babble home
rabble.ca - news for the rest of us
today's active topics


Post New Topic  Post A Reply
FAQ | Forum Home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» babble   » walking the talk   » labour and consumption   » personal finances

Email this thread to someone!    
Author Topic: personal finances
Loony Bin
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4996

posted 24 February 2004 12:50 PM      Profile for Loony Bin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm not totally sure this is the right forum for this, but it used to be called "earning and spending", so maybe it's okay.

I'm wondering how other folks manage their personal finances. Do you keep a strict budget? Are you more of a free-flow earner/spender? Do you have investments or major debts? How do you manage them?

And I'm also wondering about folks' philosophies about money and spending/saving etc. Do you aspire to acquire great wealth? Do you have any particular feelings about investments or the money market etc.

Me, somehow I've always managed to have enough money to pay my rent and keep myself healthy and happy. I haven't been particularly thoughtful about it, though, or intentional, and often I've been outright frivolous or stupid, but managed to not throw myself into destitution. I'm coming up to a time in my life now when I realize I should get more serious about my money, and should probably start saving for The Future, and dealing with my student debt, etc.

Just wondering how other people deal with this and just generally interested in how others think about money etc.


From: solitary confinement | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
paxamillion
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2836

posted 24 February 2004 01:12 PM      Profile for paxamillion   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I never have done well with a formal budget. So, I use sort of a "first things first approach." On pay day (I get two pays a month), I set aside half the money I need for my larger monthly bills (rent, child support, etc.) and then pay current obligations -- phone, cable, etc. What's left over goes to food, entertainment, meals out, cabs, etc. I also set aside a bit of saving with each pay; however, I make use of a savings plan at work that comes right off my pay before I see it.
From: the process of recovery | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
Loony Bin
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4996

posted 24 February 2004 02:09 PM      Profile for Loony Bin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I never have done well with a formal budget.

Neither have I. To tell the truth, I've never even been able to figure out how to draw up a workable budget, never mind sticking to it. Any babblers out there have more success with this?? How did you set it up? How flexible is it?

quote:
I make use of a savings plan at work that comes right off my pay before I see it.

That's handy! I think there are ways to get the bank to automatically transfer money from one account to a savings plan/GIC or whatever. Maybe I should look into that.


From: solitary confinement | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
Babbler # 3469

posted 24 February 2004 02:43 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm a fool with my money. I realized long ago that my only hope of not being penniless lie in getting a good job or two and working faster than I can spend.

I'm also one of those odd people who, despite being solvent, pays bills late and incurs the service charges (or worse). I read a great essay in Utne a long time ago by a woman who was of similar mind. She likened paying bills late to being her last remaining piece of free will she paid them late just to show that she could choose to. I suppose there's a bit of that going on with me. I don't like bills, and I don't like having to go run and grab my chequebook and a stamp every time one comes in.

One wee bit of advice though: try online banking, if you haven't already. I'm as cynical as anyone about technologies for their own sake, and the next "new" thing, but online banking is amazing. I occasionally even pay bills ahead of time now, and by always knowing my balance, seeing expenditures, etc., I'm at least able to know when I have lots o' cash (and should pay a bill) and when I'm lower (and can flex my free will! )


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Alix
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2279

posted 24 February 2004 03:13 PM      Profile for Alix     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm very good at managing my money, and I'm not really sure why.

I get paid once a month, which kind of demands good money managing. I hear a lot of people at work say that they have trouble making it last, but it's never been a problem for me.

I know ballpark what all my necessary expenses are going to be every month (rent, phone bill, etc.), so I subtract that in my mind from what I have, and the rest gets split mentally into four or five chunks (depending on how many weeks in the month) and that money has to take care of groceries and any luxuries we might want.

I haven't been able to put away as much money as I'd like over the last year or so, but now that my partner is working part-time, he gives me a chunk every month and it goes right into our savings account, since I don't need it to make the books balance. I take care of most of our money, since I'm better at it.

And I always have a good buffer in my account to take care of unexpected expenses if they arise.

It means we can't splurge spend at any time much over $20, but I have a couple of piggy banks to put change in to save up for bigger stuff. (One day I'll have a digital camera, I hope). I can't imagine making a purchase much over, say, $60 (if that) that without having deliberately put the money aside over a period of time.


From: Kingston | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Pogo
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2999

posted 24 February 2004 03:38 PM      Profile for Pogo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My system is similiar to paxamillion. I use forced savings for the bulk of my retirement savings. I used to do this mostly by taking RRSP loans at the last minute, but now I am more focussing on payroll deduction plans. I find this system very good as psychologically I don't consider deductions at source income (which to me is the same as disposable income). You also get the benefits of dollar cost averaging for any fluctuating funds the investments are going into.

I also find the online banking to be a great resource that I am only starting to tap into.

As far as day to day budgetting, I am pathetic. I know it is possible, my parents did it. I just can't, not that I am a great spender, for the most part we are simple-livers (second hand everything, no cable, few frills).


From: Richmond BC | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1448

posted 24 February 2004 04:04 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I use Quickbooks for both business and personal accounting. I make hard budgets for our personal finances as well. Both being self-employed, the blond guy and I don't have a steady income, so if I don't do this, it's too easy to piss away more money than we should.

I have made up a budget in Excel that starts with hard costs: Things like mortgage, taxes, car loan, utilities, the things I can reliably predict. I then estimate an average month's grocery and incidentals spend. I divide a reasonable yearly amount for clothing by 12 and use that figure monthly, as well as the approximate amount we'll spend on maintenance for the house and car. If I spend this amount, okay. If not, it goes into savings at the end of the month, and if I spend a little more than budgeted in another month, it's okay because the money's there.

Anyway, I figure out how much we should need per month, some of it goes to buffer. There are times when we have a dry spell in the cash flow, so I use a year-to-date calculation as well to figure out where we're at.

This all sounds terribly obsessive, I know. But I am a spendthrift, and if I don't make a concerted effort to keep track, I overspend. Which is particularly dangerous for somebody who gets money in large lumps at odd intervals. It's also borne of having found myself living beyond my means at one point and spending years getting out of debt and back on track.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 24 February 2004 04:58 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I tend to use the mental-approximation method as well; considering I get student loans these days I have to keep a bit of an eagle-eye on my finances.

What I do is work it like this:

As soon as the student loans come in, what comes straight off the top are four months' worth of bills. So bam, $300 to Telus. Bam, $300 to Hydro, and so on.

The rest of it is tuition, rent, and whatever else , though sometimes I even pay rent a few months in advance as well.

That way, whatever's left over is mine to play with as I please.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Cougyr
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3336

posted 24 February 2004 08:17 PM      Profile for Cougyr     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My first rule of money management is: if I don't have it, I don't spend it. I avoid debt like the plague. If I need to replace a car, I save for it and pay cash. (I never buy new cars. Lousy investment.) Never run a credit card debt!!!!! Not ever. If you can afford to pay credit interest, then you can afford to save and pay cash.

