Happy July 4th weekend dinks.  Don’t you just love having a day off?  I always get a little bit excited on Thursday afternoons when I know I don’t have to go to work on Friday.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my job but I love sleeping in even more.

Even though we get two days off for the weekend every week having an extra day is absolutely fantastic because it opens a door of things to do that you can’t always do in two days.

How are you enjoying this long weekend?

 I hope you’re enjoying this extra long weekend by doing something extra special.  I know it’s just one extra day off, but that one day makes a big difference.  At least it does for me.

What do you like to do when you have an extra day off?

Take a road trip

Three days is the perfect amount of time for a road trip.  I love taking weekend road trips because it’s cheaper than flying and if the drive is around five hours it still leaves plenty of time to enjoy the city.  Five hours is also a good amount of time to be in a car, it’s just long enough to enjoy the trip but not so long that you dread being in the car.

Find local outdoors activities

During this holiday it’s a pretty safe bet that most cities are hosting activates to celebrate Independence Day.  Check your local listings for activates going on such as parades, fireworks and festivals.  I am spending the day at the port in my city where they’ll have live music and good food.  Tonight there will be fireworks – and I love fireworks.

Host a BBQ

BBQs are a great way to spend the day because you’re outside, getting fresh air, working on your tan, hanging out with friends and eating good food.  When you spend the day at a friend or family member’s house you don’t have to worry about drinking and driving, being stuck in crowds or waiting in line at public bathrooms. Could you think of a better way to spend the 4th of July?

Spend the day relaxing

If being out in crowds is not really your ideal way to spend a day off then just stay in.  Sometimes we just need a day to catch up on sleep, binge watch TV and order in food.  I love those days.  I love waking up, staying in my pHs all day, taking a long bubble bath and then getting back into bed.  If you’re nostalgic for July 4th activities you can always watch the parades or fireworks on TV.  It’s almost like being there in person.

Enjoy your long weekend dinks and happy 4th of July!

financial planning, financial plans, financial goals

Good morning Dinks.  Let me ask you a question, do you have a financial plan.  Or actually here’s a better question do you know how to do a financial plan?  The odds are your answer is no.  And that’s O.K.

Many people go through life without a financial plan and that’s O.K. too.  There’s no rule book that says everyone and their mother has to have a financial plan.  It’s not necessary but it does make achieving your goals a lot easier.

I’m a firm believer in planning – everything.  I like to have a clear idea of what I’m doing for everything from my daily tasks to how I fill my days on vacation.  Almost everything in my life is planned, well at least as much as it can be.

Maybe you have goals, but you’ve never thought of creating a plan to help achieve them.  Maybe you’re the type of person who likes the idea of goals and hopes to achieve them some day but don’t really work towards them actively.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  However I can speak from experience when I say that setting a plan to achieve your personal and financial goals makes them happen a lot faster.

Set your goals

This is How To Do a Financial Plan 101.  Before you can start planning towards achieving your goals you have to actually set them.  Think about what you want to achieve over the next two, five and ten years.  These goals can be anything from going to graduate school, taking a fabulous vacation or buying a house.

Over the next two years I want to spend two weeks in Europe travelling through Portugal, Italy and Greece.  Over the next five years I think Nick and I want to buy a house and over the next ten years I have absolutely no idea what I want to achieve.  But as it gets closer I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

Set priorities

This is the second step towards starting a financial plan.  You may have more than one goal for each time period and that means you have to set priorities.  If not then the priority defaults to the closest time frame.

Start saving

Think about how goals fit into your life and your budget.  Once you know what your goals are and when you want to achieve them by you can start setting up automatic savings.   I like to have separate accounts for all my goals because it lets me track my savings as well as the performance of investments.  When I merge goals into one account lines get blurred and I don’t like it.

Make it happen

IF this is the first time you’ve set a plan to really work towards achieving your goals you will most likely have to make changes in your daily habits.  You’ll start thinking about your goals, check in on the progress and possibly cut some spending to afford your savings.

