20 March 2017

Personal Budget: Saving for the Unexpected Expenses

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Car payments. Rent. Groceries. If you have a good budget, all your expenses are accounted for. But all other unexpected expenses like car repair, family wedding etc throw you off your budget. All these expenses cumulate on your budget. Listed below are few of these expenses which you need to keep a track and make a budget.

There are plenty of mobile apps like Mint Budgeting App, PocketGuard Budget App, GoodBudget, Mvelopes & HomeBudget to help you track your spending in near-real time, so there are no excuses about being too busy.

· Car repairs - Minor or major accidents and gradual wear and tear on your vehicle can leave you staring, open-mouthed, at an unplanned bill in the hundreds of dollars. Prevent unnecessary expenses by checking your owner's manual and scheduling your car's recommended maintenance -- on time.

· Price hikes - Gas and insurance prices keep rising. You can't control the price of gas but you can shop around if your insurer is raising your premiums. Curb costs by carpooling to work and take up energy-efficient habits like not idling when you stop for that morning coffee.

· Job loss- Losing your job can be traumatic, but if you're in a relatively stable financial situation, you should be OK financially. While unemployed, keep your expenses to a bare minimum and, if you're even remotely concerned about your finances, look for a job ASAP.

· Impulse buying -  When the seasons change, we go shopping and follow through on whims, like buying yet another pair of shoes via a little credit card debt. Impulse buying is what gets most people into trouble. A detailed budget will keep your expectations reasonable. Know where that money will eventually come from -- like your holiday fund -- and those shoes will start to look less appealing.

· Hidden fees - Sales and "special" offers are everywhere -- right along with hidden fees and charges, whether it's credit card annual fees, or cell phones service fees. Don't be taken in by credit cards with 0% interest for the first six months -- most people don't switch to another card after that, and you may be paying high interest when the promotional period ends. Think long term. And ask salespeople about the total you will be charged, including all fees, not the special deal rate.

· Pet Expenses – Your pet’s illness comes not only at an emotional price but at a high financial one too. If you're worried all those medical expenses, consider investing in insurance for your pet. You'll still be paying to keep your pet healthy, but at least it's a planned expense.

· Illness - Dealing with serious sickness is often impossible to plan for you just need the money to have time off. You need three to six month's salary in a slush fund. It may be wise to save 5% or 10% of your pay cheque in savings each week. Doing so will keep you prepared for everything -- from a major illness to that ugly bridesmaid's dress.

It is within your power to control these budget busters, and it is up to you as to whether it is important enough to do anything about them. Make the right choice and enjoy the subsequent savings.

27 February 2017

Feature Property : Central Court Apartments (Edmonton central)

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Location
Central Court Apartments are located in the superb residential neighborhood of Oliver. This highly preferred community is centrally located about six blocks from Grant MacEwan University. Central Court is a unique mixed use development which means it features commercial and retail businesses on the main floor and private residences on all the floors above. The current retail businesses include a convenient grocery store.
Suites For Everyone

Central Court Apartments offer singles, couples and small families 1, 2 and 3 bedroom layouts ranging from 660 to 1160 sq. ft. All homes have beautiful Kabal Berber carpets with linoleum in the bathrooms, kitchen and dining areas. All the suite’s cabinets are premium styles of European cabinets from Delton Cabinets. Bathrooms boast stylish marble surrounds and banjo countertops and most of the units have tubs and shower combinations with glass door enclosures. All homes have vertical blinds on all windows including the large walk-out patio doors. Underground parking is accessible by elevator and extra parking stalls are often available to rent. These apartments are non-smoking and no pets are allowed.


Neighborhood Amenities

Every type of convenience and lifestyle amenities just steps away along Jasper Avenue including numerous shopping and retail outlets, restaurants and service places. High-profile retailers include London Drug and Save-on Foods. Public transit is also available right outside your door and arrives frequently. Streets in Oliver are lined with large beautiful elm trees and are generally bustling with people heading to fun places or neighborhood activities or just relaxing as they stroll to one of the area’s superb coffee shops or gathering places.   
And if all these things aren’t enough to move you, we have some incredible incentives right now that will convince you to relocate here!

Incredible Incentives! Save $$$ in amazing offers!! 
  
