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Everything in Moderation: Self Imposed Shopping Ban

In my 2015 Personal Finance Goals, I suggested that I am going to go on a shopping ban every other month for this year.  This was a direct consequence of going a little nuts while shopping in Seattle over the holiday season with my sisters.  I bought $200 black boots at Nordstrom Rack and a myriad of other items and I think spent over $500 on shopping alone that weekend (terrible, I know…yikes!!!).

There are some other personal finance bloggers who are doing a shopping ban, notably, Blonde on a Budget, who is not shopping for anything for an entire year (something that I couldn’t do for sure!).  Shopping bans can be a great way to practice minimalism, reduce materialism, and help you re-think what you’re going to buy before you buy it.  It also is a great way to save money as well.

So far, my shopping ban is a little lax (well, not too lax) and I just can’t shop for any clothes or accessories, or make up products…really anything that I don’t really need or deem essential.  It also includes things like home improvement items (like a new toilet) and things like a Bodum French Press (I broke one while washing dishes and haven’t replaced it).  My shopping ban is lax because I’m not restricting myself from eating out with friends or having coffee (I rarely have coffee out, but sometimes I do spend $2-5 a week on coffee when I am with my coworkers) or brunch (one of my favourite things to do on weekends).  It also does not restrict me from buying gifts for people.

Self Imposed Shopping BanMy shopping ban is in effect alternate months:

  • January- no shopping
  • February- okay to shop
  • March- no shopping
  • April- okay to shop

…. and so on and so forth, you get the idea.

Well, how am I doing?

Not too bad I think!Continue Reading

Spring Clean Your Way to Extra Money

Spring is finally here (well it is more obvious in some parts of Canada in comparison to others) and you know what that means- it is time for spring cleaning!  Spring is a time of renewal and rejuvenation, and a perfect time to declutter your life and tidy up your home.

The key to making money while spring cleaning, I think, is to be an expert organizer when you are decluttering your stuff, and sort out whatever you are getting rid of.  To do that, you can categorize each item according to whether you plan to consign it, Craigslist it, clothes swap it, garage sale it, or donating it.

Consign It

I used to be an avid consignment store junkie.  I loved collecting my money at the end of the season, sometimes I would get $70 to $100.  I used to bring bags and bags of clothes to consign.  Nowadays it has been difficult getting my clothes consigned again.  Either people have much nicer clothes they want to get rid of in comparison to me (very likely) or I don’t have as much clothing as I used to as I have curbed my shopaholic tendencies.

Consignment stores take around 50-60% off the item they price it at.  Not great, but not bad considering they have to pay rent and hire staff to sell your clothes.  Often, if they can’t sell the item during the season, they will donate your item to charity at the end of it anyway.  You can consign clothes, furniture, jewelry, children’s clothes… the list goes on!

Craigslist It

I’m a huge fan of Craigslist (well, it has its limitations, like the flaky no-show-ers or the people who want to low ball you or those who text you endless questions and waste your time only to not want the item in the end) because it has hSpring Clean Your Way to Extra Moneyelped me get rid of a lot of stuff.  Sometimes I feel a bit shady meeting random people in public places but I am often quite satisfied with the proceeds of extra cash I get when I sell something!  Craigslist was a great supporter in getting me a Dyson vacuum for $100.Continue Reading

How Often Should I Rebalance My Portfolio?

Life, it’s about balance isn’t it?  Yoga is about balance too.  Yoga has taught me a lot about personal finance.  When I do my weekly yoga (at home of course, because I can’t fathom to pay $17+ for a drop in yoga class every week) session, I often strike tree pose.  In tree pose, you have to balance on one leg (you know, like a tree).  Sometimes if you’re not focused enough, or are thinking about the chores you have to do, or that large to-do list that you have to tackle, you go off balance and have to correct yourself and aim to balance again.

Rebalancing your financial portfolio is similar, but oftentimes people don’t know when to rebalance their portfolios and they try to time the market, or they skip rebalancing because they feel the market is too high (again, trying to time the market).  So, to take the emotion out of investing you need to rebalance your portfolio regularly.

The Consequences of Not Rebalancing

If you think about not rebalancing your wheels on your car, if you’re not actively driving the steering wheel, the car sort of veers off to one side instead of staying straight on the road.  If you don’t regularly rebalance your asset allocations will be off and you stand to gain less (or even lose money, of course) than if you were to diligently rebalance.  Therefore, it makes sense to rebalance regularly, and yet many people (including myself) are hesitant to regularly rebalance.  If you write it down or make some rules to rebalance, you will be much more likely to regularly rebalance.  Your portfolio will thank you and be grateful.

Here are some ways that you might want to adopt for your investing practice that might give the portfolio some nameste and good karma:

Rebalance According to Scheduled Times

How Often Should I Rebalance My PortfolioSome people rebalance once a year, twice a year, or four times a year.  Some people pick a date or certain months of the year and rebalance in those times.  One thing to consider if you’re doing it more frequently (e.g. four times a year) is the cost of rebalancing, according to Moneysense.  For my Questrade account, buying more Exchange Traded Funds is free (no commissions paid) but selling incurs a trading commission.  Therefore it costs me nothing extra when I rebalance because I usually add extra funds.

For me, I am rebalancing my TFSA ETF portfolio every March and September (twice a year) and am planning to rebalance my non-registered ETF portfolios and RRSP protfolio in June and January (twice a year).  I don’t mind doing it earlier but when I calculated the asset allocation, the portfolios weren’t off by very much so I didn’t bother rebalancing them.Continue Reading