debt debs

Personal Debt Wrangler – Had my money head in the sand – but no more!


Frugal FinCon Fiesta – Ask me Anything

Frugal FinCon FiestaToday I welcome you to the start of a three day blog hop party while many in the Personal Finance Community are lollygagging at FinCon.  Those of us poor frugal folks who have opted not to go to New Orleans are not in our right minds decided we had better things to do like mind the store, keep you entertained, have a nap and maybe work a bit to make some money.  This debt repayment and financial independence we want so badly is not going to happen on its own you know!

So for the next 3 days I will entertain any questions you may have by answering in this post.  Please put your questions in the comments and I will update the post with my responses and indicate in a reply comment when it is answered.

Any non-blogger readers are encouraged to ask a question or just say hello.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be a personal finance related question.

More details on the Frugal FinCon Fiesta rules follow below.
Just to kick things off, I’ll start with a few random facts about me, except there are a couple (2) that are not true.  Try to guess which ones:
  1. I’m a CPA, CMA and I love numbers and can’t for the life of me figure out why I had my head in the sand all those years.
  2. I hate doing income taxes though (so don’t ask me any questions on that – j/k).
  3. I hate big fish.
  4. I’ve been married twice.
  5. I have a tattoo

I’m also going to augment this with a Versatile Blogger and Liebster nominations I received recently.  JUST finished working 2 12-13 hour days and I’m beat so this will occur sometime over the next three days.

More laterz..

Thursday Night Update:

Oy, after working another long day, I’m finally starting to make my rounds to all Frugal Fiesta FinConers!  Crazy times, I wasn’t prepared for what a week it’s been!  Summer is over, that’s for sure!

OK so answers on my questions so far:

The last two are the untrue statements.  Hubster hates tats and he’s my first and last husband!  LOL  Yes I’m afraid of big fish as in swimming with them (a shark or whale I could handle!)

Q: Kirsten asked ‘What is with the pictures you have on your blog – the dragonfly background/header?’
A: Well I put my blog together on the fly.  I liked the colours that I picked in the YOLO theme and went looking for a personal pic to throw on there.  The background boat cover that the dragonfly was resting on matched the font colours of the theme so I went with it.  I spent a lot of that summer 2013 when I took the photo looking at those dragonflies and contemplating the meaning of life.  I was thinking ‘I wonder if those dragonflies have worries?’  I added the seagull thinking about how freeing it will be to fly  when we are debt free.  Just recently, I added the cheeky chipmunk and talented hummingbird treading water as she feeds herself.  Sometimes it debt repayment feels that way, but I remind myself that there’s beauty to see along the journey.

Q: Brian asked ‘As a CPA and CMA do you let your clients know the state of your own finances/ or have you ever been asked?’
A: I’m not working in the public with clients per se but working in private industry.  I don’t let on about the state of my finances except for two close work friends.  This is one of the reasons I feel it is important to blog anonymously.  I have told a few close friends and my sisters and father know but that’s about it.

Q: Miss Millennial asked ‘What book have you read that’s left the biggest impression on you?’
A: I can’t think of one book that has knocked my socks off.  I guess I don’t read enough!  I love and have read all the Maeve Binchy books.  I liked James Herriot All Things Wise and Wonderful.  Peig:  The Autobiography of Peig Sayers of the Great Blasket Islands.  I’m not into chick books at all.  They’re all the same.

Q:  Miss Millennial also asked:  ‘How transparent are you?’
A:  I’m pretty much a blabber mouth.  What you read here is the true me.

Q: Kayla said ‘If you could change one thing that’ve you done/had happen to you in your life, what would it be and why?’
A: The thing I regret that was in my control was hurting my Aunt’s feelings.  The thing I would change if I could was losing my Mum in 2005.  I still think she was too young at 73 when she died suddenly from heart failure and I miss her a lot.

Q:  Brandy asked ‘Do you blog in the bathroom??’
A:  I’ve been known to read a post or comments on my tablet in there.  ;-)

Q: Even Steven asked ‘What would make you go to FINCON next year? Other than it being free and right next door.”
A: Saving enough money from side income or underspending in my budget and getting travel expenses as low as possible on points.


