Feb 182016
 

Self-employment comes in many different forms, and while the way you operate your business may differ (you could be a store owner, a freelancer, or a contractor), the way you go about preparing and maintaining your finances as a self-employed individual will basically stay the same.

Maybe you’ve already started your business or you’re just thinking about leaving your full-time job to break out on your own – either way, if you follow the next 5 tips you can bet you’ll be set up for financial and business success!

5 Financial Tips for the Self-Employed

Utilize a separate business account

Even if you are a solo-preneur with a small start-up business on the go, it is incredibly smart and savvy to open up a business account. Do some shopping around to make sure you get an account that makes sense for you and your business, as there are usually service fees and other requirements necessary to operate a business account.

5 Financial Tips

That said, utilizing a separate account will make your life a lot easier down the road when it comes to calculating your business earnings, especially if you have a side hustle or part-time job that pays into your personal account.

It also makes sense for you to pay all of your business expenses from this account, and take out a set amount of money bi-weekly or monthly (think of this as your take-home pay or pay check).

Put a % of all of your take-home pay into your savings

It is incredibly important to have an emergency fund and a healthy savings account when you are self-employed. Sometimes there can be quite a lot of financial pressure or strain to keep afloat (personally and business-wise) during slow months, or if a client hasn’t paid you on time, or you’ve had to hire a couple extra staff members, and many other things that can affect your cash flow.

No matter what – you need a roof over your head and food on your plate, so make sure you have a nice safety net set aside. Contribute to your savings on a VERY regular basis, whether it’s stashing away 15% of your take-home pay or meeting a flat-rate monthly goal.

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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 112016
 

Ever wonder what it’s like to come home after work to a hot, home cooked meal? Unless you have a stay-at-home partner, the only real way to achieve this is with a slow cooker! I mean it’s perfect – you throw your meal into your crock pot, turn it on, and by the time you’re ready for supper – it’s done.

Besides the truly wonderful feeling of eating a healthy supper at a reasonable hour, it can actually save you money in several different ways. So, if you don’t have a crock pot or slow cooker already – we suggest purchasing one.

5 Ways A Crock Pot Can Save You Money

1. It uses less energy

Surprisingly enough, using a crock pot requires less energy than traditional methods of cooking, like on a stovetop or your oven. Not only that, but the lack of dishes you will have with this one-pot-wonder will limit the amount of energy you use to clean up afterwards.

2. You can cook with cheaper ingredients

Using a crock pot means you can use less desirable cuts of meat for cheap. Slow cooking makes any meat tender and juicy, so save money where you can by purchasing roasts instead of steaks and the like. For the vegetarians of the world, you can still pinch a nickel or two by using dried beans, lentils, and chickpeas instead of the canned variety. Dried beans are cheaper and somewhat healthier, as they have fewer preservatives and no possible BPA’s than the canned kind. Just be sure to soak and rinse your beans prior to adding them to the crock pot.

3. You can make your own broth

If you never had to buy store-bought broth again – how much money would you save? At $4 or $5 bucks a pop, you can switch to making your own for far less. It’s not complicated either. If you want vegetable broth, simply add your veggie scraps from the week (not rotten of course) to your crock pot, add water, and cook for 10 hours. Beef or chicken broth can be made in a similar fashion by adding your meat scraps to your crock pot, and enough water to cover everything, and cooking for 10 hours. To both, you can add any seasonings you like. Once cooked, strain out the bits and pieces, and now you have broth to use, either fresh or you can freeze it.

4. You can cook meals in bulk

Always on the go? Cooking large batches of meals to take with you to work, the gym, or to dig into immediately when you get home (HANGRY, anyone?) will save you from getting over-hungry and in the mood for a cheeseburger. Also, if you plan your meals right, you will save on wasted groceries.

5. It’s as easy as getting take-out

Tying into the above point, we all have moments when we simply have to eat NOW. Having a meal already cooking away in your crock pot when you get home saves you from that weak moment after work where take-out menus look more appealing than ever.

Is there another way you save money with a crock pot? Any fabulous slow cooker recipes you just have to share? Let us know!

Simply drop us a line below, share on Facebook, or you can always call us 780.722.3000.

 

Oct 132015
 

Does it seem like every time you get paid, your money just disappears and you’re left scrambling until your next paycheque?

You’re not the only one! Many of us get a little spend-happy when we see that money deposited into our account. We go out for dinner that night, to treat ourselves. Then we might go shopping, to treat ourselves, of course. Before you know it, your entire paycheque has been spent, while you still have bills to pay and no savings to speak of.

make your paycheque last longer

Image via Canva

These following tips are all about stretching your paycheque as far as you can so that the time in between paydays can be a lot less stressful.

3 Tips to Make Your Paycheque Last Longer

Spend money like you don’t have any

Contrary to the fun you can have blowing your whole paycheque at once, this method will make you feel very financially responsible. While it may be boring, it’s always a good idea to pay your bills the day you get paid, or at least organize your bill deadlines so that the ones due right after your payday get dealt with.

