One in Five Canadians Would Be Broke in a Week if They Lost a Job


Ever wondered how long you would last without a job? What if you lost your biggest client if you are a freelancer? What would you do? Could you make it till you got your first EI cheque? Would you have to dip into emergency savings or do you even have savings?

The Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) recently did a study, and they found that four in 10 Canadians say they would run out of money in less than a month if they lost their job or main source of income.

I know first-hand how hard it can get. This summer I lost my biggest contract as a freelancer and then in September my ad network went bankrupt. It was a double whammy! Talk about tightening the belt! I was thankful I was smart and had a wee bit of savings, which helped me weather the storm. Did you know that one in five Canadians would last less than a week? A week. That is a scary fact.

These findings also concluded that more than two-thirds of Canadians believe the economy – and their own financial situation – has either stagnated or worsened over the past five years. Has yours? The survey also revealed that two out of every five Canadians worry about money at least once a day and about one in four say they worry “almost constantly.” How often do you worry about money? I have found by having a plan, a road map, I worry a bit less.

Less than half (41 percent) of Canadians feel they make more good financial decisions than bad ones. Have you ever thought of working with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional? When you work with a qualified financial planner, you don’t have to do things on your own. You also get some sound advice. One of the best ways to worry less and reduce the stress is to work with a financial planning professional. I like to think of them as a financial coach. They help develop a great game plan and advise you on the steps you need to make to get that home run. You do not want to strike out when it comes to your money.

Personal finance expert and author Kelley Keehn has said: “Thanks to online tools like FPSC’s website, it’s never been easier to find a CFP®professional who can help create a personalized strategy tailored to your individual needs and life goals – and help ease your money worries.” Kelley also suggests you ask a potential financial planner these 10 specific questions. You can find lots more information and advice to get a handle on your finances at

Have you made your own road map? Your game plan? Let me know where you are at: are you worried about your finances? Scared they won’t last or do you have a game plan?

*This post is sponsored by the Financial Planning Standards Council, however, as always my opinions are always my own.

#CommonCents Ways to Save: Day 5- How to Build an Emergency Fund


Having had to live pay to pay is not easy! For many who do this, it seems daunting to even think about building an emergency fund. I know for many years I thought it was impossible. Coming from the mindset I have just enough to make it to the next pay I know how overwhelming it can be when you first want to start saving for that rainy day. I was so glad a few years back I had started an emergency fund.

I needed that fund when on January 2nd 2012, I found myself laid off from a job I loved. I have not been employed since. I have been freelance ever since. I was very thankful that I had my small emergency fund ( I had at the time 90 days saved), which I stretched with IE to last 9 months as I looked for a traditional job and switched to a freelance mindset. I have been living off my community management contracts and blogging opportunities ever since.

I know how important an emergency fund is as you can lose a contract at any time, so how does one build an emergency fund with limited funds? I recommend that you have at least 6 months of living expenses saved ( that means money for basic living expenses).


Do you have a monthly budget? Many times on this blog I have mentioned how important that is. Do you need help to get you started? My friend Kerry from Squawkfox has some great worksheets on her blog to get you going. It’s critical to know how much you have coming in and going out every month.

Lower Expenses Where You Can

Take a look at where you are spending every month. We cut out cable and I looked for free ways to watch my favorite tv shows. I also walked more and cut my transportation costs. Remember you can even do simple things to lower your bills like hanging your laundry out to dry.

Automate Bill Payment

How many times have you been a day or two late and had to pay a late fee? I know I have. It sucked. Automate bill payments that are fixed amounts like insurance, internet, etc. I know it has helped me to be more organized. For other non fixed bills I have an in and out box and twice a month these bills get paid.

Eat In

How many times a month do you go out for lunch at work? grab take out on the way home? or go out for dinner? Even if it is fast food you are spending too much outside the house. By cooking simply healthy easy meals at home and packing your lunch you can save big.

Cut Your Grocery Bill

This is one of the easiest places to impact your families budget. By using coupons and tech to price match I can easily save  at least 30% each week. I also shop smart and make one trip to the grocery store each week.

Earn More

Look for ways you can earn more money. There are many ways you can earn more, from possibly babysitting, to having a yard sale or taking on a part time job. For those of you who are bloggers you might want to pitch companies instead of waiting for offers to come to you. Several of my friends sell things through MLM’s as well as have there full time jobs. Think of something you can offer.

Separate Your Savings From Your Cash Flow

Once you start savings you want the money going into a separate account. You want to have the money you are saving to be working for you as well, so I suggest the highest earning savings account you can find.

For Canadians, I suggest putting into a high interest TFSA. Right now at Tangerine, till March 31st, open an account and you can 2.5%. This lowers to 1.08% after that. Take a look around and see what will work best for you.

