Financial Trauma

Recently, one of my favourite YouTube commentator channels, Tiffany Ferg, did a video about the role that wealth and class play in one’s ability to succeed with social media as a career choice. Video here, for reference:

One of the things that Tiffany spoke of in this video is the way that money, or lack thereof, can play a significant role in who we are, and who we become.

So, let’s talk about financial trauma.

The concept of financial trauma is the idea that those from low-class economic status have larger portions of their personality shaped around money than those raised in the middle class or upper class. Essentially, growing up poor or barely scraping by, play a considerable role in who you become.

From a personal perspective, this is absolutely true.

From a societal standpoint, I do believe this to largely be true. It’s one of the reasons, I think, why lottery winners are infinitely more likely to file for bankruptcy than regular folk. The sudden windfall of money is something that they really don’t know how to deal with, especially if lands in the laps of someone who’s spent their whole life scraping by, or just making it pay cheque to pay cheque.

But, let’s backtrack here.

I grew up in what is regularly defined as one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in. I was one of five biological children and seven total children living in the house. As a family, we were very much house poor. This means that we were living in a house, we had a roof over our heads and were ultimately very privileged in that sense, but the sacrifices made to ensure that roof stayed over our heads meant a lot of sacrifices in other areas of life.

My siblings and I would regularly go out on bicycles after dark to collect cans and bottles from dumpsters, to earn what very little money we could so that my father would have a way to and from work each day. There were actually days in which he hitchhiked to work. (Due to my father’s profession and the location of our house relative to where he worked, it was very difficult for him to find a coworker who was headed there at the same time as him)

Those memories, they stay with you. They define you, dare I say.

Even so, I know that while I may have grown up low-class in an upper-middle and upper class world, I still acknowledge how blessed I was to be in the situation that I was. Sharing a bedroom with three other people was annoying at times, but I did have a room. I had a house. I had a place to come home to. It’s something that I know a lot of people in the city which I grew up, and the world, did not and still do not have. For the sake of this share, I just wanted to acknowledge the privilege that I did/do have.

One thing I distinctly remember from my childhood is that, for the years in which we did have a vehicle (largely my teenaged years), the gas tank was always riding ‘Empty’. My parents had scraped together enough to get the vehicle, but between the vehicle and the house payments, things felt tighter than ever before.

I think this is very much one of the reasons why I didn’t purchase my own vehicle until I was 31 years old. I think this is one of the reasons why you will never, ever, ever see the gas-tank in my car get below the half-way mark. I can’t do it. The anxiety and stress that I get from seeing the gas-tank read closer to ‘E’ than it does to ‘F'(Full) is something that I cannot tolerate. If I cannot afford to fill up my car with gas, to keep it above the half-way mark on the tank, then I won’t drive my car until I can.

This, to me, is the idea of financial trauma. That the socioeconomic status in which you’re raised is something that stays with you, for what I can only assume is your whole life.

I know I’m not alone in this.

I know someone who grew up in a world-renowned mountain town, one famous for skiing/snowboarding, winter lifestyle and affluence. Their parents brought them to this country as refugees and they landed in this mountain town by some sort of cosmic coincidence.

Their upbringing was hard. This mountain town, known for accepting wealthy tourists from all over the world year-round, was one where cost of living was high, while the possible wages able to be earned by a refugee couple and their children was.

They’ve told me stories about working as a bag-boy and shelf-stocker in the grocery store every day of the week from as early in life as they were able to work, with the money they made in week not even being able to afford them the groceries they would want to buy from that very store. And of following their mom and dd to work as janitors at night to help them get work done faster so they can get more done, and thus make a little more money for the family.

This person, a lot of the financial decisions that they make today are the outcome of what they went through growing up. They go out of their way to ensure that living pay cheque to pay cheque will never again be their reality. They also go out of their way to ensure they don’t/won’t work in any industry remotely related to the jobs they worked growing up. The way in which they grew up has played a big role in defining the decisions they make today.

To an extent, I think this idea of financial trauma will be present in anyone who has lived, or is presently living in a situation in which money is not something that allows them to be comfortable. And, when you really stop to think about it, it’s something that really doesn’t affect those who come from a higher-level socioeconomic class. Because they’ve never had to worry about money, they’ll likely continue to not worry about money, or the choices they make with their money. Not unless they suddenly fall into bankruptcy.