The one debt we did have was our first mortgage. We paid it off in seven years. How? We bought in a price range that we could afford. Our latest house we paid cash. (with the trade-in from the previous)

Financial solvency is totally dependent on not spending more than one receives. This is true whether you are an itinerant farm hand or a dentist.


From: over the mountain | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2534

posted 24 February 2004 08:35 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Cougyr, you are wise but please don't be judgemental. Many people who are poor or lack steady incomes fall into debt for reasons that are no fault of their own, and have nothing to do with discretionary purchases.
From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Privateer
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3446

posted 24 February 2004 11:19 PM      Profile for Privateer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The biggest thing I did in last year to save money was quit smoking. While house-hunting last summer, I did my first and only detailed budget. When I realized I was spending $200/month on cigarettes, I consulted my MD and bought Zyban pills - the best $60 I ever invested.

The second biggest thing I did to save money was buy a house with a rental suite. My mortgage payment is $600, minus $400 rent, and my monthly mortgage payment is only $200. Mind you, I do have some other montly expenses I didn't have as a renter: $200/month for oil (est) $120/mth taxes, $40/mth more home insurance. But even than its still only $560. The rent on my last apartment was $625/mth (heat incl). I am about $65/month ahead owning my own home.

The third biggest thing I did to save money was do direct debits every payday from my account. $25 twice a month to an RRSP, and $50 twice a month to a regular savings account. Both are earning 2.3% at Presidents Choice Financial, so I'm beating inflation while maintaining liquidity with the non-RSP savings. ING is even better at 2.5%.

If you're having debt-management problems, try to get a loan or one of those credit cards that allow for balance transfers which can be paid off at low rates. I'm paying my credit card debts off at 3.25%. Yes, I learned my lesson on the credit cards and no longer run them up.


From: Haligonia | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1448

posted 24 February 2004 11:34 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The house with a rental suite is a smart thing to do, Privateer. When I was a single person in my first house, I had a boarder. It wasn't much trouble, and it cut my mortgage payment (which was quite low) by about 40%. I also invested wisely with that house, as the property value rose quite a bit in the 5 years I was there. Enough to get us into a home we'll live in until we can no longer climb stairs.

We bought a fairly big house with a 3rd story loft, which serves as our office. We save $300 per month (or more) on the cost of renting seperate space for the business, in addition to being able to work at home and not needing so much daycare. We can put the money toward things that matter more, like music lessons for the kids.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Anchoress
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4650

posted 25 February 2004 12:08 AM      Profile for Anchoress     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My method is similar to those of others on this thread, although I can't leave money in my bank account because I just spend it.

Here's my method:

The shared expenses of my bf and me add up to $1000/mo, so we each contribute $500. For as many of my personal expenses as possible, I have direct debit, and make sure I have enough in my account to cover it. For other things - beauty treatments, clothes, dental, taxes, etc - I have envelopes that I keep at home, and I've figured out how much (approximately) I spend on each thing yearly, and dividing by 12, how much needs to go into each envelope each month.

When BF and I have something (expensive) we want to buy, we figure out how much we can afford to save towards it each month, and contribute equally until it's saved.

We're both financially ambitious, do the RRSPs etc, and what we're saving for right now is to buy an income suite, preferrably in our own building, that we can rent out.

Because our living expenses are so low, we plan to save $1000/mo towards it, which should mean we can buy within two years or so.


From: Vancouver babblers' meetup July 9 @ Cafe Deux Soleil! | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Cougyr
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3336

posted 25 February 2004 02:36 AM      Profile for Cougyr     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by lagatta:
Cougyr, you are wise but please don't be judgemental. Many people who are poor or lack steady incomes fall into debt for reasons that are no fault of their own, and have nothing to do with discretionary purchases.

You are certainly right; some people do fall into debt for reasons that are no fault of their own. But, far more do so because they insist on buying things that they can't afford.


From: over the mountain | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Privateer
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3446

posted 25 February 2004 02:59 AM      Profile for Privateer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Cougyr:

You are certainly right; some people do fall into debt for reasons that are no fault of their own. But, far more do so because they insist on buying things that they can't afford.


I totally agree. This is an especially bad time because interest is so low. Its easy to have a false sense of security, thinking it will be like this for a long time.


From: Haligonia | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Anchoress
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4650

posted 25 February 2004 03:43 AM      Profile for Anchoress     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I agree with you, Privateer. IMO there are three things, heavily-reinforced by the media, that contribute to this:

1. Our high expectations of lifestyle. Somehow, as a culture, we have the idea (I don't mean everyone, obviously) that no matter what our financial circumstances, we *deserve* certain trappings of prosperity: cell phones, cars, cable TV, etc. These beliefs, needs, expectations, whatever, guide our spending habits and keep some people from living within their means.

2. The unprecedented opportunities that exist for people to get into debt. We've handed over the responsibility for how we conduct our fiscal lives to our banks - thereby fooling ourselves that if a financial institution thinks we can support a certain debt load, then we *must* be able to!!

3. The fantasy world of future prosperity that is fed to us through the media, without any caveats. 'Freedom 55', 'Who knows - it could be you', etc (I read a survey that found a large percentage of young Canadians listed 'winning the lottery' as a major part of their plans for post-retirement financial security) and other slogans give us the 'feeling' that we're going to be prosperous in the future, without warning us that we actually have to *do something* in order to ensure that prosperity.


From: Vancouver babblers' meetup July 9 @ Cafe Deux Soleil! | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3308

posted 25 February 2004 04:04 AM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My wife and I have a division of expenses. We split the expenses such that she spends the day-to-day money, like groceries and gas. I spend the fixed money like bills and daycare and car payments. Because my finances are predictable while hers tend to expand to fill what she has (when she has the money she'll tend to buy the kid another t-shirt or get somewhat better quality food or buy stuff for some home improvement), I do the saving. Then, when the inevitable unexpected expense comes up, I've got the cushion available to handle it.

It works well because she's a better shopper than I am, has the patience to find good deals and buy for next summer during late fall when stores are unloading their summer clothes and such. Whereas I'm quite good at simply not spending money. So she gets more for less than I would in her place. But I'm effective at setting money aside. We make a good team.

With online banking, I find that I don't need to budget much; to get an idea of what's up I find it good enough to have a look over the last month or two's activity in my account.


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Loony Bin
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4996

posted 25 February 2004 10:58 AM      Profile for Loony Bin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I guess maybe I should get into online banking...Sounds like people are finding it really useful.

My problem, really, is that I make more than enough money to live on, and figure that since my tastes and diversions are so inexpensive (I like to shop thrift stores and I prefer indie and foreign movies to Hollywood blockbusters, for example), I figure I can afford to indulge myself. In reality, though, I should be saving money and paying down my debt instead of going out to dinner (even if it's just pizza or felafels...). I'm going back to school in the fall, after being out in the real world for four years...It's gonna be a bit of a shock to be living on a smaller, more fixed income (and to have most of it be borrowed money...).

