I have listed a new property at 181 Acacia Ave in Nanaimo.
Within walking distance to Vancouver Island University Campus, this 5 bedroom 3 bathroom home with in-law suite will suit a growing family, or Investors seeking a great rental property. Close to recreation, transit, shopping & all levels of schools. Large fully landscaped lot and plenty of space for your garden with established cherry, pear and plum trees, complete with a south facing deck. Throughout the home are numerous updates including a new roof in 2019, new gas furnace In 2020, 200 amp service and more. On the main enjoy 3 bedrooms including primary with 2 piece ensuite, 4 piece bathroom, a generous kitchen with SS appliances and adjacent dining room with french doors leading to a large living room with wood burning fireplace and big picture window to let in light. Lower level 2 bedroom suite with generously sized living room, another fireplace, and easy access to a shared laundry space. Paved driveway, carport, fenced yard, RV parking. Wonderful family neighbourhood.
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I have listed a new property at 6 6000 St. Ann's Dr in Duncan.
Is it time to let someone else take care of the maintenance? This spacious end unit townhome is set to impress and located in a quiet yet central area of Duncan. The home's main entrance feels like a private, natural oasis. Create meals in the sparkling bright updated kitchen and dining area with double sided gas fireplace, scenic mountain views and incredible sunsets. The main level offers a large formal living room, a spacious primary bedroom w/4 piece ensuite, a 3 piece bathroom, 2nd bedroom, laundry room & plenty of closet space. The lower level has endless possibilities; currently used as a games room with wet bar, another good sized bedroom, an office, and an exercise room. Whatever your hobbies, you have space for them here. An attached double garage, heat pump, loads of storage and a prime location close to town, hiking and bike trails, parks, lakes, beaches and marinas add to the convenience. Minimum age 25. Pets allowed. Seeing is believing, book your showing today.
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Recently I find myself working with Clients who are downsizing. Some are going from 3000 or so square feet to less than 1000, and from a single family dwelling to a condo. This is obviously a huge difference in space and there are lots of decisions to be made regarding what to take into the new space. Managing this level of downsizing can be tricky so I think it’s worthwhile to take a deep dive into this. While it might seem daunting, it’s not as hard as you may think. As I said often while teaching yoga: “our minds make things seem more difficult than they really are”. After all, this is the perfect opportunity to take stock of what you own and make a fresh start at your new home! Get excited!


Declutter

There are countless articles, books and videos on how to declutter. Put on your favourite upbeat music and do one room at a time. Yes - do one room at a time. Make 3 piles: Keep, Donate, Throw Away. At this stage in the process, the Keep pile can include things that you will keep but possibly place into storage. The Donate pile should contain items in good condition but that you no longer need or want. The Throw Away pile is garbage, but please divert as much as possible to recycling. 


After your move is not the time to declutter! The time to declutter is now, prior to your move. As you do each room, decide if these items belong in your new home and ultimately in your life. That said, if you really can’t decide whether to keep something or not, put it into the keep pile. When it is time to pack, you can decide whether it is an item you are keeping, and assess whether it is a daily use item, or should be placed into short or longer term storage. By then you will be feeling a little differently about it all, I assure you.


Your New Space

Exactly how big is your new space? Get ruthlessly realistic regarding what furniture you will have room for. Smaller spaces require smaller furniture, otherwise the space will feel crowded. Smaller furniture is easier to move in order to create multifunctional spaces. If you will not have an extra bedroom,  consider purchasing a fold out couch or convertible sofa (these have come a long way since those ones with the bar in the middle!) for your living area or multi-purpose space. Maybe you love your existing furniture but you are not positive it will fit your new space? One way to determine this is to measure your furniture, get graph paper and make ‘to-scale’ paper cutouts of your furniture. Print out a copy of the floor plan for your new space, and play around with your cutout paper furniture. Take note of how much space you require around your furniture. If it doesn’t work on paper, it’s really not going to work! If it’s not going to work, no matter how much wishful thinking you do, it’s not going to fit. So sell it online or donate it, whatever works best for you. 