So what shapes them, then? What shapes the upper half? If they’re not plagued by the choice of which bill to decide to pay this month, how do they discern how to make difficult decisions in life? I’m not too sure, really. I can speculate. But, since I’ve never experienced being in that place in which I don’t have to worry about money, it wouldn’t really be fair for me to do as such.

Also, I just want to point out that this is not my shaming of people who come from, or presently reside in, upper-half socioeconomic classes. Money is a wonderful thing. And, if you’re able to reach a point in life in which you’re comfortable, which you have a cushion in your bank account, I think that’s a very good thing.

I wouldn’t say that I have a cushion, where I’m presently at in life. But, I did manage to pay off my debts earlier this year, so I reckon I’m probably in better financial standing that many people my age. That feeling of having no debts, that feeling is unlike anything I’ve ever achieved before.

Funnily enough, my parents, in their late 60’s, have officially paid off all of their debts this year as well. While I’ve noticed a certain ‘lightness’ to them that I’ve never experienced before in my life, I also notice that there are certain things they’re unwilling to do. There are certain decisions being made out of the preservation of their present status in life, to ensure they never go back to their state of financial trauma.

I’d also like to note that financial trauma affects everyone differently. For some people, I think financial trauma manifests itself in hyper-consumerism. People desire to have things to showcase their status. For other people, financial trauma can manifest itself in an unwillingness to buy anything.

As much as money can’t buy happiness, it doesn’t play a very large contributing factor in who we grow up to be. Whether we went through financial trauma in the past, or we’re presently going through it now, money affects every decision in our lives, to some extent.

I’m not really sure how to close this, so I’ll just leave with an ideological thought that’s been on my mind for years. Internships should be abolished. The concept that young people should be forced to work for free and that University, College or High School credit, or ‘experience’ should be enough of a reason to force them through financial hardships should end. Free labor/labour should not exist in the western world. It shouldn’t exist in the world at all, actually. But that’s a discussion for another day – something I need to do a lot more research on and learn a lot more about. The concept of forcing a young person to work for free, ‘to pay their dues’ whilst they’re still required to pay their bills, their rent and they still need to eat is wholly unfair. At the very least, interns should be paid minimum wage in the industry for which they work.

At what point in time do we stop wishing for younger generations to ‘pay their dues’ (a grossly misguided belief) and start saying ‘perhaps the favour I can do for future generations is to ensure they don’t have to go through that which I did’.


A small piece of really big news.

On January 1st, I laid out my New Year’s Resolution for 2021. That resolution was to pay off my debt. I didn’t fully know how it was going to happen, but I knew that I had 12 months and I was going to make it happen.

I’m happy to report that I am officially debt free.


From here on out, all my pay cheques are 100% mine. (Minus rent and groceries, of course)


It’s a very good feeling.


You can buy some bomb stuff from the Dollar Store.

Seriously. Genuinely.

Drinking glasses, face cloths, make up removers, glass lock kitchen containers, fridge organizers, cleaners, rope baskets, wire baskets, plants… there are so many good things.

You can buy a Wet Brush at Wal Mart for $14.99. You can buy that exact same Wet Brush at the dollar store for $4.

You can buy acrylic fridge organizers for $10+ per container at TJ Maxx or could buy them for $2-5 at the Dollar Store. They’re the exact same containers.

Some people say it’s cheap, I say it’s smart. If they’re literally the exact same items from the same manufacturers, why would you pay more money for it? The makers of Clorox don’t care where I buy their bleach from. It all comes off the same assembly line.

What are your favourite items to get from the dollar store?

June 15 in Canada – $1 Flip Flops at Old Navy

One day per year Old Navy puts their Flip Flops on sale for $1 per pair. (Men, women and children’s)

If you’re a fan of Flip Flops in summer, much like I am, June 15th is the day to buy them. Regularly between $6-8 a pair, $1 is an epic deal for flip flops that will literally work for anything! Keep in mind that you’re required to pay GST and any applicable PST on these.

Old Navy Flip Flops are a staple in my shoe collection. Once a year, my mom and I go to Old Navy and each purchase 10 pair. (There is a limit of ten pair per customer) Then, we keep a couple pair for ourselves, and spend the rest of the year adding them into gift boxes or giving them out to our friends or family or anyone who might need some flip flops in a pinch.

