A Reminder

December 2, 2010

Wednesday nights are my Pottery Nights.  About a month ago I started attending a weekly drop-in pottery class with my friend Andrea, who is a work-related buddy from another branch of my office.  The classes take place in the Gardiner Museum, right at Avenue and Bloor (in the heart of Yorkville, Central Toronto).  For those of you who are unfamiliar with Yorkville, it is one of ritziest neighbourhoods in town, and is loaded with boutiques like Gucci, Chanel, Coach, and other stores with a $1000 entry point.

Now, I’m definitely not into personal finance just so I can shop at Ralph Lauren. But wandering amongst the high end retailers definitely helps to motivate me. Tonight’s sashay through Yorkville reminded me that I still have such a long ways to go. I may feel pretty proud of my networth considering my age and considering that I’ve done it all by my lonesome, but at the same time, walking through Yorkville is a mouthwatering sample of what it would really be like to have no financial limitations. These wealthy neighbourhoods are financially like the smell of freshly baking bread, but my wallet is on a gluten-free diet; salivating, waiting.

Although I’m using a combination of frugality, investing and entrepreneurialship to achieve my financial goals, it’s fun to take a walk on the other side of the tracks and remind myself what could be in store if I just keep it up. Like a carrot in front of my nose, my Wednesday night excursions remind me to keep it up, because everyone deserves financial freedom.

Lessons from my Mother

December 1, 2010

I'm still working on the design of the website and it's not even close to being finished, but since I got a little unexpected burst of publicity from some awesome PF bloggers (I'm looking at you, @krystalatwork and @youngandthrifty) it's time to get a-bloggin'!  As the song goes, I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it...

When I was growing up, my mother used tupperware containers to teach me the fundamentals of "paying yourself first."  On my eighth birthday, my mom informed me very seriously that I was now old enough to earn an allowance in exchange for household chores.  My starting wage was to be $2 a week, which at the time shocked and impressed me.  What was I going to do with a whole two bucks?!  However, my mother continued, there was one very important condition.  Half of that $2 would be deposited in a tupperware container that I would keep in a drawer.  Every two months, we would bring that container to the bank and put it in my Young Savers Account.

It paid off - I kept it up for 7+ years and had nearly $2000 in my account before my mom finally handed over full responsibility to me.  Of course, being a teenager, I blew a huge portion of it on cosmetics and movies, but the lesson itself was never forgotten.

Just over a month ago, my friend and I committed to climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2012.  Problem:  since I just bought my first car, I am a little strapped for cash.  With my car payments, gas, parking and insurance, owning a vehicle works out to be roughly $600 a month.  Since I live in Toronto, my insurance rates are doubled, and I have to pay an additional personal vehicle tax.  So how the heck could I possibly finance a trip to Africa when I had my big shiny Mazda of a liability sparkling innocuously in my driveway?

The answer came in the form of my mother's teachings, and a mason jar I found in my closet.  I decided to honour the Tupperware School of Finance, and put a jar on my counter with the label, "OR I could go climb a mountain in Africa."  Meaning that, anytime I was tempted to spend a couple bucks on a coffee or sweet treat, I would put the money in the jar instead.

Money Jar

My Savings Jar in all its glory

I also recently switched over to TD Canada Trust,  and they have an amazing program where they will link your chequing to a savings account.  Everytime you use your debit card to buy groceries or what have you, the bank will automatically take an additional amount and deposit it into your savings.  You determine the amount, anywhere from $0.50 to $5.  I personally have $2 from every debit card purchase I make going towards Mt. Kilimanjaro.  Amazingly, after only one month of doing this, I have combined amount of close to $100.  If I keep it up, by the time I go to Africa in 2012, I will have saved close to $1800 without even thinking.  That will cover at least the fee for one of the mandatory guide companies that we will have to hire.  Hopefully by that point I'll have paid off my car too, so I can start deferring payments to Kilimanjaro instead.

Even getting to Kilimanjaro is a mountain to climb, financially speaking. But what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. At least, this is what I'm going to keep telling myself as I fork over my Tim Horton's money to my jar. God I miss my large steeped teas. *sigh*

Are there any lessons handed down to you that have become a staple in your financial tool kit?

Until next time,

Money Rabbit :)

Coming soon…

November 24, 2010

Hellloooo!!!  Welcome to my blog!

As you can tell, it’s not even close to being ready yet.  But if you’ve wandered in because you’re curious about what it’s going to look like when the dust clears, please have a seat, make yourself at home, and in the meanwhile watch Canada’s George Stromboulopous interview Suze Orman.

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