How many sets of spare sheets, pillows and linens do you need? Take a good look at what is in your closets (treat every closet like a room). I invite you to be decisive in this process, and if that’s hard for you, invite that no-nonsense organized friend over to help you with this part. 


Art

If you are like me, most of your art is sacred and has meaning to you. It can be extremely hard to part with Art! Art is a special category and you may need to take more time with it. Here are my thoughts on this. Room by room, go through your art. Do you absolutely love it, inside out, bones to skin? Then keep it! If there is no room for it in your new place, get a quality picture box or container for it, label it and put it into the Keep pile. Your move is not the time to make decisions around matters of the heart (which is what art usually is). Moving can be a very stressful time. Your art is not a couch or a pillow, and is usually more meaningful than other household goods. When you get to your new home, and you see the wall space you have, you can decide what works best. Do you like it but are not that attached? Give it to a friend or family member who has always admired it. Many people do not have the funds to purchase art so donate it and feel good about that.


Finish Each Room and Take Action

When you finish a room, take all the items that you are donating, recycling or throwing away and do just that. Take action! Put the stuff into your vehicle, call the person who wants it, take it to the trash, whatever. Do not let it accumulate in the rooms! Do not put it off until later. No sir - do it right away before you move on to the next room. You say you will take it all to the donation place at the same time? Well that depends on how much there is. You may just be creating a monster sized issue. Taking action room by room will allow you to see your progress and this will motivate you to keep going until every single room is done. This will totally simplify your move day. Large donations or items to be sold will need to be dealt with ahead of time. Take action on the large things right away. Imagine not being able to get rid of a couch or bed or something large on moving day and the stress that will cause. And you certainly can’t leave things behind either. So remember, one room at a time.


Book Your Mover

The minute you know what your move-in date is, pick up the phone and book your mover. Do not hesitate! If you do not have the funds for a mover, organize your support people and have them mark your move date on their calendar. If you are booking professional movers, get on the phone, talk to a person and have them send you an email to confirm everything in writing. If you have it in your budget, consider hiring someone to help you organize and declutter, especially if you are short on time. I can not stress enough that this declutter process takes more time than you will estimate. Professionals who do this for a living can take care of the details that you do not have time for such as drop off and pick up of donations or selling items for you. Professional organizers can also help you create functional storage systems for your new home and bring fresh perspective based on their experience.


Paying for a Storage Unit

Unless you are extremely pressed for time, do everything you can do to avoid renting a storage unit. Consider how much this is going to cost! Do you really need to keep this stuff? Do you just need a couple of months to go through things? Perhaps you have a family member or good friend who has a little extra space you could borrow for a short period of time? In my experience, most of us need a deadline to actually get things done. Storage Companies would prefer you to have no deadline so that you pay them forever! But your friend or family member will hold you accountable and that deadline will motivate you to get it dealt with.That said, it’s ok if you have to put some things into temporary storage while you renovate, or finish building a home and that’s not what we are talking about here - remember this is about downsizing! Whatever you decide to store, make sure it is packed well and clearly labeled as to what it is and what room it came from. Make a master list of where everything is and keep a copy of this on your computer and a paper copy in your home (tape it to the back of a closet or cupboard door). Here are some categories to make this process a little easier:


Seasonal Use or Guest Use Items: 

Things that you use for Christmas or Thanksgiving, and things that you use only for entertaining such as larger serving dishes and glassware, do not need to be readily available. Things items should be clearly marked and stored in a storage closet or similar space, or if absolutely necessary, a storage unit. This includes items such as luggage. Heavy blankets and extra pillows can be placed in vacuum bags to significantly decrease the space they require. Holiday decorations and seasonal clothing can also be stored. Summer toys, camping equipment and other seasonal items should all have a designated place. Keep a master list of exactly where these items are in your storage areas. This will make your life easier and significantly reduce the possibility of you purchasing duplicate items because you either can’t find things or forgot you already have them! If you create this list in a program like Word or GoogleDocs, you will be able to 'search' for the items on the list.


