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 edge up again in October
According to statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales posted a modest monthly increase in October but remain below levels recorded one year ago.
Newly introduced mortgage regulations mean that starting January 1st, all home buyers applying for a new mortgage will need to pass a stress test to qualify for mortgage financing, said CREA President Andrew Peck. This will likely influence some home buyers to purchase before the stress test comes into effect, especially in Canadas pricier housing markets. A professional REALTOR is your best source for information and guidance in negotiations to purchase or sell a home during these changing times.
Home sales via Canadian MLS Systems edged up 0.9% in October 2017 on the heels of monthly increases in August and September, but remained almost 11% below the record set in March.
National sales momentum is positive heading toward year-end, said Gregory Klump, CREAs Chief Economist. It remains to be seen whether that momentum can continue once the recently announced stress test takes effect beginning on New Years day. The stress test is designed to curtail growth in mortgage debt. If it works as intended, Canadian economic growth may slow by more than currently expected.
Tips to take charge of your finances and live within your means
(NC) Are you stressed about money? Being in control of your spending is one way of reducing stress in your life.
According to Statistics Canada, most of us are burdened with high levels of household debt. Simply put, too many people are spending more than they earn. They are saving less and not saving enough for retirement. At the same time, people are living longer.
Living within your means is not always easy, especially when money is tight, but it is the best way to avoid excessive debt. A heavy debt load makes you vulnerable if you lose your job, have unexpected expenses or interest rates go up on your loans.
Here is how you can start:
Make a budget. Having a budget that lays out sources of income and monthly expenses can help you commit to a spending plan.
Know the difference between your wants and needs. Put your needs first; your wants can wait.
Choose your credit card wisely. Pay off the balance in full each month so you can build a good credit history and avoid high interest charges.
Think ahead to retirement. Canadians are living to an average age of 86. If you retire at 65, that could mean you are living off savings for 21 years or more. Start saving as soon as you can.
Find more tips from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada online at canada.ca/it-pays-to-know.