Category Archives: finance

Setting up the business bank account

…was surprisingly painless.

After taking a quick look around to find the best account, I settled on the $6 RBC small business account.

It’s basically pay-as-you-go, but it was the cheapest one out there. All the rest of the banks wanted to charge you way more every month, plus additional fees for every single transaction you do.

Coming from my free personal banking with PC Financial and ING Direct I’m having a hard time swallowing the idea of ANY fees at all. But I suppose it’s one of the costs of doing business.

Setting up the account was easy. Apparently you’re a more valuable customer if you’re a business because I got a rep on the phone right away. I started the application, then set an appointment at my local branch for the same day. It’s a 20 minute walk away which is a bit of a downer, but at least it’s walkable. I should have picked a cooler day to try it out though! I was so sweaty when I arrived that the bank person asked if I was ok!

Anyway, some chit-chat, 15 bazillion signatures and a showing of my certificate of incorporation and I was done. I feel good having this all taken care of, despite my chops as a personal finance blogger, business stuff scares the poop out of me. Its a whole new world I will have to learn about!

I couldn’t apply for my corporate card there (ooooh I feel so important saying that!!! *squee!*) so I went home and skyped up the toll-free.

Again I got someone right away, and he was actually pleasant to deal with!

Did you know it’s actually harder to get a credit card than a bank account? I guess it makes sense but I’ve never had trouble getting one before!

There was a lot of detail to go through. They pulled my personal account history (I have an RBC Visa), my credit report/score, took down my work history, salary, professional background details, amount of work done on the business already, projected sales figures and even my personal networth! I also have to send in some tax papers from the past few years to prove I’ve been paying them. I think after that I’ll have to send in my first born child.

Now here is where I’m super glad that I’m a PF blogger! It really paid off!

Being young and having a new business (vs. being established and having revenue) are big counts against you if you’re applying for business credit. Your risk levels are higher and you basically don’t have anything there to guarantee that you’ll pay off anything you borrow.

What made my application stronger than the next young entrepreneur’s is the fact that I have a sparkling credit history, a high positive networth for someone my age, and no debt at all.

But even with those things working in my favour my application still came in at a ranking of “C” on your standard report card scale. Woah.

But the bank dude assured me that it’s waaaaay better than other people like me. Apparently you only get an A or B if you’ve been in business for ages with positive growth year over year. Since I don’t have that since I’m just too darn young I still have a pretty good chance of getting the credit card.

So my fingers are crossed that I will get this… right now it’s tough to separate all the business costs from my personal accounts. Eventually I’m going to have to use QuickBooks or get an accountant and I don’t want to mess things up.

 

I’m so glad this is done!

PS. The sponsor of this page, HSBC promises the same happy moment for Australian readers with their Business Accounts. Check it out!

March Hosting Recap

I’ve decided to start tracking my income via hosting on Airbnb. I knew I was making money, but didn’t know how much! I also wanted to see if the money I sunk into redecorating recently was worth it.

Here’s the rundown for the past month.

 

  • Total Guests: 3
  • Total Bookings: 4 (one guest extended her stay)
  • Total Nights Booked: 20
  • Total income: $1,140
  • Income Year To Date: $1,140

My year begins in March because that is the first month that 100% of the income is mine. Previously I had to split with my roommate.

So far April is shaping up pretty well. I will be making almost the same amount, perhaps more if I accept more bookings. This is good news for me!

 
Interested in becoming a host or using the Airbnb service to book your next trip? Click here and get $24 credit (I get it too!) Thanks, man!

Managing my budget while unemployed

I'm not *quite* there yet...

As many of you know, I left/was laid off from my ad job this past Tuesday. I’m not thrilled that I don’t have a job anymore, but it wasn’t too bad of an exit. They didn’t really want to let me go, but there wasn’t any work at my level, and I couldn’t get caught upon the nitty gritty kind of work they needed fast enough to justify my salary.

So we mutually agreed that this situation wasn’t working out. They have paid me through to April 15th and my benefits continue until then, but I left on Tuesday (nothing to do at work). I will also get a reference from them for the right job. Nice people, it’s really too bad it didn’t work out.

