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)
Bank of Canada increases overnight rate target to 1 1/4 per cent
The Bank of Canada today increased its target for the overnight rate to 1 1/4 per cent. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 1 1/2 per cent and the deposit rate is 1 per cent. Recent data have been strong, inflation is close to target, and the economy is operating roughly at capacity. However, uncertainty surrounding the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is clouding the economic outlook.
The global economy continues to strengthen, with growth expected to average 3 1/2 per cent over the projection horizon. Growth in advanced economies is projected to be stronger than in the Banks October Monetary Policy Report(MPR). In particular, there are signs of increasing momentum in the US economy, which will be boosted further by recent tax changes. Global commodity prices are higher, although the benefits to Canada are being diluted by wider spreads between benchmark world and Canadian oil prices.
In Canada, real GDP growth is expected to slow to 2.2 per cent in 2018 and 1.6 per cent in 2019, following an estimated 3.0 per cent in 2017. Growth is expected to remain above potential through the first quarter of 2018 and then slow to a rate close to potential for the rest of the projection horizon.
Fourth Quarter Housing Market Trends Seal 2017 as ‘the Year of the Condo’
According to the Royal LePage House Price Survey, Canadas residential real estate market saw strong, but slowing year-over-year price growth in the fourth quarter of 2017. While year-over-year aggregate appreciation remained high in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Greater Vancouver, two-storey and bungalow home values softened in the GTA, slightly declining on a quarter-over-quarter basis. Meanwhile, in both Greater Vancouver and the GTA, condominium prices continued to outpace all other property types, primarily due to growing affordability constraints within these markets.
The Royal LePage National House Price Composite, compiled from proprietary property data in 53 of the nations largest real estate markets, showed that the price of a home in Canada increased 10.8 per cent year-over-year to $626,042 in the fourth quarter of 2017. When broken out by housing type, the median price of a two-storey home rose 11.1 per cent year-over-year to $741,924, and the median price of a bungalow climbed 7.1 per cent to $522,963.
During the same period, the median price of a condominium appreciated faster than any other housing type studied, rising 14.3 per cent to $420,823 on a year-over-year basis. This trend was predominantly driven by the significant price gains witnessed in many of the countrys largest condominium markets. In the GTA, the median price of a condominium increased 19.5 per cent year-over-year to $476,421, while in the City of Toronto, the segment saw a similar gain of 19.6 per cent year-over-year to $515,578. In Greater Vancouver, condominiums also followed a similar price trajectory during the quarter, rising 20.2 per cent to $651,885, while the median price of a condominium unit in the City of Vancouver rose 18.7 per cent to $775,806. Many suburban markets across the GTA and Lower Mainland of British Columbia posted strong year-over-year condominium price gains of 20 per cent or more as well, with the segment appreciating at a faster rate than detached homes, which had previously led the charge.
To prospective homeowners in our largest cities, condominiums represent the last bastion of affordability, said Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage. This is especially true for first-time buyers whose purchasing power has been reduced by tightening mortgage regulations. Click here for more.