Friday Morning Update:

Q: Jean asks ‘Of all the blog posts you’ve published, which is your personal favorite?’
A: I guess that is still Mother Money Moments because (1) it’s about my role as a mother and which is so important to me as I believe God intervened in my life to bring me into my marriage and family (2) it explains part of the reason for our debt story and (3) it’s references the two women who were so important in my life and who I love and miss very much.


Friday Evening Update:

Oh what a day to end a crazy week!   Worked 45 hours in 4 days!!!!  Okay,  time to answer some questions, visit some blogs and maybe have a libation or two.   Who’s in for that?  Really pleased by the number of participants in #FrugalFinConFiesta.  I only wish I had more time until now to visit more and tweet #FrugalFinConFiesta.  It’s not too late to join in!  Tweet to me if you have any questions or problems, but so far everyone seems to have figured it all out nicely with no assistance required from moi!  YOU GUYS ROCK!   On to questions!

Q: May asks ‘What has been the biggest “surprise” for you about blogging?’
A: I think the biggest surprise is how easy is is to form relationships from behind a computer screen.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised because I once managed a geographically dispersed team for over a year without ever meeting any of them face-to-face and we had great relationships!  But even so, I guess the idea is you get out of it what you put into it, but also uniting over a common goal or interest is the glue that sticks people together.  I’m also surprised how much I like writing and how much effort it takes to run a blog!  Great question, May!

Q: Brooke asks ‘So what’s the first thing you are going to do when you get out of debt? And if you could take a vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go??’
A: Well Brooke, I consider how we are living now as a practice run for how we are going to live frugally in retirement.  As soon as we are out of debt, I figure we have another year that I need to work to save up money for home renovations.   Then I will quit my job if I’m still in it, or at least, move into my retirement career.  Whether that’s part-time work, contract work, freelance writing, volunteering or combination of these things remains to be seen, but I can’t wait!

For a vacation anywhere in the world I would go to Bora Bora and stay in the water huts.  That would be my dream!!!


Bora Bora Water Huts

Q: Kipp asks ‘How do you plan to celebrate when you have completed paying off all our your debts?’
A: Wow, you know I haven’t even allowed myself to think about that, Kipp.  I guess I’m afraid to jinx myself!  So now that you’ve asked, I’m going to Bora Bora!  ha ha LOL  I think I will take a driving holiday across Canada.  I’ve never been to Western Canada except to touch down at Vancouver airport on route to Hong Kong.  I really want to see the Rockies and I want to do it with The Irishman and before we get too old.

Canadian Rockies

Q: Mrs. FW asks ‘What’s your #1 piece of advice to people who are preparing to have kids (like me!)?’
A: My advice is about stuff you don’t know yet or are still to learn.  Trust your gut.  When we don’t know about stuff we tend to ask the experts (doctors, nurses, lactation consultants etc.) and we trust that they know what they are talking about.  The problem is even these experts have their biases and there can be some duds in amongst the experts as well.   So this goes to say, you need to take the advice that you need (because it suits your goals) and throw out the rest.  And don’t be judgmental about it.  Everyone is different and you need to do what works for you.  Now that I’ve said that, pick what you need from the following additional advice.  You’ve probably heard that as kid’s age you have to pick your battles.   I could actually write a book on the teenage years.  We had some rough times.  At one point, we had to take all of the stuff, save for a mattress on the floor out of our daughters bedroom as she was sneaking out at night and going to clubs at 16 years of age.   A sage piece of advice, is that if you are going through some rebellious times – they need you to be parents not friends and when the going gets rough stick at it and be comforted that they mostly come out like you at the end of those years.  Of course watching those shows like Intervention when you are a parent of teenagers scares the crap out of you because you never know how far it can go.  Also, kids need one on one attention, not to always be parented as a brood.  This is one thing I learned as a parent of four kids.  I think it is easier with only 2, but something to remember if you have three or more.   My Mrs. FW, I clearly have a lot to say on this topic!

Q: Tonya asks ‘if you could go to sleep and wake up anywhere in the world you wanted to tomorrow morning, where would it be?’
A: Dingle Peninsula, Co Kerry, Ireland.  I love it there.  Slea Head, Dunquin, Blasket Islands, where the River runs over the road.

