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.

Fuel Efficient Tires?

Fuel Efficient Tires?

I recently saw an advertisement for "Fuel Efficient Tires" and have been trying to figure out if this is just a marketing gimmick or if somehow its true.

The ad claimed that Michelin HydroEgde tires would save about $130 (or 33 gallons of gas) over the lifetime of the tires. For Michelin Latitude tires (for SUVs) you would save $300 or 77 gallons of gas. I just couldn't understand how this could be.

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Tune Up That Computer Instead of Buying New

Tune Up That Computer Instead of Buying New

A lot of people I know get frustrated with their computers complaining they are slow, and its cumbersome to use the internet, multitask, and do "simple things". A little PC-tuning can go a long way to correcting this situation and save you big bucks if you think the best solution is a new machine. (On top of that, if you don't learn how to solve the problems... your new machine will shortly become in the same state as your older one).

Here are some tips to keeping your (Windows-based) computer humming:

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Flushing the Toilet Called the Economy

Flushing the Toilet Called the Economy

An article in the October issue of Money magazine ("Why Down May Be the New Up", p17) suggests that when things are looking really bad, its time to start looking for a rebound.

Ask anyone about the economy today, its doubtful you'll get a positive response.

I had visions (not too detailed mind you...) of a toilet, being flushed. The toilet get filled with filth, and gets flushed; everything goes down and there's nothing left for about a minute, until the clean water rises back up to its normal level.

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Gift Originality and Costs Thereof

Gift Originality and Costs Thereof

Birthdays, Christmas, Mother's Day, Fathers Day... all have gift giving in common. Often the price of gifts add up and overwhelm many in to non-participation. I've found that you can turn a hobby or project into a gift for a relatively inexpensive cost.

For example, every once in a while, I get a craving to work with my hands (instead of writing code all the time). So, I've made some gifts out of wood and other items.Once I created a large Towers of Hanoi puzzle for my father for Christmas. I learned about the puzzle from a computer science algorithm sorting technique page. I figured this would be a great gift. The materials were inexpensive, the labor was free, and though it took quite a while, I wanted to work with my hands anyway... so I didn't consider the time poorly spent.

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The Cost of Living in a 4-Season Climate

The Cost of Living in a 4-Season Climate

I have some friends from Mexico who moved to Canada earlier this year. We got to talking about the coming winter months and how cold it can get. She commented that she had never seen winter clothes before.

This got me thinking about how much it costs to live where I do, in Southern Ontario, Canada. Here we have 4 distinct seasons, with only fall and spring sharing the same clothing. That means we need appropriate clothing for 3 weather patterns.

Spring/Fall:

  • a light jacket, perhaps a wind-breaker or something of the sort
  • socks, pants
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Selling a Home in the Current Market

Selling a Home in the Current Market

 

I've had a few friends comment to me about how difficult it is to sell their homes in the current market.

One such friend has had their home for sale for over 3 years and has lowered the price by more than $100,000. He's so ready to move on but this home (which he lives in) is holding him up from moving on both in his financial life, and in this emotional life.

Another had their home on the market for about 8 months and had to drop the price nearly $200,000 (was a large property too). They expected the home was sell in a matter of weeks, so the drawn out process has been really tough on them.

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3 for 1 Sale Again!

3 for 1 Sale Again!

On the heels of a presentation on "Emergency Preparedness" I heard on Sunday, my wife, Robin, found another 3 for 1 cereal sale. On top of that, there's a sale on crackers that is lower than Robin has ever seen.

So, being the eager savers we are, and knowing that we go through many boxes of crackers and cereal weekly, we are going to spend about $500 on these items again. This $500 will buy us just under $1500 worth of food. Now there's a deal worth stockpiling for.

For us, its not only a great deal, its part of our emergency food storage. It saves money and brings peace of mind. Its times like these we're glad we opted for the cold cellar when we bought this house.

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Turn Down That Hot Water Heater!

Turn Down That Hot Water Heater!

Another savings tip we've used recently.

We just had our hot water heater upgraded to a high-efficiency one, which should save us money on the long term, especially since the replacement and installation was free as part of a promotion from the supplier.

After the heater was installed, we noticed almost immediately that for our showers we had to turn down the water temperature quite a bit to get to a comfortable temperature. The water heater was keeping things too hot. So I adjusted the hot water tank gradually until it was low enough that for showers, we just turn the tempature to full hot. We never need tap water hotter than for our shower comfort level.

This will save us on our natural gas bill as we won't need to maintain that high temperature of water. The savings will not be extreme, but it will make a difference, and the convenience of not having to fiddle with the shower temperature makes it worth it!

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Do I have to repair all things wrong with my vehicle?

Do I have to repair all things wrong with my vehicle?

We have recently found ourselves back at the mechanics. We didn't want to spend a whole lot of money on repairing it, because we want to save our money instead to purchase a new vehicle or use that money on current every day expenses. So we wondered if we really had to get everything fixed.

After discussing it with our mechanic here's what we found we could do:

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What is CalendarBudget?

Confused about what CalendarBudget has to offer?
Watch this 90 second overview that will show you all you need to get started today.

