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Starbucks is NEVER a Waste of Money

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If you’ve ever read a story about spending wisely or setting a budget then you’ve probably been advised to cut out your daily trips to the coffee shop.  Right?  To be honest it’s true.  If you want to start saving money you can cut out Starbucks coffee and stop eating out in restaurants.  You could also become a nun and take a vow of poverty or become a monk and take a vow of silence – but what fun would that be?

As a financial planner I should probably tell you to stop spending money on anything that doesn’t keep you clean or warm, but I’m not going to do that.  Why?  Because I don’t believe in it.  Don’t get me wrong I completely agree that people should plan and save for their future, but I don’t believe they should do it at the sacrifice of their current life.  I mean seriously why would you hate your life now to potentially enjoy your life later?  It just doesn’t make sense.

Enjoy everything in moderation

This is why I don’t think Starbucks is a waste of money.  If you want to pay $5 for an iced latte then go do it, but keep in mind you’re giving up something else in order to pay for coffee.  That’s the key to setting and sticking to a budget.  If you only have $5 and you want to spend it on Starbucks then more power to you.  Just be conscious of what that coffee really costs.

Coffee is an excuse to socialize

I don’t drink alcohol or smoke so if I don’t meet my friends for coffee I probably won’t see them very often.  Compared to after work drinks or a night out at a club I think a $5 coffee and a $3 piece of banana bread is a good deal to spend an hour or so with friends.

It’s a reason to get out of the house

I work online with my side hustle and I can work from home with my 9 to 5 job.  If I didn’t convince myself to buy a treat every now and then I would never leave my house.  I would become one of those crazy ladies whose eyes can’t adjust to daylight because I would be stuck in my home office 24 hours a day.  I definitely don’t want to become one of those ladies.

The price doesn’t matter

I truly believe in paying for something you want.  However I also believe in getting the absolute best deal on everything.  Why pay $400 a night for a hotel room when you can pay $100 for the exact same accommodation through a discount website.

The same thing is true for Starbucks.  As long as you aren’t ordering a $5 coffee, taking a sip and throwing an almost full cup in the garbage then expensive beverages aren’t a waste.  If you enjoy it then it’s money well spent.  That being said I will pay for expensive coffee if there’s something in it for me – other than enjoying a delicious beverage. I am a Starbucks loyalty member which means I get free beverages, exclusive deals and discounts on products.

 

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Photo from I’d Pin That

Originally published on Dinks Finance

 

 

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Were you jobless after graduation?

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Yesterday my colleagues and I were in our weekly team meeting and our boss announced she’s hiring a summer intern.  She said she’s happy to give a university student an opportunity to get real world work experience so she can find a full time job after graduation.  That’s nice.

Another member on my team said “That’s great because the average time a recent university graduate looks for a job after graduation is five years.”  I’m new to the team so I was in  no position to question what she said.  I have absolutely no source to back up this information, but doesn’t five years seem like a long time to go without a job?

It’s a different time from when I graduated

When I graduated from university back in 2005 job offers were pouring in.  Mind you I graduated in Economics, I was already working full time for an international bank and it was before the market crash.  I think the market crash of 2008 changed the world, not only the world of finance but for all people – students, graduates and experienced employees alike.  The job market is very different today.

I had my pick of jobs back then because having a university degree was an asset.  I couldn’t imagine graduating and having to move back to my parent’s house because I couldn’t find a job.  Doesn’t five years seem like a long time to go without a job? I think it’s a long time, not just for a recent grad but for anyone.

So what do you do if you can’t find a job after graduation?

I guess there are a few options if recent grads can’t find a job straight out of school they can go back to school or look for a job outside their field.  I didn’t know this but I guess the days of employers lining up outside a university graduation ceremony are over.

That didn’t happen at my university graduation, but it did happen on the day of my financial planning exam.  Recruiters from banks were waiting outside the classrooms, handing out their business cards to the 2007 class of new Certified Financial Planners.  Yes I guess the job world is very different today.

Pursue a higher education

I chose to continue studying after I graduated from university, but I did it as I was working full time not as an alternative to finding a job.  I think getting an MBA (or any type of post secondary education) is an asset because education is always a good thing, but is accumulating more debt if you just graduated with student loans a good idea?  I’m not sure.

Get a part time job

The five year statistic has me wondering if students today are just being too picky with their job searches.  I think it’s unrealistic for graduates to expect to find their dream job fresh out of school.  It probably won’t happen and who wants to peak in their career at 22 years old?

The concept of starting at the bottom and working your way up may be completely lost on today’s generation of young workers, but it shouldn’t be.  That’s how the world works and if recent grads need to take a job that’s below their expected standards then they should be open to do so.  After all a part time job is better than no job at all.

Did you get a job right after graduation?

Originally published on Blonde & Balanced

Photo from I’d Pin That

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I was audited!

Tax-on-lawsuit-damagesYes it’s true.  I just got a notice of assessment from the federal government, almost a year after I filed my 2013 taxes, and they’ve decided I owe them money.  There is nothing more I hate than owing people money or people owing me money.  When I go to sleep every night I like my balance sheet to be at $0 but right now it’s not – and that’s driving me crazy.

What happened

I came home from work yesterday and I had a letter from the Revenue Agency.  I thought maybe it was just another statement of account, but to my surprise it was a letter stating I forgot to claim some income on my 2013 taxes and forgot to declare some of my student loan repayments; therefore I now owe them $437.  WHAT!?  How does $200 in forgotten freelance income and less than $80 in student loan interest equal over $400 in tax fees?  I have no idea.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been audited.  Back in 2011 I was audited for the previous five years and for all that time I ended up only owing the federal government $318.  I wasn’t upset about that at all because I have a great accountant and in the grand scheme of things it’s a small amount of money for five years.  But over $400 for one year is unacceptable in my opinion – but the government disagrees.

Where I went wrong

My current accounting system consists of an Excel spreadsheet and two envelopes full of all my receipts.  I divide them into two categories: food and other business expenses.  I would like to say I add up my expenses each month, staple all receipts together and mark them into my Excel spreadsheet but that wouldn’t be true – although it was my intention last January.  I think it lasted about three months and when spring came around I just started shoving my receipts in the envelops.

In February I’ll spend a day or two sorting through my receipts and adding up all my income and expenses for the year so I can bring my papers to the accountant’s office in March.  Not the most efficient record keeping option, I know.

I would love to double check the federal government’s records because I’m one of those people who honestly believe I’m being screwed over all the time – especially when it comes to money.  I don’t trust anyone, but my accountant is probably going to charge me $200 to verify the government’s notice of assessment.  I don’t want to pay that amount on top of what I supposedly owe the government.

What I’m going to do differently in 2015

This year I am going to keep better track of my income and expenses.  I promise.  Why?  Because I have to.  Spending two days collecting receipts and trying to remember everything I did over the last year is not my idea of fun.  If I spent 30 minutes each month adding up all my income and expenses it would save me a lot of trouble during tax time.  So that’s what I’m going to do.

You’re probably thinking, why don’t you just get a book keeping service?  Because I’m not sure how they work, but I’m open to suggestions.  Does a bookkeeping service keep track of my income and expenses in both Canada and the United States?  Does it track payments received and sent via PayPal and my bank accounts?  All suggestions are welcome.

 

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Originally published on Dinks Finance

Photo from National Liberty Party