It’s the final days of 2019, and a lot has happened this year! I began my personal finance blog in May, and since then I’ve published nearly 50 articles! I’m enjoying writing about personal finance, and I have learned so much by researching my posts. But more importantly, people like you are coming back to read my blog again and again. Enjoy my 2019 year in review.
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Starting a Personal Finance Blog
2019 was a busy and exciting year for me! I was looking for some kind of additional challenge. I have been working for about 10 hours per month for a few years, but I wanted to grow. To learn something new! I looked at applying for jobs, but I really didn’t want to dive headfirst into the 9-5 (which is really more like 8-6, or more!) when I still have kids at home. And in my field there aren’t a lot of part-time opportunities.
After considering a few options, I decided to start a personal finance blog! I enjoy monitoring and improving our own personal finance situation, and I knew my kids weren’t learning any of this stuff in school.
Starting a blog has been a huge – HUGE! – learning curve for me. But exciting! I’ve connected with new friends all across Canada and beyond, who also have similar interests. And I’ve learned a million things about starting and improving a website. Still lots of room for improvement, though.
After I started my blog, I was offered a promotion in my contract to about 30 hours per month, and an additional contract with similar hours. Would I have started blogging if I’d known my work was going to go from 10 hours per month to 50-70 hours per month? Probably not. But I’m so glad that I did!
My blog went live in early May 2019, and you can read all about it in The 6 Steps in my Money Blog’s Birth Story. In the first 8 months, I have had over 3,300 visitors to my blog, who have read my articles nearly 10,000 times! Blogging for profit is a long game. It takes many months of work to build up a good base of content, and to develop a bit of a following. Most importantly, is to earn my readers’ trust. To this point I have only been paid $25 from blogging. Although I have earned additional income from other sources that haven’t reached the minimum payout or time delay threshhold. Hopefully 2020 will be more profitable!
Are you thinking of starting a blog? Read all my blogging recommendations here!
Most Popular Articles in 2019!
Blog Highlights of 2019 by Topic
June 2019 was Mr. Tea’s and my 20th wedding anniversary! Read about all the personal finance lessons we’ve learned over the years in Money Tips for Newlyweds, on our 20th Anniversary.
One of my most popular articles for young adults, was The Essential Beginners’ Guide to Credit Cards. Learn about different types of cards, what to look for in a credit card, and how to stay on top of bills so that you don’t pay interest.
Leading up to Christmas, I encouraged my readers to take my 10-Week Debt-Free Christmas Challenge. By saving just small amounts each week, you can pay of the extra holiday bills without incurring credit card debt. Want to get a jump on Christmas 2020? Simply set aside $20 per week into a high interest savings account to have $1,000 for gifts next year.
Homeowners will want to read how we saved money with Hot Water Heater: Rent vs Own and How We Saved $800 on Cable, Internet and Home Phone.
Food costs are one of all households’ top spending categories. Discover how we’ve used Meal Planning Shortcuts to Save Thousands of Dollars Each Year! Bonus content, this article includes a printable meal planner for you!
Buying a house is a big decision. There are so many extra costs, how do you know if the house you like is affordable for you? Check out The First-Time Homebuyers Rule of 200 will Save you Money and Time to calculate exactly how much you can afford, without becoming “house poor”!
Looking for some fun ideas to spend time with family or friends without spending a lot of money? 19 (Nearly) Free Things to do with your Friends is a great starting point.
As a parent, it’s a huge decision about whether to go back to work full-time, part-time, work at home, or be a full-time parent. This is a decision that has to be considered for each family, and there’s no right or wrong answer, just what’s best for you. However, there are some costs to watch out for when going back to work, as I’ve discovered from my own personal experience! Learn what to expect at The True Cost of Going Back to Work for SAHMs (and Dads too!)
If you’re looking for ways to bring in some extra cash, you’ll want to read the following:
- 100+ Easy Ways to Make Money Fast – ideas range from one-time boosts to long-term regular income streams; something for everyone!
- Earn Side Income from Airbnb – you can enter your address to find out exactly how much you could earn, with no commitment if you decide not to go forward.
- House Hacking – Savvy Home Income Tips – rent/mortgage is one of every household’s biggest expenses. Make it work for you!