I'm not sure what to do at this point, really. I know I should buckle down and start saving now, but it feels almost hopeless, and I have this feeling that I should enjoy my freedom while I can...Not very smart, I know.

I think the best thing would be for me to organize automatic deductions on payday, and have them go either to my debt or my savings...Or both, I guess. Seems sorta futile to save and pay off debt at the same time, though, doesn't it? (Especially if the interest on the savings is equal to or smaller than the interest on my debt?)


From: solitary confinement | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
Babbler # 3469

posted 25 February 2004 11:16 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I'm not sure what to do at this point, really. I know I should buckle down and start saving now, but it feels almost hopeless, and I have this feeling that I should enjoy my freedom while I can...Not very smart, I know.

As someone who did a 4 year baccalaureate as an adult, I urge you to take a quick inventory of what you do and don't have, with regard to things that cost money, and go get them now. When I was a student my cashflow was weak, but I was delighted to already have things like a couch, a television, enough clothes to go to school in, etc. If you think you'll want or need it in the next 4 years, get it now, and have it.


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Loony Bin
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4996

posted 25 February 2004 12:01 PM      Profile for Loony Bin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It's encouraging to hear this from someone who's already done it. That has been part of my philosophy lately. I keep thinking that I should stock up on things like clothes and music, housewares and stuff like that, that I probably won't be able to buy later. I should think about bigger, more useful things as well, I guess.

Any other tips? I'm pretty sure I'll be in school for at least 3 years, and I'm also pretty sure I'll have to take out a student loan and get a part time job. I really can't wait to get back into the life of a student.


From: solitary confinement | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Blind_Patriot
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3830

posted 25 February 2004 12:15 PM      Profile for Blind_Patriot     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm pretty good with my money. We have a dual income and no kids yet. We have a nice home and I make my mortgage and auto payment (4cyl). I have many credit cards, and I don't owe a cent to any of them. They probably hate me. I only use my credit card if I have the money to pay it in full within the next week. 19.9 % interest, no thanks. If I know I will be charging something to my credit card, I often forward the money before hand. The credit card is the cause of most people's financial troubles. My moto is that "I will not buy anything on credit" (house, car and emergency situations is the exception). Stuff like furniture and vacations, I won't do if I can't pay for it outright.

Another thing is Bank fees. Believe it or not, if I am warned by an ATM that I will be charged an additional $1.50 convienience charge, In most cases I will cancel the transaction and move to another machine (I know doesn't charge), even if it's a couple of blocks away. They think think they got... well, hey, not me!

RRSP's, not a chance. I think the cons outweigh the pros. I'm pretty pessamistic on them. Why divert taxes, when I could pay them now, and not have tax shock in the future at tomorrows tax rate.

When I need something, I look to see if I can find a resonable used one first in the local papers or the regional Buy, Sell & Trade magazine. $300 power tool for $80 bucks sounds reasonable to me. If I'm not in a hurry, I place my own wanted ad for free.

Stocks. Never again, I lost big time a few years ago. But I bet the CEO's were still laughing. Had I not lost at that time, In the end I would have. I'd rather go to the casino, with the intention of losing money and having fun doing it. Which I do about once every 2 years.

Learn how to change your own oil and do simple maintenance on your vehicle. Do your own home improvements. Second hand clothing... heck, if the shoe fits.

I could go on and on about the little things every day that make a difference. I'll end on this note.

A person making $35,000 a year can make it seem like they are making $70,000.

Never get pursuaded into buying something you don't need.


From: North Of The Authoritarian Regime | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Cougyr
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3336

posted 25 February 2004 01:06 PM      Profile for Cougyr     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It really helps to start saving when you are young. Bad times can come to anybody, at any time. It is really nice to have a cushion to fall back on.

Edited to add: Most Canadians are over insured. (Some of you won't believe this, but it's true.) One should only insure what you can't afford to lose. Carry high deductables if you can. Low deductables mean higher premiums.

Insurance agents, bankers, financial advisers, etc. These guys are not your friends. Etch this in your brain. They are not your friends. You can shop around. When looking for a mortgage, compare your options and tell the bankers. Really, go into the Royal and tell them what BNS is offering; then go to MB and do it again. It won't be long before someone offers a better rate. Do the same with Investors and Clarica, etc.

Oh, and those guys that run those investment seminars; they're not your friends either.

[ 25 February 2004: Message edited by: Cougyr ]


From: over the mountain | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Blind_Patriot
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3830

posted 25 February 2004 01:54 PM      Profile for Blind_Patriot     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Cougyr:
It really helps to start saving when you are young. Bad times can come to anybody, at any time. It is really nice to have a cushion to fall back on.

Edited to add: Most Canadians are over insured. (Some of you won't believe this, but it's true.) One should only insure what you can't afford to lose. Carry high deductables if you can. Low deductables mean higher premiums.

Insurance agents, bankers, financial advisers, etc. These guys are not your friends. Etch this in your brain. They are not your friends. You can shop around. When looking for a mortgage, compare your options and tell the bankers. Really, go into the Royal and tell them what BNS is offering; then go to MB and do it again. It won't be long before someone offers a better rate. Do the same with Investors and Clarica, etc.

Oh, and those guys that run those investment seminars; they're not your friends either.

[ 25 February 2004: Message edited by: Cougyr ]


Agree.... Agreed and agreed. Very hard for someone in their teens to save money. I agree. These insurance guys are definetely not your friends. A long time ago a friend of mine (Insurance Salesman) tried to get me to work for him. I didn't for many reasons. I found out how much the brokers make from clients and was discusted (Depends of which end of the stick your on). It is in their interest to sell you insurance... not your interest. Some policies net the broker up to %200 in commission of the clients initial investment. The life insurance companies make more than you do off your own money.

From: North Of The Authoritarian Regime | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 25 February 2004 07:00 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Online banking - a definite plus IMHO. Bill payments are way easier now, and I don't have to buy stamps. I just make a payment, scribble the reference number on my bill, and I drop it into my Big Box of Bills.

I'm not kidding, a book I read about credit cards and their seamy side mentioned a lawyer who simply had a big barrel, and tossed all his bills in when he paid them. In effect, he had a (rather disorganized) history of his bill payments stretching back for years.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
dee
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 983

posted 26 February 2004 12:44 PM      Profile for dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I use Quickbooks for both business and personal accounting.

How user-friendly is quickbooks for personal accounting? Are there any other programs that anyone can recommend? I've never used an accounting program but have been thinking of trying to set something up. I'm terrible with money in that I tend to spend and not know where I'm doing it or have much to show for it. I'm hoping that if I set up some sort of accounting program I can at least figure out what I'm spending my money on and where I can cut back.


From: pleasant, unemotional conversation aids digestion | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1448

posted 26 February 2004 12:57 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I've found Quickbooks to be the simplist and most user-friendly accounting package that I've encountered. You set up your own accounts the way you want, and then you can generate reports that show you how much you've spent and in what category for that month, year, whatever period of time. It takes a little while to learn, and entering all your transactions is a bit tedious, but I've found it worthwhile.
From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
pogge
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2440

posted 26 February 2004 01:21 PM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by dee:

How user-friendly is quickbooks for personal accounting?


