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Want to Have the Time of Your Life in Vegas without Going Broke? This One Tool Can Help in a Big Way!

Las Vegas and budgeting are not two words that you can`t easily mix. If you go to Vegas,you will have to open up your wallet and be ready to spend money. There is no other way to do it, otherwise you may just stay home and not bother going.

Or is there?

Yes there is! You can go to Vegas, have the time of your life, all without having to go broke or max out your credit card. I did it myself this past July and my main and only tool to achieve this is something anyone can have. It is something we all use.

The Spreadsheet is your friend!

Using a spreadsheet, you can plan your Vegas vacation in advance, up to the hour, to avoid any surprises or needless spending on things you didn’t plan. In my case, I divided my spreadsheet by days, including what restaurants and shows we would be attending, so we had a good idea how much money we would spend, so budgeting for it was easier. Of course, there are things that we didn’t include in our sheet, like gambling or impulse purchases, but even those were nothing that would break the bank for us.

To some, going to Vegas is all about surprises and going with the moment, so the idea of budgeting and planning everything sounds strange to them, and that is fine. Each does things differently. But for those who have a limited budget, it is best to plan and budget things in advance and save yourself lots of money.

Netflix, Starbucks, Amazon: the axis of time, money and space misuse

Netflix-Starbucks-Amazon : they waste your time, money and space!

Finance books and literature love to use Starbucks and their expensive lattes (I admit, I don’t know what they cost and had to do some digging) as the perfect metaphor for money we habitually waste instead of saving it for something more useful in the future. And while it is not the end of the world to enjoy your favourite drink occasionally, especially on those cold snowy days where nothing else seems to do the trick to get you going, the steep price can quickly add up!

And while Starbucks and their lattes are used as metaphors for careless spending, we have others in this axis of personal waste. Netflix (and a whole host of other online apps like Instagram and Tiktok) , are starting to be blended into their own category: time wasters. AKA binge watching! A lot of you have been there: you watch Netflix or YouTube (me!) and before you know it, a whole hour (or half a day?) has passed by. And what do we have to show for it? Almost nothing in terms of productivity or return on personal development.

But here is a new one! What about Amazon (or your favourite online retailer) now being the ultimate space (and money of course) waster? With majority of our online shopping (proudly doesn’t apply to me other than buying books on Kindle that take no space) now taking place via Amazon, chances are a lot of homes and bedrooms are full of junk from Amazon. Ok, junk may be extreme as some of the stuff people buy on Amazon is useful (books, household essentials, new camera etc) but there is certainly lots of useless stuff that just sits there and doesn’t get used much, eventually becoming junk and taking up space. And this is even more prominent for Amazon Prime members (one of which happens to be a family member) . A friend of mine who also happens to be a Prime member, tells me that not a week goes by without one or more packages arriving from Amazon. And he has been a Prime member for years and years. Tell me his house is not full of Amazon junk by now?

As I said, I am proud to be the user of virtually none of this axis of money/time/space black-hole. Sure, there are the extreme odd times when I will use these sparingly or under special situations. Compare that to someone who uses all three:

($CAD pricing)

-Average of 3 Lattes per week (tall size) + 2 food item = $20 per week, or around $1040 or more a year

-Netflix: $17.99 a month = $216 annually

-Prime membership: $110 annually
Average of 1 purchase a week at $20 = $1040 annually

>>Total adds up to just under $2500! And that is not even counting money actually spent buying stuff on Amazon which is easily in the high hundreds, or thousands for a lot of people.

To some, this may be justified as it allows them access to three of their favourite things in life. But as we talked about earlier, these are more than just bad for your finance, but can be just as bad if not worse for robbing you of much needed time and space. And as we know, both are worth money. Time is money. And so is space, especially in our ever shrinking homes and condos.

There is time for everything. And while you can enjoy all the above, I feel like with these becoming a daily verb in our society and lexicon, some people are losing sight of how much they are wasting in terms of money, time and space to these big corporations.

Addicted to online gambling? here is how I beat it and with ease!

How to beat online gambling addiction

How to beat online gambling addiction!

I am no gambler or a gambling addict. I go to the casino when I am on vacation and happen to be close to a casino (Vegas anyone?) . And where I live, I rarely go to the casion. So the whole thing is like a novelty to me.

However, ever since OLG (Ontario Lottery Gaming; the body that regulates gambling in the province of Ontario) introduced online gambling through , I found myself gambling a bit too much for my standards. At least 1-2 times a month, for a total of about $30. I know, that may sound like nothing, and although I enjoy playing, I am careful to never exceed my losing tolerance.

This past August, I took a trip to Vegas, and this being a place where you can not easily avoid gambling, I fell in love with the Wheel of Forune slot machine. And to my fortune (pun intended), when I came back home, I realized has this popular slot machine. Ever since,  when I play online, I spend every cent playing this game. The thrill of waiting to spin the wheel is a lesson in pavlovian stimuli. In fact, the addiction got to a point where I was even going on youtube to watch others video playing this game. Don’t get me wrong, I may be using the word ‘addicted’ a bit too loosely here, becasue I was still playing the same amount as I have always played. The only difference is, instead of using my semi-monthly minimum deposit of $15 on different slot machine games, I was putting all of it on Wheel of Fortune.

