How To Pay Off Your Credit Card

How to Pay Off your Credit Card

With this post, I promise that I will show you how to pay off your debt before January 31,2018.

Last week I showed you how to save money for the Holiday season. Many of you wanted to know why I did not give a tutorial on paying off the debt instead.

My reason for showing you how to save money first is because we are told to pay ourselves first. By saving money you are honoring yourself.

The first step is to get familiar with the amount you owe. Do not guess the amount, look at the bill or bills and total the amounts.

For example, if you owe $2,600.00, the table below shows what you need to pay monthly in order to pay off your debt in 1 year. You can also see how much interest you are paying monthly, as well as your total interest paid for the year.

It’s important to pay your bills as you get paid, either weekly or bi-weekly.

Let’s use that $2,600.00 debt again plus $282.51 interest over one year. If you get paid bi-weekly, divide that amount by 26 [2,882.51/26 = $110.89] every payday.] If you’re paid weekly, divide that amount by 52 [$2882.51/ 52 = 55.43. ] Your credit card payment is monthly but you can choose to pay those amounts every payday. When you pay your bills as you get paid you will notice that your cash flow is more evenly distributed.

The reason why we incur debt is simply because of the lack of cash flow. Remember you have also been saving, so you now have cash on hand to do your holiday shopping next year.

Payment Summary

Event Amount Term Period
Loan $2,600.00 1
Payment $246.11 11 Monthly
Payment $174.23 1
Payment Schedule

Event Loan Payment Interest Principal Balance
Loan 1 $2,600.00 $0.00 $0.00 $2,600.00
Payment 1 $246.11 $39.87 $206.24 $2,393.76
Payment 2 $246.11 $40.64 $205.47 $2,188.29
Payment 3 $246.11 $35.95 $210.16 $1,978.13
Payment 4 $246.11 $33.58 $212.53 $1,765.60
Payment 5 $246.11 $29.01 $217.10 $1,548.50
Payment 6 $246.11 $26.29 $219.82 $1,328.68
Payment 7 $246.11 $22.56 $223.55 $1,105.13
Payment 8 $246.11 $18.16 $227.95 $877.18
Payment 9 $246.11 $14.89 $231.22 $645.96
Payment 10 $246.11 $10.61 $235.50 $410.46
Payment 11 $246.11 $6.97 $239.14 $171.32
Payment 12 $174.23 $2.91 $171.32 $0.00
Grand Total $2,600.00 $2,881.44 $281.44 $2,600.00 $0.0

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to me.


Tessa-Marie |

New Cost of Living Increases for 2017

Here they are folks; hold on to your money.

2017 comes roaring in with a vast amount of increases. These increases are in every area of our life, and each and everyone will hit us in the wallets, where it hurts the most.

I am here to help you navigate through 2017 with positive financial results.

In order to get where you plan to be financially throughout 2017 you have to follow a plan. Just like going on a trip. You need a navigator. Especially since you are getting into unchartered waters.

I will remind you of what the major increases coming your way this year, and I am here to help you navigate through them. I am your financial GPS.

First let’s look at the list of items going up.

  1. The cost of fueling up or vehicles.
  2. The cost of electricity.
  3. The cost of heating our homes.
  4. The cost of feeding our families.
  5. The cost of public transportation.

Well the big five. What can we do to help us come out on the positive side of these life-changing situations? I will discuss each item with tips to help you move forward in a confident manner.

The cost of fueling up or vehicles

  • Make sure the tires on the vehicles are properly inflated according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • Keep up all service recommended by your mechanic.
  • Change your oil and filters when needed.
  • Avoid driving when walking is within normal limits.

The cost of electricity

  • Look for sales on energy saving light bulbs and take advantage of opportunities to replace your bulbs with low energy ones.
  • Turn off the lights and TV when not in the room.
  • Cook meals for at least two days when using electricity before 7pm or after 7am.
  • Do laundry on weekends or after 7pm in the evenings.

The cost of heating our homes 

  • Lower the thermostat by 2 points, by 3 points when no one is home.
  • Wear warmer clothing when at home. Like track suits and socks.
  • Make sure you are not losing heat through windows and doors left open for long periods at a time.
  • Replace your furnace filters regularly.
  • Lower the heating cycle on your hot water heater.

The cost of feeding our families

  • Check the pantry I mean all your pantries. Like the places you put the extra toilet paper, pasta, rice and flour.
  • Open the kitchen cupboard; make a list of the items in your cupboard.
  • The fridge, checks it out, what do you have in there. Can it be used?
  • The freezer; how much meat is in there? Chicken, Pork, Beef and Seafood.
  • Make a list of the items on hand.
  • Use them before purchasing anything new.
  • Watch your vegetable purchases. Do you like kale; because someone said it’s good for you is not a good enough reason to buy it. You must eat it.
  • Only purchase items you will consume.