I don't think you'd need QuickBooks just for personal money management. That's what Quicken, from the same company (Intuit), is for. You'll save yourself a few bucks right there.


From: Why is this a required field? | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
robbie_dee
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 195

posted 26 February 2004 01:30 PM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I'm not totally sure this is the right forum for this, but it used to be called "earning and spending", so maybe it's okay.

The topic fits OK here, but I think it is an even better fit for "Babblers helping Babblers," so I am moving this there.


From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
audra trower williams
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2

posted 26 February 2004 01:38 PM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I disgree. This thread isn't asking for help, it's a discussion about money management. If every thread that had babblers talking about their own personal experiences was moved to "babblers helping babblers", I think it'd be one seriously bloated forum.

[ 26 February 2004: Message edited by: audra trower williams ]


From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1448

posted 26 February 2004 01:40 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I don't think you'd need QuickBooks just for personal money management. That's what Quicken, from the same company (Intuit), is for. You'll save yourself a few bucks right there.

You're probably right. I originally got Quickbooks for business use, and it didn't make sense to go to the other for my personal stuff. Easier for my accountant at tax time if it's all in the same program, too.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
robbie_dee
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 195

posted 26 February 2004 01:49 PM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I disgree. This thread isn't asking for help, it's a discussion about money management. If every thread that had babblers talking about their own personal experiences was moved to "babblers helping babblers", I think it'd be one seriously bloated forum.

Well, I read this thread as a request for advice on money management - if not specifically for the first poster, then just as a general rule. See the following:

quote:
To tell the truth, I've never even been able to figure out how to draw up a workable budget, never mind sticking to it. Any babblers out there have more success with this?? How did you set it up? How flexible is it?

From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
robbie_dee
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 195

posted 26 February 2004 01:53 PM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I've been thinking a lot about budgeting lately myself, because I am due to graduate this year and I am going to start having hefty student loan repayment obligations.

My wife and I have said our ideal goal is to find a way to live solely off of ONE of our incomes. We'd like to dedicate the other entirely to debt repayment. I can't guarantee this is going to work, though.


From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
audra trower williams
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2

posted 26 February 2004 02:01 PM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I am awful with money. My solution to money problems is always "earn more" rather than "spend less". I am dumb.
From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Loony Bin
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4996

posted 26 February 2004 02:21 PM      Profile for Loony Bin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
In the interest of keeping this thread out of the babblers helping babblers forum, how about focussing a little more on philosophies about money and wealth?

What's your personal stance on money? Do you have particular monetary goals?

What about money that has to be shared, or "family resources", etc. How do you divvy it up? What's the philosophy behind the setup you use?


From: solitary confinement | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
robbie_dee
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 195

posted 26 February 2004 02:29 PM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
In the interest of keeping this thread out of the babblers helping babblers forum

Just to be clear - I was only trying to be helpful. I certainly don't think "Babblers helping Babblers" should be some kind of "thread purgatory" or anything like that.

This is a really interesting topic, whether we discuss the personal or the philosophical.

quote:
What's your personal stance on money? Do you have particular monetary goals?

For me, I don't think having money is all that important. What I'm worried about, though, is not having money. Does that make sense?

That's why I find debt such a frightening concept.

[ 26 February 2004: Message edited by: robbie_dee ]


From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Loony Bin
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4996

posted 26 February 2004 02:36 PM      Profile for Loony Bin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I tend to have a pretty abstract confidence that there will just always be enough money. I didn't grow up in a particularly wealthy family or anything, but even in times of moneycrunching, or some kind of need, there always seemed to be a way, and we never really went without what we needed.

All the same, when my bank account drops below a balance that I think is reasonable, I get a little wigged out. I like to be able to cover next month's rent at any given point during this month. Going below my share of next month's rent at any point during the month usually sets off some alarm bells and 'inspires' me to cut back on my spending--at least until payday...


From: solitary confinement | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Loony Bin
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4996

posted 26 February 2004 02:38 PM      Profile for Loony Bin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
double post - sorry.

Here's a Financial Personality Quiz.

Have a ball.


From: solitary confinement | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Blind_Patriot
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3830

posted 26 February 2004 02:38 PM      Profile for Blind_Patriot     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by audra trower williams:
I am awful with money. My solution to money problems is always "earn more" rather than "spend less". I am dumb.
Yes you are. Because the more you earn, the more you spend. Nothing wrong with earning more, but I think it's more important to make the best of what you have.

Lizard Breath My stance on money is, that you should be able to provide for you and your family the neccessities. Things like clothing, education, mortgage (rent) and food. And have enough put aside for a rainy day. A million dollars would be nice, but that's not what my ambitions are. I feel the more focused on money I am, the more I loose sight of the finer things in life.


From: North Of The Authoritarian Regime | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
audra trower williams
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2

posted 26 February 2004 02:43 PM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
To be clear, I'm not climbing some creepy corporate ladder. I only work with clients I totally believe in, so each new contract is a delight. It's just tricky to juggle contract work, you know?
From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Blind_Patriot
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3830

posted 26 February 2004 02:45 PM      Profile for Blind_Patriot     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My Score is: 26

24 or over: Pennywise Princess
You're tracking pretty well. So it's time to get your money working for you, start shopping around for new investment options and always set yourself goals that you can achieve.
---------------------------------
What this tells me is that I'm not contributing enough to the sales of major corporations and billion dollar profit banks, and I should be giving them more of my money.

[ 26 February 2004: Message edited by: Blind_Patriot ]


From: North Of The Authoritarian Regime | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
pogge
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2440

posted 26 February 2004 02:58 PM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by audra trower williams:
It's just tricky to juggle contract work, you know?

You said a mouthful there.


From: Why is this a required field? | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Loony Bin
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4996

posted 26 February 2004 03:13 PM      Profile for Loony Bin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
What this tells me is that I'm not contributing enough to the sales of major corporations and billion dollar profit banks, and I should be giving them more of my money.

It's that old, 'if you're not moving forward you're moving backwards' mentality, hey? If you're not making money on your money, you're losing money...which always really confuses me.

So, do babblers have investments? What do you invest in? How do you feel about making money from just having money?

Me, I think stock markets and money trading etc., is fairly unethical and problematic. I think the system we operate in, where the wealthiest grow ever wealthier because they're wealthy enough to invest in other people who are wealthy and growing ever wealthier....


From: solitary confinement | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
Babbler # 3469

posted 26 February 2004 03:45 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Me, I think stock markets and money trading etc., is fairly unethical and problematic.

Is savings interest any different? They're all the payoff for you gambling your money at the bank, rather than hiding it under the mattress. None of them is "work" in the physical or mental sense (although I'd argue that understanding investment does take a bit more effort than simply socking your cash into an RRSP or a savings account and watching your interest accrue).

