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June 2015 archive


Stefanie is a Millennial Finance Expert, author and actress. She is also the creator of The Broke and Beautiful Life. Stefanie founded The Broke and Beautiful Life to ignite an open and honest discussion of personal finance among Millennials, freelancers, and artists. Stefanie and her site have been featured on such major media outlets such as Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal. Through her blog, book, and live seminars, Stefanie hopes to spread financial literacy nationwide, empowering people of all ages, in all professions, and at all income levels to maximize their money and achieve financial freedom. Learn more about Stefanie at


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Do You Want To Get Married? Watch This First And Be Inspired To Get Your Money In Order

“If that person completes you…you’re in trouble.”

I stumbled across some vintage Oprah the other day while trolling YouTube, and boy oh boy is it powerful.

Goldie Hawn, actress and producer, shares the white-hot truth about getting married. She shares that money is the biggest problem women deal today in the process of getting married as well as when they are married.

Stats back this up too, as you’ve probably heard the divorce rate in the U.S. is nearly 50%.

Watch at the 2:11 mark when she brings the HEAT!

 A powerful quote Goldie shares is: “It creates freedom! You have a base, a root system, when you’ve been able to stand on your own two feet.”

She also shares that having financial stability allows you to be all of who you are. No more trying to be cute, or manipulate your way into having your boyfriend or husband buy you something.

Ladies, a man will not save you from your money challenges. Only YOU can save you from your money challenges. Let this video be a reminder.

How do you start? Start with looking at exactly where you are. How much do you owe. How much do you have? Then reach out for help.

You deserve to be free of money challenges…and you can do it.

 <3 Gwen



Karyn here to give you a little pick-me-up today. I’m in the midst on my June Money Challenge and I’m feeling a tad discouraged. So I decided to share with you my lovely playlist all about makin’ that cash-o-la. #bank











Tell us your fav. money song in the comments below!



Courtney Johnston is a rebel, copywriter and CEO of The Rule Breaker’s Club. She teaches spunky, inspired creative people how to communicate what they have to offer so that they can attract beautiful clients, make money, and make this planet a fun place to live. Want to be a rule breaker? Get your free copywriting mini-course here:


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By An Anonymous Guest Blogger.

A few days ago, I was ordering my morning coffee that costs $3.26. As I went to tap and go as I usually do, an error message came up on the machine. “Weird.” I thought. I tried again.

To be honest, the exact wording on the machine is a blur to me, but my card was rejected. I didn’t have enough money to pay for the coffee.

“Shit,” was my immediate next thought. It was the morning, and there was a huge line for coffee. My purse was a freaking disaster, so I didn’t know where my other card was.

In this moment, I had two choices. Panic, or be cool, calm, and collected.
Because it was my coffee on the line, I decided to stay cool.

Here are the five steps I took which worked like a charm and helped me save face in front of customers and employees.

  1. Breathe. If you stop breathing, your face will turn even more red! Take a subtle deep breath in and think about the next right action.
  2. Let the customer behind you go ahead. Instead of digging through my purse and attracting more attention to myself, I let the customer behind me (an extremely hot guy) go ahead, so it gave me a moment to collect myself and dig for card #2.

  3. Two options here: If you have cash or another card on you (that’s not rejected) you’re golden. If you don’t, here’s what we suggest you do: Say, “I’m so sorry, this hasn’t happened before. I would be happy to pay for this. Can I go and come back with cash?” If you’re a regular, you will likely be good to go. If you’re not, you may have to leave something (i.e. your ID) and go and come back if you purchased something like food at a restaurant that you’ve already eaten. If it’s clothes you can live without, it could be a sign that you SHOULD NOT get the clothes.
  4. Forgive yourself. In order to not fall deeper into debt, you need to forgive yourself for not checking your finances and keeping on top of paying your bills. There are literally no excuses as it takes only a few minutes to check your online banking.
  5. Make a plan. Once you’ve recovered, it’s time to make a plan. It is incredibly stressful to live your life in debt. It may be challenging, but we highly recommend you educate yourself and reach out to someone (a financial advisor, or savvy friend or family member who can help!) SISTERPACK NOTE: Why not start with Episode 3 of the Mo’ Money Mo’ Progress podcast. Learn how Melanie Lockert is climbing her way out of $81,000 of debt.

