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.

Finanical Education in Schools

Finanical Education in Schools

My first introduction to personal finances was because I sought it out while I was in high school. It was a simple pamphlet called One For the Money, that my church (of all places) published. It was fascinating to me. I could hardly believe at my young age that people could accumulate so much debt as to need special programs. I was surprised that high schools didn't teach the basics of money management.

I saw people all around me making poor financial decision early in life, setting patterns of behavior that would leave them in dire straits once the major bills of adult life came. Since most people get their education from learned behavior from parents, this is not a great scenario -- since many parents are no better off than their children regarding handling money properly.

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Blood Money

Blood Money

Last week, and later this week, I'm participating in a blood study. This is drug testing on human subjects, but its not as bad as it may sound. These studies are mainly for introducing clones of brand name medication which have an FDA requirement for clinical trials, even though they are using essentially the same chemicals as the brand name drug. In the case of the study I'm participating in, its for Athsma.

I go in Wed afternoon, have dinner, fast until the next morning, then take 2 small puffs from an inhaler and they draw blood from me 19 times over the next 24 hours or so. Total blood taken is less than a regular donation at a blood donation clinic. Then I leave Friday afternoon. Do this cycle twice (once for the brand name drug, once for the new clone) and they pay me $1,100. 

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Using Multiple Accounts

Using Multiple Accounts

Even I, an individual who tries to keep their finances very simple and understandable, have more than 1 bank account to manage things. In face, when I log into my bank web site I have the following listed:

  • Checking Account
  • Savings Account
  • Daughter Savings Account (for half of her allowance)
  • Business Account (for PayPal use)
  • Visa
  • Line of Credit

Arguably, Visa and Line of Credit are not accounts, but I treat them that way. 

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Tax Free Savings Account

Tax Free Savings Account

I recently heard about this new account the government of Canada is working on implementing at the start of 2009. Here are some links to the details of what they are planning:

There are a few details that the government is still working out that I am waiting to hear to decide if this account will be of use to me at this time or if I will have to consider it in the future. 

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Are You a Freegan?

Are You a Freegan?

I have never heard of the term freegan until today. My husband pointed me to this site http://freegan.info/ that outlined some of the practices of a freegan. My basic translation is that a freegan does all they can to live life paying for little and where possible nothing. Being able to live without the need for much money. Thus it allows them to have a job with little income (low wage/low hours). This helps reduce stress levels and the feeling that you have to work more to pay for life's expenses. Thus you have more time to do as you want, more importantly you have more time to be with your family.

As I read the article about the freegans I thought it was a very interesting way of life, but I would have a hard time living as a true freegan. There are some frills or commodities that I do not want to live without. The touch of freegan in me couldn't pass up some outdoor chairs and a workbench I saw my neighbor getting rid of. 

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Why Should I Pay for Their Mistake

Why Should I Pay for Their Mistake

I had my car for a few months and was informed of a recall for a common/known problem with the head gasket on the engine. I brought it into the local repair shop/dealership for my make of car. While replacing the head gasket they had to take the engine out and ended up breaking another couple gaskets (they're not very thick and so would break very easily). When I picked up my car they told me it would cost $62. I didn't like that but wasn't sure what to say so I went home to think about it.

I figured that I really shouldn't have paid the $62 so I called them back to see what they could do for me. I ended up speaking with the manager and told her that I didn't think I should have to pay for what they broke while doing the recall repair. 

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Asking the Right Question Could $ave You Money

Asking the Right Question Could $ave You Money

I was recently reading an entry in the Thrifty Mommy blog where she knew the right question to ask to get much needed airline tickets for the next day at a discount price. The entry tells of her savings (others comments on savings they've had) by asking for bereavement fares. So she was able to attend to the family loss with the expense being minimized.

Here are some other questions that may help you save on your purchases:

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Do I Have To Go To School?

Do I Have To Go To School?