This great offer won’t last forever! Visit our website to request a viewing today!

15 February 2017

Yummy Creamy Lemon Chicken !

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INGREDIENTS 

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
kosher salt
lemon pepper
1/2 stick butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 2 lemons
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 c. heavy cream
1 pt. cherry tomatoes (preferably small)
1/4 c. shredded fresh basil
1 lemon, sliced into half moons

DIRECTIONS 

1. Season chicken all over with salt and lemon pepper. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add chicken and sear until golden and cooked through, 10 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate and make pan sauce.

2. Add butter to pan drippings and let melt. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, 1 minute, then add lemon juice and zest and cream. Bring to a simmer, then add cherry tomatoes, basil, and lemon slices. Simmer until thick, 5 minutes, then add back chicken to skillet.

3. Serve chicken over rice with pan sauce.

31 January 2017

Why You Should Save Money

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With credit so easy to get, why would anyone want to save money and buy with cash? If you want something, you pull out the plastic and then pay it back with payments over who knows how long paying outrageous interest on that purchase which can substantially raise the cost of the item by the time you have paid for it. If you can afford the monthly payments, everyone does that; what's the big deal? The unfortunate thing is this sort of rationalization is making sense to too many people these days much to their detriment.
Here are few reasons why you should save:
Become Financially Independent.
Financial independence isn’t the same as being rich, but it allows you not to have to depend on a certain pay cheque every two weeks to keep your head above water. This financial comfort can make you feel rich beyond your wildest dreams! Having savings that you can rely on is what it takes to become “rich,” no matter how you define it.
Save 50% on Everything You Buy + 24% on Groceries
If you normally charge all of your purchases on your credit card, and then don’t pay off those charges in full every month, the additional interest charges on the unpaid balance can raise the cost of those products by at least 50%. If you are relying on your credit cards to finance your lifestyle you are making a huge mistake and should break this expensive habit of using “convenient credit”. The better option is paying cash for planned purchases.  
With savings (defined as cash in the bank), you can buy things when they are on sale and take the time to make better spending choices. People with savings can also stockpile groceries when they are on sale (items that are nonperishable or which can be frozen).
Buy a Home
The bank won’t lend you money to buy a house unless you have a down payment, and you are not allowed to borrow a down payment. You must have this money saved up or have someone give it to you—and not lend it to you. Your down payment needs to be at least 5% of the purchase price of the home, and then the bank will consider lending you the other 95%. There are all sorts of other costs and fees that you need to pay when you buy a home so you will need an additional 5% just for those costs. Savings is what will open the door for you to home ownership.
Buy a Car, or Not
When you want, or need to buy a new car, you will need to have a down payment to get a car loan at a reasonable interest rate. You could, of course, borrow the money from your credit card, but at 20% or more, how is that getting you ahead? Zero percent financing is reserved for great customers, so a car loan is bound to cost you something—and it could be a lot. The best thing you can do is save up as large a down payment as you can afford and then consider your options. Maybe buying a good quality used car rather than a new one will be what it takes to get you the vehicle you need. Perhaps a better option depending on your needs or lifestyle is to use car sharing services if you live and work in an urban center or take public transit.
Get Out of Debt
If you ever want to get out of debt, you must have some money saved. Sounds ironic, doesn't it? However, the credit cards are never going to get paid off if you keep using them for every emergency that comes along. Even if you are an awesome planner, stats show that half of us experience at least one totally unexpected expense each year (and half of those will be unexpected car trouble).
So before you start aggressively paying off your credit cards, you should save up $500 to $1,000 as a reserve fund. Then when unexpected things come up, you can pay them out of your reserve fund rather than put them on your credit cards. Maintaining a reserve fund will also help you to notice if your spending is getting out of hand.
Unforeseen Expenses
What will you do if your car needs some major repairs? Do you have $500 to $3,000 on hand? What if your house needs some repairs, or it is discovered that you are living in a building that leaks? You can’t always count on the bank to lend you money for these things. It is much better to anticipate a worst-case scenario and have some money saved.


