Thursday, October 6, 2011

To Start Your Own Business

So you want to venture down that road of self employment?  Well I've been on that highway my entire life and for me there is nothing better than controlling your own destiny!  Here are a few tips that maybe you can use to save some time and also get by those growing pains. A) Start with a good business plan, make sure its feasible as most entrepreneurs have the mindset and great ideas but maybe not have a good business sense.... remember passion doesn't pay the bills!  B) Incorporate your business, it might seem like an added expense but well worth it as it will protect your personal assets,  lower your tax rate, allow you to invest within your own Ltd., pay yourself etc. C)  Have a good accountant as this is paramount in the business world.  They are experts in the tax codes/issues and finances, certainly someone to have on "your" team to save you money.  D) Payroll;  Set it up with your local bank to do it for you with all its deductions to the various government agencies plus do direct deposit for your employees. The cost is minimal compared to the time saved.  E) Be prepared to put in at least 5yrs of long days to get the business up and running, also you'll find that your staff will be your biggest headache (everything from poor work habits, not showing up for their shift, theft etc)  My solution?.....make some of your employees owners, as then they has a vested interest in the business to make it grow. So what you do is through your accountant get a value of your company, so for example we shall say XYZ Ltd. is worth $100,000 and your selling to 3 of your staff 10% each so they individually need to come up with $10,000 to be part owner of XYZ Ltd.  The best way is to take it out of their pay over 5yrs, so believe me they will watch the shop for you lol  (plus you the owner don't give up control because you still have over 51% stake, and don't have to be there all the time so you can concentrate on other things)   The payoff for them is they become owners without any money down and in 5years the value has gone up for all a win/win!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

To be a Landlord

So you want to be a landlord, there are advantages .... writing off the interest on the mortgage, insurance payments, repairs etc while your tenant pays down the cost of the house as (hopefully lol) the value goes up. This is what I've learned having a few home rentals on the go and you can decide if its for you or not.  A) Location (like your principle residence) is key, as you want the price of your rental to go up so make sure the area is desirable, also if you can afford it look for a duplex or triplex so if one renter leaves you still have income coming in.  B) Borrow as much as possible for the building,  follow the Golden Rule  (get wealthy by using someone else's money) so you get the tax benefit of writing off the mortgage interest (more borrowed, more interest) to offset the rent as that's considered an income plus this way your keeping
your own money to pay down your own mortgage/bills and putting the extra into other investments. Also most banks will ask for15-20% down payment because they deem it a business, so what i did was lived in
the house for awhile that way there was a
lower minimum amount required (as its considered principle residence), then moved out and started being a landlord. C) Try to be handy with repairs or have friends who are as paying a tradesmen for all your issues will make you not want to be in the business. Or I always looked for a tenant who was of that talent and i reduced the rent for them so a win/win as they took pride in their work as they got paid for it and you had no worries with all the little things that would arise.....and trust me, everything does gets beat up a lot quicker than your own home. On that thought, at first i had to keep telling myself not to be in "love" with the property, as it was an investment and don't be disappointed if your folks didn't keep it just so. For example i went with commercial carpet or laminate hardwood floors, stuff that is durable  but it wouldn't be what i would use in my own residence   D)  Look for smaller yards as its less to take care off and a deterrent for those big backyard bashes   E) Be
diligent in collecting the rent and trust me you ll hear every story you could ever imagine why they are not able to make the deadline   F) On that note, if you find good tenants do everything possible to keep them by maybe reducing the rent, upgrade the washer/dryer, buy them a vacuum cleaner etc, as all landlords have horror stories so well worth doing the little things to keep your sanity  G) Finally my experience with management companies that collect rent/screen applicants hasn't been good, they charge 50% first months rent  then usually 10% for each month after. Some issues i had is they would never go out to check the property as they had the tenant mailed in post dates and that's what you want as a landlord is those 'eyes' to protect your investment by going to your rental for a physical check Or when checking out references they would call the names on the applications, which turned out most times it was relatives who gave glowing reviews only to find out to my chagrin  not so good, plus the process cost you hundreds of dollars! (half first months rent)  So there is my list of the dos and dont's and have known some folks that have done very well in the landlord game.....i had my taste of it, personally i rather have a piece of paper (stock/mutual fund) that doesn't call me on a weekend night saying the toilet is plugged or Aunt Mabel needs a kidney transplant (true story!!) and needs the rent money to be bedside lol