Public transportation 

What can we do about it? If you have to use it you must pay. Make sure you are using it to your advantage.

  • Do your math, is it better to purchase a monthly pass?
  • Is it better financial sense to purchase a weekly pass, if you do not use public transportation on weekends? Work the cost out and choose the one that suits your needs.

These are a few tips to help you navigate through 2017. I trust that you find them helpful, or at the very least trigger you to make some changes to keep more of your income.


















Goodbye 2016 Hello Plan 2017

Goodbye 2016 Hello Plan 2017

It’s best to set a plan instead of a goal. You can control a plan, but you are always chasing goals trying to catch up with them. Your plans walk with you all the way.

Yes it’s the end of 2016. Are you one of the people who are saying, “I have no idea where the year went?”   Guess what, it went. Never to return. All the plans and hopes you had and all the things you wanted to accomplish left with 2016.   How many things you planned for 2016 that became a reality?

It’s time to create a plan for 2017. I am not talking about a New Years resolution. Remember it is a New Year for one day. With this in mind the resolutions you created that you kept for the first 24 hours of the New Year, is mission accomplished. The 2nd of January is not called the New Year it is January 2nd. The New Year left 24 hours ago.

Now let’s look at the plans you might consider making throughout 2017. You will have to take some time to work on those plans. During that time, you should not spend time looking at how you let those plans slip through your fingers in the lost plan section of 2016. Do not go there, nothing to gain looking back.

If New Years resolutions have not worked for you in the past make a short list. Three items should be tops, making a list with five items is stretching yourself. Setting you up for failure.   Check your record of success in the past before making a long list. How have you done? Remember your previous behavior is indicative of your future behavior. Take this into consideration when making your list.

The best way to target your plans for 2017 is to make a short list of the things that really matter to you. Vague or plans with no thought will treat you the same they will not materialize.   Plans that will work for you must be specific, describe it in as much detail as you can. Measure your progress towards the plan?   What have you done or what are you presently doing to ensure this plan becomes a reality. Is it a pipe dream or is it something you can attain with the resources at your disposal. Have you chosen a plan that is realistic?  Can you attain at this time of your life? Most important of all, when do you want to attain this plan. Give it a date in 2017 a real date, like August 20th 2017.

Now you have your list, place it somewhere where you will read it everyday. You noticed, I said read it everyday, not see it everyday. Reading and seeing are two completely different activities.   You should pause and read your list. Then ask yourself what did you do yesterday toward reaching this plan. What can you do today toward this plan? Ask that question everyday and note your progress and success.

If you follow the above plan you will have a very successful 2017.

It’s no point crying over spilled milk. The best and only choice is to look at the spilled milk, skip over it and walk in 2017. Do not look back.


Find what works for you.


Finding your spot in a financial world can be very difficult sometimes. It becomes even more challenging when a very good friend in different circumstances encourages you to follow their plan.

In life, there are several things that work for one person but would not apply to another. When it comes to finances, it is even more glaring. Too often we decide to make decisions on things that work for our friends or family. After years of trying what was fool proof for them we find out it just cannot work for our family. It is absolutely imperative we realize that the plans that were set for their family five years or more ago may not apply to us five years later.

When listening to what works for someone else take a moment to look at the make up of their family very carefully, before considering implementing their plan in your life.

Here are some things to help you make those decisions:

  1. Do you have the same or similar income?
  2. How many members of the family are contributing financially?
  3. How many people make-up their family?
  4. What is their total debt?
  5. Is it the same amount as yours?
  6. How long ago did this plan work for them?

There are numerous other factors to consider, but these are just a few of the important ones when considering a financial plan.

The very best advice is to listen then take small sections of their plan and see whether it will fit with yours. If you are not sure seek the help of a financial advisor. Your financial institution is able to help. If the person is not prepared to help you learn to manage your family finances, keep looking until you find someone who will at least point you in the right direction.

The Internet is loaded with all kinds of information. Search until you understand what is being discussed.   Do not get discourage. Attend all sorts of financial seminars and take notes. Ask questions. Watch shows where financial advice is being given

Most important of all, do not give up.


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 is a Tax Free Savings Account?

Recently I have noticed a trend that many Canadian and especially new Canadians are not taking the advantage of owning a Tax Free Saving Account.

With this in mind I have decided to write about a TFSA .

