Sarah Deveau: Money Matters


Are You Money Smart?

Do You Need Help Managing Your Money?

I admit it. I love money. I love making it, talking about it, investing it, and yes, spending it. I think spending money is actually my favourite thing to do, next to writing about it. And write about it I do. I write financial guides. My first was a financial guide for college and university students called Sink or Swim: Get Your Degree Without Drowning in Debt. It took me seven years to write the next one, as three children and a business absorbed my attention. Money Smart Mom: Financially Fit Parenting hit the shelves in 2010.

When promoting my first book in a tour, I was often described as a financial expert, and I would quickly correct my interviewer. I’m not a financial expert. Financial experts have MBAs, wear suits, and their business cards list long strings of letters after their name. They occupy the upper echelons of the financial world. That just isn’t me. What I am is a voracious researcher on everything to do with money. From the Smith Manoeuvre to rebate forms, I’m obsessed with it all. I have strong opinions on money matters, and I back it up with research. I think of myself as a financial godmother, wand alight to give my readers the tools they need to get ahead financially.

Like most people interested in the way money ebbs and flows through our hands and lives, I definitely have frugal tendencies. Wikipedia describes frugality as the practice of acquiring goods and services in a restrained manner, and resourcefully using already owned economic goods and services, to achieve a longer term goal. I think this description is apt, however; it doesn’t take into account the slightly negative connotation of the word frugal. It’s been lumped in with a bad crowd. Our grandmothers were frugal, thrifty, and cheap. Our grandfathers were tightwads, penny-pinchers and misers.

I prefer the term money smart because it sounds savvy, not slanderous. Like something you want to be. And best of all, it has no defined boundaries. It’s a big picture thinking descriptor. Spent $300 on a romantic dinner out with your husband? You’re not necessarily a spendthrift. If that was your only restaurant meal in the past six months, you paid in cash, and you savoured every last delectable bite, it was a money smart move.

Being money smart means a few things. It means you’re perpetually educating yourself about financial issues. You’re aware of what you’re spending your money on, and how much you’re spending. You have a plan, and you’re constantly evaluating how best to meet your goals.

If you’re interested in being money smart, I want to help you get there. In this blog I’ll be investigating the nitty gritty issues that affect your bank balance, such as comparison shopping, coupon cutting, vehicle ownership, energy efficient appliances, and more. I’ll help you identify your bad money management habits and give you strategies to overcome them once and for all. And I’ll examine the big issues too – how to set up an RESP, understanding TFSAs, figuring out how much you’ll actually get from CPP and more.

I want to have a conversation with you about money. I’ll look at issues I think you want to know more about, and you can make suggestions too. What I’m not going to do is preach at you. I’m not going to make promises of financial freedom that require complete adherence to arbitrary rules I lay out for you.

Once you get money smart, it’s nearly impossible to forget what you’ve learned. Once you no longer dread opening your credit card statement, or don’t hold your breath wondering if your debit card will be declined for insufficient funds, you won’t want to go back to that way of life.

Join me. We’ve got a lot to talk about!