What I did on October 27th 2016

It was a cold rainy and windy fall day in Toronto. Not the type of weather to be out and about.

After the normal things that a retiree does, leisurely enjoying a coffee, reading the paper and just taking in the sunrise, I decided to tackle my cluttered washroom cupboards.

The very thought of doing it was intimidating and I wondered how far I would get before giving it up all together and finding something more exciting to do.

Then I remembered in one of my blogs, I asked all of you to do some de-cluttering. Well I suddenly felt like the parent who had told their children to clean their room but I hadn`t cleaned my own.

First thing first, I began by gathering all the things I needed. Large garbage bags, gloves, wet rags, some vinegar and dry rags. Now I was ready to tackle the clutter.

I began at the top of the cupboard, it was very dusty but not much clutter. Note to self I thought, I should dust this more often. Then the lazy voice in my head said to me; Why would I dust there when it`s not bothering me and no one can see it. I shrugged off the voice.

I did not realize that this type of dialogue with my internal self would continue throughout the process.

The first cupboard has two large shelves that were filled with over the counter medicine that supposedly fixes whatever is not going well. There was the Vicks vapor rub, cold syrup and then of course Tiger balm. I have no idea what to do with Tiger balm. I had it in the cupboard so I must have bought it for some reason. Maybe it was on Dr. Oz. This is when that voice started again, listen it said, you might need it for something you never know. No, I said go away! and into the garbage bag went the Tiger balm, miscellaneous tablets including headache tablets. I never get headaches. Whenever I say that to my siblings they tell me it’s because I swear so much. My friend Corrine Chapin will never pick me up any more headache medicine after hearing this.

The clutter on the following six shelves in that cupboard was all my doing. The lotion and potions in those cupboards was worth thousands and I mean thousands of dollars. I found a cream intended to be used just for the right side of your face, if you sleep on your right side to prevent wrinkles. I sleep on my back. What was I thinking with that purchase? The cellulite cream was the funniest. Why did I think it would work? The sales lady told me cellulite would disappear from my thighs. I forgot to ask her where it would go. I guess it did not matter because it is still there, it did not disappear and I could not see the difference so I stop using the cream. More money down the beauty drain.

Purple or any hew of purple eye shadow calls to me. Its like a magnet, but I am allergic to any shade in the purple family. Knowing this, why do I have so many of them? I am sure some sales lady told me it would accentuate my dark brown eyes. Really? All it did was puff up my eyes and break blood vessels. So I heard the voice said, maybe you are using too much? You know the voice said less is more. I ignore the voice and threw them all out.

The nail polish was another story. I mean, a whole other story. There was so many brands and bottles I thought I was at Sephora. Thousands of dollars down the beauty drain. The nail enhancer, the nail grower, the nail strengthener, the nail dryer, the fast drying nail polish, the decals and the nail extender. The voice said, well now that you are retired you have the time to use these products, so you better keep them. No I said and out they went.

Feet and toes section of the cupboard. Do you know I had purchased nail polish just for my toes? I must have bought this in New York. When in doubt blame the Americans. It had hardened in the bottle so I could not use it. The ever-faithful voice suggested I soften it in the microwave. No I said and dumped it. Then there were all those knives and tools to take away half my feet and make them soft and smooth. Since I had not been trained professionally on how to use them, I swear on my first attempt I would have end up in the emergency room. The voice, came through again, saying I would save money by doing my feet myself. No I said, I tried it once, my back hurt and I cut my feet. It does not work for me so in the bag they went.

Since de-cluttering was going so well I decided to take on the shower area. It was much easier. I threw away all sorts of shower gels and shower scrubs. Some scrubs hurt and after one use I never touched them again. I do not like the feeling of sand on my body unless I am at the beach. The voice stayed very quiet while working on the shower stuff, I wonder why?   Maybe it was the swear words I used when I remembered the feeling trying to rinse off some of these scrubs off my body. I guess the voice did not like that feeling either.

I completed the task. Congratulated myself on a job well done. Then the voice said what about me I helped? You did not I replied, if I had listen to you the cupboard would be the same and nothing would have gotten thrown out!

