There is a lot of thought that goes into tipping. Recently we had a family event for our daughter. Part of this event was to take out our immediate family and grandparents for dinner. It wasn’t a huge group. My brother and his fiancée live out of province and were unable to make it. Final tally was 13 plus a couple of babies. The restaurant we picked was pretty good. We decided to just have people order off the menu instead of doing a fixed priced thing. Due to the size of the group we were advised that there would be a “service charge”. This was 18% automatically added to the bill. I’ve found this is pretty common practice in a lot of restaurants. I don’t generally have an issue with tipping our server. The process did get me thinking a bit about tipping etiquette. Read more
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I have been working since I was 7 years old. That is 29 years of employment (with a couple of small gaps we’ve discussed on mass). While a number of those years were spent delivering papers – where my income was nowhere near the tax threshold – obviously I’ve also been paying taxes for several years. For several years I used a tax return service at a kiosk in a store.
With school credits I was getting a small refund most years and this place offered an instant refund. At the time I wasn’t stopping myself from spending like a madman so the faster I could get the money the faster it could be spent. Notice I said I WASN’T stopping myself, not that I COULDN’T stop myself. Accountability is important. Read more
Do you feel that you need to compete with yourself? Are you always trying to do better than you last year? Do you take into account that your situation might not be the same? Sometimes you don’t have to do more than your past self. And it’s okay.
The Need To Do More:
When I started dating Scott my mother would encourage me not to get anything too expensive for a gift. If you were to spend $100 on a birthday present then you would need to top it the next year. I have always disagreed with that. You don’t always need to go bigger and bigger. There have been some years for our anniversary (wedding/dating) we have spent $$$$ (aka coffee maker and jewelry). There have been other years we have spent very little money because we just didn’t have it (aka just having a baby, broke students, new house etc). We access each year as it comes and make decisions on what we can and want to do. No problem and no feeling that we need to top last year. Somehow I do feel differently about how much we are investing in the next couple of years based on what we have done in the past. Read more
(Where has time gone?)
I finally burned out in month 6. It was the most down I felt at any point postpartum. The decision fatigue that I experienced was so real. It impacted me so much. I didn’t want to make a to-do list, I didn’t want to pick what to eat, and I didn’t care about anything. I analyzed literally every decision that I made regarding Ava, including sleeping and how much to feed and when to feed her. It was terrible weather out and with the rush of the holiday season I just stayed in. There were times I didn’t leave the house for a week at a time. In hindsight that wasn’t the best move at all but I just wanted to be in a routine at home and not worry about bringing stuff with me or needing to make one more decision than I needed to.
Sarah and I have talked a bit lately about our mid-term goals. These are those items between what we want to get done in the next year and what we want to get done before we retire. One topic was regarding what we want to do for our home renovations. There are so many things we want to upgrade and redo. To name a few: the powder room, landscape our (tiny) front yard, stain or replace the hardwood on the main floor, install hardwood on the top floor, paint out the kitchen cabinets, and redo our ensuite. This renovation list is pretty daunting. There is little to no chance we are going to get all of this done in the next ten years.
We need to be cognizant that we may need to deal with unplanned house costs such as a furnace replacement. The projects in themselves range between a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Doing every renovation isn’t really in the budget as it is now. The typical homeowner response would be to focus on kitchens and bathrooms (those “sell” houses)…but we aren’t really anticipating moving unless we have 2 more kids so why put our focus there? Instead why not focus on what we really want for ourselves…when deciding between several options we can simply ask the question “Does It Make Our Life Better?”
I have been thinking a lot about my investment strategy lately and over the last 6 months I have changed my focus. I don’t get into my investing strategy because I feel that what works well for some won’t work for others but since Scott shared last week I felt like sharing as well.
I started investing in August 2011, a month before we got married. I had saved money before that but it was just in a savings account and it was likely going to be spent at some point in the future. As I shared before I was interested in opening up an RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) but an advisor talked me out of it. But in 2011 after we bought a house in April and were going to get married a month later I was more comfortable in investing. I was also making money in my adult job so I would benefit from the tax break. Read more
My Investment Thoughts – Past, Present and Future
Considering we are personal finance bloggers, I was relatively late to the investments game. Into my late mid to late 20’s I had a pretty decent chunk of debt that I wanted to pay off, and I was figuring out how to be responsible with my money. Like many people, I didn’t have any financial guidance coming from parents. Growing up we were certainly not well off, we didn’t go without, but there were very few “extras”. My impression of a retirement plan was that my father had a great pension from his job in public transit. I knew about stocks, but didn’t really realize they were accessible to the common person – only Wall Street types with pinstripe suits and slick haircuts. When we met Sarah more responsible with money than I was, which was an influence on my behavior in our early dating years.
With my debt paid off, rings on both of our fingers and a deposit on a house – I started to think about investments. My view of investing has changed drastically over the past decade – and now I’m looking to the future to try and figure out what I want my portfolio to look like. I’m not going to focus that much on the present. After all between the past, present and future the present is by far the shortest amount of time.
We aren’t big on resolutions. We have goals but they usually start on a Tuesday of some random week with no real connection to “new year, new you.” For the last couple of years I have been feeling a little lost on what I want to accomplish. I use to be a person who was able to save money regardless of the reason. Now it feels very odd to save money with no real purpose or goal. Sure, we are trying to pay down our mortgage and are saving for retirement but that is just so far off in the future. Nothing in the short term to work towards has downgraded our motivation.
By the 4 month appointment we left the doctor with the direction to start feeding Ava solids whenever we were “ready”. When I asked what that meant I was told that we would know when the time was right. So we spent weeks trying to figure out when the right time was. We told ourselves, “oh beginning of November we would start” then I couldn’t find bowls and spoons. So delay. Then we had some unexpected family issues to deal with, so delay again. Eventually we started with rice cereal mixed with formula as her first meal. A few weeks after that we gave her a peanut product (it looks like a Cheetos) that she is supposed to have to get her introduced to peanuts. We did that in the parking lot of her pediatrician’s office just in case she had a reaction.
An Employers Guide to Keeping Great Employees
The strength of the job market in Canada varies based on who you talk to and which province you live in. The economy is doing fairly well; though some areas of the country continue to struggle. This is particularly noticeable due to the international oil industry with its peaks and valleys. Generally speaking the employment landscape is quite solid, with the unemployment rate dropping from 6.8% to 5.7% in 2017. The “Boomers” are also starting to retire. The youngest baby boomers are in their mid to late 50’s. As they drop out of the job market important pieces to company’s structures go with them. What that sets up is a shift of supply and demand for quality employees. Employers need to be aware that their top talent (their aces), are prime targets for the competition. 2018 may be the hottest year in recent history for job jumping in the corporate world.