What Do You Want to Do With Your Money?

Happy New Year everyone! I hope everybody had a fabulous holiday and that your credit card bills are not the least bit scary this month.

Before I get into today’s post, let’s have a bit of a fireside chat, because it’s been a while and I’ve missed the blog community!

I’ve been on a bit of an unplanned hiatus because I caught the flu then bronchitis and I’ve basically looked and felt like this for the last month:

Since this is a personal finance blog, and not WebMD, I’m mentioning this because being under the weather for such a big chunk of time (relative to my usual 2 days of a cold per year) changed the way my finances looked for the month of December and made me so grateful for my “things I didn’t budget for” line. Continue reading “What Do You Want to Do With Your Money?”

My Number One Money-Saving Tip

Today I’m sharing the number 1, single biggest thing I did to improve my money-management and build my savings. Seriously. This isn’t click-bait either – this is legit the one thing that keeps me on track and that I regularly kick myself for not doing sooner.

What is this miracle trick?

Automating my savings.

That’s it.

I call it a trick because it literally does feel like I’m tricking myself into saving.

It’s an awesome feeling to get to the end of the month and be like, “I saved that much? And I still have that much left over?” Continue reading “My Number One Money-Saving Tip”

My Top 15 Frugal Wins

You’ve heard of the Latte Factor, right? (If you haven’t, go read Desirae’s post from last week, it’s awesome).

Basically, the Latte Factor is the concept that spending money every day on small things (like lattes) adds up to big amounts of money spent over time. It’s controversial though, because people have different ideas about whether spending those small amounts every day is bad money management or worthwhile spending.

Reading about the latte factor got me thinking though… not about the small amounts of money I spend in a day, but about all the small amounts of money I save. Continue reading “My Top 15 Frugal Wins”

Money Lessons for a Younger Me

My office window overlooks one edge of the university campus in my city, which means that in the month of September, I have a front row seat to all of the students returning to campus and new students arriving.

(It also means it takes me 45 minutes to get out of my building because OMG all these students have cars for some reason and seem to enjoy sitting in traffic outside my office when they should be getting off my lawn).

Every year, when I see the students come back, I think of my own university experience and the things I know now that would have helped me then. Continue reading “Money Lessons for a Younger Me”

How to Avoid the Christmas Spending Binge

It’s Labour Day! But can we talk about Christmas for a minute?

So, hi. I am that person that starts counting down to Christmas by like… July. I know, I know, SO ANNOYING, right? But it’s cool, guys. The Christmas spirit sustains me through your side-eye.

bai

I start decorating November 1st every year.

My (two) tree(s) is up for at least a month.

Bronner’s (the world’s largest Christmas store) is legit one of my favourite places on earth.

My satellite radio is tuned to the “all Christmas all the time” channels from the day they go on air to the day they go off. That’s like 2 straight months of carols.

I’m that person. Continue reading “How to Avoid the Christmas Spending Binge”

The Emergency Fund

Hello long-lost friends! I am back after a couple of weeks of studying, exams, and wedding travel. And since my last two weeks have been somewhat chaotic, it seems like a good time to talk about how to keep your financial sanity during times of surprise expenses.

The issue of emergency funds among personal finance bloggers tends to be a bit divided – with some of the opinion that emergency funds are crucial and others writing that they are not necessary at all. While there are compelling arguments for both sides, I must admit that I am in the first camp – for me, an emergency fund is a must-have.

The good news about emergency funds in Canada is that Canadians have an average of $41,694 in emergency savings. That’s awesome.

The not-so-good news is that a quarter of Canadians don’t have anything set aside for emergencies at all. And of those who do, almost half have less than $5000 saved. Not awesome. (source)

Continue reading “The Emergency Fund”

Sh*t Happens

Guys, I’m in an interesting mood today. I’m in a financial funk. Does that ever happen to you? It’s a beautiful day outside, the sun is shining, I’m fresh off a great long weekend, and yet, I’m feeling kind of down.

The first reason is that I’m looking back at the month of July, which was a month of setbacks for me. I started the month off with a mechanic’s bill that was almost $600 more than I expected. I had to replace a headlight and a taillight in the same week. My trusty flat iron died. (You may be thinking this is not a big deal and I could just wait to buy a new one in a couple of months, but guys – I use this thing every day to avoid looking like a yield sign. I grieved.)

Continue reading “Sh*t Happens”

Hey Millennials, Let’s Talk Retirement

At work, I am the youngest person in my 50-person department. It’s almost a daily occurrence that someone makes a joke about how I don’t know what a ditto copy smells like or how their pop culture references go over my head (hey, I had TV Land. I’ve seen Happy Days.)

I can weather these comments. I’m happy to be young, thankyouverymuch. What does get to me though is the references to how my retirement is so far away and how I don’t have to worry about it yet. When talk of pensions comes up, they expect me to roll my eyes and tune out of the conversation.

I get it, I do. My employer sends me an annual pension report that tells me what my pension balance looks like now and what it might look like at my projected retirement date. That date is in the 2040s. The way I imagine the 2040s is probably similar to how people in the 1960s imagined the 21st century when the Jetsons aired; it seems inconceivably far away.

In reality, it’s not. They project that I will retire at 55 which is a pretty sweet retirement age for the average person. I can handle that. It’s easy though to prioritize other things over retirement if you think of it as an isolated event so far in the future that you’ll always have years to prepare for it. It’s easy, but it’s wrong. Continue reading “Hey Millennials, Let’s Talk Retirement”

Are You Middle Class?

It seems that people are always talking about the middle class. Politicians target them for votes. Advertisers target them to buy products. We grew up watching them on TV (I’m looking at you, Tanners). And it might make sense, because when you hear people describe their economic situation, most people do tend to say that they are “middle class”. The thing is, in reality, they’re probably wrong.

saywhat

But then… what are they? Are they richer or poorer? Who is the mysterious middle class? Turns out, most of us are basically living one big financial identity crisis.

Complicating things is the fact that we don’t always agree on what “middle class” actually means. This is because there are actually a lot of different ways to measure what the middle class looks like. Our helpful friends at MoneySense pulled the stats, so that you can see some different ways to slice the data to find out where you sit in relation to your fellow Canadians, and whether or not you truly are the middle class Canuck you say you are. Continue reading “Are You Middle Class?”

Bank Fees are Holding Your Money Hostage

Do you know how much money you’re paying in bank fees?

I’ve had bank accounts with the same bank since I was 10 years old (thanks Grandma!) and for most of my life, they’ve been good to me. The people at my regular branches are always wonderful, and the accounts I had did what I needed them to do… until I entered the real world.

When I was in university, I went in to set up an RRSP (that time I should have also opened a TFSA) and as the rep was typing away, he casually asked me when I was done school. I thought he was just making conversation, but dude must have made a note somewhere because the month I graduated, my account changed from a no-fee student account to a $14.95/month chequing account. Continue reading “Bank Fees are Holding Your Money Hostage”