SayingThank You and Saying Goodnight

Eleven years I ago, I started a journey. I wanted no other Canadian woman to live my life. I wanted them to know about money. I wanted them to know life on a small budget was manageable. Tonight, a new path begins and I say thank you and goodnight.

Last week I got an offer to sell Common Cents Mom. The offer is more than fair. I will no longer be the owner of Common Cents Mom as of this time tomorrow night.

How do I say goodbye to 11 years years of work?

This blog has been good to me and for me. We built a community. A community I hope sticks around for what is ahead for the blog.  You will see more here, and it will help those who want a financial path forward.

thank you
Man holding thank you word in palm

Saying Thank You

Thank you to Liz Strauss and Terry Starbucker who first recognized me as a blogger when this little blog was in its infancy. Thank you to Preet Banerjee who gave me my first paid writing gig! Thank you to Gayle Vaz Oxlade who was an early mentor. Thank you to Donna Marie Antoniadias who recognized my talents early on as a community builder and helped me thrive and succeed.

Thank you to every person who gathered on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings to talk money long before there were bank Twitter chats and parties, Facebook Lives and Instastories. I enjoyed every hour very much. Can you believe those Twitter chats produced over 5 billion social media impressions? It is a legacy of how important money conversations are. Financial literacy is important. It always will be for Canadian families.

Thank you to every brand I worked with. I was blessed to have multiple year relationships with many brands over the years. I still remember my first sponsor on this blog though was Dove Chocolate. I couldn’t turn down chocolate.  But the reality is I loved talking taxes with Turbo Tax, loved my partnership with Church and Dwight, loved talking movies and tv shows with Netflix, and then got to celebrate my dad and his work in a factory many years ago when I partnered with Hallmark Canada.

This blog has also helped several Canadian owned and created apps and sites launch.

Flipp, is still my go-to best friend when it comes to shopping.  Have you downloaded and saved on your grocery bill yet?

Caddle, when it comes to favourite cash back apps, this one still ranks high for me.

uCarenet, will definitely change the face of homecare in Canada.

Quber, is a great little app if you need help with your savings goals.

Notice a theme with these? They all help us every day.  I loved finding apps, technology and ways of doing things and then sharing them with my readers.

good night

Looking Forward and Saying Good Night

Now looking forward, I turn 55 this year. It’s time to forge a new path forward. It’s time to say goodnight to this blog and start a new adventure. It’s time for a new writer here.

Wish me luck on this adventure and again thank you all, it has been quite the ride.



Are You Headed Towards Bankruptcy or Is There a Better Way? #FLM2018

With interest rates rising in Canada, with apartment rental rates skyrocketing in Toronto, many of us are taking on more and more debt. Less saving is getting done.  More and more Canadians are spending on things that don’t really matter. Are you headed towards bankruptcy or is there a better way?

Sometimes you need to look at the numbers

In this world of hustle and bustle, where many of us have a full-time gig and at least one side hustle to pay the bills many Canadians have no balance in their lives.  We are eating out more. Grabbing more coffees in cafes. Did you know the average Canadian family spends $300 on eating out or on take out? How much are you spending and could it make a difference in reaching your long-term goals? Are you able to reach for your dreams?

A number of years ago, I had racked up a huge sum of consumer debt. I declared bankruptcy. I am asking a hard question. Are the spending choices you make today leading you are towards bankruptcy?  Are you one step away?

Take a hard look at where you are spending. Have you ever tracked your daily spends for a month? It can be an eye-opening experience. Simply write down every penny you spend for a month. It may lead you to make some changes.

Invest in Your Financial Well Being

Sow seeds that will make you money smart.

Many years ago I started Common Cents Mom as a place where my readers could come and get smarter about money. I even started the very first personal finance chat in Canada. Now there are many resources. One of my favourite resources, one that helps everyday Canadians is actually put out by the federal government.

If you want to get a handle on your spending habits, learn more about money, use a budget calculator perhaps for the very first time, learn about the differences between a TFSA and a RRSP, and learn about your rights and obligations when it comes to financial institutions, this site gives you the resources that you need.

This week the theme is all about good habits, one of the best habits you can have when it comes to financial literacy is to have a budget and stick with it. It is a foundation ground that you can build on. Financial literacy is important not only for your well being for that of your family and the economy. The more we know the more we can invest in our futures.

Eight years ago, I started talking about financial literacy. I talked about my bankruptcy and through the #Cdnmoney chat encouraged Canadians to get money smart. That is still my goal. I was proud to participate in the first Finacial Literacy Month in 2012 and every year especially in November, I share ways for you to get money smart.

We all need to understand this financial ecosystem and how even our little spending choices can make a difference.

Let me know if you are participating and watching for the #FLM2018 hashtag and what you are learning.