The cost of post-secondary education has been rising much faster than either inflation or minimum wage. Don’t miss out on finding the best Scholarships in Canada! If you spend 5 hours applying for several scholarships, and win $1,000, that’s an income of $200 per hour! Time well spent.
One of my most popular articles this year is a new one, Will the Stock Market Crash in 2020? At a recent work event, someone was discussing afterward whether he should keep investing in the stock market in 2020 or pull out now. He didn’t want to “leave money on the table” so to speak, by playing it too safe. My reply is that he – and you, too – should be investing based on your spending goals, not trying to time the market.
If you’re looking to invest in real estate in 2020, check out Best Toronto Neighbourhoods for Condo Investors.
For Canadian parents, you’ll want to know you’re investing right in your children’s education funds. RESP Investing from Newborn to High School shows my exact method for maximizing expected returns in the early years, and focusing on safety in the high school years. You don’t want to risk a stock market crash when your teen is only a year away from graduation!
If your children are heading into post-secondary in 2020, you’ll want to know how to get that RESP money back out again. It’s a bit complicated, but all laid out in The Mystery of RESP Withdrawals.
The first step is finding your credit score, and regularly monitoring your credit report. I describe in What is your Credit Score and Why Should you Care the easy way you can do this for FREE! with Borrowell.
Having a high credit score helps you negotiate the best interest rate on your loans. Mr. Tea and I just negotiated a 21 basis point decrease (or 0.21% decrease) in our mortgage rate! By keeping our payments the same, this means we’ll pay off our house 1.5 years sooner and save about $50,000 in interest!
Whether retirement is 5 years away or 30, you should have a look at retirement benefits so that you know what to expect. I did just that is Old Age Security: Answers to your Top 6 Questions, where I looked at who is eligible to receive OAS, how much will you get, is it taxable, and will it be clawed back. Knowing how retirement benefits work can help you decide whether to invest in a TFSA or RRSP during your working years.
For parents, consider When and How to Start Allowance. By including a charity jar system, you can start a habit of lifelong giving to causes that are important to your children.
If you want to be in control of your finances, it’s essential to know where your money is going. But we’re all individuals, and the way I like to monitor my spending may be different from how you like to do it. And that’s okay!
Some people may be drawn to budgeting with the 50/30/20 format. That is, 50% of your income goes towards “needs”, 30% goes towards “wants”, and the remaining 20% pays down debt and/or gets invested for your future.
Others may prefer the colourful Highlighter Budget, where you look at your past spending on your bank and credit card statements to see if you’re on target. No spreadsheets!
Learning from the Experts
I have read a dozen personal finance books this year, and I strongly recommend this! It’s a great way to learn from the experts.
See what I recommend in The Most-Wished-for Personal Finance Books for Christmas 2019 and Read your Way to Wealth!
My Highest Social Media Shares
“The best personal finance books to read to grow your wealth” was my most popular Pinterest Pin in 2019! It was also my post that had the highest social media shares.
Clicking the links in my articles to shop at great stores such as Amazon or Indigo help support my blog, so that I can continue writing great content. The following affiliate links are for Amazon.ca.
What was MY favourite personal finance book of 2019? That’s so hard to say! I learned so much from each of them. I would say that Broke Millennial by Erin Lowry was my favourite for anyone age 18-30. But I’m a bit older than that (okay, a lot). For my own learning, I really enjoyed David Bach’s Smart Women Finish Rich. It is so important for women to understand finances, and his financial organisation system is amazing.
I’m in the middle of reading Quit Like a Millionaire, by Canadians Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung. I’d highly recommend it!
And next on my list is financial guru Ramit Sethi’s I will Teach you to be Rich.
Spend a few hours reading personal finance books, or listening to audiobooks while you commute or walk the dog. This short investment in time will help you understand money and how to achieve your own version of “being rich”.
Wishing you all the Best in 2020!
I want to wish all my readers an exciting and prosperous new year ahead in 2020. Keep coming back to read my latest articles, and sign up to my email list to get a quick note when I have something new for you! I typically email once per week, so no spam here.
And if you have personal finance questions for me, or if there’s something you’d like me to write about, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find me on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!