It's an interesting question though. Many babblers have expressed their dislike of investment income or capital gains, but if you contribute to your own RRSP, then it's interest on your money that's going to provide for your retirement. If you're involved in a pension plan, same thing.

Is anyone's opposition to making money with money so consistent that their idea of a retirement fund is to put money in jar, where it cannot earn any unethical interest?


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Privateer
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3446

posted 26 February 2004 03:59 PM      Profile for Privateer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
To put your money in a jar is losing to inflation. Inflation is roughly 1.5-2% right now, so you aren't really making money in an investment/savings account at that rate.
From: Haligonia | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Loony Bin
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4996

posted 26 February 2004 04:04 PM      Profile for Loony Bin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, socking it away, in a more literal sense, seems to be the only alternative to reaping gains for nothing more than giving your money to a bank. I haven't gone that route, even though I'm none too fond of big banks at all.

I often think, when I'm older and actually have money to do something with (rather than it automatically going to paying down debts and covering rent), I'll probably join a credit union or something like that. I also think that if I ever feel like I want to invest in something, it'll be an actual thing that grows over time, and that I can see and participate in in other ways. I can see the value of investing in a small mixed farm or some other grass-roots, environmentally and socially responsible business or venture of some kind.

But profiting off of profits just seems so parasitic and greedy that I don't want any part of it.


From: solitary confinement | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
robbie_dee
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 195

posted 26 February 2004 04:17 PM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Many babblers have expressed their dislike of investment income or capital gains, but if you contribute to your own RRSP, then it's interest on your money that's going to provide for your retirement. If you're involved in a pension plan, same thing.

These aren't necessarily inconsistent, though.

First, because I believe that labour is the ultimate source of all wealth, I take issue with the fact that most capitalists reap such large rewards from the idle act of ownership, while the people doing the productive toil take home so little. Further, the privilege of ownership itself has often been bestowed in a fundamentally inequal way, based largely on inheritance from past injustices, or the perpetration of current ones, rather than, say, individual merit and rewards for an individual's own hard work.

Finally, I also take issue with the fact that contribution of capital becomes the basis for control of the overall production process, rather than, say, contribution of labour.

This being said, when a worker socks away his own wages into an RRSP (or an IRA or 401K here in the US), or her employer agrees to defer paying her current wages by paying into a pension plan instead, they money involved is in fact that workers' own earnings from past or present labour. Now, I may have some problems with the means by which that sum accumulates further interest, but all-in-all, since the system already exists, I don't have a problem with the worker taking a little piece out of it where the capitalist is taking out returns in spades.

Here's the rub, though. As a result of various class compromises that emerged from the Post-Depression, Post-War era, while individual workers' sums might still be relatively small, the aggregation of them has become quite large. The total value of "traditional" defined-benefit pension plans in the United States, the kind which most unions have, is estimated at upwards of 5 TRILLION DOLLARS. So while unionized workers are a relatively small minority of the total US labor force, they indirectly own a huge portion of that country's economy. Further, across the world, workers pension funds are estimated to be worth around $13 trillion, compared to a total global GNP of about $28 trillion, and a global stock market valuation of about $23 trillion (1998 figures). These are simply massive sums of wealth.

That brings me back to my "control" point, though. While all this wealth is indirectly owned by workers, through their retirement savings, by and large they have no effective control over that money. Rather, because of the legal and social structure of the pension system, management of these large funds is almost always in the hands of the financial services industry, which has little or no obligation to even consult the ultimate worker-owners. So even when the financial capitalists don't have actual ownership, they still retain effective power and control. And the investment strategies they follow largely prop up and reproduce the inequities of the existing capitalist system, which continues to reward those financial capitalists and their brethren so well.

I believe that if workers could just attain real democratic control over THEIR OWN accumulated savings, they could redirect the the way those savings are invested in more ethical ways, and help transform the entire capitalist accumulation system at the same time.

[ 26 February 2004: Message edited by: robbie_dee ]

[ 26 February 2004: Message edited by: robbie_dee ]


From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
Babbler # 3469

posted 26 February 2004 04:25 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Bottom line though:

1. You invest money when you put it into savings, RRSPs, GICs, or pensions

2. You earn money on that money, for no other reason than the fact that you own that money and are willing to risk it

3. You typically even earn money on the money you earned on your money. This is not money that was the result of your labour, it's money that you earned with the ownership of money

4. "Capitalists" do more of this, but anyone with any amount of money can do it too. Most do, one way or another

So all you've really given us are arbitrary differences of scale. Ethically, unless you keep your money under the mattress, you're doing the same as any stock speculator, except on a smaller scale. It's not unreasonable to think that if you happened to earn more than what you do now, and had a surplus, that you'd invest that too (rather than padding the mattress).


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Blind_Patriot
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3830

posted 26 February 2004 04:28 PM      Profile for Blind_Patriot     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Lizard Breath:
Well, socking it away, in a more literal sense, seems to be the only alternative to reaping gains for nothing more than giving your money to a bank. I haven't gone that route, even though I'm none too fond of big banks at all.

I often think, when I'm older and actually have money to do something with (rather than it automatically going to paying down debts and covering rent), I'll probably join a credit union or something like that. I also think that if I ever feel like I want to invest in something, it'll be an actual thing that grows over time, and that I can see and participate in in other ways. I can see the value of investing in a small mixed farm or some other grass-roots, environmentally and socially responsible business or venture of some kind.

But profiting off of profits just seems so parasitic and greedy that I don't want any part of it.



Very good point Lizard. Just look at the family business such as a restaurant. Mom and Dad divide time between raising the family and working at the business. When the children grow up (if any) they will eventually take over. So you really invested in your kids too. You might say... well were's their savings? When you work in such a business you have no time to spend it. Besides if there was no kids, when the owners are ready to call it quits, they're going to get fair market value at that time.

Robbie Dee, you really have me thinking.... about the allocation of the wealth and who really owns it. It started to make me think of inflation and what fundemantally triggers it. Is it greed or wants?

[ 26 February 2004: Message edited by: Blind_Patriot ]


From: North Of The Authoritarian Regime | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
robbie_dee
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 195

posted 26 February 2004 04:38 PM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
So all you've really given us are arbitrary differences of scale. Ethically, unless you keep your money under the mattress, you're doing the same as any stock speculator, except on a smaller scale.

There are funds out there that specialize in "ethical" or "socially responsible" investment.

The problems are twofold.

One is that there is not a great, easy system for differentiating the good ones from the bad ones (I am thinking, for example, of the proliferation of Labor Sponsored Investment Funds put forward by "fake" unions with few real ethical investment criteria). Really, though, this just means you have to do your research.

The bigger problem is that individual savings by individual workers is such a small and inefficient part of the overall retirement and pension system. The real wealth and power rests in large, usually emploment-tied and employer or bank-controlled funds. That, and government funds. It is difficult to opt out of these and you face tax penalties if you do. Plus, it's not really a good idea to opt out of them because as an individual with a relatively small amount of money, you just can't manage it as well individually as you would be able if you lumped it together with a bunch of other people's and took advantage of the economies of scale.

