I had the pleasure of getting an invite to talk some #GuiltyPleasures with Colin & Justin this week and 2nd Floor Events (Thanks, Gracie Carroll!). It was hosted by the one and only duo of Colin & Justin and a panel of finance pros from Capital One and guests Mark Munroe of Addicted Magazine and Lauren Yakiwchuk who runs a travel blog.
I took along my friend Amber, who was dealing with some financial woes herself, paying off a big wedding and honeymoon bill and just life in the big city in general (It can really add up!). She had already taken some really great proactive measures like being on a ‘cash diet’ where she would budget for the month and put aside envelopes of cash to go towards bills, groceries, spending money etc… it’s a fantastic way to really keep track of your money and makes it almost impossible for you to go over budget since when its gone for the month, its gone! (Keep it up, girl!)
Aside from that, we wanted to know what else we could do to help manage our credit and overall credit health and debt.
Now, I walked into this not knowing what to expect, I’m lucky enough to not be in debt and I want to say I’m a pretty good saver. I’ve set up my bank account to automatically put some of my paycheck every 2 weeks into an RRSP and whenever I use my debit card, $3 goes from my chequing account into a separate savings account I use for my very own #GuiltyPleasure, travel! I know $3 doesn’t sound like much, but if you leave the account alone for a few months it’ll really add up!
Having said that, I didn’t’ really think I needed any help in the savings or managing credit department, but a couple things the panel spoke about I could really relate to. “What are some of your guilty pleasures?” Colin asked the crowd. Amber held up her glass of wine she had been sipping on and I nodded in agreement when a few people talked about stopping to grab a coffee every day. I never thought my coffee pit stops was that big of a deal until we were asked to add it up.
I usually grab a $4 coffee twice a day at work (Don’t judge), so let’s say $8 a day, Monday to Friday for a month, that would be $160. Yikes, that’s more than my metro pass! And what makes it even more shameful is that I have a perfectly good espresso machine at home and tons of ground coffee. Colin & Justin shared a great tip they’ve been using where they get portable coffee cups to use at home and brew a cup before they left the house for the day. So simple and yet it could save you $1,920 a year. (YEP! You read that right; my $8 a day coffee treats added up to $1,920 a year! I could have used that towards a trip somewhere !)
But having said that, you still have to live your life and allow treats every once in a while! The Capital One panel said a good thing to do was allow yourself to grab your usual coffee or muffin order one day a week, to treat yourself on those hard Monday morning’s that seem to come too early or at the end of the week on Friday. This way it doesn’t feel like you’re denying yourself too much, or that you’re missing out on something you love.
“Who here knows their credit score?” the Capital One panel asked. I leaned over to Amber, ‘Do you know yours?...I don’t even know how to check mine!’. We were both guilty of just not knowing, we didn’t even know where to begin. Knowledge is power though, and we were told there were great sites like Equaifax we could use to get our credit score checked. Best to know ahead of time, instead of learning the hard way and being declined for a loan or big purchase like a house because of a ‘bad’ credit score you didn’t even know you had!
Does checking your credit score or sitting down to budget out your monthly bills or spending money and savings sound daunting or overwhelming? Well, good news, the great people at Credit Canada will sit down with you, look over your finances and give you a plan to help get you out of debt and manage your credit! They are Canada’s longest standing non-profit credit counselling agency that’s been helping people get out of debt for more than 50 years! Did I mention their help is FREE? Check them out at CreditCanada.com or call 1-800-267-2272 for more information.
Colin & Justin and Mark Munroe even shared their personal stories of overcoming debt and getting back on track. Getting out of debt can definitely be an uphill battle, but you aren’t alone! The best of us get caught up in debt with bills and unexpected expenses, but it’s what you do to get out of it with small changes and new habits that counts! Be sure to reach out to Credit Canada or Capital One so they can keep you going in the right direction! Thanks for hosting this great event, Capital One, it was definitely eye opening !
Until next event X
Hey! I'm Sarah! A 30 something living in downtown Toronto with a great guy and an OK dog. I love seeing what my city has to offer and try to hit up as many fun events or attractions as I can! I haven't slept since 2004.