Next, you’ll want to stash some cash in your savings account. Whether you can handle building your savings yourself, or you need to make automatic withdrawals, make sure you have money leftover from payday to do this. Trust us, you’ll be much happier with a plump emergency savings, then you will be with your new gadget or clothes.

Now, purchase your essentials. By essentials, we basically mean groceries and fuel for you car. If you can avoid buying fuel by riding your bike or transit, even better, but factor this into your paycheque because no one wants to be stranded with no gas money.

After you’ve gotten all of these straightened out, divide the lump sum of what you have leftover by how many days until your next paycheque. An example: $500 leftover divided by 14 days until your next paycheque would be roughly $35 a day. Once you have that number in your head, set a budget that is less than that. So, $20 to spend a day. This is still a lot, so if you can, aim to spend $10 a day.

By following this daily budget of only $10 a day, you will end up with $360 until your next paycheque. Sound awesome or what? Now you can put that money towards something you truly need or want, invest it, or use it instead of dipping into your emergency savings.

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Sep 282015
 

Whether you have gotten swept away with your spending since school started, or getting back into the regular work grind is killing you – I know a few people could probably use a little help making that credit card balance a little smaller.

So, instead of piling on the debt, let’s follow the next 5 steps to shrink your credit card balance:

5 ways to shrink credit card debt Edmonton

Image via Canva

Always pay your bill and pay it on time

Not only does it seriously hurt your credit rating when you miss a payment or make a late payment, but you will also incur a late charge. While it make seem inconsequential, (what’s another $30 on a balance of $2500, we tell ourselves) those fees do actually add up. Another fee that can add up fast is a weekly over limit fee, which is typically at least $25, and is applied every week you are over your credit limit.

Just think about this for a second: would you buy a $30 T-shirt once a week, or would you balk at spending that amount? If you wouldn’t spend it on an actual item, you certainly shouldn’t be giving it to the bank or lender.

Always pay more than you add in interest

This is a tough one as many of us see that $50 minimum payment, and think, “Oh good, I can still have some spending money leftover if I just make the minimum payment.” We have a reality check for you: nothing, not even your daily coffee, is worth credit card debt. It is preferable to pay off your balance every month, which is not only good for your credit, but much easier to manage than paying down a $5000 balance while you are still using the card. If you cannot pay off your card in full, at least pay as much as you possibly can towards your balance.

Always pay off the highest interest cards first

It’s almost never a good idea to have a several cards on the go, especially with more than one carrying a balance, but life happens. If this is the case, apply more cash to the card with higher interest and higher balance.

Many of us pay down the smallest balance first to get it out of the way faster, but if it comes down to a low interest, low balance card versus a high interest, high balance card it is better for your overall debt to pay the high one off first.

Always calculate your payments based on your current interest rate

This one may seem a little too obvious, but I’m certain we’ve all had at least one experience where we thought our interest rate was something it wasn’t. Very rarely does your interest rate stay stagnant from when you signed up for the card until present time. Make sure your interest rate hasn’t gone up, and if it has, adjust your monthly payment accordingly.

Again, this is another reason not to make just the minimum payment. The credit card company wants to charge you higher interest for a longer period of time. Minimum payments are not designed to help you become debt free.

Negotiate lower rates

If your rate has gone up since you signed up for the card, call your credit card lender and tell them you are shopping around for a lower interest rate. See what they can do for you.

If you are serious about paying off your debt and limiting your credit card spending, you can always talk to your bank about transferring your balance to a lower interest vehicle, such as a line of credit. This could be useful if you have trouble not using your card.

We want to know…

Have you come out the other end of credit card debt? We’d love to hear your stories of triumph over debt! Feel free to comment below or share your thoughts via social media.

We want to hear from you…

Do you need help getting out of credit card debt? Don’t hesitate to call the debt negotiating experts at Parley Consulting to get started on your path out of debt. 780.722.3000

Jul 062015
 

Want to save money? Well, the best thing you can do for your wallet is to decide that not everything you own needs to be a name brand or even brand new for that matter.

Buying secondhand was made intensely popular by the “Thrift Shop” song, and practically every hipster in Edmonton is doing it. So, it’s about time you jumped on the money-saving bandwagon!

The beauty of being able to shop thrift stores like a boss is that you can find unique, functional pieces without spending a ton of your hard-earned cash. It also helps out the environment because the more you buy secondhand, the less that goes in the dump.

Secondhand shopping is good for environment

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So, how do you shop thrift stores like a boss?

First things first, decide what you are willing to use secondhand and what you are not. For instance, you might be totally comfortable buying clothes, pots/pans, and furniture, but draw the line at using secondhand bedding or underwear.

That’s totally fine! Just make yourself a list of What To Buy New and What To Buy Used. This could apply to books, workout equipment, shoes, and much, much more.

Second, before you head to the nearest thrift store, do a little research online. Read reviews on Yelp or  Google to figure out if the place is worth your time and money.