It’s Financial Literacy Month and Its Time to Talk Finances with Tangerine. #FLM2018

November is Financial Literacy Month (FLM). Perhaps you have seen tweets with the #FLM2018 or #FLM in my social feed. The topic of financial literacy has always been important to me. It is the reason I started Common Cents Mom.

In Canada, the  Financial Literacy Leader is the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC). They coordinate the organizations from the private, public and non-profit sectors to strengthen the financial literacy of Canadians.  Their mandate is to make Canadians financially literate aka money smart.

Program Theme

This year’s theme is “Invest in your financial well-being”. The goal is to encourage Canadians to take control of their finances and reduce financial stress by making a budget, having a savings and debt reduction plan, and understanding their financial rights and responsibilities.  For years I talk about these topics during the #cdnmoney chats.  I am thrilled that there has been a whole month dedicated to helping Canadians take control.

Now this month, I have partnered with Tangerine Bank, who are bringing those important money conversations to Twitter with not one but 2 Twitter parties this month. Circle your calendar for both!

To participate in this one use the hashtag #RetirementPlanning!


Retirement Planning Twitter Party

  • You need to start preparing today so that you will have enough money to spend during retirement. To participate in this one use the hashtag #RetirementPlanning!


Date: November 15, 2018 at 8:00pm ET
Host: @TangerineBank
Guest: Caroline Cakebread @CCakebread, Pension Expert
NO RSVP | $500 in Prizing | Anyone can participate but only Canadians excluding those in the province of Quebec can win prizes

Caroline Cakebread is a pension expert who has researched and written about retirement security and financial literacy for nearly two decades. She’s been a personal finance columnist for Chatelaine and the Toronto Star and is the author of Back From the Brink. She is a contributor on the Tangerine blog

If you are wondering how much you should save by age 40, you should read this blog post by Caroline Cakebread.

You might think that the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is an actual “pension plan” – after all, that’s what it’s called. But if you’re relying on government benefits like the CPP to fund your retirement, then you probably need to rethink that plan. Caroline Cakebread explains in this blog post.


Control of Your Finances Twitter Party

  • Start investing now so that your money works harder for you. Use the hashtag #ControlYourFinances for this party.


Control Your Finances Twitter Party
Date: November 26, 2018 at 8:00pm ET
Host: @TangerineBank
Guest: @RobinTaub, Financial Literacy Advocate
NO RSVP | $500 in Prizing | Anyone can participate but only Canadians excluding those in the province of Quebec can win prizes

Robin Taub is a chartered professional accountant (CPA, CA) and currently works as a financial literacy consultant, speaker and blogger. She is also the best-selling author of A Parent’s Guide to Raising Money-Smart Kids. She is a contributor on the Tangerine blog.

Interest rates are rising. If you have credit card debt, a line of credit or a mortgage, higher interest rates mean you’ll be paying more to service your debt. It may also take longer for you to pay off your loans. Robin Taub shares why it is time to take control of your finances.

Financial literacy is being talked about and shared all month long so watch the hashtag and jump into the conversation.

*this post is paid for and sponsored by Tangerine Bank. I have partnered with them many times over the last number of years and am happy to share these important parties with you, my readers.




It’s Time to Start Talking Financial Literacy- It’s Financial Literacy Month in November #FLM2017

It’s my favourite time of the year. For the fourth year in a row, as November begins, Canadians are encouraged to talk about money during Financial Literacy Month. For 8 years I have hosted online money conversations. Financial education is important to me. When I started this blog my goal was to share my story and give Canadians access to the experts. Over the years I have been blessed to host some of the very best money experts on my #CDNmoney chats and been parts of hundreds of online money conversations.

For the last four years, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has helped lead the money conversation in Canada with the Financial Literacy Month. They work with organizations from the private, public and non-profit sectors to improve the financial literacy of all Canadians. They have even worked with bloggers like me. The theme for the conversation this year is:

“Take charge of your finances: It pays to know!”

Throughout the month, FCAC will feature weekly sub-themes that bring attention to the benefits of basic money management practices at different stages of life and encourage Canadians to reduce debt and save for the future. They are:

Week 1 (November 1-4) – Achieve financial well-being What does it mean to be financially fit? Are you struggling to be fit? This is a great place to start this conversation. Do you have a budget?

Week 2 (November 5-11) – Live within your means Did you know most Canadians spend more than they earn? Have you tried to live within your means? This week we will be talking about what it means to live within your means.

Week 3 (November 12-18) – Manage money for student life I have a teen daughter, she is a college kid. Teaching our youth, our teens while they are young sets them up for long-term success. Can’t wait for this conversation.

Week 4 (November 19-25) – Teach children about money I have talked about this topic for years. Did you know most Canadian kids don’t get taught financial literacy in school?  As parents, we must be teaching our kids.