This is not my usual style of blog post but I hope you enjoyed it and perhaps you might be motivated to attack the bathroom cupboards on a wet, cold, or gloomy day.


What Happened to the $27.00 Bra Girl – Part 2

Goals are important but life sometimes just happens.

Without Tessa’s plan, in the early days, I have no idea what we would have done.

Achieving a goal that you have looked forward to and worked hard for is a feeling of victory and accomplishment that cannot be duplicated. We could list the things we have given up or not done or not had to achieve them. We have made mistakes that have delayed our goals and we have also fast tracked to achieve others. I have laid awake at night worried if our goals are too big or if we are not doing enough. My husband has not. He and Tessa are very similar in this way. They see bumps in the road as just that, a bump on their path. This has been my biggest lesson and challenge. My mother will often tell me ‘sometimes life just happens’.

As well prepared or as well intended, you are, sometimes life just happens. Our dog gets sick right before a final payment on a trip is due, we have dinner plans with friends from out of town and realize my math was wrong when managing the ‘entertainment funds’, I attempt to transfer my household grocery money into our joint account but transfer it into my RRSP, the list can go on. Each time a delay or bump in the financial path has happened, I have learned it is more important to just keep on the path than it is to waste time worrying about what we could have done differently because for the most part there is very little I could have changed to make a real impact on the outcome. I will not be arrested by the Visa police if I do not pay off one month in full, but I have learned to check my math twice (and that my husband’s math skills are better than mine….) Our little dogs make our home so enjoyable and the trip to see my brother marry the love of his life with 50 of our family and friends was worth every penny from each account we took it from.

Tessa’s view on financial planning is very clearly laid out in her book and I realized not everyone would have the opportunity to hear her speak and hear how motivated and dedicated she is to improve other lives. Not everyone will be brought a hot cup of tea, by her wonderful husband, soon after being told that a $27 bra was not an essential purchase.

The plan is tough. Sometimes it outright angers you to be on it. Sometimes in makes you cry because you’re convinced no one else lives this way.   Sometime it makes you the happiest person on earth. Sometime you have no idea what your life would be like without it.

Our journey is different now we have a wonderful daughter. Our plans and goals have changed. Our daughter’s education is our main priority. Anyone who knows Tessa, is very aware how much value she places on education. We have already begun the journey by setting up her Registered Education Savings Plan.

We will keep you posted on this new focus.


A few months ago, I promised you some post from the people who have followed the plan they created with my help. Today is part one of the $27.00 bra girl saga.

What happened to the $27 bra girl?

I am that girl. Tessa retells my story to many people as they begin their work in financial literacy. During my first meeting with Tessa she instructed me to write down all the purchases I made in a week and bring the list to her during our next meeting. When I presented the list to her the following week, there it was, a $27 bra purchase that Tessa did not agree with. I ‘may’ have cried because at the time I thought it wasn’t outrageous, I mean, it wasn’t a $100 bra! At the time my husband and I were getting ready to move across the country for his job and my employment was uncertain, this is what made a $27 bra matter.   That meeting was 5 years ago.

I am blessed to have Tessa in my daily life, she lives a couple steps away from my childhood home and it always a phone call away. But she hasn’t actually seen my finances in years. Sound strange? Tessa set my husband and I on a path to achieve two big goals, save for a down payment on a home and pay cash for what turned out to be a moderately lavish wedding. Once those goals were achieved, I could see in Tessa’s eyes that she was ready to take the next steps with us. She would often ask, ‘so what are we going to do now? I think we should revisit your plan and set new goals’ but we did not. It was important to my husband and I to take what we had learned from Tessa and challenge ourselves to apply her principles to our new life back in our hometown. We were newlyweds, new homeowners, I had a new full-time job and had also returned to a part-time job I had left before we re-located. We needed to purchase two cars, furniture and re-establish our social lives. It would have been very easy to take our record book to Tessa’s kitchen table on a Sunday afternoon and get a new plan and to be honest, there was a couple of times over the years I have almost called Tessa. But the lessons that we have learned applying Tessa’s principles have been invaluable.