My point is that, rather than opting out and either "keeping your money under the mattress," or finding a socially responsible investment fund you agree with and turning it over to them, we should be fighting through politics and collective bargaining to take control of the pension funds that already exist.

[ 26 February 2004: Message edited by: robbie_dee ]


From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
Babbler # 3469

posted 26 February 2004 05:06 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
But doesn't even an ethical fund suffer from the same moral problem? Namely: they use money to generate more money? Isn't that what most people consider illegitimate, rather than exactly what the money is invested in?

If I made $100 million investing in the Body Shop, or solar power, or organic onions, would I be any less a capitalist?


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Loony Bin
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4996

posted 26 February 2004 05:13 PM      Profile for Loony Bin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm thinking about more direct investment, like giving someone some of your money so that they can get their farm up and running, or so they can buy a bunch of new books for thier library or something.

I guess it would only count as investment if you somehow get returns on it. I think, though, that there's something about having an actual investment in something that is not purely financial, that makes the financial investment more legitimate. But this is not a very well-formed stance, I'll admit.

I'm not really sure what the answer is. I do know that once I'm settled in to a city and planning to stay there, I'll do my best to get out of the big banks and keep my money in a better, more local, less profit-driven institution. I'll probably also end up investing in myself in the form of cameras and darkroom & studio equipment or the like. If there are dividends from that investment (oh, heck I hope there are!), then I'll have to think about what to do with them, I guess.


From: solitary confinement | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
Babbler # 3469

posted 26 February 2004 05:27 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I'm thinking about more direct investment, like giving someone some of your money so that they can get their farm up and running

I believe this to be the roots of our current system of capital gain. If you invest in a buddy's farm, you're taking a chance. If his farm fails, he's not out the money: you are. You've risked your money, for his gain. If he's your best pal, go right ahead, but if everything fails, you'll probably never see your money again.

In order that prospective farmers have the opportunity to get a loan, we need to offer some incentive for people to take risks with their money. We can't expect them to gamble losing all of it if there's no gain for them, right? So we offer interest.

The borrower pays for the privelege of being able to use a pool of money to purchase the means of their production.

The lender, or investor, gets a bonus for gambling their money: the principal back, plus a little more. If they didn't, they'd be foolish to ever take it out from under the mattress.


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Loony Bin
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4996

posted 26 February 2004 05:30 PM      Profile for Loony Bin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
But that's different from buying stocks in an existing company, isn't it?
From: solitary confinement | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
Babbler # 3469

posted 26 February 2004 05:33 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Only if you assume that a pre-existing company is somehow complete. Most companies don't even sell public stock until they need to expand, and need the capital to do so.

The hypothetical farmer needs to get started today, so he needs money. If he wants a better combine next year, or wishes to add to his land holdings in 5 years, he'll need capital again. Same difference, by my reckoning.


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
robbie_dee
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 195

posted 26 February 2004 05:40 PM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
But doesn't even an ethical fund suffer from the same moral problem? Namely: they use money to generate more money? Isn't that what most people consider illegitimate, rather than exactly what the money is invested in?

Well, from a Marxian perspective, the basic problem with "using money to generate more money" is that the source of the "more money" is expropriation of surplus value created by another worker's productive labor.

For me, though, I don't believe that each worker is entitled to all and only the value of what she herself produces. I would think that might be feasible in a society of smallholding farmers, assuming that arable land was itself distributed relatively equal between them and you had some kind of insurance scheme for individual or group disasters. But in a modern industrial economy, the relationships between workers in a large-scale, social production process is much more complicated.

I believe in a system that would pool the value produced by the sum total of our labors, and distribute it among laborers on some kind of fair and equitable basis. This is the premise: "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need."

The problem I have with capitalism right now is that it doesn't do this. Rather, what it primarily does is facilitate a transfer of a large portion of the wealth we produce as a society, from the masses of laborers who do the producing, to a much smaller, parasitic class of rentier-capitalists. It also also externalizes much of the costs of production onto the environment and public health, which is disproportionately borne by those same masses of laborers, while the capitalists are largely able to insulate themselves.

I think if we had a social system of large, worker-owned and worker-controlled funds that aggregated and managed capital investment, and then fairly redistributed the returns of that investment to the worker-owners, that would be ethically acceptable to me.

You are right that an individual, simply investing in The Body Shop or in organic farming, doesn't accomplish my large scale goals. Rather, they are simply engaging in "kinder, gentler" capitalism. That being said, as long as we are stuck in a capitalist system, I'd much rather have the kind and gentle version than the mean and brutal one. As an individual, I will never be able to end capitalism simply by withdrawing my own financial stake from it and hiding it under my mattress. So instead I will try to direct the portion of my financial savings I have control over in ways that I think make the best out of the given situation. Meanwhile, I will keep waging the workplace and political fight to build and take control over the kinds of institutions I think could actually transform things.

[ 26 February 2004: Message edited by: robbie_dee ]


From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Loony Bin
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4996

posted 26 February 2004 05:40 PM      Profile for Loony Bin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
...damn this pervasive capitalism.
From: solitary confinement | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Skye
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4225

posted 26 February 2004 09:30 PM      Profile for Skye     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I am interested in the many ways that people can invest/manage their money without using all of the usual institutions like banks etc.

A lot of my mom's friends are from the West Indies and they have this neat system called 'Hands'. A group of 10 or more people get together and contribute a portion of their income to a designated member of the group, each week for 10 weeks. You can decide how much you want to contribute, be it $20.00 or $50.00 or whatever, but it has to be consistent throughout the ten weeks.

During this time, if a certain member really needs money, be it to fund a trip back home, or any other financial emergency they can ask for a loan(interest-free) of however much money they may need from the fund.

I liked this idea when I heard about it, because it gives people, especially working people, access to a sum of money, that they otherwise wouldn't have access to. At the end of the ten weeks, each member receives the money back that they contributed. I guess the thought is that you save more when someone else is holding it for you, than if you had it yourself. I know that my mom has saved a lot this way in the past.

[ 26 February 2004: Message edited by: Skye ]

[ 26 February 2004: Message edited by: Skye ]


From: where "labor omnia vincit" is the state motto | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 26 February 2004 10:17 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I have dropped out, pretty much. Went through a rather devastating financial catastrophe almost a year ago (five months of unemployment'll do that to you), and I'm still suffering the after-effects, along with some difficult extra expenses.

So I've been forced to be extremely frugal, and it's amazing how much I've come to resent everything to do with investment, banks, credit cards, etc.

I have a bank account. And the only reason I have a bank account is because I don't get paid in cash. I'm so resentful of banks and service charges and the money they make from giving too easy credit to people who are increasingly financially unstable, that I would much rather stick my money under my mattress than to have a bank account.

Every mid-month payday, I go to the credit union and take out, in cash, all the money I will need for groceries for the month, metropass, child support, and one of the bills I pay in person. Then I go home and pay my phone and cable by internet banking.

