Create a Stylish Home on a Budget



If you have ever watched any home decorating show you have probably seen the amazing homes showcased. It’s easy to get caught up in the fact that your home might not look so professionally done. However, you can have a beautiful home that is stylish and done on a budget! With nearly any budget you can make your home stylish and welcoming. Also keep in mind that simple, timeless decorating is typically what looks the best in any home.

Create a Stylish Home on a Budget

5 Things you should focus on to create a stylish home on a budget. #decor #homedecor #decorating #budgethome

Paint

Purchasing paint is fairly inexpensive and can change-up the look of any room. If you are ready for a change and don’t have a lot of money, consider painting. Even just painting an accent wall can turn any home from dull to very hip and stylish! Don’t be afraid to try out different colors. Most paint stores will give you little amounts of paint to take home to try out.

Rugs

One way to bring drama or simple coziness to a room is by adding rugs. However, you don’t have to go out and pay for expensive rugs. In fact places like Amazon, Wayfair, Walmart and Home Sense are all great places to find very large and beautiful rugs on a budget. Try to pick out a rug that adds color as you can find other accents based off of the colors in the rugs. If your rug has some red and purple in it, look for red and purple throw pillows for your couch.

Lights

Lighting can make or break any room. You want to make sure you have the right amount of lighting for tasks and ambiance. Don’t be scared of trying out different lamps. Adding some pretty lamp shades, stand up lamps or even recessed lighting can turn your room into a stylish one.

Wall Art

There are different price ranges when it comes to wall art. You can really dig into the bank account and hit up a gallery or you can go the more budget friendly route. Look for wall art at garage sales, discount stores and even at your local mall. You can also just make your own wall art with family pictures blown up onto canvas.  Or, make a beautiful printable and frame it. Wall art is an area you can really get creative since it isn’t permanent.

Decor

Using decor to bring some style to a room is easy and affordable. In fact just adding in some simple things like throw pillows, inexpensive curtains, candles and plants can really liven up any room. You can find these items at second-hand stores, garage sales or re-purpose what you already own.

How are your creating your stylish home on a budget?

How to Choose the Right Retirement Savings Account

This post is a sponsored post by Sun Life Financial written By Brenda Spiering. See my disclosure policy here.

Saving for retirement is likely one of your top financial priorities. But did you know that how you save can be nearly as important as how much you save?  Choosing the right retirement savings account can have a huge impact both on how much money you save and how much tax you pay. So, how do you choose the best type of account?

How to choose the right retirement savings account

Here is how to choose the best type of savings account for retirement in Canada. #retirement #canada #rrsp #tfsa #retirementsavings

 When to choose an RRSP

When it comes to saving for retirement, RRSPs (Registered Retirement Savings Plans) are pretty hard to beat. Contributions are tax-deductible, investments grow on a tax-free basis within the plan, and RRSP  funds aren’t subject to tax till they’re withdrawn from the plan.

If you expect your current income is going to be greater than your income in retirement, an RRSP is a great option. It will provide you with a tax deduction that can help reduce your current income taxes. Plus, if you’re in a lower tax bracket when you draw the money out, it can help reduce the overall amount of income tax you pay.

When to choose a TFSA

TFSAs (Tax-Free Savings Accounts) are a great retirement savings account option if you’ve maxed out your RRSP. While you won’t get to claim your contributions as a tax deduction, the investment growth is tax-sheltered and there’s no tax payable on withdrawals.

The fact that withdrawals from a TFSA are not subject to income tax also provides an advantage if you expect your income in retirement to be greater than your current income, since TFSA withdrawals do not reduce income-tested benefits like old age security benefits. Also, unlike RRSPs that you can no longer contribute to after Dec. 31 of the year in which you turn age 71 (or, in the case of a spousal RRSP, the year in which your spouse turns age 71), you can continue to contribute to a TFSA as long as you wish.

How much can you contribute?

Both RRSPs and TFSAs have contribution limits. In the case of RRSPs, you can contribute up to 18% of your previous year’s earned income up to the maximum limit set each year by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) ($26,230 for 2018), plus any unused contribution room carried forward from prior years.

Since 2016, the annual maximum contribution limit for TFSAs has been $5,500, however, you can also contribute for any past years in which you didn’t contribute, back to 2009 when TFSAs were first introduced. If you’ve never contributed before, you’re currently eligible to contribute a maximum of $57,500.

A great way to determine how much you need to save for retirement is to use a Retirement Savings Calculator. It can help you set an annual savings goal based on your current age, expected retirement age and desired income in retirement. Plus, it can show you the impact of contributing to different types of retirement savings accounts.

To learn more about smart ways to save for retirement, sign up for the Sun Life Saving for Retirement email series.

