Literally all posts.This is the best place to binge-read, if that's what you're into!
I have debt. A few years ago that sentence would have sent me into a total tailspin. I was always so adamant about not carrying credit card debt (still am, btw) and I even bought my first car in cash. Debt was not a part of my financial life. But right now, it is....
It’s easy to be confident about money if you’ve got a formal education in finance, or if you’ve been rocking your money management for ages. But if you’re not quite there yet? There are steps you can take as part of your everyday life (no marathon study sessions...
If you’re filing your taxes online (in Canada, that is) you need to know about these two bananas-great things the CRA offers to make your life easier. I know, not what you were expecting, but they’re legitimately awesome.
If you’re being inundated with emails and messages about how you should contribute more to your RRSP, don’t worry. Here’s everything you need to know about making the right choice for you, sans sales pressure (your RRSP will still be there on March 2nd.)
This show isn’t all about warm fuzzy feelings (even though it’s also totally about that.) There are some key things you can learn about spending money from the new season of Queer Eye.
There’s one horrible, no-good, very-bad money phrase you need to strike from your vocabulary: “I’ll do it when I make more money.” Saying this can cost you literally thousands of dollars, so here’s what to do instead.
There’s a time and a place for full-on budgets, for sure. But if you’re a pro who’s tired of allocating $13 a month to “shampoo” in your budget, this will help you drastically simplify your budgeting efforts.
Someone emailed me an awesome question: if you’re spending a ton on things like Uber, is it time to buy a car? Here’s how to tackle that question for yourself, based on your unique situation (and the real costs of car ownership.)
If you don’t have renter’s insurance, and you’re renting? Stop everything right now and read this post. $15 a month could save your butt in the worst-case scenario, and buying renter’s insurance is so much easier than it sounds.
2017 was a year of hustle, and because that was my focus, it got done. This year is all about finding a balance, especially because last year, I burnt out hard. This is how I’m coming back from it.
The holiday season is about giving, but did you know that it can be an especially great time to donate money to your fave charities? Here is why, and how it might have a great impact on your taxes for the year.
Ever feel like finance just “isn’t for you”? Like maybe it’s for old dudes in suits exclusively? It’s not. Everyone deserves to feel confident about their money, and luckily, it’s easier than ever to get started.
Wondering what to buy for the personal finance nerd in your life this holiday season—or how to give the gift of personal finance knowledge without it being hella weird? I got you with this gift guide.
There’s a lot of hate around Black Friday Cyber Monday in personal finance circles, but I’m not here for it. I think that there are a lot of ways to approach this shopping season that are totally A-OK.
Can new technology help you save more money? With this new offering from RBC, the answer is definitely yes – and you don’t need to download an app or give away your banking login to make it happen.
When I look back at my time as a student, I realize my budget (or lack thereof) was best defined as “dumb luck.” It all worked out, sure, but not because of any kind of system. Here’s what I wish I had done instead.
If you’ve seen any standard retirement advice, like “Save 1x your income by the time you’re 30” and been horrified—don’t worry. You don’t need to save that much, as long as you’re investing your money. Here’s how.
If you have a car, you definitely fill it up—but did you know there’s a way to save money on every purchase you make at the gas station (in Canada)? Check out how you can do it, no new loyalty cards required.
There is a lot of hype around how eating less meat, or no meat, can save you a lot of money. Here is a real-life look at how much I have saved on our grocery bill by cutting meat out of my diet for the past few months.
There is sooooo much talk about joint accounts between couples—but trust me, you don’t actually need one. If you want to start sharing a few things with a partner, there’s an easier (and more effective) way to do it.
One of my most “controversial” opinions is that you should treat your house as a place you live, not an investment… because it’s not. That doesn’t mean you can’t buy a house if you want one, though. You just need to do these things first.
Planning out a wedding budget isn’t all that different than planning out your regular budget—so whether or not you’re engaged, this post has solid money advice you can apply to your money.
If you want to scale down your spending and find more money in your budget, there’s no need to get extreme about it. This simple step will help you make manageable, do-able progress towards your money goals.