By separating your savings from your cash flow you are more prone to actually save it for when you need it, instead of grabbing a $20 here and there from it.

Over time, an emergency fund can be built, and it is all done by taking that first step. Have you started yours?

The Common Cents 52 Week Money Challenge

spare changeIt’s that time of the year we are all making resolutions, and I know many of them have to do with saving yourself some money and time in the year ahead. I have decided to do the 52 week money challenge. Will you join me?

Not only will I be sharing ways to save money each week, there is a tangible amount to add to the pot each week. By the end of the year you will of saved $1,378.00 plus interest if you have placed it into a savings account.

Now many of you may of seen the 52 Week Challenge that has you saving money in a jar and adding to it each week starting at $1 and saving $1 more each week. I don’t like it. Here is why. It does not get you really saving fast enough and I know for me seeing myself successful well breeds more success. I think the Reverse 52 Week Challenge works much better.

Here is why?

Save less each week.


I know this works better for me, by the time summer and fall hit my yearly expenses are going up with back to school. and fall expenses. For me it is easier to save more in the winter.

As well you get the hard work done first, haven’t you heard always start with the hardest part first, it makes the rest look like a breeze. Besides really who wants to have to save $200.00 in December? That is unrealistic with Christmas expenses. I am real folks. I know my weaknesses and savings are hard in Decemeber, it simply works easier getting the higher amounts done first.

Who does jars on the counters these days?


Not this girl! I would rather my money be collecting interest in a TFSA, till I decide on how it will be spent. So why not add some interest to that $1378.00. Open a seperate account for this and watch it grow all year long.

In for the challenge? Teach Me to Save has a wonderful printable of the amount you need to save every week. Download it and follow along. On my Facebook page each week I will be asking who is ready to save and who is saving that week, let me know if you want me to help keep you accountable and you can do the same for me.

So let’s get saving in 215!



Starting a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) For Your Child in Canada

Starting a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) For Your Child in Canada

I remember being a child and dreaming of being the first member of my family to attend university and then when my teenager was just a baby, I began to dream that she would go as well. With that in mind, I knew I had to plan for her future, but then a divorce and life in general both demanded my attention; saving had to take a back seat. What’s a single mom with a growing child supposed to do? You come up with a plan and then pray it all comes together at just the right time. For me, I know how important it is to save for your child’s future and right now, Canadians are lucky enough to have a few ways they can do it.
The first way that’s going to give you the biggest bang for your buck is a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), especially if you take advantage of applicable government grants. Heritage Education Funds is one of Canada’s leading providers of Registered Educational Savings Plans. Why not start saving as early as you can for your child’s education?
As mentioned, with an RESP there are several government grants – both federally and provincially – available for your child. The earlier you start, the more you can save – with interest.
First, there is the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG).* With the basic CESG*, the Canadian government will contribute 20% of what you put into the plan each year (to a maximum of $500). There is a lifetime maximum of $7,200. Some families qualify for up to 40% in the first $500 of annual RESP contributions.
Then there is the Canada Learning Bond (CLB)*, which is available to those kids who were born on or after January 1st, 2004 (so teens like mine missed out on this one) and receive the National Child Benefit Supplement, provides families with $2000 for their child’s RESP. The money you get for your child could include:
● $25 to help cover the cost of opening the RESP
● $500 to start off the RESP
● An extra $100 a year ‘til your child turns 15
There are also provincial education savings in Alberta, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia.
So with all this money available to help you save for your child’s education, it simply makes sense to start early. That way, when they come in the door at 16 and say they want to be an engineer, you aren’t wondering how you will pay for their X number of years of education that could possibly cost you well into six figures.
Now the great thing to know is that the team at Heritage Education Funds – who I have partnered with to bring you information about saving for your child’s education – have allowed me to add a giveaway to this post – open to all Canadians (except Quebec).
So tell me in the comments below, have you started saving for your child’s education?

Then, please fill out the Rafflecopter and you could be entered to win a $25 Tim Horton’s Gift Card.


*Certain conditions apply. See Prospectus for details.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*this is a sponsored post and I am a brand ambassador for Heritage Funds and as such I will receive compensation for it, but as always the opinions here are my own.

Baby and You Helping Parents Connect and Save

Baby and You is a fairly new  program developed by Loblaws, Superstore, Zehrs, Independent Grocers, Valu-Mart and SaveEasy. It offers community and savings through its Facebook commuunity. The Facebook page is a great place to meet other parents who might be in a similair situation as you. You can share your pictures, get advice and save all in one spot.

