Money Matters part 2 – a blogful of resources

Oh my goodness, what a week. My life is often busy – having two active children, managing a house, trying to stay healthy and exercise regularly and running my own business makes for a complicated and fast-paced life, something many of you can relate to, I’m sure. But last week took hectic to a whole new level: I recorded my virtual book launch, did several conference calls, attended a course in palliative care, offered training in two different communities, dealt with taxes, drove kids back and forth and back and forth. Isn’t that what we parents become when they are teens: taxis and wallets and people who mop up after the five friends have swarmed by after school and destroyed the block of cheddar? One of my daughter’s friends often drops by after school and heads straight for the cookie jar. Sometimes she walks in, grabs a handful of biscuits and leaves straight away. I caught her once literally with her hand in the cookie jar. You should have seen the look on her face. It still makes me laugh! I think she lives in a cookie-free house and I feel bad for her, so I buy her favourite kinds – my contribution to society. Wouldn’t you? Poor kid. Her house is a no-cookie zone. It’s awful.

But navigating last week was much easier than it would have been a few years ago for two reasons: a) I didn’t stop exercising, which helped manage my stress very nicely and b) I delegated, asked for help and offloaded all the non essentials to the rest of the crew in my household. I have written about how difficult it is for many of us to ask for help and not do everything ourselves. Helping professionals, as a group, really struggle with that. One reason is that in the middle of the storm, delegating can take more time and energy than most of us have – so we just forge ahead and do it ourselves rather than have to explain the steps to someone else. It can also be hard to ask for help – what if the person refuses? Wouldn’t that be awkward and upsetting too. But if you are overwhelmed, I really encourage you to try: draw up a list of all your duties and responsibilities (do the What’s on your Plate activity in my book, for example) and then see whether there is one thing you could ask someone for help with, delegate or even spend a bit of money to offload on someone else. A friend might be very happy to mow your lawn in exchange for a couple of frozen home cooked meals, for example.

My son, who turns twelve in two weeks had an insight about the chore thing recently: I called him to unload the dishwasher and to my surprise he didn’t grumble and moan but he just happily emptied it and went about his day. When I commented on this he said “Well, I realised that it actually takes more energy and time complaining about it than just doing it. I calculated the difference between moaning and then unloading it and simply unloading it and it was clear that it’s actually only a 5 minute job. When I figured that out, I stopped complaining. It’s too much wasted time and energy.” Ha, whatever works – actuarial accounts of dishwasher emptying is fine with me.

Ok now on to Money Matters:

I’m back with part two of Money Matters. Did you enjoy reading the first one? If so, send me a comment and let me know what your top financial resource is. This week is a short post, as I want to invite you to visit some other blogs and see whether you find something useful to help you manage your money. In his new book The Wealthy Barber Returns, David Chilton recommends some financial blogs (all Canadian) that I went to check out for you:

1) Squawkfox.com by Kerry Taylor. Her byline is “where frugal living is is sexy, delicious and fun!” Ms Taylor offers tons of strategies to reduce household costs and live debt-free. She is currently featuring a food waste challenge, showing that we waste around 40% of our household groceries. Isn’t that crazy? With the soaring costs of food these days, there must be a better way. Her blog is funny and full of great strategies. Sample posts: “Price check experiment: Is Costco really worth it?” “50 ways to save $1000 a year” and “How to get Married for $239.00.” In fact, I had so much fun reading her blog that I just realised an hour has passed. If the next blogs are as good, I may never finish this post…

2) Canadiancapitalist.com by Ram Balakrishnan. This is a much more suit and tie type of blog. I think that the author writes for the magazine Moneysense and this is a blog linked to this publication. Some recents posts include: ”Is a CAA membership worth keeping?” “Is a Costco membership really worth it” (hhm, I sense a theme. Why not go and compare what Kerry and Ram have to say on that topic?),  and “Owning too much real estate my not be prudent.” This blog is widely respected in the field says Preet Banerjee, the author of the next blog I am mentioning here.

3) Wheredoesallmymoneygo.com  by Preet Banerjee. Mr Banerjee originally trained as a neuroscientist and is now a financial expert. He also writes a money column for the Globe and Mail so I have read him in the past and I enjoy his writing style and humour  (did you know that I am addicted to the G&M? It’s serious – as in I have to read the whole paper from cover to cover every single day or else I’m a very unhappy camper… I know, it’s weird. But I learn a lot along the way. I’m not sure why I feel so unhappy when I miss a day, though, it may be a sign that it’s taken control over my life…). Preet Banerjee’s blog is “A Canadian Personal Finance and Investing Blog.” Sample posts are: “Money is more about your mind than your math” and “Buffet and Gekko both recommend index investing” for fans of the movie Wall Street.  Check out his list of recommended blogs and websites. Banerjee recently got flack from some readers for his Globe column on how he saves money by buying winter tires across the border. Sometimes, frugality goes to extremes that I am not willing to go. Time is also a precious commodity, you know? Suffice it to say I am not going to be crossing into Detroit to buy tires anytime soon.

4) Canadian business.com/author/larrymacdonald Larry Macdonald is a former economist and investment expert. Economists are a funny bunch. If I were to make a massive generalisation, economists are probably the most polar opposite personality type to us helping professionals: they tend to be uber rational cerebral types who calmly assess the pros and cons of life and its turmoils, but they are not always bleeding hearts or ambulance chasers, like some of us. If you want a great taste of what I’m talking about, I highly recommend you read the book Freakonomics if you haven’t done so already. The economists of Freakonomics also have a great free podcast series that my son and I often enjoy listening to. But back to Larry MacDonald – this blog is part of the magazine Canadian Business, which I enjoy reading in airports from time to time. A recent post that I really liked was “Canada’s average debtor is not who you think.” MacDonald strikes me as someone that we should read and listen to and respect. He knows his stuff.

Ok, I think that’s enough material for you to go and do some reading. Let me know what you find useful among all of these and I hope you have a great week. Mine is looking peachy right now, compared to last week… Stay tuned next week for the final instalment of Money Sense (for now anyhow): A feature interview with Professional Coach and Compassion Fatigue Specialist Robin Cameron on taking the plunge and going into private practice.

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