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Being Different Requires Determination

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Different Requires DeterminationOften I’m asked why I didn’t take my husband’s name or why my daughter has my last name. It was the right thing for us but it isn’t right for everyone. I don’t particularly feel like I need to answer questions about the details but when you do things that are different than most people or common societal norms people will question it. And question it.

Same goes for personal finance. When you are doing things different from traditional expectations you will probably get a lot of questions. Some will be tame, more curious than anything. And others will be aggressive and may cause you to become defensive. But sometimes people will probe and ask questions that might make you wonder if you are making the right choice. Truly being different requires determination. You know if you are cutting back there are times when the pressures from family, friends and even inside yourself can get to you and make you question your whole plan. It happens to all of us. Read more

Should Your Income Influence Your Politics?

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There is no getting away from it the Western world is more politicized than in previous years.  All you need to do is tune into any late night talk show and you’ll have almost every bit centered around politics.  This is especially valid in the United States where the politic atmosphere has been bouncing between a nightmare and a farce.

Until a few years ago, I wouldn’t even bother casting my vote for any political race.  Now I very much want to cast my vote.  The reason I wouldn’t vote before is still part of my viewpoint.  I don’t believe my vote can influence the outcome.  For our Canadian elections your area is Liberal, Conservative or NDP more or less.  If I go against the grain my vote only moves the needle by a fraction of a percentage point.  I vote now because I feel it is irresponsible not to.

What party I back is my business, but there is no doubt that the political parties vary on many different platforms.  For finances, typically one party favours the rich while the other favours the working class.  The question is that as your financial situation or income stream improves, should that be enough to sway you one way or the other?

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Use Your Benefits or You Lose Out

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Use Your Benefits I have a confession. This is really the first year that I’m using my extended health employer benefits. Other than getting glasses and going to the dentist I don’t use my benefits to the fullest potential. Each year I get $1000 to use on paramedical expenses including massage, chiropractor and physio therapy among other things.

Scott has had a couple of pain issues that the doctor recommended going to a massage therapist. After a couple of months of him going and having a good experience I decided that my back pain was enough for me. Babies are heavy and the muscle spasms in my back since almost 2 weeks postpartum were causing discomfort. While I was lying on the table I kept thinking about how much money I had wasted by not using these benefits that were provided to me free of charge. If I got an extra $1000 a year I’m sure I would find a way to work that into my budget without an issue. Why are extended health benefits any different? Read more

DIY Taxes

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DIY TaxesNOTE: This post contains affiliate links.  Couple of Sense may receive a small commission for referring you.  Please see our terms and conditions for more information.  The opinions and analysis mentioned in this post are mine and are not necessarily shared by any organization mentioned.

Before I got married my taxes were completed via a family accountant. When my dad had his own business he used someone for his business taxes and then he just continued to use him for our family stuff. As a young adult who still lived at home some of the adult things were taken care of. Not only was I not sure how to do them but I was not aware of the costs to have someone handle them for you. When I found out the cost after I got married I spoke to Scott and we agreed to handle it ourselves. While the first year was tough I can’t recommend DIY taxes enough. This will be the 6th year we have done our taxes ourselves and I wanted to share some benefits and information to help take the plunge.  Read more

Tax Time: The Most (Or Least) Wonderful Time of the Year

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NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.  Couple of Sense may receive a small commission for referring you.  Please see our terms and conditions for more information.  The opinions and analysis mentioned in this post are mine and are not necessarily shared by any organization mentioned.

I have been working since I was 7 years old.  That is 29 years of employment (with a couple of small gaps we’ve discussed on mass).  While a number of those years were spent delivering papers – where my income was nowhere near the tax threshold – obviously I’ve also been paying taxes for several years.  For several years I used a tax return service at a kiosk in a store.

With school credits I was getting a small refund most years and this place offered an instant refund.  At the time I wasn’t stopping myself from spending like a madman so the faster I could get the money the faster it could be spent.  Notice I said I WASN’T stopping myself, not that I COULDN’T stop myself.  Accountability is important. Read more

You Don’t Always Have to Do More Than Your Past Self

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Do MoreDo you feel that you need to compete with yourself? Are you always trying to do better than you last year? Do you take into account that your situation might not be the same? Sometimes you don’t have to do more than your past self. And it’s okay.

The Need To Do More:

When I started dating Scott my mother would encourage me not to get anything too expensive for a gift. If you were to spend $100 on a birthday present then you would need to top it the next year. I have always disagreed with that. You don’t always need to go bigger and bigger. There have been some years for our anniversary (wedding/dating) we have spent $$$$ (aka coffee maker and jewelry). There have been other years we have spent very little money because we just didn’t have it (aka just having a baby, broke students, new house etc). We access each year as it comes and make decisions on what we can and want to do. No problem and no feeling that we need to top last year. Somehow I do feel differently about how much we are investing in the next couple of years based on what we have done in the past. Read more

Financial Privilege Isn’t Just A Trust Fund

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Financial PrivilegeAnother Post on Financial Privilege:

I mentioned before that we have had our own share of financial privilege. This is a topic that is so deep and difficult to discuss but I’m going to talk about it some more. This community doesn’t talk about it enough but it is so vital to some of the success that people have had that it needs to be discussed. I don’t think it is ever enough to stop talking about this one.

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Financial Privilege

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Financial privilege is spoken of in hushed voices in the personal financial world.  You see if people admit that they have it they somehow lose credibility for their voice or message.  However it is important to acknowledge that you have had a leg up and it’s helped get you to where you are now.  I have a huge win in terms of financial privilege and I’m still reaping the benefits from it.  I dislike when others don’t admit that they have or have previously had some type of financial privilege.  Financial privilege changes your life and it is something that needs to be acknowledged.   It should not be brushed to the side out of lack of understanding of what you have been given.

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Adjusting to Your Environment

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AdjustingIn early May we headed to Ottawa for a weekend.  The weather was horrible and the 5 hour drive from Toronto took over 7.5 hours.  There were lots of times when we had wipers on full speed and then took them down to normal and then back up again.  It was dark and the highway had very few lights so it made the drive a little extra stressful.  Not knowing the roads didn’t help the situation either.  The back and forth of the wiper speed and the intense focus of the road were critical to make sure we were able to see the environment we were driving into.  This got me thinking that adjusting to your changing environment is a skill that is good in all areas of your life, personal, professional and financial.

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Wages Gro-o-ow In Ontario!

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A Look At The Proposed Increase To Minimum Wage In Ontario

One thought that is shared amongst almost all millennials is that the cost of living is increasing at a much faster rate than income.  In a perfect world, there would be parity between inflation of costs and inflation of wages.  This isn’t a perfect world though and these trends tend to work more on reaction rather than cooperation.  After much fanfare – Ontario is on the cusp of raising the minimum wage. This is part of the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017.  Due to the impact on retail and food service chains, the reactions are mixed.  These employers often use a large number of minimum wage (or close to) workers to operate their business.  I believe this is both a good, and necessary step towards improving our economy.  Only time will tell if the effect is positive or negative.

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