Monday, June 27, 2011

Index Mutual Funds

What is an investor to do to combat all these hidden/high fees that effect your bottom line? Well maybe look into Index Mutual Funds....its an investment vehicle to match/track the components of a market index ( such as Standard & Poor 500 Index)  So you get the wider range of exposure ( in this case 500 companies) low operating costs and smaller turnover ( certain criteria to enter this funds). The drawback with this strategy is you cannot control the amount of one company that you buy into as your purchasing the whole fund, so if ABC Company is a dominant player within the fund you are exposed to its swings in the market place. So to finish up with my opinion on this subject, i look for Equity Mutual Funds that have at least 1 Billion in total assets and pays out a dividend that i roll back into the fund ( as stated in the last blog to reduce your "real cost")  Again there are thousands of mutual funds out there, but i believe that only 10% are worth having and remember what i have stated in this past 2 blogs, look for a good fund manager that has a proving track record......this is paramount!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dollar Cost Averaging & Dividends

A savvy way to invest/reduce risk of market swings, plus pay yourself back!!...... i thought that would get your ears up (lol) The joint power of constant Dollar Cost Averaging and Reinvesting Dividends will result in your "real cost" ( what you paid in) to be lower, that in time with any uptick in equities creates a nice profit. To explain; Dollar Cost Averaging is buying a set amount of investment each month and thus provides insulation against changes in market price. Say we put in $100 per month and the unit cost $10 in January and so we get 10 shares, same $100 in February and the unit price drops to $5.00, so we pick up 20 shares, March, $100 goes in and the unit price has bounced back to $7.50 per unit and we get 13.34 shares. Now looking at this from afar, you say i started out at $10 per share, fell to $5 and rebounded to $7.50, I've lost money, but wait....... that's the magic of Dollar Cost Averaging as you picked up more shares when the price was down during those months. So you ended up with 43.34 shares x $7.50 ( March Unit Price) = $325.00 and your "real cost" was $300.00  Next we buy units that pay a dividend (which is when a company earns a profit and it distributes up to 4x per year) Say Company xyz paid you a $50 dividend for its 1st Quarter in February, so you would of received 10 shares ($5 Feb unit price into $50) again this will bring down your "real cost" as you have more total units. Now if investing larger amounts per month, the entry point into the market is key, this is where a good investment company comes into play. Also ask/watch the management expense ratios (MERs) or sales commissions ( front end loads and deferred sales charges) as these fees can put a huge dent in profits. In Canada, we have some of the highest mutual fees in the world
and most are hidden or never seen on your statements!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Understanding Compounding Interest & Rule72

Hey bloggers, simple words in that heading but really how many of you keen investors understand the "magic" of compounding?  Not to worry, the K-Man has the goods!!  Basically compounding is interest earned on your Principal (start up money/ plus what you continue to invest) and the interest you've already have earned.....pretty sweet deal. So for an example, you had invested $100.00 and it earned 10% at the end of the year that would be $110.00, simple math. Next year that original investment would be $121.00....the $10.00 interest on your start up of $100.00 + the $10.00 but also $1.00 on the first $10.00 of interest from the year one. So to put some glamor in these numbers lets look what it would take to be a millionaire as that word still sounds sexy when thinking of reaching your financial goals. If starting from age 20 with $150 per month you would be in that exclusive club by age 60, just $5.00 per day ( just think, a coffee lol) wow the power of compounding and time!  Now waiting to start at age 30 you would need to increase your monthly to over $400.00 and at 40yrs old the monthly would be $1300.00, so without saying the earlier you start the better. Another method to calculate your earnings is called the 72 Rule...simply you divide your interest rate of return into 72 to find out approx. how long to double your investment. Example, you have an investment vehicle that pays 8% so divide 8 into 72 and your original investment doubles in 9yrs. To finish up, a wise man once told wont run out of money, but you WILL run out of time!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