It’s so easy to feel guilty spending on things that feel luxurious—but sometimes that guilt is totally unnecessary. Here’s how you can figure out whether you can afford to spend on that luxury thing, guilt-free.
You can try to squeeze more into your budget, or you can try to squeeze more out of your budget. Here’s which one is best, and how it’ll make you way happier than the other (and less stressed, too).
When I started shopping around for a new cell phone plan, it seemed impossible to find a good, cheap plan in Canada. That is, until I found my current plan, with a company you should really consider.
I was one of those people who fully embraced the “work uniform” concept, for over two years. Then… I stopped. Here’s why, and what I’ve learned from doing and stopping a work uniform approach.
Learning about money in real life can be intimidating. Where do you go? Do you have to wear a suit? What if they think you know more than you do?! Here’s how to learn about money without ever having to leave the house.
Groceries and restaurants can be two of the biggest budget line items in anyone’s budget (after housing, of course). Scaling back on them isn’t easy, because you need to eat, but these four tips will help you do it sans giving up the stuff you love to eat.
It’s been two years now that I’ve been running Half Banked, and here are my absolutely favourite parts so far—and the things that were… ahem… challenging. It’s not all fun and games, even if it is mostly fun and games!
You might have already gotten a sales pitch about whole life insurance, or you might get one in the future. I’m here to help, by explaining why you almost 100% do not need whole life insurance, and what you should get instead when you do need some kind of life insurance.
Even if something seems normal, because everyone you know is doing it, doesn’t mean it’s a good financial plan (or even a reasonably good idea). Here’s what to do instead, with some specific examples of Things Not To Do—that everyone definitely does.
We bought a lot of things when we moved into our new house. Like… a LOT of things. Here’s everything that was definitely worth it, and that we’d buy again, and what we’d skip if we had a do-over.
There’s a specific kind of financial advice that drives me batty. It’s when people advise you to just stop spending money on something they consider frivolous—even if it’s something you love. It’s bad advice for a number of reasons, and the first one is that is just doesn’t work.
It can be intimidating to call in and ask for help—especially if you have no idea what to say—but speaking up the right way could save you major money. Here’s how to do it, with specific examples, from an expert!
It is so, so, so tempting to buy individual stocks, especially if you hear people around you having great success with it. But will you actually be able to beat the market and “win” at picking stocks? Here are your actual odds.
When you’re saving up for a house, every penny counts. No seriously, every penny. When you’re looking for ways to add money to your savings, don’t overlook tactics like this one that can help add hundreds to your savings goal.
I sat down with my fiance to talk about his cryptocurrencies—what he has, how he got it, and what it all means. We’re not retiring on his Bitcoin or anything, but there are some solid lessons for anyone about investing in here, even if you still don’t really “get” crypto.
Listen, planning to give up all the stuff you like, FOREVER, just to afford a house is a bad plan. You will cave eventually, and you will be miserable in the meantime. Here is how to balance your budget for both—your house and the stuff you love.
If you’re buying a home (in Canada), you’ll need to be really careful about planning for CMHC and other closing costs. I mean, you’ll have closing costs anywhere, sure, but these ones are what you need to watch out for here!
There’s a lot of pressure out there to omg-buy-a-house-ASAP… but it turns out, you can be a successful human who will retire just fine even if you never own property. Here’s a few of the ways people will convince you to buy, and how to reply if you’re just not ready yet (or ever).
If you’re gearing up to get pre-approved for your first mortgage (yay! so exciting!) here’s what you’ll need to know to make the process totally smooth and stress-free.
When we sold our place, I kept track of everything we spent on the process—and spoiler alert, it was not cheap. (And that’s not even counting the sheer stress of the process, although I did count some of the convenience purchases we made to alleviate the stress!)
Passive income is a real thing—but maybe not in the way that you’re thinking. Running a blog? Not passive income. Investing your money, and having it work for you? Pretty heckin’ passive. Here’s how I got started.