Longer Term Storage Items: 

Some of your items may be very dear to you, but you don’t tend to look at them often. Items such as keepsakes from ceremonies, creations that your loved ones made when they were children, sentimental items that others gave you which you intend to pass down to you loved ones, baby clothes that you just can’t let go of! You know what I mean. Invest in some tupperware type solid containers that are moisture and pest resistant and place these treasures into a longer term storage area. Don’t forget to mark down their location on your master list. 


Organize Your New Space

One of the most important tips to being organized is to have a place for every type of item in your home. “A place for everything and everything in its place” (you’ve heard that one). What items do you use daily? Take some time to determine how you use your things and when. Then create areas and spaces for them that are easy reach and fit your personality. Go online and get ideas by searching “by image” on google or on sites such as Pinterest. Have fun and get creative, because you are going to feel great when it’s done.


Be realistic about what you need:

How many cups, plates, glasses, bowls, etc do you need on a daily basis? Consider keeping only what you need daily within easy reach. If you have 2 x 8 place table settings but usually only entertain once or twice a month, place the extras in a closet or storage space in your home. Again remember to write down where these extra items are in your home and categorize everything according to room. Do you love to bake? Then by all means keep your baking tools and accessories handy. Do you bake twice a year?! Then place these items in a box, label it, and add its location to your master list. There you go, you have freed up space in your kitchen.


How many pairs of socks do you need? Do you know how to fold things and store them in a way that creates a little extra space? There are vacuum bags for bulky clothing items such as sweaters, but there is also just plain having too much stuff. Consider laying out all of your clothes and keeping only items that you feel really good wearing. It’s easier than you think! Put it on and see how you feel. Why do you keep those 5 shirts that you haven’t worn in 3 years? I don’t know either. 


Ease of retrieval and return: 

Keep items that you use daily in a place that is easy to access for ease of retrieval and return and close to the area that you use them in. I live close to the ocean and when I go for walks from Oct through to May I usually wear a toque. I keep my toques in a drawer beside the door. I have my reusable grocery bags there as well so they are easy to grab and easy to put away after. I also keep my shoe shine accessoriesand my link brush there for easy access. What do you use on a daily basis? Write it down and decide where each of these items should live. You will be organizing and simplifying your life at the same time. 


I will leave you with this quote by Bruce Lee: "Simplicity is the key to brilliance."


Take care and best wishes, from my home to yours.


Jacqueline




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I have sold a property at 6251 Selkirk Terr in Duncan.
A lovingly created and cared for builder's home situated in a desirable development, the Properties near Maple Bay. Gorgeous hardwood, tile and slate floors, 9 foot ceilings, expansive decks invite the natural beauty of the area in and offer stunning views of the valley and mountains beyond. Entertain in the gourmet kitchen with maple cabinets, granite counters and attached family room w/fireplace. Formal living room w/vaulted ceilings, fireplace and adjacent formal dining area. 3 large upper floor bedrooms, including a master with ensuite, jetted soaker tub, separate shower, plus another full bath on this level. Enter the home into a large foyer, spacious den/multi-purpose room, and 2 piece bathroom on the main. Self-contained 2 bedroom in-law suite w/fireplace and contemporary kitchen/family room. A greenbelt in back gives a feeling more green space w/8' x 12' greenhouse w/power and water for year round gardening. This is a perfect home for two families to share.
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I have sold a property at 405 1000 Esquimalt Rd in Esquimalt.
Welcome to SOUTHPORT! This large south facing, Top Floor two bedroom two bathroom condo boasts magnificent unobstructed views of the Olympic Mountains and Victoria Harbour. Ranging over 1100 sq ft, this home offers walkthrough kitchen opening on to dining area and large living room which leads to the heavenly sundrenched enclosed balcony. Primary bedroom includes two piece ensuite. Large second bedroom and four piece bath complete the home. Excellent location in the heart of Esquimalt, walking distance to shopping, restaurants, cafes and the Archie Browning Rec Center. 10 minutes to downtown Victoria by convenient transit. Building amenities include laundry facilities, workshop and common room. Units seldom come up in this building-come see for yourself!
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TOP REASONS FOR A SELLER’S (Pre-Listing) INSPECTION


So you’ve decided it’s time to sell your home. Whatever the market is doing, you can count on this: to sell your home quickly, smoothly and get the best price, you want it in the best condition possible. Now, I am not suggesting that you spend thousands of dollars in upgrades and renos! But doing basic repairs, dealing with minor annoyances and being up-front about big issues makes a world of difference.

