reading the book, "Think and Grow Rich", as recommended by a friend (thanks Shawn!). The book was published in 1937, and contains principles that are timeless. In fact, you fans of the film "The Secret" will find the principles, many using the same words and language, contained in this old book by Napolean Hill.

I read part of the introduction. Then found it interesting enough that I read part of the story aloud to my wife. 3 hours later, we had read the first 2 chapters and begun following the advice in the chapters, making plans for our future.

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Are We Better Off Than Our Parents?

Are We Better Off Than Our Parents?

As society progresses other things change affecting our quality of life. The question is, are we better off than what our parents were at our age?

From personal observation:

  • greater job security/loyalty during our parents time
  • credit spending wasn't so high - stress of increasing debt level
  • crime rate?
  • want instantly what our parents worked hard/waited to earn
  • higher rate of secondary education?
  • greater global economy - small change anywhere in the world affects the whole world
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Using CalendarBudget to Manage Credit Card Spending

Using CalendarBudget to Manage Credit Card Spending

It is more challenging to track your spending when you make either most or all of your purchases on a credit card. I find my purchases don't show up on my credit card statement until at least 3 days later. By then I've forgotten what the breakdown of my purchases are. I like to break my purchases down into different categories. For example, if I make a purchase at the superstore I may break it down into categories of food (for groceries), clothes (for my new shoes), house (for the new drapes), and entertainment or miscellaneous (for the DVD). I track these break downs before I forget so I can live within my budget and avoid overspending every month and creating a large debt on my credit card which has a high interest rate.

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I Had My Butt Kicked By a 9th Degree Black Belt

I Had My Butt Kicked By a 9th Degree Black Belt

Last week, I had the opportunity to fight a 9th degree black belt. Of course, when I say fight, I really mean grapple (wrestling on the ground) and he was training me, thus being very VERY nice. Even so, I left having learned a lot and with a sore neck.

Similarly, I participate in a Mastermind Group - a group of like-minded entrepreneurs who meet monthly to share their successes and challenges and get advice from each other. I actually put this Mastermind Group together and purposefully invited several individuals who are WAY out of my league when it comes to business accumen.

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Definition of Poverty

Definition of Poverty

The definition of poverty has been refined over the past number of years and the new definition is gaining support:

Old Definition: Lack of basic necessities
New Definition: Inability to provide oneself with basic necessities.

Its the old adage - "you can keep giving a man fish time and time again, or you can teach him to fish once". This new focus on capability allows a more comprehensive focus on addressing poverty and working towards eliminating it in the world. With this new definition, the values of self-esteem and freedom are part-in-parcel with sustenance, making discussions on poverty more complete.

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Time is Money Mondays: Keeping Your Tools Sharp

Time is Money Mondays: Keeping Your Tools Sharp

My friend told me something recently that he witnessed and it left him puzzled. He was building a house on a construction site building and the house next door was also being constructed by professional contractors. Each day at noon, they would stop work and pile into their work trailer for 15 minutes and then come out and resume their work. At the end of the day they would pile into the trailer again for 30 minutes and then all leave and go home. As I watched and saw them repeat this each day I became even more curious and wanted to know what they were doing, so I asked. The lead guy said that each day at noon they would all go into the back of the trailer and sharpen their tools. Then, at the end of the day they would shapren them again and change the blades with fresh ones for the next day. He went on to say that their work went faster and was of better/higher quality of workmanship because they were working with freshly sharpened tools. Also he said that it made their work a pleasure - working with a sharp blade is a joy.

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Investments Values Down -- WAY Down!

Investments Values Down -- WAY Down!

I just received my annual statement of my investments. Along with the rest of the world, my investments were WAY down. Since I didn't contribute anything to them this year, its a very clear and isolated picture of the market swing.

Old Value Jan 1, 2008: $66,636.21
New Value Dec 31, 2008: $48,359.40
Total Drop: $18,276.81 (27%)

Yikes... Good thing I'm not planning to retire this year.

At least I didn't invest in any scams like I've heard a few other get caught up in this past year. This loss was all "bad economy" loss.

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Budgeting your 2009

Budgeting your 2009

Successful businesses plan spending budgets and income targets for the calendar year. Often this happens in January for the current year after they have been able to collect and digest the previous years financials. You and your family deserve nothing less that success also. Its time to get your finances in order for the year. Yes, plans will change and things will come up, but a plan is priceless in guiding financial decisions and planning needed savings.

Take some time now and map out some of the following:

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