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By Couple of Sense

Sarah and Scott are personal finance bloggers and coaches. They have paid off debt, paid for a wedding in cash, bought a house, completed home renovations, gone back to school and handled everything else along the way without going into debt. They want to share how you can do that as well! When they aren't writing or talking about money you can find them at home, working on their home, in their veggie garden, binge watching some TV and snuggling with their cat.
Connect in real time on Twitter: @coupleofsense

The Tale of One Product and Three Sales Techniques

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A Look At Sales Techniques

As I mentioned earlier in the year, I am currently working in a role that is sales/commission based.  I am part of a fantastic team, very little cutthroat, quite supportive and am happier than I have ever been.  My team is comprised of a manager and one other account manager.  All three of us have a certain number of clients that we are responsible for and of course we are all focused on getting new accounts.  The service we sell is the exact same – yet we each have very different approaches.  This isn’t an “Art of the Deal” type of post; I don’t profess to know everything there is to know about selling/closing.  The approach I strive for isn’t important either – I’d love to hear your feedback on which you think is the most effective.  A combination of the three is the easy way out – but if you HAD to choose, let me know what you think.

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Why Having An Open Budget Works

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Open BudgetI’m Glad We Have An Open Budget

There was a point that every week there was a bag or a box hitting the front door.  I briefly mentioned to Scott that it is great that we have an open budget so there aren’t questions or concerns about what I’m buying.  Lots of packages have been coming to the front door.  It makes sense, I’m at home all the time with Ava and when I’m not at home I’m at the mall or my parent’s house. Read more

Life with a Baby: Month 1

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Life with a BabyWelcome to a Life with a Baby where we are sharing our journey into parenthood.  The first Friday of the month we will be sharing a story of what life was like.

Theme for month 1 would be struggling with eating and weight gain for Ava and us trying to figure out what to do.

All by myself:

After the first week at home Scott went back to work.  My first day at home with a 1 week old infant was scary to say the least.  I spent the first part of the Monday crying that I was going to make a mistake or mess up our child.  My recovery from the c-section was okay but I wasn’t 100% yet (still not). I was not able to drive and felt isolated and lonely.  There are still days I feel like that. Each day gets better than the last.    Read more

Mortgage Free, 2nd House or Upgrade?

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Choices to make as we edge closer to paying off our mortgage

Sarah and I are working very hard to knock out the mortgage on our house as soon as possible.  We are on track to be mortgage free by our early-mid 40s. This is depending on what life has in store for us in the next little bit.  The reason why we have been focusing on the mortgage is about commitments.  Math-wise it makes more sense to invest in our retirement savings.  We have RRSPs – and the money we contribute to them lowers our taxable income.  That leads to nice tax refunds which we then reinvest.  If we ran into any financial difficulties we would stop contributing. We would still have a fat mortgage to pay off.  Once we are mortgage free we can then focus on retirement.  Currently we do contribute to our RRSPs on a consistent basis. Any extra we come up with goes to the mortgage.  While that is our current plan, things might change as our priorities shift in life.

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How Being Debt Free Allows Me To Be A Better Parent

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Debt FreeWe Worry Less About Money Because We Are Debt Free

We are fortunate to be debt free at this stage of our lives. I’m grateful to be debt free as a new parent and I know that it is makes me a better parent than if I was not debt free.

Recently we had a baby.  She is a wonderful baby and makes us look like we are already at Level 1000 in the parenting game.  She slept through the night at 7 weeks and is a really happy baby. We are over the moon in love with her and I’m finally starting to get a hang of the staying home thing without it impacting my views of myself and worth.

(Another topic for another time – I need some more distance to gather my thoughts).

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Investing In a Company You Don’t Believe In

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The Challenge of Morally Responsible Investing

Deciding where to invest your hard-earned money can be a tricky task.  You have to weigh your goals and your aversion to risk.  There are industries you may want to avoid if you think they are on their way out.  ETFs (Exchange Trade Funds) can be linked to foreign markets that may be more or less stable than domestic ones. Performance of the stock over a period of time is a factor.  Whether you are looking for a short-term buy and sell or a long-term investment.  Outside of the money, you may also look at what you are actually investing in.  Even if profit potential is higher, if you have personal and negative feelings about the company (or even the commodity – like coal), that may play into your decision.  As an investor your goal is to make money –but that shouldn’t interfere with your principles.

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Buying for Baby

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Buying for BabyBaby Gear:

As Des from Half Banked put it wonderfully, babies are tiny expensive humans.  When we decided we wanted to expand our family we knew that would come with a great many expenses.  Buying for baby was going to cost us a lot of money since we were starting from scratch.  While we knew that we still wanted to make smart money decisions to stretch what money we did set aside as far as possible.  We set aside $3000 to support the baby gear and clothes we needed for Ava’s first year.  We thought of this as startup costs.  Should we be able to expand our family further we will not have to purchase the same items again and hope to re-use them to get even more wear out of them.

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Get A Job!

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What is a Good Age for a First Job?

As a new parent there are so many questions that I am starting to ask myself.  Some of these questions are for right now: Do we get optional immunizations or just the mandatory ones?, Do we buy this outfit in size 6 months or 12 months? *based on when she’d be wearing it* or Will she ever go to sleep? etc).  Then there are other questions. Questions we have quite a few years to figure out that still creep into my mind.  Yesterday I started to ask myself – what is a good age for a child to start working their first job?

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Life with a Baby: Birth Story and Week 1

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Life with a BabyWelcome to a Life with a Baby where we are sharing our journey into parenthood.  The first Friday of the month we will be sharing a story of what life was like.

This month is the birth story as well as the first week at home with Ava!  The theme for this month is the 95th percentile.

The 95th percentile

I was off work for about a week.  My first week of maternity leave before Ava was awesome.  I cooked and baked all of the things which came in handy during the first month.  There were concerns that the baby was in breech so I did a late term ultrasound on the Tuesday just before I hit 39 weeks.  Breech would have equaled a c-section so needless to say I was panicked.  I had a great tech doing the ultrasound.  She let me know that the baby wasn’t in breech right away.  I made an immediate call to Scott then went back to more cooking.

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How We Planned for a 15 Month Maternity Leave

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Maternity LeaveAs I mentioned when we announced that we were expecting a baby earlier this year, I am taking a 15 month maternity leave.  Now almost 2 months into it (as of writing) I wanted to share how it is going financially and how we planned for it.

I want to call out at the top that we saved up a very long time for this amount as having kids was a priority for us.  It took us over 4 years to save this kind of money before we had Ava.  How the “Baby Fund” was funded varied over the years.  Sometimes it was my overtime, sometimes it was part of our budget and sometimes it was Scott’s pay when we thought he was going to be out of a job.  Either way it was something we knew we wanted to do in order to help reduce the amount of financial stress during one of the most stressful times in our lives.

Also note that this is above and beyond what we saved for diapers, formula and baby gear. This was 100% to support our income while on maternity leave.

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