The Secret to Achieving Financial Wins


The conversation around money and financial literacy is usually one of doom & gloom:

If you don’t make/save/invest enough, you will suffer for it.

I love a good financial scare tactic as much as anyone, but I sometimes think we get a little too hung up on the negatives and forget to focus on all the good that comes from having your finances in order. It’s time to engage in more positive conversation about our money.

Credit Education Week

November 7th through 11th is Credit Education Week Canada (CEWC). It originally began in 2007 through a partnership between Credit Canada Debt Solutions and Capital One Canada. The two organizations came together with the goal of fostering credit education across the country, and teaching Canadians how credit works and how to manage it responsibly.

This year, there will be over 170 financial education events including, workshops and lunch and learns, across Canada aimed at improving financial literacy.

This year’s theme for CEWC is “Financial Wins”, with a focus on helping Canadians reach their financial goals by learning from each other’s triumphs and successes. After all, managing your money is not about the struggle – it’s about the victory of being financially secure.

What’s a financial win?

A financial win is a positive financial achievement reached by taking control of your financial situation. It can be anything from paying off your credit card balance to saving up to pay cash for your dream vacation. In a study commissioned by Capital One Canada and Credit Canada Debt Solutions, 87% of Canadians believe that achieving a financial win made them more confident in their ability to provide for themselves and their loved ones. I agree! Getting my finances in order has provided me with a sense of accomplishment, and my own financial wins are a source of pride and security for me.

How smart with money are you?

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My financial wins

Paying off over $21,000 of student loan debt in only 22 months

Money After Graduation originally started as a blog to chronicle my own journey out of student loan debt. After graduating from my Bachelors degree, I owed over $20,000 and was working part-time for $15/hr. I had never even earned $20,000 in a single year before, I had absolutely no idea how I was going to pay it off.

Thanks to blogging my little heart out about my financial journey, I found the motivation, inspiration, and strategies to vanquish that debt far faster than I imagined, paying off the entire balance in 22 months. My student loans had an original repayment term of 10 years. By paying them off in less than 2, I bought myself 8 years of financial happiness. Huge win!

Saving over $25,000 for retirement by age 30

I didn’t start saving for retirement until I was 25 years old. In fact, opening an RRSP was my 25th birthday present to myself.

By the time my 30th birthday rolled around, I had over $25,000 in my RRSPs, and additional long-term savings in my TFSA. Crossing the $25K threshold in my RRSP was important to me because that’s the maximum amount you can withdraw for a down-payment on a home under the First Time Homebuyer’s Plan. I’m still a committed renter, but once I had over $25,000 saved in my RRSP, I knew that I had enough to put a down-payment on a home AND would still have money left over for retirement. It was a really big win for me.

Tracking my spending for 6 years

I know where every single penny I’ve spent since 2010 has gone.

Seriously. Every single cent.

Believe it or not, tracking my spending is by far my least favorite financial task, which is exactly why I take so much pride in sticking to it for more than half a decade. Now I’m on such a roll I can never give it up! Getting into this habit, especially when it’s one I really don’t like, has also been a major win for me.

How to achieve your financial wins

According to the study, 26% of people say their main motivation to achieve their financial wins is a sense of accomplishment, and 21% cite “doing the right thing”. Why not do the right thing with your money and determine what financial wins you want to achieve?

The first step is to set a financial goal. Think about a saving, investing, spending, or debt repayment goal (or one of each!) that you would like to achieve. Next, make your plan to get there. Yes, it really is that simple!

The secret to achieving your financial win? 35% of people say it’s a simple matter of just sticking with it!

What are your financial wins?

Celebrate your achievements and the positive side of personal finance by sharing your financial wins in the comments below! What have you accomplished or are working towards in regards to your money right now?

This post was sponsored by Capital One Canada, however all opinions are my own


  1. I think I agree with the 35% of people that say the secret is just sticking with it. I know my financial wins are mainly a result of getting started and sticking with it. Paying off my $87k of student loans in around 2 years required sticking it out and not falling into lifestyle inflation! The key thing is to realize that sticking out with something doesn’t have to be forever. Paying off loans stinks, but it only has to be a for a short time!

  2. Great post Bridget, focusing on your financial wins is a great outlook to have. It helps you realize how far you’ve come instead of only thinking about how far you still have to go. Some of my financial wins are tracking my spending for over a year, contributing 10% of my paycheck into my retirement account, and paying off $15k of student loan debt in 10 months. Reflecting on those wins gives me a lot of motivation to aim even higher!

  3. I love this focus on progress rather than on problems. Pulling out a checkbook and writing a check for a Lexus back in 1996 was a huge rush for me. Since then, we’ve pulled out that checkbook for all of our cars, two homes and a boat! All accomplished by living on less than half of what we made and tracking our spending and net worth.

  4. Congrats on your financial wins. What are your next goals?

  5. Nice post Bridget and congratulations on reaching you financial win.

    My financial win is just one year old, when I started my blog and now it is my biggest financial win. I has helped me in many way to track my finance. I am little wiser(financially) than I was last here.. 🙂