Bank with Tangerine, earn up to $150 in bonuses

As many of you already know, Canadian Personal Finance favourite ING Direct has changed their name to Tangerine. I attended their name-announcement festivities back in November (where I got to meet Macklemore!), but the change just took place last week! If you weren’t banking with ING Direct before, now is a great time to get on the bandwagon with Tangerine.

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If you sign up using my Orange Key (32251507S1), you can unlock more than the usual $25 referral bonus. Instead, you’ll get $50 for opening a chequing account, another $50 for setting up direct deposit, $50 for setting up a savings account, and then earn 2.5% interest on new savings deposits.

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That’s a lot of free money just to sign up for free banking!

I’ve been banking with them for nearly 5 years and by setting up automatic savings plans in high interest accounts and not paying bank fees, I was able to get out of debt fast and build up my net worth. I currently hold a chequing account, multiple savings accounts, and mutual funds with Tangerine. I have both a TFSA and an RRSP registered with them, so they’re a big part of helping me meet my financial goals!

Click Here and enter my Orange Key: 32251507S1 to unlock your bonuses

Happy saving!

The 80/20 Principle of Personal Finance

I’d heard of the Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule, before I’d read the book. Actually, I was painfully familiar with the other side of it undergrad, where I frequently reminded myself that the last 20% in a class takes as much energy to earn is as the first 80%. Now I want to share how the 80/20 rule can be applied to your finances.

80% of your financial results will come from 20% of your money management

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If you don’t believe me, think about it: the bulk of your future riches will come from implementing very simple habits now. You will reap a far greater return on setting up an automatic savings plan than the time it takes you to do so. Likewise, think about the return of paying off your student loans in 2 years instead of 10. Ultimately, there are some money-management tasks that matter way more than others. So while it’s good to cut coupons for groceries, it’s more important to nail the big-picture items than strive for the details.

The 20% of your money management that will result in 80% of your financial results are as follows:

Saving for retirement in your 20′s. I pointed out previously that starting to save for retirement at 25 instead of 30 will net you over $150,000. The earlier and more money you put away, the better, but ultimately the habit of saving matters most. It’s easy to save if it’s something you’re used to doing, it’s getting started that’s the hard part.

Getting out and staying out of debt. Sometimes debt is necessary to invest in a future income-generating asset, such as a university education. This is the only debt you should ever incur, and when you have it, you should be on a mission to get rid of it quickly.

Starting early and profitably in your career. I’m a big advocate of avoiding dead-end and low paying jobs if you can. If you can’t, it’s best to work any job you can and continue building your skill set while you look for something more. But before the job hunt even begins, one of the most important things is finishing your university degree quickly and cheaply. Every student that drags out a 4-year bachelors degree into a 5 or 6-year show is not only paying one more year of tuition, they’re missing out on another year of income in a professional job. In other words, another year of school isn’t costing you $6,000, it’s costing you over $40,0000.

Being financially literate. Until I started my MBA, all my financial knowledge was self-taught. If that sounds daunting, it’s not. Money is actually very straight-forward once you get into it (there are a lot of excellent books), and the more you know, the less you’ll be intimidated by going forward. Taking time to understand things like fees charged on your mutual funds or whether an RRSP or TFSA is better for you tax-wise takes some research, but the payoff is huge. Remember, you only need to learn something once. Once you’ve got an understanding of a financial concept, the payoff of that is for life.

Tracking your spending. We all hate to do it, but even I eventually succumbed to keeping track of where every penny I spend is going. Consequently, I know where I’m over-spending, where I have some wiggle-room, and what I need to cut out entirely. If you’re spending $3,000 a year on restaurants, that’s your prerogative, but doing so without being aware of it isn’t forgivable. What gets measured, gets managed, and if you measure your spending, you’ll manage it properly.

What about the other 80%?

The other 80% of money management that will only affect 20% of your financial results is a large amount of small things. Namely, how you manage your money day to day on necessary costs like rent and food. No matter how much people harp on the latte factor, it’s not going to bankrupt you. If you adhere to the five 20% points I listed above, you’ll be financially secure even if you have a bad caffeine habit or a penchant for expensive vacations.

The $0 Weekend

Hi guys! Good news: I’m done all my classes for this term and have only ONE FINAL EXAM before total freedom this summer =) My plan is to catch up on lots of reading and lots of Netflix, because I’m still on a budget. For the rest of you joining me in no-spend land, I offer you The $0 Weekend.

