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What’s Your Motivation?

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Financial Motivation Through an Actor’s Eyes

motivationIt is time to ask yourself, what is your motivation?  After several months of blogging I have finally decided that it is time to put my University degree to some use!  As I’ve mentioned in a few previous posts and in the Couple of Sense Podcast – I majored in Theatre when I went to University.  I didn’t have aspirations of being an actor, or an acting teacher.  Theatre was just something I was good enough at to make it into the program.  It was that or Computer Science, I chose Theatre.  I doubt my degree has helped me in my career to date, although the extra practice in public speaking can’t hurt during a sales presentation.  When it comes to personal finance though, theatre is what taught me the importance of motivation.

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Tracking What We Bought at the Grocery Store for 2 Months

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Grocery SpendSpending at the Grocery Store:

I haven’t mentioned it before but our grocery budget is one of the more difficult to keep under control. It didn’t seem to matter how much money we had in there we would over spend.  Recently we needed to re-do our budget and looking for some places to trim. In order to get the grocery spending under control we knew we needed to try something else.

For a long while we were frustrated by 2 things:

  1. Spending at least $30 every single trip to the store
  2. Doing all the things “right” but still overspending

When I say doing all of the things right I mean that we had a meal plan, we price matched and went to budget friendly stores.  Even though we did that and we were never able to really move the needle.

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Cutting The Cord – Saving on Telecommunications

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How We Cut Our Telecommunications Bills by Over 40%

cuttingthecordRecently Sarah and I sat down and had one of our standard saving check-ins.  Our financial situation was stable but there was a potential hiccup coming down the pipes and we felt it was better to be proactive and make some changes.  We went line item by line item with precision until we hit our telecommunications line item.  This one was going to be tricky.  Sarah and I see eye to eye on the big picture stuff, we both knew we needed to cut this bill down for some extra savings.  Where we needed to talk it out was on each area of our service and how we were going reduce costs I’m not going to discuss our particular carrier, but if you have their services you’ll probably be able to figure it out.

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5 Ways to Spend a Raise

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What To Do With a Raise

raiseYou got a raise! Or you got a new job with a higher salary! Good for you – you totally deserve it.  I bet you worked your butt off for it or went in like a BOSS to ask for it.  You’re super awesome!

But what do you do with the extra money coming in?  You could take all of it and add it back to your cash flow.  I would recommend that if you have been living a little on lean side paying off debt and stuff.  Living bare bones is not always fun so I get adding a raise back into your cash flow to give yourself some breathing room makes sense.

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Bro Do You Even Budget

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The Couple of Sense Guide to Macho Budgeting

weightliftGrowing up in the 80’s and early 90’s I was in what I can kindly refer to as an unenlightened atmosphere.  I noticed at a pretty young age that my peers had a significant divide in maturity between boys and girls.  Girls had a clear advantage in being more responsible.  There was nothing “manly” about saving money or a budget; it was quite the opposite with my group of classmates.  I look back on it now and have to see this as a good thing though – let me explain.  This may not apply to your school or social circle – but it was a very obvious trend in mine so I wanted to share.

The Gender Gap – Phase One

There is still unfortunately to this day an issue with gender equality; men are paid more for the same job as a woman.  It is utter crap, and is fragments from a previous generation.  This started to shift in the past 30 years.  Girls are now not being raised to be someone’s wife, in fact they are being raised and educated to be someone’s boss.  Full equality can’t come soon enough.

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Home Gym vs Gym Membership

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Home GymWould you start a home gym or get a gym membership?

A couple of years ago we started taking our health seriously.  We started making better food choices and started being more active.  We have felt so much better and lost some weight in the process.

This year, as a couple, we went 95% plant based for our meals and I have decided to stay away from gluten and sugar.  During the week we have a green smoothie for breakfast and a salad for lunch.  We have healthy dinners with lots of veggies and have a serious addiction to chickpea croutons as an awesome (and cheap) snack.

In terms of our increase in activity the bulk of our workouts are walking which we enjoy quite a bit.  However we noticed that during the winter we didn’t really make an effort to get outdoors so our activity levels dropped off.  Living in the Toronto area we experience all four seasons.  Two winters ago we were renovating our basement so we were very active doing a lot of manual labour.  Back then making sure we were physically active was not a problem.  However we have since finished our basement so we needed to find another solution for the upcoming winter to carry over the momentum.

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The Leaky Faucet

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Is Your Money Going Down the Drain?

leakyfaucetYou may have a really great handle on where your money goes.  Pretend there are a few dollars that go to a new whatchamacallit that you lose track of by month’s end. You ask yourself “Where did all my money go, how can I possibly be coming up short this month?”. It is a pretty common occurrence for many people, even those who have managed to balance their budget. It’s those small, almost insignificant purchases that add up to something significant.

This is your financial leaky faucet.

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“Making up” the Budget: Why I Budget for Beauty

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Beauty BudgetHow do you make sure you can pay for your personal care or beauty needs?

I wanted to share why I budget for beauty care and how we make this work in our budget.  There is a small part of our budget that goes to a makeup fund.  I use this to cover off any beauty (hair and makeup) needs.

Full disclosure I probably spend more than I need to on makeup and hair.  I consider it a relatively small indulgence in terms of dollars per year and it makes me feel great. So there. 🙂

Reason #7000 why budgets rule:

This is one of the things I love about having a budget. I get to make a decision about how I want to prioritize my money and then not feel guilty about spending money.  I can get a bottle of face oil since I have the budget to do so!  With having a certain amount of money allocated to me I don’t feel like I’m stealing from our grocery budget.


Several years ago I came home after purchasing some expensive shampoo and conditioner.  Since we don’t hide purchases from each other I told Scott about it.  He kindly told me that it should come out of our grocery/personal care budget.  Then I told him the price and I said that I would be taking it out of my makeup fund.  It was a LOT of money – more than I had ever spent before.  There was no objection on that point once he heard the price.  I mean he couldn’t object since he had NO words for me.

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Swing and a Miss – Our Curveball Account

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When Your Budget Throws You a Curveball

CurveballAccountSarah and I have a budget, this should come as no surprise to any of you since we definitely practice what we preach and we are huge advocates of having a household budget in place along with tracking our spending.  Our current budget has 35 categories, each of which gets a small piece of the pie when we get paid.  The number of line items we have in our budget changes as our life changes (we encourage you to revisit your budget at least once a year and/or whenever your financial situation changes).  While our budget has line items for things like insurance, mortgage payments, groceries and a pet account to cover vet checkups, food and litter – there is one line item that we think is important for every single budget out there, the curveball account.

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Fixing the Curtains

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CurtainsWhat do curtains have to do with personal finance?  Let me explain…

I was making some soup one day (Kale and Red Lentil from the Oh She Glows cookbook) and I was thinking about a blog I had written earlier that day about if when you are in a relationship should only one person handle the money.  I was thinking about why someone would want to give up control regarding money.  I’d never done that so I was trying to step back from my own personal situation to understand the logic for it.

The Curtain Conundrum:

Then I looked down at the curtains in my kitchen that were dragging on the floor and it clicked.  We hung some curtains in our kitchen and they were about 1 inch too long.  I really liked them but didn’t like that they dragged so I said that I would fix them instead of returning them.  However I made that promise to myself and Scott a month ago and still nothing was done.

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