Oct 072014
 

For most of us, following a budget feels restrictive, limiting and just plain not fun. It is easy to come up with a million reasons not to, however, we are here to tell you that a budget is the best way to take control of your money and simplify your life!

Here are our 5 reasons why it helps to follow a budget:

You gain control over your finances

Most of us think we already have control over our finances. The surprising answer is that every time we splurge on that must-have item, we are giving up a little bit of our control. When you follow a budget, you allow yourself to set priorities and from there, you choose how to spend your hard-earned cash. Some choose to cook at home in order to save up for a desired item. Others choose to forgo a big ticket item and spend their allotted amount on a couple dinners out. Budgeting doesn’t mean that you can’t spend money, it simply ensures that you have the power to choose what you spend your money on.

ID 10055279 263x300 Tuesday Transformation: 5 Really Good Reasons to Follow a Budget

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You can stop worrying 

While implementing a budget won’t necessarily make all of your money troubles disappear, it will keep you from obsessing about every penny spent. Anyone who has ever spent any time ‘flying by the seat of their pants’ knows that terrible, ‘I didn’t mean to spend so much’, sinking feeling in your tummy that I’m talking about. With a budget, you may have to be a little restrictive at first, but eventually you will feel calm and content knowing that you know exactly where your money is going. Who knows, maybe you’ll even end up with money left over at the end of the month to spend irresponsibly!

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Oct 012014
 

When clients come through our office at Parley Consulting, it is usually when they have no other options left. We help our clients navigate their way through situations that would make most feel as though there is no foreseeable way out.

Divorce and Debt

One of our most memorable cases is one where divorce collides with debt.

Frank* and his wife, married for over 20 years, had finally come to the conclusion that they no longer wished to continue on with their marriage. A hard decision to make alone, even harder when you share a home with little value (equity) and a combined debt of $100,000. Even more so when only Frank had been contributing to the financial picture over the course of the marriage.

Frank had been supporting his family on his single income for many years, until he finally experienced his crisis moment – the loss of his steady income. The situation, coupled with the impending divorce, made it hard for both parties to agree on what they were going to do. Many who have found themselves in a similar difficult situation find that it can be very hard to make rational, financial decisions at this time.

ID 10076027 300x199 Case Study: Divorce and Debt Collide

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In many cases, separated couples spend more money fighting over the division of assets and funds than they do resolving their debt problem. Once they reach our office, they are usually ready to concede and allow us to provide them with all of the options.

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Sep 292014
 

We write a lot about how the little things you buy add up over the course of the month, year and of course your lifetime. In our heads it just seems like a coffee here and dinner there, but spending money in this casual way makes it hard to save and may keep you living cheque-to-cheque.

Do you spend more than you earn? There are 5 questions to ask yourself if you aren’t sure where you can start making changes and even things out.

  1. How often do you eat out each week?
  2. Do you also buy groceries that sometimes go to waste?
  3. How many coffees do you buy on your way to work each day? 
  4. Do you pay for services that you don’t utilize enough? 
  5. How often do you drive your vehicle?
ID 10095094 300x300 Monday Motivation: Calculate Your Way to Savings

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

These questions, if answered honestly, usually identify where you might be losing money. Could you limit how many times you eat out or cut back on some of the services you’ve been paying for?

If you need a little extra help, the Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA) in Canada has created a handy calculator that allows you to plug in your daily, weekly and monthly expenses. It shows you how much those daily coffees and lunches add up over the year. You can also use it to calculate your savings if you cut back your expenses by a percentage.

This tool proves that you really can calculate your way to bigger savings!

Let us know what you think! We’d love to hear your feedback. Simply drop us a line below.

