26 Jul

Tips to Create a Monthly Budget


Posted by: Peter Paley

One of the quickest ways to take back control of your finances and understand where your money is going is to create a monthly budget. This will help you get a snapshot of your income compared to your spending, and provides an avenue to review outgoing costs and determine areas for improvement to help you increase your monthly cashflow or just feel less stressed!

Step 1: Calculate Your Income

The very first step to creating any budget is determining your income – knowing exactly how much money do you bring in, per month, is important to understanding what you have available to spend. Remember to focus on NET INCOME versus gross salary as thinking you take home more than you do can lead to overspending and failed budgets.

Step 2: Track Your Spending

Once you have determined your income, you will want to take a look at your spending. Reviewing and categorizing all your monthly bills can help you breakdown exactly where your money goes and your priorities to see where changes can be made.

To start, first list out your fixed expenses – these are things like car payments, loans, rent or mortgage costs that do not change on a monthly basis.

Next, you will want to take a look at your variable expenses – things like groceries, gas, entertainment, etc. and determine your average spend. This is typically the area where people are able to cut back.

Step 3: Set Realistic Goals

Realistic goals are vital for long-lasting financial health. It is important to determine what you cannot live without and where you can cut costs or scale back on spending.

Ideally, when it comes to your monthly budget, you want to consider the 50/30/20 rule, which applies the following:

  • 50% of your spending is for NEEDS such as rent or mortgage payments, car payments, utilities and groceries
  • 30% of your income goes to WANTS such as shopping, vacations, streaming services, etc.
  • 20% of your income goes to SAVINGS OR DEBT such as emergency funds, retirement, child’s education and/or credit card payments

Step 4: Make a Plan

Once you have your goals set, you can now make a plan to tackle your financial position and ensure a healthy cashflow each month.

There are a few different ways you can plan to handle your monthly budget. For some, setting realistic spending limits for each category works well. For others, taking a look at the importance of the items on their expenses list and re-prioritizing can free up funds.

Step 5: Adjust Your Spending

Now that you have determined how much money you bring in per month and what you spend it on, you can take a look at adjusting your spending to ensure you remain on budget. Taking a look at any wants is a great place to cut out frivolous spending beyond a reasonable amount.

This is also a great time to review your fixed expenses. Perhaps you can save money by getting a better interest rate on your mortgage or changing your payment schedule for your loan.

Be sure to connect with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage expert before making any changes!

Step 6: Stay on Track

Lastly, once you’ve tracked all your spending and income and determined your monthly budget, you will want to stay on track. Tracking your budget on a monthly basis is important to catch any changes in your spending habits. As well, it is a good idea to conduct an annual review and take into account any increase in expenses or wages that may require shifts in your overall plan.

Remember! A healthy, well thought-out budget is key to financial freedom and comfort.

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19 Jul

Debt: To consolidate or not to consolidate? That is the question.


Posted by: Peter Paley

If you are a Canadian living in debt, you are not alone. According to Statistics Canada, household debt grew faster than income last year, with Canadians owing $1.83 for every dollar of household disposable income to debt(1).

• Canadian households use almost 13.48% of income for debt re-payment(2).

• Rising inflation and interest rates (1).

• The cost of living is projected to increase in 2022 (2)

So how can one ever get out of debt? Debt consolidation.

What is debt consolidation?

Debt consolidation means paying off smaller loans with a larger loan at a lower interest rate. For example, a credit card bill debt with an interest rate of 19.99% can be paid off by a 5-year Reverse Mortgage with an interest rate of 7.70%* from HomeEquity Bank. (*5-year fixed rate as of June 28, 2022. For current rates, please contact your DLC Mortgage Broker).

A lot of confusion surrounds debt consolidation; many of us just don’t know enough about it. Consider the two sides:

The pros

• The lower the interest rate, the sooner you get out of debt. A lower monthly interest allows you to pay more towards your actual loan, getting you debt-free faster.

• You only have to make one monthly debt payment. This is more manageable than keeping track of multiple debt payments with different interest rates.

• Your credit score remains untarnished because your higher interest loans, such as a credit card, are paid off.

The cons

• Consolidating your debt doesn’t give you the green light to continue spending.

Consolidating helps you get out of debt; continuing to spend as you did before puts you even further into debt.

• A larger loan with a financial institution will require prompt payments. If you were struggling to pay your debts before, you may still be challenged with payments. The CHIP Reverse Mortgage may be a better option; it doesn’t require any payments until you decide to move or sell your home.

• You may require a co-signer who will have to pay the loan if you’re unable. Note that the CHIP Reverse Mortgage does not require a co-signer, as long as you qualify for it and are on the property title.

So how do you know if debt consolidation is the option for you? Start by contacting your DLC mortgage broker and ask if the CHIP Reverse Mortgage could be the right solution for you.


Debt-to-disposable-income ratio eases down from record 185% | CBC News

Key household debt-to-income ratio down in Q1 as income rises faster than debt | The Star

12 Jul

Financial Advice that Never Gets Old.


Posted by: Peter Paley

Financial Advice that Never Gets Old.

It’s difficult to find timeless advice in the ever-changing world of personal finance but these five are about as close as you can get.

1. Start small and start early with investing
Only around 5% of Canadians under 25 have a TFSA, which means 95% have already missed out on 7 years of compounded returns. Starting small could be as little as $100 month… and starting early means now! Invest what you can and don’t think a $100 monthly will never amount to anything.

Investing $100 month at 5% for 47 years (age 18 to 65) will give you $68,754 more than someone who did the same starting from age 25. Time really is money when it comes to compounded returns, so get started as soon as possible.

2. Make more or spend less?
Our advice is to do both, but there are limits on how much income you can generate and cutting back on expenses has a bigger impact on your bottom line. If you’re lucky, you may find some expenses you could easily do without, like that lightly used gym membership or seldom watched 200-channel cable package.

A part-time job or side hustle isn’t a bad idea, but you will spend more time working and less time enjoying life. Don’t forget that any extra income is fully taxable — you might need to earn $10 in order to get the same result as a $7 spending cut.

3. Re-evaluate your wants and needs.
A 1200 sq ft bungalow was the standard for most families in the early 1970’s. These days, houses are now over 2000 square feet on average and come with plenty of high-end finishes. Lifestyle creep is not limited to our housing needs and now influences what we drive, how often we eat out, and where we go for vacation. Being able to satisfy your wants later in life will only come from making smart spending decisions on your needs earlier in life and freeing up the cash to start saving and investing.

4. Understand credit and debt.
131 months! That’s how long it takes to pay off a $1000 credit balance paying the minimum amount — and it will cost you almost $1000 more in interest charges! Many people carry a credit card balance and are blissfully unaware of just how much it is costing them each month. Car loans are another area where the financing costs add up to a lot more than most people realize.

The key is to be knowledgeable about your debt. Track what you owe and how much that debt is costing you as well as any alternatives that may lower that cost. For example, refinancing your mortgage or drawing on home equity to pay off higher interest loans or credit cards.

5. Get financially literate.
Managing your money has become more difficult as we have a lot more spending, saving, and investing options, but we also have access to a lot more information and tools to help us. For example, diving into the real impact of those investment fees on your mutual funds (it’s a lot!) can easily be investigated online in just a few minutes.

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