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Export Your Budget/Import Online Banking NOW AVAILABLE As You Start In CalendarBudget

Export Your Budget/Import Online Banking NOW AVAILABLE As You Start In CalendarBudget

We are happy to announce that you can now export your budget entries into a spreadsheet like Excel or OpenOffice.calc. You will find this option under "Reports" on the toolbar. Choose "Export Data to CSV file". Enter the Start and End date you want to use. Then click "Export Data". You can then choose to "Open" or "Save" your file. This file can be used to sort all of your entries (included between the dates you've selected).

We are also happy to announce that you can start a new account with CalendarBudget with much greater ease! You can now import your bank information the first time you useCalendarBudget.

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Money Problems and CalendarBudget

Money Problems and CalendarBudget

We are very proud to announce that MoneyProblems.ca has decided to endorse CalendarBudget as its premiere personal finance management and budgeting tool. CalendarBudget is prominently featured on Money Problems as a way to help those in financial trouble to get in control of their money. We at CalendarBudget are happy to be associated with such a reputable company and are excited to help moneyproblems.ca visitors better organize their money and start down the road to proper money management and wealth.


CalendarBudget is an online personal finance management tool that helps you organize your money and plan for your future.

MoneyProblems.ca provides free advice for Canadians dealing with money problems as well as detailed information on bankruptcy and bankruptcy alternatives in Canada.

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Kids With Money Problems: Video Parody

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Money Advice from the Internet

Money Advice from the Internet

I started writing a few articles on Personal Finance for eZineArticles.com:

While researching these articles, I found a plethora of information on Personal Finance - articles written by anyone who self-proclaims to be an expert. Some are of high quality, some are not. I found most to be rather vague, having perhaps one useful idea surrounded by lots of filler words.

Even so-called authority sites, well-known magazines, large providers of Personal Finance tools and services have really weak ideas and material on getting down to the actual business of budgeting and living within your means.

Anyone have some good sources of personal finance ideas/material that others can benefit from?

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Money - Till Death Do Us Part

Money - Till Death Do Us Part

According to an article that I came across recently, The Dangers of Joint Accounts, having a joint account doesn't mean that inheritance money will remain in your hands when your parent/spouse/other joint account holder dies or the inheritance you are leaving will go into the right hands. Having a plan in place and having a clearly identified legal will can help ensure that your wishes will be carried out. Remember to keep your will and other associated documents up to date with any changes along the way (for example, if you decide to give one of the willed items away early remove that item from the will).

Wikipedia gives an outline of what a will or testament is and what it's requirements are.

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Automatic Savings

Automatic Savings

Wow, I just saw a new program my bank is offering, and the idea is great.

Its from ScotiaBank, called Bank the Rest. This program lets you automatically round up debit card purchases to the nearest $1 or $5 increment, and the difference from your transaction goes directly into your savings account. So, you automatically save every time you purchase. You only save a bit at a time, but it can add up to hundreds of dollars every year, cents that you'll barely notice, but will help you build an emergency fund or save for whatever. The idea was great, I could hardly believe a bank implemented it.

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Can I Deposit Time into My Savings Account?

Can I Deposit Time into My Savings Account?

People, especially women, are increasingly buying time at significant cost. We are hiring people to do housework, care for our children, have personal chefs cook for our families, maintain our cars, furnaces, etc... Wherever there is a need, there is likely to be someone willing to perform that task for you in exchange for your money.

Some discussion points include:

  • affect on our basic skill set if we don't perform these tasks ourself. What happens in an emergency or if we can no longer afford these services? Will we feel confident enough to act in these capacities if we need to?
  • are we getting better net results from these tasks as we have people who specialize in these particular areas do them for us?
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Why Am I Paying More Than I Expected?

Why Am I Paying More Than I Expected?

Here's an amusing email I received that gave a great example of the need to be aware of hidden costs when you're out shopping. The email was as follows:

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Credit Card Locked By Visa Security!

Credit Card Locked By Visa Security!

I went to pay online for CalendarBudget's web server and the transaction was refused... Even a phone call to the hosting provider yielded a refused transaction. I called my Visa provider and they put me through to the security division. They told me that the card was locked because the transaction didn't fit my usage profile and it was a precautionary measure. Also, because they've had a lot of online fraud recently, they were being extra vigilant checking suspicious transactions. They unlocked it right away and then when I tried the transaction again it worked great.

Although this case was a mistake because I actually wanted the transaction, the inconvenience is completely acceptable knowing that they have systems in place to try to prevent misuse of my card and identity.

Good job financial institution!

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Recession Due to Poor Money Management?

Recession Due to Poor Money Management?

Someone asked me the other day if I thought a recession could be avoided by people having better personal finance management habits (having savings, living within their means, etc). I'm no economist, but thought the question was interesting. I responded that it would very likely postpone of even eliminate recessions, reasoning that if people actually had some savings, and were living within their means, they could keep the economy afloat during cyclical recessionary periods.

With proper savings, you can even lose your job for a period of time and have no change in your standard of living. This kind of savings would help keep the economy going during hard times, but of course it would require an overwhelming majority of people to be doing the right thing financially, which is definitely not the case. But it leads one to think that in a way, recession is the punishment or resultant effect of society's poor money habits.

What do you think? Can we avoid recessions with better money management habits?

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