Sep 252014
 

Parely Consulting loves getting to hear how our clients have felt while working with us. And we love the results they get!

erase debt Financial Success and Security “Honestly, 2- 3 years, we were in what could only be described as a financial black hole with no end in sight. We were in over $80, 000 in debt and climbing. After having my wife talk to someone who had seen you for a similar situation, we decided to come and see you.
    It was the best decision my wife and I ever made!
    You helped us see that there was light at the end of this tunnel. You helped us every step of the way. Even at times when we were worried or unsure what the future would hold, you explained everything and gave us constant reassurance and support.
     You and your team are amazing.
     After starting our journey with you only 2 years ago, we are on our way back financial success and security. It has not been an easy or quick process, by any means, however without your help Randy, we would be in financial ruins.
     Words cannot express how much you have helped myself and my family.
     Thank you.”

-The Bradley’s

Sep 252014
 

Have you ever fallen victim to the internal argument, “Should I buy this? I know I should’t spend money I don’t have, but it’s been a long week and I deserve to indulge a little!” and so on?

We’ve all been there. We follow a strict budget until a bump in the road arises and we feel inclined to splurge a little. It happens to all of us, but did you know that simply taking a few moments to count your blessings could keep you from feeling the urge to spend?

Feelings of contentment and gratitude have shown to improve our overall outlook on life so that we don’t feel the need to cram it full of stuff we don’t need. Saving money is simply a direct consequence of feeling as though you already have everything you need.

So how do you achieve this wonderful state of being?

5 Ways to Become More Content and Save Money

Focus on the present moment. 

Many of the anxieties and worries we feel are either based on the past, meaning we can’t let go of something that has already happened, or they are based on the unknown future where we can’t be guaranteed anything. Carrying all of this extra baggage around with us is really what makes our day start to feel terrible.

ID 100121524 300x224 5 Reasons Being Content Will Save You Money

Image courtesy of marin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The best way to feel more content with your life is to sit and enjoy the moment you are living in right now. Sample the good life. Look up at the sky and realize how amazing life really is. Now you may be thinking that we’ve lost our minds, but trust us. The more you work to achieve this type of happiness, the less likely you are to ever overspend because you are already content with what you’ve got.

Forget your financial goals for the moment, let go of your thoughts and immerse yourself in an activity you love: sitting on your deck, reading a book, drinking coffee, whatever makes you happy.

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Sep 222014
 

For so many of us the answer to this question is oh-so-simple: shopping. Whether you want new clothes or that latest gadget, it would be all too easy to simply spend an extra $5000, especially if it came in the form of a gift or refund. It’s free game, right?

Not so much. There are 4 better solutions for what to do with that money before it starts to burn a hole in your pocket.

ID 100162954 199x300 Monday Motivation: What would you do with an extra $5000?

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What should you do with your $5000?

Put it towards your mortgage

Good idea! Paying off your mortgage faster will save you major bucks in interest. For many of us, our outstanding interest far outweighs what savings we stash away, so that’s why paying down your high-interest or long-term debt is always a good plan. Some mortgages don’t allow extra payments so ensure you won’t incur a penalty for doing this beforehand.

Contribute to your RRSP

An RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) allows your money to grow tax-free until you’re ready to retire. However, if you take that any money out before that, you will suffer from major taxation and penalties. Unless of course you are taking it out as part of the Home Buyer’s Plan which allows first-timers to withdraw without penalty. You do have to pay it back though.

Throw it in a TFSA

Another brilliant option is to deposit your $5000 into a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA). This option is significantly more flexible than an RRSP. You can put away $5,500 every year without paying taxes. You can also withdraw your money at any time without a penalty. The only downside is that it may be too easy to use this money instead of letting it grow.

Commitment problems? Do all three. 

Anytime you put money towards paying off debt and saving for a brighter future is great! However, splitting $5000 between all three options means you won’t make any real headway in either direction, but it’s a start and that’s the best place to be.

We want to know…

What would you do if you received a gift or refund of $5000? We’d love to hear your stories! Leave any questions or comments below and we’ll get back to you.

Need help becoming debt-free? Parley Consulting is here to help. Check out our website to see if our services are right for you.

