Hey Student Money Monkeys,
It’s almost back to school time and I thought I’d share with you some of the things I did (years ago!) to stay on top of my money when at school. If you start building your good money habits when you’re in school, they should stick with you for the rest of your life. The reverse is true as well. Build horrible money skills and you could be stuck with them OR the debt you accumulate due to them.
Here are my big back to school money tricks that payed off for me:
1. Get a job that will help you when you graduate.
Loads of my friends got jobs as beer reps or bartenders when I was in school. They were way cooler than me (then) and I know for sure those jobs got them more social perks (booze and booty). I can guarantee my part time job working at Merrill Lynch is still paying perks to me now. Plus I have the nicest car at school reunions.
Not only did I learn how to invest like the big guys, make way more than a bartender, but I also made connections that got me a job when I graduated. Who needs four years of booty and booze when I have an entire life of money skills!
2. Don’t use your line of credit or student loans.
If you don’t need to borrow the money don’t. Do everything you can to come out of school without any debt. work 35 hours and go to school (like I did), apply for every grant ans scholarship out there, eat Kraft dinner or noodles every night, do whatever you can do to minimize your debt.
Not only will this limit what fun-time funds you’ll have when you’re out but it’ll be a chain and ball for a ton of years after school. The average Canadian student takes 10 years to pay back their student debts!
3. Get a money mentor.
I had a mentor when I was in school who really helped and guided me. It’s easy to get absorbed into student mentality. All the parties, dating and hooliganism can get you to fall of the wagon. Keeping monthly chats with your mentor will keep you motivated to get good grades, take the correct classes, and know that one day you’ll be at the other end of the tunnel.
4. Don’t take your credit card to the bar.
That’s all. Don’t do it.
Keep loving your grades and money!
Top 10 Ways to Exercise for Free:
When I first started my gym membership years ago it was $34 plus tax. I had a corporate discount because I worked for a big bank, which helped, and it included towels, yoga, cycling, and fitness check ins, and more. Not too bad, right?
After I had moved to California I foolishly cancelled it and when I came back I was shocked to see what the current going rate was for a big gym membership! They range from $$250 to $69 plus tax. The more expensive gyms do have access to better husband material but those rates are crazy.
PLUS you lose all the perks with those rates. Extra charges for towels, the classes, and more get tacked on those outrageous rates. You also have to sign at least a one year membership with penalties if you cancel before that. I’m not even sure how many months went by that I didn’t even set foot in the smelly place. For $34 a month I can handle it but for $69 + I can’t do it. I can’t pay that much a year!
The solution, is to do it all for free. I want to feel great but save the $840 plus tax a year.
Here are my top 5 free ways to exercise:
- Watch videos from YouTube or the web. You can find tons of free videos and content that you can do in your skimpies on the living room rug.
- Go to a friend or local free pool and do laps. It’s amazing exercise for you!
- Jog. It’s free. Open the front door. Jog. Come back when tired.
- Hike. Pack a picnic and the dog in the car and go for a hike. Just google your local provincial park and go.
- Have sex. It’s free and good exercise. Try to do it often so it is like going to the gym.
- Yard work. Mow the lawn, cut some shrubs, plant some flowers. It’s all good for you. If you live in a condo go to a local farm and pick strawberries, etc.
- Borrow exercise videos from the library or a friend. Every guy from 20-35 has a copy of P90x workout!
- Play with your or someone else’s kids. It’s a workout, you all know.
- Help someone move. Lifting boxes, sofas, and painting walls will get you booty and bonus points.
- Have sex. I like this one so I added it twice. It’s win win!
Have a fit and financially savvy week,
Hope you are all enjoying this glorious summer. I thought I’d give you five super basic steps to get your money in a mankini and under an umbrella.
Firstly, be sure to think of all the amazing summer things you can do with the savings from these five steps. It’s easy to make these steps when you know how much more fun you’ll have when you’ve saved it. And why not spend that money on something that will make you truly happ, right? It makes tons of cents.
