Jan 132016

This past year was pretty great, but we’re hoping to make 2016 our best blogging year yet with tons of useful financial resources, education, and less-than-boring tips!

Before we get started, let’s look back on what we’ve already accomplished.

Here are our Top 10 Posts of 2015:

5 Habits to Break in 2015

Your Body Hates Your Alarm Clock

Stuck in Corporate Debt

Plan to Fail Every 90 Days

top 10

Promoting Financial Wellness in the Workplace

5 Common Financial Mistakes That Could be Holding You Back

5 Easy Ways to Steer Clear of Debt

Needs vs. Wants

8 Things No One Tells You About Bankruptcy

6 Ways You Can Increase Your Productivity Daily

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, either drop us a line below or call us at 780.722.3000.

Jan 092015
2015 New Years Resolution

Low Carb White Russian from AboutHealth.com

Weight loss and debt repayment are top resolutions when it comes to the New Year. We want you to stay on track with both! This week’s Friday Freebie from AboutHealth outlines 11 cocktails for your 2015 New Years Resolution that will keep you on track with any weight loss goals you might have without compromising your social life.

I know didn’t think it was possible either! But AboutHealth has told outlines how to make sugar free Margaritas, Mojitos, and Pina Coladas, Daiquiris, Tropical Punch, Whiskey-Sours, and Lynchburg Lemonade.

And told us how to make low carb Cosmopolitans, White Russians, Bloody Mary’s, Tom Collins or Vodka Collins. All ingredients and measurements are included in the Cocktails for your 2015 New Years Resolution.

When you try out these recipes comment below this weeks’ Friday Freebie and let us know how delicious they all are! I know I will be trying out my favorite few!

Don’t forget to share your techniques of how you stick to your 2015 New Years resolutions.


Dec 152014

With less than 10 days left until Christmas, that means you probably have presents to wrap (maybe to buy, if you’re a last minute shopper), cards to send, turkeys to defrost, and people to see. It can be easy to fill up all of your days and nights with holiday chores galore, but overextending yourself, especially at the end of the year, can wreak havoc on your life and cause burnout or exhaustion.

Holiday burnout can be a huge downer during a season that’s meant for relaxation, renewal and reconnecting. Carve out some time for yourself amongst all of the family gatherings, holiday shopping, and dinner parties with friends.

How to Avoid Holiday Burnout in 5 Easy Ways

Identify your stressors

A lot of times our biggest stresses and worries literally come from fear of the unexpected, rather than the actual present moment. To keep your holiday anxiety at bay, write it all out. Make 3 separate lists: one for work, one for the holidays, and a personal list. Then write out every single task that is nagging at you. Chances are it won’t even be as bad as you think, and having everything in one place will feel less chaotic then trying to remember it all.

Complete and cross off 3 or 4 simple tasks from each list right away. That could be making that doctor’s appointment for the new year, buying your new day planner, or a trip to the post office. Completing those tasks right away will give you a sense of accomplishment and make your lists seems less daunting.

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Dec 082014

December is here in full swing and that means Christmas parties, get-togethers, and impromptu wine nights to celebrate the wonderful holiday season. However, it also the time of year when our wallets start to feel particularly empty. Don’t let feeling broke stop you from enjoying time with your family, friends or coworkers.

Here are our Top 5 Tips for Holiday Entertaining on a Budget

Be specific about timing

Typically when we invite people over, we tend to set a start date but no end date. Setting a specific time, such as Wine & Cheese from 2 pm to 5 pm, will keep your guests from staying too long. Or in most cases, encourage them to stop by because they won’t feel pressured to stay the whole night. Also, planning your get-together for the afternoon rather than an evening can help if you have a tight budget. Guests eat and drink less in the afternoon than later on in the evening.

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Go meatless

Keep up the ‘Meatless Monday’ trend and whip up some meat-free appetizers. Not only will you please your vegetarian pals, you will save a ton of money by utilizing fresh veggies rather than meat. We do suggest focusing on the preparation of said veggies. A unique and thoughtful presentation will set you apart from everyone else who just bought a tray with carrot sticks and broccoli. Think: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Quinoa Bowls, Salad Wraps, or the ever-famous Pinterest creation, Miniature Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese. Check out these other 20 Mouthwatering Miniature Food Ideas for more inspiration.

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Nov 192014

At the beginning of the week, we wrote a post about how success should not be defined solely on how much money you have. However, we do realize that discovering financial success is an integral part of living a great life.

To us, being financially successful means that you have the power to spend your money the way you want, your debts aren’t causing you strain or sleepless nights, and you have the know-how to start saving for a happy retirement.

Our motto has always been that even the smallest actions can lead to big changes. We want to give you the knowledge you need to become financially successful.

The best way to achieve financial success involves only 3 tiny steps:

Every day – Read something about money.

