Happy Lent

This Lent must be quite serious, because the Catholics are giving up a Pope for it! OK, bad form on that one, but I just could not resist.

Lent

Lent

No I am not talking about lent as in, “I lent Michael James $10 either”, (more likely that sentence is backwards) I mean Big “L” Lent, as in the Christian Religious tradition.

Not sure of the fun things you could do for Lent? I have done this a few times, but for those new readers here are a couple of really simple things you can try for 40 days and see if it helps and if you can do it (Lent is great as a Test Period for Financial habit change):

Make Cash King (or Queen): Simply put away ALL your cards (including your debit cards) and use cash, until Good Friday this year (March 29th this year). I don’t buy the whole, “Debit is just like cash”, no it isn’t, it allows you to spend without knowing how much you have left, so use cash, it is a much better barometer for your spending habits.

Find a killable debt, and kill it! Simple enough, but it can’t be a massive debt, because you can’t really get it done in this short period of time, but if you have a credit card debt that can be dealt with in less than 2 months, do it! When you are done, celebrate, by going and killing another debt!

You can give up something as a penance type gesture, like giving up coffee (if you buy it somewhere expensive), however, check with your loved ones first to make sure they are OK with that. I quit coffee one Lent and was a complete son of a bitch (more so than usual if that is possible) and Mrs. C8j forced me to start drinking it for her sanity. If you are paying $6 a day on coffee, you could save up to about $300 right there, could make for a fun time somewhere. If you bring your lunches you’ll save even more money.

Scare the hell out of your wife and suggest you go to Church every Sunday during Lent (if you are not Church going folk), it’s fun to add that kind of tom-foolery during Lent as well.

 

 

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Lent , Pancake Tuesday, and Love Day Soon and Friday #Shoutouts

For those of you unaware, Lent begins next Wednesday (Ash Wednesday) February 13th, so here is yet another chance to restart (or start) your financial plans for the coming year. You could also create a quick 40(-ish) day long financial plan to try something out in the short term to see how you like it? In some derivations of Christianity you can even ADD things for Lent, so adding a financial plan for spending for the period would work well (or give up coffee, and put that money into your RRSP? If you do, remember to not comment on my site for a week or so until you have gone completely through caffeine withdrawal).

The nice part about Lent coming is Shrove Tuesday (or Pancake Tuesday if you like) on February 12th , so remember to get yourself some pancakes, bacon, sausage and breakfast out for dinner on Tuesday night! You could also have Flapjacks, Johnny Cakes or possibly Crepes if you wish to be fancy. Any excuse to eat breakfast for dinner is OK by me.

Love Day is on February 14th, it is also the celebration of St. Valentine as well, but Love Day is much more financial relevant, given the amount of money that will be spent in the name of Love Day.  I guess there is a need to keep the spending going after Christmas and before the Easter spending splurge, luckily the Boxing Quarter Sales are still going on.

Weekly Recap

With Love Day coming, have you got your sweety something nice, if not, good for you! Don’t be swayed by all this commercialism! Sleeping on the couch for a week is a small price to pay to show you are not a sheeple :

My Writings for Week Ending February 8th
Lent is a Coming Time to Empty your Shrive

BCM Love That Technology

Another glimpse of what makes the BCM tick, and I do love the technology!

A Guaranteed Lottery Pay Out

A shameless lifting of a piece from the Million Dollar Neighborhood on OWN Canada featuring Preet B.

Turbo Tax Giveaway Time Again

I am giving away copies of On Line TurboTax all you have to do is leave a comment, and so far not that many entrants either!

RDSP TD and a little progress

One step forward and three steps to the side for my son’s TD RDSP. Guess I gotta call someone about this.

Where else am I?

RSS Feed Google+Twitter Facebook Stumbleupon

Links for the Week

The big discussion in the USA is whether Wal-Mart should sell Bazookas and Tanks or simply sub-machine guns (I jest with my over armed friends down south), but remember folks, the most important thing right now is the ECONOMY :

Top Stories of the Week of February 8th
Did we actually see Beyoncé’s Lady Bits at the Super Bowl ?

Paying for Private School with Tax-Free Money – Got an Extra Million?

What the What? Free school tuition? Well as usual the BBC points out it is not as simple as you might think, but it is possible.

Why Does CRA Limit Us to 20 Tax Returns Per Computer?

That’s a very good question, I guess they don’t want folks starting your own Tax Preparation business out of your home? Curious to know if anyone really knows that one.

Goodbye Canadian penny, goodbye great penny idioms

Mark @ My Own Advisor sadly laments the demise of the Canadian Penny and how it will be a tragic loss for many great phrases that are part of our culture.

Record equity inflows have contrarian worried

Larry Mac points out that when the money starts flowing into a particular areas of investing, maybe it’s time to start thinking about getting your money away from the madding crowd?

A look at the Performance of the BMO Covered Call Canadian Banks ETF (ZWB)

The Canadian Capitalist looks at another interesting ETF from BMO, for those that think that you can judge an ETF on 1 year performance, you should read this closely.

Your advert here send an e-mail for info to bigcajunman at canajun
finances dot com !

When Will The Internet Become Faster Than FedEx?

If you want to send many TB of info to someone it is still faster to send it via FedEx overnight than try to FTP it, but when will that change? I remember transferring 100 KB over a serial line and thinking that took forever, but I am very old as well.

Scary When They’re Down, Scary When They’re Up

The Cdn Couch Spud points out that investors are now so shell-shocked they are afraid of bull markets as much as bear markets. Did you realize we are in a Bull Market right now? I didn’t… 🙂

Work Life Balance

Gail Vaz-Oxlade points out that many women cannot find that elusive balance in life, and being a mother makes it 10 times harder!