Slea Head, Dingle Peninsula, Kerry, Ireland

Q: Cecilia asks a long or double-barrelled one (it’s allowed!) ‘How much do you think you need in the bank before you can retire? I know you’ve said you’re going to keep working longer than you’d hoped due to debt repayment etc — I’m wondering how long you think it will be before you’ve made up all the ground you think you need to.’
A:  It will be 3 years 8 months until we are debt free and then I need to work for about a year after that to pay for house renovations.  I’m thinking that we (as a couple) need minimum $1.2 million, shooting for $1.4 million and $1.5 million would be dandy.

Q: Amanda asks for some personal advice ‘My fiance is about to start a great new job, but will start out as a temporary on-call employee. When he becomes full time (which is likely to happen within a year) he will automatically be getting a pension. My question is, should he be contributing to an RRSP in the meantime, or should we use that money to build a wedding/house/emergency fund instead?’
A: My opinions only, Amanda.  I would put a wedding fund as separate and last.  Not saying you shouldn’t save for it, but it should be as well as, not instead of.  You should fund an emergency fund to about $5K (and make sure it’s invested but accessible, or perhaps helping you to avoid bank fees by keeping a minimum amount in your accounts.)  You don’t want to put it in an RRSP to withdraw later unless it is for a first home purchase.  I’m not up on the rules, but I think you can withdraw for that as long as you pay it back within 15 years or something.  Sorry, you’re going to have to research this.  Is it a defined benefit or defined contribution pension?   They are becoming rare these days, but still exist.   You assume he will be working for this company forever which is a big assumption, so putting into an RRSP would still be okay to supplement this.  Don’t forget there’s also TFSA’s which can be used for emergency funds or wedding saving funds!

Q: Tre asks ‘Where would you most like to travel?’
A: I think I’ve answered this kind of above regarding Bora Bora, drive across Western Canada, and more travel in Ireland.  I’d like to go to Grand Canyon and Colorado and Arizona some day too!  I’m not really picky, but I only like big cities in small doses.

Q: Waffles (I’m allowed to call him that, we’re very close!) asks ‘who is your favourite Belgian? I mean: how do you keep up with all your favourite blogs? You seem to be everywhere! Tell us your secret!’
A: Well it’s a toss up between you and my boss, Waffles, ’cause you both treat me right!  But since he’s retiring soon and will be mostly out of my life, you are in a good position for top contender! ;-)  LOL  Thank you for the compliment, I try to visit as many blogs as possible but I always feel I’m lagging behind.  There’s really no secret but lots of work.  I think I’m going to have to develop a system or strategy though to not drive myself wonky.  I’m thinking something like, visit all commenters to my blog + 5 other blogs daily.  DC @ Young Adult Money wrote a good post on this recently.

Q: Kirsten snuck in ‘Did you read debt-journey blogs before you started blogging? Which ones?’
A: I wrote about the first blogs I read on my interview at Brian’s place Debt Discipline.  Sadly, two of them are not blogging anymore.   There are two blogs I’ve read from start to finish which I mentioned on this early post (and one of them was after it had shut down! #craycray).

Q: Tennille says ‘Once your out of debt what is the first thing your gonna do?’
A: Save up for house renovations and then sell and downsize our home! ;-)

Q: Kara asks ‘What’s your cocktail of choice? If you don’t drink, what is your favorite dessert?’
A: White wine, pinot grigio, riesling or savignon blanc is my favorite libation, but as far as a mixed drink goes – I love a bloody caesar or a gin and tonic in summer!

This one looks interesting!

Q: Femme asks ‘If the husband didn’t hate tattoos, would you get one? And what of and where?’
A: Good question!  I have fleetingly thought I would like to get one, but I’m not totally enamoured with the idea.  I would get a shamrock and a trinity symbol interwined or something if possible, probably on my front hip… and a big fat happy face on my butt!  :-)

Q: Kate asks ‘What is the perfect time for you to write a blog? Or do you have any specific time?’
A: I’m more a morning person so that is better for me.  Unfortunately sometimes I am scrambling at night and that leaves me a little stressed.  I’m bushed in the evening.



  • Photo credit Flickr: Dani_vr
 Now go visit some of these fabulous bloggers who are linking up to this Frugal FinConFiesta party!

If you are a PF blogger and want to participate click on the blue “Add your link” button above.  If you want to display all of the participating blogs on your post please refer to the second part of this post for more details on how to do this.

