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April 2016 archive

Adulting 101: Make Your Own Cleaning Products and Save (+ Feel Amazing)

Today, I made a discovery: vinegar is amazing.

It’s not just the perfect topping for crispy, salty fries, it’s also the perfect cleaner for my kitchen counter.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been decluttering my home and making space for new and improved things (from cutlery to clothes).

As I realized it was time to give my house a good cleaning, I started to hesitate with using some of my chemical-filled cleaners.

So to the internet I went and I discovered some incredible, all-natural resources.

My favourite video is from an amazing Canadian gal Sarah Nagel called: My Non-Toxic Cleaning Guide!

She shares some amazing tips for using simple things like vinegar, lemons, baking soda and salt to clean everything from toilets to mirrors.

Here is her complete guide for products she suggests you use to clean:

  • Vinegar
  • Lemons
  • Lemon oil/ essential oils
  • Food grade hydrogen peroxide
  • Soap nuts
  • Castile soap  
  • Baking soda
  • Salt

I also just recently bought some essential oils which she suggests you use make your DIY cleaner smell a little nicer.

Not only do I feel happier using these all natural products, it’s also such a money saver! You can buy a spray bottle at the dollar store, and a big jug of vinegar or baking soda for a couple bucks!

If you are on cleaning duty, I highly recommend you try this!

And I’d love to learn from any cleaning hacks or money saving hacks that you have discovered! Comment below or tell us on Instagram!

<3 Gwen

Keepin’ It Real

Scrolling through the Mo’ Money, Mo’ Progress Instagram feed I found myself noticing a common trend. There are a lot of posts of people with luxury items. Watches, cars, expensive clothes, vacations, and pretty much anything with a hefty price tag. Usually when I see these pics I double tap without thinking or just scroll by without really giving them much thought.

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After writing my post about my Quarter Century Crisis I’ve started to really think about the things that I want to work toward and figure out my future. With a generation that is very social media savvy, it’s common to find our feeds saturated with the fancier things in life. Unfortunately I am one of the people who can’t (yet!) afford these things. Seeing them everyday surprisingly started to wear me down.

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I began to envy these people who posted pictures of things I would never have. Looking at these photos made the green-eyed monster rage inside of me. I started looking around at the things I owned and began to resent them. Thinking back to all the money I have spent needlessly instead of saving it and padding my bank account to buy something Instagram-worthy began to eat away at me.

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What brought me back down to Earth was when I purchased my Premium Pass to FanExpo. FanExpo is a convention of all things nerdy held in Toronto. This will be my fourth year in a row attending the con. When you buy your tickets you have a choice of Deluxe, Premium and VIP passes. After staring at a world of WANTS on Instagram I was incredibly tempted to buy a VIP pass that cost almost $600. I wanted to buy it, not because it was something that I would cherish and enjoy, but because I felt like it would make me feel better about my current situation.

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Yep, I thought spending $600 would make me feel whole. That having an unfulfilling job, paying off student debt, and trying to figure out my future would all disappear if I bought a VIP pass. I was literally one click away from dropping $600 when I realized how ridiculous that was. Spending money wasn’t going to solve my #moneywoes and it definitely wasn’t going to help me figure out my quarter century crisis.

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So instead I opted for the Premium pass, which was at a price that wouldn’t give me heart palpitations the next time I looked at my credit card statement. What I took away from this moment of clarity was that seeing all of these people living extravagant lives and being able to afford all of their WANTS can get to you. Whether or not you let your envy tear you down is a whole other thing.

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Everyone is successful in different ways, and unfortunately we currently judge it by how many likes your picture gets. From now on, I’ve decided to keep it real. If I do post I want to make sure it’s something that brings joy and creates a dialogue between people that’s more than just, “Oooh I wish I could be there/have that.”

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Let’s keep it real,
-Karyn

Gabby’s March Challenge: Getting My Passport Renewed (and other things)

As some of you may know, our family is travelling to Kenya this summer! My challenge for March was very simple: get my passport renewed.  I didn’t want to wait until the last minute to get this done because it can be super panicky and cost more in express shipping fees.

Avoiding extra fees like:

When I got to Service Ontario, all I had to do was fill out a form and mail it in with new photos and my old passport. Super easy.

