Monday, 25 July 2016

Book Review: Wealthing Like Rabbits

When thinking about Canadian personal Finance books, we tend to think about the "Wealthy Barber". I have to admit that, that is the one book taught me about Canadian personal finance than any other book. 

Recently, I found another book : "Wealthing Like Rabbits: an original introduction to personal finance" written by Robert R.Brown. 

It came to me while I was doing a search on the Toronto public library website to find personal finance books. The title was intriguing. So I got the book. Never heard of Wealth as a verb or wealthing instead of saving. 

It is for some one starting to to learn about personal finances. The book is very funny and the language is simple. 
The book starts with the life of a typical spender. Then try to have a different view point. I am sure, the reader will get hooked at this point to know more about a better happy way of living in Canada.

If you are already having a frugal life style and very careful about where your money goes, then you don't really have to read this book.

The author has a bias towards RRSP. I won't agree with just investing in RRSP and neglecting TFSA. One should consider both. There are advantages and disadvantages on both investment vehicles. I would say, put money in RRSP and if you get a refund, invest it in the TFSA. 
The book doesn't say anything about how to invest your money. I hope the author will write another funny book explaining mutual funds, ETFs and investing in general.

I like the author's point of view of not borrowing to invest in RRSP. I disagree with neglecting the reward points on the credit cards though. People who are reading a personal finance book usually have the idea of using the credit card wisely and living within their means. I believe, we should take advantage of the credit cards and pay the bills in time. 

I agree with buying less home than the mortgage advisor tells you. That is explained by the example of Mario brothers. It sure get the attention of the 20 something trying to save money. 

I would suggest the book as a great gift for a young person, just  starting life. The book can inspire them to save for future. They might think of the cost of each expensive gadget in a different way. 

Rabbit population increases faster than our savings. Being mindful and taking care of the limited resources called money will make life more affordable and happy. 

Friday, 22 July 2016

Money Regrets

When I first heard about RESP, I didn't know about self directed RESP. I thought, I just have to open an account and start putting money monthly.
After a couple of years, I learned that I can buy GIC with the money in RESP. So, it was like, many GICs in the RESP which were just getting matured and reinvested at maturity.

The interest rate was very low. So the money didn't do much work.

The end result is my kid's degree costs more than the money I accumulated in RESP.

Then, we saved money in RRSPs and used that money for the down payment for the home. I think, that was a good decision. But, the bad decision came a little later when we decided to invest with Investors Group. The financial advisor we started with was great. he was very genuine and was working with us. But, after a couple of years, he decided to quit from IG. Our investment were supposed to be looked after by his manager. We should have moved our investments from them when this so called manager came for the first meeting without even having a look on what our investments are. Warning signs... Yeah, life got busy and I just ignored that little voice in my head... Do be financially independent we have to make good personal finance decisions each time.

Glad that I decided to stop investing with them in 2016.

Another regret with money is we chose to buy a condo. We should have started with a house. We thought, the condo can be a started home and we can move to an independent house later. it is not going to happen with the burning hot housing market.

I am glad that i have only few money regrets. do you have money regrets? What is your biggest money regret?

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Easy and Cheap

My family usually shops at No Frills for grocery every week. They have many of the things we usually buy. I like to have some fresh produce from there. Since the shop is very familiar, it is easy to navigate and finish shopping fast. 

They usually have some $0.88 items, like  Bhelpuri. We bought it one time to what is is bhelpuri. It is a mix of some fried things along with peanuts. There are 3 kind of sauces inside. I tried the recipe on the cover one time. Then, went on to experiment with my own.
Cubed a piece of cucumber, chopped some lettuce leaves and added some cubed tomatoes. Then a packet of Bhelpuri and one packet of sauce. I didn't take the fried vermicelli came with the packet. 
Mixed everything together: and there it is, easy and cheap salad. 

I have to figure out what to do with the remaining sauce packets though. They have different flavours. One of them is really spicy. One is sweet. The other is a green one. 

Easy, cheap and healthy food is good for the purse. Do you agree with me?

Monday, 18 July 2016

A Do Nothing Day

I just happened to have one extra free day last week. So, it was special to do nothing. First i was feeling bad about not working. When I get a day off, either because of my choice or because the dentist not working, I won't get paid.(All dental assistants know this). After the initial disappointment of losing money, I decided to have fun with it.

We decided to have lunch at our friend's shop. Once in a while we visit and give him some business. The food they make is delicious. While waiting for the order to be ready, I just browse through a magazine lying on the table. Interestingly there was an article about how to hang clothes to dry.

I never thought someone might needed advice on hanging clothes. It seems like that can be the subject of an article.
Since the books on hold was available at the library for pick up, I got that too. I was waiting to read "Wealthing Like Rabbits" for some time. Now there is no perfect timing other than this to have it in my hand.

After having a long walk ( about 6 km) in the evening, we had a home made yummy salad for dinner. Then there was some wine too. A box of strawberries felt so luxurious. Then I was thinking of drying the clothes in the machine. But, instead I went to computer and just randomly clicked on Money Mustache blog. There, he was telling to switch off the air conditioner, and to hand clothes to dry and so on.

Aha, now I cannot go and put my  clothes in the dryer. I am really motivated to reduce my energy consumption.

At the end of the day, I got a very relaxing day. Had some fun. The total cost was $25. The memories of the happy moments are going to last longer.

Friday, 15 July 2016

What is the point???

