6 MONTHS TO A BETTER BUDGET
One of the challenges with proper budgeting is that it has to become habitual in order to be effective. You can survive without knowing how to budget if you manage to keep more money coming in rather than going out or have credit cards to cover the gap, but this won't last forever. Emergency Fund The crux of this six-month plan is the emergency fund. Ideally, everyone should have at least one or two months' wages sitting in a money market account for any unpleasant surprises. This emergency fund acts as a buffer as the rest of the budget is put in place, and should replace the use of credit cards for emergency situations. You will want to build your emergency fund as quickly as possible. The key is to build the fund at regular intervals, consistently devoting a certain percentage of each paycheck toward it and, if possible, putting in whatever you can spare on top. What's an Emergency? You should only use the emergency money for true emergencies: like when you drive to work but your muffler stays at home. Covering regular purchases like clothes and food do not count, even if you used your credit card to buy them. Downsize and Substitute Now that you have a buffer between you and more high-interest debt, it is time to start the process of downsizing. It’s odd that the natural solution to not enough money seems to be increasing income rather than decreasing spending, but this backwards approach is very familiar to debt counselors. The more space you can create between your expenses and your income, the more income you will have to pay down debt and invest. This can be a process of substitution as much as elimination. For example, if you buy coffee from a fancy coffee shop every morning, you could just as easily purchase a coffee maker with a grinder and make your own, saving more money over the long term. Focus on Rewards Another trick that will help your budget come together faster is to focus on the rewards. A mixture of long- and short-term goals will help keep you motivated. This can be as simple as saving for a small luxury, or even something bigger like buying a car with cash. Watching these goals slowly but surely become a reality can be very satisfying and provide further motivation to work harder at your budget. Find New Sources of Income Why isn't this the first step? If you simply increase your income without a budget to handle the extra cash properly, the gains tend to slip through the cracks and vanish. Once you have your budget in place and have more money coming in than going out, you can start investing to create more income. Now, it is possible that it will take you more than six months to get your budget balanced out as it all depends on your situation, including how much or what kind of debt you have. But, even if it does take you longer than six months to get your budget turned around, it is time well spent. (Source: Investopedia.com)
Canadian home sales activity improves in June
Statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show national home sales were up from May to June 2018.
National home sales rose 4.1% from May to June.
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was down 10.7% from June 2017.
The number of newly listed homes eased 1.8% from May to June.
The MLS Home Price Index (HPI) in June was up 0.9% year-over-year (y-o-y).
The national average sale price edged down 1.3% y-o-y in June.
National home sales via Canadian MLS Systems rose 4.1% in June 2018 compared to May. While this marks the first substantive month-over-month increase this year, sales remain well down from monthly levels recorded over the past five years.
More than 60% of all local housing markets reported increased sales activity in June compared to May, led by the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). By contrast, sales in British Columbia continue to moderate.
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was down almost 11% compared to June 2017. Sales marked a five-year low and stood almost 7% below the 10-year average for the month of June. Activity came in below year-ago levels in about two-thirds of all local markets, led overwhelmingly by those in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.
This years new stress-test on mortgage applicants has been weighing on homes sales activity; however, the increase in June suggests its impact may be starting to lift, said CREA President Barb Sukkau. The extent to which the stress-test continues to sideline home buyers varies by housing market and price range. All real estate is local, and REALTORS remain your best source for information about sales and listings where you live or might like to in the future, said Sukkau.
Bank of Canada raises overnight rate target to 1 ½ per cent
The Bank of Canada today increased its target for the overnight rate to 1 per cent.
The Bank Rate is correspondingly 1 per cent and the deposit rate is 1 per cent. The Bank expects the global economy to grow by about 3 per cent in 2018 and 3 per cent in 2019, in line with the April Monetary Policy Report (MPR). The US economy is proving stronger than expected, reinforcing market expectations of higher policy rates and pushing up the US dollar. This is contributing to financial stresses in some emerging market economies. Meanwhile, oil prices have risen. Yet, the Canadian dollar is lower, reflecting broad-based US dollar strength and concerns about trade actions. The possibility of more trade protectionism is the most important threat to global prospects.
Canadas economy continues to operate close to its capacity and the composition of growth is shifting. Temporary factors are causing volatility in quarterly growth rates: the Bank projects a pick-up to 2.8 per cent in the second quarter and a moderation to 1.5 per cent in the third. Household spending is being dampened by higher interest rates and tighter mortgage lending guidelines. Recent data suggest housing markets are beginning to stabilize following a weak start to 2018. Meanwhile, exports are being buoyed by strong global demand and higher commodity prices. Business investment is growing in response to solid demand growth and capacity pressures, although trade tensions are weighing on investment in some sectors. Overall, the Bank still expects average growth of close to 2 per cent over 2018-2020.