Financial Post

Friday, February 27, 2009

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Sarah Efron of Financial Post Magazine for some information about an article, and today I noticed that the article was up! It's my first time being mentionned in some kind of 'official' publishing, and i'm so happy!

You can read the article at its source here, but for kicks I'll post it as well!

Trend spotting
Sarah Efron, FP Magazine
Published: Friday, February 27, 2009

Krystal is a 26-year-old marketing coordinator in Vancouver. She's trying to declutter her house, she likes to go rock climbing in her spare time and, if you go to her blog, "Give Me Back My Five Bucks," you'll quickly learn every imaginable detail about her finances. Krystal is a member of a growing online community of personal-finance bloggers now baring their hopes and dreams - and their financial statements - online. Collectively, they're breaking one of the last taboos: talking about money. In a recent post, Krystal laid out her goals for the month: sticking to her $200 food budget, putting $300 in her retirement portfolio and going climbing at least five times. She regularly updates graphs that show how much money is in her travel, emergency and retirement funds. Other bloggers itemize everything from their investment returns to the cost of vegetable soup on their grocery bill.

Their motivation is self-improvement, not exhibitionism. When these bloggers aren't updating their own data, they're reading each other's entries for ideas and strategies. Many are young women, and most, like Krystal, choose not to reveal their real identities. Nevertheless, Krystal credits her blog with keeping her accountable and helping her get a handle on her saving and spending. "When I first decided I wanted to change my life and get out of debt, my friends made fun of me and called me a penny-pincher," she says. "So I turned to the Internet. There, I found such a wonderful, welcoming community of personal-finance bloggers. This blog has been the best decision of my life."

Not only has the blog helped provide emotional support for Krystal, it's also provided some cold, hard cash. In the past two years, she earned $2,239.44 from advertising and by writing sponsored posts - reviews of books, blogs or services - providing money that has helped her reach her goals. In fact, since she started the blog in 2007, her net worth has increased more than $33,000, going from about $5,000 in the red to $28,220 in the black.

Some of Canada's most interesting - and revealing - personal finance blogs

Give Me Back My Five Bucks

A mid 20s Vancouverite chronicles her rise out of debt and into the black.

Million Dollar Journey

A 27-year-old Eastern Canadian doles out investment advice as he builds towards his goal of having a networth of $1 million by the age of 35.

Apples and Telephones

A 23-year-old Canadian photographer living in England struggles to stretch the value of her Canadian dollars.

Fabulously Broke in the City

A confessed shopaholic travels down the path of financial prudence.


A woman in her 30s details her life and her spending habits.

Northern Living Allowance

A 40ish single blogger fights debt and angst.

So yay for me and everyone else who was mentioned. How exciting! Although, now that I may have a slightly upturn in my visitors for the next day or two, I feel REALLY bad about not having posted in the last 2 weeks.

I've been dealing with some rough homesickness, which had a good bout of 'annoying flatmate' and 'stresses' tacked on. Not fun. It's been a rough couple of weeks but I'm really out of it, I think. I'm very much looking forward to having my family and friends visit this spring, as well as experiencing London in the summer. 

Mr. Annoying-flatmate has moved out, thank GOD! He's only been here 6 weeks, and until the final days before he left, I didn't really think that he was the reason for part of my stresses, but looking back on it, after he moved in was when I started stressing a bit. I blamed it on spending the holidays alone, or the bad weather, or working a lot, but when it comes down to it, having him come home drunk (every night!), or high or just plain late at night and then listen to crappy dance music at 2 a.m. (my bedroom is just off the living room). I can't remember now how many times I've fallen asleep with earplugs in. 

*Sigh*. We're just not a party house. And i'm very pleased that the rest of us are not party people. Muuuuch better. Although one of my other fav roomies is moving out at the and of March, and I am sad. Hopefully we'll find someone equally good to replace him. 

I suppose everyone is going to have 'horror flatmate from hell' stories, and as far as i've heard, mine isn't the worst, and thank goodness for that. So far the people we've got in (a couple and another single girl), will probably be here long-term, which is nice. We've had a lot of change-overs recently. It's a pain in the bum and expensive (phone credit, having to stay home to do viewings, constant cleaning) to do. 

On a financial note, as tomorrow is month-end, it's not going to be pretty. I'm a little nervous. Although I kept a lot of receipts once I got home from the Netherlands, I most certainly blew my budget this month, and easily by a couple-hundred quid. I'm saddened by it. In the next day or two I will check all the bank balances and do the inevitable tally.

Another thing that's caught up with us - when our last flatmates left in December, they neglected to pay the gas/water bill, and since we were living there too (we each paid one bill and did the tally at the end), we've become responsible for a £300 bill. Boo. We requested the total from the gas company, and it's come up to almost £650 (including the water, gas up until January 10th.). Our landlady has passed on £75 pounds from the old tenants leftover damage deposit, as well as almost £200 from the pain-in-the-bum flatmates damage deposit, so then me and my fav flatmate will each have to fork out about £200 each for this bill. Booooooo. Fortunately I have saved up about £180 so far (odd and end money, etc) to offset the cost of this bill, which is nice. 

It's a pain, but again, now we know better. Now I pay all bills and get money monthly from everyone. If they don't pay, we can evict them and keep their damage deposit for our bills. It's a much better system. 

Either way, once this bill is caught up i'll feel better about it. Even though it's not my bill - I hate 'owing' people money. 

Keep posted for the inevitable February ugliness....