To Become Wealthy

We have everything in place from the previous blogs to move forward and start accumulating assets! These will be generalizations to the road to riches and we will get into specifics of each avenue in future posts. A) Time is your biggest alley to saving and with that comes compounding interest, also
knowing your time frame will tell you how much to be put aside each month, then we look for investments that payout 6-8 % as the historical inflation rate has been 3%, so easy math; so depending on how many years we have the ratio could be 60% stock/40% bonds or maybe a 50/50 split. If you have a big window maybe do margins if your in the 20-30 age bracket and have the tolerance for risk  B) Boost your savings in your RRSPs to save taxes paid to the government and if your employer matches up to 50%......well there is nothing better than investing with someone else's money lol  C)  Increasing your income; hard to find a higher paying job so maybe work part time on the weekends or start a small company on the side to generate more cash  D) Real Estate; you know my opinion on house ownership with my past blog, but the 'X' Factor is location, location and did a mention location hahaha, so do your homework on this subject.  Also look at buying flats/duplex's so you can live in one and rent out the others and take advantage of your 'sweat equity' for some repairs/cosmetics around the property while your renters are paying down your mortgage for you.....nice!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Credit Score

Onto the next phase of any financial planning, knowing how your credit score works. First its the vehicle that any lending institution uses to check your history to evaluate you, the borrower. Now the higher the score the better rates of interest you ll receive and of course if on the low end of the scale I'm afraid higher payments are for you  as your deemed a risk. So you see its important to know how this system works, so here we go;  A) First get copies of your credit report and make sure the info is correct, also check for identity fraud  B) Pay your bills on time, as missing a payment is bad enough but if over 30 days can do major damage to your score, so set up automatic bill payments from your bank account  C)  Applying for too many cards/accounts will bring down your score as it makes you look like a risky borrower, even if you pay on time. Plus each credit check from this lenders results in points coming off your total.  D)  If you debt amount is too close to your credit limits, or even worse when you go over your set amount and are just making minimum payments will reflect on your score   E)  Inactivity on an account will raise some red flags, so maybe pay your utility bills with your credit cards to keep them active and again set it up for automatic payment before the 21 day window before you incur interest.

How to Save!

Hi everyone!! So we are reeling in the wasteful spending from our "wants and needs" list and also realizing we have to take care of our future ourselves. How are we to accomplish these goals?.....hang on for the ride!! First we need to save for a 6 month emergency fund, why you ask? Well life happens unless your living in a plastic bubble haha ( and that's not free from breakdowns lol)  So put aside 10% of your pay to you've accumulated the 6 months of income, then move onto removing your debt and finally then start saving for the golden years of your retirement. Now if thinking about a mortgage, ( it shouldn't be more than 25% of your gross income) find out what the house payment would be and when paying your rent put the difference in a separate account till you have at least 10% down deposit for your dream abode. For your children's education if your in that category, look for the tax free Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) and much like any other investment plan, the earlier you start the more savings you will earn towards your kids schooling, also set it up so your parents/friends can contribute.

Why we need to take of overselves!!

That alarm you hear isn't your clock radio telling you to get up for your 9-5, its me saying you need to care of your affairs now for the future. Unless you have an Aunt Mary to leave you her estate or know how to calculate Loto odds (lol), here are some scary facts;  the average Canadian income is $41,000 so if your to retire now this is what you have to look forward to. Old Age Security and the max payment is $524.00 per month and the Canada Pension Fund and that max is $960.00, so in total you have $18,000 for the year. A far cry from the lifestyle of your work income, the answer? Canada its either RRSP ( Registered Retirement Savings Plan) or the new TFSA ( Tax Free Savings Account)  So if by yourself that's easy as its called discipline to save, but if you have a partner who loves to spend here is what to do ( and if you think the problem will go away on its own dream on,  peoples brains are geared towards spending rather than saving.....its called instant gratification!) sit down as a couple and discuss what you
are saving for which makes it easier, also talk about where you want to be in 2, 5 or even 10yrs and what are the big goals? After you agree on those subjects, discuss what each of you are willing to give up to attain your future retirement together. In closing, don't you want to control your own destiny?..... i thought so!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Budget isn't a word to be scared is your most effective weapon for bringing down debt and planning your future. Here is a few reminders; write down every purchase for 3 months or to make it easier use your debit/credit card so you can get a monthly statement from your financial institution and review, then after this time frame analyze your spending and build a budget on what you have read  ( remember our first blog about wants and needs!!)  This is a rough chart you can go by as everyone has different circumstances in life. A) If your renting; 35% for housing, 40% for living expenses, 2% for emergency/insurance, 15% for personal and 8% for savings  B) Single with a house; 45% for housing, 25% for living expenses, 6% for emergency/insurance, 14% for personal and 10% for savings  C) Married with house; 37% for housing, 25% for living expenses, 8% for emergency/insurance, 20% for personal and 10% for savings  D) House with kids; 37% for housing, 30% for living expenses, 10% for emergency/insurance, 15% for personal/pleasure and 8% for savings.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Save Cash with Money!!