And then I found an escape out of this addiction and it didn’t come accidentally. Thankfully, allows you to play any of their online slot games for free, in addition to playing with real money. So when I was out of money, I would switch to the free version, to satisfy my addiction to the WOF game. As I played the free version, and despite no money being involved, I found myself getting enough satisfaction from it. In fact, I tested this theory by depositing money and instead of playing for money first, to play for free first. And after doing this for about 15-20 min, I didn’t have the strong urge to spend my wagered money. My brain’s thirst to see the wheel spin was satisfied using the free games, so it didn’t care much for playing using real money, even if it meant winning no money.

This has now been my strategy to deal with online gambling ‘addiction’ and it has proved so successful, that I sometimes got a whole month without depositing money. I just use the free version and that satisfies my gambling ‘addiction’ and provides me that perfect pavlovian stimulus (the simple act of spinning the wheel, which may or may not mean big money in the real game)

How can you apply this to a real slot machine at a casino? Most likely, there will be no free version to play. Instead, look at finding free online slot machines to play at home before you head to the casino. After playing for an hour or more, you may found that you won’t be as eager and looking forward to your trip to the casino as you would have been if you didn’t play online for free. The free version will most likely satisfy your inner addicition. It worked for free and it doesn’t hurt to try and save yourself from the destruction of online or real gambling.

Where to find money in public? Let me give you three secret places that you are guaranteed to find money in!

What are the best places or spots to find money in the form of loose change in public? speaking from personal experience, the list of three places below is guaranteed to help you find money the next time you happen to be in one of them. Remember, take it only if the money can’t be returned to its rightful owners; just trying to keep ourselves honest here!

3 places to find loose change money in public

3 places to find loose change money in public







  • Vending machines and self pay parking : though more and more people are starting to use their credit cards to pay at these machines, some are still the old-fashioned way, only accepting coins. If you look closely or reach with your finger, it is amazing how much loose change is often left at the slot where rejected and returned coins are deposited.  And this is more prominent for parking lot self-pay machines. I don’t know why that is the case, but I guess people are in rush to get where they want to go, or don’t know how much money is needed exactly, so they deposit their loose change to pay, take their parking pass and leave. Try this the next few times you are paying for parking or at a vending machine.
  • Near the cashier at gas stations and grocery stores: this one never fails. Can’t go a few visits without spotting some loose change on the floor, at the foot of where you pay at a gas station, grocery or convenience stores in general. There is no secret to this, while people are trying to pay, they take out the money out of pocket, and unknowingly some of it drop and they don’t even notice. Heck, they probably do but don’t bother when it is a nickle or dime. Funny story: two weeks ago, I was at the check-out lane, paying for some items at the grocery store. An old lady that was ahead of me called me to let me know that I dropped some change. When I looked, there was 2 quarters that someone else had dropped. I told her I didn’t drop them and if they are not hers, I would take them. It wasn’t hers, so I went ahead and took them!
  • At the foot of Drive-Thru ATM Machines: this one has always puzzled me. Why the hell would there be loose change at the bottom of drive-thru ATM machines? it is not like the ATM is dispensing coins. So how do they end up there, especially when drivers are in their car to withdraw the money?  Obviously, compared to the two spots I discussed above, this one is more rare and not as frequent. But I would say I still find coins here at least 3 times a year. It all started 10 years ago when I was approaching an ATM machine with my car to withdraw some money. As I got closer, I noticed lots of change on the floor (right at the foot of the machine) . When I opened the door, there was close to $1.50 or more in there. I didn’t make anything of it and thought it was just by accident. But in the next months and years, this would repeat, and I don’t remember one year going by without finding some money at the foot of drive-thru ATM machines. My only explanation as to how this is happening is that people have their cards in the same pocket where their loose change is, so in a rush to take it out, some coins go out flying through the window! I don’t care how it happens (well I do feel bad for those who lose their money, but it is only few cents anyway!) as long as I spot and take it!

There you have it! Finding loose change at these spots won’t make you rich now or ever, but it will give you that cool feeling of finding money on the floor. Just put it in a piggy bank and in a few years, there may be enough there to buy you something worthwhile!

The shocking truth about your new year’s resolution: if you make it through January, it is a success

Is it time they renamed ‘New Year’s Resolution’ to ‘January’s Resolution’? Let me explain…

The easy secret to succeeding at your new year's resolution

The easy secret to succeeding at your new year’s resolution

Increasingly, less and less people are making any new year’s resolutions. The reason is simple: before January is even over, they will have declared it a failure and just move on without their resolution for the rest of the year. Whether it is to restrict their caloric intake for weight loss or saving 10% or more of every paycheck, people give up on their resolutions too fast.

But here is the shocking good news! What you do in the first few days and weeks of your resolution is what matters, even if you end up quitting. The effort you put towards keeping your resolution in the first 4-8 weeks is the most important part. That is when you build the fundamentals for long term success. More specifically, think of it as a ‘January’ rather than a ‘full year’ resolution. The psychology behind this is simple? it is much better for your brain to tackle one month than to have to cope with doing something for 12 months. In other words, take it month by month, starting from January.

