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June 2016 archive

Facing disappointment and finding the silver lining

In my recent posts I’ve mentioned that I left my old job and have begun a new adventure. Unfortunately I found out recently that my new job will be cutting back my hours. As someone who likes routine and stable income, this came as quite a blow for me.


I was hoping to be working every day, being busy and earnin’ dat #cashmoney. My first thought was that I would have to get a second (or even third) job. Though not ideal, I have done it in the past. Plus, I could use Ask for Task to supplement my income as well. I wasn’t angry or scared, I was just… disappointed. I was so hyped to get back in the swing of things and now I have to head back to the ol’ drawing board.


But this morning at the gym I had a great thought! I could use this as an opportunity to make myself an even more valuable asset to the team. Though I may not be able to help out the way I initially thought, I do have other skills that could be utilized (and monetized).


Since the business I work for is fairly new, I could use the skills I developed at past jobs and internships to help with their social media. I have created a bunch of ideas to help bring in customers that I can present to my boss. Also, the building itself is still under renovation and needs some extra TLC and organizing. Uhm, my middle name is “organized”! This is a perfect opportunity for me to help make the space more aesthetically pleasing!


Sure, I may have had my hours cut back, but I can suggest ways that I can help make my place of employment thrive (and get paid doing it).


Hopefully my assertiveness and passion to see the place grow will work in my favour!


Wish me luck.


#TheSisterpack Goes To Kenya!

You may have been wondering why #TheSisterpack went MIA for the last two weeks. Trust me, we have a good excuse.

We journeyed as a family to Kenya to celebrate Monique’s recent nuptials and to meet her husband’s famjam. And what better way to get to know your new in-laws than to jump on safari and creep on some wildlife?!

We had a blast and a half getting to know everyone, going on adventures and having some serious family bonding moments. Nothing brings people closer together than road trips!

jet lagged
Travelling for 20 hours can really wear you down.

karyn pics
Karyn can’t (and won’t) stop taking pics of all the things!

beautiful views
We’re not in the 6ix anymore!

making friends with lions
Uhmmmm is that a lion?!


everything the light touches...
Everything the light touches…

the happy couple
The happy couple!

relaxing on the beach
It’s mandatory to have coconuts on the beach after a 12 hour car ride!

getting her glam on
Monique getting her glam on with Gab’s help!

new addition - honourary sisterpack
Our newest addition to #TheSisterpack!

Now that we are past the jet lag stage, we are right back into the swing of things. Stay tuned for our June Challenges, and sign up for our monthly newsletter to stay in touch!


Gabby’s May Challenge: Money Well Banked

Hey y’all!

My May challenge was something I’ve wanted to do for a long time: look into EQ Bank.

EQ Bank is basically a supercharged savings account at (currently) 2.25%, which is way better than anything else out there at the moment.

When I first heard of them, their interest rate was 3% (WOW), but because demand was so high, they had to lower it slightly. No biggie!

I read all the information on the site. Every bit. Here’s the (no b.s.) breakdown:

  • 2.25% interest rate on your $$$.
  • No hidden fees.
  • 24/7 customer service.
  • Five free Interac e-transfers every month. It only costs you $1.50 if you go over five, which is fair.
  • They’re 100% digital. No bank branches. No debit/credit cards. No paper mail. Awesome.
  • You can set savings goals.
  • If something happens, you’re insured up to $100,000.
  • You don’t need a minimum balance.
  • You can’t go into overdraft. They believe it counters their philosophy of helping you save money, so they just won’t process the transfer. So cool of them.

The only drawback was that I had to go on a waiting list for about five days. Then I got to take a picture of my cheque to deposit, and now I’m just waiting another day or so until my account becomes active!

All in all, I’m really excited to start super saving and getting to check out my personal account!

If you’re interested, here is the link to the EQ bank site. I encourage you to give it a read just to learn more, but the main thing you need to know is that they’re never trying to pull a fast one on you. Totally Canadian.

Now get saving!

Karyn’s May Challenge: Investing in Myself

This month’s Mo’ Money Challenge was a little different as we were able to have an amazing group of people supporting us through our Mo’ Money Mondates! My challenge this month was to finally get myself looked at by a doctor, dentist, and optometrist to see how much each of them would cost since I don’t have benefits.


The first person I subjected myself to was the eye doctor. I haven’t had my eyes tested in a little over four years and I was definitely past due for an eye exam. My prescription had changed so much that I was constantly squinting, plus my glasses were on the verge of crumbling to dust because they were so beat up.


I decided to go to Clearly on Queen St. West. The people were so awesome and I was in and out in no time. The cost of seeing the optometrist was $95 for just a basic check-up. I also wear contacts so I had to get new ones fitted. This set me back an extra $35. I ended up paying $130 plus tax which I was totally down with now that I was able to see. Plus I went on their site to buy my new frames and ended up paying only $49.92!!!