#1 Comparison is very costly.

We have attended housewarming, weddings, showers, parties but on the way home have almost the same conversation each time, what we liked, what’s not our style, what we would have done or done differently. We have been part of conversations common to newlyweds or new homeowners; what the reception cost, high property taxes, the cost of Reno’s etc. It always leaves us with the question of ‘would we have made the same decisions as our family and friends?’

Over the years we have driven higher end cars, added to our wardrobes each season and had made room in our financial plan for these things. As car leases have ended or as life has become too busy to find weekly shopping time, we realized we haven’t missed it. Tessa’s plan includes the use electronic transfers to various accounts to keep your plan on the correct path.

Within the last year we have made it our new goal to simplify our lives regardless of what others opinions are. We have lived in our home for 4 years and never worried about finishing the basement. We have always heard the comments ‘well you should really get that basement finished’ but just never felt the need to. We have family and friends with homes larger then ours, with finished basements complete with all the home theater systems a person could dream of. It was not in our plan, Tessa biggest lesson is that your financial plan in just that, yours. Had we renovated our basement years ago when everyone thought we should it would not fit our lifestyle today. As we wait the arrival of our first baby, basement renovations are now underway. We are excited about using the space and have tailored it to be an open creative space that our family will enjoy for years.

Unconventional to some, but perfect for us.

Stay posted for the conclusion of the $27.00 bra girl saga.



Negative Money noises are, words that speak of lack or not enough.

Here are some examples of negative money noise.

  • My parents and grandparents never had enough money.
  • They were poor
  • My father drank his entire paycheck every week.
  • Our family has always lived paycheck to paycheck.
  • My father never had a full-time job.
  • We were evicted from every apartment we ever lived in.
  • I am just like the rest of my family.
  • I will never own my own home.
  • I will always drive a beat up old car.
  • I can’t afford to go on a vacation.
  • I have no money.


Negative Money noise comes from thoughts and words of the people around you. It is very easy to accept the negative money noise of others as your own. Remember it is someone else’s thoughts and their words, not yours.

You may have heard negative money noise while you were growing up. This negative money noise came from your parents. Then as an adult you heard it from friends and co-workers.

Perhaps you are presently on the negative money noisy train. It might be part of your daily thoughts.  You hear it everyday over and over again. The negative money noise, train has only one destination, your thoughts. Do not board that train.


It affects your thoughts and behavior. It can be heard in your words. It affects your posture. It spreads to the look in your eye. Your face becomes marked with lines of your sad thoughts about your lack of money.

Now that negative money noise has entrenched itself in your entire body it begins to look for places outside of you to contaminate. Before long, you too are spreading the negative money noise wherever you go. You become a carrier of negative money noise.


Negative Money noise affects your money by preventing you from seeing the money you have.

You see your finances, as not enough to do the things you need in your life.

You become angry. You concentrate on the things you do not have. You begin to detest friends who are able to make purchases you are unable to make.

You hate your job or your employer, because you are not earning as much as you think you should earn.

You begin making poor money choices. You purchase what you cannot afford.

You only pay the minimum on your credit cards. You constantly make late payments. You do not return calls from your creditors.

You stay up late at nights worrying about all the money you owe. You become stress and you are unable to sleep. It now affects your health.


Remember there will always be negative money noisemakers.

When you hear a negative money noise you must take steps to change your environment. Stay away from people who make negative money noise. If you can, when it begins move away. Change the subject. Turn off the television or radio. Stop listening to negative money noise at all cost.


Take control of negative money noise by affirming what money you do have to be enough. Write the amount you have in a notebook. By doing this, you will have a feeling of accomplishment.

Acknowledge what you have been able to do with your money. Realize that you do have the means of earning more money. Apply for a better paying job. Cut back on some of your impulse or miscellaneous spending. Open a savings account with a purpose. Make your savings automatically.

Then take five minutes out of your busy day to work on some positive affirmations about your money. It can be a simple action, such as opening your wallet and confirm I have $10.00 today. Reassure yourself about having money, because you do.