That’s it.  Welcome to your first financial plan.

perfect wedding gift, wedding gift, gift registry

Good morning Dinks.  I want to say a BIG CONGRATULATIONS to my friends Nelson @ Financial Uproar and Vanessa @ Vanessa’s Money on their engagement.  Come October these two lovely financial bloggers will be married in Las Vegas and guess who’s invited?! Yours truly.

Nelson and Vanessa have both been very good friends to me – we’ve even met in person – and I’ve also worked with both of them on side hustle projects, so it’s only natural I get them a wedding gift to celebrate their special occasion.  I’m sure if you scroll down to the comments you’ll see both of them telling me that it’s not necessary, but it’s not negotiable.

What do you buy for two money bloggers?

My natural instinct is to give cash as a wedding gift, but is that totally inappropriate for two personal finance bloggers.  On one hand they deal with and write about money all day long so it kind of seems cliché to give them an envelope full of cash as a wedding gift.

On the other hand it could be the totally perfect gift.  What could be better for two people who spend their days talking (and writing) about money than a handful of cash.  Yes it could just be the perfect wedding gift.

Then there’s the fact that these two love birds just moved back to Canada after being abroad for a year and they probably need a bunch of stuff to furnish and decorate their new home.  I might just have to look at the gift registry to see what they need/want.

Did you register for wedding gifts?

I know some people don’t like to register because they feel as if it’s asking for gifts.  I think that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  When you get married people are going to give you gifts regardless of whether you want them or not.

I always say it’s better to register because then at least you’re getting presents that you want and you don’t have to spend a couple of weeks after the wedding exchanging or returning unwanted gifts.   On the other hand the newlyweds can spend cash anywhere they want so maybe that’s the way to go.

What about a destination wedding?

Oh yes I am forgetting another very important piece of the-perfect-wedding-gift puzzle, Vanessa and Nelson are getting married in Las Vegas.  This is another reason why I’m leaning towards giving cash as a gift because I’m sure they don’t want to travel back to Canada with a bunch of big gifts.  I’m also sure airport security wouldn’t like it very much.

So what do you think?

Here are the facts: Nelson and Vanessa are two personal finance bloggers.  They are getting married in October.  The ceremony is in Las Vegas.

Thoughts on the perfect wedding gift?

We’re thinking of buying a house

June 29, 2015

Any thoughts on that?  If there’s one thing I’ve learned about being a lifelong renter it’s that’s everyone has an opinion on the fact that Nick and I are 35 years old and still rent an apartment.  So what do you think?  How many of our Dinks friends out there are like us and still […]

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Weekly roundup: How to save money on groceries

June 26, 2015

Good morning Dinks.  Let me ask you a question, how much do you spend on groceries each month?  Nick and I spend approximately $120 a week on groceries for the two of us.  I’m not sure if that’s a reasonable amount. How do you save money on groceries each week? Plan your menus I try […]

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How to Plan the Perfect Vacation

June 25, 2015

It’s summer and that means it’s vacation time.  If you’re like many Americans over the next few months you’ll be packing your bags to head off to some fantastic summer destination.  As you know I love to travel.  I don’t travel much during the summer because it’s really hot, although I am going to New […]

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Love and Finances: Buying real estate

June 24, 2015

Good morning Dinks. We have an interesting situation to talk about today.  Yesterday I had lunch with my friend Laura and she told me that she and her long time boyfriend are going through a rocky period and she doesn’t know if they’re going to get through it. When I asked what the problem was […]

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The Three Major Things You May be Missing in Your Personal Finance Plan

June 23, 2015

You’ve probably heard a lot of tips for your personal finances. You probably know to budget. You may even know that you should start saving for retirement right now. But there are probably a few things that you don’t know, or that you just forgot to include in your budget. Have you done your research […]

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3 Reasons Giving Gift Cards is a Bad Idea

June 22, 2015

Good morning Dinks.  Do you love or hate getting gift cards?  And how about when you’re on the other side of the fence, how do you feel about giving gift cards to your friends and family? I personally love getting gift cards for Christmas and my birthday – those are really the only occasions we […]

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