I actually ended up getting my passport photos done at a convenience store (LOL) because for some reason they don’t do them anymore at the specific Service Ontario I went to 🙁

While I was there I did also manage to fix my driver’s license address. I got my G license in September but it never got mailed to me for a number of reasons:

  1. I didn’t know you had to pay an additional $81 fee just to register it AND they never told me until I called in to be like, where da hell is my license?
  2. My apartment number was also missing on the form so the mailman didn’t know which box to put it in. So it kept getting mailed to my apartment and then promptly returned to sender. #Annoying.

This brings us back to when I was getting my passport renewed; while I was at Service Ontario I hit two birds with one stone and filled out the new (and correct) paperwork to get my address changed. DOUBLE WIN!

I got my passport info mailed in and now I’m just waiting for my new one in the mail. All in all, my March challenge was a success!

For my challenge this month, I’m going to take on the big one: doing my taxes. On time.

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I’m really nervous I’ll go in and not have all the information and it’ll be a waste of time, but luckily, I have a great support system thanks to the Sisterpack!

My ultimate goal is to get a grasp on this so it won’t be a pain point for me every year.

Wish me luck!
-Gabby

 

Karyn’s March Challenge: Income Tax Assistance

My March Challenge was to see what it was like paying someone to do my income taxes for me. I know you’re probably thinking, “Karyn, this isn’t exactly challenging.” Well, in my case it was kind of a struggle.

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I’m the kind of person that likes to do things herself and I don’t really like strangers getting ahold of my personal stuff, especially my money stuff. I decided to get outside of my comfort zone in March and try something new. I wanted to use this challenge as a learning experience and make sure to ask oodles of questions so in the future doing my own taxes would be a breeze.

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Well, it did not turn out that way.

3

First off, if you are going to have someone else do you taxes, book suuuuuuuper  early. When I say early, I mean the second they open up for appointments. My first choice was full up so they recommended me to someone else, who was also fully booked.

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I then turned to H&R Block. I went to their website to make sure I had everything ready for when I booked my appointment. Turns out I was missing my T4E, which required I call My Service Canada (which meant I was on hold for a bazillion years). After I got confirmation that they would mail me my T4E the month was pretty much over.

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I’m still waiting on my T4E to come in the mail. Once I get it I’m going to immediately book an appointment with H&R Block.

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So unfortunately my March Challenge has been extended to my April Challenge. Though I “failed” my challenge, I did learn that I need to be waaaay more on top of my income taxes. That means getting all of the necessary paperwork as early as I possibly can, and booking an appointment as soon as humanly possible.

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Stay tuned for next month’s adventures when I journey to H&R Block to find someone to help me with my income tax quest!

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-Karyn

Monique’s March Challenge: Getting It Together

Tax season is here!

rihanna - ohmygodohmygod

…Okay, now everyone just breathe.

If you’re not totally prepared and don’t have an appointment booked with a tax planner, have no fear! You’re not alone. I am not fully prepared to submit my taxes yet either.

That’s partially due to the fact that I don’t have all the information and forms that I need.

My March Challenge was to make sure that I gathered all of my tax information and forms (or at least find out where they are).

Getting informed is half the battle. I’ve moved so much over the past few years and gathering all of my tax information has been a recurring challenge for me – it’s almost inevitable that a T4 will get sent to the wrong address, no matter how clear I am with my bosses. Luckily, all it takes is a phone call to Revenue Canada or an appointment with H&R Block, and I’m set.

However, as a freelancer and sole-proprietor, the onus is on me to also ensure that I have enough savings designated to pay taxes for that income, and I must have accurate records to prove what I’ve earned. (But this topic is another post for another day.)

While I informed my employers that I was moving and left a forwarding address, it seems as though some information is still missing.

sherlock - #internallyscreaming

I recently sent an email to my former roommate, asking if any mail had come for me. There are now two pieces of mail from my employers that are en route to the UK. (Because she’s awesome like that.)

Hopefully by the end of *this* month, I will have all of the information I need.

While I don’t currently have all my T4s and official income statements, I would still say that my March Challenge was a pseudo-success.

The general consensus of Millennials say that doing taxes are a big part of “adulting” and while some people are totally on it, others just can’t be bothered. And then there’s a big segment of us lamenting the fact that we’re completely ignorant about how to go about doing them or finding the right person or firm to do them for us.

I’m actually pretty sick of standing directly on the cutoff line of “kind of knowing.” I want to get it. I want to know the reasons why I need to have all these forms and to figure out how to actually do my taxes.

So! My April Challenge is to enrol in Sole Prop School – the course Gwen just completed through Shannon Lee Simmons’ New School of Finance. If you’re curious and haven’t already read Gwen’s post, definitely check it out: she shares a cool way you can get financially informed and support your #Sisterpack and #MoMoneyPosse at the same time 😉

Want to join in the #financialfun? Let us know on social media how you’re going to get involved!