Wondering if you have the right cards in your wallet—or what the heck that even means for you? I’ve got you covered, with everything you need to know to make sure your credit cards are working for you as hard as they can.
Whether your side hustle is a few bucks here and there, or a more structured, consistent source of income, you need to manage it (and you definitely need to track it for tax time!). Here’s a system I use to do exactly that.
If you’re looking for a book designed to help you get your financial life together, look no further! This is a review of Broke Millennial, by Erin Lowry, which shot to the top of my book-recommendation list when it came out.
What’s a “magic money number”? And how can you find out what it is for you? (It’s different for everyone, FYI.) This guest post from Alyssa at Mixed Up Money breaks it all down for you.
Here are some easy wins you can still crush this year, no matter how much of the year is left. They’re not hard, and they’ll have a big positive impact on your money!
Not all the budgeting advice out there is worth listening too, for two major reasons. Here’s how to work around them, and figure out what actually works for your life.
Wondering how you can build a budget that works for real life? Here’s what baking The Hardest Cookies Known To Man (in skill, not consistency) taught me, and how the heck that all applies to money.
This is not some “The Secret” post about how if you just think magically, money will show up in your life. Nope, it’s much more focused on how to make choices and think of options you had never considered—especially not when every piece of standard wisdom says you can’t do this stuff.
There will be months – possibly many of them – where try as hard as you might, you go way the heck over budget. This is how I handle it, and how you can make sure it ends up being a productive thing for you and your money (and hey, it happens!)
Before you can buy a house, you need to come up with a downpayment – and saving it is easier said than done. Here are the best tips to save up five figures for a house, based on my experience doing exactly that.
Looking for a list of things you should tackle before you buy a house? Step right up pals, because I did all the heavy lifting for you. Here are the top five things you need to tackle before you buy a house.
To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, RBC asked Canadians how they would use $150 to make an impact in their communities—and then they actually gave them the money to make it happen. Here’s just a few of the amazing stories.
Yes, I started this blog to try to save half my income. Yes, I got there (eventually). But there’s more to the story than that, which is why I’m pulling back the curtain with some real-talk about how it happened.
If you’ll be getting money back from filing your taxes this year… yay! While there are a lot of Totally Optimal Things You Should Always Do with that money, here’s a different look at it. How can you spend the money to achieve maximum happiness?
Wondering how you can possibly do your taxes yourself? Trust me, it’s not as hard as Tax People make it seem (especially not with my one true tax love, SimpleTax, made by Really Great Tax People Who Want You to Be Happy.) Here’s everything you need to DIY your taxes this year.
Not everything about money has to be all “deprivation this” and “stop spending that”. There are plenty of ways to be A+ at money that don’t suck, and here are four major ones you can do anytime.
Sure, starting to bank online is A Thing I Recommend, but I’m not naive: I know it can feel like a pretty big step for a lot of people, especially since it can seem like this big black hole of “How?!” questions. How do I actually sign up? How do I switch over all of...
Trust me, everyone has weird spending patterns—and it actually makes you better at money. Here’s how.
While I’m not usually a fan of things you “have” to do…. this is a list of the ones I 100% stand behind. (And they’re not all that hard!)
Tracking my spending has been the most powerful thing I’ve ever done for my money, and it’s honestly not even close. Here’s how you can do it yourself—plus, you can snag the spreadsheet I use and love.
Trust me, it’s something anyone can do – even if you don’t consider yourself an “investor.”
Not sure where to begin when it comes to creating a plan to manage your money? Start here, with these four steps that are totally do-able for beginners and pros alike.
Um, what?! It’s true—money goals aren’t really a thing. The things you (and I!) think of as money goals are really just in service of our actual goals, whether it’s homeownership, travel, or whatever it is we really want.
Wondering how you can plan for a holiday budget that actually works? (And doesn’t totally forget how much you spend on things like new shoes for the holiday party?) I got you fam, with a downloadable worksheet and everything.
If you’ve got a credit card with an annual fee, here’s a few different ways to get it waived.