Eager to join the work force and skip the post-secondary education to have money in your pocket

According to census data compiled by HighBeam Research, They say "Get educated. A college education always pays for itself and more. In 2004, bachelor's degree holders earned an average of $51,206 per year, while high school graduates earned only $27,915

Paying for an education can be costly upfront, but pays off in the long run. At one time, who you know made a big difference to land you a decent job. Now it may help you to get your foot in the door, but what you know from your education and experience will have a higher impact on whether or not you get the job.

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Can I Get My Tax Return Early (Throughout the Year)?

Can I Get My Tax Return Early (Throughout the Year)?

Having a great amount of money for a tax return is nice to have. More money can be put onto debts/savings/purchasing wish list items. "But why is the government taking so much money from my paycheck in the first place, only to give me such a large sum back for a tax return?"

After speaking with our financial adviser, my husband and I saw that we could have more money to put onto debts/savings/wish list during the year. She told us of a form called "Request to Reduce Tax Deductions at Source T1213" (for Canada). Using this form would make it so less taxes are taken off each paycheck and thus leave more money in our pocket each paycheck instead of receiving a larger lump sum Tax Return.

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Tax Return Funds Redirect to What?

Tax Return Funds Redirect to What?

It's so thrilling to see the assessment of how much of your hard earned money you're going to get back from the government on your Tax Return. The question is what to do with the money?

Well I know what I want to do (a big shopping spree for house renovations, new computer, vacation, plus some other items on the wish list), but then I know that's not really what I should do.

Here's a list of suggestions (you can do one/some/all):

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How Much *Do* I Spend On Work Lunch Out?

How Much *Do* I Spend On Work Lunch Out?

"I've worked hard performing my job, I don't want to work hard making my lunch too."

"Eating out or buying from the work cafeteria is so much easier to do."

The question is, how much do I actually spend in a month for the convenience of not making and bringing my own lunch from home?

Tracking your spending and knowing how much you REALLY spend on a category like "work lunch out" in a month can be quite tedious. Maybe you have a check book where you can record each of your expenses. At the end of the month you can take the time to sit down with a calculator and tally them. Then you will have the full picture for that category for the month. There has to be a much easier and less tedious way.

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Persistence Against Corporate Injustice (I Got My Refund!)

Persistence Against Corporate Injustice (I Got My Refund!)

Four years ago my husband came home with this cool new gadget from a major big box electronic store, a projector (allows us to watch movies on our wall almost life size). The great thing was that it was on sale for a very decent price. The only real downfall now to having it, is that since the major electronic store doesn't sell the replacement bulbs themselves we have to order them from another small company online (at about $400 a piece).

The first bulb lasted a couple years before we had to replace it. The second bulb went in the middle of watching a movie after using it for about only 15% of the expected time it should have lasted. I was not satisfied with what I figured was a faulty product. I phoned the company we got it from and they said they couldn't do anything for us, but we should contact the manufacturer of the projector.

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Are ALL of Your VISA/Debit Expenses Legitimate?

Are ALL of Your VISA/Debit Expenses Legitimate?

Ever find an unexplained expense on your credit card or in your checquing account? My budget is updated at least once a week, so I know every expense that should be coming out of my account. On the rare occasion I do find an unexplained expense and so discuss it with my husband to see if it was a purchase he made (I'm the one who makes most of the purchases in the house).

There was one time that an expense came up on our credit card from a US company (we're in Canada) and we quickly realized that it wasn't a purchase we made, but was mis-expensed to our credit card. I believe the company saw the mistake quickly and reimbursed the money right away, but because it was US dollars charged to our credit card there was also an exchange rate charged. 

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How do You Pay a Bill of $0.00?

How do You Pay a Bill of $0.00?

I came across this rather amusing experience (I am unsure if it truly happened, but it is a good example of what can happen) that seemed rather fitting for an entry for April fools.