Who Can Open a Tax Free Savings Account?

Any individual who is 18 years of age or older and who has a valid social insurance number is eligible to open a TFSA.

What is a Tax Free Savings Account?

A Tax Free Savings Account is a special account where an individual is able to save money over their lifetime without any tax implications.

The Tax Free savings account started in 2009. The government of Canada created the account to encourage Canadians to save money and no matter what the growth of that account no interest will ever be paid.

This account started in 2009. The limit from 2009 to 2012 is $5000.00

From 2013 – 2014 it increased to $5500.

Then in 2015 the government increased it to $10,000.

The amount was decreased by the new governmentin2016 back to $5500.00

If an individual has not made any contributions and was 18 years or older in 2009 they may make the contributions from 2009 to 2016. You do not lose the contribution if it was not done in the prior years.

The money contributed to a Tax Free Savings account is NOT tax deductible.   The contributed amount cannot be deducted from your taxable income.

Any amount contributed or any investment income made is non-taxable.

You may have more than one TFSA but the amount between the account may not exceed your annual contributions.


Depending on the type of investment held in your TFSA, you can generally withdraw any amount from the TFSA at any time. Withdrawing any amount from the TFSA does not reduce the total amount of contributions you have already made for the year.

Replacing withdrawals

If you decided to replace, or re-contribute all or a portion of your withdrawals into your TFSA in the same year, you can only do this if you have available TFSA contribution room. If you re-contribute but do not have contribution room you will have over-contributed to your TFSA in the year. You will be subject to a tax equal of l% of the highest excess TFSA amount in the month, for each month that the excess amount remains in your account. Before doing a re-contribution talk with your financial institution about your re-contribution.

After following all the rules a TFSA is a wonderful savings vehicle to assist you in meeting your future financial goals.









Getting Ready For Winter 2016 -2017

Winter is the longest season we have in Canada. It is not a longer season in months than any of the other seasons. Because it generally starts in the middle of fall and runs into spring, it makes it feel like its six months of winter.

I am offering you a few suggestions to help you get through those long nights and very short days of winter. As you know getting your finances in order is essential but also is planning for the changes that happen as we go through life.

Today we started with a balmy 13 degrees. Yes fall is here and winter is coming. I know you must be thinking I should find something else to do instead of writing about those cold mornings that are sure to come.

There are few things we need to prepare for the cold winter days ahead.

Take some time this weekend and go through your coat closet. Check all your fall and winter coats and jackets for loose buttons, torn pockets, broken hems or those that are just ready for the dump. Select the ones you did not use last winter. Do you really think you are going to use them this season? Make a pile of those to keep and those to donate or chuck. What about your winter or fall boots, are they still wearable, or should they be sent to the shoemaker for a new set of heels? If they are too scuffed and you did not use them last year, make a choice to donate or trash them.

Now let’s see what we can do in the clothes closet. This is also a great time to dispose of the summer clothes you did not wear this summer. Remember donate or trash no other rule.    The fall and winter garments. Take everything out of your closets spread them on the bed on the floor wherever you can find space. All the sweaters, tops, slacks, jeans, yoga pants check them out and go through the very same process you did for your coats. Too tight, to big, torn, buttons missing, need cleaning or have not worn since you were two sizes smaller.   Make the same pile, keep, donate or trash. Immediately placed those to donate and trash in bags. When this is done, go through the keep pile again and sort out those for cleaning or laundering at home. This will take the better part of a Sunday afternoon so I recommend that you put on some music, pour a glass of wine and get busy.

Once you have your items in the bags the next big step is to take them out of the house. The sooner this is done the better you will feel. Take the donate pile to a recycling depot or call one of the charities and they will be pleased to be able to pick them up from your home. Plan to take the pieces you will be wearing early in the season to the cleaners first. Plan this carefully as cleaning bills are extremely high. You will have to make sure you only take the pieces you need and can afford to pick up at the cleaners before a major storm comes calling.

After doing all of this you might need to replace some items. The stores are starting their fall and winter sales. Those of you with a clothing allowance this is a great time to benefit from sales and refit your wardrobe.

Now that you have those wonderful tips, I urge you to take advantage of some of them to get yourself ready for our longest season.

Be Prepared

Be Prepared

While visiting a department store recently, I noticed how busy they were for the coming holiday season. This observation started me wondering how many consumers are as prepared for the coming season in the same way as the stores.

In every department of the store you observed the clerks, they were busy getting the decorations ready for the holidays. I immediately thought, oh dear the children are not even back to school for a month, and are still wearing summer clothes but here comes the toys. Some parents are still in the process of attempting to purchase, pants for legs that grew two or three inches this summer or feet that went from size 6 to 7:50 and now the holiday merchandise is staring in their faces.