Sep 192014
 

talk like a pirate day Arrr today be Pirate Day Ahoy Mates on today for the Friday Freebie of September 19th- national Pirate Day! We’re sorry to inform you that the Parley Team has joined Bootstrap Bill down yonder in the deep blue. Alas, have no fear ye landlocked lubbers, a days work will go on. Aye, but pirates will be steering this Parley ship today. So when ye chat with them, make sure ye be calling right by their pirate names. We gave ye some hints below to keep ya safe, aye, if you cross t’ Parley team today not even Jacob’s Ladder can save ye scallywags from Davy Jones’ locker. You can take that black spot for treasure.

 

Randy arrr cockswain Clark  has passed and is now Slouchin’ Pablo Slasher.

Sheila yarrr Hawkins be Fishbutt Marcy. Ye all will feel the wrath of this wench is ye decide to call her different.

Everett Grrrrriffiths that scallywag now be Sword Jugglin’ Harvey. Be sure to address him as such over t’ phones.

Kere the siren wench Sheppard be dubbed Pirate Mary the Sword Test Dummy.

Carol cackle fruit McCaffrey took to the locker and Fartin’ Sophie Scar came back.

Out West Glen blimey Kelleway now be Pirate Stew the Dagger.

Down south the landlubber Robbie Ryan now be addressed as Pirate Hank the Periwinkle.

James the flibustier Burgess be gone for Gout Ridden Hugo.

Taylor yarr Zimmerman be feedin’ the fish and Captain Ron Seaturd be takin’ his place.

Courtney son of a biscuit eater Rupters took to the sea and Fartin’ Agnes Teach returned.

The wee bucaneers fared no better than the Seadogs above on Pirate Day:

Carter shark bait Burnstad now be called Captain Hysterical Milt Bonnie.

Harmony yarrr Clark came back a privateer as Captain Kate Backstabber.

Hannah the freebooter Clark ye reckon she be now Captian Hilary Slashface.

Have ye selves a grrrrrand ol’ day on Pirate Day. Make sure ye stay talkin’ like a pirate or else you won’t be slippin loose the hempen halter today. So, Avast ye scallywags as there are hornswagglers and black spots all around today, Pirate Day.

Ye Pirate Dictionary

Ye Pirate Day Resource Guide

A tad of a Pirate Translator for ye landlubbers.

Find out yarr Pirate Day name here.

Aug 252014
 

September is just around the corner and with that comes a renewed sense of organization. We are transitioning from slow summer days into fast-paced school or work life. That’s why this is a great time of year to re-evaluate your financial goals. Rather than waiting until the end of year to take note, checking in on your goals every 6 months or so will ensure that you continue to take the steps necessary to meet them.

financial plan copy 300x224 Monday Motivation: 5 Steps to Keep your Finances on Track

Are you on the right track when it comes to your financial plan?

You may be feeling like you have some catching up to do when it comes to meeting your goals. There is no better time like the present to re-focus and get back on track! Here are some steps to help get you there:

5 Easy Steps to Keep your Finances on Track

  1. Review – Take a moment to sit down and go through the financial goals that you wrote down at the beginning of the year. What have you accomplished? Are you still on schedule or do you need to create a new timeline? Without stressing yourself out, simply observe the areas you may be struggling with and take note of what small, actionable goals you could make to achieve your larger goal.
  2. Identify – As you are going through your list, pay attention to the milestones you have met. Give yourself a pat on the back for all of the achievements you have had so far. It is important to celebrate even the smallest successes because they mean you are on your way to a healthier financial life.
  3. Re-evaluate – If some of the goals you made in January are no longer relevant, that’s okay. Change is good. Whether you’ve bought a new home or are planning to have a baby, you will need to factor these life-changing decisions into your financial goals. Adjust or eliminate any goals that are not a part of your bigger picture.
  4. Prioritize – Have you been feeling a little behind lately? If you have daunting list of goals to meet by the end of the year, identify which ones are the most important and prioritize them. Feeling overwhelmed about how to reach your goals is counterproductive, so narrow your focus to the most important.
  5. Take action – The best way to get back on track is to determine exactly what you need to do to stay the course. Take those smaller goals and run with them. Breaking your list down into smaller, easily achieved goals will help you on your way to reaching your milestones before year’s end.

