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Do You Need A Budget?

Mark Orr
February 1, 2024

I miss camping. No wifi, no surfing ‘till I fall asleep, no alarm going off at 6 am. We have been renovating the main floor of our small Westdale house for the past three years months, so we have managed to simulate many of the inconveniences of camping — except the low cost (even so, no line of credit).

I am reminded of a family camping trip to Seashore State Park in Delaware, nine years ago. Our two kids were still in middle school and camping was an adventure — especially on the beach! Isn’t Delaware hot in the summer, you ask? Yes, in fact, we picked one of the hottest weeks ever to make our little trip south. We should have been paying more attention to the Americans going the other way to enjoy their Muskoka vacations up north.

Even frugal campers like us get tired of 35 C days (and nights) in a tent. We finally gave in to spend a glorious night in an air-conditioned hotel (with wifi) after enjoying a refrigerated matinee movie and pleasantly cool dinner at the local Texas Roadhouse. We were spending our US dollars out of an envelope and paid cash for everything that day. As Maxine and I sat in the hotel room that night, we counted up our money. To our shock, we discovered that we had spent $300 in the last five hours! More money than we had spent on our entire trip up to that point.

At that moment, I realized the power of using cash to budget for things like vacations. I have a feeling if we had put the hotel and food bill on VISA we could easily have overspent our budget for the trip. Which brings me to the point - most people don’t use cash to help budget. In fact, most people don’t want to talk about a B-U-D-G-E-T because, as we all (think we) know, “Only desperate people need to budget”. Budgets are a lot of work after all. They require constant weeding, daily watering and attention, like a garden in early spring.

Not budgeting hasn’t worked either for you, so you’re stuck.

I have good news. We plan on running a budget workshop this fall for clients (and their children) who want a budget system without all of the work. Not keen on paying cash for stuff, living out of weekly envelopes and tracking spreadsheets? Our system doesn’t require any of it. We’ll help you track where you money is going and divide it into four areas:

  • Basic
  • Variable
  • Lumpy
  • Specific

We will show you how to use your bank to track how much you are spending in each area by setting up several bank accounts. The key here is to automate Basic and Lumpy expenses so that you pay more attention to budget-killers. Your payoff is finally saving some money to spend on that dream trip, a bathroom renovation or a very cool gift for your financial planner (joking- not allowed). Have I piqued your interest? Stay tuned for our workshop this fall. And stay cool.

Mark Orr

Senior Financial Advisor
Aldershot Financial Group

This material is provided for general information and is subject to change without notice. Every effort has been made to compile this material from reliable sources however no warranty can be made as to its accuracy or completeness. Before acting on any of the above please make sure to see me for individual financial advice based on your personal circumstances. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of Aligned Capital Partners Inc. Aligned Capital Partners Inc. is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and is registered with the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (“CIRO”). Mark Orr is registered to provide investment advice and transact in securities products in the provinces of British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, the Yukon and Ontario.

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