High fives and good vibes,

Monique

Gwen’s March Challenge: Tax Party 2016

I know, a ‘Tax Party’ doesn’t quite sound like the kinda party you’d want to be at. Though it’s the party we choose to show up to – or not – every year.

I’ve been RELUCTANTLY showing up to this party since I started doing my own taxes a few years ago (once my mom stopped doing them for me when my sole proprietor and freelance income was getting a bit too complex). My goal is to start REJOICING when I show up to this party. I dream of the day I am filled with joy and ease when I do my taxes instead of dread and shame for never feeling like I know enough.

To be honest, it’s been getting so much easier over the years since I started working with Shannon Lee Simmons of The New School of Finance. She actually has a banner that says ‘Tax Party’ in her office.

I just did my taxes with her a few weeks ago (phew) and although I was more prepared than ever before, I still found myself awake at 3 a.m. organizing expenses into spreadsheets. Not cute. So this year I vow to be prepared with my taxes so that it’s a piece of cake in 2017.

When I started this challenge in March, I was honestly not sure how to do this. When I told Shannon about my goal for next year, she mentioned she created a course for people just like me in the New School of Finance so that it’s easier. Once I realized this, I immediately invested in her online course. When I dove in I found the content to be SO rich and helpful and I know it’s going to be game-changing. Although I had wanted to categorize all of my expenses and start tax prepping for the first three months at this point, I’ve honestly just scratched the surface of Shannon’s content.

When I expressed to Shannon my sheer joy about the course she asked if I’d like to become an affiliate of the program. That means that if I share this link and you choose to buy it, our Mo’ Money team will receive a small commission on the sale! It will be of no cost to you. So if you are interested in the New School of Finance and want to buy it – we’d appreciate you buying through our link! It will help with our new website upgrade 🙂

So overall my challenge for April is going to be a repeat challenge of Tax Party 2016. I can’t wait to get this done and create a system for checking in on my finances weekly.

I know the day will come that I feel like this when it’s tax time:

via GIPHY

 

 

And I’m hoping that starts for 2017!!!

<3 Gwen

I Asked My Coworker How Much Money She Makes…

Lately, I’ve been working insane hours. I’m talking never seeing the light of day—and on top of that, weekends.

1

While I love my job and think it’s one of the best things to ever happen to me, I do feel that for the amount of work I put in, I should be compensated accordingly. I’m not asking for a crazy raise, but I do have a number in my head that I think is fair. And I’m mustering up the courage to ask for it.

Here’s the dilemma:

I’ve never once asked for a raise in my life, and quite honestly, I have no idea how to go about it. But I do have a strong starting point for how much I should think about asking for.

In my industry, we work in teams of two. And I’ve always wondered how much my partner makes, not to judge myself (or her), but to get clarity on how much I’m worth.

So one day, we were eating lunch and talking about how hard we’ve been working. We did the math and learned that we’d probably be working for around $5 an hour because we don’t get paid overtime.

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We started talking about money and raises and I casually asked her if she would mind sharing how much she makes.

She told me. And it was THE BEST.

Not only did I find out that I was making significantly less than her, but that if she’s making that much… then I can be making that much.

3A

I understand it takes time to make as much as she’s making, and she has two years’ experience on me, but now I’m more comfortable going in and asking for what I believe I’m worth because I have something to base it on.

When I was a kid, I was always told asking people how much they make is a bad idea, and I truthfully never understood why, especially in moments like this.

How could finding out how much you’re worth (or helping a friend find out how much they’re worth) possibly be a bad thing?

It’s time we start breaking the stigma and start talking about our salaries so we can all grow rich together! Yippee!

One step at a time,
-<3 An anonymous Sisterpack sister

Quarter Century Crisis

I’m turning 25 in September and in talking to some of my other mid-twenties pals I’ve found a common trend. We are all freaking out about our future careers and financial situations.

1

Currently my thoughts keep drifting to career goals. I see a whole whack of my peers doing absolutely rad things, while I’m working at a decent job, but not my dream.

2

I know I shouldn’t be comparing to other’s lifestyles, but in the age of social media where nothing isn’t facebooked, tweeted, insta’d or snapped, it’s hard not to let it get to me.

3

I keep having this nagging feeling that I wasted my money on a degree that now seems slightly obsolete. All I have to show for my four years at Uni is a vague set of skills and seven years of debt.