Part of Friday Jet Fuel #11


Debt Do Run Run

The above was from 1963, I was four years old and The Irishman was eleven.  We just celebrated his 62nd on 9/11 this week.  Yes, fate has linked his birthday to that tragic day never to be forgotten.

So excited about our debt repayment process, I alluded that August was looking good and I’ve had a sneak peak at September and so far so good!  Our debt dropped $6.4K in August (and $3.6K so far in September – not shown).  I’m just shy of my timeline – I should be at 40% paid off towards our debt repayment date of May 18, 2018 but I’m at 39.3%.  I’m hoping I may be ahead of schedule for my September update.  We’ll see.


click to enlarge

Buoyed with this consistent and solid performance, I’ve added a new debt repayment date counter in my sidebar.  It says I am three years to debt repayment, but it’s actually 3 years 8 months.  My stretch target is 3 years 3 months.  I did some calculations yesterday and a got a glimpse that maybe it was down to 3 years 5 months but immediately figured I made a mistake.  I’ll leave a little more time pass and recalculate again.  I don’t want to jinx us, and we still have to get through that dreaded winter where income may fall short again.

This time of year is generally better for us cash flow wise.  The additional payroll deductions that hit in the first part of the year are long gone.  To prepare for winter/spring lower income, I’m boosting up my e-fund/property taxes fund to $15K.  I’m currently at almost $9K.
Now for some exciting news!

Frugal FinCon Fiesta Party

So while I’m running away all my debt, and don’t make enough on my blog to cover my costs plus many other good reasons (check it out if you want a laugh), I’ve conspired with some of my fellow bloggers to do something fun while the rest of you are lollygagging* away in New Orleans.  Before I tell you what’s in it for the rest of us, let me tell you a bit more about FINCON.

  • It’s a conference for financial media – bloggers, journalists and freelance writers, financial advisors and coaches, podcasters and brand marketing experts.
  • There are workshops and speakers on beginner, intermediate and advanced topics to help communicators write better content, broadcast their message to larger audiences, learn to work with new media platforms.
  • It runs from Thu Sep 18 – Sat Sep 20 this year, 2014.
  • There’s a $99 virtual pass where you get lifetime access to all the keynotes and breakout sessions including videos, slides and MP3’s.
  • It costs $499 for the conference fee.  There were other passes available for advanced sessions etc. but they are now sold out.  Hot stuff!
  • You can’t bring your spouse into the sessions / parties unless they are a registered attendee (Guess they’re taking a nap!)
  • There are FinCon mobile apps at the iPhone store or the Google Play Store (Android).
  • The tweet tag is #FinCon14.
  • For more information visit the

*I needed to check the meaning of lollygag to make sure I was using it in the right context.



    1. To idle about; goof off: He has the summer free for play, swimming, berry picking, and general lallygagging/ when my nephew and his companion lollygagged back to my house (1862+)
    2. To kiss and caress; dally; make out, neck, trade spit (1868+)

I think maybe I am, he he, but no worries.  But I just wanna say that if there is any of item #2 above going on, can you at least wait for next year when I can go?

Okay, on to the details about the Frugal FinCon Fiesta Party.

  • It will run Sep 18 – 20 to coincide with FINCON and allow people time to visit other blogs (after all, most of us are working during the day, or taking a nap ;-) )
  • It will be an open linky party using the inlinkz tool.  You do not have to get an account. I have provided the code to insert into your blog post.**  This will display links with pictures to all of the other partyers on your post.  Here is an example from #FinSavSat.  If you do not have a self-hosted blog but use, it will show up as little frog like in this post (from when I used to be on but will take you to the linked blogs.***
  • The purpose is to entertain questions from your readers like J. Money did in Ask J. Money Anything Day and Crystal did in Ask Crystal Anything Days.  Answer the questions in the blog post (like live blogging over a 3 day period, as time permits, of course).  Indicate in the comments when the question has been answered in the post.  If you choose to get the party started by posting some teaser questions and answers about random facts about yourself, then by all means go ahead.  This can be a great way to spawn future blog posts, if the answer is quite complex.
  • I also would like you to encourage non-blogger readers to say ‘hi’, even if they don’t ask a question at this party.
  • Let’s do some banter in the comments as well, not the usual commenter comments and blogger responds.  Let’s mix it up and comment to other’s comments for some $hits and giggles.
  • It will be super hot if you put a picture in the header of your post which you can select for the inlinkz. (or it will give you the option to choose other photos on your blog).  There are tons of great shots if you search on “Fiesta” in to give your post some pizazz!
  • I reserve the right to take down any spammy links or otherwise party-poopers who are not participating in the party with the spirit in which it was intended.
  • TWEET #FrugalFINCONFiesta and HAVE FUN!

