debt debs

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

Frugal FinCon Fiesta


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.

Saturday Night Update ~ It’s a wrap folks!:

Merry-Go-RoundHad a great day at the fair with my grandson!  Saw the parade, he loved the marching bands but the trucks blowing their horns made him cry because they were too loud.  Loved going on the Merry-Go-Round and saw some big horses for realz!  Fairs are expensive and I spent $10 on admission and $6 for a poutine but I don’t do this much and getting to spend all that quality time with family was worth it!

Looks like Plutus awards have come and gone.  Congrats to all contenders and winners.  Pleased for some of my favourite blogs that won or were nominated.  You know who you are!

Thanks to all who participated in Frugal FinCon Fiesta!  I hope you enjoyed asking questions and learning more from our fellow Personal Finance blogging community.  I think it’s great that we all share such a passion for this topic and are wanting to help spread the word about intentional living.  You don’t have to live your life as if you are wealthy to be rich.

[Tweet “You don’t have to live your life as if you are wealthy to be rich.”]

Here’s my last question:

Q: Kate from Downstairs and In Debt asks ‘what do you think is the one thing worth going into debt for? (if anything).’
A: I think your education and a home are worth going into debt for, as long as you have a plan to pay them off in a timely manner.  Also, when starting out, maybe a car, but that doesn’t mean you need to be a new vehicle, although I’ve done plenty of that in the past, but I like to think I’m a bit $marter now!

Thanks again, everyone!  Y’all rock in my books!!



  • 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 and