Riding on a high from the optometrist I was ready to tackle my next challenge… the doctor. First I need to mention that I haven’t seen a doctor in a ridiculously looooong time. I would also like to mention that I HATE the doctor and it is a nightmare situation for me every time that I even THINK about going.


This time around I wanted to find someone that I didn’t loathe. With the help of the Mo’ Money Mondate crew I was given great suggestions for doctors in the city! Unfortunately I have not yet made an appointment mainly due to fear and the fact that I ran out of time. But I’m giving myself half points as I did have to go get my shots for Kenya! My shots only cost me $135, but if I had renewed my gosh darn Health Card sooner I could have paid $95! You live and ya learn!


Last up is the dentist. I haven’t had my teeth examined in ages. If there is anything I hate more than the doctor, it’s the dentist. So as you can imagine I have yet to see them. Though I have made progress and narrowed down my search to two places in the T dot.


So 1.5/3 isn’t too bad considering how long I have put off the majority of these tasks. I am challenging myself to complete the rest of my tasks before the summer is over!


Wish me luck and good health!



Monique’s May Challenge: The Money Minimalist

My challenge for May was to become a money minimalist!

Minimalism, as I understand the concept, is to pare down the number of possessions you own until to get to the bare minimum, only owning what you truly need.

To accomplish my challenge, my husband and I decluttered just about everything in our studio apartment. We donated unworn clothing and housewares, and tossed anything else that we no longer felt was beautiful, useful, or joyful.

By doing this, it helped me get clear on what is actually important to me and prevent me from buying anything extra that will clutter up my life.

And it worked.

This month, we didn’t buy anything extra that we weren’t using immediately. I had bought some clothing I intended to wear on a trip to Kenya but the items ended up being a little off, so I returned them and got my money back. At the same time, if we bought any item, such as clothing, the idea was to purge at least one old thing so that we didn’t add to the number of our overall possessions.

We ended up with a lopsided score in our favour!

Like one of our Financially Fab Females of the Month, Lucie Fink, I am a maximalist (AKA a “clutterbug”). So this was a big win for me. Lucie also recently challenged herself to go minimalist too! Check out what she discovered below:

So going minimalist seems pretty useful.

But what does all this really have to do with money?

By critically evaluating what I already owned from a financial point of view, it really helped me gain more perspective on what I actually need and what I actually actively use. It helped me see many unnecessary redundancies in my spending and in what I own.

In my search to learn how else a minimalist lifestyle can contribute to mo’ money and mo’ progress, I stumbled across this blog post on minimalist secrets to saving money. (Secret number five is seriously legit.) I wanted to learn more about how minimalism can seriously contribute to your financial success and, really, it all comes down to your values.

Clarity is key. Knowing what makes you happy, and understanding that – nine times out of ten – what makes you smile won’t be “stuff.” It’ll be the accomplishments in your life. The places you visit. The people you meet. The things you do. It’s the quality of the life you’re currently living.

Saving up and spending your money on the life you actually want is, to me, so much more tempting than buying eight more sassy t-shirts that will be out of style in a few weeks.

There are definitely more steps to take in order to become a financial minimalist while making mo’ money.

  • Get rid of any extra credit cards you have that you don’t use or are tempted to use. There’s no point in wasting extra credit you have that could be put to better use like buying a house or car. Stick with one or two cards as much as possible.
  • Reconsider cable and/or home internet. Downsize or renegotiate your cell phone payment plan or monthly bill. Spend some time to save some money. Really decide what you need every month. You could even challenge yourself to go without home internet or cable for a month and see what happens. How much money would you save? What would you do instead of Netflix and chill?
  • Bored with your wardrobe? Organize a clothing swap, seek out deals at Value Village (with the caveat that you should donate at least one item for each new one you get), or invest in some timeless, quality pieces you would be happy to wear for years.

The #MoMoneyPosse kept me accountable for my May challenge by checking in every week for the “Mo Money Mondate” where we shared our progress and the obstacles we faced in completing our financial goals! We had a party in Toronto on the last Monday of the month to celebrate (I Skyped in, of course) and we’re going to keep this going in June! If you’d like to join in the financial fun, let us know on social or email us at


Gwen’s May Challenge: Tax Party Prep Take III

I DID IT! Third time’s a charm. This month I was able to complete my Mo’ Money challenge of tracking my expenses in an excel document for January of 2015.

The motivation behind this is that I usually procrastinate doing my taxes, and I want to be prepared this year to help out the Gwen of 2017.

Check out my video update to see how I was able to make the shift to actually doing my expenses this month!