** Write your introduction to your post and then click on this link to get the code to be inserted in the text (html view) at the end of your party post.  get the InLinkz code Note:  You will not see it in preview mode.  It needs to be posted live to show up.  If you prefer to test, edit an old post.

Link your own post up to the party by clicking on the little blue box that says “Add your link” at the bottom.

*** Special instructions on how to set this up on is linked here from inlinkz. (non self-hosted blogs)

So what do you have to say about the ‘hotness’ of my debt repayment?  Are you in for the Frugal FinCon Fiesta (Hotness) Party?  Any non-bloggers wanna give me a wink?  ;-)

This post is part of Friday Jet Fuel #10 and



Six Month Blogiversary!

Yo peeps!  Whazzup?

My six month blogiversary is today, that’s whazzup!
Yup, March 9, I started this journey, all green but with a purpose.

I don’t want to get all smaltzy on you, $niff, so I instead I’ll share my little ditty I wrote that summarizes my journey (and prolly many of us!) so far.blogiversary

A Personal Finance Blogger’s Lament

A blogger’s day starts with the sun.
It’s time for bed – I’m not yet done.

The goal is clear – to write great posts,
But what if they’re only read by ghosts.

To read and comment off we go,
Oh here’s a new blogger, I do not know.

You have a technical issue you say,
Well contact Joe, he’ll help you today!

You need a plugin – what’s it called?
Don’t pull out your hair – you’ll just go bald.

The sense of community is quite surprising;
As are the bloggers enterprising.

I’m in a slump, writer’s block is here now,
But, just last week, my post went viral.

My house is messy, I’ve got no time,
To see my loving Valentine.

But be assured, my numbers are scrubbed.
My net worth’s up, a win it’s dubbed.

So I write and comment and write some more,
I love this stuff, it’s not a chore.

But in all honesty, what do I say?
A non-blogger comment would make my day!


In recognition of my blogiversary, I’m going to introduce my favourite posts on a weekly basis.
Initially I wasn’t going to do weekly roundup posts, since many already do this, preferring to integrate my favourite ones into my posts, and then put my link backs at the bottom of other posts.  However with so many great blogs to read, I find that I rely on ones posted by others to point to ones not to be missed.  Therefore, I figured I could do the same thing for posts I have come across worthy of some praise.  Consequently, I’m going to dub my weekly favourites:

Deb’s Devotions!

The definition of devotion [dih-voh-shuh n] noun is:

1. profound dedication; consecration.
earnest attachment to a cause, person, etc.
an assignment or appropriation to any purpose, cause, etc.: the devotion of one’s wealth and time to scientific advancement.
Often, devotions. Ecclesiastical. religious observance or worship; a form of prayer or worship for special use.

Seems a fitting title for a PF blogger named Debs, don’t you agree?


So here are Deb’s Devotions – my favourite posts read recently:

The 80 20 Rule and What It Means For Your Money from Natalie @ The Finance Girl
Why I Quit My Audit Job from Jen @ Save to Splurge
Happily Biking to Work Each Day (I’ve Only Been Hit Once) from Will @ CNA Finance
PoP Economics of Bike Commuting, 17 Months In by Mrs. PoP @ Planting Our Pennies
The King Moves Abroad by Melanie @ Retire by 40


Thanks for the mentions at the following blogs:

Budget Bloggess here and here, Messy Money, Financially Blonde, Indebted Mom, Len Penzo dot Com, Dividend Mantra, Frankly Frugal Finance.

Apparently y’all liked my post Reasons I’m Happy I’m Not Going to FinCon and have agreed to hang together.  Still working on what we’re gonna do around our nap schedule!  Stay tuned!


Reasons I’m Happy I’m Not Going to FinCon

Well folks, summer est fini! Time to get out those boots, put the burlap on the hedges and settle in for a long winter’s nap. No? Oh, that’s just me then.

Never mind. Well it’s been busy days with lots going on, I think I’m ready for that nap. August was a good month both financially (more on that in a debt update post to come) and blogwise.