1. Transferring just $50 each week to a high interest savings account can add up to $2,600 plus interest in one year. ING has a rate of 1.35% as of today!
2. Keep your longer term savings like bonds and GICs in a Tax-Free Savings Account. It will help you save the most tax on income producing products like GICs or bonds. You’ll save the amount you would have paid in tax! You normally will get a higher rate in a TFSA or RRSP too.
3. Change your payments to accelerated weekly and save over $14,351 in interest and shave years off your mortgage. Based on a $200,000 mortgage at 3.59% annual percentage rate on a fixed term over 25 years.
4. Make higher payments than the regular payment. Interest rates are low right now and the easiest 1% increase will add $126 a month on a $200,000 mortgage. If rates don’t rise that quickly you’ll be paying down your mortgage faster.
5. Decrease the amortization your mortgage from 25 to 20 years and it’ll save you $22,474 on the same $200,000 mortgage at 3.59 %. That is only an extra $162 a month!
Have an awesome super saving summer!
Have you noticed that bank accounts are getting more and more expensive. You now need to keep thousands of dollars in your account to wave the monthly fee. You have to pay $0.65-$1.00 for every extra transaction, if you go over your monthly limit. Plus, if you have to use a strange ATM not only does your bank charge you a $2.50 or more fee, so does the strange ATM. $5 for taking out $20 is a 25%!
You only need to access your bank account twice to limit your fees. This is how you do it:
- Use a no fee ING Direct or PC Financial account or keep the minimum balance in the account to wave the monthly fee. You will only access your account twice so you don’t have to worry about transactions now.
- Set up all of your bills on auto-payment so that they charge to your credit card or come out of your account automatically. Then get your credit card company to automatically pay off your card at the end of the month. Make sure you don’t over charge and have money in the bank to do so!
- Automatically have money come off for your retirement. This is always the last step and it has to be the first! Give your retirement account a cute name like “Golfing Fund” or “Cottage Life Forever”.
- Have money for the fun come off automatically too! Everyone forgets this part and that’s why they hate dealing with money. Do more of this and you’ll LOVE dealing with money like me.
- Squish your bi-weekly or semi-monthly expenses on food, dinners out, movies, hair-didin’, fuel, coffee, etc. and either deposit the money onto your credit card to spend or take it out in cash. Now spend down instead of spend up, and when the money is gone it is gone until your next pay.
Look at that! You only hit up the bank machine twice in an entire month and all of your bills are being paid and you’ve banged off retirement and fun time too! Make looking at your balances not a good but great experience.
Have an awesome week,
Hi Dividend Fans,
With the US$ on the climb and commodities and the CDN$ in decline, why not buy some US Dividend stocks to offset your portfolio?
You won’t get the preferred dividend tax benefit that Canadians get for buying eligible Canadian dividend paying companies but you’ll get a juicy yield, I think more upside, and the offset in exchange rate.
(Here is a calculator on how Canadian dividends are taxed that I think you’d like)
These are some ETFs I’d consider with US$ Yield:
1) BMO US Dividend ETF ZDY 3.85% Yield
2) iShares High Dividend Equity Index Fund XHD 2.89% Yield
3) iShares Global Monthly Advantage Dividend Index Fund CYH 3.4%
This one isn’t in US$ but has 50% US Preferred shares so I like it, I like it, I like it….
4) iShares S&P/TSX North American Preferred Stock Index Fund XPF 4.54% Yield
These four will hold up when our 5-10% summer correction comes around the bend. Or so all of the analysts are expecting. We’ve had a great run and it is wise to move some money into something a bit more conservative. Plus you can use that US$ yield to get some great deals at the cross border outlets! Win win.
Have a great week,
Smoosh Your Smartphone Bill!