Whether you quickly skim over a money-related magazine article or catch up on a financial blog you like (hint, hint), the more you read up on the subject, the more you will know. Eventually, the money strategies you read about will start to sneak into your everyday life. Easy peasy.

Every week – Talk about money

Aim to have a financially driven conversation with someone once a week. Vary it up, talk to your financial advisor, your investment broker, your mortgage broker, your financially successful friends, etc. You can never soak in too much information about how to achieve financial success. Ask them how they did it. Where do they look for information? Who do they go to for advice? Don’t live in secrecy and silence if you feel stuck. Everyone does at some point and asking for advice can help you through it.

Every month – Save your money.

Make saving automatic and spread it out if you can. A great piece of advice: It’s far easier to find 500 ways to save $1 rather than trying to find a way to save $500. Small increments always add up fast. By the end of each month, you should feel proud that you’ve put away money. Soon, you can start adding more and more as the easier saving becomes.

We want to know…

Have you attained financial success? How did you do it? We’d love to hear your success stories! Remember, the definition of financial success will be different for everyone. Share your victories with us, big or small.

Nov 032014

Happy Monday everyone! If you are anything like myself, the Monday after the time change falls back is pretty much the most productive day ever. You finally feel like you’ve caught up on your sleep, it’s not pitch black when you leave the house, and everyone around you is in a contagiously good mood.

While at this moment, you may be in super productive mode, this great feeling does unfortunately wear off the colder and darker winter becomes. Fret not because I recently stumbled upon an Entrpreneur.com article that describes three easy ways to boost your productivity without having to buy a fancy app or completely reroute your daily habits.

3 Easy Ways to Boost Productivity

Great idea #1 – Create ‘on’ and ‘off’ weeks for meetings

Image courtesy of tuelekza at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of tuelekza at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I know that many seasoned business men and women are shaking their heads right now, thinking “There is absolutely no way I could have a week off from meetings.”

However, from personal experience, it can be almost impossible to squeeze in a full ‘work’ day in between client meetings, brunches and lunches, and everything else we get invited to. This leads us to feeling completely overwhelmed at times because no one can possibly do it all, all the time. Tapping in to this realization will allow you to say ‘no’ to this or that meeting, guilt-free, so that you can concentrate on completing your tasks.

The author, Kate Swoboda, suggests booking all of your meetings into one solid week and then spending the next week completing tasks. She even advises booking these weeks into your calendar ahead of time so you aren’t even tempted.

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Oct 202014

Have you ever thought about changing your spending habits, but grew too overwhelmed at the thought and simply continued maintaining the status quo? You aren’t the only one. Many times we can’t bear to dwell on our money problems, so we push away any thoughts of following a budget or making accelerated payments because it seems too hard.

The downfall of doing this is that when we feel shameful about our money, we actually use it less wisely. Weird, right? The key is to reset your money mind or, in simpler terms, redirect your spending towards what is most important to you.

A big influencer of our improper spending is consumerism. Every day we see ads, commercials, magazines, even blogs, that tell us what we should be spending our money on, whether it is aligned with our goals or not. This leads to feeling farther and farther away from our financial and life goals. Consequently, the farther you feel away from your goals, the farther you actually are.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We want to help you reset your money mindset so that you can reach your goals when it comes to your finances and your whole life.

Reset Your Money Mindset in 3 Easy Steps

1. Identify your ‘wants’ in life.

Whether you want to buy your dream home, travel the world or settle down with kids, you must first identify your top three wants in life. What are your priorities? What kind of life do you envision yourself living? Once you’ve figured out what is most important to you, the next step is to look at how your financial goals measure up.

2. Look at your daily spending.

Does your day-to-day spending align with reaching your goals? Like say, instead of buying a $4 latte, you put $5 away into your savings account. Or are you spending too much money here and there to make any headway? We suggest breaking your costs down into two categories: fixed costs and discretionary spending. In the fixed costs column, you will list all of the non-negotiable costs you have such as insurance, rent or mortgage, groceries, etc. In the other, you will categorize the other items you buy like gadgets, clothing, and entertainment.

3. Adjust accordingly.

Once you have established your current spending habits, we suggest following this rule of thumb when it comes to your future spending. Allocate 50% of your income to fixed costs, 30% to achieving your goals (like retirement or home ownership) and no more than 20% on discretionary spending. Make sure you stack up!

The main point is that ignoring a money problem, whether it is a tiny one or an enormous one, will never make it go away. It will just fester. Don’t let any more time pass before you switch gears and start spending your money in the right way.

We want to know…

How do you feel about reseting your money mindset? Will you give it a try? Let us know by commenting in the box below or you can always send us a Tweet @ParleyFinancial!

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.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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.

Continue reading »

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?
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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.