I started the month having one of my silly but fun posts featured on RockStar Finance (WOO HOO! ).   I was humbled to tell my consumer debt accumulation story and the emotions behind it on Sam Dogen’s Financial Samurai blog (Big thanks for the opportunity, Sam!).  I also snagged a guest post spot at Frugal Rules while John and fam damily are on vacation (What a great audience to tell our big boo boos to!)   I aim to please, folks, but mostly get my message out. So if you know of someone struggling with debt and want to help them or warn them, use me as a introductory guinea pig to break the ice and start the conversation.   I won’t be offended if you laugh at me. Why else would I open myself up to public humiliation with a blog of our story, if not for the greater good?

Kirsten shared her awesome devotion here (Did you know she’s a Plutus Finalist in Religious Blog category?) and Kassandra and I did a swappy-swap leaving us both feeling like we’ve been doing some major cross border shopping replying to comments on each other’s blogs. (She’s good, hire her!)

So in some ways I just wanna keep on going, party-hardy , let the games begin. Only one small problem, I’m like $127 in the hole at this point on my blog and cannot justify the expense to go FINCON this year which makes me really sad (cue whomp whomp sound). But I’m not going to wallow, no sirree.   Like Kali says ~ Life is Hard so Toughen Up so I’m going to turn this ship around and look at the positive side of not going to FINCON.

So without further ado, since I like to do the Top Ten Lists, I give you, my tongue-in-cheek…


fincon-no10 – I’ve heard the ALS ice bucket challenge is over and I’m busy collecting buckets as a side hustle.

9 – I couldn’t get anyone to share a room with me because I snore.

8 – The weather forecast is calling for Indian Summer here sometime during September 18 – 20 and I don’t wanna miss all 9 minutes of it.

7 – I still haven’t run out of reruns of Hot in Cleveland, Big Bang Theory or Two and Half Men to watch on our OTA (Over the Air) TV since we cut the cord.

6 – I’m too cheap to renew my Canadian passport that expired earlier this year.

5 – I’m such a good customer that the bank gave me an ankle bracelet but for some reason said I wasn’t to leave the neighbourhood.

4 – I need to mind my imaginary dog at my imaginary dog minding side hustle business that Crystal and Debbie are helping guide me to set up.

fincon-dog3 – I don’t want to show my boobs (even though they are fabulous!)
fincon-baby2 – I still need to lose my freshman 15.
1 – I started training for the Forrest Gump marathon too late and I won’t make it to NOLA in time.

So who’s all going, anyways?  What are we supposed to do while y’all are out?
Will there be a blogging shutdown and we can all take a nap?

Special thanks to the following blogs for linking my blog posts recently:

How to Save Money

Healthy Wealthy Income – new blog!

Money Mini Blog

Phroogal Blog


Budget and the Bees – new  blog!


Part of Friday Jet Fuel #9 and



Financial Mistakes of the Worst Kind

financial-mistakes-debt-debsThe way I handle our finances today is night and day to what we did before. So much so, that I even have a hard time remembering some of the financial mistakes we made. It’s probably because I push bad memories from my consciousness. It’s a coping mechanism.

So before I completely forgot everything, I thought I would try to document the things I do remember about the worst financial mistakes we made that got us into $394K of debt.

You read that right folks! So now I would like to walk you through things we would do over, if reliving our experience. Hang on for the ride!!

To read more please go to my guest post on Frugal Rules.

I’ve featured this post on


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What is Your Vision of Retirement?

Today on Worth-it-Wednesday, please welcome Kassandra from More Than Just Money today. We are doing a guest post swap ’cause it’s just fun to mix it up once in a while.  Kassandra is talking about my favourite topic and one that is near and dear to many early FI planners. 

vision-retirementI started earning my own money at the age of 14 when I worked a paper route for the Montreal Gazette. I would wake up every week-day at 4 a.m., zip on my snowsuit and brave the minus 25°C winter mornings to throw neatly place over 100 papers on people’s doorsteps.

Then I’d rush back home to shower, change, eat breakfast and head back out to take the bus for school. I did this because my mom wouldn’t pay for a Nintendo gaming system because she didn’t agree with my argument that it was a need. I bought the Nintendo in short order but a few months in, I gave up the fledgling newspaper career and began a new hustle babysitting for several neighbours. Fast forward 20+ years, a career change and several side hustles later, I am a self-employed EDI consultant and creating a second stream of income as a blogger and freelance writer.