I go straight to Canada Post to buy the child support money order (I would rather pay slightly more for a money order, because in order to get a chequing account where you get your cheques back, you have to pay through the nose).

I separate all my cash into three change purses and an envelope. That's how I budget - with three change purses. Never mind lists and accounting programs and spreadsheets - I can't be bothered with that. The hundred bucks for the metropass stays at home in an envelope. The grocery money goes with me in my purse and when it's gone, it's gone. It's so much easier to budget that way - if I'm halfway through the month, and I've got about half the money left in the change purse, I know I'm doing all right. When I'm tempted to buy lunch at work, it comes out of the grocery changepurse, which always makes me think twice because I can see the actual dent it is making in the grocery money. I pay for everything in cash. I use my bank card maybe twice a month - once to pay the rent (that's what the end-of-month paycheque goes to) and once to take out the cash I need for other expenses.

I have gone as low tech as humanly possible in my finances. Every modern "banking convenience" has just made it that much more difficult for me to keep track of my money. But with the budgeted amount of cash in my envelopes and change purses, dwindling as the month goes on, I can keep perfect track of my spending.

I also have a couple of hundred bucks that I have received over a couple of special occasions as gifts, squirreled away at home. I'm almost religious about that money - I feel physically sick at the thought of spending it. It's my only cushion and it's for dire emergencies. Last summer, I had a previous couple of hundred dollars saved. I had it for months, and then in October or so, I had a totally necessary, totally unexpected expense come up, and I was so relieved to have that money there. The couple of hundred I have now is from birthday/Christmas gifts since then. And there it sits, and will sit until my fear of spending it is overcome by such a dire emergency that instead of feeling indecisive about spending it, I feel relief that it's there.

It's quite a turnaround for a gril who used to be a spendthrift. I go into a store now, and feel no desire to be sucked in by the pretty stuff that used to tempt me. In fact, I have occasionally found myself looking at a display of flibbertygibbets and getting actually angry at how unnecessary they are, and at the attempt to manipulate me into wanting one. I've become a radical!

And frankly, I don't want to have anything to do with financial institutions again beyond what I absolutely have to have (like a basic bank account). If that means never buying a house or a car, so be it. I have no desire to find out about investment or insurance plans. It's bullshit, it's exploitative, and I refuse to participate in it.

[ 26 February 2004: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3308

posted 26 February 2004 10:53 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It is reasonable that loans garner interest. But I do think it's probably better to cut out the middle man where feasible. Currently, my dad paid for my car, so I'm paying the loan off to him rather than a bank. We set an interest rate and a monthly payment, we've got it spreadsheeted out, he makes a better return than he gets on his money from the bank, I pay slightly less than I'd pay a bank, and all the money stays in the family rather than being siphoned off by a huge corporation. There was a time when banks were needed because they were the only ones who could do the calculations involved in compounding interest. That expertise now sits in a box on the table; bye bye bank! Of course, they're still needed for larger sums like mortgages because they've got them and one's parents don't. But there are certainly situations where you can end-run the banks.

Not that I use a bank for our mortgage--I use a credit union. But still.


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3308

posted 26 February 2004 11:05 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
In terms of saving money, it's funny the small things that can have an impact. I like to drink chocolate milk at lunch and coffee break. So I used to go to the little convenience store on campus and buy a half-litre of chocolate milk a couple of times a day. A half-litre of chocolate milk at the convenience store costs two bucks. That's eighty bucks a month or more for chocolate milk at work!!!

So I got a thermos. Now I make my chocolate milk at home from four-litre jugs that cost $3.30, or less than 45 cents a half-litre, plus chocolate milk powder stuff. Say 50 cents/half litre all told, or roughly twenty bucks a month. Saving sixty dollars a month just by carrying a thermos, plus I don't have to wait in line at the convenience store and I like the chocolate milk better.

Similar principles apply to coffee etc., as well as cookies and such (I've noticed it tends to cost like two dollars for just one big cookie when you get them at cafeterias and whatnot, when I can get a whole bag of Peek Freans or something for less than four). Little things, but they happen every day and so they add up.


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Privateer
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3446

posted 26 February 2004 11:11 PM      Profile for Privateer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Michelle,

What are your plans for your old age beyond OAS and CPP? With no home ownership and no longterm savings, I'd fear my retirement. Instead I hope to have a goodtime in my golden years, even if that means dealing with banks.


From: Haligonia | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 26 February 2004 11:25 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I plan to die young.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Privateer
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3446

posted 26 February 2004 11:39 PM      Profile for Privateer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Or you could deal with Credit Unions if you feel morally opposed to banks.

By the way, other than ideological or moral grounds, how are Credit Unions better than banks? I'm speaking strictly as a consumer looking for the best deal whether its borrowing or investing. Do they offer better service? Are they less predatory of low income customers?


From: Haligonia | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 26 February 2004 11:56 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Credit unions, by and large, don't charge you to get at your own goddamn money. Banks seem to think they have a moral right to steal your money out from under your nose in the name of charging various miscellaneous unspecified "service charges".

BALLS!

It doesn't cost the bank 30 cents a transaction to process your Interac debit swipes, and it sure as hell doesn't cost the banking system $2.50 to reconcile the Interac machine when you take money out on a bank machine that isn't your own bank's.

Bastards.

Onto investing:

The paper economy has nothing to do with the real economy.

Buying stocks might as well be going in for the gambling chips at the casino for all the connection it has to the real assets underlying those numbers in a computer.

GICs and money market funds and bonds are far more "tangible" by this standard than the paper glitz of the stock market.

This is why my ethical objections are muted when placing monies in an RRSP backed by a GIC, or by long-term government bonds.

Bonds, unlike stocks, vary in value in an absolutely predictable way based on interest rates and there's even a mathematical formula you can use to figure out what the discount or surcharge is you need to pay when you buy in the secondary market.

The paper economy has nothing to do with the real economy.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sports Guy
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3923

posted 27 February 2004 12:20 PM      Profile for Sports Guy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I personally have not found that Credit Unions here charge lower fees than the banks, in fact I ended up moving my account due to the high fees being charged by the Credit Union. As well, I have several female friends and family whose loan applications were treated in a sexist manner, including my sister in law who was asked to have her unemployed husband (now ex-husband) co-sign her loan. Doc, I assume you bank at VanCity and I don't know about their fees. I even come from a Credit Union background, my dad worked for Credit Unions and my uncle has managed one for years.

DrConway, you and I also disagree about the stock market, but that is a discussion for another day. The point I want to make to babblers is please do not put yourself in financial jeopardy because you don't like financial institutions. DrConway makes good points, look for vehicles like credit unions, government bonds etc. that you are comfortable with. The cost of standing outside the system is one you will have to bear alone.


From: where the streets have no name | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
athena_dreaming
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4574

posted 27 February 2004 12:51 PM      Profile for athena_dreaming   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
MIchelle, chequing accounts with PC financial have no service fees. I don't know if that's something you would consider, but I've never had a problem with them. And it is as free as advertised.