Anyway, this is pretty much the first time I have ever been unemployed, so it’s a whole new world for me! I’m going to take some time to figure out what I really want to do with my life —  advertising/media was ok, but I found myself increasingly unhappy in it. I think the universe is giving me a kick in the pants, telling me to find a better career path. So that’s what I’m going to do.

Monies

So how am I going to manage my money situation while I don’t have regular income?

1. Employment Insurance

Since I was laid off, I qualify for EI in Ontario. I applied the day after I ended my employment at the agency, and I hope to hear back soon. I’ve never applied before so I’m not totally sure what to expect with this process or even how much I will receive. I think the maximum per week is around $400, which would be great if I can get that.

2. Watch the pennies

I’m going to have to be much more diligent in budgeting in the coming few months. Luckily I don’t really need to shop for anything but food coming up, but there are always going to be unforeseen expenses, so I will try to pare things down as much as possible to accommodate.

I am trying to cook more at home, as well as cooking from scratch. This will be a good chance for me to explore/practice cooking some new dishes! Since I eat so little now (due to weight loss surgery) I’ll either have lots of leftovers, or the ability to invite friends over for nice meals now, with no extra cost to me.

3. Put loan payments on hold

Luckily my current loan (to pay for my surgery) was through my granny. She is sympathetic to my loss, and I am allowed to put my loan repayments on hold until I get a full time job again. Thank goodness! If the loan were through the bank it would have been a different situation–but I would never have borrowed from a bank for this purpose to begin with.

4. Find other ways to make money

I’ve been quite involved with my bed & breakfast, and hope to continue at a decent rate. My goal is to earn $500 per month through bookings. I have started tracking all my bookings and earnings and it’s not looking too bad! If I can make at least $500 per month, it will really help me cover all my expenses.

Obviously, I am also looking for a new job. If I can’t find anything decent soon, I will start to look at part time options in industries I am interested in. If that doesn’t pan out, then I’ll start looking at retail/service-type positions (ie: Starbucks, Chapters, etc.) but I hope it doesn’t get to that point.

5. Emergency Fund

I’ve got an EF for exactly this kind of situation. It is not quite as large as I would like it to be, but it could cover my rent for 3-4 months. Combined with EI and/or B&B income, I would be able to live for that period of time or longer.

 

So, that’s the plan for right now. Keep costs as low as possible, and create as much side income as possible until I get a full time job. While I am prepared for a few months of living expenses, I don’t want to rely on them. I’m going to pretend that I’m hanging on by a thread so that I’ll be more motivated to find a job. A fellow blogger was prepared for a year of unemployment, but found that because she had that safety net she was less inclined to spend a lot of time and effort looking for a job. I don’t want to fall into that trap!

Surgery Payment Problems

Update: You can find all weight loss/Slimband-related posts under the Weight Loss category or by clicking here.

I write this post at the risk of getting a lot of flak and coming off as an entitled, ungrateful princess.

But I need to write it anyway.

Secretly, I was counting on my grandad to come through with all or most of the money for my Slimband surgery. My mom (who knows him best) was convinced that he would be generous; he’s old, has no other family has loads of money and doesn’t do anything with it. He was there at my birth.

Generous is not a word I would use to describe my grandad at this point.

I don’t know what happened. My mom and I thought that he would give at least $1000 to help me out (if not more!). His daughter was a 500lb obese woman who recently passed away. He knows what it’s like to see someone suffer due to their weight.

Instead, I got $350 from him.

My parents didn’t even call to tell me because they didn’t know how to process this. We’re stunned.

I mean, don’t get me wrong; I respect the fact that it is his money and his choice, and I am grateful for anything that he is willing to give me… but at the same time I’m just stunned that the amount is so low, when he has so many reasons to give more. I can’t fathom his reasoning. Personally I suppose I am more of the helping-mind, I am always trying to help others, make or give them things. Especially family, I would go to the ends of the world for them. If this were me, I would have given a substantial amount to my family member.

I’m so conflicted. I’m happy for the $350 but not, you know what I mean? I don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth.

I was just really expecting more (whether that was right or wrong to do so). $350 isn’t even a drop in the bucket when I’m looking at $16,000.

So now I’ve got to find another way to pay for this procedure. I’ve already made a $3000 non-refundable deposit so I’m committed now.