Banks charge for statements, despite record profits

Plucky Ellen Roseman tilts at one of my favorite wind mills service charges by banks for paper statements! I love having to pay $1.50 to get a piece of paper, or get it free in an e-mail that my SPAM filter might delete.

Your advert here send an e-mail for info to bigcajunman at canajun
finances dot com !

Digital Assets: assets in life, problems in death?

Who would inherit this Domain Name if I died tomorrow? Who the hell would want it? Evidently I need to make sure it is mentioned in my will, if someone wants it leave a comment and I might consider leaving it to you.

Tweet of the Week

Given that Love Day is coming so soon, here is a fun tweet to follow-up on from our amigos at Stats Canada:

 

Other Bookkeeping

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 you are interested.

A Non-Financial Video to Think About

Here I give you an interesting video which talks about your brain, so food for thought:

 

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Lenten Finances, Leaping and Random Thoughts

Lent began this week with a flurry of pancakes, and then many posts about finances and doing financial penance for you money transgressions, funny how I can take something religious and turn it into a money issue. As you can tell I take every chance possible to suggest that NOW is a good time to start thinking about your finances and planning (you didn’t notice that?).

Greece and Europe continue to lay the track for the financial roller coaster the stock markets are going through. One day WAY up and the next hurtling back down to the ground, frankly, I am getting sick of the whole thing (like they used to say about Space Mountain, “… big deal you spin around for 4 minutes and then you want to throw up).

The exciting part about next week is that all those folks who were born on February 29th get to have a genuine Birthday, and we all get to enjoy an extra day for RRSP frenzy buying too. I wonder if there are other weird traditions out there for February 29th? Drink from the other side of the cup? Sleep on the other side of the bed? Change banks?  Maybe I’ll eat my cereal with a fork?

Weekly Recap

Yes a very heavily Lenten laden week, but still a few other important tax points to watch out for as well:

And thanks to those who added me on Twitter I am now over 1000 folks who follow me, holy cow! Check out my facebook page as well (but no I won’t be buying Facebook stock because of this either).

Links for the Week

This week there have been a lot more giveaways this week, and with our Greek friends causing more financial grief, there was a lot to write about:

Other Bookkeeping

Remember my RSS feed is available too, for those who enjoy reading without looking at my crappy page lay out, 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 Digg as Big Cajun Man, on reddit, Tumblr 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 US Blog list, if you are interested, not available in Canada yet (because no Blogs are available in Canada on a Kindle?!?).

An odd Leap Year Quote

Never play leap frog with a Unicorn

– Anonymous (on Leap Day either)

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Lent in Finances

Today is the beginning of Lent (in the Christian religion) a time of atonement for sins, a time of penance, and a time of reflection and growth. A few years ago I put out a Lenten financial Challenge, and a few folks joined in with my attempts to fix my financial ship, but every year we should think about Lent in finances, and how we can use this time to better our life.

This year I won’t call you folks out, you can do what you wish for Lent in finances, but I will try a few things to see if I can make my financial world better.

Lent

Lent

Lent in Finances Ideas

Do you need some ideas for what you might want to try? Remember Lent is a short(er) period of time, so you can experiment during this time, knowing that it will end in about 1.5 months or so. Some of my traditional suggestions are:

  • Use cash instead of Debit and Credit cards. Making Cash King, means you are limiting how much spending you can do at any one time, and you might just realize how much you are spending by doing this. If you take out $100 from the bank for the week, and suddenly realize you are out by Wednesday you are more likely to look back on what you are spending your money.
  • Cut out buying lunch or coffee for the time (or cut out eating out in general). It could be another interesting exercise to give you a better feeling about how much you are actually spending in these areas.
  • Look at your monthly bills (especially your utilities, Internet, telephone and cable), can you lower them by less usage? Can you lower them by calling and asking for a discount? If this makes you uncomfortable, fight your tendency to back down and go ask for a discount.
  • Do you need a smart phone? Must you have full cable? Maybe turn them off for Lent and see if you can live without them? If you can, now is a good time to try it.

Any other good ideas for Lenten savings, or financial exercises?

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Financial Pancake Tuesday (woo hoo!)

Get out your flapjacks, it’s Pancake Tuesday (or Mardi Gras if you are in New Orleans or France) again, or to add clarity it is Shrove Tuesday. Why do they call it Shrove Tuesday, well it is the day before Lent, as I have written before, and just to remind you, Shrove is a derivation on Shriving.

To Shrove is:

… the past participle of the English verb to shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one’s sins by way of confession and doing penance.

Not a big fan of Church, or the Christian religion in general? That’s OK, but you can still use this in your financial well-being plan, by attempting to obtain absolution from your previous financial sins and doing financial penance.

You feel you don’t have any financial sins? Good for you, but remember, the only people you hurt by not admitting your sins in this case (financially that is) is yourself, so if you think you are trudging along happily financially, you can ignore this idea and keep on trucking, the way you have been.

I know that I have sinned financially (and in many other ways, but let’s not wander down that rat hole), so I will be spending Lent paying financial penance for my financial mistakes/sins/blunders. I find paying financial penance as a cleansing activity (no not like the folks that flagellate themselves with whips and such, just a financially spiritual cleansing).

What kind of financial transgressions do I speak of?

  • Simple things like buying coffee out, or buying dinner out a little too much in the past year.
  • Big things like not having a real financial plan for the next while in place
  • Huge financial transgressions like using debt in a bad way
  • The list could continue on, but you can get the concept of what I might mean

What will I be doing to pay penance? I still have a day to figure that one out (Lent starts on Ash Wednesday), but I have a few ideas in mind. Until tomorrow, I will enjoy the pancakes and ruminate on the possible ideas.

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