Don't know if I'm a bit too late to teh conversation, but I have what I consider a theoretical budget. It's an excel spreadsheet that totals up every bill over the month. The ones I know the numbers for (student loans, car loan, etc.) are there and the ones that fluctuate (gas, groceries, etc.) have a monthly average. This number is totalled up and subtracted from the average monthly pay (two paycheques). What is left over I consider free spending. I keep track of what I spend on this category in my head. As long as I don't spend more than this in a month, I know that I will make my financial obligations.

I have automatic transfers to a savings account, to an account to pay the property tax, to my RRSP (ethical funds through a credit union), and I treat these transfers as bills, so I don't need to account for them at any point during the month. They take care of themselves.

The rest of my bills are paid either by direct payment from my chequing account or on my Mastercard (the only credit card I have, and it's a free one--and I NEVER carry a balance) so I don't ahve to worry about making payments on time. The only bill I have to consciously pay is the mastercard, and I set that up the day I receive the bill in advance. And every month I tally up my free spending (which all goes on the credit card, so I can keep track) to make sure I didn't spend over the limit.

And then two months a year you have a glorious three-paycheque month. This money goes to larger bills--tuition, usually.

My goal for donations is to give 5% of my after-tax income away. I have some regular donations that come off my paycheque or onto my Mastercard every month. The other ones are annual memberships that I spend every year. I know what 5% of my monthly after-tax income is and I aim to spend that much--rabble is one, of course. Others are local food banks, shelters, a ferret shelter I used to volunteer for (and now can't because my allergies got too bad), the NDP, CCPA, NAPO, the CDA, and a few others. I find by having a conscious goal of a particular dollar figure I'm more likely to meet it and lessl ikely to blow it on books and magazines.

But the main part of my financial planning is to carry around a running total of my free spending on the current mastercard, compared to how much I can spend in a month. And as long as I don't go over, with a bit of foreplanning, I know I'll be all right.


From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
ReeferMadness
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2743

posted 02 March 2004 12:42 AM      Profile for ReeferMadness     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I can remember when most bank services carried no fee. It's kind of strange because they had to hire a lot more tellers back before there were bank machines.

I have a bank account that doesn't charge me anything as long as I keep a minimum balance. I know that's cold comfort to those who are just getting by but for people with the extra cash I'd recommend it. If you can save $10 in fees for keeping a minimum balance of $1000 then it's like earning 12% tax free. Plus, you have a cushion in case of emergency.

I use credit cards for pretty much everything but I don't carry a balance. Once in a while, I'll do up a budget to figure out how much I should be able to put into savings but I never actually track to it. There are too many variables.

I've always lived below my means, even in the bad old days in Alberta when I made not much more than mimimum wage. When I was going to school, I saved spare nickels and dimes to make up an emergency fund. By time I graduated, I had $200 in "found" money. I've only ever borrowed money for my education and my condominium.

I find the best way not to spend is just to stay away from stores as much as humanly possible. I don't have much interest in "stuff" - I'd rather invest my money in early retirement if it comes to that.


From: Way out there | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Doug
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 44

posted 02 March 2004 01:12 AM      Profile for Doug   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
So, did anyone else remember at the last moment that it was the RRSP deadline today and go all nuts trying to make a contribution?
From: Toronto, Canada | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Loony Bin
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4996

posted 02 March 2004 10:46 AM      Profile for Loony Bin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Egads, I'm suprised I even know what RRSP stands for...I have yet to start investing in anything of the sort, and I have a low, sinking feeling that by the time I'm able to, it'll be of little use anyways.

So, no. Not me...


From: solitary confinement | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Pogo
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2999

posted 02 March 2004 11:59 AM      Profile for Pogo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Doug:
So, did anyone else remember at the last moment that it was the RRSP deadline today and go all nuts trying to make a contribution?

No, but we finally have a pension plan at work and a payroll deduct RRSP, which is contributing. I plan on using my brother's system where he would roll as much of any raise as he could into the company RRSP. I did it this year, very painless. I hope to get up to the 18% in a year or two (I think I am at 10%).


From: Richmond BC | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
ReeferMadness
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2743

posted 03 March 2004 01:10 AM      Profile for ReeferMadness     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Don't get discouraged, LB. I was about your age when I started contributing and I wiped out my RRSP's a few years later to make a down payment on a condo. It takes patience but it adds up after a while. Put in whatever you can afford -even if it isn't much right now. You're young. You'd be amazed how much a few bucks can compound over 30 or 40 years.
From: Way out there | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Sports Guy
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3923

posted 03 March 2004 01:22 AM      Profile for Sports Guy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You're right RM, in case anyone hasn't heard let me tell you the story of the twin sisters.

Both graduate from university at age 22, one sister is able to put away $2,000/year for the first 10 years but then falls on some hard times. The other sister struggles through the first 10 years but is able to put away $2,000/year from age 33-65. When they reach 65 the sister who invested from 33-65 offers to help her sister since she had a hard time, however the sister who invested from 22-32 actually has more money saved due to the compounding of interest.

The story assumes that both sisters invest in identical investments and that the rate of return is constant.


From: where the streets have no name | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Privateer
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3446

posted 03 March 2004 03:13 AM      Profile for Privateer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Doug:
So, did anyone else remember at the last moment that it was the RRSP deadline today and go all nuts trying to make a contribution?

A little bird tells me that the banks didn't have a very good RRSP season. Sales are down generally, even from the last years dismal level, but here is the other factor: more people are making small but regular contributions throughout the year. The late February rush is becoming less and less important.


From: Haligonia | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Zaklamont
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5106

posted 16 March 2004 08:27 PM      Profile for Zaklamont        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Lizard Breath:
I'm not totally sure this is the right forum for this, but it used to be called "earning and spending", so maybe it's okay.

I'm wondering how other folks manage their personal finances. Do you keep a strict budget? Are you more of a free-flow earner/spender? Do you have investments or major debts? How do you manage them?

And I'm also wondering about folks' philosophies about money and spending/saving etc. Do you aspire to acquire great wealth? Do you have any particular feelings about investments or the money market etc.

Me, somehow I've always managed to have enough money to pay my rent and keep myself healthy and happy. I haven't been particularly thoughtful about it, though, or intentional, and often I've been outright frivolous or stupid, but managed to not throw myself into destitution. I'm coming up to a time in my life now when I realize I should get more serious about my money, and should probably start saving for The Future, and dealing with my student debt, etc.

Just wondering how other people deal with this and just generally interested in how others think about money etc.


As a federal civil servant , it is getting harder because the federal government, in spite of seeming to pay attention to matters bureaucratic, is trying to make sure its lower level employees get less than the rise in the cost of living.

Of course when your salary is no longer rising with the cost of living , it becomes harder and harder.


From: Ottawa Ontario | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged

All times are Pacific Time  

Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
Hop To:

Contact Us | rabble.ca | Policy Statement

Copyright 2001-2008 rabble.ca