Category Archives: Uncategorized

10 Signs You May Need Debt Counselling

It’s become all too common for people to suffer from a huge amount of debt, but at what point does it become a serious problem that you need to tackle? Keep reading to get familiar with the warning signs that tell you when to get debt counselling as a Canadian and begin working towards a debt-free life.

1. Late on bill payments.

Are your bills increasingly piling up one after the other? Are you finding yourself behind on making payments? Don’t let this become a regular habit – the longer you leave bills unpaid, the more you will be charged in late fees, making it harder and harder to pay them off.

2. Inability to save money.

Have you opened up a savings account but unable to keep any or very little money in there? If you want to save money but find yourself unable to, it might just be because your money is tied up elsewhere in loans and late payments.

3. Using credit for monthly expenses.

If you’re using a credit card to pay for your groceries and other necessities like fuel because you have to (not because you want the cash back) then you may be in over your head. This kind of living is nowhere near sustainable.

4. Borrowing more to pay off debt.

It’s a vicious cycle when you need to borrow more money to pay off existing loans. This is perhaps one of the most obvious signs that you need debt counselling.

5. Getting calls from collection agencies.

Does the sound of the phone ringing make you cringe? If you’re avoiding calls from collection agencies, then it’s because you’re in rough financial shape and are truly in need of help.

6. Losing sleep at night.

Money troubles are a leading cause of why people experience stress. If you’re lying awake at night thinking about money, then it’s because you have a reason to be worried.

7. Lack of a healthy budget.

Ideally, everyone should set themselves a monthly budget in order to maintain financial well-being. Budgets help you spend within your limits and reduce your chances of getting into debt.

8. Spending beyond your means.

One of the sure signs of someone in need of debt counselling is when they are consistently spending more than they make. This kind of lifestyle is unsustainable and will quickly spiral you into debt.

9. Only making the minimum payment.

Making minimum payments on your credit card every month on time will help your credit rating but it isn’t enough to pay back what you owe. Eventually, the interest will catch up with you and you’ll just dig yourself even deeper into a hole that’s difficult to get yourself out of without help.

10. Living off overdraft or a line of credit.

An overdraft or line of credit should typically only be used in the case of emergency, not for daily expenses. If you find yourself needing to dip into these financial safety nets regularly then you might just be in a situation where you need help.

Talk to a Credit Counsellor

If you can relate to any of these ten items then it might be time to get the help you need. Certified Credit Counsellors in Canada are understanding and non-judgemental, and they’ll work with you to create a plan to get you back on track.

Around the World in 80 Books: Bosnia Herzegovina

What an awesome reading challenge! I'm loving all the diverse books, and I loved The Tiger's Wife.

Welcome to the next installment in my Around the World in 80 Books Challenge! It’s exactly what it sounds like: I’m trying to read 80 books from 80 different countries/cultures around the world, and to add a frugal spin, I’m trying to do it all for under $20.

Here’s my running tally so far:

$0- Library books: Russia, Norway, Sweden, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Spain, Nigeria, New Zealand, China, Canada, Jamaica, Austria, Mali, Afghanistan, Persia
$2.75- Late fees on the book for Italy
$0- Free eBooks: Scotland, England, Portugal, Cyprus, Albania, Montenegro, Mongolia
$0- Gift: Turkey, Pakistan, Autism in the USA
$0- Won in a Giveaway: Jerusalem
$0- Reward for participating in Summer Reading Program: Black America
$1.99- eBook: Basque Country, Japan
$0- Paid review on an interesting read: Financial Inclusion at the Bottom of the Pyramid

Grand Total: $6.73

Today’s read was a library eBook from a few months ago. I thought I’d wait until I had two to present you with like I used to. That didn’t work out. While I have been reading books for work and personal development, I have been reading any that pertain directly to this challenge.

But onward I press, four years after setting the goal with an arbitrary deadline. I’d like to count this book for 2018, so I’m going to review it before the year closes!

Because I borrowed from the library, we’re still at $6.73. After today, I will have logged 32 books.

Bosnia Herzegovina

The Tiger’s Wife

bosnia herzegovina balkans book review

This is one of those reads that stays with you. Somewhere between historical fiction and folklore, author Tea Obreht takes you on a journey over much of the 20th century in the Balkans. The line between the realistic and the magical waivers as she weaves the story of the main character’s grandfather’s life and death.

With it she reflects on the difficult relationship between tradition and science, the shifting tides that can dramatically change lives and culture when power is exerted in the name of religion, and the underlying culture of fantasy and superstition that was shared by the people of the Balkans–regardless of which god they believed in or which ethnic group they belonged to.

She addresses shifting borders and how they affect the relationships of people who were once neighbors. She addresses the lasting effects of growing up in a country at war. This particular war narrative isn’t as intense as the autobiography from Sierra Leone.

It is more full of allegories and symbolism, much of which I didn’t completely understand the first time through. But that lack of understanding is no big deal. It gives me space to learn. To come back and read again, and appreciate the work in new ways.