If you need Flip Flops – head to Old Navy on Saturday!

Tips for finding cheap flights.

Screenshot from video “How to draw an airplane” on youtube.

Have you ever noticed that paying for flights can, quite often, be the most expensive part of the trip? Thought flying is exceptionally convenient, it can also be exceptionally expensive.

Finding cheap flights, or at the very least, the best deal you can get on the day you’re purchasing, is important. So, here are some tips to finding the cheapest ticket possible.

Search prices using travel booking websites. Websites like Expedia, Travelocity, Kayak, Momondo, Cheap-O-Air, etc… all have the ability to provide you quotes of tickets from multiple different airlines. If you don’t have flexibility as to when you book, at least check prices across different websites before you book to find which might be cheapest. My favourite website for searching plane ticket fares is because I find it provides the option for the most airlines.

If you’re going to be making stopovers, consider the option of flying with more than one airline. One of the things I most appreciate about is that the quotes it provides you can often include more than one airline. This is how you know you’re finding the cheapest tickets. Momondo might include a flight from Calgary, Canada to London, England on Air Canada and then a flight from London, England to Copenhagen, Denmark on Lufthansa. This is important to deal hunting because, if you live in Canada you know how expensive our flights are! Booking London to Copenhagen with AirCanada rather than Momondo could mean that you pay for AirCanada fees, rather than Lufthansa fees for your Copenhagen flight. And Lufthansa fees are A LOT cheaper.

Be flexible with your dates! If you know you want your holiday to be during a specific time of year, but don’t have specific dates you need to travel for, be open to all dates during that season. IE – If you want to go to Mexico in Winter, flights in January might be extremely expensive, while flights in February might be several hundred dollars cheaper.

Fly on weekdays, where possible. I’m not sure if this is the case internationally but I’ve noticed that , when purchasing flights in Canada and the USA, it’s more expensive to fly on Friday, Saturday and Sunday then it is Monday-Thursday. This is especially helpful when you’re leaving for quick trips, or weekend trips. Leaving on a Thursday as opposed to Friday could save you a lot of money on flights.

Airlines biggest ‘sales’ are offered on the biggest holidays. Boxing Day and Black Friday/Thanksgiving will always have considerably reasonable seat sales. Other holidays where seat sales often occur are Mother’s and Father’s Day, Canada Day and 4th of July, and Family Day (if it’s celebrated where you are).

Always book in advance. Gone are the days when airlines would put up last minute offers. These days, the longer you wait to purchase, the higher the prices are going to be, with very few exceptions. I’ve noticed that if you’re flying within Canada or the United States, five weeks in advance seems to be the ‘sweet spot’ for purchasing tickets.

Fly into smaller airports, where possible. If budget is important to you, consider this, airlines pay heavy gate fees to be able to fly into major airports (especially if they’re international airports) and that gate fee they pay is passed on to customers through ticket prices. This is why flying into smaller airports can often be much cheaper. Example: Flying into Abbotsford Airport, 1 hour from Vancouver BC can be anywhere from 50 to 200 dollars cheaper (depending on where you’re coming from) than flying into Vancouver Airport.

Use a credit card that collects airline points. This is SOOOOOOO important. While you’re buying your groceries, paying for your hair cut, paying your bills, or doing anything that you spend money on, use that credit card. Even if you use the credit card for a purchase and pay it off 15 minutes later, you will be collecting Airline rewards points for those purchases. Do some research about what card will get you the best rewards for your lifestyle. I took this leap in 2014 and, since then, have earned anywhere from $200-$600 off flights per year depending on how frequently I’ve used the credit card.


This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill.

If you’ve ever thought of visiting a Thrift Store, this might be a good weekend to inquire with your local Salvation Army. All of the Salvation Army stores in my area (like a 150 mile vicinity) are trying to clear out their fall and winter clothing to make way for spring and summer clothing. Clothing items will be marked down to just $1 for today and tomorrow. One dollar!

Contact your local Salvation Army and find out if they’re planning to take part in this weekend’s sale. And hey, even if they aren’t, there’s still some incredible deals to be found. Just think about it, okay?

Point of note – this sale is Friday/Saturday (in my area) as Salvation Army Thrift Stores are not open on Sunday’s. So inquire in your area and see if they’re taking part!

