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Allowance apps are the modern piggy banks and they could really help your kids





Canadian youth get top marks for financial literacy, but more than one in ten 15 year olds struggle with basic financial skills. That’s according to the last assessment of financial literacy in teens by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Judith Cane is an Ottawa-based professional money coach and sees it play out in her office first-hand.

“I’m seeing, certainly in my practice, many people who have said to me, ‘I was never taught this by my parents [or] in school and I want to make sure that I can figure out how to do this. I want to make sure that I teach my kids because I don’t want them to have to go through what I’m going through,'” said Cane.

A study by behaviour experts at Cambridge University reveals that lifelong money habits can be set by the age of seven.

“The first thing I think you should do is give your kids an allowance,” said Cane. “Explain to them ‘this is what mom and dad are going to pay for,’ but if they want something special, they’re going to have to use their allowance to pay for that, and the kids will start to learn very quickly the value of money.”

Apps offer recurring chores and automatic allowance

Apps like RoosterMoney, Chore Check and iAllowance allow parents to give out pocket money digitally.

“There are interesting studies out there that show how much easier it is to spend when it’s digital and it’s not physical,” said James Kassam, head of marketing for RoosterMoney. “It’s a lot harder for us as adults to manage our money in a digital world. So I think there’s a big element of making sure kids are comfortable with money, in a digital sense, from a young age.”

Parents have the convenience of setting up recurring chores and automating allowance giving and, if they want it, tying benefits to chores. Kids can create savings goals, like saving for concert tickets.

“You can now say let’s check what you’ve got in your account,” said Kassam. “So they may have $20, but they’ve also set up a goal to be saving for a music download. Instead of saying ‘No,’ you can say, ‘Well, actually, you’ve only got $20. Do you want to spend $7 on this and take longer to get to that goal you’re saving for?'”

Average allowance is $11/week

Allowance apps can be the beginning of a conversation about family responsibility and financial responsibility, says Maggie Graham, president of Chore Check, an app to help families manage chores and pay kids.

“The refrigerator or a chalkboard may not have their attention, but the tablets and the phones do that,” said Graham. “And an app allows for communication in real time, so you can assign and track chores at 2:00 p.m. even if you’re not at home with your kids.”

Apps like RoosterMoney, Chore Check and iAllowance allow parents to give out pocket money digitally. (Shutterstock)

Chore Check offers a stealable chore feature, where the first kid to complete that chore receives the reward. While iAllowance sends your kids reminders about chores.

According to RoosterMoney’s annual snapshot of the allowance habits of their North American users, the average allowance is $11 a week, with the most assigned chore being tidying the bedroom. Mopping the floor averages $3, while washing the car earned a whopping $7.

Whether you choose to utilize the digital allowance tools, or prefer to stick to the traditional checklists, the experts recommend starting those conversations about money early.


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Real Estate

The cost of renovating your bathroom in Toronto in 2021





Home renovations can be a big task, especially bathroom renovations where you have to work with either an awkwardly shaped space, or one with lots of pipework and very little natural light.

Nonetheless, getting a bathroom renovation by Easy Renovation to change your existing bathroom layout, improve the ambience or add more natural skylights can be worth all the trouble. But determining how much a bathroom renovation would cost is important while setting a budget.

The pandemic has changed a lot of things with social distancing rules, working from home, and for some, being made redundant. Therefore, having a complete grasp of the financial implication of a bathroom innovation is very important.

Owning your dream bathroom can be made a reality and the good thing is, regardless of your financial situation, there are always available options. If you also decide to put up your property for sale in the future, a bathroom upgrade would be a great investment—as it would add significant value to the property. Your bathroom renovation project, like every home renovation, can either be very affordable or extravagant, but one thing is certain, you’re bound to have a more refreshed, stylish and modernistic space.  

Looking through detailed sketches of luxurious and expensive bathrooms can be quite tempting, especially when you’re on a budget. However, your bathroom can be equally transformed into something that looks just as modern, stylish and refreshing but without the heavy price tag.

Conducting a partial bathroom renovation means you only have to change a little part of your existing bathroom rather than tearing it down and starting from scratch. If you intend to carry out this type of bathroom renovation in Toronto, depending on the size of your bathroom, you can spend between $1,000 – $5,000. With a partial bathroom renovation, you can save money by tackling smaller problems that exist in your present bathroom—or you can just upgrade a few of its features.