Here’s everything I learned (and did) at the Canadian Personal Finance Conference in 2016.
Your RRSP is a heckin’ powerful account that can save you a lot of money in taxes—if you use it properly. Figure out all the nuances of the account and how to use it right this way.
Everything you didn’t learn in school about what the TFSA is, how it can help you retire a rich lady, and why it’s basically the worst name ever given to a tax-advantaged account.
It’s been a while since I shared a hilarious tale of the times I did the opposite of what standard financial advice - whether my own or someone else’s - would have recommended in that situation. For reference, the things I’ve been an example of how NOT to do include...
You’re not born knowing how to manage your money, just like you’re not born knowing how to ride a bike. You need to learn both in order to do them – but money is way less optional than biking.
Since this is a financial blog, it seems only fitting that I’d write about the money side of wearing the same thing to work every day—which is something I did for almost two years, so I speak from experience.
You don’t have to give up your lattes (or those other things you like) to be “good at money”. You just have to be intentional about spending on the things that matter to you.
If you need to (or want to) explore your credit card options, you might think that asking friends if they like their credit card is the right question. Spoiler alert: it’s not, and isn’t how you should look for a card. Here’s why.
I learned a lot during the first year I tracked my spending – some good things, some uh… not so good. But at the end of the day, the lessons were so worth it. If you’re thinking of tracking your spending, here’s what you might get out of it.
How much did I actually spend on my blog in the first year I tracked my spending? Here’s the result (and spoiler alert, it went up the next year, haha.) If you’re thinking of starting a blog, consider these costs as part of your plans!
Wondering how much – like, to the penny – I spent on my luxury dog this year? (Luxury because of his costs, not his breed, lol.) Here’s the full breakdown based on a year of tracking my spending.
I like to consider myself a fairly frugal car person. Probably because as any Real Car Person would tell you, I’m not a car person at all. That factor alone helps keep my car costs way down, but I wanted to know: how much does it really cost to own a used car for a...
I am all about having multiple savings accounts. Here’s why, and how they can help you level up your financial situation.
We spent ten days travelling in the Rockies, and this is everything we did (plus how much it costs!)
Trimming your cell phone bill is a great way to save money every month – this collab with Public Mobile can help you do it.
Here are five excellent blog posts that will help you seriously up your money game—from women who are killing the game.
This is what my first year of blogging about money on the internet was *really* like.
If you’re saving money, in an ideal world, you won’t spend it… but we don’t always live in an ideal world. This is a real-world approach to keeping your savings where you want them: in your bank account.
I never thought that saving an extra $25 a month would have a big impact on my retirement… except it turns out, it really, really does. Here’s the tool I used to figure it out.
You deserve time off to do the things you like, no matter what they are. There’s nothing inherently wrong with however you like to spend your free time.
Ever wish you could go back in time and like, buy Apple when they were just starting? You can’t, but there is something you can do today that’s basically the same thing.
Wondering if automating your investments is right for you? Here’s ten reasons why it is (yes, for you!)
If you’ve got money goals, there’s going to come a day when you don’t end up hitting them. Don’t worry – it’s not the end of the world, and you can actually use it to get better at money.
The one thing that can really throw a wrench in your monthly budget? Irregular expenses. Whether it’s an insurance payment, a medical purchase, a vet bill or something else entirely, here’s how to plan for them so you can handle them with ease.
If you’re thinking of buying a house, you’re probably doing the back-and-forth battle between saving more (to avoid CMHC fees) and buying earlier. Here’s how much you actually need to save for a downpayment.
Even when you know what the right thing to do IS, that doesn’t mean that you know how to do it.
Whether or not you can afford a house relies on a few basic numbers. I broke them down using the Ottawa market as an example.
No matter what your goals are, or how tight money is, you have to allocate at least something to spend on things you like—no matter how little it is, it’ll save your budget. Seriously.
If you’ve heard all the robo-advisor hype, and you’re sold on the approach but need a bit of help choosing one? This is what you need to know before you invest with a robo-advisor.