By paying for all your purchases with cash.....a couple of things, your spending only what you have and your saving on the fees from any form of plastic you decide to use. So besides getting some stares lol ( as it so rare to see it anymore) cash might be the way for you to save. Some tips to follow if using the moolah !!     A) Ask/look for discounts....some merchants give back coupons/store dollars for cash buys ( think of gas stations/grocery stores tied in together or a certain hardware store that gives its customers 3.5c per dollar back in paper money ) Also ask the vendor what they will do for you as these sellers are being charged by the cc companies fees to accept plastic, hence why they pass their savings onto you the customer and to build a following    B)  Make sure not to use a competitors ATM machine and get charged for this service, know where your branch outlets are  C)  Ask for a receipt that says paid on it for possible return or for warranty work   D) Finally write down all your buys for your records to track where all the cash went and as a bonus it will be a learning curve to create a successful budget in the future to save for your goals.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Renting as an Investment

Now with the money saved from the previous blogs/lessons i am going to say that renting is an investment and no i am not trying to be funny, hear me out.  There are various factors that come into play here for buying a place to reside and maybe some of these will work out for you like the timing of the housing market, location, sweat equity and maybe its just family needs. But in my humble opinion renting has the most upswing for investment purposes, i will explain!!  For comparison, lets take an average mortgage of $300,000 ( 20yrs @ 5% = $1971.38 per month and that's if the mortgage rates stay at its historical lows???) add property taxes, heating, power, water, insurance etc, so approx $2,700 per month and your rent say is for $1,300 everything included. With that extra fourteen hundred dollars per month, that is $16,800 per year..... that doubles in 12yrs ( the 72 rule, i will explain in a future blog) so have after 12yrs its $403,200 (12yrs x $16,800 = $201,600 and double that to get our total ) and that's worry free. Meanwhile your home is now 12years old if bought new or even worse if an older dwelling, sure the equity has gone up on average 5% per year but factor in these additional costs  A) at the beginning you would have spent 5% for closing costs ( deed transfer tax, lawyers fees etc) = $10,000+   B) getting ready for a new roof, as a life span is 15-20 years for most new shingles = $10,000   C)  need new furnace/oil tank =$5,000   D) septic field maybe?=$10,000   E) upgrade kitchen/bathrooms =$15,000   F) replace the appliances = $10,000+   G) new backdeck/front doorway  = $10,000    H) windows = $15,000   I) siding/paint outside =$10,000 and so on. So really what a mortgage does is forces you to save, but if you have the discipline to put that extra money in an investment that would pay out between 5-6%, you are much farther ahead after you take in account all the additional expenses of owing a home which would offset any equity gained over time of ownership.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pre Paid Cards

These forms of plastic do serve a purpose as many banks will not issue debit cards to teenagers, so if junior is on a trip/school term etc. it is handy for the parent to upload a set amount per month. Personally i feel there is no better lesson in finances than your siblings having the physical cash on them and as kids will do...... spend it all (lol) and then have that down feeling when their pockets are empty. That is what i call  growing up pains and with the plastic card you simply don't have the same attachment. That being said, if you go the prepay route here are some rules to follow;  A) look for the non activation fees  B) what are the usage fees and shop around different financial institutions for quotes  C) how much for inactivity fees and again compare prices  D) avoid cards that allow you to spend over the limit and then charge for an overdraft fee  E)  look for the lowest fee for ATM's and monthly maintenance  F) finally!!! go over the statements together to teach your kids fiscal responsibility as they go down the road to adulthood.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Another "X" Factor...Credit Cards

