Q: This September, I will be married three years. My wife and I are both university grads. Our combined income is in excess of $80,000. We would like to buy a home but we have saved less than $5,000 in the past three years. What can we do to reduce our taxes?
A: Your problem may not lie in reducing your taxes but how money is managed. There are many couples with homes, kids, and minivans, etc., who are able to manage with much less income. It all comes down to prioritizing and discipline.
You must have a plan and this includes a budget.
We all enjoy the better things in life but it comes with a price that you must be willing to pay. Set goals and a plan to achieve these goals. To achieve these goals you must be willing to make some sacrifices and this could be a small thing such as, instead of a two-week vacation to France, a one-week all-inclusive to Aruba will suffice. Instead of spending a hundred dollars several nights per week, the occasional local pub would do it. This will not work if one spouse makes all the concessions and the other continues to buy the newest iPod or game system on the market.
Many couples think about a budget, very few can stick to it. Sitting down and writing out a budget gives a clearer picture where all your money is being spent. Convincing yourself “I can afford a new BMW” is not sufficient. Put it down on paper and then objectively look at your finances. No successful company goes into the next quarter without a budget/cash flow statement. Why would you? The only cost is some time after dinner.
The following family budget may prove useful to some readers. Please change, add, delete, etc., as you feel is appropriate in your situation.
The old adage does not lie — A picture is worth a thousand words.
Henry Choo Chong, CGA, provides accounting and tax services to individuals and businesses in the GTA. He can be reached at 416-590-1728, Ext. 304. Any questions to Money matters should be e-mailed to: email@example.com.
Money Matters family budget