Over the years that you have lived in your home, minor annoyances have possibly been adding up! You know the things that I am talking about: the sticky windows, the leaky faucets, the closet doors that don’t close properly - that stuff. Generally speaking these are things that happened due to wear and tear and they are easy to spot. But did you ever stop to consider that the same things could be happening just below the surface and out of sight? It’s possible that there are things lurking (such a great word!) and these lurking annoyances have a tendency of rearing their lurky little heads at the worst possible time…like when your guests arrive, or during your real estate transaction!

HOW YOU CAN BENEFIT AS A SELLER

  • ease of scheduling; less traffic and inspectors through your home

  • your home sells faster and for more money

  • fewer 11th hour negotiations

  • brings more buyers to the table

  • you get to choose the inspector

  • serious concerns can be identified and addressed

  • reduces liability

HOW THIS CAN IMPACT BUYERS

  • provides buyers with necessary transparency

  • allows buyers time to read, reflect, and make the best offer

  • buyers will remember a home with a pre-list inspection over those without one

  • no wasted inspection fees for homes that the buyer does not move forward with

Guess what? Most Sellers will be Buyers, and most Buyers will be Sellers! We all want to feel good about what we are purchasing. We want to know that the home we are purchasing is structurally sound, with systems that work. This is why a Buyer Home Inspection is crucial. However in today’s market, buyers are often choosing to waive this condition and forego the process of an inspection. This creates the potential for liability and even litigation down the road. And who wants that? Nobody, that's who!

When you as the Seller take the initiative and bring on an Inspector, there can be full disclosure. In the current market, it is not typically cost effective to remedy every issue found in the inspection. Of course any actions taken in that regard are up to the Seller to weigh the pros and cons of. That said, if the inspection does turn up something such as active water ingress or an immediate safety concern, like with the electrical, they would benefit from having these issues taken care of in the short term. A pre-listing  home inspection greatly decreases the likelihood of a big “surprise” that could scare off buyers or sideswipe your transaction. In addition it can decrease the possibility of buyers attempting to back out of their contract. The Inspector will prepare a detailed report that describes and notes the condition of the various house systems, as well as their recommendations for improvement if necessary. This then becomes a valuable marketing tool, making your home and property more attractive to potential Buyers.

First impressions are a big deal! In the real estate industry it’s called curb appeal. Does your home have it? It’s not that hard to pull it together and create some curb appeal. But, if potential buyers open the front door and come face to face with evidence of past water damage, lights that are not functioning correctly, or other obvious issues that have not been taken care of, that curb appeal goes up in smoke. Research tells us that we make up our mind about something in 7 to 10 seconds! Now imagine that you have created some nice curb appeal, and hand over a completed home inspection disclosing any significant issues. You have effectively created an inviting and trusting impression. Regardless of whether the issues are large or small, you are disclosing them. That speaks volumes about you and your property. All of this adds up to your real estate agent being able to market and sell your property faster, and a reduction in time and the costs you may be facing to carry the transaction. Even in today’s "Seller’s Market", some homes take longer to sell. If your property is very unique, it may appeal to a small percentage of buyers. If you have a property like this, that also requires a lot of TLC, you have the power to demystify the overall big picture of your home by having a pre-listing inspection.

In conclusion, I would like to use the analogy of the medical check-up. Some of us understand that, when we feel something is not quite right, we go to the doctor and get checked out. But some of us don’t, because we would rather not know. Yes - that’s a little crazy! But it’s true. Unfortunately, and too often, by the time a diagnosis is made, something that could have been treated relatively swiftly and without too much effort has become a big, nasty and possibly deadly problem. It’s always better to know! It’s up to you to decide what actions to take with the information, but it’s better to have the information than to wander around in the dark hoping everything is ok in your home when you are in the middle of trying to sell it. 