If you’re interested in tracking your expenses with the New School of Finance, you can learn more about the program here!

My June challenge is going to be to track my expenses for February in the same Google Doc. It’s not glamorous, but it’ll be fun to complete!

Financially Fab Female of the Month: Katherine Hague

Hi, #MoMoneyPosse!

This month’s Financially Fab Female is empowering both investors and entrepreneurs with the information and skills to take their money management to the next level (while also creating huge opportunities to increase their income while they’re at it).

Katherine Hague has both founded and invested in multiple companies. Her first startup, an ecommerce platform called ShopLocket, got acquired by PCH International in 2014.

The self-described globe trotter, trend hunter, and marketer was named as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network, and one of 5 Women to Watch in Wearable Tech.

There are so many ways to save money, earn more, and manage it well. Read on to see why Katherine says saving, although important, is not the most critical thing she does when it comes to building real wealth… and making mo’ progress in the process.


1. Hi! Who are you and what do you do?

I’m a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, public speaker and author.

I started a company called ShopLocket about five years ago. ShopLocket helped small businesses launch products and collect pre-orders online. The business was made possible in part by a $10K investment from a friend and we went on the raise over $1M in venture financing.

I sold ShopLocket two years ago, at the age of 23. After selling the company I began investing in startups myself, focusing on companies led by female CEOs. I’ve made six angel investments to date, and have started an organization called Female Funders to empower other women to start angel investing too. (Angel investment is basically any investment in a small, privately-owned business where the investor is investing their own money.)

As part of Female Funders I launched Angel School, a self-guided online education program available to both investors and entrepreneurs. The program helps women both fund and get funded. (Did you know that only 2.7 percent of venture funding goes to female CEOs? Through Female Funders and Angel School, I want to equip women with the tools and networks they need to help change that number.)

In addition Angel School I’ve written a book called “Funded: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Raising Your First Round”. The book has been published through O’Reilly Media and should be shipping in the next couple months! If you’re an entrepreneur looking to take your business to the next level, get your pre-order now 😉

2. Do you have a money habit you practice that has made a big impact on how you made mo’ money or manage what you’ve got?

Always start a negotiation with the largest number you can say with a straight face. All negotiations start with “No.”

I’ve always found it hard to ask for more than I thought I deserved. And especially early in my career, I didn’t think I was worth much. I found myself under-pricing my services as a consultant, undervaluing my products, and even undervaluing my company. But I didn’t have the nerve to ask for more. It wasn’t until I realized that negotiation is not about how much you think you’re worth, but how much the other person is willing to pay that things started to change. I came to realize that not only did I start getting more when I asked for it, but people started to take me more seriously, and customers even became more interested in my products! Don’t let your own insecurities hold you back or diminish your value.

3. Who taught you to manage your money? What was their best advice?

No one ever taught me to manage money, at least that I can remember.

Growing up, money was always a big worry for my family and it added a huge amount of stress to our day-to-day lives. I hated that feeling and I was incredibly motivated to change my financial fate.

Early in my career, all I knew was that I never wanted to worry about money again, and I never wanted my kids to worry about money the way I did. My solution was to save. I saved until I had enough money to move out of my parents’ house after university ($10K) and then I saved so that I could quit my job and start ShopLocket ($16K).

I would never have had the financial security to start my company if I didn’t save, and my company wouldn’t have been successful if I didn’t have a basic understanding of corporate finance (much of which was learned along the way). But the truth is, I don’t think it’s my money management skills that have been the largest driver to my financial success.

Building a company and learning how to negotiate for what I deserved is what led to my financial success, not the management of my money along the way.

4. What does being “financially stable” mean to you?

Financially stable to me means that I don’t have to worry about covering my basic wants and needs. It means that I have the freedom to follow my passions without being held back by financial constraints.  

I’ve learned that you never actually stop worrying about money, in fact I probably think about money more than I ever did before. But, for the most part, I now have the means to take advantage of any opportunity that crosses my path. To me that’s a huge accomplishment. That’s financial stability and probably more importantly — that’s financial freedom.

Now I have my sights set on even greater financial success. I talk a lot about the need for women to go out there and build the next billion dollar company, and if I’m going to preach it — I better get out there and lead by example. What’s next, I’m not really sure. But it’s going to be BIG! 🙂

5. What is the main lesson that you think Millennials need to learn, or hear about, when it comes to making mo’ money and mo’ progress?

I think that starting your own business is the best way to accumulate wealth. Don’t just shoot for a great salary. The richest people in the world didn’t make their money from a salary — they made it starting companies. There is no way I would be where I am today were I to have stuck to the corporate path out of university. My best advice is to invest in yourself and your ideas. Work hard. Skip the corporate ladder and build your own path to financial freedom.