One of the most dangerous things millennials can say about money is “Oh, I’ll never retire.” You probably will, and it’ll be way better if you plan for it a little bit. Here’s how.
These pieces of advice were hard lessons to learn when I was a new grad, and they’re the things I’d tell myself if I could go back to that time.
If you’ve never comparison shopped your car insurance, you might be surprised at how much you can save. I sure was, which is why I (finally) switched my car insurance provider.
There are a few key things to know before you jump into investing – but it’s not as many as you think, and they’re easier than you think, too.
You don’t have to commit tons of time to make a big impact on your money. Here are five quick wins you can score in under an hour.
I don’t do regular updates anymore, but when I did, this was a big one: I finally managed to save half my income. Here’s how I did it, and what I spent money on.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to choose and manage your credit cards – and LOLOLOL I did it the wrong way for a heckin’ long time. Learn from my mistakes right this way.
There’s one key step most people (myself very much included) skip when it comes to budgeting, and it’s a crucial one.
If you’re tracking your spending this month, and you’ve been studiously avoiding your spreadsheet because you know you’re over budget already? This is exactly how to handle it productively.
A gym membership is one of those weird things when it comes to your money. It can be a totally useless expense, or it can be the best money you spend every month.
Back when I still did spending recaps, this was a look at how one month (specifically, February) went in terms of my spending and saving.
These are the strategies that helped me do exactly that. It’s not easy, but it is definitely possible.
Even if you don’t ever read this post, the answer is no. Here’s why not.
If you’re just getting started with investing, does how much you save matter more than your investment returns? I found out by accident.
If you aren’t tracking your spending, I’d bet there’s a lot of spending that goes unnoticed for you – and it’s not your fault. It’s literally just how our brains work.
Thinking about getting a pet with your significant other? Here’s what you two need to discuss first – and they are not optional.
Learn from my mistakes, pals. This is how I bought car insurance, and spoiler alert: it was the wrong way, and I way overpaid for the coverage I needed.
Even if it’s not the new year right now, you can still give yourself the gift of a fresh start – with your money or any of your other goals.
If you’re considering using your line of credit as an emergency fund, here’s what to think about before making that call.
I wore the same thing to work every day for two years. If you’re thinking of doing the same thing, you’re probably wondering what people will think. Here’s the three things I heard from my coworkers about the whole thing (it’s not what you think).
If you’re thinking about getting a dog, you’ve probably heard people say dogs are expensive. I heard the same thing before getting one, but holy heck, people are not joking. Here’s how much our doggo costs us each month.
Instead of focusing on what you want to do, try focusing on the stuff you’ve already done.
Staying in a super-luxury hotel taught me a few key lessons about money, and how I want to spend it.
If you understand this one concept, and how you fit into it, you’ll have a much easier time switching up your money habits.
If you’re aiming for a new money goal, you need to look at how your habits do (or don’t) support that goal.
This one time, I decided to stop being “anonymous” on the blog—because I wasn’t very good at it. This is that announcement post, plus a now-cringeworthy video.
If you’re coming up to an expensive holiday season, DIY-ing some gifts can be a big help to stay within your budget.
The easiest way to stay within your holiday spending limit is to set one in the first place. Here’s how to do it based on your unique financial and holiday situation.
You know what will be a bigger help to your holiday budget than almost anything else? Talking openly about it with your loved ones. (You can do it, I promise.)
The day after Black Friday Cyber Monday is Giving Tuesday – and in case you hadn’t heard of it, here’s how to make the most of it.
Personally, the answer is “a lot.” That’s why I ended up spending money to upgrade my sleeping situation – sometimes, frugality isn’t the answer!
There’s a lot of talk about how saving “more” than the recommended amount can help you retire early – but it can help you do a whole lot more than that too.
No matter how free something is, if it doesn’t also hit this one criteria, you shouldn’t accept it. Period.
If you have a pet, do you need a pet emergency fund? This post breaks down the pros and cons, and the strategy I’m using to make sure my dog is totally covered.