Special thanks to Pierce Bowie from Falcon Home Inspections for contributing to this blog post and lending his expertise and knowledge. Reach out to Pierce for more information or to book your next home inspection:

Visit Falcon Home Inspections Website

 
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WARNING - this blog post is not for the faint of heart!


Hello and thanks in advance for reading my blog. I write my own blogs and today I want to give an overview about the bully offer. You know what a bully is, and how not to be one! What you may not know is that, in today's real estate market, being a bully may be your best bet to have your offer accepted. WHAT? Yes that's what I said, you may find yourself suddenly ready to be the bully! Let's dive in deep.


Here on Vancouver Island, buyers are finding that, too often, they are being shoved aside during the buying process. The biggest reason for this is the simple fact that inventory is at an all time low, and the desire to live here is at an all time high. The pandemic sure showed us that living on an island has advantages. Of course those of us who are home grown Vancouver Islanders, or have lived here for a while, know this is paradise. And now, it seems that everyone else is learning that too. Go figure!


It's a crazy time to be working in real estate I can tell you that. It's common for a listing to go live on Tuesday, have some showings on Wednesday and sell on Thursday. Heck, last week a home on my street sold after 1 day on the MLS. If you are not ready to buy, you might as well view photos of properties from the comfort of your home and/or do virtual showings. It is very likely that listings you see on the market today will be sold in a very short period of time. Now that is not to say that you shouldn't spend time viewing homes, watching the market and learning about what's happening out there! All I am saying is that it makes sense to have all of your ducks in a row prior to viewing homes in person.


Let's define the term bully offer: typically a bully offer is well above list price, made prior to the offer date that has been stated publicly, and an offer with no conditions. Put simply, it's too good to turn down! Bully offers are commonly seen during a "Seller's Market" where the demand far outstrips the supply. The current popular strategy is for home Sellers to intentionally list the home at a lower value than what they think they can get, in order to attract multiple offers on a specific date and time of their choosing. The theory is that this allows time for prospective Buyers to view the home, get the due diligence done, and make an offer. Doesn't that sound nice? Sure Jacqueline, that sounds great. Here's what has been happening:


Home is listed on Monday, priced at $799,000 (everyone knows the home is going to sell for way over that btw) and Seller states that they will be looking at offers on Friday afternoon at 3pm (maybe). Bully offer arrives on Wednesday evening for $850,000, with a $100,000 deposit and no conditions. Listing Agent puts out a message to all Agents who showed an interest in the home saying they have received an offer. More offers arrive and are presented to the Seller. Price of home climbs and a few hours later, property sells for $950,000 with an unconditional offer Wednesday night.  Agents and Buyer's that did not get it pull all their hair out (ok maybe not all of it). Now I say to you what my kids used to say to me: no I am not joking you!

 .

A smart Buyer's Agent will keep the offer open for a short period of time in order to lessen the window of opportunity for other competing offers to fly in. The longer your offer is on the table, the more likely it is that others will arrive! And while that is great for the Seller, it means a Buyer will have a more challenging time getting their offer accepted. It's important to note here that it is up to the the Seller / Homeowner to decide what offer he/she/they will accept. Agents are simply doing their job in a very competitive market. While I truly started out thinking that I would steer clear of this folly, here I am having played the game and won, already having eating my words, telling you all about it!


Here's what I say to my Buyer clients:


What is your Logical Comfortable Budget (LCB)? If you are my client, you must have a clear and certain answer for that question, because I will be reminding you of your LCB when the going get's crazy.


What is the market value of the property under consideration? If you are my client, you know what that is and it is based on facts and a proper CMA. Therefore you have your two eyes and two ears wide open.


Does the property need an inspection? I advise that every property with few exceptions should be inspected. It's up to my client ultimately, but unless you are a home inspector, you don't know what you don't know. Let's be reasonable...Is the property an older home that could contain hazardous materials? Do you intend to renovate? Is it a condo building that is older, has a 4000 page depreciation report and 2 years of minutes that show disgruntled owners and nothing getting solved? Is the property needing a whole bunch of TLC? Then yes, you would be very wise to get an inspection done prior to submitting an offer. This is a major decision and a huge investment, get an inspection is my advice.