I think I can afford another $3000, and in light of the grandad situation, my parents have decided to give me $3000 also. So I only need about $6600 more to cover it all.

I have the option of borrowing from my granny, but (what is up with rich old people? Are they all miserly like my family?!?!) I would have to pay her interest. Can you believe that?

So now I’m off trying to research interest rates for personal loans. I’ll take that info and negotiate with my grandmother and try and get a better rate. Like a bank. Not like family.

How sad, and cold.

I seriously think my larger family is fucked up when it comes to money. We know a lot about it but our attitudes are bizarre; where is the balanced, happy medium in life???

Roommate Update

PHEW.

As of yesterday, my roommate is totally paid up in terms of rent.

I feel SO MUCH BETTER.

It’s just a band-aid solution right now since she still doesn’t have a decent job to pay the bills, but we discussed the possibility of her moving out in the future because she is consistently living beyond her means. Thankfully she sees where I’m coming from and that I’m not trying to be mean–only realistic.

I know she’s working really hard to try and find a better job, but I still have that lingering bit of doubt.

I mean, I wouldn’t hire her based on her resume. She can’t seem to hold down a job for longer than a few months, and tends to pick short term contract stuff over anything stable. We all know that dozens of short jobs is not good for your resume!

Both myself and her employers need someone dependable and stable, and I don’t know if she can offer that to either of us. I think that’s where the problem lies. For now I’ve got some breathing room, but I kind of wish she would just give me notice and move out so I can find a proper roommate to replace her.

$$$!!!

Wow. I just checked my credit card statement online and somehow this cycle it has gotten up past $900.

I…just…wow.

I guess a bike is out of the question for me right now. This is ridiculous. I’ve officially never had a bill this high that wasn’t travel-related.

Shame on me indeed.

This is bad news all around. Yes, I am getting paid tomorrow, but in order to keep my chequing account float stable, I’ve had to take some money out of my entertainment fund to bolster it with. I am not impressed with myself. This stupid bill will take almost a whole pay cheque for me to clear.

I’ve got lots of time to do it, but I just hate the feeling of owing money, I can’t believe I let it get so out of control.

So. How am I going to fix this?

First, I’ve transferred some funds from another account into my chequing account to keep from going in the red.

Next I plan to cut costs as much as I can for the next couple of weeks. This is going to be hard (birthday party to go to on Friday which involves lots of money) but I need to lighten my load right now.

I’ve already started tranferring money to my CC for each transaction I make, so it’s more like using a debit card. This was FB’s idea and you can read about it here. This should help me keep track of things better, and also help me stay on top of payments. Thankfully I will not accrue any interest charges on this amount.

I technically have the money to kill the balance in one fell swoop–but it would be cutting it very close in terms of living expenses for a couple of weeks, and I would rather not take the risk of having a too-low chequing account balance in case something happens.

I guess it just goes to show that even though you’re a personal finance blogger who is passionate about their money, you can still screw up. I’m only human, and while I usually hold myself to higher standards than this, mistakes can happen. I just need to get back on the horse.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that even if you’re not a PF blogger, you can’t give up at the first sign of trouble. I got myself into hot water, but I have a plan to get out. If I don’t stick to this plan and pay off my balance, then I will have to pay the price–literally. And that just doesn’t jive with me.

So I’m going to grit my teeth, tighten my belt and get through this. I know I screwed up, but I need to move on now that I’m dealing with it.

Silver lining?
…I should have enough points for free groceries this week :)

Carnival of Twenty Something Finances

Welcome to the July 20, 2009 edition of twenty something finances.



This is my first time hosting this carnival, and boy were there a lot of submissions! There are some fantastic articles in here that are sure to educate you in one way or another. Keep your eyes peeled for my Editor’s Picks!

Please take a read through and remember to submit your article for the next carnival!


Chris presents Dealing with debt: an interview with Christopher Zinn from Choice posted at Home I Own, saying, “Debt patterns explained”

Brian McKay presents Student Loan Repayments Linked to Income posted at MonitorBankRates.com, saying, “Starting July 1st, 2009, student loan repayments will be limited to 15 percent of a borrower’s discretionary income or 15 percent of the amount that a borrower’s (and spouse’s if applicable) adjusted gross income exceeds 150 percent of the poverty line, divided by 12.”