Week 5 (November 26-30) – Know your financial rights and responsibilities  Do you know we have rights and responsibilities that go beyond taxes? We will talk about these are well.

To help celebrate and carry on the conversations, Tangerine is celebrating with 3 Twitter Parties

Twitter Party Details


Twitter Party Details

  • Theme: Live Within Your Means
  • Date: Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 7:00pm ET
  • Guest: Kelley Keehn @KelleyKeehn
  • Host: TangerineBank @TangerineBank
  • Hashtags: #TangerineFLM#FLM2017
  • Prizing: 4 X $100 MasterCard Gift Cards
  • Eligibility: Canada excluding Quebec


Twitter Party

  • Theme: Teach Children about Money
  • Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 at 7:00pm ET
  • Guest: Robin Taub @RobinTaub
  • Host: Tangerine Bank @TangerineBank
  • Hashtag: #TangerineFLM #FLM2017
  • Prizing: 4 X $100 MasterCard Gift Cards
  • Eligibility: Canada excluding Quebec

About Tangerine Bank

Tangerine is a direct bank that delivers simplified everyday banking to Canadians. With over 2 million Clients and close to $38 billion in total assets, we are Canada’s leading direct bank. Tangerine offers banking that is flexible and accessible, products and services that are innovative, fair fees, and award-winning Client service. From no-fee daily Chequing and high-interest Savings Accounts, Credit Card, GICs, RSPs, TFSAs, Mortgages and Investment Funds through its subsidiary, Tangerine Investment Funds Ltd., Tangerine has the everyday banking products Canadians need. With over 1,000 employees in Canada, our presence extends beyond our website and Mobile Banking app to our Café locations, Pop-Up locations, Kiosks and 24/7 Contact Centres. Tangerine was launched as ING DIRECT Canada in 1997. In 2012 it was acquired by Scotiabank, and operates independently as a wholly-owned subsidiary.


This is a sponsored Post. We were compensated to write this post, but as always opinions are our own.


How to Teach Kids Financial Responsibility in the Summer

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As a mom, I have always looked for ways to teach my daughter financial responsibility. Ever since she was a little girl, I learned there are many opportunities every day. Since most kids are off from school and with us, more it is the perfect time to hone their money knowledge.

When my daughter was 3, I can remember a tantrum she had at the store when I told we simply didn’t have the money to buy that shiny tiara she wanted. I realized soon after that I needed to teach her about money. I wanted her to be financially literate, and thankfully I can say as a teen now she is.

The Bank of Mom became the catalyst to our conversations about money when she was little. Now, she has her own bank account and a part time job working for my new company. She earns and gets to save and spend on her own after years of lessons. So how did I teach her financial responsibility especially during the summer?


Is there something you know your child wants for back to school? For tweens and teens, this might be that certain brand of clothing? Let them know your budget for back to school and tell them if they want upgrades like that certain brand they have to save some of their allowance money or do extra work or even a small job in the neighborhood to get it.

Use Rewards

For my daughter, rewards worked wonderfully. I would match her savings dollar for dollar when she wanted that certain thing and had set a savings goal.

Use Real-Life Shopping Trips to teach Skills

With the kids on summer vacation, I am sure they are doing some of the shopping with you. I used, this time, to teach my daughter about smart shopping. I taught her how to read labels, how to shop sales, use coupons and even apps to get the best spend for the dollar.

The Lemonade Stand

For many kids their first lemonade stand is the first real chance to handle money, to give change, to earn money. It gives them the taste of being an entrepreneur. That is a skill I think it is important to have in today’s world.

Summer Jobs

Do you have a teen? My daughter’s first jobs were those were she was helping neighbours and earning money doing so. We set goals for that money; some was saved, and some got spent. It teaches them important life skills and gives them their first references for when they are trying to land that first real job.

Do you have a child you are trying to teach financial responsibility  to this summer? Let me know.




Change Comes With Financial Literacy and Entrepenuership

I never thought when I was a mom struggling to make ends meet that I would be a successful entrepreneur years later. I never thought my daughter would be one as well.

You know me as the CommonCentsMom but I am now much more than that. I have a successful freelance business as well as having my blog. I help brands and agencies with their social media needs. My daughter takes care of special needs students after school and sells some of her artwork (did I mention she has had 2 art gallery showings)

When I was a mom struggling I knew how important it was for my future to get money smart. I had to learn about financial literacy and over the last eight years I have become a bit of an expert. The one thing I realized is that the more knowledge we have the more power we possess. We are then able to guide our own lives and stress less. I remember those days of worry and stress well. One of the things as a mom I wanted to pass on to my teenage daughter the most was the gift of financial literacy. I think as a parent it is a must. With financial literacy comes power. It really is one of the best gifts we can give the youth of today.