While I was always focused on making money, and spending a lot of it especially during my twenties, I never stopped to consider what I wanted out of retirement.

I knew that it was important to save money for my future. I was smart enough to contribute the minimum required in order to get the company match. Sometimes I surprised myself whenever I deposited part of any income tax refunds into my RRSP account. But back then I was only focused on the here and now when it came to my finances.

So What Changed?

It was a series of events that happened in the past five years. First I realized that I was crushing any hopes of a decent retirement and a comfortable daily existence by having $55K worth of consumer debt hanging around my neck. I got rid of that beast in 3 ½ years.

I had also been reading a lot of personal finance books and sites and some suggested that I needed 70% or more of my pre-retirement salary in order to reasonably retire. When I ran the numbers I about fainted because that was not about to happen with the way I was spending money. Within that previous sentence lay the answer to my problem: the way I was spending money.

Only with time and conscious effort did I adopt a lifestyle of less is more. Along with reducing expenses and increases in income, my husband and I now save and invest a little over 50% of our combined income.

Financial Independence

I learned through reading sites like JL Collins, Mr. Money Mustache and Mad Fientist that financial independence isn’t a pipe dream! I didn’t need to save “70% of pre-retirement salary” in order to retire comfortably. If we already managed to live well on 50% of our income, save and invest the other half, meet all of our needs and with planning indulge in some wants, then we were already on the right track.

With a commitment to living on 50% of our income, and not confining ourselves to a typical retirement scenario, it sparked discussions about what retirement would mean for us.

  • We wanted to travel more frequently while we were still physically able and healthy.
  • If our young son has children of his own one day, we’d love to be able to spend as much time with our grandchildren as we wanted. This desire also extends to wanting to share memorable moments with our son more frequently.
  • Spending time with close friends, especially when they are in need of support during a difficult time. I also plan to spend more time volunteering.
  • Establishing long-term financial security. I had experienced years of living paycheque to paycheque and hated the stress it caused me. As children, both my husband and I saw first hand the effects of financial instability. We don’t want to feel the fear of not having enough ever again.
  • I wanted to work because I gained satisfaction from what I do, not primarily due to needing to earn an income.
  • I didn’t foresee myself ever not working, but having the choice to take extended breaks, be location independent, cut back my hours or not work at all without a negative financial consequence really appealed to me.
  • I wanted to enjoy today a level of flexibility and control in my work life that could extend into retirement. That’s one of the reasons why I transitioned from a salaried position to self-employment.

A Picture In The Frame

Having lived for 38 years, and working for over 22 years, for once I’m very excited about the future. Our financial independence is not too far around the corner as we’re aiming to reach FI before the age of 50. Yeah, I know, that sounds old given the fact that you hear some people claiming FI status at the age of 27!

Our journey with money didn’t start out with being financially astute at the age of 18. I made some big mistakes financially that set me back for years. My husband also struggled for a long time before he began to see success in his career and personal finances. Neither of us can erase the past but we did learn from our shortcomings.

So many tell ourselves that we need to save for retirement, but throw money into our retirement plans without any sense of direction and hope for the best. You need to get real. You need to run the numbers and figure out the answers to standard retirement questions such as:

  • How much do you need every year to live on?
  • When do you want to retire?
  • How much should you contribute to your 401K and a Roth IRA or RRSP vs TFSA?
  • What type of investments should you opt for based on cost, tolerance and length of market exposure?

This all goes without saying. But your reasons for retirement should be the driving force of every investment decision you make.

I often say when it comes to decision making “You need to first know your why”. Retirement should have a picture in the frame. It’s something you should want to dream about and come up with things to do that will put a smile on your face. So tell me, what is your vision of retirement?

About the Author:

vision-of-retirementKassandra Dasent is a self-employed wife and step-mom striving to live life beyond what money can buy. She blogs at More Than Just Money and shares on Twitter about a variety of topics and personal experiences that all intersect with money.

To read my post Mentors I Admired please mosey over to Kassandra’s blog.


P.S.  I did the ALS ice bucket challenge last night.  Nothing else to do since we cut the cable cord. ;-)  j/k

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and on Friday Jet Fuel #8


Cutting Cable – Will it Payoff?