This weekend why don’t you…

Heartbleed-Refresh1. Change your passwords on sites vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug.

The full list of affected websites is available here. Make sure to go through it and change your passwords on all the sites you use to protect yourself against the security breach. I had to change quite a few, so this can take some time, but it’s better than having your credit card information stolen!

sddefault2. Watch the Lizzie Bennet Diaries on YouTube

Pride & Prejudice fans, here’s an incredible modern take on one of the best love stories of all time: your favourite heroine Elizabeth Bennet has a blog! I am so into this, I watched 17 episodes in one day (they’re only 4 mins each! Don’t worry!). I am so impressed with the creativity, acting, and the loveable characters  – plus all the hilarious references to Colin Firth and the original BBC P&P production.

3. If you can’t get your fill of era romances, Downton Abbey Season 3 is now on Netflix

I accidentally read a few articles when the season ended months ago that contained way, way too many spoilers, but I’m still all in. One of my MBA classmates referred to the series as “Crack Abby”, an apt description. I expect I’ll be done by Sunday

6d9b52f437850b7d8e300a0ec0ff0af04. Break out the Easter Decorations & Recipes

I like any holiday that centres around chocolate Jesus, so I’m all about celebrating. I love these glitter DIY eggs, and saw another take on Pinterest of making glitter wineglasses! Why not? Nothing can ever sparkle too much. I also seriously seriously seriously encourage this Oreo easter bark. Omg.

5. Check out the fitness blog scene

The best thing about blogging is the community, and this is true in any niche. Since getting back into fitness, I’ve been exploring the health  blogging community. There’s some AMAZING food and fitness bloggers out there. I love Back On Pointe and Blogilates — but if you know more, please give me some suggestions!

Hope you have a fun frugal weekend =)

March Madness Personal Finance Bracket

This is a thing because I made it a thing.

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I’m currently leading my MBA class with my March Madness bracket, having picked both Florida and Wisconsin for the final four (and Wisconsin to win it all! Go Badgers!). I couldn’t get enough of the fun so I made a personal finance bracket.

Tell me, what’s your Elite Eight?

The Final Four?

Who’s going to be the Champion? 

It’s fun to think about: would you rather have wealthy parents or a wealthy spouse? Is your car loan more crushing than your student loan? Are you going to part with tens of thousands of dollars as a down-payment on a home or use it to invest in the stock market? Will you face an expensive medical emergency or have you racked up a ton of credit card debt?

Once you get to the next round, compare your choices that won out before. Which is more likely to be victorious now? (it might not be the one you want!) Your stocks could go bust, your spouse could divorce you — it’s all a gamble!

Make your picks and tell me what you choose in the comments below!

The Healbe GoBe: magic wristband or million-dollar scam?

I’ve been eyeing the FitBit for awhile, looking for something that can track my runs while letting me leave my iPhone at home. Everyone that has one has told me they love it, and at only $99 it seems to be an affordable fitness gadget that can meet all my criteria without breaking the bank.

But then I found Healbe while browsing indiegogo:

I thought it looked pretty rad, but when I shared it on Facebook a friend of mine pointed out that there’s been criticism that the whole thing might be one big scam. Despite clearing indiegogo’s fraud-checking system, there are quite a few suspicions — namely, no tests that prove the calorie-counting mechanisms of this product actually works and there’s little press beyond the indiegogo page. If it does what it says it will, it will blow the FitBit out of the water, but if it doesn’t then over 3,500 people just invested in something that wasn’t real.

As I write this post, the Healbe indiegogo campaign has raised over $850,000 (their original goal was just $100,000)

Does the money make it seem more or less legitimate? What happens if it is just one big scam? I feel like indiegogo is taking a big of a risk — if this turns out to be fake, they’ll have cost their user base nearly $1 million. But if the Healbe is a real product, then I wish I had grabbed one at the discount price of $189 instead of the $299 it says it will retail for.

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I actually DID grab one of the indiegogo Healbe’s — only to panic when I learned about the scam suggestions and ask for my money back. Healbe refunded my contribution within 24 hours, something I don’t feel a fraudster would do (they were certainly under no obligation to do so under indiegogo’s rules). Now I’m following the campaign to see the end result: miracle or massive fraud, and hoping for the former… though planning to buy mine from a retail outlet after it’s official launch.

What are your thoughts? Is this too good to be true or is it the next-big-thing fitness accessory?