Emergencies
As much as we hope that emergencies won’t happen, we all know that they do. A family member can develop a health issue, you might need to make an emergency trip, you may have a car accident or breakdown, severe weather could flood your basement or crack your pipes, or you may have to fly to a loved one’s funeral. Any of these emergencies can be expensive, and we all know that we will likely encounter some sort of emergency from time to time. So why not be prepared rather than potentially become another victim of an emergency.
You Could Lose Your Job or Get Hurt
You could suddenly lose your job, your business could dry up, you might get injured—either physically or psychologically or become too sick to work. Any of these things can happen to you. Employment Insurance (EI) doesn’t kick in until you have been unemployed for 6 weeks. Do you have enough savings to tie you over or will you be living on credit? Living on credit during a time like this can quickly make a bad situation worse. Minimum payments become higher and higher until they are unaffordable and credit limits no longer budge. Then when you finally do get some income, what used to be enough doesn't get you by because you have all these new debt payments to make each month. So now you need more income than before because you'll need to pay down these debts and eventually work to get them paid off.
There is a little-known truth that happiness can come from being organized. Being organized isn’t going to make you happy all by itself, but it can sure help. There’s so much in your future that you don’t have control over, so putting aside some money to spend when you need it is organizing and taking control of your future and financial affairs. You have nothing to lose by saving - and only a happier future to gain.
Free Family Budget Planner Sheet 
Families who are serious about their financial future will find value in creating a family budget planner. Whether to save for buying a car or family house or putting kids through college, a family budget planner template will help create your yearly budget for your family to accomplish your goals. This family budget planner template breaks down all family income and expenses on a monthly basis, and provides a roll-up of year to date totals for each category. Download Here

18 January 2017

Get to Know MHA Properties

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Based in Edmonton, Alberta and established in the 1960s, Murray Hill Developments Ltd. and its affiliates are actively involved in Real Estate activities in Western Canada and the United States. MHA Properties plans, builds and manages innovative commercial and residential properties in major urban markets. In 1967, Murray Hill Developments Ltd. built Edmonton’s Brentwood Village, officially recognized by CMHC as Canada’s first ever condominium development. 

The residential division of MHA Properties owns and manages a superb portfolio of high quality, professionally maintained apartment buildings and townhome communities in Alberta, British Columbia, California and Arizona. These rental communities are in Edmonton, Sherwood Park, Richmond, Red Deer, Surrey, Fort Saskatchewan and Coquitlam in Canada and San Diego, Phoenix and Peoria in the United States.


MHA Properties has homes for every kind of household and lifestyle including family communities with amenities for children and sleek urban towers for those wanting the vibrancy of downtown living. Our goal is to provide customers with a living experience they will love. This includes superior living space with quality finishes, great amenities, excellent locations and friendly personal customer services, maintenance, communication and processes. 

MHA’s Community Managers, Leasing Personnel and Maintenance Technicians know how important it is to have good relations with residents. As such, we believe in providing great value and terrific service in every way possible. 

We take great pride in the quality of our properties and we remain committed to placing our valued customers' needs first.

For more information on MHA Properties or its developments please contact us or visit our website


21 December 2016

How To Host A Party In A Small Space

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This is the season for lots of cookies and eggnog, and tipsy parties with friends and family alike. But what do you do if you have a small apartment?  You can still have a great get together. Just follow these tips!

#1: Rearrange Your Furniture
When you prepare for a larger party, try and move stuff from your living room to other rooms like your bedroom. You should take out all the extra clutter like TV stand, TV, carpet, and any extra clutter that may have made its way onto dining room table and your kitchen island. You should maximize the amount of space in the room you're entertaining in. You need less stuff and more places for people to sit or stand comfortably.

#2: Be Mindful of Temperature
It gets hot when you have a ton of people in a small space. The best way to cool things down is to turn on the AC and turn off the oven about one hour before your party is supposed to start. If you want you could also crack the window open and leave a fan on in the room you are not entertaining in, so people can find some respite if things get too hot.

#3: Designate a Spot for Your Guests' Stuff
One very crucial rule if you're entertaining in a small space. Keep a corner or bed for people to put their coats and purses on during the party. Or get an extra coat hanger at the hallway, to reduce the clutter at entry and exit time!