PT presents Cash for Clunkers Bill posted at Prime Time Money

CreditCardAssist.com presents Detecting Bad Offers Especially if You Have Bad CreditCredit Card Assist. posted at

Billeater presents Dorm Life – Cheap College Living Tips posted at Billeater.

Ben presents Happy Financial Independence Day posted at Money Smart Life.

David presents Rent VS. Buying a Home posted at Personal Finance Ology, saying, “A guide to helping you decide: Rent or Buy a House.”

The Dough Roller presents Freecreditreport.com Versus Annualcreditreport.com–Where to get your free credit report posted at The Dough Roller, saying, “Free credit reports are not always free.”

Saj Karsan presents Screening For Value posted at Barel Karsan.

Handy Saputra presents How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster posted at Home Loan | Mortgage Resources, saying, “For most people a mortgage loan of 30 years is the only way for them to affordably own a home. The monthly payments are all they feel they can afford. If they were to be told they could pay their mortgage off faster and not have to come up with more money or make changes to their budgets do you think they would go for it?”

Silicon Valley Blogger presents Best High Interest Savings Accounts In Online BankingThe Digerati Life posted at

Mr Credit Card presents My Minimum Payment is raised from 2% to 5% ? What to Do?Ask Mr Credit Card. posted at

The Smarter Wallet presents Trend Analysis For The US Dollar Index and Crude Oil MarketThe Smarter Wallet posted at

**Editor’s Pick** Matt Jabs presents Emergency Fund Is For Emergencies ONLY – 6 Ways To Leave It Alone posted at Debt Free Adventure!, saying, “We hear a lot about saving for an Emergency Fund these days, but rarely here ways to help those who are struggling with periodic dips into their EF for non-emergency reasons! If that is what you need… today is your lucky day! Here are 6 strategies to help you save your Emergency Fund for the true emergencies”

Banker Saver presents How Safe Is Your Retirement Fund? posted at Banker Saver, saying, “is your retirement account safe? I explore this here.”

Manshu presents PEG Ratio posted at OneMint, saying, “Price Earning Growth Ratio takes the concept of Price / Earning Ratio (P/E Ratio) and adds in the element of Growth in it. The P/E Ratio is calculated by dividing Price of the Share with its Earning Per Share.”

Bank Savings Review presents Highest CD Rates – July 2009 posted at Bank Savings Review, saying, “These CDs have the most reliable and highest rates.”

Patrick @ Cash Money Life presents Debit Card Versus Credit Card – Which Is Better?Cash Money Life, saying, “Which is better – using credit cards or debit cards? Credit cards offer better protections and cash rewards, but also come with the temptation to overspend.” posted at

Madison presents Learn the Financial Impact of Your Everyday Purchases posted at My Dollar Plan.

nickel presents Insurance Needs for a Couple with No Kids posted at fivecentnickel.com.

Sam presents New !! How to Pay for College posted at Surfer Sam and Friends

asgreen presents Is a Master’s Degree Worth It? posted at Always the Planner….

Handy Saputra presents Tips To Get Good Mortgage Rates. posted at Home Loan | Mortgage Resources, saying, “From a past few years many people have made their way towards the mortgage companies to purchase their properties because of the easy installment facilities and Least Mortgage Rates. People have understood the word mortgage very well and this is the reason why the mortgage companies are thriving year by year or in fact day by day. Buying the property, taking the assistance from the mortgage companies is a simple method without burdening ourselves with the bulky amounts.”

Jack Schmidt presents 3 Credit Cards That Could Change Your Life posted at SectorMatic Money Journal, saying, “SectorMatic Money Site – Personal Finance | Everything for the Big Spender on a Budget. Now you can live like a fat cat, even if you’re on a money diet. Laugh all the way to the bank with Jack Schmidt and SectorMatic. It’s for you!”

Martha Jackson presents 25 Social Media Sites for Financial Professionals posted at Online Accounting Colleges.

Barry presents Saving Money With Do It Yourself Projects posted at Associate Money.

MoneyNing presents How to Buy a Used Car posted at Money Ning, saying, “Knowing how to buy a used car can not only save you thousands but sometimes tens of thousands.”