Remember this happens to almost everyone. You’re not alone, and don’t live in the shame. Take it as a sign to take action and be present to your current money situation!

You got this!



Make the Most of Birthdays (Without Breaking the Bank)

Ahh summer…don’t you just love the sun, the parties, the patios and the…birthdays??

Why does it seem like everyone has a birthday in the summer? Well, statistically, the months of July to September are the most popular times to have a birthday, it seems. Take a look at this chart:

birthday rank

(Looks like November is prime time to get busaaayyy! Oh god, sorry for the visual.)

 If you’re like me, most of your friends have summer birthdays, and as we all know, birthdays can get pretty expensive. But don’t worry– I have a foolproof plan when it comes to giving (and receiving) gifts, especially on a student budget.

 We all have that friend who’s been drooling over a Michael Kors watch for months, or maybe that Urban Decay Naked eyeshadow palette. To her, it’s just another one of those things that she can’t afford, but desperately wants.

“The best birthday gifts to receive are the ones you’re too cheap to buy for yourself.” -Gabrielle Elliot (LOL)

 You need a secret weapon if you’re gonna give the birthday girl the gift of a lifetime. Introducing….THE POWER OF FRIENDS!


That’s right.

Band together with your friends and split the cost of that MK watch or Naked eyeshadow!

My friends and I do it all the time, and it’s foolproof. We spend maybe $30-$50 each on splitting the gift, and then we all go out and have a really good time at a club, restaurant or something super fun! The cost of the gift is fixed, but you can control how much you spend when you go out. For example, ordering 2 drinks instead of 4, or maybe not buying dessert, etc.


For my birthday this year, my friends knew I desperately needed a new wallet. It was time my mustard yellow one with the cute bow went into retirement (RIP). To my utter surprise, they pooled their cash and bought me a GORGEOUS wallet from Fossil…talk about BESTIES!!

fossil wallet


(Happy birthday, indeed!)

Then, we went to this amazing restaurant called Guu… if you haven’t been, I highly suggest it. And as if that wasn’t enough, we all moseyed on over to the Drake Hotel for a night filled with dancing. Since we each take care of our own bills when we go out, I chose to save some money and not buy drinks at the Drake (probably saved $25 bucks just from not drinking).

So you see, birthdays don’t always have to be about one person. Make it a group celebration and do something you all love! It’s good to take a break from your studies or job and remember to have some fun once in a while. And if you all chip in together, you’ll be buying her something she really loves and will probably end up saving money in the long run!

Happy birthday to all you summer babies!

<3 Gabs


Do you find your funds start to dry up in the summer time? It definitely does for me since there are so many cool things going on and you end up having oodles of free time. The more stuff there is to do, the more money you tend to spend. I’m here to give you some tips on how to be savings-savvy when it comes to summer spending.

I know you’re probably tired of hearing us tell you to make a budget, but it seriously will help you out. Figure out how much you are willing to spend each month and divvy it up for each week. If you go over your budget one week then make sure you subtract that amount that you overspent from the next week until you are back on track. You have to take into account vacations, concerts, movies, etc., and it could get a tad technical, but come autumn you will still have bank while everyone else is complaining that they have drained their accounts.


Winter is finally gone and you can now go outside without worrying about losing a finger from frostbite. This means patios will be open and you will find yourself sitting outside eating some great noms and drinking something refreshing while time flies. Annnnnd then the bill comes and snaps you back to reality. After sitting outside at the restaurant/bar you may end up paying more because you’ll be staying longer. Your food has been digested, your drink drained and now you are feeling ready for seconds.


Now, I’m not saying to nix the patios every time, but just to be smart about it. Do you just want a place to sit outside and have a drink or something to eat? Well, grab a friend, make a snack and go to a park or the waterfront. Sure, you won’t have someone waiting on you, but that means you won’t have to pay a bill or leave a tip. Patios are fun, but they will drain your wallet before you know it.

Is there a concert that you’re planning on attending this summer? How about a convention? Tickets will be expensive, but prices will ALWAYS go up the closer to the date. The second you are 100% sure you are going, BUY THE TICKETS!!! I’ve been burned before as a newbie going to a convention. I was hesitant in buying my tickets and then at the last minute I decided to go, but the prices had been jacked up and I didn’t have enough to buy them.

Don’t do what I did. Plan ahead and buy your tickets as early as possible. You don’t want to be stuck buying them at crazy prices or resort to buying them from someone else after they all sold out. You want to enjoy it, not immediately regret it.

It can suck scrolling through Facebook and looking at your friends’ pics from their vacations or hearing people planning for their cruise next month. Your bank account would weep if you even thought of attempting to plan a trip. So instead of feeling left out, plan your own stay-cation!

Don’t be put off by a stay-cation. I know I sound like an ol’ fuddy duddy suggesting it, but they can actually be pretty rad. This is an opportunity to explore your city/town. Go online and check out places you’ve never been and find out if they have any coupons, discounts or free days. Go to a museum, chill at the beach, catch a cheap play, or just go to a part of town that you’ve never had the chance to venture.


If you have a bit of a larger budget, maybe even book a hotel somewhere snazzy and just do all of the tourist-y things that you can think of. Go on bus tours, do some sightseeing and try to find as many landmarks as you can and take a picture with them. Sure you may not be in Fiji, but you can still have fun at home (plus, your wallet will thank you).

When you were little did you ever go one adventures or pretend that you were discovering a new land? Having an imagination doesn’t cost you anything so let your childhood self run wild! Grab a map and pick a place, whether it’s in a city or out in the boonies, and either plan a route or just plan to get lost. Pack a bag with essentials (water, food, phone, etc.) and just walk around. For obvious reasons, wear appropriate attire. If you are walking in a wooded area, wear long sleeves and pants/leggings (bug alert!) and definitely wear good walking shoes. City or forest, your feet will thank you.


Having fun isn’t hard, when you’ve got a library card! Yes, that’s from everyone’s fav. aardvark Arthur, but hey, it’s still true. Libraries aren’t for squares anymore and are a haven for those who have a budget to stick to. Libraries are great when you want to escape and find a quiet place to relax. You can choose a book (or three) and waste the day sitting and reading.


Now if that’s not your jam, you can use the computers to muck about and not go over your Internet usage for the month. Also, libraries always have something going on. They are usually pretty connected to what’s happening in the community. Take a looksee at their bulletin boards are see if anything tickles your fancy. You might find a nugget of gold in there that you wouldn’t have discovered anywhere else.


As someone who is crazy about going to see films, when someone says movie night I am always down. Unfortunately, movie night at the theatre will mean making your wallet cry after spending your hard-earned cash on that expensive IMAX ticket and the overpriced popcorn that no movie-goer can do without. So for those of you who can’t say no to seeing Mad Max: Fury Road and Jurassic World you can cut some costs by going on a cheap night (usually Tuesdays), or just opting out of the 3D and IMAX and just seeing the flick in 2D. Say no to the popcorn and that giant jug of pop and bring your own water bottle. Plus, if you are feeling a tad rebellious, go snag some snacks at a bulk candy store and sneak them in. This way you aren’t paying $15.00 for a handful of gummie worms.


If you really wanna save some dough, bypass the theatre altogether and have a movie night at home. Grab some friends, have each of them bring a snack, their fav film and have a movie marathon! This will cost you next to nothing and you will get to see movies that you’ve never seen before and get to watch old favs. The only difficult decision you’ll have to make is choosing which film to bring!


Saving money during the summer months is all about getting creative. Remember that parks and the beach are free. Don’t be afraid to get silly. Grab some friend sand have some (cheap) fun!

Do you have any summer savings tips for us? Leave a comment below or let us know if you’ve tried our tips.



Kamara Toffolo is a Career and Leadership Coach for Corporate Misfits! By trade, she’s a financial services professional who spent 12 years in the cubicle jungle. Now as a coach, Kamara helps her clients either commit to or quit corporate life. Whether you want to kick-ass in your corporate career and take it to the next level or follow your heart and break free from the rise and grind, Kamara can help you get clear on what you want so you can go get it!