Things in this photo (bought these before the sale):

  1. Tommy Hilfiger, yellow, long sleeve sweater – Cost: $10
  2. Tommy Hilfiger, dark blue, t-shirt – Cost: $2.99
  3. Adidas, black, yoga pants – Cost: $3.99
  4. Nike, black, t-shirt – The front says “Every Damn Mile” in big, bold, teal letters. (The wrinkles in this shirt came out after I sent it through the washer/dryer) Cost: $2.99
  5. Puma, black, t-shirt – Cost: $2.99

Things I had to pass up because they weren’t my size: Lululemon Yoga Pants, Calvin Klein dress pants, Columbia winter jacket, and there were at least thirty clothing items I found that were still brand new with original store tags on them!

I’m a huge advocate for Thrift Store shopping and for buying pre-owned where you can. I encourage everyone in my life to try visiting a Thrift Store to see what they can find. You never know what kind of hidden gems someone else has decided to pass up that you might fall in love with!

Save your money and stop living pay-cheque to pay-cheque.

This is a topic of discussion that has come up a lot within my life and my circle lately.

Presently, I have two expenses in life: a cell phone bill and groceries. This is not by fluke, this is by choice, strategic work and purpose. A long time ago I made the choice that I didn’t want to live life with debt. Further to that, I made a choice that the extra money I did have was going to be used for travel. This works for me. This is not what everyone wants, and I understand that. I also understand, though, that no one wants to live pay cheque to pay cheque.

So, here are a few recommendations I have, being a thirty year old who has paid for every expense (including a university education) since I was sixteen years old. Take them with a grain of salt, or don’t take them at all. Either way, I hope that you find a means to make some space within your budget.

  1. Make a budget. Oh and be realistic about your budget. Ensure there’s a column for “Needs” and a column for “Wants”. By completely differentiating the two, it will help you to determine the things that are required to be paid and they things you’re choosing to pay that you may or may not be treating as a need.
  2. Determine where there’s wiggle room. For my friend, it’s in his subscriptions. He subscribes to Apple Music, to Netflix, to something called ‘Green Kids Crafts’ and to several magazines. (Yes, there are still magazine subscriptions) I may seem as though it’s only 10 dollars per month so why not, but over the course of year these subscriptions totaled more than $400. That is $400 that could easily be going towards paying off debt, or being put into a savings account.
  3. Where you do need to have an item, like a cell phone, see if you can go for a cheaper cost. Using the cell phone as an example – do you really need 10 gigs of data per month? Or do you want 10 gigs of data? Can you get by with 1 or 2 gigs and, in the process make your cell phone bill a lot cheaper each month? Make a commitment to putting your phone on wifi wherever you can and you will absolutely be able to get by with less data. Apply this principle to other areas of your life, where you can, and the savings will add up.
  4. Don’t be swayed by “steals and deals”. Could I upgrade my phone? Sure, I absolutely could! My current phone still works, though. And, if I upgrade my phone I’m required to either pay for the phone upfront (which is a hefty price) or pay for it in payments (which works out to be even more expensive). Companies know this. This is why they’ll try and entice you with a “sign up now and get a $50 credit” deal. These deals don’t benefit you in the long run and won’t help your wallet for more than the initial period of time in which the deal is valid. Save your money, pass on the deal.
  5. Shop second-hand/pre-owned/pre-loved. This is an important one. Fast fashion is one of the more expensive parts of a person’s budget each year. But don’t just relate this principle to your clothes. Not only can you find excellent condition, if not brand new, clothing in second-hand stores, you can also find appliances, home goods, sporting equipment and more. If it’s something that you don’t absolutely need to have brand new, why not see if you can find it second hand, first?
  6. Meal Prep/Meal Plan/Eat all of the food that you purchase each week. Planning your meals ahead on Sunday may seem like a daunting task, but, if you go to the grocery store knowing what you plan to eat for the week you can purchase only the items that you need. Purchasing only the items you need for the food you’re going t make will save you money on your grocery bill. And, if you only have certain items in your fridge during the week, you’ll be more inclined to actually eat those items and not just let them go bad.
  7. Adopt the ‘Cash is King’ rule. I didn’t make this rule, but I whole heartedly agree with it. At the beginning of each week I go to the bank and take $100 out of my account. For the next week, this is what I have to spend on my luxuries, not-needed items, or to go out for food. It is really easy to swipe, tap or insert your credit card for purchases without thinking twice about it. But, by telling yourself that you only get ‘x’ amount of dollars each week, you’ll be more cognizant of your spending. It won’t be so easy to just go out for dinner each night you don’t want to cook if you look in your wallet and notice you’ve only got $40 left until Sunday.
  8. Start a ‘side-hustle’. This is something popping up a whole lot more lately as people are learning that they can turn their passions into a money making option for them. A side hustle does not need to look or be any specific way, it can be whatever that you make of it. Perhaps you walk dogs in the neighbourhood for a fee. Perhaps you babysit. Maybe you take surveys online. Maybe you take a part time job as a waiter/waitress. Whatever it is that you decide to do, find something that can make you money and go for it. Don’t worry about how much money it makes, this is not something you do with the goal of becoming a millionaire. This is something you do with the goal to subsidize your income. Dog walking might only give you $25 dollars a week. But, that’s $25 you can put straight into your savings account, or towards paying off debt. FYI $25 extra dollars per week is $1,300 per year. That’s a lot of extra money at the end of the year!
  9. Create a cushion for yourself. Even if it’s $10 per month – put that money away and don’t touch it. Knowing that money, however small or large the amount, is tucked away somewhere for you if you ever need it, will provide you some peace of mind in the process of paying off debt/saving. After all, you never know when the universe is going to throw unexpected expenses your direction. My mom was diagnosed with cancer in late 2018 and has had a slew of unexpected expenses this year because of it. Thankfully, she’s been able to use that cushion for the things that she needs and she’s not living accumulating debt right now, she’s more focused on getting better.
  10. Unsubscribe from emails, notifications and people who make you feel as though you need things you do not. Why? Isn’t it obvious? If someone or something makes you feel as though you need something in your life that is unnecessary then it’s adding a burden to your life you do not need.

