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Home Gym vs Gym Membership

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

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

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.

Shampoo-gate:

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

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

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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Emergency Fund: Waste of Time or Peace of Mind?

emergency fundDo you have an emergency fund?  I have been doing a lot of thinking about having an emergency fund and their purpose.  Why we might need one and some reasons people give for not having one.

What an Emergency Fund Means to Me:

Just like in my earlier post about budgets there are a lot of different meanings for the word emergency fund.  When I talk about an emergency fund I’m speaking about the money I set aside for huge issues like death, job loss or disability.

I have an older car and I know that I’m going to need to replace it.  So over the past several years we have been saving up money to replace it so when it does go it’s not an emergency.  It’s planned spending that I have been working towards.  Same thing if we need a new roof or the furnace goes.  We put money aside to keep the house running.

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The Ours, Ours and Ours Budget: Joint Finances

Joint FinancesJoint Finances:

I wanted to talk about budgeting as a couple and why we made the choice to combine our money and have one family budget instead of taking the ‘Yours, Mine and Ours’ approach to joint finances.  If you took a look at some of our previous posts and our start here page we gave a little bit of background into our personal history with money as well as our history as a couple.  We have been together since 2005 and we met when we were in university; I was 20 and he was 23.  We were dating for 6.5 years before we got married.  We bought our first house the same year we got married and we made the decision to combine our income into 1 budget to pool all of our resources and share the money together.

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Managing Your Household Salary Cap

sportpostA Salary Cap Look at Household Budgets

So you want to figure out your household budget, but all these numbers are either too confusing or make you feel too restricted.  You work hard for your money, and you want to spend it on whatever you want.  I don’t blame you, you don’t want managing the money you work for to seem like a such a job in itself.  If however you can find a way to be passionate about managing your finances, you can not only be better with your money; you can also have a bit of fun managing your household salary cap.

Take the concept of the NHL salary cap.  I love hockey, and what’s more I love the business of hockey.  You can look at how a GM manages their salary cap much the same as you manage your household budget.  First of all – you need to figure out if you are a cap team or a real money team.  Fair warning – I may sports nerd out a little bit here.

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Budget, smudget: Why do people hate budgets?

Hi there!

How do you feel about budgets?  In my experience people fall into 2 camps regarding budgets – love them or hate them. Most people aren’t neutral in their view on budgets.

Many people have the impression that budgets are this restrictive thing that prevents them from doing what they want and following one will lead to an unhappy life.

One would assume that as a person running a personal finance I would fall into the “love” camp and you would be correct. I’ve always wondered why people have such a negative opinion of budgets.  When we think of the actual word budget it could be a noun, verb or adjective (literature lesson on a financial blog…).  The word budget as an adjective (a word describing an noun) means inexpensive.  The word “budget” when placed in from of a nouns gives the impression of cheap, low-cost and discount.  Maybe this is where we feel that having a budget means we will have a cheap life?

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