Remember, it doesn’t have to be stressful to meet your goals by the end of year. Take it one step at a time and soon you will find yourself back on the financial health bandwagon!

What are other ways you keep yourself on course? We’d love to hear your stories or questions! Simply drop us a line below or call us today 780.722.3000.

Aug 182014
 

You’re on the right financial track – you have a healthy budget and you stick to it (for the most part), but did you know that we all have 5 little triggers that lead us to overspend in the store without even noticing?

Today’s Monday Motivation is all about noticing these 5 little moments, letting them pass by and making the healthier financial decision to not overspend in the end.

ID 10039151 300x199 The 5 Little Moments We Tend to Overspend Without Noticing

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  1. You purchase an item not on your list to cover up for an embarrassing purchase. We have definitely all done this before. You walk into the store because you need to buy something…anti-fungal toe cream, wax strips, whatever, and to avoid looking like this is the only thing we came in for we usually buy a bunch of other stuff to cover it up. Instead of adding an extra $20 or $40 of impulse buys to your bill, simply pick up a newspaper and something else you actually need, like floss. At least then you’ll end up using your cover-up purchase.
  2. You shop early in the morning or late at night to avoid the crowds. Sounds legitimate right? However, avoiding the crowds can negatively impact our finances. We are more likely to take our time, shop all of the shelves and consequently buy way more than we intended to. It’s okay to want to avoid the crowded aisles – just remind yourself to stay focused on your list and get out of there on budget!
  3. You have multiple debit cards in your wallet. This is kind of a necessity of being a grown-up, but believe it or not, if you keep cards for multiple bank accounts in your wallet, it kind of tricks your brain into thinking you have more money than you actually do when really it is just spread across different accounts. To avoid overspending, think about the purchase itself, not the balance in your accounts. We tend to justify extraneous purchases by thinking, “Well, I still have money in my other account.” If you cannot afford an item out of one account, just avoid it.
  4. You have been feeling a little down. Nowadays we are all mostly trained to avoid shopping for ourselves when we are in a slump, but did you know that we try to find the same sense of satisfaction by shopping for someone else? Typically, we will spend on others to enhance our connection with them when we are feeling a little sad or lonely. If you are feeling this way, consider any events or birthdays coming up that you will actually have to purchase a gift for. This way you kill two birds with one stone so to speak.
  5. You have just been reminded to ‘savour the moment’. Ads use this technique all of the time! Mostly because it is highly effective. Just like Kit Kat‘s slogan, ‘Have a break, have a Kit Kat,’ we convince ourselves that in order to have the best break possible we NEED that particular item. There is nothing wrong with taking a break – you just don’t need to spend money to do so.
ID 100152162 300x199 The 5 Little Moments We Tend to Overspend Without Noticing

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Are there any other moments when you feel particularly inclined to spend more money than usual? We’d love to hear your personal experiences! Drop us a line below to share your comments or questions.

Interested in talking about your ‘spend’ triggers with an expert? We can help with that too! Don’t hesitate to contact us today – 780.722.3000.

Aug 062014
 

Whether you like this catchy reggae tune by Sublime or not, summer is the perfect time to unwind, relax and begin to rethink certain areas of your life that might be holding you back. Too often we become bogged down by our daily lives and forget about our passions, goals and our overall happiness.

ID 10035169 199x300 Its Summer Time and the Livings Easy

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Believe it or not, a big part of becoming financially healthy is taking a break from thinking about the reality of your finances. Your bills will still be there tomorrow. Instead, consider your short term and long term goals. Those may include an upcoming trip you want to take, new furniture for your home or the future of your retirement. Are you currently taking steps to attain these goals? Or are you living paycheque to paycheque with barely any savings to speak of?

In either case, the best time to start working towards your goals is TODAY! Someday is not a reasonable time frame. Whether you want a new pair of shoes or save for your down payment, the only time to start is right now.

Will you step up and take control of your personal finances?

As we’ve already said, the best time to take control of your finances is now, however, big changes all at once are really overwhelming. Consider making yourself a list of smaller, more easily attainable goals that will inevitably make your actual goals possible.

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