Are you pre-approved? Nothing more to say about this question except that in this market you must be pre-approved.


What does your heart tell you? That's great if you are looking for love, but you are shopping for your next home so let's  listen to our brains now.


So you've decided that you can live with no inspection (or you have managed to get an inspection done quickly, which is often possible and I can help you with that); or the property has had a pre-sale inspection (insert loud applause here); you have your financing all in order; you are positive that you can get insurance; you are ready to play hard bully ball. Grab your balls, get the gloves and put on your funny tights ok?


There are still ways to use negotiation and strategic information gathering in conjunction with a bully offer to increase the likelihood that your offer is accepted. Without giving it all away (come on, I get to keep some secrets), it will also depend on the Seller's frame of mind, specific wants and needs. Remember, bully offers have a higher likelihood of falling apart! They are certainly not my favourite cup of tea for my Seller clients.


My parting words on this subject? Bully offers are here to stay until there is a significant change in the market. Never lose sight of your LCB, and do your due diligence. At the end of the game, you want to feel good about winning.



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I have listed a new property at 6251 Selkirk Terr in Duncan.
A lovingly created and cared for builder's home situated in a desirable development, the Properties near Maple Bay. Gorgeous hardwood, tile and slate floors, 9 foot ceilings, expansive decks invite the natural beauty of the area in and offer stunning views of the valley and mountains beyond. Entertain in the gourmet kitchen with maple cabinets, granite counters and attached family room w/fireplace. Formal living room w/vaulted ceilings, fireplace and adjacent formal dining area. 3 large upper floor bedrooms, including a master with ensuite, jetted soaker tub, separate shower, plus another full bath on this level. Enter the home into a large foyer, spacious den/multi-purpose room, and 2 piece bathroom on the main. Self-contained 2 bedroom in-law suite w/fireplace and contemporary kitchen/family room. A greenbelt in back gives a feeling more green space w/8' x 12' greenhouse w/power and water for year round gardening. This is a perfect home for two families to share.
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Budgeting is something that I personally have struggled with and have as a priority this year. Are you like me? Do you struggle with keeping track of your spending?! If so let’s learn and work through the roadblocks together. I would love to hear from you if you find this post to be helpful and/or inspiring. I really want you to know that - so many others struggle too!

The next two paragraphs are taken from a Canadian Financial Capability Survey from 2021:

Budgeting is crucial for many Canadians in managing their day-to-day finances, keeping on track with bill payments, and paying down debt.

For many Canadians, creating and maintaining a budget is one of the most important first steps in managing their money. About half (49%) of Canadians report having a budget, up from 46% in 2014 (FCAC, 2015). The most common method of budgeting is using a digital tool, such as a spreadsheet, mobile app or other financial software (20%). This is followed by using a traditional approach, such as writing the budget out by hand or using jars or envelopes (14%). Evidence from the 2019 CFCS indicates that another 1 in 6 Canadians (17%) could benefit from having a budget. These individuals cite a wide range of reasons for not budgeting, such as not having enough time or finding it boring (9%) or feeling overwhelmed about managing money (6%). Others say they are not responsible for financial matters in their household or prefer not to know about their finances (4%), or that they do not know or prefer not to say (5%). These time-crunched and overwhelmed non-budgeters experience considerable challenges in managing their money.

Compared with non-budgeters who are time-crunched or feel overwhelmed, Canadians who budget are less likely to be falling behind on their financial commitments (8% vs. 16%). Budgeters demonstrate more effective management of their monthly cash flow: they are less likely to spend more than their monthly income (18% vs. 29%) or to need to borrow for day-to-day expenses because they are short of money (31% vs. 42%). Interestingly, Canadians who use digital tools for budgeting are among the most likely to keep on top of their bill payments and monthly cashflow. In addition, compared with Canadians who feel too time-crunched or overwhelmed to budget, those who budget are 10 percentage points more likely to be taking actions to pay their mortgages (35% vs. 24%) and other debts (57% vs. 47%) down more quickly.”

Where do you fit into all of those percentages? If you want to read the full report click here:

https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/programs/research/canadian-financial-capability-survey-2019.html

Let’s break it down and make it friendlier to discuss ok?! Let’s make a plan!

