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Gail Vaz -Oxlade personal finance guru
Gail Vaz -Oxlade personal finance guru

Earlier discussion

Ask Gail Vaz-Oxlade Add to ...

Have you and your boyfriend done the "full disclosure" thing with each other? Are you on the same page in terms of how you manage your money? How many children you'll have? Who'll do the dishes? These are conversations partners seldom have, and then are shocked to find out just how little they know about their Best Buddy. I have a list of things you should talk about on my website (search "getting married"). Good luck.

Caroline Dickens writes: Firstly, I have to thank you for doing such a great job. My husband and I are a month into your plan and we love it! Our financial situation was not dire but we figured we would take the opportunity to tighten up our finances and it's working well. We no longer argue about money!

Here is my question. When we have money left over in our jars, what should we do with it? Should we add it to our debt pay down or should we spend it on a family treat, like dinner out or something? Responsible or enjoy? Another question, we are potentially about to come into a small inheritance, likely under $10K. Do you recommend that we put this entirely on our debt or save it, or both? We do not have any credit card debt or a car loan but are carrying a large home equity loc balance. The interest rate on the LOC is prime.

Thanks Gail! Keep up the great work!

Gail Vaz-Oxlade: Caroline, the money in the jars sometimes has to accumulate. You don't have car-repair costs every month, nor do you have to buy clothing or gifts every month. Once you think you have enough for whatever may come up - please do no underestimate - then you can use the money for whatever your heart desires. Having lots of money left means you're also off on your budget and you should go back and re-calculate so the jars come out right. Make sure you have a healthy emergency fund, and make sure you're having some fun. As for the $10K, if you have consumer debt, that's where it goes. I'm glad you and the hubster aren't arguing about money anymore. Good for you guys.

Toby in Vancouver writes: We are a family of three (5 year old daughter), and we are expecting a second child in November. Our tw br. condo isn't big enough to accommodate our growing family and is on the market with a pending offer. We are hoping to take advantage of the slow Vancouver real estate market and buy a larger house. While we have no debts other than our current mortgage, we had planned to use the apply what we were paying in strata fees and car loan payments (to be paid off in May 2009) towards the bigger mortgage payments.

My husband and I are currently employed and have pensions. We expect things to be tight over the next 5 years and may have to forego RRSP contributions for 4-5 years while our second child is in daycare. We only have a few thousand dollars in savings. Are there circumstances where you are ok with a larger percentage of people's incomes going towards housing? Any advice?

Gail Vaz-Oxlade: Toby, I'm fine with you spending whatever you want on whatever you want providing your budget balances and you aren't using credit. Since you have no debt, the 15% allocated to debt repayment can easily be added to your housing budget. Like you guys, I had to forego RRSP contributions for a few years when my kid were young and all my money was going to the mortgage and nanny. I caught up aggressively as soon as I could. Please don't strap yourself too tight with the new house. You never know when the banana peel will magically appear under your feet!

Skelly writes: Hi Gail - My husband and I love your show, and watch it every chance we get. I think we're OK financially, but there is always room for improvement. I've looked at and tinkered with your budget and I absolutley love it, and can see it working in my house.

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