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How We Are Planning For A Staycation

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Planning For A StaycationI will admit I’m not the best flyer. I guess I’m out of practice. From 2010 to 2013 I was on a plane 4 times, once a year on vacation including international flights. However the thought of heading into a closed space for 3-5 hours with a 1 year old is a bit stressful for us. Scott has vacation time to use and our daughter turns 1 next week so we thought why not hang around the city and take in the sights. So we are planning for a staycation this year.

In the past we have used time off for work around the house like the first part of the basement or our outdoor patio. Not this year. When we first started talking about time off a concern Scott brought up was that he wanted it to actually feel like a vacation instead of just hanging around the house all week. So we are trying to do as much as we can to make it feel like a vacation without flying anywhere.  Here is how we are planning for a staycation. Read more

Cost or Cost Per Year?

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Cost or Cost Per Year?

Big purchases usually mean big costs.  Being budget conscious doesn’t mean that we are cheap.  When it makes sense to do so we are willing to part with hard earned savings.  When I look at a big purchase, I typically will look at how much it is going to cost us right now.  Another way to look at it would be to identify how much use you will get for something and then figure out the cost per year.  This can be a measure of quality of goods, or an investment in eliminating future regret. Read more

Whats The Point of Point Cards: How Gift and Point Cards Get Ignored

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Cards are worth as much as the plastic they are made out of if they don’t get used!

There is no doubt that you’ve witnessed or done it yourself – points cards gathering points that never get redeemed or gift cards that never get used.  If you look in my wallet on the main side I have my payment cards and my identification.  Flip over to the other side and you’ll find a treasure trove of points/loyalty cards.  We have an envelope at home with a dozen or so gift cards from places we don’t go to that have been given as gifts over the years.  These go unused and are wasted.

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The Tipping Point: Thoughts on Tips

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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

Saving for Holiday Shopping

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Holiday ShoppingThe Most Wonderful Time of the Year:

It’s that time of year where the holiday music is playing non stop and ads for Black Friday are popping up.  In Canada since we have Thanksgiving in early October the unofficial start of the holiday season is right after Halloween; basically 2 months long.  In the United States it’s only about 5 weeks long starting on the day after the American Thanksgiving, Black Friday.  Here are some tips for your holiday shopping.

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Financial Regret: Hindsight Is $20.20

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Living With Financial Regret

Regret can be a funny thing.  The difference between regretting an action and being happy about it is related solely to the result.  We make decisions with the information we have at the time; regret pops in when that information changes or we find out it is wrong.  Financial regret is no different.  When I spend money on something it isn’t a mistake.  It may be an impulse buy where not much thought went into it. This is almost never done by accident.  It is easy to look back on decisions and think about what you could or should have done.

What you don’t know is what would have happened had your decision been different.  Would things be better, would things be worse?  Would you ever get the opportunity to make what ended up being a great decision had you not made a bad one previously?  I’m talking about alternate timelines which is a topic that is filled with paradoxes and endless loops.

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Fuel Economy: A Tank Full of Cash

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Fuel Economy and How/Why to Figure it Out

A while back Sarah wrote a post about buying a “new to us” car.  When buying a car there are so many things to consider – so many features to balance.  How much the car has been driven, if there have been any accidents or liens put on the car, signs of rust or other factors about condition.  You need to factor in style – SUV, sedan, truck, coupe, crossover.  Then there are design features like sunroof, backup cameras, paint colour and navigation consoles.  One stat that people always look at, even if they don’t understand it, is the fuel economy.  This is a very important factor in the ongoing cost of the vehicle.  I doubt I’m alone in not giving it fair play in terms of the financial decisions involved with a car purchase.

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