5 Steps for Creating a Budget

So you want (or maybe just need!) to get a handle on where your hard earned dollars are going? There is really no easy way to put this…you need to create a budget! This will help you to feel in control of your spending, where you can trim it and how you can save for what or whoever you want to save for! Whether it’s a person, place or thing that you need to save for, you will need to decide what your priorities are, and a budget will give you a roadmap. 

You will need a basic template to start with. There are many to choose from, and some good free online resources. Choose one that fits your needs. There are some great spreadsheets and budgeting apps available, like these two for example:

 https://mint.intuit.com/?dd_pm=none&dd_pm_cat=finance_app

https://goodbudget.com/?dd_pm=none&dd_pm_cat=finance_app

Take a little time to explore some apps, because they will definitely make budgeting easier! Yes you can do it with a pen and paper, but you will find that the app, once you get familiar with it, will save you time (and money!)

Step 1: Organize your paperwork.


Get everything together in one place! This can feel like the hardest step and may lead to feelings of overwhelm and upset. Take care with this step! Ask for support from a family member or good friend. Remember that this is a process, and once done you will feel so much more in control of things, and therefore less stressed. Here’s a starting list of what you need to gather: 

Bank statements

Investment statements

Current utility bills

Pay Stubs and other sources of income statements

Credit card statements

Rent or Mortgage statements

Any loans ie. student / auto / consolidated debt payments

All your receipts from the last three months.

What you need is all of the information about your expenses and your income. That way you can see the average and work with that number. The more information you gather, the better. So take your time with this process - one step at a time and remember to BREATHE!

2. Calculate your Income

This step should be relatively easy compared to the previous one right? If you have a regular paycheck where it’s a recurring amount each month then it’s simple. Include all sources of income, no matter the amount. If you are self-employed, add up what you have earned during the past 6 months and divide this number by 6 for the average, and use this average for your income. Yes any investment income is included as is any pension or child / spousal support. 

3. List all your Monthly Expenses

Make a list of all your monthly expenses. Just like step 1 - take it slow and remember to BREATHE. This step is extremely valuable and can trigger all sorts of feelings. It’s going to feel better once your done. You will need your bank statements, your CC statements and your receipts for this step. Here are some examples of what you will have a list of:

  • Rent or Mortgage

  • Car Payment

  • Car / Home / Tenant / Life Insurance

  • Groceries

  • Personal Care

  • Utilities

  • Childcare

  • Transportation

  • Travel

  • Loan Payments

  • Savings

  • Entertainment

  • ETC...

Now put the fixed expenses onto a separate list because you can’t change those in the short term. Perhaps you can make a longer term plan to change those, but for the immediate future let’s focus on the variable expenses (the ones that change month to month). Begin the process of putting some hard limits on the spending for these categories. If you have a goal in mind that is really important to you, then be ruthless with this part of the process.

5. Put The Big Picture Together

Here you are - ready to look at the big picture. It may be messy so get a cup of tea (or a glass of wine maybe!) and settle yourself somewhere you can be comfortable. Then get real. If your income is totalling more than your expenses, that’s a great place to start from. This extra money is yours to save, spend, put into a tax free savings account…that’s up to you to decide.

On the other hand, if your expenses are more than your income, you are going to feel motivated (hopefully) to change that scene now. When we write it down, it gets real. Look for areas where you can reduce spending, and again be ruthless. For example, cook for yourself rather than eating out, plan your outings, make grocery lists and stick to them, consider shopping consignment (did you here it’s trendy now?). Get creative and try to have some fun with this. 

Track it ALL

Now here’s where those handy Apps come in. Tracking tracking tracking…equals time. And most of us really don’t have a lot of extra time. So the Apps are going to be enormously helpful with this process, because ideally you are going to monitor your spending daily. 

Your goal is to keep your monthly expenses as low as possible. With a good App, this should take 5 minutes a day. Be patient and loving with yourself around all of this and celebrate the small stuff. If you have a good App please share it with others! I would love to hear about your tips and tricks for budgeting.