The one thing that I can’t live without today is my sexy smartphone. It’s the first thing that I reach for when I wake up to see what the market is doing! I listen to music on it, I track my spending, I trade on it, the calendar tells me where to go or who to meet, I keep in constant contact with my friends and family by texting or facebook and work with email – I even make a call every so often. It has become essential to my life but knowing that I love money more than even it – I won’t let the cost get over $5o before tax.
Recently I had seen the cost of my bill creep up to around $86 with tax based on my usage. Knowing that there are all of these new telecom competitors entering our market with fantastic smartphone deals right now is a great time to smoosh your bill.
I called yesterday and reduced my bill from around $86 a month to $52 including tax! Total score, right? If I stay within my dataplan limits that will save me $408 a year! That is enough for a flight to LA or NY to have an amazing weekend with friends. Here are my steps to get those same savings while improving your plan and then re-invest them into your own happiness ! Win win win.
1. Run around town and check out all of the carriers Smartphone plans and deals. Be sure to check your office fax room fist. The best deals are offered to employees of large companies so see if you can get a group rate based on your employer.
2. Find the best deal that would reduce your bill to around $50 that includes unlimited after 5pm and weekends calling, over 500MB of date or more based on your usage, unlimited texting, and all the Voicemail and caller ID options.
3. Call your carrier and ask them to cheapen your plan based on the fact that there are all of these new competitors out there with cheaper plans. They want your business!
4. Call and ask for the loyalty department then charm them with everything you’ve got. This department gets all of the livid customers and you being cheeky and flirty is a welcome treat for them.
5. Once you get your best plan keep scouring the earth for a better deal. If you find one call them up and try to get that option.
Keep loving your money and there will be $408 savings to love you back from your bill!
Have an awesome week,
- To build credit, pay your cell, cable, online and other fixed costs with a pre-authorized payment on your credit card. Budget how much it’ll be each month and pay if off in full.
- Use you debit card or cash for your miscellaneous cost. When your money is gone at the end of the month, it’s gone. This will keep you to your budget.
- Get a part time job that will help you when you graduate. This will not only open some doors for you when you’re out of school, it’ll give you extra cash to help with the cost of being a student. I worked at Merrill Lynch in London, ON and got a job when I had finished school.
- Sell your old stuff. Check out old hockey equipment, text books, collectables, and comics and try to sell them online. Try to sell it before you toss it.
- Implement “Financially Free Fridays”. Make your own coffee, eat at home, and play board games with your friends. You still have 6 other days to go out and party. It’ll save you a ton.
- Save 10% from EVERY cheque you ever receive and save it. Even if times are hard, don’t touch it. This strategy has made many people very rich. So do it!
- Get a student discount card and save on everything you can, movies, computers, transit, even some restaurants offer discounts. I used mine until I was in my 30′s!
- Pick a financial mentor and meet with them once a month. Be sure to discuss with them your challenges and successes with your money. My mentor helped me navigate the trappings of school mentality and had me write my CSC and get experience for the real world. I still got to party and travel .
- Apply to every corporate, government, scholarship and bursary that is available. There are online sites that categorize them so you can see which ones you can apply for. Don’t leave any resource untapped.
- Join professional or investing clubs at school. You’ll make great business relationships, learn to invest, and learn from other ambitious students.
Have an awesome week!
Do you spend more than you plan to month after month even though you WANT to save, with all your heart? Want to change? Are you ready to change? The trick is to not only change your will to save money, but also your behaviours. That is the key to getting results. Here are three quick money behaviours that will help you save more money.
1. Implement Financially Free Fridays! Don’t spend any money on Friday and change your behaviour. Drink company coffee, pack your lunch, play board games with the kids and don’t spend a dime. Concentrating on not spending any money on Friday will effect your decisions on the other six days of the week. Watch you your spending will decrease overall.