 #4: Limit the Number of Utensils Needed for Food
There are always a ton of snacks and drinks for the holiday parties, which might produce a ton of waste or excess clutter during the party.  You should try to find snacks that you just use a napkin for instead of a plate like a lots of finger foods. If you are not using non-disposable cups, always make sure your sink or dishwasher is empty, so things don't pile up too much on tables. Examples:

Baked ham & Cheese Rollups
Cheese ball bites
Mini Mac & Cheese bites
Cream Cheese Sausage balls

#5: Spread the Snacks Around Your Home
People tend to congregate around food — so at a party, it's good to spread the snacks out to avoid a bottleneck situation in your small apartment. Use your dining room table and coffee table to spread things around a bit, and find it very helpful.

16 December 2016

Easy Christmas Pudding

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Easy Christmas Pudding

Ingredients:

100g Sultanas
50g Dried cranberries
75g Chopped figs
75g Chopped dates
75g Halved glace cherries
30g Chopped crystallized ginger
120ml Dark rum
75g Walnuts, roughly chopped
100g Fresh white breadcrumbs
1 Heaped tbsp mixed spice
200g Molasses sugar
2 tbsp black treacle
50g Self raising flour
100g Shredded suet
1 Lemon’s zest
1 orange’s zest
1 Bramley apple cored and grated
2 large eggs

Method:

Soak rum and fruit overnight.
Mix everything together and pour into 1.2L basin.
Steam for 5 hours.

30 November 2016

How to Spend Less on Holiday Shopping

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We all would like to give beautiful presents to the people we love. But how do we survive the holiday shopping season without busting our budget or going crazy. Here are some tips for saving money and staying sane while navigating holiday shopping madness.

Make a List
Write down everyone you plan to buy a gift for, no matter how small the gift may be. Include ideas of what to give each person, along with the maximum amount you’re willing to spend. Don’t forget to list the people who will receive holiday tips, such as your doorman, babysitter, and mail carrier. This will help you manage your holiday budget.

Start Early
Don’t wait until after Thanksgiving to start buying holiday gifts. Keep your eyes open all year round for items friends and family would like; it’s often when you’re not looking for something specific that you stumble across the perfect gift for Dad or your best friend Jenny. Once December hits, you’ll be glad that you already have some people crossed off your list. Just make sure to keep all your advance gifts in a designated (and hidden, if necessary) spot so that you don’t forget a purchase you made months in advance.

Do Online Research
If you’re unsure of which specific item to buy (for example, you want to buy your husband a digital camera but don’t know what brand or model is best), search for reputable online reviews. You’ll have to pay a small subscription fee, but Consumerreports.org has hundreds of expert reviews on everything from laptops to baby strollers to breakfast cereals. Or check sites with user reviews and ratings, such as Amazon.com or Cnet.com, to find out which products have the most positive feedback. To find the best online price, use a comparison shopping site, such as Pricegrabber.com.

Hit Up Black Friday (If You Dare)
If you’re looking for great deals and aren’t afraid of battling large crowds, the day after Thanksgiving is a shopping must. Get a head start on fellow shoppers by checking a website like Blackfriday.org before the big day. The site compiles Black Friday ads from various stores and updates the information as it becomes available, allowing you to plan out which stores to hit and what products you intend to buy. Some stores even offer advance “Black Friday” sales before Thanksgiving, so it’s worth it to peruse the listings early. Be warned, though—some so-called “Black Friday” deals aren’t any cheaper than the regular sale price, so do some extra research before you camp out in the store parking lot at 2 a.m.


Take Advantage of Cyber Monday
A spin-off of Black Friday that debuted in 2005, Cyber Monday is reputedly the biggest online shopping day of the holiday season—and accordingly, many online retailers will offer special discounts on their products. It takes place the Monday after Black Friday, though you can find online bargains all year long at Cybermonday.com, the official Cyber Monday website. On the actual day, the site will feature extra discounts and hourly specials to further entice online shoppers. To stay even more in the know during the holidays, sign up to receive emails from your favorite stores to get notice about sales and insider-only deals.

Do It Yourself

There’s an abundance of homemade pickles, hand-knit hats, and handcrafted stationary these days, thanks to a growing obsession with all things crafty, artisanal, and homespun. If you’re creatively inclined, avoid mall madness altogether and bake a batch of cookies, sew personalized tote bags, or make beautiful earrings for friends and family. If you need to learn a new skill, consider classes in your neighborhood or invest in a how-to book—there’s one for just about every craft out there.