Financial Wastefulness

The Pope in his Easter message had one very interesting line:

Help us to overcome the scourge of hunger, aggravated by conflicts and by the immense wastefulness for which we are often responsible.

The phrase that really caught my eye was “.. the immense wastefulness for which we are often responsible…”, and specifically in terms of what this does to our finances. Overcoming hunger is very important but I will leave that to the religious blogs to discuss, but monetarily there are countless examples of waste financially, do any of these ring a bell?

  • How much clothing have you donated to whatever “charity” called you that still had the price tag on them?
  • How much food do you throw out, that is still in the package?
  • How many “fees” are you paying for being late paying for things, or because you can’t be bothered to go an extra mile to use a non-fee ATM?
Pope Francis

Pope and his peeps

The word convenience seems to have become synonymous these days with waste.  It’s inconvenient to go that extra mile, so I’ll just pay the $1.50 fee from the ATM (and then the $1.50 fee from my bank) to take only $20 out of the bank, because I need some cash. I know people who have said that to me, I believe my eye twitched a bit when I heard it (nervous tic), it takes a lot not to ask what is wrong with them.

What other wasteful lifestyle things have I missed?

 

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Decreasing Electronic Footprint

After the past few weeks of fun and excitement on the Web, I have decided to practice what I preach by starting to decrease my Electronic Footprint.  The Heartbleed Bug will mean that we must all go and change all of our passwords and such to get back to a less vulnerable stance (sorry I have been watching MI-5 on Netflix).

One of the first steps I have taken is to minimize financial issues, and I had a small account with Mint.com, which was mostly to just try things out, that I have deleted.  The account was not being used, all it did was tell me once a month that  one of my credit cards has a balance, but no longer.

The reasons for cancelling this part of my electronic footprint:

Electronic Security

Security

  • The account was not being used and all it could do was act as a gateway for “bad folk” to break into my financial life and crap all over the place.
  • Mint while an interesting service, can cause a great deal of consternation with your financial providers as well, if your account is cracked and used for bad things. I am not sure if your bank could do anything, but I don’t think you want to expose yourself to any possible jeopardy from sharing your banking information.
  • It is one less password and user id to remember or worry about.

I actually have a very long list of user ids and passwords that I will now be going through to decide to either:

  1. Change the password to something new
  2. Delete the account because I can’t justify having this “possible security hole” still existing

Oh, and understand that a lot of accounts if you “DELETE” them, they don’t actually go away (e.g. Facebook), so remember to read carefully what happens if you try to DELETE an account.

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Inflation Jumps in March 2014

Thanks to the new Energy Crisis (or energy gouging depending on how you want to look at it), Inflation started to jump in March (year over year) by 1.5%.

Specifically Stats Canada points out in their report:

The larger year-over-year rise in the CPI in March compared with February was led by energy prices, which rose 4.6% in the 12 months to March, following a 1.6% increase in February. Gasoline prices rose 1.4% on a year-over-year basis, after decreasing 1.3% in February. In addition, the natural gas index increased 17.9% in March, following a 5.5% rise in February. The rise in the natural gas index in March was mainly attributable to a price increase in Alberta.

Enbridge is jumping Natural Gas prices, Ontario is jacking up their Electric rates and gas prices are going up like wild-fire in Ottawa, all in all, I smell a start to inflation again? We shall see if I am correct or not.

Inflation for Past Little While

Inflation for Past Little While, JUMP!

A very interesting saw tooth pattern seems to be happening over the past while, isn’t it?

Overall if this trend continues, it might actually get the Bank of Canada’s attention.

Inflation for past little while

Seasonally Adjusted Consumer Price Index Overall for the past little while

Bank of Canada’s Index

Remembering that the Bank of Canada has its own “basket of goods” that it measures inflation with, their version of inflation was not quite as high as Stats Canada’s version:

The Bank of Canada's core index rose 1.3% in the 12 months to March, after increasing 1.2% in February.

Not as high, but still troubling.

The Big Table

What is going up in price? Here is a non-seasonally adjusted table for you (look for Shelter, Energy, and Alcohol):

Consumer Price Index and major components, Canada - Not seasonally adjusted

Relative import1 March 2013 Feb 2014 Mar 2014 Feb to Mar 2014 Mar 2013 to Mar 2014
% (2002=100) % change
All-items Consumer Price Index (CPI) 100.002 122.9 124.1 124.8 0.6 1.5
Food 16.60 132.4 134.3 134.4 0.1 1.5
Shelter 26.26 128.0 130.7 131.4 0.5 2.7
Household operations, furnishings and equipment 12.66 114.7 115.3 115.7 0.3 0.9
Clothing and footwear 5.82 95.3 91.0 94.0 3.3 -1.4
Transportation 19.98 129.5 130.8 131.7 0.7 1.7
Health and personal care 4.93 118.3 118.4 118.1 -0.3 -0.2
Recreation, education and reading 10.96 105.2 106.4 106.5 0.1 1.2
Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products 2.79 139.8 142.9 145.3 1.7 3.9
Special aggregates
Core CPI3 84.91 120.9 122.1 122.5 0.3 1.3
All-items CPI excluding energy 91.44 120.0 121.0 121.5 0.4 1.3
Energy4 8.56 159.9 162.6 167.2 2.8 4.6
Gasoline 4.62 186.5 183.7 189.2 3.0 1.4
All-items CPI excluding food and energy 74.85 117.2 118.2 118.6 0.3 1.2
Goods 48.18 115.4 115.6 117.0 1.2 1.4
Services 51.82 130.3 132.5 132.5 0.0 1.7

1.2011 CPI basket weights at January 2013 prices, Canada, effective February 2013. Detailed weights are available under the Documentation section of survey 2301 (www.statcan.gc.ca/imdb-bmdi/2301-eng.htm).

