I must preface that if you have any high interest credit card debt, that should be the first focus. With those rates hovering around 11-29% interest, it always makes more sense to get rid of that debt first.
Let's assume that you doesn't have any other debt and are simply wondering if the RRSP is the better way to go or, should you fast track paying down your mortgage?
Read on to find out which is the better option, or, if you should opt for a blend of both.
I like to explain it this way: think of your RRSP as a garage. It's essentially an empty structure. You still need to put cars into your garage. These cars could be GIC's at your bank, stocks, bonds, mutual funds or just about any combination and more. But without carefully choosing which cars go into your RRSP and periodically changing those cars up, many Canadians aren't optimizing their RRSPs.
- Buy flowers early and from a grocery store as opposed to a flower shop; the latter tends to be much more expensive especially in the days leading up to the 14th.
- Make your own fortune cookies with love notes inside and hide them around the house. Here's a recipe for them - http://chinesefood.about.com/od/diningout/r/fortunecookie.htm
- Personalize it - this website has a great array of romantic and thoughtful low priced gifts - http://www.personalizationmall.com/
- Spa night at home. For a fraction of the cost, you can pamper each other and for some extra luxury, try fresh rose petals in the tub and on the bathroom floor, on your bed, and more.
- Go on a scavenger hunt. Leave a card with clues leading to treats and notes for your loved one.
- Twelve ways to say I love you - translate I love you around the world - this website gives you the translations - http://translate.google.com/
It's nearing the end of the month and you've either received your credit card statement from Christmas or the dreaded mail is about to arrive. Have you taken a deep breath and braved opening the envelope, or are you resigned to letting it collect dust for now and deal with it later?
If you have the courage to open your credit card statement up, you'll notice something new - a measure the government forced companies to report a few months ago. And, if you carry a balance on your card, it might be a scary number to look at. There's a little box either on the side or back of your statement that now has to tell you how long it will take for you to pay off your credit card balance if you only make the minimum payment. This month's mini money make-over features Jeffrey, who's looking at a whopping 134 years and 7 months to pay off his credit card. Yes, you read that right. He's currently 37 years old, and if he doesn't learn a simple trick to financial freedom, his debt will outlive him by decades.
The past couple of years have been tough on many Canadians and for a brief period of time, frugality was the financial buzz word. I'd like to add the adjective "intelligent" preceding frugality (being smart with your money) as a trend I hope will stay.
But then there are those individuals, you know the ones (maybe intimately), that are just plain cheap.
Take this test to find out if you're fantastically frugal, penny-wise and pound-foolish or a killjoy miser.
Question #1: Have you ever been out with friends for dinner and excused yourself just as the bill came to avoid chipping in?
A: Never; I can't stand people that do that
B: I'll be honest – I've thought about it
C: Yes, and I can't count how many times (is that wrong?)
Question #2: The last time the Girl Guides or Boy Scouts came to your door fundraising, you:
A: Bought one of what they were offering
B: Told them you bought at the office
C: Shut the blinds and turned off the lights when you saw them coming
We Canadians have been pretty spoiled with relatively low rates for some time. But as of yesterday, The Bank of Montreal announced it is lowering its rate on five-year fixed mortgages to 2.99 per cent, an all-time record low in Canada.
This recent announcement is likely to spur competition with our rival banks according to a recent Huffington Post article.
The question is, why should you care?
I hate budgets because they rarely work. I know, not what you'd expect from a financial expert. But think about this: if your family spends say $800 a month on food and dining out, but a "budget" dictates that you only spend $450 a month based on your household income, that's a tough cut and one that's going to sting. Just like a yo-yo diet, a financial cutback has to be realistic to last long-term.
This year, declare that you'll start with awareness and then move to choice. Start with counting your financial calories.
I think health and wealth are closely linked and are two aspects of our lives that deserve the utmost attention.
Campbell touts opting for a variable rate mortgage, but being disciplined enough to make the payment that a five year fixed would offer thus paying more on your principal and paying off your mortgage sooner and less interest over time.
Here's the numbers he crunched based on a $300,000 mortgage over a 35 year amortization:
Here's my Top 5 (simple) Money Resolutions and a few more from yesterday's segment on the Marilyn Denis show (you can view my video segment here).
Read on for my top tips!
We know that when it comes to food, we know that presentation is everything! Even Kraft Dinner tastes better on fine china. We wouldn't invest in preparing a gourmet meal only to serve it on a paper plate now would we?
I know shopping can be stressful and finding the perfect gift a delight. But don't skip the small investment and that little extra effort to make your gift look extraordinary. You might have spent hundreds of dollars on presents - so what's a few more dollars to create the wow factor. Alternatively, if you're gift giving on a budget, those homemade shortbread cookies that you're giving as a gift will taste so much more delicious to the recipient elegantly wrapped in cellophane with an organza bow?
And you guys that think this process is a little girly, I learned my wrapping lessons not from Martha Stewart, but my uber macho brother growing up.
Read more for the step-by-step process of wrapping fun!