Big A$$ ugly Antenna on our Roof

We’ve cut our cable and I couldn’t be happier.  I know I’ve alluded to our plans previously more than once and so some of you regular readers probably said “Enough Debs, when’s it going to happen?”

It took a little longer than I wanted because we were researching antenna’s and finally bought ours about a month ago.  Then we found out the cable company required a one month notice to cancel our service.  Grrrr  …. but still happy.

We paid the following for the equipment totaling $235.37 to replace the cable:

Channel Master Antenna  $177.39 ([$134.99 + $21.99 chimney mounting bracket] x 1.13% for Sales Taxes)
Strapping $18.49
Grounding Cable $39.49

So our payback will be in 2.8 months, assuming The Irishman works for free.  Not bad…. actually pretty good.

The service stopped last week and our last bill of $83.56 was received last week.  Score!

When we first hooked it up we only got 12 channels, 8 English and 4 French.

Then a few days later, after some research online about the location of the transmission towers, The Irishman went back up on the roof and re-pointed the antenna. Now we get 18 channels – 12 English, 4 French and 2 Multi language (English/Cantonese/Indian /Punjabi etc.)  That’s plenty, although the 3 PBS Channels are inconsistent and have poor signal quality.  Here are the stations that we get.

TV Channels

CBOTCBCEnglishStandard DefinitionDragons Den channel!
6-1GlobalGlobalEnglishHigh DefinitionBorder Security channel
6-2GlobalGlobalEnglishStandard DefinitionTwo Global channels but not sure why
9-1CBOFTCBCFrenchStandard Definition20/20 channel
11-1CHCHEnglishHigh Definition
13-1CJOHCTVEnglishStandard DefinitionBig Bang Theory channel
14-1OMNIOMNIMulti-languageStandard Definitionsome cantonese, punjabi programs
18-1WNPIPBSEnglishStandard Definitiondoesn't come through consistently
18-2WNPICreateEnglishStandard Definitiondoesn't come through consistently
18-3WNPIPBS WorldEnglishStandard Definitiondoesn't come through consistently
24-1TVOTVOEnglishStandard Definitiongreat shows on here I did not know about this channel b4
30-1CIVOFrenchHigh Definition
34-1CFGSFrenchHigh Definition
40-1CHOTDirect TVFrenchHigh Definition
42-1CTSEnglishHigh Definition
43-1CHROCTV2EnglishStandard DefinitionShark Tank channel
60-1OMNIMulti-languageStandard DefinitionDavid Letterman on this channel
65-1CityEnglishStandard Definition

So as far as selection goes, so far so good.  OK I do miss SLICE with shows like THE LITTLE COUPLE but I don’t miss them enough to pay $83.56/month.  The thing we do miss is have the guide displayed on the TV, so you can see what is on now and what is coming up later in the evening.  I found a site called where you can personalize the channels that you get and see the schedule.

Personalized TV Guide

So it’s not ideal because you can’t see it on your screen, but I’ve got it saved on my tablet now so that’ll work.  So, in the end, so far so good as far as cutting cable goes, then I awoke this morning to hear on the news the following:

The CRTC, which is Canada’s broadcast regulator, is proposing a pick and pay structure for cable TV. It would allow Canadians to choose individual channels on top of the basic service. The price of which would be capped at $20-$30 per month. Service providers would be required to offer build-your-own channel packages, but could still offer pre-assembled packages. A controversial proposal would allow local TV stations to shut down their transmitters, a move that would not sit well with consumers who prefer to get their TV programming free over the year via antennae. if they do that I will be so pi$$ed.


Home Hardware: UHF/VHF/FM/HDTV Compact Outdoor Antenna Channel Master 4228HD

debt debs thanks…

The following sites Young Adult Money and Money Propeller and Frankly Frugal Finance for featuring my posts in their weekly roundups!

Shout out to Jeremy Biberdorf who is looking to reach 400 blogs listed this year in the Modest Money Top Finance Blogs.  If you want your blog included, there is a button on the top right corner of the list where you can submit your blog.  It’s kind of fun to see the result of your efforts if you don’t get too worked about your rank.  So if you’re not listed, what are you waiting for?

One more week until the end of summer as we know it!  Enjoy all!

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