2. Go on a Cleanse! Not only will this be good for you to detox for two weeks, it’ll get you into the habit of having to buy groceries and eat in. It’ll set a positive behavior that makes you plan your meals and what you eat and drink when out with friends. Eating out is one of the biggest costs that we all have to deal with. It’ll slim down your waste line AND your spending. Win win. Here is an awesome site to help with the cleanse. Healthy Delicious
3. Make Money Everyday! Rich people are always trying to make money, each and every day. Think how you can right now. It can be as simple as rolling coins and depositing them, selling old comic books or antiques, or writing a blog and selling advertising space like me. If you down time is used making money vs. spending money, your results will be positive.
Change your behaviours to support your money goals and they’ll bring you positive money results. Take your first step today and you’ll be off to the money races!
Have an awesome week,
Have you ever crunched ALL the numbers to see how much your car, cable bill, or house really costs? I bet they cost way more than you think they do. Our brains are programmed to just grab the little information that we remember vs if we crunch all the costs associated with something to find the true cost. We remember the rent or mortgage amount coming out of your account instead of extended list of associated costs like:
$100 electricity bill
$135 property taxes
$20 condo insurance
$1650 is a big difference from that actual cost to run my loft $2180!
This is fun. Let’s do it for my cable bill. I only get basic everything on my cable. I don’t need the lumberjack channel. All I need is BNN and CNBC so I can get insights to trade my portfolio. Unfortunately it comes in one of the bundles and it costs more. Add it all up to see if you can save more money….
Minus my 10% discount for bundelling them all together. When ever the prices go up I’ll call and threaten to cancel. My goal is to keep my products all around $150 before taxes. I went a year without cable but I missed BNN and CNBC. :/
Do the same for your car. We think of the payment and say to ourselves” I can totally pull that off each month for that stud mobile” but do the math. Say that payment is $650 a month plus….
$50 a month for yearly license charges, maintenance, oil, wipers, and fuzzy dice.
$1,060 is a HUGE difference compared to $650.
Do this to all of your bills to see how much extra cost there is and then plug the actual number into your yearly budget. $7,800 vs. the actual $12,720 for the yearly car cost might get you to get rid of it or downsize to a put put. Ask yourself – self? Will that $12,720 can make me happier or more secure as a trip or in an savings account. What do you think?
Love your money and it’ll love you back with a better life!
Have a great week,
People LOVE to hate the big five Canadian banks. If you read through their corporate twitter feeds or read the comments after the CBC Market Watch show on bank fees – you’ll read people’s rage. Other personal finance “talking heads” have been getting in on the action by tweeting about increased overdraft fees and other pain points that rally the unhappy customer rage.
I, on the other hand love when the banks increase fees. When they buy another bank like ING. When they add another ATM charge. Because I make sure not to pay these fees with some quick and easy steps AND I get my increased dividend payouts by owning all of the big five banks. Win win for me!
The BMO big five banks ETF that I own symbol ZEB did 14.71% in 1 yr. That’s probably better than any of the mutual funds that all of those banks sell. BMO ETF Equal Weighted Banks
Here is how I keep the dividends without paying the fees!
1. Keep the minimum balance in your account to waive the fee: I keep $1,000 to waive the $4 fee in my 10 transaction a month account.
2. Limit your transactions: I charge my gym, cell, insurance, internet, TV, groceries, gas etc. to my card and have it paid off at the end of the month with one transaction automatically. ( call your credit card company to do this).
3. Automatically have your retirement, mortgage/rent and debt payments come out of your account fixed: Make sure all of your necessities are automatic and set for your success. Max out on paying back debt and building up retirement vs. maxing out cards and lines of credit.
4. Take out weekly miscellaneous spending amount ONCE a week: Things like hair cuts, coffee, dinning out, gifts, clothes, and movies. This will keep your transactions to 4 or 5 a month plus they’ll stop you from using other bank machines. If you’re good with your credit cards you can make payment for the weekly amount and then charge away until it’s gone. But be good!
Keep getting the big 5 banks dividends without paying the fees!