I highly, highly recommend this one. Despite the fact that the pages were full of self-aware fantasy which occasionally jumped back into reality, I found myself questioning whether this was an autobiography throughout the read.

It was not. The Tiger’s Wife was just a beautifully told story that I’d suggest be read far and wide.

Have a recommendation for what I should read next? Leave it in the comments! Here’s what’s already in my queue:
Philippines: May Day Eve and Other Stories by Nick Joaquin recommended by Guiltless Reader
Iceland: Scarcity in Excess by Arna Mathiesen & Thomas Forget
Sudan: The Wedding of Zein by Tayeb Salih recommended by Kate Wilson
Ethiopia: The God Who Begat a Jakal by Nega Mezlekia recommended by Based On a True Story
French Antilles: Victoire: My Mother’s Mother by Maryse Conde recommended by Based on A True Story
Suriname: The Free Negress Elisabeth by Cynthia McLeod recommended by Based On A True Story
Germany: In the Garden of Beasts or Devil in the White City by Erik Larson recommended by Emi from AIP Around the World
Haiti: All Souls Rising by Madison Smartt Bell recommended by Tre from House of Tre
South Africa: Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton recommended by Emily from The John & Jane Doe Guide to Money & Investing
Australia: In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson recommended by Aaron from When Life Gives You Lemons, Add Vodka
Romania: Anything by Andre Codrescu recommended by Abigail from I Pick Up Pennies
Croatia: Girl at War by Sara Novi recommened by Erin from TexErin-In-Sydneyland
India: Malguid Days by R.K. Narayan recommended by Michael from Stretch a Dime
Vietnam: The Refugees by Viet Than Nyugen recommended by Nicole from Adventures of a Semper Fi Family

Effects of the DAPL Decision

The Dakota Access Pipeline has been a very hotly discussed topic that has been debated in and out of the national news for over a year. Now that discussions are getting down to the finer details, the public who this will affect are trying to understand the consequences. This is also going to have a knock on effect on markets. Whether traders are trading online with a company like CMC markets, or through a broker, this is likely to reshape the landscape of the American oil industry.

What is the DAPL?

The Dakota Access Pipeline is a proposed oil pipeline that will travel through the United States. The route that is being looked at by the various companies involved in the pipeline would go from the Bakkan oil fields in North Dakota (this is also why it is sometimes known as the Bakkan pipeline) to Patoka, Illinois. Although it has already been started, there is still a lot of controversy around the project being finished.

How will the DAPL effect the environment?

Amid concerns over the water supply surrounding the pipeline, there has recently been a detected leak from the DAPL which has not helped matters for those who are trying to get it finished. The leak was not far from Standing Rock, which is where protectors have been demonstrating against the further development of the pipeline.

Water protectors have also raised concerns over the natural habitat of wildlife being ruined when developers install the rest of the pipeline. Having a leak so soon after the demonstrations has not fared well in the media.

How will it affect the people?

Already lands sacred to the protectors have been destroyed.  On December 4th, the US Army corps determined that the pipeline must be rerouted. Protectors insist development needs to be stopped permanently for the sake of the environment as a whole.

Before the December 4th decision, people felt they had been ‘bullied’ into having the pipeline through their land, because too much change to fully-developed communities near Bismarck would have cost more than the DAPL has to invest.

How will it affect the markets?

Needless to say with all of the speculation, the commodities market has been fun and games with regards to oil recently. Cities such as Seattle have now held back on their investments to wait and see how the situation plays out. But for every one lost shareholder, there is someone to step up. The pipeline, for the oil industry, represents big business for anyone involved, and if it is completed will cut costs for companies that will use it to transport oil.

Wells Fargo, the funder for the project, has also had their share of controversy stemming from involvement in the project, which hasn’t helped the stability of the oil market.

Will it go ahead?

Barack Obama dragged his feet on the issue, but finally did send in the Army Corps of Engineers to make the decision that the pipeline must be rerouted in early December.

However, now that Donald Trump wants to ‘make America great again’ it is highly unlikely that the pipeline will be stopped completely. He campaigned heavily on old forms of energy. Couple that with the fact that he has assigned Ricky Perry as his energy secretary, and the completion of the pipeline looks to be a sure thing. On top of being the future energy secretary, Ricky also happens to be a main shareholder in the DAPL project.

It is not known yet how Donald Trump intends to safeguard from conflict of interest, or if he does at all. While the previous administration eventually acknowledged the plight of the protectors, it looks as though Trump is very set to run things his way on his terms.

Economically, the project could be good for the burgeoning US oil market, which is often overshadowed by its richer Arabic counterparts. After months of speculation, the only resolution looks to come with the transition of power in the USA.


This post is brought to you and contributed by an outside writer. Femme Frugality supports the protectors, and believes that we should invest our money in forms of energy that will not kill the planet.