My Life ROI presents Top Interview Blunders posted at My Life ROI, Getting the Best Return On Life, saying, “Top interview blunders you NEED to avoid!”

Tyler Tervooren presents Cash in on the Cash for Clunkers Program posted at Frugally Green, saying, “If your old, gas-guzzling auto is about to take a dirt nap, you may be interested to know that the US Government will soon be offering an incentive up to $4,500 to buy a new, more efficient vehicle. Read this article to find out more about program and what you’ll need to know to take advantage of it.”

Ted Reimers presents Average Starting Salary by Major for 2009 posted at CampusGrotto.

Carlos Sera presents A Coffee Tale posted at Financial Tales, saying, “In December of 2006 my two oldest children came home from college for their winter break. My son, Carl, was a senior and my daughter, Veronica, was a sophomore. For those parents out there that don’t know this yet, college-age children are not early-risers.”

Four Pillars presents Keep Your Emergency Fund In A High Interest Savings Account posted at Quest For Four Pillars, saying, “Some suggestions on the best places to store your emergency fund.”

Chris McClelland presents Here’s how paying off your student loans can be a little less painless posted at Lucrative Investing.

Darwin presents Median vs. Mean: Know the Difference or Risk Being Manipulated posted at Darwin’s Finance, saying, “This article takes aim at politicians, college professors and others who selectively cite means, medians and other statistics in an attempt to fool you and advance their agenda. By mastering literacy on these topics, you can discern their motives and decide if what they’re saying is legitimate.”

Dan at Everydayfinance presents How to Get a Mortgage Rate Under 4% posted at Everyday Finance, saying, “This article highlights means by which home buyers can attain a sub-4% mortgage rate by playing their cards right.”

Credit Shout presents When should you cut up your credit cards? posted at CreditShout.

Handy Saputra presents Obama Mortgage Refinance Plan – Will It Help You? posted at Home Loan | Mortgage Resources, saying, “The Obama Mortgage Refinance Plan has been given an extra boost recently. In the original refinance plan, home owners with a 105% loan-to-value on their mortgage were able to refinance at lower mortgage rates. Now that the economy remains in a recession and the housing market has yet to see a bottom, Obama has extended that loan-to-value ratio to 125%. This means that home owners that are 25% underwater are capable of applying for a refinance.”

**Editor’s Pick** 2 Pennies Earned presents How to Nicely Furnish and Decorate Your Apartment for Under $1,000 posted at Two Pennies Earned, saying, “Here are some strategies for keeping the costs of furniture, decorations, and other housewares within your budget while avoiding the bachelor-pad look.”

Jeff Rose presents What Kind of Investor Are You Right Now? posted at Jeff Rose.

J. Savings presents Borrow From Yourself First. posted at Budgets are Sexy., saying, “We have savings accounts, rainy day accounts, and emergency funds set up for a reason!”

Tom Drake presents Library Card posted at The Canadian Finance Blog, saying, “If you like to read, but don’t often read the same book twice, then you should look into getting a library card.”

Len Penzo presents Ten Essential Negotiating Tactics Everyone Should Know posted at Len Penzo . Com, saying, “One of the most important life skills that should be mastered by everyone is the art of negotiating. Here are ten essential tactics to help you master the art.”

ChristianPF presents Know well the condition of your flocks posted at Money in the Bible | Christian Personal Finance Blog, saying, “According to the Bible, we have a responsibility to know where our money is going and to handle it wisely…”

Patrick @ Cash Money Life presents Pros and Cons of Secured Credit Cards posted at Cash Money Life, saying, “Secured credit cards are a great way for people with no credit or bad credit to establish or improve their credit history and credit score.”

Patrick @ Military Money presents Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps posted at Military Finance Network, saying, “Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps is to provide a step by step guide to help people get out of debt and achieve financial freedom.”

Ray @ Financial Highway presents Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) Ideas posted at Financial Highway, saying, “How to use the TFSA”

PT presents Tips for Keeping Wedding Costs Down posted at Prime Time Money.

Wren Caulfield presents Moving? Save time and money with these great tips. posted at True Adventures in Money Hacking.


That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of twenty something finances using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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