Archive for budget

A Man’s Guide to a Bathroom Renovation

Posted in How To with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2015 by Luc

Jen and I are planning a bathroom reno. Our ensuite dates back to 1987 and it’s starting to show its age. The toilet is broken, the shower tiles need to be replaced soon…the time has come.

Now, for men, this can be a daunting time (well, for this man anyway). It commits you to going through countless websites, browsing through your better half’s Pinterest collection of bathroom pictures and staring at the seemingly countless varieties of showers heads and vanity faucets. But fear not. I have a plan for you.

Now, to be honest, the reno hasn’t started yet. My plan for you is not yet complete. But rest assured, I’ve already gained some valuable experience that I want to share with men everywhere right now.

Here goes:

  1. Decide on doing the reno.
  2. Decide on a budget (don’t believe for a second this will actually be the budget).
  3. Hire an interior designer. (Gents, I can’t stress this enough. Just sending the designer off to pick tile options and a colour pattern is worth it. This will save you an enormous amount of time and will keep arguments to a minimum. Who wants to spend hours at tile stores? Not me. Worth every penny.)
  4. Tell wife and interior designer that as long as the bathroom is not “girly”, has a functional toilet, sink and shower, you’ll be happy.
  5. Offer to do the demo yourself to save money.
  6. Offer accepted. Nevertheless, increase budget because there was this really nice shower door place.
  7. Offer to make vanity yourself.
  8. Offer rejected. Increase budget.
  9. Plan to hold firm on budget.

This is where I have to stop. I am now at step 9 myself. I do plan on holding firm. But already I can say one thing for certain. The more money you throw at it, the happier your better half will be…

I promise to update this post as we progress further with the reno. Meanwhile, see what Jen has to say on bathroom renos!


O Budget, Where Art Thou?

Posted in Life with tags , , , , , , , on May 26, 2013 by Luc

I have to admit, I am stumped. I just don’t get how people pay for all the things they have. I look at people around my age, or much younger, driving expensive cars, living in huge houses, spending summer weekends in cottages and going on trips down to the Caribbean two or three times a year, while having to spend on regular living expenses throughout the year.

Then I look at my own lifestyle and wonder, how can they do that? It’s not an envy thing. I find that we live quite comfortably, and I wouldn’t change much from what we are doing right now. It’s more of a curiosity thing.

For instance, Jen and I have a budget. We have a fairly good idea of how much we are spending on various budget items at any given time. Now, while we usually set a certain amount to spend per month, we usually go over this limit. This is a problem we have had since we bought our house. Before that, we were damn good at saving money and living frugally. Mind you, it’s not a big problem. We have not increased our debt load at all in the past 14 years, despite doing a bunch of necessary renovations, buying a minivan to replace our little car (thank you kids!) and going on a few trips. But I was hoping that the debt (basically the mortgage on the house) would be gone by now!

In any case, it is going down, and that’s what matters. What’s more is we’ve committed to putting the breaks on restaurants and other luxuries to bring it down even faster. We will get by.

But how do others do it? An answer was provided by talking to a friend of mine, who is a banker. Credit. This is nothing new. The papers have been crying wolf recently, and over the past few years, pointing out that Canadians are getting further and further in debt to finance extravagant lifestyles. People often have several credit cards and only make minimum payments on them. Low interest rates mean credit lines are appealing for renovations that no one could possibly afford otherwise. The list goes on.

Ultimately, a budget is simple. If you make $50,000 a year after taxes, then don’t spend more than $50,000. Otherwise, you will increase your debt. It’s so simple. It’s like weight gain or loss. If you eat more calories than you need, you will gain weight. But if it is that easy, why do we have so much trouble understanding this concept? The older generations get it. I’ve already talked about this in my post about my grandmother. Debt was a fearful thing to them. Maybe it’s time we learn from that generation.

Check out Jen’s blog post on budgets!

%d bloggers like this: