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September 2015 archive

We owed $112,976.40 on our student loans

That number is like a punch in the gut.

Together, The Sisterpack racked up $112,928.64 in student loan debt to get a university or college education.  

Dear God.

Gabrielle, our youngest sister, just graduated from college. She has yet to officially walk across the stage to get her diploma, but she has been gifted her ball and chain: student loan papers.

To be honest, I shed a couple of tears when calculating that number. It’s heavy for us, but I think of how many of you reading this are dealing with the same thing, but don’t know who to talk to about it. It’s also important to know that you’re not alone with this burden.

Forbes recently shared that American student loan debt has soared past $1.2 trillion dollars. The average student loan debt is $26,000, and one in 10 graduates will owe more than $40,000. In the US it’s not uncommon for students in certain fields to have their own personal debt totalling more than $100,000. We interviewed Melanie Lockert from on our podcast, and she blogged about her journey to pay back $81,000. With focused and intentional action, Melanie now owes $21,023.18. Listen to the podcast to learn how she’s doing it!

We decided to share how much we owed to be honest and share four steps to start being proactive and working towards student debt freedom.

4 Steps to Accepting + Taking Action On Your Student Loan.

1. Start with Gratitude.
Yes, I referred to the student loan as a ball and chain. However, I would not be where I am today if I didn’t have the opportunity to receive education. Even if you’re not exactly where you want to be in your career, take a moment to be grateful (perhaps write this in your journal) to appreciate how your loan has or will help you.

2. Find out the number.
You may be too terrified to look up how much you owe, or not be sure where to find the number! Personally, when I tried to look mine up again, it was such a challenge! I couldn’t find the site at first, then had trouble with passwords. UGH! The first step to making a change is to start where you are. You must know how much you owe!

3. Ask for help.
You cannot tackle something this big alone. Are you able to share with your parents or trusted friends how much you owe? Can you make an appointment with an advisor to work on creating a plan of attack to pay it off?

4. Create a money date!
Paying off a huge student loan bill is not a one shot deal. It will take focused action and a plan. We highly encourage you to create a monthly, bi-monthly or weekly money date to check in on what’s happening with your finances. We use Google Calendar. How is it that we can check in on Facebook or Instagram on the hour, but we’re unwilling to check in on our money once a month!? If this is you right now, don’t be too hard on yourself, but START NOW and schedule your first money date.

Our grand total for student loans started at $112,928.64, and right now we owe $89,084.31. I have paid off half of mine, and the sisters who have started have also knocked off a significant chunk. We hope that by sharing the number, being accountable, and being proactive, it won’t take us another 10 years each to pay if off… so we can be free to do more fun, inspiring and helpful things with money.

– Gwen


Easy Listening: Learn From 3 Top Money Mindset Mentors

When the student is ready, the teacher appears. Gals, it’s time for you to learn how to make more money and manage what you have. But you can’t do it alone. You must learn from people who have what you desire.

If you’re new to Mo’ Money, Mo’ Progress, we want to share three of our most listened to podcasts to inspire you to take action on owning your financial situation and getting to the place where you’re confident about your money (and how to make more of it!)

Here are three easy listening podcasts we hope you enjoy!

Episode 5: Sandra Hanna, Founder of Smart Cookies

Podcast 5

Sandra is the founder of Smart Cookies. On the podcast you’ll hear how Sandra (co-founder and CEO) and the Smart Cookies went from having an idea to creating a huge impact with their business, and having been featured on, Anderson Cooper, The Today Show and CNN along the way!

Episode 10: Stefanie O’Connell, Founder of The Broke and Beautiful Life


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.

Episode 3: Melanie Lockert of

Podcast 3

Melanie is a freelance wordsmith and a passionate debt fighter who writes at She is sharing her journey is paying off $81,000 in student loan debt. Melanie invites others to break up with debt and encourages people to take control of their finances. She is a travel lover, music junkie, and ceviche connoisseur.

We hope you enjoy the episodes!
Are there any financial experts you’d like to learn from? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Email us at or comment below!

Suze Orman’s Career Advice for the Young, Fabulous and Broke

Personal financial guru, Suze Orman, tells us to invest in an undervalued asset in order to get an established and well-paying career. And that asset is YOU!

Watch this video to give yourself a career and financial boost and get motivated to start #killinthegame!

Has this video inspired you to make any changes? What do you plan on changing? #TheSisterpack wants to know so leave us a comment below!

Less stuff, more happiness

Have you ever heard the saying, “Less is more”? Graham Hill, founder of and CEO of LifeEdited wants to help you improve your life and change your spending habits with this mantra.

Do you feel like you might try the “less is more” life? How are you going to start making those changes? #TheSisterpack wants to know! Leave a comment below and share your story!


Cosmo’s #FunFearlessLife Event: The Start of Mo’ Money, Mo’ Progress

You’re about to get way more than eye-candy and glamour at the Cosmo #FunFearlessLife event.

Sure, the Editor in Chief, Joanna Coles, may welcome us to the stage being carried by a gaggle of hunks, and there will be a ton of celebrities and stars talking about their latest and greatest projects, but at the core of the event is true wisdom and inspiration.

The idea to create Mo’ Money, Mo’ Progress started at this event.

There was a money panel, and quite honestly I was dreading it.

