How Financial Worries Motivated Our Success

Financial worries and mental health go hand in hand because money is stressful.

How many Canadians lose sleep over financial worries?

I bet the number is pretty high and what’s even worse is when red flags are ignored.

It’s not until something terrible happens, and it doesn’t matter how much money you earn.

You have to factor in the motivational side, which is how much money we have saved.

The pandemic is an excellent example of something terrible happening and having financial worries.

Since economic shutdowns/slowdowns often impact people already living with low incomes more than those in higher income situations, it is not surprising that nearly 5 in 10 (46%) people in Canada with incomes under $40,000 said their income had worsened between the onset of the pandemic and October 2020,Note  compared with 3 in 10 (27%) of those with incomes over $40,000.

Stats Canada

If you’ve ever been in debt and struggling to make ends meet, you know about these statements.

  • Everything will be alright I’ll borrow money
  • We will figure something out
  • I’ll find another job
  • Hiding Financial worries
  • Not communicating with spouse or partner
  • Friend or family will do it for free or cheaper

I don’t typically give financial advice on this blog, but today I will.

Don’t ever get into a situation of buying a house or owning a business without financial backup.

Just because you can afford it today doesn’t mean you can afford it tomorrow.

Today I want to discuss how our financial worries happened and what we did to overcome them.

How We Didn't Let Financial Worries Take Over Our Life
How We Didn’t Let Financial Worries Take Over Our Life

Financial Stress In A New Country

When I first moved to Canada twelve years ago, I was always worried about money.

Even though I had already owned two houses in the UK by 24, moving to a new country was challenging.

Often I’d get ill worrying about money and not knowing how I could support my wife.

At the time, she was working, but it’s not just about you any longer when you get married.

Marriage and financial worries come as a package which is why money talk is imperative.

Money Talk For Couples To Curb Financial Worries

Before we had even thought about dating, there was money talk between the both of us.

When she came to England for the first time after I came to Canada, she was surprised by how I lived.

It’s hard to express how financial worries can lead you to be frugal, but it was that was the truth about me.

The more we talked, the easier it was to divulge our feelings about debt, money and jobs.

There was a point when Mrs. CBB was going to move to the UK after we got married.

That didn’t happen because the cultural shock was hard for her and her anxiety hit the roof.

It was terrific leaving my job and moving to Canada to start a new life with my wife.

Secretly, I was going through financial worries, as would most permanent residents to Canada.

Find Out What You’re Good At

During one of our money talk sessions, I wrote that I was good at finding ways to save money.

It was a start, but I was more concerned about finding a career and how we would buy our first house.

Being crammed in the basement of someone’s house renting was not our idea of happily ever after.

Since Mrs. CBB was earning enough money to pay the rent, food, gas, insurance etc., I went back to school.

I know I’ve discussed this many times before on the blog, but I made the BEST decision.

Well, the second best because marrying my wife was the first.

Landlord Changed Her Attitude

The longer we lived in the basement, it seemed as if our landlord wanted us to go or do more.

She would ask how often we used the washing machines and walk into our room whenever she wanted.

That’s when we went to Habitat For Humanity and bought a door that I installed for privacy.

At the time, we had an accordion slide door which made us a bit uneasy and for a good reason.

It turns out she wanted more money from us even though months before we had discussed a $100 increase.

Keep in mind I was also the landlord’s handyman who would shovel and fix whatever she needed.

In 2009, she gave us a note asking us to pay her $600 a month to rent a room.

That was when we decided to start looking at buying a house together during the financial crash.

It was the best time for us to buy since house prices were great, so we looked at what felt like a million houses.

Always Worried About Money

How To Reduce Financial Worries Once And For All. A man sitting on a leather couch in deep thought.
How To Reduce Financial Worries Once And For All

Both of us were always worried about money which was why being frugal was and still is essential.

I’m sure many of you would agree that financial stress holds you down and messes with your mind.

That’s how we were feeling because I was only making $15 an hour and Mrs. CBB far more.

The only debt we had was our minivan which we paid in full before we bought our house.

Keeping emergency savings was critical, and back then, it wasn’t where it should have been for two people.

Today, I would stash away 3 to 12 months of emergency money in a savings account or Tax-Free-Savings-Account.

Related: Should you invest in an RRSP, TFSA or a Non-Registered Account?

The only major thing that happened to us in 12 years of homeownership was buying a truck.

I paid $47,000 cash for a used truck so all three of us could fit as my two-seater truck was not enough.

It may seem like a high price, but we negotiated the price listed near $95,000 since it was a model truck.

The truck was the test truck potential buyers would go for a ride in with an employee.

So far, we’re still happy with our purchase which we saved our money for in 2017.

How To Practice Being A Home Owner

Before we bought our house, we practiced budgeting with a mortgage, which is funny now because it came in handy.

Related: How to test a mortgage with your budget before you buy a house.

We estimated the costs of everything in the house, including the mortgage and city taxes.

Creating this project helped us remove some of the financial stress that comes with buying a house.

Financial Stress Buying A House At The Right Time

There is never a time when buying a house brews up financial stress unless you’ve won the lottery or had the place gifted to you.

Back then, there wasn’t a mortgage stress test, so we put ourselves through a system of our own.

If you want to buy a house and know what the bank will lend you and how much you are willing to spend?

You want to use that number to test it using your budget, including property taxes and anything else you don’t currently pay for as a renter.

By doing so, you’ll have an idea whether or not homeownership is the best time for you.

Do Banks and Lenders Care About You?

They do, and they don’t. In one sense, banks want to loan you the money, and on the other hand, they don’t care if you default.

We used a mortgage broker, and they told us the best interest rate they could give us was 4.1% for a 5-year term.

When the bank presented us with a massive loan for a mortgage, it made sense to us.