4

Now I have to work at a job that isn’t as fulfilling as I hoped it would be to pay off student loans that I wish I never took out.

5

The only thing I really have going for me is that I’m financially stable. I was able to scrimp and save so if I ever was unemployed again (I seriously hope not though) I would be okie dokie.

What I want to know is who else out there is in the same boat as me? Who keeps getting asked what do you want to do in the next five years, but draw a blank? Or what do you say when people ask if you are planning for your future?

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I would love to hear your #quartercenturycrisis stories! Share your story in the comments or tweet us @MoMoneyMoProg!

-Karyn

Financially Fab Female of the Month: Alex Weber

Hey #MoMoneyPosse!

It’s our April Financially Fab Female of the Month (no foolin’)! In this series, we less-than-humble-brag about millennials who have learned major life lessons about what it takes to make mo’ money and manage what they’ve got.

Alex Weber is the founder of True North Life Design, a life coaching startup that empowers women to discover who they really are and what they really want to achieve. An accomplished former journalist who went through a quarter-life crisis at the age of 23, Alex realized that despite how good she looked on paper, it wasn’t making her happy. So she made a major career shift into “soul-preneurship” and hasn’t looked back.

But the writer in her hasn’t wandered off: Alex published her first e-book, Discover Your True North, in January. This spiritual roadmap helps show millennial women that happiness is within us – as long as we get out of our own way.

Now, the #girlboss who lived “the textbook millennial life” is sharing how her money mindset evolved from her mid-teens, to the quarter-life crisis, to how she now gets cozy with her cash every Monday.

Alex shared her high vibes and cash flow wisdom with Mo’ Money Mo’ Progress and our #MoMoneyPosse!

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

I’m Alex! I’m a life coach, writer and founder of True North Life Design, a website that empowers women to connect to their inner wisdom and design lives they love. Through one-on-one coaching, group programs, and workshops, I help women understand their values and beliefs in a really deep way, then inspire them to take action and create the life they truly want to be living.

I also send out a weekly coaching newsletter, for free, with tons of tools, resources and guidance for millennial women who desire to live radically happy, authentic lives. You can subscribe by visiting True North Life Design.

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

Yes! And it’s been a game changer. When I first started my business in 2015, all of the “money stuff” really freaked me out. So I actually hired a financial coach to get my butt in gear. She gave me THE best piece of advice I’ve ever heard about money: make it fun. Now every week I take myself out on a “Dollar Date.” I go to my favourite cafe, snuggle up with a luxurious latte and get intimate with my money. I pay all of my bills, send out invoices, update my spreadsheets… anything financial that needs to get done that week happens on my Dollar Date. I also typically do this Monday morning, so it’s out of the way and off my mind. This weekly practice has totally shifted the way money feels to me. It no longer feels scary or like a chore, I actually look forward to it!

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

To be honest, my parents were a little “hands off” when it came to teaching me about managing money. So a lot of what I’ve learned, I’ve learned through experience. I first started earning an income when I was 15 and over the past decade have made tons of mistakes. I’ve gotten myself in and out of debt a few times and that experience in particular as taught me so much about money.

So honestly the best piece of advice I have, especially for millennials, is to know the difference between GOOD DEBT and BAD DEBT, and to only accumulate the good stuff. Good debt is accumulating debt in order to make more money. Student loans and business loans are examples of good debt because the intention is to use those loans to advance your education or business, both of which will lead to money down the road. Bad debt is accumulating debt that will not make you money. Using credit cards for online shopping and vacations are examples of bad debt. This is the debt that haunts you and can become really challenging to pay off because not only do you have to tackle the physical debt, but you’ve got to deal with your mindset. A “spend now, pay off later” mentality can be really tough to shake and can keep you in trouble for years.

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

To me financial stability means not having to worry about money. It means feeling comfortable and at ease with your finances, and earning enough to have all of your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs met.

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?

Keep going! I know what it feels like to graduate with student debt and feel like you’re always behind financially. But I also know that it is possible to change your financial situation with intention and consistent action. You might not see results right away, especially if you’re an entrepreneur, but don’t get discouraged! There is a compounding effect that happens when you keep moving towards your big goals and dreams. All of the little tasks and tiny to-dos may not feel like they’re taking you very far, but they are! So keep going and trust that every step you take is a step closer to financial stability and eventually financial freedom!

If you’re loving Alex’s high vibes, you can sign up for her weekly coaching newsletter and learn more about her work by visiting her website, http://www.truenorthlifedesign.co.

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