Follow along as I break down exactly how I planned my emergency fund savings goal, and what it ended up being.
Getting fired kind of sucks. Getting fired sucks way less when you know how you’re going to pay your rent even if you aren’t getting a paycheque.
Sometimes, things come out of left field and ruin a perfectly balanced month of budgeting. This was one of those times.
This is a quick review of Cait Flander’s Mindful Budgeting Program, which I bought when I was starting to tackle my money—but you can now get it for free!
These personal finance podcasts are ones that really helped me when I was just getting started writing about money.
One strategy I used to cut down on my spending was to cut way down on my magazine consumption, because it was showing me a ton of things I “needed” to buy.
A weekly recap of the week that was, including some of my favourite blog posts from the personal finance world, great books you should know about, the best money I spent this week and more. Happy Sunday, friends! I’m Currently Reading... I took a trip to the library...
This budget breakdown for my site redesign is pretty out of date, and I spent more than this on my latest design! But it’s good if you want to check on the history of my site.
While I was trying hard to find new ways to save, I made sure to be extra-frugal about everything – including festival attendance. Here’s everything I did to make it happen.
I’ve learned a lot from tracking my spending, but these lessons early in the process really stood out—plus, I can confidently say they stand the test of time, since I’ve been tracking for almost three years now.
If you have some basic Photoshop or image editing skills, you can DIY a surprising amount of wall art that looks totally professional, for super cheap.
One of the weird frugal things that I actually enjoyed was starting to cut my own hair. I still do it, and am totally used to it, although I’m not sure I’ll do it forever. Here’s how I made the call to start.
I’ve found my share of pre-owned greatness, and this post breaks down the places and things I’ve found second-hand (that are just as good, if not better, than buying new!)
This system works whether you’re sharing all your food 50/50 with a partner, or just splitting staples with your roommates. Put it to work to help simplify your sharing, sans joint accounts.
Learn from my mistakes! For years, my emergency fund was my “everything” fund, and because of that, it never got up to anything close to a reasonable amount of money. Here’s what I did wrong.
There was a very good reason I bought my first car in cash, and to be honest, it wasn’t that I was really adamantly against debt. It was much more boring and practical.
This is the post that started a big part of what I believe is the most powerful thing you can do for your money: it’s the first month I ever tracked my spending.
I’m so glad that I finally invested my money, even if I did choose pretty much the worst week to do it. Here’s why that doesn’t matter to me, even though I “lost” money.
Another one of my posts from when I was seriously focused on being as frugal as I possibly could. This one, in retrospect, was ILL-ADVISED. I’m back on the Starbucks train, if you’re wondering.
One of the easiest ways I’ve ever found to SIGNIFICANTLY cut your food spending? Buy your spices in bulk. It’s worth a second trip, too – prices can be up to 10x lower.
This strategy has often saved me money, and it’s something you can do to save more cash on an annual basis.
If you have a pet, you need to be able to cover their expenses when they come up. To do that, should you get pet insurance, or save for a pet emergency?
If you’re worried about how to bring up your budget when friends suggest expensive plans? Right this way, pals. I am a master of this awkward convo.
Tangerine is still the bank I use every single day, and I couldn’t be happier with my choice. Here’s why I finally made the swap, and what the process was like.
This one time, I went full Steve Jobs and decided to wear the same thing every day to work. Here’s why, what happened, and how much it cost (and yes, I’m a woman, and yes, it is possible for us to do this too).
You’ve heard about regular FOMO, but what about financial FOMO? It’s why I’m saving so much of my income, and this is a breakdown of exactly why.
A few years ago, I made the decision to get a Costco membership. Did it save me money? This is how I broke down the choice (and it turns out, I was right).
Some seasons of your life will call for you to scale back on spending to hit your goals, and when I was first starting my journey, I scaled way back on a category I’d always given myself a free pass on: books.
This is the official first post that started it all, and it’s a… uh… good indication that no one’s first post is great, haha. Leaving it up for posterity more than anything!
If you made it this far, you’re a pro by now.
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