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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.
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Renovations: Does This Make My Life Better?

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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?”

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My Investment Strategy

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Investment StrategyI 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.

Background:

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

Shifting View on Investments

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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.

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Setting Goals

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Setting GoalsSetting Goals

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.

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Life With A Baby – Month 5

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Life With a BabyStarting Solids

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.

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Employee Employer Shift

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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.

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Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage Sooner If You Are Planning to Move?

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Paying Off MortgageWe Love Our House…

The love affair with our house runs deep. After months of searching for a house we purchased this one in a matter of a couple of hours. We have put so much love into this house by way of renovations and even though it’s a “starter” home I don’t have any intention of moving just quite yet even though we have a child. We have a goal to pay off the mortgage as soon as possible. Not one we talk about a lot here for some reason, but a goal. A big one. Read more

Financial Fads

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Are These Fads A Dream…Or A Nightmare?

The thing about the flavor of the month is that the month always ends and a new flavor emerges.  Same goes for the “Best of the Year” – once your year is up you no longer hold the distinction of being The Best…unless you regain your title.  While the development of financial fads is certainly not a new concept, the turnover rate seems to have increased dramatically in recent years.  So with the next big thing coming tomorrow – is sinking your teeth into today’s hot fad a mistake or a worthwhile risk?

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Life With a Baby: Month 4

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Life with a BabyLife with a Baby

In month 4 we dealt with schedules, our first weekend away, teething and mom guilt. By four months Ava started to change the way she looked and started looking less like Scott and more like me. She still has his mouth so whenever she is super upset she transforms back into Scott. Ha!

Schedules

When you have a baby the doctors and the hospital ask you to track things like feedings and diapers. They look at that information to make sure things are on track and are able to quickly call out if things aren’t going well. Being the nerd that I am, I continued to track. It was just data collection so I could see if there were any patterns in her behavior that I could mold into a schedule. Read more