The Ultimate Frugal Okanagan Summer Activity Guide

This was such a big hit in past years, that I took the time to update it with this year’s dates!  Hope you enjoy 🙂

Are you living in the Okanagan or planning on taking a trip there this summer?  The Okanagan happens to be the place I call home, so I thought I’d create a guide full of fun, frugal activities that take place in the land of sun.  The goal is for this to be The Ultimate Frugal Okanagan Summer Activity Guide.  If you have an event or know of a really cool place to visit, let me know and I’ll add it to the list!

Farmer’s Markets:

Food & Wine:

The Okanagan is well know for its award winning wines and wineries.  Many of them offer free tours and wine tastings. See a huge list of Okanagan wineries, here.

Canada Day:

Arts:

Beaches:

U-Pick Fruit & Fruit Stands:

Sports:

Golf Courses

The Okanagan has many amazing golf courses to play!  Enjoy one round or make a vacation out of it!  See this list of Okanagan Golf Courses.

Hiking Trails:

Festivals, Fairs & Community Events:

Father’s Day Events:

  • : at McCurdy Place in Kelowna, June 17, 2018 from 9am- 4pm

Places of interest:

Vernon & Area:

Kelowna & Area:

Penticton & Area:

Okanagan Tourism Websites:

Looking for deals?

Groupon has a ton of local discounted restaurants, spas, things to do and more! Check it out for great savings on the things you want to do in the Okanagan.

How to Teach Kids to Budget and Save

Kids are not immune to money talks and they can understand finances and the value of money at a much younger age than many parents realize. Some experts even think that a child’s views on money is set by the time they are 10 years old, some as young as five or six. How you talk about money in front of them, and how you set the example for budgeting and saving is very important to how your child will form their own opinions about money.

This means if you want to start teaching your kids to budget and save, it’s never too early. There are some steps you can take when they are still very small, and then the money lessons can grow with them as they get older. We’re going to look at a few ways to help kids understand budgeting and saving.

Here are some ways you can teach kids to budget and save

Ideas to help kids understand budgeting and saving.

Use a Piggy Bank

For younger children, use a money jar or piggy bank. Let them see the money they are saving and have a visual of it as it’s growing. Since many people do nearly all their finances digitally now, it may be difficult for a child growing up in this generation to really understand money that they never see.

Set an Example

You know those little eyes are always watching so show them how you budget and save. If you’re not already doing it, create a plan and get started. If you’re already doing it, but they just don’t see it, let them be involved in the process. Talk to them about the household budget. Explain what you’re doing when you go shopping together for groceries. Make talking about money, budgets and saving with your children an ongoing conversation in your household. This is how they learn.

Show Comparison Costs

For older kids, you can start showing comparison costs. “That video game costs as much as a new pair of sneakers”, for example. Or you can give them a commission, rather than a typical allowance. Pay them based on chores they do around the house and increase it based on the number and complexity of the chores they do. This will also teach the value of a dollar, the importance of working for and saving for what they want.

Teach them about Credit Cards

Explain how credit cards work. In addition to explaining that credit cards aren’t just “free money”, you also need to explain how easy it is to get in debt and why credit cards are dangerous. Explain what responsible use is long before they are old enough to have their own. Also, show by example.

Now that you have these ideas on how to teach kids to budget and save, you’re ready to start applying them. If some or all of them don’t work for your family or your kids, that’s okay. Just use the ones that do work, or make modifications to these suggestions so that they do work for you! If you’re looking for even more tips and advice, check out Money Smart Kids by Gail Vaz-Oxlade or Smart Money, Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey. Both books are highly rated!

What are some ideas that you have successfully used with your kids? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Create and Keep a Spending Journal

We journal our thoughts and feelings, we journal what we eat, but how many of us journal what we spend? A spending journal is a great way to track where our money is going and get a clear financial picture of our circumstances. It can help us spend smarter, spend less, and make more informed buying decisions. And the best part is, keeping a spending journal only takes minutes a day! Take a look at these helpful tips on How to Create and Keep a Spending Journal, so you can take better control of your financial situation starting today.

How to Create and Keep a Spending Journal

How to create and keep a spending journal to control your finances.

1. Find a journal.

You can’t create a spending journal without a journal, right? Any simple notebook or journal will do! Head to your local Dollar store if you wish and grab a durable notebook. These $2 notebooks from Amazon will also do the trick. Label it as you wish, and you now officially have a spending journal!

2. Decide on the layout.

There are several ways to layout the journal. You can create a page for each day, or create sections using notebook dividers. Use a layout that works for you. If you want to avoid flipping around, it may just be easier to use a new page each day.

3. Track these expenses.

You have your journal, you have your layout, now it is time to decide WHAT should be going in your journal. You want to be sure you include these items each and every day in your journal:

– Outgoing money/expenses
– Incoming money/income
– Essential spending should be written in GREEN
– Non essentials should be written in RED

Basically if you spend a single dime, it gets recorded in the journal. If you earn a single dime, it gets recorded in the journal. It may be ideal to make two columns on each page, one for outgoing and one for incoming. Then, use colored pens (red and green) to decipher spending and record the information in each.