"In March 1992 a man living in Newtown near Boston Massachusetts received a bill for his as yet unused credit card stating that he owed $0.00. He ignored it and threw it away. In April he received another and threw that one away too. The following month the credit card company sent him a very nasty note stating they were going to cancel his card if he didn't send them $0.00 by return of post. He called them, talked to them, they said it was a computer error and told him they'd take care of it.

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Dollar Store Discounts Beneficial or Cheap Quality?

Dollar Store Discounts Beneficial or Cheap Quality?

I have found myself with a few wedding and baby showers (then the wedding and arrival of the new baby) to attend during this year. This past week I had two of the wedding showers to attend. I am part of a community that likes to support each other and love any excuse to get us women together for time to socialize. You may find yourself with a number of these showers to attend and watch the costs add up with each new shower to attend.

For one of the showers I was able to find a high quality set of dishes (I want to get a set for myself) with a beautiful pattern. I found them at our local Dollarama. So for a set of 4 mugs, 4 bowls, 4 plates and a large mixing bowl, I paid just under $15. The bride to be was very pleased with the gift. 

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What Does Zero Down End Up Costing You?

What Does Zero Down End Up Costing You?

There are many opportunities to put ZERO down on different purchases these days. Zero down mortgage. Zero down event with zero payments for a year at your local furniture store. Zero down event with zero payments for a year at your local auto dealership. This is great if you are still planning and saving for your purchase along the way and paying more than minimum payments when you begin payment.

Having a zero down mortgage leaves more for you to pay off in the long run and therefore a greater amount for you to collect interest on. So when there's a greater amount of interest collected that means you will pay an even greater amount for the house in the long run. So, for example, if you purchase a $200,000 house, put zero down and thus get a mortgage for $200,000, a 25 year term, with a 5.0 interest rate, you will end up paying $350,754 in total at the end of the 25 years. 

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Shop the Flyers Online

Shop the Flyers Online

I usually look for sales in the grocery store flyers when I first walk into the store hoping they have something on my list on sale. I usually only shop at one store, maybe two, because my time is very limited with five children. I do make it somewhat easier by having a list, but having a list of sales would make it even cheaper too.

I gave a link in the blog entry "Making a Career Out of Cutting Coupons" which gave savings for the US. I just came across a couple of sites for Canada to check sales out ahead of time and be able to plan shopping ahead of time. Here are the links to help you plan your shopping:

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What is your secret talent that could set you free from debt?

What is your secret talent that could set you free from debt?

Switchfoot wrote a song called "Meant To Live". One of the lines says how I feel, I ..."want more than the world has to offer". My goal or dream is to be financially independent and debt free with a lot of family time together. Finding a job that helps that to happen is very challenging. I've been told that my dream is not the norm, so how do I think I could achieve that dream. My friend's comment has left me thinking of how I can achieve more than what the world has to offer/sees as the norm.

I received an inspiring email the other day about Paul Potts. He also had a dream to achieve more than the world has to offer. He was a mobile cell phone salesman, but his dream was to be more than that. Here's a link to a page with two videos. The first video is of his audition for "Britan's Got Talent". And the second video is an interview about some of his journey to achieving his dream.

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How Can I Pass the Interview?

How Can I Pass the Interview?

You have gone through your budget and found that you can't eliminate any more unnecessary expenses, but are still not avoiding going into the red. So now you need to go out and find the job that is going to earn you more money. Job hunting is quite a large job in itself. Being prepared for the interview will help the process go more smoothly and help you achieve your goal for new employment. Being successful in the interview has all to do with what you do before you even arrive at the interview and what you choose to do to follow-up after the interview.

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Informational Interview to Get the Right Job

Informational Interview to Get the Right Job

Job hunting can be very daunting and depressing. I've always hated the process of putting resume out after resume, but persisted hoping to find the right job or at least a good job available. The harder part was the waiting for a call back for an interview and then going through the interview process.

One method I have been taught to get my foot in the door is to ask for an informational interview. Alison Doyle of About.com tells What an Informational Interview is and how it can help your career, some questions to ask at an informational interview, and what to do after the interview

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