They don’t care what debt you create after giving you a mortgage as long as you pay your dues.

This is where people make a big mistake buying a house because they forget all of the problems.

Buying A House With Hidden Problems

A staged house may look beautiful, but what lurks behind the unknown problems is what becomes costly.

What happens is that you use your emergency money and maybe need a bank loan.

An owner can stage a house before it’s on the market, and the fastest way to join the house poor club, especially if the decor is all you see.

The only person you should listen to is yourselves because you have the power to run the numbers.

We started looking at houses in the $200,000 range but settled on buying one for $265,000.

We had our final offer after negotiations for smoking in the house and mice poop in the basement insulation.

Our final price was $265,00, originally $275,00, but she accepted our offer with so many houses for sale.

Removing all of the insulation, mice poop and adding new insulation to code took a while.

It didn’t cost as much as our negotiation price, but I did all of the work myself.

Thankfully the city kept me on my toes with inspection dates as it’s hard to renovate with a child, career and blog.

Constantly Worried About Money

How to worry less about your financial situation by doing something about it.
Piece of white paper on a desk with candles that states Worry Less.
How to worry less about your financial situation by doing something about it

I wouldn’t say that we were always worried about money; however, we always tried to plan B.

It turns out that plan B was the pinnacle of our homeownership existence as we could have lost the house.

Just three months after owning our home Mrs. CBB lost her job because the company lost a significant contract.

Although she was diagnosed with a severe illness, she didn’t want to stay home, but she had to surrender.

Besides, she was always hiding her pain to feel normal, although it was exhausting for her.

Our Worst Financial Fears Came True

Her boss said she wanted to talk with her and then handed her the pink slip in an envelope.

Immediately tears started flowing because she loved her job and we had just bought our house.

Our worst financial worries came true, although we are thankful for how we handled the situation.

From that time, she has never been back to work as she no longer could because of her illness.

When you are sick, it’s not easy being happy because all of your dreams get taken away, and that’s how she felt.

Congratulations You’re Going To Be Parents

On New Year’s Eve, 2013 was when Mrs. CBB surprised me with a positive Dollar Store Pregnancy Test.

We had a son together, and she had more than enough work with him that gave her some hope.

It was then where we tightened the ropes with our budget to pay for the baby’s needs.

Then we bought into the monthly Registered Education Savings Plan, which costs $208.33.

Now we pay for his life insurance for ten years at $500 a month, and he’s got it for life.

It was one thing after another that we never considered before we became parents.

The only advice I’d give in this situation is to do your research.

One Income To Buy A House

Moving forward, we were thankful we used one income to buy our house, and we were squeaking by.

When writing, houses on our street are selling from $850,000 to 1 Million dollars.

What was a starter home is now a massive expense compared to the year 2009.

Our new neighbours in their late 30’s just bought a house with the help of their parents.

So parents are doing whatever they can to help give their children a push or headstart in life.

Not all parents can do this, and at one point, we thought we wouldn’t be able to as well.

Now, we just found out that our other neighbour is moving to a tourist city at the end of November.

She sold her house to someone who would take it as-is and for far less since it was a business deal.

We did have money saved in the bank for emergencies, but we were only going to touch it as needed.

Finding More Income Sources

It turns out that we didn’t have to use our emergency savings because I found a second part-time job.

Blogging, working, and being a dad was a battle until we had a schedule because family is important.

Honestly, the money was too much to pass up, so we both decided it would be best for financial worries.

Eventually, all of my hard work paid off, and I was able to leave my full-time job for a career that I could only have dreamed of doing.

The good part is my first boss asked me if they needed help could they call me and I said, sure.

That was me leaving on good terms but not going as I was still on the payroll.

Blogging For Money

Lastly, this blog earns thousands of dollars each year, even if I check in once monthly.

I’m a frugal living finance blogger who checks in every day, no matter if it’s for 5 minutes.

Interacting with my readers is very important to me because we get to learn about each other.

Canadian Budget Binder is an outlet I give my readers to talk to someone about their struggles.

Learning blogging took a couple of years since I wasn’t treating it as a second income. I missed out.

Having multiple income sources is one of the smartest financial moves, as it gave me options.

I don’t sell anything on this blog, nor will I like other bloggers because you can find it free online.

You’re making them rich just by them doing the work for you.

Call me a fool or whatever you’d like, but I’m not greedy, and my readers are more important than the money.

Building an email list with people who want to read about our financial journey is worth its weight in gold.

Plan For Financial Worries But Crush Them With Success

There wasn’t any other way for us to move up unless we did something different.

Financially with my income was fine until Mrs. CBB got her finances in order.

What you can do to limit or release financial worries from your life depends on your motivation.

Below is a recap of what we did, and I hope you take a journey on the wild side and find your success.

  • Communication Between Couples
  • Practice Budget Using Mortgage Numbers
  • Learned About Starting A Family (we could have done far better here)
  • Went back to school after I landed in Canada
  • Found extra work doing focus groups and odd jobs
  • Was offered a part-time job in my current career
  • Worked full-time and part-time plus ran this blog
  • We bought and sold items from second-hand-shops
  • Coupons and coupon apps always saves us money
  • Budgeting is a forever thing unless we are no longer capable
  • Wrote down what financial worries we had on a large piece of paper
  • Started to conquer them

Doing all of the above and more helped us pay our mortgage off in five years.

We still can’t believe we did that and are proud to own our house and celebrate it with others.

You see, frequently, it’s hard to get financial motivation from someone going through what you do.

People are just too embarrassed about having debt or want people to think they’ve got it all.

We’ve been there and want you to know there is hope, but you can’t let it sink without throwing yourself a chance.

Discussion: What long-term and short-term financial worries do you have, and how do you plan to tackle them?

Please leave me your comments below, and I’ll reply.


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