“Ughhhh, why put this buzzkill panel into the event?” I literally thought this to myself. Little did I know this panel would ignite a new passion in me.

A key moment was when Alexa Von Tobel, the founder of LearnVest, asked the audience of mostly women, ‘Did you learn about money in school?”

Maybe 10% of 2,000 people raised their hands.

I got full body chills and a realization: I’m not alone and omg we have a huge problem on our hands.

Here’s the link to our video for our launch party where I explain the catalyst and you see our first event!

With easy access to credit cards, and living in a world where it’s easier than ever to buy… it’s more important than EVER to have the tools to be able to handle our money (and learn how to make more of it!)

It’s even harder for our generation as many of us come out of school thousands of dollars in debt.

Forbes recently shared that student loan debt is over $1.2 trillion dollars right now. The average student loan debt is $26,000, and one in 10 graduates will owe more than $40,000. In the US it’s not uncommon for students in certain fields to have their own personal debt totalling more than $100,000. Dear God.

In full disclosure, The Sisterpack (aka us four sisters) owed collectively $112,928.64 in student loan debts. I have been paying mine off for more than five years and cut it in half, but collectively we’ve barely made a dent and still owe nearly $90,000.

So I wanted to share this to highly encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and join me in New York on November 14th to participate in this game-changing event.

Here’s a link to who’s going to be speaking:

Tickets are $199.00, and I can assure you they’re worth every penny. Gals, you gotta invest in yourself!

Hope to see you there!

<3 Gwen


You are now about to witness the realest haikus about student debt

Diploma in art.
Four years and crippling debt.
You want fries with that?

Just finished college.
Makes me live in a closet.
Ramen ain’t so bad.

Finished a degree
To find out I hate this path.
The f*ck do I do?

Can’t afford Ramen.
But I know algebra, so
That’s handy, I guess.

Broke as fuh. Oh no.
Should have gone into finance.
Then I’d have a clue.

It’s payday bitches!
Should it go to student loans?
Or splurge on two-ply?

Leave a haiku of your own in the comment section below!
Line 1: 5 syllables
Line 2: 7 syllables
Line 3: 5 syllables

Isn’t life FANTASTIC?!

Erring on the side of caution: How I managed while I was unemployed

I’m not a big risk taker. I like to play it safe and keep things chill. I’m not saying I won’t be spontaneous every once in a while, but when it comes to my finances I can be a bit of a fuddy duddy.

This ended up working to my advantage when my contract ended while I was reception at Ryerson’s Student Housing. I obviously went straight into panic mode, thinking that in a month I’d be living in a cardboard box eating garbage to survive. Of course that’s not what happened and I definitely overreacted.

I have been saving my money since high school, putting it away in a savings account. I also don’t really have too many things that I spend my cash on. Since I didn’t really have a job in high school I have always been hyper-aware of what I spend. So putting away whatever little cash I had just became a habit for me.

I continued this throughout university and was able to save up a “Just In Case” cushion. This came in handy after I became jobless. I did apply for Employment Insurance, but it took almost two months for it to finally kick in. This meant I had to be able to pay rent, internet, buy food and afford transit while I looked for jobs. Without my “Just In Case” cushion of cash I would’ve been in big trouble.

I used to get flack for not spending my money. People would tell me that it’s there to spend. What they didn’t know is that I was spending it, but not all the time. I would save up for things that I really wanted, like a trip to Italy or going to Fan Expo. I wasn’t big on going to bars or clubbing so the money that I would spend on that went to my “Just In Case” fund.

Preparing for that day where you may be jobless is kind of a necessary thing that our generation has to do. With many jobs being contract work, you never know if it will be extended or if they give you the, “see ya later.”

I suggest starting your “Just In Case” cushion now (if you already haven’t). I’m not here to say you have to make it a top priority, but make sure that it steadily grows and that it’s off limits unless it’s an emergency.

There’s nothing wrong with erring on the side of caution.

Gwen’s August Challenge: Save 10% of each paycheque

Saving 10% of your paycheque and putting it in savings should be automatic. Almost every financial book I’ve read tells readers to follow this rule.

Does this mean I have been diligently following it my working life?


I am definitely not proud of this, but it’s the truth. After graduating from university and working a minimum wage hostess job, and balancing student loan payments, rent, food and a lil’ fun, saving 10% was out of the question.

Nowadays with a full-time job and several side-hustles it’s possible.

In August, I consciously put away 10% three out of four weeks.

To be honest, I was quite proud of myself. It feels amazing to receive a paycheque and put away 10% into an account you don’t touch. Only, at the end of the month…I used it.

I just started a podcast on my personal site and needed to hire a freelance team of three to help me make the podcast happen. This definitely tapped into the 10%.

I’m a little disappointed that I’m not continuing to build up a nest egg, however, I am excited that I’m investing in my future.

For the month of September, I’m challenging myself to make mo’ money with Airbnb. I’m travelling for work and vacation for half of September and my one bedroom apartment in downtown Toronto is literally waiting to be rented out. I hope to be able to pay for half of my rent through Airbnb! It’s a lofty goal as a first time renter – but hey, it’s a challenge and I’m up for it!

Have you ever rented from Airbnb? Any tips? If so, comment below and help out a first-time renter 😀



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