Good Day everyone. Some of you folks are starting to look a little fresher, maybe some financial stress leaving you? Alright lets get the goods on that other piece of plastic in your cards. Like a runaway freight train if you don't control it, it will control you; till you have a wreck and ruin your credit rating, relationships, work environment and so on. Again these are huge companies who are out to make a profit, still that doesn't mean you cant use it for your advantage. So when shopping around for a card make it FIT YOUR BUDGET, and look for what fees are included or charged, some examples;  A) Application Fee; a charge to apply   B) Membership/Annual Fee; a charge once a year or broken up per month   C) Set up Fee; to open a new account   D) Cash Advance Fee; could be a flat charge or % of the money you asked for  E) Balance Transfer Fee; a charge to transfer a balance from one CC to another  F) Late Payment Fee; charge for after due account  G) Over the Limit Fee; charge for going over your credit limit. OMG!!  I'm tired of saying the "F" word, as in Fees hahaha. Now the last four of these charges on the list lets just use your common sense, as for the first three this is where you shop around play a little hard ball and get these waived. Credit Card Companies want you to have/use the card and besides what they make off you they also charge the merchant a fee, so its all about the volume principle for them....pennies = big dollars. Now as a card holder you do have some rights, these include;  A) Merchant ( the seller) agreements are such that they have to accept your card no matter what the price is,
no such thing as a minimum purchase required or a maximum allowed  B) Merchants can charge a "convenience fee" if providing a service to bypass long lineups and/or travel to buy the item, but no other surcharges  C) The only time the merchant can ask for identification if the card holder has forgotten to sign the back of the card or isn't ledgable..... if they keep insisting? go to another store. To summarize, you can use these cards to your ADVANTAGE as they are/can be a smart part of your financial planning.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"X" Factors

Good day my getting smarter/savvy bloggers.  Ah the X factor in finances, we either can use these vehicles to our advantage or we can spend extra....easy choice isn't?  One example of this is Bank Cards, we all have them and think it is our right to use them anytime/anywhere because its our money.  Well here's a news flash, banks are in the business to make a profit to appease their shareholders so make sure the type of chequing/savings accounts you have fits your activity as costs vary,  for example;  A) 65c for any debit purchase  B) $1.50 for cash withdraw from a competitors ATM's  C) $1.50 for money transfers through the bank machines   D) $2.25 for monthly statements   E) $1.25 for each bill payment.  So you say its only pennies, well people cents turn into dollars quickly!! ( i can think of a famous Canadian coffee company doing ok on the cents per purchase method lol)  Say you use the debit card 5 times a day, in a month that adds up to $97.50.....nice profit for them and that comes off your bottom line folks. Then add up all those other costs we talked about earlier, that could be your 10% pay to yourself that we wrote about in the last blog.  So a couple of options, ask your bank to set up an account that fits your profile for a monthly fee   (and knowing your usage and for a fraction of the cost  instead of you paying for each transaction) Or use your credit card for everything and be diligent and pay within the 21 day window and get it free. Now that's what i call creative financing baby, just another example of what they mean by taking care of the little things..... as we go down the road to independent wealth.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A List Saving/Tips # 2

Wow words out, i might have to look for a bigger
place...nothing quite like saving money to peak people's interests. A) Personal Taxes; we all hate to pay but guess what, this is what keeps our country going with our public education, quality health care, drivable highways, etc. Think of it this way,  we all have a friend who never wants to pay their share when out somewhere as a group and that really sounds fair....not!! Also the government is smart as

it gives its citizens opportunities to take care of themselves and o
ne of those vehicles is through tax free retirement plans....everyone wins, you lower your tax bill and the Feds don't have to take care of you. So look into either a company or self directed plans and do it monthly and again automatic withdraw to keep it out of sight out of mind. Another new program in Canada is the TFSA ( Tax Free Savings Account) well worth looking into at your favorite financial institution.   B) Loans/Credit Cards; ok you has fun accumulating the debt but now its time to pay back!!  Not a lot of love in the air right now is there? Try asking your bank for a debt consolidation loan to pay off all the bills and into one manageable lower interest payment, then do yourself a favor and act out Edward Sissorhands on all but one of those plastic credit cards and keep the spare on hand for emergencies, and no not the all inclusive resort that just went on sale but for the "A" list items if in between pays. ( usually 20+ days to pay the CC off without interest)   C) Life Insurance;
its depending on your circumstances, generally if single and have no obligations coverage is not needed....that's right, save your money and invest your windfall. Also any loans/mortgages you have insurance can be bought through the lender and if supporting family members your estate will cover. Now if in the other category, check into group rates through work or shop around as remember it is a business. Maybe ask your bank about a collective rate on your loan/mortgage and add life insurance to get savings in a nice bundle. D)  Health Insurance; again check with work to see what is offered/covered ( dental, eyes, prescriptions etc) or organize your own group of workers/relatives to get a packaged rate if your business does not have any plan. Finally check in with your corporate wellness program to see what is offered, maybe a percentage towards a gym membership, equipment for home, etc. it might surprise you what is offered...also check with your accountant or go on-line to see if you can write-off your kids recreation programs at tax time. Speaking of which, we are starting to trim off some weight on our monthly budget......nice!!.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