I finished work day and walked back to home yesterday. The walk in the late evening was just an enchanting one. The evening sun was casting a golden glow on the surroundings. It was breezy and pleasant. The beggar at the intersection was making the lady driver laugh with his dance. The trees were happily swinging the branches. Birds were eating more whatever they found interesting and were chirping before sun sets.
I was feeling energetic and happy. Ate dinner, had some fun time discussing the funny and happy things of the day. Then i went to bed happily.
The morning while preparing breakfast, we switched on the TV  to just listen. Then everything changed.... There was a deadly attack on France, 84 people dead. The eyewitnesses broken down recalling the events. The videos of the incidents were horrible. Everything changed in my little world.

The below picture I saw on Twitter.

Yes, what is the point of saving? What is the point of working? What is the point of everything I am doing if being alive is in question?

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Recently bought ETF

Since CIBC is giving commission free trading on ETFs for 25 days, I wanted to take advantage of it. I had $15 in dividends came to one of my accounts, and the other one got around $36. It was just cash, and I wanted to add more to my stash of ETFs.

What you can do with a $15? My interesting pile had one option: buy XEG, the energy stock ETF. If I had to pay commission, it was not enough to buy 1 unit. Good for me, today is supposed to be the last commission free day. Got it for $12.12.

I did buy 1 unit of ZRE in the other account for $20.46.

Since XEG and ZRE both pays dividends, it is good for my personal finance and passive income.
With the motto of saving and investing one dollar at a time to be financially independent, I think, it is possible to reach my destination.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Building Credit History in Canada

🇨🇦Canada is a land of immigrants. All Canadians are from some other part of the world, unless you are an aboriginal.🇨🇦

The first thing you have to do upon arrival is to start building credit history. You can come with a lot of money, you can come with no money, but you must build your credit history.

Starting a bank account is pretty easy here. You can even start an account from your back home and transfer money to your Canadian account.

So, to start building credit history, you have to get a credit card. Secured credit cards are easy to get. The credit limit on this type of card is granted is the amount of cash deposited with bank. But, take care of it as regular credit card. Pay the money when the bill comes. 

Banks will be offering line of credit. If they offer you take it, use it and pay back often. 

When we landed in Canada, getting a store credit card was easier. Then we used it and build our credit history by paying the bills in time. 

Start a TFSA, even if you don't have a job. Then start building your savings. We all want to be financially independent. So, why not have a high interest savings account and save on tax too? 

Start saving as much money as you can from the beginning onwards. Once you find a steady job, it is easy to get in the rhythm of spending and accumulating debt. 

For newcomers banks have programs like RBC's "Welcome to Canada" package and Scotia's "Start Right". You can get a credit card along with this programs. Checking the bank websites will provide a lot of information about Canadian finances. With the help of a bank financial advisor, you can find a credit card suitable to you. 

You may be bringing money from your back home. The bank website will give a ton of information about investing it or how to start your business here. 

Always make sure you talk to more than one financial advisor and do your own research. Make sure to learn from personal finance blogs. There are some listed in my Blog list. Hope that helps. 

What things you did or your parents did to make personal finance better?

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Will tofu affect my savings?

Tofu is made from soy beans. It is also known as best source of protein. it is cheep and a great vegan food. 

I like to use it in so many ways. Aren't you start wondering how is it going to affect my savings?

Tofu is still cheaper than meet as I am writing this one. Recently Health Canada  approved  that Soy protein helps to reduce cholesterol. This is going to be on the label of tofu packets, probably from September onwards. 

The tofu manufacturers are thinking the demand for tofu is going to be up with this news. 

That makes me wonder, will tofu price going to go up soon? My family has reduced meat purchases already to keep up with the increased grocery costs. Now, an increase in tofu price can make a dent in my savings.  Many marketing experts are thinking, Canadian markets are not going to react big with the new health claim. 
We made a soup like dish with tofu last week. I just blended one onion, few cloves of garlic, a piece of ginger in the blender with some water. Added soft tofu along with it in the blender. Then boiled all together in a pan. Added salt, and curry powder. Then a spoon of yoghurt also added. It tasted great. 

Will you buy more soy products if it reduce cholesterol? What alternative you are thinking of if the price of soy goes up?

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Good news for Personal Financing

I use CIBC Investors Edge for my DIY TFSA and RRSP. Usually they charge $6.99 per transactions. There is no free trading for ETF either. So, I was very careful to buy more number of shares to reduce the percentage of my purchasing expense.
But, comparing to Scotia iTrade, it is very low. So, I chose to use the CIBC for my DIY experiments. I cannot say that I am very good in choosing the shares or ETF. DIY personal finance has a big learning curve. That is why I like the passive investment strategies.

With passive investment ideas, i am not checking my accounts very often. I use that time to read and learn more. That is why i was late to know about the 25 days of free ETF trading at the CIBC platform.

But, hey, better late than never, right? So, I used the opportunity to buy one ETF, I really mean just one unit, with my left over money in the account. That really felt good. otherwise, that money was going to sit there, till I can add more new money to the account.

Do you think of commission when making your personal financial decisions? I would like to know what you are doing to reduce the investment expenses.

Monday, 4 July 2016

June Dividend Update

June ended already. July started with all the fireworks and a long weekend. I really got couple of days off from work. It was good for a change. The last 3 days, I didn't do any exercise at all.🙄

Finally, packed some unwanted stuff and donated to ValueVillage as part of minimizing my stuff.  they gave me a discount coupon for 30% on next purchase from them. No, I am not in to buying more stuff. So gave the coupon to somebody who buy books from that shop.

I made a total dividend of  $74.29. 😄RRSP is the biggest winner for June with $60.08. TFSA made only $14.21.

As I said in the previous post, we didn't write down the monthly expenses at all.

My other achievement : I made 15 entries for this blog. Very happy with that. I trying to write more about personal finance in the coming months. Hopefully, I will get some time to improve my knowledge about finances too.

Hope, you all had a great Canada day.