Thanks so much for your interest and for being a supportive force in my life!

From my home to yours,

Jacqueline




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Thinking of making a move to Vancouver Island? In this post we explore the Cowichan Valley, a beautiful area rich with culture, adventure and wide open spaces. Roughly 3500 square kms, the Cowichan Valley is home to expansive orchards, award-winning vineyards, lush forests, many miles of pristine coastline and so much culture it will make your head spin.


The name Cowichan originates from the name “Quw’utsun” given to the valley by the Quw’utsun people. Further to this, this name is sourced from the Hul’q’umi’num word “shquw’utsun” meaning “to warm one’s back in the sun.” Hence the shortened version - Warm Land (yes that is where this blog's name comes from too!)


Located in Canada’s only maritime Mediterranean climatic zone, the Cowichan Valley is home to the warmest year–round temperatures in Canada. Let that sink in! If you are a boater, it is heaven on earth. The Valley produces amazing artisanal food and drink from local wineries, cideries, farms and distilleries. The outdoor fun list never ends! From concerts and festivals to outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, fishing, water skiing, and swimming, there is always something to do and it's all here waiting for you.


One of my favourite places here is the Cowichan River. Whether you are spending a lazy day tubing down the river, or soaking in the sun on the warm rocks at one of the many swimming holes, this River is a magical place. Here's a link to my sweet spot on the river: https://www.cvrd.ca/123/Sandy-Pool-Regional-Park. Listen - I know you will love it so if you are planning to go, shoot me a text and I will meet you there!


Do you adore live entertainment? The modern and spacious Cowichan Performing Arts Centre is home to live theatre, music, dance and more. Are you a swimmer or a gym rat? The Cowichan Aquatic Centre is an impressive recreation facility featuring a fully accessible aquatic venue. There are fitness classes, a gym overlooking the pools, and event facilities. And the pools? A 25-metre competitive pool, a 25-metre wide wave pool, diving boards, a lazy river (the littles love this), twin waterslides for the daredevils, and a sauna and steam rooms. This is truly a gorgeous facility.


Communities vary here. There is sleepy Cowichan Bay, a historic seaside village complete with a Maritime Museum, marinas, the Art Gallery of Art Vickers, the best bakery on the Island (well it is!), the best Pub ever, and lots of great places to go for lunch or dinner. Or Shawnigan Lake, home to prestigious schools, eclectic shopping and stunning outdoor destinations such as the Kinsol Trestle and of course, the lake itself which is perfect for water sports of all sorts. There's Cobble Hill, Mill Bay, Chemainus, Ladysmith, Maple Bay, Genoa Bay, Lake Cowichan, Honeymoon Bay and Youbou. Oh HEY - let's talk about Youbou for a moment! This little town enjoyed one of the highest rate of increase for property assessments in all of BC. Yes, Youbou. The home owners of Youbou have a lot to smile about.


Now let's talk about the good stuff...the wine of course! Here's a sip of what's out there, (pun intended):

  • Zanatta Winery (my personal favourite)
  • Averill Creek Vineyard
  • Enrico Winery
  • Alderlea Winery
  • Blue Grouse Estate Winery & Vineyard
  • Unsworth Winery
  • ........too many to list but you get the picture!


There's one more thing I need to mention. I am a boater as some of you may know. My family enjoys sailing and kayaking, and this area is fantastic for sailors and boaters of all types. Close to Salt Spring and other Gulf Islands, we can leave from the Cowichan Bay Marina, and in no time be at popular destinations such as Montague Harbour on Galiano Island or Sidney Spit, or find hidden beaches to picnic on that are away from the crowds.


If I haven't managed to convince you that the Cowichan Valley is the bomb, then you should call me and I will be happy to overwhelm you with links to all of the places and things! If you are looking for a lovely spot to stay while in Cowichan, I have a guest suite that is available by reservation at www.lovecowbay.com.


Enough said! When you love something it's hard not to go on and on about it, right? As always, thanks for reading my blog and being a supportive force. I appreciate you! Share my blog with others and help me to grow my community, if that feels like something you wish to do.


From my home to yours,


Jacqueline




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