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Saving Money

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Two of my very favourite personal finance gal pals (HisandHerFI and Dumpster Dog) are hosting a no spend challenge, and I’m joining the fun. The goal is to rein in out of control spending, which I desperately need, and get your budget back on track. Instead of eliminating all excess spending, these fine ladies are asking you to choose three areas you won’t spend money on for the month of November. Sounds easy right? I thought so too! More on whether that’s true or not in a minute. Then each week, you share a weekly spend report with your accountability group and on your instastories. This month’s challenge is full, but come follow along with Bethany, Amanda, and me on Instagram and get inspired to do your own no spend challenge! My No Spend Challenge Goals To help rein in my budget, I chose three categories that are most likely…

Owning a home will likely be the biggest expense you ever have. If you’re saving up to buy your first place, then the upfront cost can seem unattainable, but that’s just the beginning. The ongoing maintenance costs will continue racking up year over year, and it’s so important you’re prepared for that with a fully-funded emergency fund and insurance. We bought our first home just over nine years ago and celebrated our first anniversary in our second home last week. Over that time there have been times where I’ve cursed our decision to buy (damn you leaking roof!) but also moments of pure joy (like when our DIY bathroom turned out super fab!) We’ve also learned a lot. Sometimes the hard way. And I wanted to share some of the money saving tips for homeowners that have saved us big bucks over the past almost decade. 1. Learn to be…

The big five banks in Canada have dominated the landscape for decades, but things are starting to change. In the last few years, there have been more and more online banks and investment companies opening and their promises of lower fees, higher rates, and improved service are getting customers to rethink how and where they bank. I made the switch to online banks a few years ago and haven’t looked back. And I’m not the only one. Millennials do things differently than their parents. My Dad STILL goes to the bank to take out cash every week (from the teller, gasp) and while he now has online banking, it’s not his first choice. I’ve been inside a bank one time that I remember over the past decade. And that was to pick up a bank draft when we were buying our house. Technology has made many of the everyday banking…

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…

If you are new to the personal finance universe, there are a few things you will learn. First, it’s basically the same as the Marvel Universe. There’s a lot of infighting and family drama, but at the end of the day, we all just want to save the world. Totally the same thing. The second thing as that we are mildly obsessed with phrases like net worth and cash flow. So what do those mean? Why are they important? And why are PF bloggers so hooked on tracking them? Net Worth vs Cash Flow: The Official Definitions To understand why they’re both important, you first need to understand what they are. Both are metrics for measuring your money, but they are for very different things. Net worth is the number you come up with when you add together all your assets and subtract all your liabilities. It gives you an…

I wouldn’t say I’m a professional road tripper, but after completing our third fairly extensive road trip in as many years, I’ve picked up some tips. Since we’re in peak holiday season, I wanted to share the best ways to save money on a road trip. Now, you all know that I’m not the most frugal person in the world. If I were, I would have embraced camping. The cheapest way to road trip will always be to pack a tent. Free or cheap accommodation and meals cooked over the fire will save money. Not my thing though. I’m not against a fire roasted hot dog, but I save up to vacation, and I want to do it my way. And that means sleeping in a room with a flushing toilet and checking out what the local food (and beer) scene has to offer. To make room for those expenses…

Remember back in the day when you had to go to a physical bank to take out money or pay a bill or open a new account? If you’re my Dad, that day is still today. But if you’re pretty much anyone else, then that’s likely a thing of the past. If you’re banking with one of the big banks, then you’ll still have access to brick and mortar locations, but I’m going to guess you do 99.9% of your banking online. The big questions though; are you paying for it? If the answer is yes, then I’d like to share with you the upside of no fee banking in Canada.  Seriously, bank fees are outdated. And not in the quirky vintage way. It used to be standard practice that you’d open a chequing and a savings account and pay a monthly fee for your bank to maintain the accounts.…

I have been an Optimum points earner since I signed up for my first Shoppers Optimum Card as make-up buying teenager. In that time I may have matured from buying Dr. Pepper flavoured Lip Smackers to bananas and ground beef, but I’m still an avid collector of points. The original Optimum program has shifted from being Shoppers only to the new PC Optimum program after Loblaws bought the brand in 2014. Since we moved into our first home, Superstore has been our grocery store of choice. And that means more opportunities for points. Earning PC Optimum Points The earning isn’t as straightforward as it used to be. It varies depending on where you shop. Shoppers Drug Mart When you make a purchase at Shoppers, you earn 15 points for every dollar spent. You’ll also receive Shoppers specific bonus offers that are tailored to your spending history. For example, right now…

Ok couples, real talk time. This one is for all of you in happy, nurturing, loving relationships who maybe aren’t as prepared as you should be. There’s no perfect couple (Instagram’s a damn liar!) but some couples are living the good life, and other’s who are struggling. If you’ve ever been in the second scenario, you’ll know how stressful it can be. And the role money can play in that situation. It is essential that you protect yourself from a failed relationship with access to cash. Your own money. In your own name. And not at all tied to your spouse! Thinking about the end of a relationship sucks. I get it. It’s like having the death talk with your parents. It’s important though. You need to prepare for the bad times during the good times. The Not So Pleasant Stats The divorce rate in Canada is 38%, and that…