Thrifting can be intensely time-consuming, so never shop when you are hungry or tired or grouchy, and always wear comfortable clothes, preferably an outfit that allows you to try on clothing time over top.

thrift store shopping Edmonton

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Another tip: If you find a store you really like, get to know the sales people. They’ll start to recognize you and if you are looking for something that they don’t have yet, they will be more likely to call you when it actually comes into the store.

Great places to shop thrifty in Edmonton:

The Junque Cellar

MCC Thrift Shop

Super Flea Market

Decadence

Edmonton Emergency Relief Services

Value Village 

Have questions or comment? We’d love to hear from you! Simply drop us a line below or call 780.722.3000.

May 252015
 

Most of know exactly what credit is and how to use it, albeit maybe too much, but do you know everything there is to know about applying for said credit?

There are 5 major areas that any credit card company, lender, or even an instant loan institution will look at before processing your request.

The 5 C’s of Credit

Character

While a lot of the time applying for credit can very much be a numbers game, certain characteristics can influence your application. Good traits such as being at the same job for a steady number of years or being with the same credit card company or banking institution for years are all good signs that they will take into account. It may not make or break your application, but discussing your good traits with the lender could help connect any dots that otherwise would have be left unanswered.

credit, credit application Edmonton

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Credit

You need credit to get credit. While most of us know this to be true, there are many misconceptions about what good credit is and how to get it. Your credit score is basically a clue to how you’ve handled credit in the past. Do you make your payments on time? Do you miss payments? Do you apply for credit at a too-rapid pace? All of these traits are indicated by your credit score or credit report. Of course, the higher the score, the better. It’s not hard to check on your credit either. Both Equifax and Transunion will give you your report for free.

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May 182015
 

Remember the quote that came out a while ago, “You have the same number of hours in a day as Beyonce?” Well, it’s true. Same goes for you and everyone else. The trick to making it seem like you have more: getting organized.

These simple tricks for better organization lead to more daily productivity, and soon, you’ll be meeting all of your goals like a champ.

6 Ways to Increase Daily Productivity

Plan for the next day before you go to bed

Even if you’re not a compulsive list maker like some of us, this trick can aid you in many productive ways. Do you ever have trouble sleeping when you know you have a busy day ahead? Take 10 to 15 minutes each evening to plan out your upcoming day.

Identify the keys tasks you need to get done no matter what. This will allow you the pleasure of knowing exactly what to do when as soon as you wake up.

Become a morning person

How many of you don’t get out of bed until you absolutely have to? Let’s assume most of us. However, if you start counting on those wee hours of the morning as extra time to set yourself up for the day, rather than rolling around restlessly in bed, your day will immediately become more productive. We recommend working out in the AM and focusing on personal projects during this ‘bonus’ time.

Learn to delegate certain tasks

Many of us in business or otherwise have trouble letting go of the reins sometimes. We like things done our way. The key to making this effective, however, is focusing our attention on tasks that only we can truly do best. For everything else, drop the idea of perfection and let someone else tackle it. This could be letting your kids do the dishes or finally hiring that bookkeeper. Either way, you won’t be playing catch up in every area of your life if you let go a little.

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May 122015
 

Dealing with money troubles? It can be hard to talk about money, especially if you are struggling with debt. Second to that, there is a huge negative stigma attached to having to file for bankruptcy, even if it’s the best option for your current financial circumstances.

Sometimes, we feel that filing for bankruptcy means we failed. This is not the case, and in fact, the sooner you reach out to someone about your options for getting out of debt, the less time you spend suffering in silence.

To ease you into the idea, here are 8 of the most common things no one tells you about bankruptcy:

You won’t lose everything

Fact: you will lose some. However, there are exemptions by province, which could include your pension, insurance policies, and some RRSP’s. If you need certain things, like your vehicle or equipment, to continue earning a living, you can keep those too. Click here to learn more about exemptions in Alberta.

debt, creditors, Edmonton, bankruptcy

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You can keep your home in certain situations

Many of those with insolvent debts get to keep their home. However, it all depends on what your home is worth, how much you owe on your mortgage, and how realistic it is that you can continue making the payments.

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Apr 222015
 

Do you love to spend money? Most of us do. However, understanding the difference between your needs and wants is the first step to smarter spending and more savings in your bank account.

I’m sure most of us remember the moment in middle school where we learned the difference between the essentials we need to survive: food, water, clothing, and shelter and the rest of the stuff we think we need.

So how do you determine the difference between a true need and a want?

Understanding Needs versus Wants

To put it simply: a need is something essential, and a want is something nice to have.

It is also possible for your needs and wants to shift over time. A good example is that a new laptop might start out as a want, but you might find out that you need it for school or work, now it becomes a necessity.

The confusion comes when our over-stimulated brains filled with consumer nonsense tells us we need to buy that latest gadget or new shoes or even that $5 latte. Hence, why it is called your latte factor. Your latte factor refers to any extravagance – small or large – that you love to spend your money on.

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