The stores are not concerned about how ready we are their job is to get us to spend money and then spend some more. This is business, and those businesses know the early bird gets the worm. The company is getting a head start by showing us what is available for the holidays. Three months away.  That action tells me they have had a plan in place and they are now putting their plan in action. They are forward thinking. This is the date they set months ago to launch their holiday business plan. Therefore it must begin, nothing will stand in their way. I am certain there is a cost factor of how much to spend on salaries to get the merchandise in place for the season. They will not exceed that amount. The expected profit margin has been calculated and repeated several times to the staff and its imbedded in their memory. They are ready for the holidays. Are you? Do you have a plan? If not there is time for you to prepare.

All the couples and singles I work with on their spending plan are ready. They all have special accounts to take care of the expenses they plan to incur during the holiday season. Their money is available and easily accessible. No credit cards.  The key word here is, PLAN.   They have a plan. They are prepared and ready as soon as they choose to begin their holiday shopping. They have a limit and they will stick to it.

Here are a few suggestions those of you who do not have someone like me to be your financial navigator.

  • Take a page from business. Run your finances like a business.
  • Start early and stay focus on your plan.
  • Take advantage of those warm days; sit quietly for a few minutes and think about the people you would like to give gifts this holiday season
  • Write a list of their names and across from their names write the amount you wish to spend for each person.
  • Then think of what this person would like. Write that down next to their names.
  • Now spend some time on line checking your favorite websites searching for those items.
  • Check the cost, does it match your planned price? If not reevaluate that could mean you may have to change the item.
  • Most importantly keep this list with at all times. You might be able to purchase what you have chosen for your family and friends at a discount price. Items are always on sale. You can pounce on it only if you are prepared.

Try those simple steps; you will be surprise to see the difference it will make in your stress level, your mental health, and your financial health this holiday season.


Happy shopping.



My friend called very early this morning. Not to say hello, or to find out how I am doing. She called to vent. It began with her telling me how bored she has been since she retired. These were her exact words. “Don’t you just hate being retired? Well I do and I want to find a job.” After taking a few deep breaths, I told her I heard this from you before. “Remember, when we were both employed, you also hated working. In those days, you always said you couldn’t wait to retire. Well now you are. Back then you were wishing to be retired. Now you are retired, you are wishing you were working. There is no pleasing you.” “Well she said I am getting my resume redone and I am going to find a job.” My reply was. “It looks like your mind is made up, so good luck with that. Right now I am about to make a cup of some fancy coffee put my foot up and read a sultry romance novel.” I knew, by saying that I would send her into a tizzy, which it did. She said, since I have retired I am crazy, and hung up on me.

Although she ended the call, I could not get the conversation off my mind. I began to reflect on those cold winter mornings when I had to drive to work in snowstorms and expected to get to work on time. Then there were those glorious summer days when all I really wanted to do, was to putter around in my garden all day. All I could do was give the garden a sad look and off to work, I went.   Now I am free to peep through the curtains on those bitterly cold days, hug myself and go back to bed or sit and read a good book with a cup of tea or coffee. Needless to say, on the summer days I am out in the garden from morning till dusk.

My Question is. Why when you are retired you are constantly asked what are you intending to do to be kept busy?   A statement about how bored you are going to be immediately follows the question. I really don’t get it. Everyone is so concern about your level of boredom. Why do you have to be kept busy? For years, you were paid a salary to be busy, now you are paid a pension not to be busy.   I no longer have a to do list. I now have a list of all the things I don’t want to do.

What I have learnt since I retired is to take time to relax. When there are long lines at the supermarket I smile and take a look around. I peruse through the latest tabloid magazines and chuckle at all the outlandish stuff in them. I do not have to explain to anyone why I am late coming back from lunch.   I only make appointments from 12pm to 3pm. Gone are the days of very early or late appointments to accommodate my work schedule. I go to long leisurely monthly lunches with my girlfriends; sometimes we do a late lunch and an early movie.

I can only hope that my friend will find a way to enjoy her retirement or find a new purpose in her life. Maybe for her, she needs to have the routine of going somewhere each and every day. That might work for her. For me, complete retirement is best.

I am absolutely certain that my friend, after reading this blog will call to tell me off, but it’s okay that’s what friends are for.

I love being retired and truly embrace the control, I have over my what, where, when, why, and who. Think of it, God created the world in six days and retired. I never heard of God working again. Have you? If it’s good for God, it’s good for me.

Happy retirement.