2.Figures may not add up to 100% as a result of rounding.

3.The Bank of Canada’s core index excludes eight of the CPI’s most volatile components (fruit, fruit preparations and nuts; vegetables and vegetable preparations; mortgage interest cost; natural gas; fuel oil and other fuels; gasoline; inter-city transportation; and tobacco products and smokers’ supplies) as well as the effects of changes in indirect taxes on the remaining components. For additional information on the core CPI, consult the Bank of Canada website (www.bankofcanada.ca/rates/indicators/key-variables/inflation-control-target/).

4.The special aggregate “Energy” includes: electricity; natural gas; fuel oil and other fuels; gasoline; and fuel, parts and supplies for recreational vehicles.

 

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Easter is Here and a Saturday #BestOf for the Weekend

Easter is here, the most important festival in the Christian religion (sorry Christmas, without Easter you kind of don’t have Christianity). I haven’t written too much about it this year, but to me this is a time of renewal and restarting things, which I am going to try to do (both health wise and financial wise).

On this Holy Weekend What is the True Faith of Investing?

On this Holy Weekend What is the True Faith of Investing?

It is the Stanley Cup and NBA Playoff season, which is heaven for a “Sporto” like me. Heck I find myself even watching Premiership Soccer on Saturday mornings, and of course Formula 1 (and it’s odd sounding cars) is also in full swing. I have even started watching baseball again (having grown up within walking distance of Jarry Park (the original home of the Expos in Montreal)). Yes, my wife is not happy, but she deals with it by having her own things to do while I am watching the games.

Even with the delay caused by the Heartbleed bug, you still should be finalizing your taxes, get to it, you have a long weekend to get it done!

If you followed my Twitter feed you saw a very saucy discussion with Squawkfox that ended with an interesting photo with citrus and lingerie involved, see what you miss when you don’t follow me?

My Writings for Week Ending April 19th

We have seen all seasons this week in Ottawa, with snow, and 24C temperatures, Spring is never dull around here that is for sure.

Spring Financial Cleaning

Quicken is a very useful tool, but you must be diligent keeping your accounts up to date, or you will end up with a lost weekend the way I did, last weekend.

Are We Running Out of SIN ?

Not sure if we are or not, but I did learn a great deal more about how Canada’s Social Insurance Numbers are coded, but it will be interesting to see how long only 9 digits last.

Tax Confusion and Delays

Thanks to the Heartbleed bug we have a little longer to pay our taxes (if we owe money), and I found a nifty picture on the CRA site showing their electronic archives for all of our returns (OK only a geek like me would think it was cool).

DIY Balanced Funds for Investing

Can you actually justify being charged a 2.55% Management Fee? Why not make your own Balanced Fund?

Good Friday

You got a preview of my FAVES page with this post as well.

TigerDirect (CA)

Cornucopia Section

Evidently Preet is spending his long weekend designing a web site, Michael James is chuckling somewhere:

TigerDirect (CA)

Peeps Ahoy

Chris Pirillo gives us how to destroy Peeps, an Easter tradition:

British Pathe on Youtube

Amazing to think that we used to only get our news from newsreels, and British Pathe was the Google of their time for media, so here are a few very interesting Pathe shorts for your enjoyment: Did you realize that a bomber once flew into the Empire State Building? This is 56 years before 9/11.

TeamBuy: Your Golf Destination!

Remember my RSS feed is available too, and I have added an RSS Comment Feed as well. Have a look at my micro-blog on Twitter, where you can see a whole plethora of good articles and pithy comments by me as well. Twitter feed where I re-tweet many great articles by some of my featured writers (and make the occasional odd or off colour commentary on life (in 140 characters or less)). I am also on reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest and other Social Media sites (look for the BigCajunMan userid) as well. If you have social media accounts, don’t forget to vote for my posts (see the nifty dashboard on the bottom of each article, where you can cast your votes).As they say in Quebec, vote early and vote often! This site is iPhone Friendly (and Android , iPod Touch and iPad Friendly), enjoy it on the go, in a readable format for the device. If you are reading with an iPhone or Android device, drop me a comment and tell me if this needs any improvements. This site is also in the Kindle Blog list, if youare interested.

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Good Friday

The Easter season begins today with Good Friday, with that in mind I am going to enjoy this weekend with my family, and will be back on Monday.

Good Friday

Good Friday

I have spoken about Good Friday before so I leave you a short excerpt from my Faves page:

Personal Financial and Planning

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Change Banks Some useful advice I gave a friend that still is very true!
  2. Free Banking One of my favorite topics on how to get your bank to give you FREE banking for a while at least.
  3. Quarterly Personal Finance Status Report A way for couples to keep each other up to date on their financial status.
  4. Debt is Like Fat Another way to look at trying to get out of debt.
  5. Debt Makes Me Sick A frank article on my feelings about debt.
  6. I Should Divorce My Wife? An interesting point of view from the tax side of things.

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