Kamara studied coaching at Erickson College and has a degree in Entrepreneurial Management. Originally from Vancouver, she relocated to Toronto and married her best friend Paul. When she’s not coaching, Kamara enjoys wine, travel, Judd Apatow movies and pretending to know how to cook.


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Over coffee, I was talking to my incredibly smart, talented friend who has a great job at a tech company today. The topic of salary came up in conversation (as it does now that we created Mo’ Money, Mo’ Progress!)

Firstly, you need to know that from my view, she’s the kinda gal who you assume has zero money challenges. I see her as the girl who asks for what she wants and gets it.

So I was quite puzzled to hear that she’s been at her job for a year, excelled in her role, and is now in a position to ask for a raise, but…hasn’t yet.

Reasons like ‘not the right time,’ ‘not sure how to ask,’ ‘they just gave me a bit of a raise, but it’s not what I was hoping for’ all came up.

She also mentioned a friend (who is equally smart and talented) is in the same position, and they’re both a bit unsure of how to ask.

If you relate at all: YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Where is the guidebook to navigate salary terrain? (I don’t know, but if it existed I’d buy it). Actually, where is the guidebook to understand how to #killit at managing and making money?! (I’d also buy that)

This got me thinking about how great it would be to create a workshop or a class to teach some of the tools and techniques to help you (and my amazing friend) learn some simple strategies to ask for what you want.

I am very excited about the idea of running a low-cost, dare I say ‘FUN’ workshop to teach topics that are challenging or of interest to you.

Please share in the comments what type of money skills you’d like to learn!

We will work over the summer on creating these for you with amazing financial experts!

<3 Gwen




It can be easy to get immediately overwhelmed when tackling your finances. When you’re uncomfortable with something, distractions become stronger and overwhelm is lurking at every corner.

This is when #BingeThinking starts.

But what exactly is this ‘binge thinking?’

Binge thinking is when you think about what action you want to take, but don’t actually start. Common symptoms include: numbing out via multiple seasons of Netflix, feeling ‘drunk’ on other people’s content (i.e. 42 weeks in on someone’s Instagram feed), avoiding doing ‘the thing’ at every cost, which leads to genuinely feeling like a failure.

It simply sucks.

As a recovering binge thinker, here are my top five tips to help you stop thinking and start doing when it comes to finance (and life)!

1. Start Small.
The way I’ve been able to take on any financial challenge is to start small. Don’t plan on taking on your taxes for the last three years in an afternoon. Break it up into three weeks.

2. Hire a Coach or Get a Money Mentor.
When I hired Shannon Lee Simmons, a certified financial planner, my life completely changed. Yes, it was an investment to work with her and I was worried about putting the money down at the time, but that investment completely changed my life. It made me face my money fears. It was also helpful that I didn’t feel judged! She sees money challenges all the time, and wasn’t phased by my questions!

3. Don’t Do It Alone!
Money can be a taboo subject between friends and family, but if you’re willing to talk about it together, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you realize you’re not alone. Encourage a friend or family member to join you for an afternoon of tackling your finances together. Just be sure it’s someone you trust! Truth is, you don’t have to share exactly how much money you have or owe, but if you commit to tackling a money challenge together you’ll be less likely to back out!

4. Move Your Body!
If you’ve spent 15 minutes (or more) thinking about how to start and you feel overwhelm and self-doubt creep in, don’t let it win. Make a conscious effort to get our of your head and back into your body. Go for a quick walk or run. This will help those negative thoughts subside so you can focus on making a difference in your financial life.

5. Schedule the reward!
Before tackling a financial challenge, ask yourself what would be a reward that you could give yourself for completing the challenge? Perhaps it’s allowing yourself a complete day off to veg out and relax. Or maybe it’s buying something that you’ve been eyeing (if you find out you can now afford it!). If you have a reward you’re excited about on the horizon, it will motivate you to GO FOR IT!

Right now is the ideal time to start living a life where you’re financially free. Don’t be the one to stop you from starting. Share with us how you ban binge thinking in the comments below!

<3 Gwen

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