Financial Literacy

The best personal finance reads from January 2018

By: Nicole Ballantyne-Choo on February 5, 2018

January is all about fresh starts and new beginnings.

However, as someone who wakes up on January 1 feeling really motivated (and a little hungover) to create better habits and goals, I hate to admit that I’m guilty of not sticking to the resolutions I set out for myself. So for starters, I have to work on that.

Some other resolutions on my list include budgeting better, being able to say “no” to plans and not letting the FOMO get to me (I say yes to pretty much every invite and my bank account hates me), and most importantly, making mental and physical health a priority — areas where I shouldn’t feel bad spending more of my money on.

I have my work cut out for me, and knowing where to start is already making my head hurt. To help me get on track, I decided to visit some of my favourite personal finance websites for advice on how to control my money better instead of letting it control me, and after reading these three personal finance pieces, I’m ready to face the year head on.

That Time I Burnt Out, Hard (And What I’m Doing Differently This Year) via HalfBanked

This blog post by HalfBanked really made me reflect on my accomplishments and goals (both finished and unfinished) in 2017. What I loved most about this post was Desirae Odjick’s honesty. She shares that while she hit her goals of growing her business and buying a house, she didn’t prioritize her health, and instead of having a good work-life balance she overworked herself and burnt out. This caused her to re-evaluate where she was spending her time and money to make positive changes in 2018, including saying “no” to projects she doesn’t have time to do and spending money on workout gear and healthy food to kickstart a healthy lifestyle. I felt I could really relate to this article because on days where I feel exhausted after work I skip the gym, order in food, and watch Netflix — and these are all bad habits I want to change. If you feel like you totally burnt out at the end of last year and need some direction to get your 2018 in order, this article is a great place to start.

6 Money Habits You Should Adopt, Based On Your Personality via The Financial Diet

In order to improve the way you manage your money, you have to understand how you interact with your money and bank account. This article on The Financial Diet breaks down six common personalities people have when it comes to their money and the habit they should adopt to have a better relationship with their money. After reading this article I realized I identify the most with the ‘Consumerist’ personality type, which means if I see an outfit or household item on Instagram or Pinterest, I’m likely to buy it right away. Chelsea Fagan suggests that in order to stop this bad habit, I have to adopt “social media cleanses” and unfollow accounts that make me want to buy — this will probably be difficult for me since my job requires me to be on social media and, to be honest, I like seeing pretty things show up as I scroll. But I’m up for the challenge! Based on this article, which personality type are you?

Piggy bank empty after a busy holiday? Here's how to fill it back up via CBC Life

I’m sure most people reading this can relate: a much emptier piggy bank after the holidays. As someone who really tries to budget every month, I’m embarrassed to admit that this holiday season my spending habits were equivalent to an unleashed, unsupervised kid at a candy store. After all the spending, I was desperate to find tips and tricks to get back on track. This article on CBC Life gave four helpful pieces of advice to getting your budget fixed. The two that really stuck out to me — and I think they go hand-in-hand — are saying no and having a spend-free month. For me, saying no is really hard. For example, if my friend texts me to go out for drinks or dinner after work my reply is an instant “yessss!!”

Since I clearly have issues saying no, one thing I’ve started working on is changing my response to suggest alternatives to going out — like staying in and watching Netflix. This will also help with having a spend-free month, which includes tips such as packing lunch for work instead of eating out every day.

These articles helped me refocus my priorities and create a plan for sticking to my resolutions. What resolutions have you made this year? Tweet me your tips for keeping yourself on track — you can do it!