4. Analyze your journal entries each week.

Once you have accumulated a week’s worth of entries, it is time to analyze them. Do your red entries outweigh the green? That could be an issue. You want to see where you might be wasting money. Fast food, coffee shop stops, entertainment, and dry cleaning may be some of the items popping up in red. The gas bill, groceries, and electric bill may be some of the items showing up in green. The idea is to cut the red column down so you can pay off more of the essential expenses.

5. After a month, add a purple column.

After you have the chance to analyze your spending for the month, add one more column. The purple column is where you will put money you SAVED. If you add any money to savings or use a coupon to save on an item, write the savings in the purple column. It will be fun to see that amount grow!

Related: The Budget Binder Kit is perfect for keeping track of your entire household budget.

6. Keep the journal handy.

It is best to keep your journal in a purse or handbag where you can write your expenses down as they happen. If you put it off until the end of the day you might forget and info may not get recorded. Keep the journal handy and you are more likely to use it and keep information up to date.

As you can see, a journal like this can really help you gain financial freedom. Consider creating a Spending Journal to see if it can help you!

Have you heard of a spending journal before? Will you give it a try?

10 Ways to Combine Frugal and Fun

Being frugal doesn’t mean that you have to live your life in a no fun zone. Maybe you assume that saving money means that you aren’t spending any money which in turn, means that you aren’t doing anything fun. Contrary to that belief, being frugal is fun!

Each and every day, we are each faced with choices on how we choose to make money, and then, in turn, spend that money.  Some people like to spend money on food, while others prefer to spend money on “things” or on making memories.  There’s no right or wrong way to spend your own money. It’s your choice. But what about those people who like to have it both ways?  They like to save money, but also have fun doing so. Is it possible to be able to do both? To actually be frugal and fun?  Absolutely. You can have your cake and eat it too. Need some ideas and inspiration? Here are some suggestions on 10 Ways You can Combine Frugal with Fun.

10 ideas and inspiration to combine frugal and fun

Enjoy and embrace nature.

The great outdoors can be 100% free, and 100% fun.  Think of the options waiting for you right out your back door.  You can go biking, hiking, rollerskating… all in nature and all for free. Hours upon hours of fun await you with an endless supply of outdoor activities. All without making a dent at all in your wallet.

Create a random dish with items in your pantry or fridge. 

We all need to shake up our taste buds every now and then, right?  Instead of running to the store and buying something new, or spending your hard-earned dough on delivery, create a taste bud masterpiece with something fun that you can find in your kitchen. You save money by using what you have and have fun by exploring a fun, one of a kind dish.

Host a small get together.

Have an event or win in life that you want to celebrate? Host a party in the comfort of your own home! No need to rent out a venue for a high cost when you can host at home for free. Better yet? Have it be a pot luck where everyone brings a dish.  Less money to spend on food and everyone has fun trying each other’s dishes and exchanging recipes.

Educate yourself.

Get in tune with all the free things going on in your town. You may be surprised by how many pubs, restaurants or coffee shops in your area offer free bands to listen to on the weekend. Or take a look and see if there are free movies or music in the parks. The events are free for a reason, to be accessible for all to attend!

Binge watch a favorite movie series or shows.

Forget about spending a high ticket price at the movie theater…try to binge watch a few of your old favorites at home. Pop your own popcorn, just the way you like it and snuggle up in your pajamas for a night of fun and relaxation.

Makeover yourself and your friends. 

Who doesn’t like to be pampered? Going to the spa and the salon can be pricey, but having a fun makeover day at home can be awesome. Have all your friends bring over their makeup and have fun pampering and trying out new looks!

Give geocaching a try. 

If you love scavenger hunts, this may be something new and fun to try. Research if it’s popular in your area, and give it a go.  You can uncover all kinds of hidden treasures when searching for those disguised items placed by others in the great outdoors.  

Host a Freezer Meal Party.

These are the best. Invite a group of your cooking buddies over, have them all bring ingredients for their favorite quick meals, and have fun dividing up, sharing and freezing for later.  What a quick and inexpensive way to stock up dinner for later and enjoy the company of some of your favorite people!

Be on the hunt for free books.

Who doesn’t love a good book? But they can be expensive to buy. Instead, hunt around your town to see if there are any Little Free Book Libraries to get books from. (If you’ve never heard of them, check ’em out!)  Also, don’t forget about the awesomeness of the local library.

Relax and go fishing.

Fishing is full of fun from the casting out of the line, to the excitement of reeling in that fish.  It can be a totally fun way to relax, or even catch your own dinner!

Finding ways to save money can be fun and rewarding!  By allowing yourself to be open to trying new things and using some creativity, the options are out there to enjoy. Try spending your time, not your money, by trying new things and making new memories. You may be amazed by all the fun freebies available to you when you are open and accepting to try them!

What are your ideas for combining frugal and fun? I’d love to hear your ideas!