They have 2 wonderful feature bloggers Jody from Mommy Moment, who keeps the conversation going about everything mom, and Lisa from Growing Your Baby, focusing on all things baby. When I visited the page people were talking about girfriends, diapers, and even nursery decorating. Lots of places the coversation could go.

They also offer a great way for you to save with exculsive coupons and a link to the weekly flyer. Lets just say you want to be a PC Insider if you have little ones and like to save. I know for me as someone who shops to feed little mouths now I am watching for those coupons.

So if you are the parent of a child why not visit this great community, hope in on the conversations and save at the same time.

*“Disclosure – I am participating in the Baby and You program by Mom Central Canada on behalf of Loblaw Companies. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. The opinions on this blog are my own.”


4 Ways to Make Sure You Never Pay Full Price Again

  I have always been a money saving common cents kind of mom. I think paying full price for something is just plain wasteful in today’s economy. Fact is you simply can get what you want at a better price point you simply need to know what to do.

I have some simple rules that assist me and just maybe if you follow the rules you can save too. Wouldn’t money left over to do something else with sound good?

So what are my magical rules?

1. Price Compare and Shop Sales. Make sure you are simply doing this first rule and you will save. Always double check pricing and in today’s world this is so easy to do. Want that super cool new gadget you saw in the store window. Compare the prices online. Make sure you are getting the best price you can.

2. Use Coupons and Codes. Do you use coupons? When you have found that great product at an online store have you checked to see if there is a code you can use? You could be doing both. I recently wrote about using coupons in Canada and you can read where to find coupons here. When looking for a code do an online search for the store, the item and the word code.

3. Use Bonus Cards and Club Memberships  I love Air Miles and Shopper’s Optimum here in Canada. By using these cards I have saved so much and have gotten some great perks over the years. I save my points till November each year and then I cash them in. Each year so far I have earned about $400 in good and services, and guess what because I used coupons, codes and shopped the sales I saved even more.

4. Send in those Rebates. Have you ever sent in for a rebate? If a rebate is offered on a good take advantage. It might be just a few dollars but they do add up. I know I would want that $5 for something I want instead of leaving it for the company.

Can you think of other rules that you follow to guarantee you never pay full price? If you can please share them with me.

31 Days and 31 Ways to Save- Tackling Saving on Beauty Spending

Us girls like to look and feel good. But sometimes we do not like the price tag attached to beauty.

So this week I am tackling how to save on beauty.

First of all as a Muslim woman I am going to note I do not wear alot of makeup. I do wear a kohl eyeliner, a little mascara, and usually a lipshine. But beauty is more then just make-up.

So how can we save:

1. Do you buy expensive brands thinking they will do more or are better for you? I want to give you a heads up that is rarely true. Check what is box 1 at the expensive price and box 2 at the sale price and well guess what your often find they contain the same ingredients, so shop smart and save some cash.

2. If you are addicted to the spa and spa days. Try buying your day for a steal. Use one of the daily deal sites and wait for a spa day. They come up quite regularly and you can get your day of bliss for steal.

3. Skip soda pop, canned drinks and the like and drink water instead, it is better for your skin and you save. I say that is a win both ways.

4. Instead of using an expensive hair conditioner to make your hair shine, mix a tablespoon of cider vinegar with water. After rinsing away the shampoo with ordinary water, pour this cider vinegar water over your hair as a final rinse. Voila, shiny hair.

5. Use a lip brush for your lipshine, gloss or lipstick. By doing so you are getting the coverage you need without waste and you can use the whole container.

6. How about trying some home beauty remedies? Do you have a favorite one, it might be your perfect way to save.

7. Beauty Products can often be gotten as discount pricing look for the coupons.

All these tips with help you save your hard earned cash because we all know once you are looking good you like to go out and have a little fun.

Each Tuesday I have a little fun visiting 5 Minutes for Mom and seeing what everyone is tackling this week.

31 Days and 31 Ways to Save: Attitude is Everything

Do you want to start saving money today? I mean really save money. It is quite simply really all you have to do is 2 things that is it 2 simple little things, well they may not be that simple if you do not have the right mindset.

What are the 2 little things that have to change for you to really save? for you to know wealth.

1. Have an attitude of gratitude. Be thankful. Cultivate an attitude of having pleasure in all that you do have in your life. There are always others who are hurting more, have loss more, who need it more. Always. Be thankful in the moment and that that gratitude seep into every inch of you.

2. Be content. Enjoy what you have. Don’t always be looking for that next buy, planning that next car, that next tech toy when the one you have works just fine. Make do, be content in what you have already. So often we get caught in the race to be like our peers, and some times we go into debt to get there. Stop it. Be content in what you have.

If you will implement this attitude change you will see the savings will come, and all it took was an attitude adjustment.