Our Blog

Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Holiday Spending

680 CJOB, Winnipeg’s news talk radio, Hal Anderson recently invited Creditaid’s, Brian Denysuik to join him on air to help get people through the holiday spending season. Brian provides advice on how not to overspend including a few tips on how to create a “Save to Spend” holiday plan to help alleviate stress and avoid going into debt this holiday season.

Listen to the discussion below.

How Not to Overspend When Planning a Funeral

cemetery

We often offer advice about taxes here on our blog, but we seldom talk about life’s other certainty. Planning for the funeral of a loved one can be very stressful if you have to do it all while you’re in the process of grieving. There are many things to consider – type of internment, the casket, the service, and the reception. Because of our desire to “just get it done”, and to properly memorialize someone very close to us, we can often overspend when planning a funeral.

At Creditaid, we see the impact that high funeral costs can have. We can offer the following advice to someone who’s planning a funeral:

Take someone with you. Having a trusted friend or family member who isn’t as stricken with grief as you are to help with making the arrangements can assist in keeping a perspective on matters. While the professionals in the funeral industry aren’t trying to take advantage of you, bear in mind that it is a business. Having a “voice of reason” with you could prove to be handy.

Shop around. Funeral services differ in price. While we don’t advocate driving all over town, visit at least two funeral homes to see what options they offer you.

Look at economical alternatives. Instead of a full-blown funeral, you could opt for a “direct disposition”, where the internment is handled in the background, and instead hold a memorial service for friends and family. Cremation is a more economical option than traditional burial in a plot, and has gained popularity in recent decades. It’s now a standard method of burial.

Consider the real wishes of your loved one. Chances are, they wouldn’t want you to put yourself in a position of financial hardship for their funeral. While it’s only natural to want to memorialize someone “properly”, financial realities should always be considered. There are lots of ways to make a fitting memorial without exposing yourself to crushing debt.

Creditaid offers credit counselling and debt management solutions to Manitobans struggling with debt.

Hosting a BBQ on a Budget – How to Survive Summer Parties Without Breaking the Bank

party-table

Manitoba summers are notoriously short, so it’s understandable that we celebrate our respite from frigid temperatures with zeal. Unfortunately, for those of us on a tight budget, seasonal celebrations can prove to be a strain on the budget, especially because we tend to throw caution to the winds once the sunny weather comes. Here are some strategies to limit the pressure your budget:

Resist the Temptation to Pay for it All
Chances are your friends will understand your need for budgetary restraint. Most of them probably feel the same way. There’s no need for you to take on a huge expense in the name of entertainment for your friends. If they don’t understand you need for restraint, then perhaps they aren’t really your friends. Ask them to share the cost by bringing their own alcoholic beverages if they choose to drink, and consider asking them to bring a dish to accompany your barbecue as a potluck. It’s a good idea to co-ordinate the things guests bring so you won’t have too many macaroni salads!

Spend Your Money in the Right Places
barbeque-skewers-party-on-a-budgetIf you’re going to splurge, do it in a way that people will notice. Shrimp skewers for appetizers, or a really nice cheese plate become a focal point of your party. Don’t spread your money too far.

As for barbecue, there’s really no need to grill expensive cuts of meat. Hotdogs and hamburgers are traditional summer fare, and they’re reasonably economical. Consider making your own burgers rather than buying pre-made patties. It’s cheaper, and nearly always better.

Make Do With What You Have
Resist the urge to make big purchases in the name of entertainment. Summers here are short – don’t spend a lot of money on expensive outdoor furniture you can’t use most of the year. There’s no shame in asking your guests to bring their own lawn chairs to your party, and your buffet table doesn’t need to be a new shiny glass-top from the big box store – your old one, or even a door on a couple of sawhorses will look just as good with a table cloth on it.

Plan Ahead
Make sure you have enough propane or charcoal for the barbecue, and that there’s no need to purchase condiments or anything else from the convenience store at exorbitant prices.
Above all, remember that summer entertaining is about the people, not the party. There’s no need to expose yourself to financial risk in the name of entertainment. Go ahead and have fun, but exercise restraint.

Creditaid Offers credit counselling and debt management solutions for individuals in Winnipeg and across Manitoba, including areas such as Portage la Prairie, Brandon, Winkler, The Pas, Flin Flon, Thompson, and many others.

What to Do with the Wedding Ring after Your Divorce

When a relationship ends, the items that held special meaning before can become bearers of painful reminders. Engagement and wedding rings, wedding dresses and marriage certificates are items that many people wonder about after the end of their relationship.  What can you do with them?