'A' List Savings/Tips

Our second lesson and the classroom filling up.....nice!   So we now know if we want to achieve goals in life we need to cut back on the "wants" list, but there also ways to trim the "needs" column so here we go.  A) Mortgage/
taking in roommates you can either apply your sub rent directly to the mortgage (it will come straight off the principle saving you thousands of dollars over the term in interest) or if renting you can invest monthly your borders money making you wealthy in time.  B) Groceries... we all need to eat but it doesn't have to cost as much by buying in the bulk sections so saving on volume and  not paying for the packing. Also whats with society eating all this prefab meals anyway, ever wonder how it keeps its shelf-life so long?  So never mind talking about the health issues with the "convenient" way to eat, save big dollars by doing the cooking yourself by picking a day and prep your meals for the week  with say a roast beef, turkey etc and be inventive to keep it  tasty.                         C) Clothing....there is such a mark up on clothes even when it is 50% off your still paying too much so look for those stores that mark down the designer brands and save the big $$$  and looking is half the fun is it not? Also learning to mix and match outfits which will reduce the need for more threads hanging in the closet (if you do not have an eye for it just ask a friend who does) and for under-garments and kids outfits any discount box store will do. Also ever notice how some people are styling no matter what they are wearing,  its because they are in shape so in other words spending a lot of money on a suit/shoes etc. is not going to change your look....take care of the body first!!    D)  Transportation....everyone circumstances are different here, without saying using the car less saves you coin and if living near work/school the use of public transport/car pool or walking is great. But if buying a car look for the lease buybacks...why?  it will have low mileage and warranty as the new car dealers take on the fleets from the rental car agencies to keep rotating their new products to them  Or go to any established used car dealer which offers the same and save big money,  i know buying new seems glamorous but there is such a depreciation loss once you drive it of the lot, so
just buy some nice air freshener and and think of all the coin you just saved (lol). E) Furniture.....another mark up king!! used pieces or mark downs due to scratches/nicks is just as good.  Personally i rummage through old antique stores and find some unique pieces at great value. So as you see its all how you look at things, as my best friend says....."look beyond the bumpers"

The Beginnings

Before we can start to save for that dream property,
vacation, car, etc. we need to get our financial "house" in order. To begin.... make a list of what comes in for income and what goes out for expenses (dates for both). Much like writing down what we would eat to make changes in our waistline, this we will call a financial diet and trim the fat from our expenses to fill that wallet of yours. Here is an example list;  A) Rent/Mortgage  B) Groceries  C) Credit Cards  D) Car/Transportation   E) Clothing   F) Personal Taxes  G) Health Care  H) Life Insurance  I) Furniture  J) Eating Out   K) Entertainment ( movies/bars etc)   L) Recreation. So like any business you need to have enough income coming in to pay the bills and so your not  running into the red.....are you that delusional, then you should run for political office (lol) as that is why most governments have a deficit!  Also living on credit does not work either as the interest will kill you and you are working for free, not much incentive to get up Monday morning is it?  Us humans are a funny breed, what we consider a must as part of our wants and needs in most cases has to change. There is an "A" list of bills;
having a place to live, to eat, clothing and transportation. Its the eating out, needing that $5 latte, meeting the boys for a weekend downtown (every weekend lol), extra pair of shoes to go with the 100 you have all ready, spa treatments, a gym membership that comes out each month that you never get what i am talking about. As North Americans we have grown use to being in debt, well if you want more out of life you need to change that mindset. So with just a few small changes in lifestyle you can achieve whatever your dream is by paying yourself first, say 10% of your monthly salary ( set it up with either work or your bank for automatic withdraw and you will not miss it) and put that on the "A" list and then start reducing some of those off your wants column . So if your goal is a home for example, a downpayment/closing costs is $10,000 or that holiday in the South Pacific at the same price, then by paying yourself $300 per month for 33 months......then get ready to turn the house key baby or book that flight to Australia. Just give up an extra few nights at the bar or brown bag it to work three times a week, make your fav coffee at home for pennies a cup, whatever as the above list will tell you what to cut back on. I am not saying to give up on everything as its a matter of perspective on what you really want in life, so look in the mirror and you decide.