What does budgeting and dieting have in common?

For most people one of these two will make it onto their new years resolution list. Whether its saving for a vacation, retirement, paying off your credit cards or mortgages, eating healthy, start exercising, follow a meal plan, etc.

So why do these two make it on the list year after year? Simple, everyone wants the results but many fail to plan for success. Like with anything in life, if you plan for it and work for it, it will happen.

It seems that in January, I can’t seem to read an article without seeing something about the new ‘stress test’ and how it’s stressing home buyers, many are fearful they will never be able to own a home. Don’t worry I’m here to tell you that it will happen but you need to start with a plan.

Don’t let fear stop you. the first step is sitting down with a professional who can help you plan for the future. There is no cost, other than your time.

We want to help you make that new years resolution happen and so below is a list of action steps for you to do in order to start your journey to creating and making that plan happen.

Create a realistic budget. I know you think I’m going to send you to a mortgage website to get this done, but in truth the best budgeting calculator that I have ever used is one from Gail Vaz Oxlade, host of ‘To Debt do Us Part’ and author of numerous books. Most know Gail as the jar lady. Visit her website at http://www.gailvazoxlade.com/resources.html and use her Interactive Budget, there is an excel version or an online version. I promise you that if you use this and follow it, you will ‘find’ money each month that you didn’t know you had.

Evaluate your debt load. If you are carrying high interest credit cards, car loans, etc than an option may be to look at an equity line of credit attached to your home and transfer the high interest credit cards into a secured line of credit, this will result in a lower monthly payment and less interest. With lower interest, you are able to pay this off faster. Continue to make large payments towards your debt, however at a lower interest rate.
3. Jars or not? I personally did not use the jars, but I did open up a savings account and another chequing account. I transferred my paycheque into the savings account. Transferred the jar money into my new chequing account that I labelled ‘jar account’. The monthly obligations I had such as mortgage, car payments, etc stayed in the main chequing account. This really helped me budget.

4. Track everything. I know it’s time consuming, but set aside a half hour every week to track your banking and expenses. I do mine on Monday’s and have tagged my Monday mornings as Money Monday. Trust me, this will help you start the week off right. I used to do this on a Friday, but in reality, who wants to budget on a Friday? If you do this on Monday morning, you will know exactly what you have to spend for the week and you are less likely to give yourself some extra spending cash for the weekend.

5. You don’t have to do this alone, there are financial planners, mortgage brokers, and other professionals that are available to help you get on the right track.

Not every client that walks into my office is ready to purchase a home today. I have many clients that are working their way to home ownership that started working with me 2+ years ago and will be ready to purchase a home in the coming year. And so my final thought and the reason for this post is to tell you that we are here to help you achieve your goals. You may not be ready to purchase a home today, but it’s on your mind. Talk to us now and we can help you plan for the future.