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Paying Off Debt

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Sarah, let’s talk. I know you’re all wrapped up in living that student life and think listening to your 33-year-old self is oh so lame, but I’ve got some things to say. You might feel like you’ve got everything under control, but let’s be honest, you’re still living with your parents (good money-saving move by the way) and can only cook eggs in the microwave so don’t get too high on yourself. Life has a way of bringing you right back down to earth. I want you to know that things will be okay. You’ll learn and grow and love and hurt, but you’ll be satisfied, and that’s more than a lot of people can say. But, there are a few things you could be doing right now to make things even better. And yes, I’m here to rag on your spending habits. Money will be a more significant part…

One of the most important things to understand about personal finance is the impact of interest rates. It plays a role in how quickly you can pay off debt but also on how fast your money will grow. If you’ve ever carried high-interest credit card debt, then you’ll know how punitive it is. And on the flip side, if you’ve ever left a sizable chunk of money in your chequing account, you’ll know that it will earn you pennies. Tracking and understanding the interest rates you are paying or earning can make a noticeable difference whether you are paying off debt or trying to grow your money. Interest Rates on Debt Unless you’ve received an interest-free loan from your very wonderful family, debt is not free. Sure you get access to money you might need, but it’s going to come at a cost. And depending on the type of debt…

Have you ever felt like you’re running in circles when it comes to your finances? Whether you are paying off debt or building up your savings, you often hit a point when you wonder what the heck it’s all for. At the beginning of your journey, you’re inspired. You want to kick that debt or grow your net worth and are willing to do just about anything to get there. Then…the dreaded middle. Motivation starts to wane and the temptation of spending kicks into high gear. How come your friends get to have fun, and you’re stuck at home ‘saving money.’ Screw responsibility, I want a $16 craft cocktail…or four! How do you get past that? I want to share a few tricks I’ve used to keep on plugging away even when the money struggle is real. Remember The Plan Something triggered you to get on this path, don’t forget…

As you guys know, we recently bought a new house. And a new house means a new mortgage. And a new mortgage means debt. And debt is bad, right? Well yes…and no. If you can pay cash for something (and by that I mean charge it to your credit card for the points and pay it off stat), then you should. Paying the bank to charge to lend you money is a loss, there’s no arguing that. But very, very few of us would ever be able to afford to buy a home if we always stuck to that rule. Good Debt VS Bad Debt Let’s say there is a sliding scale of awfulness when it comes to debt. Payday loans are the worst of the worst. They’re like the Charles Manson of debt. They are incredibly punitive, with interest rates often reaching 300% annually. At the other end of…

Let’s talk about consumer debt; the Cruella de Vil of personal finance. I’m sure we all remember the day we got our first credit card. It was exciting, right? All of a sudden you had access to money at just the swipe of a card and you didn’t have to worry about when your pay cheque was getting deposited. It’s a big jump into adulthood, but not one that we all dealt with responsibly. I don’t have a story of paying off a considerable sum of debt, but I did struggle with keeping my consumer debt under control. Having a credit card made it too easy to rack up purchases that I wasn’t able to cover when my bill showed up the next month. Getting into this cycle can turn innocent purchases into a debt spiral in a pretty short timeframe. Once you’re in that cycle, paying off consumer debt…

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone 💖 Whether you’re celebrating or not, there’s nothing wrong with sending out the love (and chocolate…there is nothing wrong with sending chocolate). The bf and I are not big on Valentine’s Day, it’s rare for us to go out and we don’t exchange gifts. I find that restaurants are so busy and a lot of places do a ‘special’ menu for the night, which often doesn’t stand up to their usual fare. Instead, we stay in and cook dinner together. Sometimes it’s fancy, sometimes it’s meatballs and mashed potatoes (that’s tonight if you couldn’t tell, but we’re doing real potatoes, you know, cause it’s Valentine’s Day). Now onto the other big event in February….RRSP season. February rolls around and all of a sudden everyone is concerned about making their RRSP contribution before the March 1st deadline. One quick note on that…it will make your life…

There is one topic in money that everyone can agree on, and that’s wanting to improve your credit. People who have bad credit want good credit and people who have good credit want great credit. Watching that three-digit number grow is like a drug, but you know, a good one. If you are working on bringing your score up into that ‘good’ range, there’s one thing you need to know. There is no quick-fix for bad credit. I repeat, there is no quick-fix for bad credit. If you Google ‘bad credit’ or ‘fix credit score’ you will get endless results from places promising you a quick fix. These are scams. They will cost you money and do nothing to fix your credit. As long as you make your payments and don’t take on too much debt your credit will improve, it just takes time. For those who know that a…

To buy or not to buy…that is the question of the season. Every time the holidays roll around there is this debate about how much you should spend. There are the naysayers that don’t buy gifts and choose to celebrate in other ways. Then there are those who spend like crazy people and end up battling debt well into the New Year. And, of course, you have those of us who land smack dab in the middle, spending within their budgets, but spending nonetheless. Today I’m talking about how I find value in presents and also passing on a few of my favourite ideas in my Christmas gift guide. The Stats The average Canadian spends over $1,500 each on Christmas 45% of that spending goes towards travel expenses 58% of consumers plan to shop local, but price is still the driving factor in choosing gifts 62% of Canadians still plan…

I am lazy. There are very few things that sound better to me than ordering in dinner, pouring a glass of wine and sitting in front of the TV to binge watch a new show. Even if I make plans, I very often dread them until I’m actually out the door and on my way. I know this about myself. I will put things off until the last possible second…you can call me the Queen of procrastination. I’m also a rule follower, so missing a deadline would be worse than doing the work. My life is basically a balancing act of procrastinating and then hurriedly getting the job done. Might not sound like a joy ride, but it works…almost always. What does my laziness have to do with my finances? Well, it means that if I don’t make things as simple as possible, they won’t get done. Saving money doesn’t…

The recent Equifax hack has plenty of people concerned about identity theft and curious to know what steps they can take to keep their information protected. I’ve been lucky (knock on wood) and have never had to deal with a serious case of identity theft. I have had fraudulent charges on my credit card, but that’s so common now that it almost feels like a right of passage. Those are fairly easy to deal with. In my experience, I was able to contact my credit card company and have the charges overturned within a week. That meant I was never actually out the money. I have heard fraudulent charges on debit cards can be more of a hassle. It often takes the banks longer to make the correction and refund the payment so you might find yourself strapped for cash in the meantime. By far the worst case scenario is having your…