Partial bathroom renovations are quite affordable and would leave your bathroom feeling new and stylish without being time-consuming or a financial burden—which is important considering the economic impact of the pandemic. Repainting the bathroom walls, replacing the tiles on the floor and in the shower area are examples of partial bathroom renovations which is the cheapest to accomplish.

A more expensive and popular bathroom renovation is the standard 3- or 4-piece renovation. This renovation type involves a lot more services that are not covered by a partial renovation budget. To execute a standard bathroom renovation in Toronto you need a budget of about $10,000 – $15,000.

Unlike with a partial renovation, you would have to make a lot more changes to various elements of your bathroom without the hassle of changing the overall design. You can easily restore your current bathroom into a modernistic and classy space that fits your existing style. Making changes to more aspects of your bathroom is quite easy since there is more room in your budget to accommodate it.

A standard 3- or 4-piece renovation includes everything in a partial renovation plus extras such as revamped baseboards, installing a new bathroom mirror, buying new lights, installing a new vanity, changing the toilet, and buying new shower fixtures.

If you’re one of those looking to make a complete overhaul of your existing bathroom, then the option of a complete bathroom remodel is for you.

Unlike a bathroom renovation, remodelling means a complete change of your current bathroom design and layout for one that is newer and completely unrecognizable. The possibilities when remodelling a bathroom are endless especially when you have a large budget of over $15,000. That way, you can get the opportunity to create the perfect bathroom for yourself.

In addition to all that’s available with a standard bathroom renovation, bathroom remodelling allows you to make bathtub to shower conversion, relocation of plumbing, relocation of the toilet, reframing the bathroom and even relocating the shower.

In conclusion, a bathroom renovation can be a very important upgrade to your home and depending on the features that you decide to include, in addition to the size of your bathroom, this would influence the total cost of the project.

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Real Estate

7 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers In Calgary





Buying a house for the first time can be overwhelming to say the least. If you’re wondering what neighbourhood to go with, what you can afford, or even how to just get started on the process, let us take some stress off your hands! We’ve teamed up with Hopewell Residential to give you 7 tips to ensure the home you end up with is everything you dreamed of.

Hopewell Residential is a five-time Developer of the Year award winner, so their expertise is second-to-none in Calgary and beyond. Who better to learn home-buying tips from than the homebuilders themselves?

Create a checklist of needs & wants

This is a biggie. When you’re buying your very first home, you’ll want to weigh your needs vs. your wants. Ensuring you have what you love in your first home is a big, big deal.

What should you do? Easy. Set up a list of needs and a list of wants, but be pretty strict with yourself, and make sure you take your lifestyle into consideration. With the increase in remote work over the past year, it’s important to keep in mind that a home office or flex room might just be the key to maximizing at home happiness. Especially if you’re thinking you might be expanding your family later on, spare rooms and extra space is key (but more on that later!).

Or for instance, you might need a home in an area with a high walkability score, but you want to be close to certain amenities. Set yourself up with the right level of compromise and the number of homes that actually fit your ‘perfect’ idea will skyrocket.

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Real Estate

‘Don’t give up’: Ottawa Valley realtors share statistics, tips for homebuyers in ‘extreme’ sellers market





The real estate market in the Ottawa Valley can be summed up this way: people from far and wide are in a buying frenzy, but there’s hardly anything to buy at the “store,” and the limited inventory is overpriced.

This “stampede” — as one realtor described it — will affect rural towns as residents grapple with finding affordable housing and agonize over their inability to purchase homes in their price range.

“We are seeing a lack of inventory in all price ranges,” said Laura Keller, a real estate agent from Carleton Place.

Helen Vincent, a Renfrew realtor, said she’s never seen a market like this in her 36 years of practice. “We postpone offers for four to five days in order to get all the buyers,” she said.

Multiple offers — between seven and 10 — became the norm, with cash offers and no conditions, as buyers faced bidding wars. “In Ottawa, they have up to 50 (offers),” she added.

“It’s very stressful. You’re going to get nine (people) ticked off, and one happy. So many people are disappointed,” Vincent said.

Terry Stavenow, an Arnprior realtor for 40 years, said that “the pent-up need took over with inventory going low. It made a stampede on everything that was available.“

“Brand new housing — it’s very much gone. Several building developers are rushing to get inventory. They usually don’t do construction in the winter months,” said Stavenow.

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