Budgeting for Retirement: How Much Should I Expect My Property Taxes to Increase Each Year?

I know our property taxes have gone up every year but how much should I expect them to go up per year once we’re retired?

What Inflation Rate Should I Use for the Cost of Electricity? How Much Does Electricity Go Up Each Year?

In which I try to find a pattern in the rate of increase of our electricity bills.

How Can I Estimate My Spending Using a Black Box Method Instead of Keeping a Spending Journal or Log? Part Two

We had some odd “income” streams that we needed to include before we could calculate our actual annual spending.

How Can I Estimate My Spending Without Doing a Spending Journal or Log? Part One

If you forgot to keep a spending log last year you may still be able to figure out your total expenditures. The total may be higher than you think.

My Best Personal Finance Decisions

Reading about decisions others make about spending and investing made me stop and think about our own choices. Here are a few of the good ones, not counting buying CNR which has also turned out pretty well.

Is It Safe (and Ethical) to Insure Your Parent to Fund Your Own Retirement?

Would you feel uneasy if your brother had Power of Attorney for Personal Care for your aged parent and he also would get a million dollars from a life insurance policy when your parent dies that’s costing him $3400 a month while your parent is alive?

What Was Our Personal Rate of Inflation in 2014 and How Does It Affect Our Retirement Plan?

Why I’m eyeing the crabapples thoughtfully after calculating our 2014 personal rate of inflation.

Trying to Pay for All Our Expenses Using Dividend, Distribution and Return of Capital Income Only

Have you compared your expenses to your investment income recently? Anything startling come to light?

Fighting the Urge to Shop Too Much

Will anything stop me from shopping too much?

Why I Don’t Expect People to Buy Me Christmas Presents

I’m a horrible pain to shop for because most of the best things at my Christmas don’t come from a store.

Deliberately Misleading Government Ads About Tax Breaks Anger No-Young-Children Canadians Needlessly

Why is there no law requiring truth in “advertising” from our government? And how is antagonizing taxpayers without young children helping to unify our country?

Advantages and Disadvantages of Holding a Registered Education Savings Plan, RESP, Through a Bank or Credit Union

Many of us start our first RESP at a bank or credit union for some of the reasons listed here; Many of us move our RESP later for some of the other reasons listed here.

A Review of Great Canadian Rebates and SoftMoc Online Shopping

I can barely wait till my children stop outgrowing their boots but in the meantime, I found a way to save a bit of money and still get them the cool style and colour.

Is Our Health Coverage for Eye Care Worth It or Are We Losing Money?

Insuring our eye care costs must be a money-saving idea, right? After all they call it a work “benefit.” Yet we are slightly losing money by insuring our children for their orthodontic costs which made me uneasy. So I decided to check whether we are saving money by insuring our eye care or whether we are paying the insurance company more in premiums than we are receiving in benefits.

Ways to Save Money Paying for Orthodontics (Braces) for Your Child (or Yourself!)

We found a few ways to reduce our costs when paying for braces; If you saved some money too please share how!

How Much Should You Budget to Save for Your Child’s Orthodontic Work? What Do Braces Cost?

No one would tell me how much to save for our children’s teeth so I’m trying to help you by sharing what we found out. And please help others by sharing your experiences!

Are We Losing Money On Our Dental Plan Because of Orthodontic Coverage for Our Children?

Having a dental plan through work can be great. But recently I began wondering just who was paying whom when I started tallying up our premiums and our payouts!

What Rewards Do Loblaws, Longo’s, Metro, P.A.T., Sobeys, Starsky, and T&T Offer for Grocery Shopping?

Don’t you wish grocery stores just immediately gave you a few dollars off your grocery bill instead of making you collect and redeem points? Did you know there’s one chain in southern Ontario that offers just that?

It’s Easy to Save If You’re Rich

Does Tichborne offer the ultimate in Staycations?

Why I Will Never Own an Expensive Luxury Car

How many cars will you have owned in over 30 years of driving life? Does our decision about the type of car to buy mirror yours or are we automobile-opposites?

How Many Bank Accounts Can I Open at Tangerine? Why Would I Want Several Bank Accounts?

Can I get five free cheque books from Tangerine by opening 5 accounts? Can I have an unlimited number of Savings accounts?

Why Do Oreos Always Go On Sale for Father’s Day?

Do Marketing Gurus know something about Fathers that we Mothers don’t? Are Rumballs a more energy-efficient dessert? Is KD to macaroni and cheese as tilapia is to salmon? Why do children like cookies in little foil pouches?

Rogers Communications Misses Me and Wants “the Opportunity to Earn Back My Business!”

Why are trees around here banded with duct tape? It isn’t to trap gypsy moth caterpillars or to post advertisements for lost pets or garage sales.

Retirement Planning: Testing the TD Retirement Savings Calculator

Does TD think I have enough saved to fund our retirement? I’m not sure because using their calculator left me with some unanswered questions.

Retirement Planning: Testing the Canadian Government Retirement Savings Calculator

With some trepidation I used the Service Canada Retirement Savings Calculator to see what income we could expect in retirement. Then I started wondering how much Walmart pays those guys who stand near the door handing out carts and putting stickers on merchandise coming back for a refund.

Retirement Planning: How Much Do We Really Spend Now and How Much Will We Spend Then?

In which I survive two near heart attacks while trying to figure out how much we spend a year.

Borrowing Money Is Not For Me

What I have borrowed money to get and what I won’t pay interest for. Plus a scathing indictment of the government’s new light bulb policies.

How to Join Great Canadian Rebates

In which I test another online shopping kick-back program to see if I can get a few bucks back on a birthday present.

Why It’s Worth Eating Out for Lunch and Why It’s Not

What things are worth more than their cost to you?

Budgeting for Retirement: Dental Costs for Hygiene, X-Rays, and Fillings

With costs like these no wonder so many low-income Canadians have trouble maintaining their teeth.

Budgeting for Retirement: Reduce How Much You Must Pay on a Fixed Schedule

Are you eliminating monthly bills to reduce how much you are required to pay on a fixed schedule?

Why Would Someone in the Snowbelt Pay $200 000 or More for a House and Not Buy a Snowblower?

I have nothing against healthy exercise unless it’s a 4 a.m. in a raging blizzard. That’s why I invested in a snowblower 14 years ago and still think it was a great decision.

How We Replaced Our Cable TV with an Over the Air Indoor Antenna to Save Money and Go High Def

What is that sheet of paper hanging in our living room window and why is it worth $40.50 or more a month to us?

Retirement Planning: What Rate of Inflation Should I Use?

What was our personal rate of inflation for 2001-2012? And will budgeting for natural gas inflation properly score me an extra rutabaga or cost me a clementine?

Ontario Hydro Rates Make Retirement Planning Pointless

What a surprise! Hydro rates are going up. You might find the percentage increase for 2013 off-peak rates “shocking” though.

How To Look at Your Cashed Cheques for Free! Using ING Direct

Ever wonder why you wrote that cheque for $47.21 or if you even did? With a THRIVE account you can see who you wrote it to and who cashed it–for free!

Big Things For Which We Often Forget to Budget

Have you forgotten to include any of these big ticket items in your long-term budget? I’d forgotten a few unfortunately. If I’ve missed some others, please share them with a comment.

Why Do Rising Interest Rates Affect Real Estate Investment Trusts, REITs?

Did you know you can buy a REIT that specializes in self-storage units? Neither did I till I was researching this article. Maybe I should sell the REIT I have and buy into the lockers. Here’s why.

Real Estate Investment Trusts are Sources of Retirement Income

Why I find REITs appealing as part of a retirement income plan and how they work.

Is Public Education Free in Ontario? Not Where I Live

It’s important to budget for your child’s public school education because despite what the government may say, it’s not free. Here’s just a few examples of the costs you may rack up.

What is the Old Age Security Pension, OAS, and Will I Get It?

Who will get the OAS and why you should be happy if you have to give it back.

What is the Guaranteed Income Supplement, GIS, and Will I Get It?

Who will get the GIS and why I hope you won’t.

Five Things I Forgot This Summer While on Vacation that Cost Me Money

I fell for the “my money is in the car” gambit again this year. If only I would learn these 5 rules, I could save some money on my next vacation. Something tells me, though, that I may never learn…..

Mortgage Matters

Some interesting articles about mortgages including links to important information about collateral mortgages and how they can sabotage your ability to reduce rates and get loans in the future.

Sometimes Spending More is Wiser than Getting a Deal

Have you ever watched something on TV and thought “Oh dear. That one’s going to hurt.” because you can see where it’s going before it happens? Recently I saw an iPad ad that reminded me that using the same foresight can save a lot of pain even when you’re shopping.

How We Cancelled Our Water Heater Rental and Installed Our Own Tank

It’s been 2.5 years since we bought our own water heater tank. Do we regret it?

Is Hot Water a Matter of Life and Death? If Not, Why Are You Insuring Your Water Tank?

If it costs $697 to replace the gas valve on your water heater tank shouldn’t you pay for monthly repair insurance?

Why I’m Pulling the Plug on Cable TV from Rogers and Why Their Cancellation Policy Seems Illegal

Why I need a Power of Attorney to cancel our cable TV with Rogers; or
Why I think Rogers should win some sort of prize for most bizarre contract cancellation policy.

When School Lunches Go Bad

Do you really want to teach your child that they should buy an expensive lunch every day that is high in fat and calories, low in protein, vitamins and minerals but convenient? Do you want to teach your child that they should never enjoy the social aspects of eating or get to break the nutrition rules by indulging in something fun?

How Much Can We Take from our RRSPs for Our House? How the Home Buyers Plan Numbers Work

Sometimes buying a first home gets a bit confusing. Here’s the simple rules for the amount you can withdraw using the HBP.

What If Tomorrow Never Comes? A Reminder to Seize the Day (but Perhaps Not Every Day)

What if the future collapses back to a handful of days? Will have you regrets?

Why Do We Think We Can Own More Stuff than Our Parents?

When I saw this $1499 loveseat I thought of sinking but it wasn’t into the fluffy cushions.

Why I Won’t Bother With Granite Countertops

Choosing what to spend your money on based on what really matters to you should help you live well now and save for the future.

Maximize your TFSA First

With one exception I think most people should maximize their TFSA first, then their RRSP. Here’s why.

What Does It Really Cost to Eat for a Month?

What do you think you spend on month on food? Do you consider yourself a high or low food spender? If you have young children, have you considered how much it may cost to feed them in the teen years? Among other things, here’s an estimate of what it may cost to feed a teen male a no frills daily diet of home cooked food.

If I Bought 30-Year Shingles Why Is My Roof Leaking After 10 Years?

Why we’re glad we kept calling till we found a roofer who could solve the mystery of our ceiling water spots. (Includes a mention of Alberta’s famous Rat Patrol!)

Budgeting for Retirement: The Long Term Costs of Maintaining a House Must Be Included

Each year in retirement I plan to save this amount in my own personal “Reserve Fund” to pay for required replacements and repairs including a new roof, a new washing machine and a new fridge. What will you need to save?