Dealing with car issues in a Pandemic

We’re not traveling as much as we used to, though I’m sure we all want to. Unfortunately, grocery stores aren’t always next door and if you’re buying for a week or two you still need that car. Probably more considering you want to get as much at once as possible. Naturally this is the perfect time for the car to breakdown, which is exactly what mine decided to do.  This started a couple weeks ago when I went to the grocery store. I got our groceries and the way back out I noticed that one of the rear lights was on. As I got closer to the car it turned out it was just a rear blinker light. The car wasn’t on, none of the other lights were on just one lowly light.  I was a little surprised but not shocked, as it had happened before in the winter in Continue Reading

Staying the course in turbulent markets

In North America we’re now into the 10th week of the pandemic lockdown and life is continuing on. It might not be the same as it was and it likely won’t be for a while, but we are generally making do. More importantly things will start to get a little easier as more things are opened up and we will find a new normal. Driving to the store a couple of days ago (yes, I went outside!), I heard an interesting thing on the radio; the announcer was saying that at the time the NASDAQ was still in positive territory for the year. This got me thinking about investing and my investments. I haven’t moved a single one of them during this whole situation even though we’re now in a financial situation where having some extra funds might not be a bad thing. It also reminded me of a conversation Continue Reading

The New Reality: going down to a single income

     Most of us are experiencing a new reality when it comes to work, working from home comes with many challenges, but it’s not the only new reality. Unfortunately, too often this new reality is one where there is less income coming in (layoffs, furloughs, pay reductions). I have now joined this group; we are now down to a single income where we had two and while we are fine a lot of people aren’t. Claiming Unemployment Benefits Today was a bit of a sobering day, I actually filed for unemployment benefits. The process was fairly painless and now I wait and see if there are any issues. My guess is that there won’t be any problems and the benefits will roll in. We as a family are in a position where we know we can weather this situation but it’s sobering none the less. Will we have enough to Continue Reading

How to Gamify Grocery Shopping

Groceries, we all need them but buying them is a little tedious, time consuming, and at least for me not very exciting. I was trying to make the experience a little more interesting and possibly get my daughter involved, at least a little. As it turns out gamifying grocery shopping is more challenging than I initially thought, but it is possible.  Initially, I had visions of a crafty title and that the gamification ideas would just flow out of me into digital format. After a little effort, my initial ideas were pretty much all I had, though I did have a few other ideas they really felt forced. I’ve decided to stick to the actually tested ideas that have worked and if you have any other ideas please pass them along.  Why gamify grocery shopping? The question of why would you gamifying buying groceries does come up. Realistically the answer Continue Reading

Meal planning your way to a balanced budget!

“What do you want for dinner?” It’s a common question that a lot of families routinely ask themselves around dinner time. The question by itself is telling, it says that you don’t know what you have in the fridge and pantry and it says that you probably throw away thousands of dollars per year on groceries. We’re not talking going out for meals but just what’s in your house.  There are various statistics that I’ve seen put the average is that in North America we waste between 1-2lb of food per person per day. I know from experience that we routinely get more food than we need, and it goes to waste and it’s a real shame but more importantly, it is bloody expensive.  [CUE: Superhero music]  Meal planning to the rescue!!! A few people by this point will have a puzzled look on their face wondering ‘what is a Continue Reading

Finding the balance between our ‘Wants’ and ‘Needs’

To survive we have a series of ‘needs’ that, pardon the pun, need to be met. Once we have these basic needs met our wants can (but don’t have to) improve our lives. However, for most of us, our lives are spent beyond these basic requirements. We have access to food, water, shelter, and if you’re reading this you are probably relatively safe too. Thus, making the question of ‘wants’ versus ‘needs’ more interesting because I doubt many of us think in terms of true needs. Now more than ever this topic is incredibly important, and I think it needs to be revisited. We’re in a time of crisis when what we want and what we really need is clearer than it has been in years. Knowing what is essential and what we don’t need can be a very powerful tool; one that we can use to our advantage. There Continue Reading

And then the world changed…

The last time I posted was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far way it seems; since then the world decided to change in a heartbeat. I figured it was time to come back and start writing again, for numerous reasons but if there’s any way I can help I will be glad to. First and foremost, I would like to make sure that the frontline responders and all of the immediate support that they get are recognized. They keep us healthy, they keep us safe, and they keep us fed! They keep our world moving forward when it feels like it wants to curl up in a little ball. Many of them are making them more than minimum wage – they don’t keep doing this regardless of the turmoil going on in the world. They’re all our heroes! There is so much loss, and potential loss happening Continue Reading

Christmas shopping – done right, with a plan!

Stepping into the mall you are instantly accosted by the sights and sounds that accompany your trip to the church of consumerism. But, today things are a little different! It seems busier than usual and there is different music playing, then you realize the Christmas shopping season is upon you. Now that we’re less than 1 week away, this has become even more amped up, almost to a point of frenzy. Christmas, regardless of if you celebrate it, has become a highly commercial time of year for retailers. First of all, the Christmas holidays are all about gift giving which would normally be enough for the retailers, but there is an added perk for them. Around Black Friday most retail outlets start making a profit for the year. The average is that for the first 10-11 months the money that comes into a retail outlet does nothing more than cover Continue Reading

Santa is not dead! The spirit of the season lives in all of us.

My daughter and I were driving to swim practice a couple weeks ago and I was asked a very simple question: Is Santa real? Before I get to how I answered the question, I should make it clear that my daughter is at the age where she’s essentially figured out that Santa = mommy and daddy and the guy at the mall is just someone dressed up in a red suit. The answer to this question wasn’t really what she was looking for but more for some validation of her understanding of the world. While my daughter isn’t a tween yet she is a bright young lady. So how did I answer? Well being the furry green Grinch that I am, I actually told her the truth. No, I am not a monster! She didn’t react the way I was expecting, she wasn’t worried about the fact that Santa is Continue Reading

The power of perseverance and its impact on your success.

There are a few fundamental elements for success in life that could be considered common sense, but in reality are not that common. Even common sense itself isn’t very common, but that’s a different story.  The elements that I speak about are: Action 
 Effort 
 Perseverance 
 … and the list goes on 
 This list can continue for a long time, but the reality is that even this short list is enough for multiple posts (it probably will be in time). All three items can realistically be related to almost any subject or activity, but in our case we’ll look at it through the lens of this site (personal finance with a hint of life).   Effort and action are very closely related to each other in that if you are taking action you are in many ways making an effort. Though, the effort that goes into taking action does not Continue Reading