I am not crazy about new year resolutions but I have made some in the last 5 years. Some were resounding success, well into the late stages of the year. While others didn’t last beyond January or February. But here is the shocker: for all the resolutions that I thought were failures, they actually weren’t after all. Upon closer look, and months after I had abandoned my resolutions, I realized that I was still practicing what I had started doing. I just hadn’t realized it. For example, my last year’s (2015) resolution was driving-related. I had vowed to ‘simply press lighter on the gas pedal’ in hopes of saving more money on gas. I started applying this obvious money-saving method for the first few weeks, well into mid February. Then I completely forgot about or stopped thinking of it as a resolution. When I remembered it late in the winter, I thought it was a failure since I was no longer applying it. But the fact of the matter is, ever since, I have noticed that I do apply my foot very lightly to the gas pedal. It is something I do subconsciously without even realizing or thinking about. That is explained in part by the initial and conscious effort I exerted in the first few weeks of my resolution. After that, my brain made it a habit and kept it with me, without me even realizing that I was still applying my energy to make my 2014 resolution a success. The important thing was to put the hard work in January at least, and then let your brain (subconscious) take over from there.

Another example comes from a previous year’s resolution. It was another simple resolution-the simpler the more chance of it being a success-to eat only once or none at all, at fast food restaurants per week. At first, it was a great success. In fact, there was a stretch in late January to early February where I didn’t eat from a fast food restaurant in over two weeks. But by late February, my resolution was starting to fall and I was eating at fast food places more than once or even twice a week. By April of that year, I had completely forgotten about this resolution and was eating fast food an average of 1-2 times a week. However, months and even years later, I now find myself eating junk food an average of once a week, if not at all per week. In other words, the effort I put in the short term back then, is paying off now in the long term.

As you can see from the two personal examples above, the work you put in the first month is what sets the stage for long term success. Even if you end up going back to your old habits, in the long term, you probably have set the wheels of change in motion. You go back to old habits after one or two months only briefly. After that, and without even realizing it, you will start applying the principles that set your resolutions in motion. The key is to start January 1st in hopes of making this a lifelong change. And don’t make it too hard for yourself. Make it a fun journey, one that will last you a lifetime.

Just remember, don’t start your resolution in hopes of concluding it by Jan 31 and expecting that to be enough to make your new behavior last for good. Rather, you should start your resolution with no end date in sight. If you go long enough without breaking your resolution-at least for a 6 weeks or more-then you will have likely conditioned your brain to pick the habit and keep it for good. And since this is a financial blog, starting January 1st will give you more than enough time to achieve your goals, be it to save money, eliminate debt or get better at stock trading.

The Keys to Financial Success, what are they?

Guest Post

I won’t make a mistake if I tell that each person dreams of financial success, but there is a question: do all of us know the essential

What are the keys to your financial success?

What are the keys to your financial success?

measures to be taken to achieve it? Instead of dreaming and visualizing the winning of a jack pot isn’t it more useful to find out the keys to financial well-being and make it a way of your life? Below you will find the main points to keep to in order to achieve the financial goal you set.

Create an emergency fund

Start from now and set up a fund for emergency cases which will allow you to finance about half a year of living. Life is changeable and this is crucial in case you lose a job, get injured or fall ill. Such financial cushion will support you through rough times and will allow you to get back on your feet. It will also prevent you from getting into debt if the disaster comes out of the blue. Having no such fund may lead you into a deep financial trap, which may result in paying loans back with other taken on and spending money on high interest rates.

Insure your life

Ask a simple question to yourself: will your family be able to live their usual life if you die tomorrow? In case of negative answer the chance is high that you should think of life insurance policy to replace your income in the worst case. A lot of aspects should be considered before you make up your mind as to the right insurance option. They are – your current loan obligations, financial responsibilities, coming expenses of the dependents and their ability to compensate the income they lose with your pass away.

Avoid Consumer Debt

The main thing you can do to guarantee your financial stability is simple yet effective – live within your means. Don’t overspend and keep to your budget. Though it’s simple, nowadays people have too many temptations to get a new gadget now and to pay then, to put your winter trip on a credit card, to take a quick cash loan for some new clothing. Keep in mind that your credit cards or loans interest rates are often rather high and keep you tied down with payments.

Make a careful consideration of your expenses and make a plan of spending less than your income is. It’s quite possible that it will require a change of your usual lifestyle, but your savings will bring you a pleasant surprise when you see it quickly rising.

Make Contributions to Your Retirement Plan

Do you have a retirement plan yet? Find out if there is one at the place of your employment and set up regular contributions, even though you may think you are too young to bother yourself with the thoughts about retirement. The earlier you begin, the more saving you will accumulate when the time comes to retire.

Ask For Professional Advice

Do not hesitate to ask for a professional advice from a financial consultant to make sure you keep the right direction on your way to financial well-being. The money experts can help you manage your finances to their full potential and to your best benefit. The advantage of a professional consultancy is that you get the guidance for your particular situation and the one which suits your very needs.