#FinSavSat 167th Edition

Welcome to Financially Savvy Saturdays, the best place to find awesome money related stories and opinions on the web! It’s created specifically for personal finance bloggers! We welcome all things money here. Whether you’ve written anything from advice on how to avoid debt repayment burn out to frugal home updates, you’re invited to link-up.

If it ties into personal finance, we want to read it!

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Femme Frugality - Financially Savvy Saturdays with Broke Girl Rich and Disease Called Debt

This week we’re pleased to welcome back Femme from Femme Frugality as our visiting co-host (and Financially Savvy Saturdays founder)!

Tweet about it. You can use #finsavsat when tweeting about the party!

Concerns about SEO? Recently many bloggers have decided to stop participating in events such as Carnivals. If you’re worried about how participating in this link-up could effect your SEO, we’d encourage you to check out this article.

Interested in co-hosting? Co-hosting is fun AND easy. If you’re interested, you can email me via brokeGIRLrich(at)gmail(dot)com with any questions. Or if you’re ready to take the plunge, you can sign up on this Google doc.

If you’ve co-hosted before and enjoyed it, please consider doing it again! If you’re interested but nervous about getting involved, please email one of us, we love talking to new bloggers and would enjoy explaining how blog hops work and getting you more involved!

Feature of the Week

As this week’s visiting co-host, Femme has selected her favorite post from last week’s blog hop to be this week’s feature. Femme chose Law School Student Loan Payoff Progress Report – Month 2 – $124,439 by Brittany at Where My Soul Belongs!

Click here to read her post!

Click here to read her post!

If you submit a post, you could be featured in next week’s party!

We do have a couple of rules for participation. Those who don’t follow the rules will have their link taken down and won’t have the chance to be featured.

1. Your post must be written in the past seven days, related to personal finance and not be solely a giveaway.

2. Be sure to include a link to one of your hosts by copying and pasting the html in one of the boxes below into your linked up post. You have the option of the button or a text link.

3. Follow your hosts. You can follow brokeGIRLrich on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, OR by subscribing to her RSS feed. Also, you can follow Femme Frugality on Twitter, Google+, Pinterest OR by subscribing to her RSS feed.

4. Comment on at least one post before and after you that have joined the party.


Please copy and paste this button into the post you link up:

Disease Called Debt

OR copy and paste this code for a text link:

 <em>*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on <a href="" rel="nofollow">brokeGIRLrich</a> and <a href="" rel="nofollow">Femme Frugality</a>*</em>

Celebrating Four Years of Blogging: $75 Target Gift Card #Giveaway

Win a $75 Target Gift Card to celebrate 4 Years of Blogging on Femme Frugality! #giveaway

Tomorrow will mark four years for this blog.  It’s crazy to think about where we were when I started writing and where we are now.  It’s crazy to think about all the amazing connections I would have missed with all of you had I not hit that “Publish” button with trepidation four years ago.   I’m so glad I did.

Year four was a good one around these parts.  It had its ups and downs.  But those downs make the ups so much better, and life that much more interesting.  So here’s to a good, interesting year.  And some of its highlights:

  • At the end of last summer, I handed off Financially Savvy Saturdays to Mel at brokeGIRLrich. She’s doing a phenomenal job running it.  If you blog about any aspect of money, check it out this Saturday (or any Saturday, really.)  It’s a great way to digitally network, discover new blogs, and get your work seen.
  • Ironically enough, after this post you all encouraged me to find out my children’s family history once and for all.  So I did.  And then you all got curious about your own. (Seriously, read Sheila’s story in the comments.  It’s fascinating.)
  • I got to go on an odyssey for the first time in a long while.
  • We buckled down and started taking action towards one of our long-term goals: buying a house.  We’ve actually made some progress, too.
  • I got massively overwhelmed and hammered out this post, which ended up being a reader favorite.  Apparently I’m not the only one who gets overwhelmed from time to time.
  • I delved deeper into freelance writing, which was awesome financially but led to some scheduling problems with the husband.  We had many healthy…debates over it.  So I asked you to weigh in.  And found out I was in the wrong.  Your recommendations led to a more peaceful home life.  Thank you for that!

And thank you for so much more.  For reading.  For sharing.  For lending advice.  And for being generally awesome.  As always, if there’s something you want to see on Femme Frugality, let me know.  Leave me a comment.  Shoot me an email.  Those are some of the posts I love writing the most, and there’s a great community here ready to help me answer questions with different points of view.

As a small token of my gratitude, I wanted to give you all a chance to win something you really seem to love, if past giveaways are any indication: a $75 USD Target gift card.  It’s open to anyone who has an email address, worldwide.  Teaming up with me are some of my amazing blogger friends; be sure to check them out and follow them everywhere!

The Barefoot MinimalistAspiring MillionaireBudget and the BeesThe Thrifty IssueMy Stay at Home AdventuresThe Mom of the YearCloudy, with a Chance of WinebrokeGIRLrichShoeaholic No MoreBudget and the Beach

It’s open for the next two weeks, so there’s lot of opportunity to win!  Best of luck to all who enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway