YOUR LIFE SKILL NAVIGATOR

 

As a financial GPS, I am faced with all sorts of roadblocks in my effort to take you from where you are, to where you want to be.

My job is to ensure the journey is as easy as possible. The responsibility as your financial GPS is to make sure you will have some great experiences along the way and to help you remember and appreciate the journey.

Naturally, because of this commitment, I have to carefully plan your journey with the information you provide. Even with all the careful planning we find ourselves facing some major detours along the way.  This often means we have to re-route our original course, while still keeping our destination in focus.

I received a panicked phone call from Andrea. She had been on the home buying program for four years, she followed the plan and everything was going as expected. She purchased her pre-construction condo and was looking forward to moving in. Three months before her occupancy date she received a letter from the legal department of the builder telling her that occupancy date would be six months later than was first scheduled.

This is when I received the frantic phone call.

All I could understand at first was that now my condo is not going to be ready what should I do. I am ready to give my 60-day notice to my landlord and now this. This was her detour.

After a few moments of asking her to breathe and start again I realized she had not given notice to her landlord. Yes the letter was ready but not delivered. I asked her to read the letter from the lawyer. In the letter they were waving 6 months maintenance fee because of the delay. Andrea did not even notice this concession for the delay.  I now had to explain to her that she will not be paying the maintenance fee for 6 months after she moves in, and she now has six months to save money to decrease the amount she will be borrowing from the bank.

I informed her to notify her bank and her lawyer about the delay in the occupancy date.

This is my job as your GPS, when things change I am here to show you the other way or to guide you through stressful situations. Without her GPS, Andrea would have gone through unnecessary stress.

It is important to have someone knowledgeable on your side when making any large financial decision.

Now you know a little more about what I do.

Hope this help.

tessamarieshillingford46@gmail.com

The Disadvantage Of Using Your Debit Card

The Disadvantage Of Using Your Debit Card

The main drawback of using a debit card is that it mimics a credit card in 2 ways.

  1. You’re not really aware of how much money you are debiting and how often you are using your debit card.

If your goal is to control spending, debit is not the way to go.

A great way to stay on plan when shopping is to use the envelope method. You place the amount of money you have allocated (e.g. for groceries) in an envelope. This method can and should be used for entertainment cost or pocket money as well. Leave the debit card in your wallet. You shop from the envelope and when the money is gone, or nearly gone, you will know for sure since the envelope will be lighter. That sends a very clear message about your spending, and how much you have left to spend. That’s when you’ll have the ah-ha moment.

  1. Using debit also increases bank fees, and if you do not have a service plan that allows for unlimited transactions, that cost can increase dramatically.

Debit cards are great, but if at the end of the month you cannot account for some of your cash, check your account and see how many times you have used your debit card in that month.

A tip on managing your money successfully.

Tessa-Marie

tessamarieshillingford@gmail.com

Why I Started My Morning Blessings:

This blog is not financial at all, as a matter of fact its as far away from financial as one can get.  I love sharing stories or situations that bring a smile to my face with others.

I began writing morning blessings, while thinking of my children during my morning reflections. I realized that at this stage of my life and that of my children there is very little that they need from me or I could give to them.  Once that thought entered my mind; the next step was, what is that little thing I can offer them.

Mussing away while sipping on my morning tea, I thought why not send them a morning greeting.

Without missing a beat, I picked up my cell phone and wrote to my daughters Gillian and Vanessa. I did not plan it nor gave any thought to what I would say to them. I just let it flow.  Here is my first morning greeting to my daughters.

Good morning my dear daughters, how are you today?  It’s another wonderful and amazing day, with some beautiful clouds.  Today I ask God to bless you with joy, peace of mind and sprit.  I bless you with an awesome and amazing day full of love respect and good health.  May all that you pray; hope and wish become a reality. Love, Mom.”

I wanted to send a greeting to my son, but then I thought he would dismiss it, calling it mom and her mumbo jumbo. So I kept on sending the greetings to the girls.

Mr. Fate worked his plan; one day, I accidentally sent the message to the girls on the family group. Within seconds, I got a reply from my son telling me “I am not one of your daughters.” Then my sister and niece text back. “What about us?” Okay I thought it’s very easy to include my sister and my niece.  My son was another matter. I left it alone.

I decided it would be best to personalized the blessings to each person making it special.

One morning I choose to put my toes in the waters to test my son’s reaction. I sent him a small generic note with not too much mumbo jumbo.  I knew he received and read it but he did not make any comments.  The following weeks I slowly but gingerly began dipping my entire self in the water. Still no replies or comments. Not a bite from the shark.

I continued sending the morning blessings to my family including my son.   I added my Goddaughter, two of my previous assistants, and two young ladies I mentor.  This brought the total to 10.

One morning after sending the blessings, I received the following text from my son.

“You know, what you are doing with these messages is setting a standard. NOW, the day you forget to send these messages, you are going to get yelled at! Fore warned is fair warned.”

When I read his message I began laughing hysterically, thinking great, I hit the jackpot.  He loves it. He loves getting those morning blessings.  That made my day.  I touched him where it mattered.  I shouted aloud “BINGO.”

I realized that I had I found a tiny way to continue to connect with those I love everyday in a different way.

Many times I am asked what do I do since I retired.  Well friends this is one of the many things I do.

There are hundreds of reasons why I love being retired. The top is the freedom to muse  and to put those musings in words.