Engagement rings and wedding rings often come with a big price tag and if the items lose their emotional value, there is the option to sell them.  Jewellers sometimes will buy their pieces back but at a significant discount.  On average, they will buy them back at only 35% of original value.

Many people in similar situations have opted to sell their rings online through websites such as “I Do… Now I Don’t”.  The founder, Joshua Opperman, was left with a ring after his engagement ended prematurely which prompted him to found the jewellery auction site to help others in similar situations part with their rings.  He has since been featured on Rachael Ray, CNN, and Whoopi Goldberg.

One important factor when selling your high valued item online is to minimize risk of scam.  On “I Do…Now I Don’t”, sellers can list their rings for free.  Once the item is purchased, the money is held in escrow by the website.  The seller will send the ring in for authentication by GIA-trained gemologist.  Once the ring has been authenticated, the ring will be sent to the buyer via UPS with insurance included and a bank cheque will be mailed out to the seller.

Sellers will typically receive 40 – 60% of the retail price for their item, minus a 15% commission fee. If you are making payments on the ring, this return can help you substantially in reducing your debt.

Parting with your engagement or wedding ring might give you the emotional detachment you need to help you move forward past the relationship and onto something better! Visit https://www.idonowidont.com/ for more information.

Budgeting for a Mortgage

When you are buying a home, it is important to know that you will be able to manage the payments on the mortgage. You will also have to secure a down payment amount, which is usually paid out of your own pocket without the help of a loan. While your budget may cover the monthly repayments on your mortgage, you also have to allow for future outgoings for things like starting a family, purchasing a car, or home improvements.

Although a higher down payment means handing over a large amount of cash, it will also greatly reduce the interest and insurance that you pay on your mortgage loan. Any payment under 20% of the total mortgage loan amount requires that you purchase default insurance, which will add thousands of dollars to the loan.

There are two main types of mortgage – open or closed payment. An open mortgage allows you more freedom to pay off higher amounts on your loan, but usually come with a higher interest rate. Closed mortgages require that you pay a fixed amount each month; however, you may have an allowance for making over payments. In the case of over payment allowances on closed mortgages; make sure to check your limits with the lender, as they can charge you penalties – known as repayment charges – running into thousands of dollars.

Each lender has their own terms for issuing mortgage loans. It is up to you to shop around and get the best option for you. Before you do, make sure that your credit report is clean and free of errors. You can order a copy of your credit report from a credit agency before you speak to lenders, giving you time to correct any errors or making payments on defaulted debts.

If you have forecast your budget wisely, you will know which mortgage suits you best. A good rule of thumb is to opt for an open type loan if you expect to make large frequent payments to bring down your loan cost quickly. If, on the other hand, you have a tighter budget where you will only be able to pay a fixed amount each year – opt for a closed type loan.

Christmas Shopping – Tips for Parents for Shopping on a Budget

Christmas is coming around, which means that plenty of parents are scrambling, trying to snatch up those last minute deals. If you are one of the millions of parents whose budget is stretched, don’t panic just yet. There is still time to save Christmas and start budgeting the right way for the year.

Ebay Best Buys – Ebay is a great site to find all your gifts. If you haven’t used the site before, here are a few insider tips to live by. Don’t jump on the first listed item that you see – shop around to see if other sellers have also listed the same item.  Look for sellers who have received great feedback and have verified status so you can take advantage of the best prices for quality items.

Free Shipping Prices – Remember, during the Christmas season big order outlets have a lot of stock to shift. Those items need to sell before the season’s end, so retailers will often offer free shipping as an incentive. Not only that, but you can search for free shipping coupons online for each of your favorite stores. If there are no coupons available, simply try searching “free shipping” on the site, or look for a filter that has free shipping listed as an option.

Family Christmas – Make time this Christmas for fun and games with your family. Break out the board games, watch some Christmas movies, or play your favorite Christmas songs. Sitting around the table together, sharing those special moments is worth a thousand gifts, but it won’t cost you a penny.

Prepare for Next Year – Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Plan your budget at the start of the New Year, but be realistic. Avoid buying gifts in the early part of the year, if you can. Kids go through phases; so what he liked this year may see a dramatic change by next Christmas. Regardless, the money that you budget should be considered untouchable for other expenditures.

Most of all, remember what Christmas gifting is really about – sharing, loving and appreciating what you already have. If you live it, your children will, too.

1 2 3 5