Many of you know my daughter splits her time between high school and college that is why I got excited when I learned of Enactus. Enactus stands for “ENtrepreneurial ACTion for others creates a better world for US all”. Enactus Canada is shaping generations of entrepreneurial leaders who are passionate about advancing the ecomomic, social and environmental health of Canada. Rachel is currently at George Brown College where there is an active group who are making an impact.

Here in Canada alone, 2,659 students from across Canada participated in the Enactus community. They developed 288 community projects. 891 businesses we started. 1,025 people found employment and 36,580 lives were directly impacted. Think of the lives changed.

The Enactus team at the University of Windsor directly empowered 1,717 people through financial education where individuals are paired with students and industry professionals to learn skills like budgeting and bookkeeping. Through their CityThrive project this year, the team lifted 11 people off social assistance and saved the city $330,000.

This is not just a Canadian project either. There is an international component as well. Think of the skills these young people get by participating. They are better prepared for their own futures as well having helped so many in the community around them. I have seen several projects that assist global projects as well empowering those communities.

This week here in Toronto 1500 college and university students will kick off their National Exposition at Metro Convention Center. Over the course of the three-day event, students showcase how their community outreach projects and business ventures are enabling progress through entrepreneurial action. Through rounds of live presentation based competition, business leaders serving as judges determine which Enactus team and student entrepreneur will be named National Champions and represent Canada on the global stage at the World Cup.  That Windsor team is just one of the teams competing this week.

For me, it excites me as own young entrepreneur heads off to college soon of the financial literacy lessons still ahead for her and ways that she may be able to give back as well.


Financial Literacy Month is Here! #FLM2015

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November is known for lots of things here in Canada, one of which is it’s Financial Literacy month. Do you know what that is? It’s the chance for us Canadians to really talk about money. It’s time to talk about things that really matter: like when do you start talking about money with the new man in your life?, like how important is an RESP to your child’s future? how important is it to have a budget? are there myths about money?

Well, on this blog and my social media profiles this month I will be talking about money every day. It’s my chance to help you my readers get money smart. Do yourself a favour this month and follow the hashtag #FLM2015, I know several of the brands have some great social campaigns ahead and will be talking about things like budgeting, savings, credit cards, investments, loans, RESPs, retirement and more. Did you know 50% of Canadians really do not have a great grasp on money? and according to a study done by Manulife recently only 28% of Canadians are actually on track money wise.

I would say that means there is lots to learn. I realize when it comes to money I am not perfect. I don’t have all the answers. So this month I will be learning along side you my readers. I am reaching out to others who talk money every day from fellow bloggers to the experts so expect lots of great money conversations here on the blog this month.

Tomorrow we start the conversation with the topic of budgeting. But since many divorces in Canada happen around the issue of money I want to talk about how do we handle money in a relationship. How should we talking about money and when? Come back tomorrow for my tips on how a new couple should be looking at and talking about money and join us tomorrow for the #cdnmoney chat on Twitter at 7pm EST as we talk budgeting as a couple. 

Twitter Chat: Financial Literacy for Kids Using Tools Like the Lil Savers Moneybank

Little-Savers Moneybank
The Little Savers Moneybank from ING Direct

Back in September I attended the Canadian Personal Finance Conference here in Toronto and  came home with a Lil’ Savers Moneybank. Since then I have been thinking about financial literacy and how we teach our children about money. How do we pass on financial literacy to our children?

For me this issue is near and dear to my heart.  I am a mom and  have been trying to teach my teenage daughter the value of a dollar since she was little. I have tried to teach her about the cost of things, how to save, how to give but I had not hit on investing till the Lil’ Savers money bank reminded me how this is apart of the money equation.

The Lil’ Savers Moneybank is just one tool to have in your tool belt when teaching your children about financial literacy.

The Lil’ Savers Moneybank connects children to  Lil’ Savers Moneyland, a place for learning about money. The Lil Savers Moneyland is an animated and interactive world where kids will learn about growing, saving, sharing and spending.  There are a wonderful host of characters that help teach children the value of a dollar.

Children learn by playing games like Recycle Me, and Check Out. They can also record their savings goals, set up a budget, keep track of chores and even list the charities they want to give too.

For parents there is also an interactive panel that allows us to monitor our child’s activities. You can even customize their experience.

Now as part of the #cdnmoney Chat on Wednesday Novemeber 28th,7-8pm EST we will be talking about teaching kids about money with @SuperStarSaver on Twitter. Part of the topic of discussion will be the tools that we use. We even will be giving away 5 of the Lil’ Savers Moneybanks.

I am asking that you RSVP for this chat.

You can do so on the Linky form below and I am looking forward to chatting with you on the 28th.

In case you have never participated in a twitter chat you can read how to follow a twitter chat here.


Leave a comment to RSVP on this post.

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