Love you all, I mean it.

Tessa-Marie

tessamarieshillingford46@gmail.com

Being a Mom on Tessa- Marie’s Plan

I am the $27.00 bra girl sharing some money saving tips on the first year of being a mom

After one year of Mommyhood, Tessa-Marie asked me to write my top tips for year 1 of this new adventure I am on!

While the path through pregnancy and parenthood varies greatly, the focus is always the same; we want the best for our babies.

Here’s what I have learned:

Say Yes! Say yes to baby equipment that is being offered to you, either on loan or for keeps. I have a Mom-Friend who had two babies before me and so generously offered me an arsenal of gear; baby bath, swing, chair, jolly jumper, play mat and playpen.  Retail value of my gear was over $1100.  My daughter enjoyed only the playmat and the bath.  Not all babies like the same types of movement or positions and you won’t know until your baby arrives. As much as I wanted that cute ‘baby sleeping in a cute swing’ picture, every time I tried it and she cried.  I was grateful I didn’t spend $200 on it.

Diapers: While I was pregnant, I searched the Internet for cheap but reliable cloth diapers, because I considered the one time investment compared to disposables and it seemed to make sense.  I bought a week’s worth of cloth diapers on a Black Friday sale while I was pregnant. Once my baby arrived, and the reality of new Mommy life set in, the last thing I wanted to do was to stuff liners in cloth diapers.  I discovered store brand disposables.  They retail for half the cost of brand name diapers, and work (for my active baby) just as well.  They rarely go on sale, but their regular cost is significantly cheaper than the sale cost of big brands.

Freebies: Many are shocked when they hear exactly how many free products I received from baby companies. A quick Google search of ‘free baby samples’ will cast you into a pool so deep you could be requesting samples for days! Diapers, formula, coupons, wipes, creams, lotions all arrived in the mail just before my due date.  Receiving mystery packages filled with baby supplies was a great perk at the end of a long pregnancy.  Some products I didn’t end up using, so it’s important to me to pass this point on; local food banks will gladly accept all un-opened baby samples.

Solid Food: This tip is what made Tessa-Marie realize I was well on my way to a ‘Planned Spending Mommy hood’. I did make most of my daughter’s food from whatever fruit and veggies I had on hand, but found it much easy to have pre-prepared food while I was out and about.  In the baby food aisle, below the fancy cute squeeze pouches, is the same food in jars.  The jars are not as cute BUT they are half the price for the same amount of food!

Clothing: I love baby clothes: the matching outfits, the little shoes! I did not know what gender my baby was until she arrived, but I wanted to be prepared.  I set a challenge for my self while pregnant: a $3 limit. Any piece of gender-neutral clothing that I loved, I bought. (Important: you have to love it! There are always amazing deals but if you don’t LOVE it, it’s a waste). Now, $3 makes me sound crazy, but the amount of pieces I picked up during those months was incredible! I kept the tags on everything, so anything my daughter didn’t wear went straight into a box to use as gifts for other babies.

Enjoying my tiny baby was my priority, having to not worry about dollars at the same time because my plan was in place made it all a bit sweeter.

Thanks Kathleen for sharing.

I hope new mothers will benefit from your experience.

If you need any help, please contact me at: tessamarieshillingford46@gmail.com

 

It’s Tax Season

Not sure what documents you need in order to file your taxes? Today I’ll share some tips on what you need, and how to make tax time easier for you.

At this time of the year, all your T4s are arriving in the mail. Be careful, these documents are very flimsy and it may look like there’s nothing in the envelope. What should you do once you receive them? Place all documents together in a large envelope or a folder; keep it in a safe place. When it’s time to prepare your taxes you’ll have all supporting documents you need in one spot.

If you have changed employers and changed your home address in the past year, you should contact your previous employer and have them send your documents to your new address. Come tax time, you cannot omit a T4 from a previous employer because of an address change. That’s not a valid excuse. The government will find out and you will be fined, and forced to pay interest on that fine. Remember it’s your, money keep it.

We are allowed to file electronically and it’s a great idea to take full advantage of doing so. While we are given the privilege of doing just that, the government can pull your name in a random audit. If you are randomly chosen, you will be sent a letter that will require you to forward all supporting documents to the government. Therefore, it is imperative you keep all documents even after filing your taxes.

One of my biggest concerns during this time, is with tax preparation companies. You are promised your refund as soon as they file your taxes. Be careful – in most cases, it is advertised that it’s free to get your refund the same day. What is often left unsaid is that your refund will be significantly smaller (they take a portion of it as payment for the quick turnaround). That means, if your refund totals $500.00, you may only take home $450.00. In some cases even less. I know it’s wonderful to get your refund as soon as possible, but if you have paid the company $65.00 to prepare your taxes, why not just wait a few days and get your full refund? Again, it’s your money, keep it!

Another way to save money on doing your taxes is to share the cost of the tax-filing program. You can split it with family and friends, making that $29.95 plus taxes significantly smaller. In fact, this is what I do. I have my family; a few friends and our taxman come over to my house. I prepare a big pot of spaghetti; we take turns sitting with him, while the others enjoy the spaghetti and conversation.

It’s fun, inexpensive, and get’s our taxes done properly.

As always, let me know if you have any questions. I’m here to help.

Tessa-Marie     tessamarieshillingford46@gmail.com