Tag Archive: monies

As of today I am 100% debt free (legally)

Becoming debt free has been a goal I’ve been focused on a very long time. When I flip through my old journals I actually see it becoming a recurring theme…even when it’s a (relatively) cute amount such as $500 back in the good ol days when I was 20. Having just become debt free though I didn’t feel all that big of a change, I figure there are likely two reasons for this.

  1. While I am legally debt free I am not morally debt free, Janelle assumed a bit of my debt when we got together and now we both have to work together to pay that off as quickly as possible.

2. It’s really just a number that changed in a database and I’ve learned not to be so stressed about it.

I also feel a little bit numb as I am in Alberta which is going through another huge bust right now, headlines like this seem to be becoming the norm:

Suicide rate in Alberta climbs 30% in wake of mass oilpatch layoffs

I truly think the minimalism path I am on is such a great tool that could be applied to so many people, with proper budgeting and priority you can take huge strides to make yourself recession proof which I think is the ultimate goal we should all strive to reach. I’m going to quote Marge Simpson here….

Homer, when a man’s biggest dreams include seconds on dessert, occasional snuggling and sleeping in til noon on weekends, no one man can destroy them.

That’s one smart lady…..Now I might expand on that just a wee bit…to perhaps include a warm bed…and a nice safe roof over your head…maybe a garden or a view of a sunset…but it’s really semantics…..Marge really nailed the correct sentiment here. If we can all teach ourselves to be truly happy with enough then we are all that much better off.

To be seriously considering killing yourself when over something like money when you have a full belly and a warm bed should be unheard of. That being said I realize that your finances can be hugely stressful and that many people define themselves by their job + materials……..so LET’S FIX THAT! 🙂

One question that constantly irks me is “what do you do for a living?” in most circumstances the questioner really just wants to ask “What is your soci-economic level in comparison to moi?”. I’ve been trying to coach people to change the format of the question to “What really interests you?” or even “What are your passions in life?”…I suggest everyone try that sometime in the next month…it can be truly inspiring the answers you get.

I think there are two main ways us as a society could help prevent this kind of extreme stress (suicide being the ultimate express of stress but let’s not forget that we can all benefit from less stress in life)

  1. You are more than your job, you are a strong wonderful person who is capable of doing so much more than paying bills.
  2. Have less stuff and obligation, there will be up’s and down’s but if you can always live at a basic enjoyable level then you are in a much better position to ride out the inevitable storms (many of which are beyond your control)

Objectively Janelle and I are making quite a bit less than we did a few years ago when we had to strong incomes but I’ll guarantee you we are in a better place and headspace now.. We’ve moved to a smaller cozier place walking distance from Janelle’s new job in a field she’s actually interested in. While I’m still working in CubeTown, Alberta I’ve really developed a huge amount of passions outside my work that get me excited to see progress.

I wanted to post some links (in no particular order) to a handful of blog/books/sites/whatever that have really helped me put my financial desires and future into perspective, I think any and all of them should be required reading at any stage of your life;

Mr. Money Mustache — Early Retirement through Badassity

The Wealthy Barber – a good read just for it’s bit on insurance

Smoke and Mirrors: Financial Myths That Will Ruin Your Retirement Dreams

Ernie Zelinski, just about anything by this fellow Edmontonian

How to Retire the Cheapskate Way: The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Guide to a Better, Earlier, Happier Retirement

How to be Idle, a Loafers Manifesto

Also…during this Holiday season I realize a lot of people open up their wallets and help out those far less fortunate, I had the pleasure of dropping off $500 cash I had raised recently to the Edmonton foodbank. Let’s not all forget that hunger and real poverty doesn’t disappear when the Christmas lights come down…people need help all year round.


I may not mention this enough but I host monthly minimalist meetings here in Edmonton…feel free to stop on by and say hello sometime…




You don’t need money to be happy



Finances and money have always been an interesting topic to me but one that I only really recently seemed to have taken seriously.

You’re the boss!

While I don’t blame my parents or the school system I grew up in I have to preface this post by saying I am stunning at the lack of free knowledgeable information about finances. For many people it’s a taboo topic, rude to be discussed that puts people on the defensive. I also feel that sometimes people just don’t get a grasp on their finances until much later in life though by learning some basic concepts earlier it can make everything easier.

It’s also important to note that your own financial freedom is most important to….YOU! and only you. While financial advisors are great resources given the right circumstances your own financial goals are not always aligned. Don’t forget how they get paid, by commissions on products to be sold to you! Under no circumstance (maybe forced savings…) is it a good idea to take out a loan at 18% to buy an investment at 5% interest…

Everyone might have a different method that works for them but Janelle and I have a monthly tracking sheet now that we put together and talk about for a few minutes every month. It really allows both of us to understand where our money goes each month and gives us the ability to adjust things as we go on.


Money Leaks

One of the best financial metaphors along the lines that you were nuts if you thought the best way to fill a bathtub with holes was just to keep dumping water into it which is how so many of us approach finances. We keep working longer and harder to make more money and throw in more buckets of water but never stop to take a good look at this tub that has the holes in it were all our hardwork is just running out.

I remember having so many different debts I just didn’t know the entire amount I owed up and it actually took a considerable amount of work to gather all that information. How do you even begin to have a plan if you don’t know where you are starting from?

I’ve also realized that since I am not good at being too organize or paying bills on time (oh yeah, I’ll pay this tomorrow then I lose it then BAM $25 late charge next month) that one of the best things we did is have every single one of our bills hit our credit card…then once a month I just make a single payment to that…no more missed payments, overdraft or other charges.


Resources I would suggest:

There is a huge amount of resources out there including family members, friends, books and website were you can learn all about different financial methods that would have a direct impact on you. Most of it is just being willing to ask for help and guidance and taking off the blinders.

I really enjoy books by Chuck Yeager, the wealthy Barber, Smoke & Mirrors and anything by Bill Waterson as good resources.

Crystal Ball:

You never really know where you are going to end up…so save and make smart decisions but be aware you never know what’s going to happen. A friend of mine just passed on at the age of 34…went to bed in his brand new 2300 sqft house with his stay at home wife and two kids…never woke up….totally shocking and going to be a huge difficulty for those he left behind.

Or maybe you after 40 years of marriage you’ll grow apart or start a successful business…or your successful business will fail…all kinds of things can and will happen. If anything is predictable it’s that life is unpredictable…