I think the most important thing to remember in the quest of becoming debt free, or creating some cushions for savings, is to be smart about it. You’re a smart person and you’re capable of knowing that even the smallest differences are important.

Small differences are still a difference. If you want to live debt-free, or save for travel, or save for a home or a car or whatever it might be that your little heart desires, be smart about it.

Thrift Haul – March 17

I’ve been visiting the Thrift Stores often lately. I don’t know what it is about wandering the aisles looking for hidden gems, but it has been calming me. Somehow, I feel as though I am cheating the system… but in a good way.

There’s a lot of benefits to shopping at the Thrift Store:

  • You are not contributing to fast fashion – trendy items that are created quickly, sold at overly high prices and wind up in the trash (or thrift stores) at the end of each season when new trends come out.
  • Quite often you can find things that are still brand new with tags on them – and you wind up paying a much cheaper price than the store tags when you buy them at a thrift store
  • Vintage is badass
  • You will find clothing, accessories, etc… that are quite often one(or few) of a kind, so no one else you know will have what you have.

I could go on and on about it. Bottom line is that I really like Thrift Stores, the thrill of the hunt and having a bomb wardrobe for a fraction of the price of what it would cost if I went to the mall.

Without further adieu, here’s what I picked up:

Vintage Men’s Levi’s Jeans

There’s a Youtube Channel that I watch called ‘Haley’s Corner’ in which she frequently picks up men’s Levi’s from the Thrift Store to wear as ‘Boyfriend Jeans’ and they look so good on her, I thought I needed to try. Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about the look on my body. Cost: $6.00

Men’s True Religion Jeans

True Religion jeans are EXPENSIVEEEEEEEEEE. Finding them at the Thrift Store, I thought – I’m just going to see if I can sell these online. They’re a little bit of a different look with the light wash and dark stitching, but it’s kind of cool. I will be trying to sell these online – wish me luck! Cost: $6.00

Women’s True Religion Jeans

Again, to reiterate why I purchased the last pair, True Religion Jeans are expensive! I’ve heard there are a lot of ‘knock offs’ out there, so I did my research online to check if these were authentic before purchasing, and they absolutely are! They have all the notes of authenticity to them and they’re in amazing condition. Cost: $6.00

Ecko Unltd Tee

Honestly, I love over-sized tees for sleeping in. This shirt, when I found it, I couldn’t pass up. It’s just the most majestic colour of blue – the photo doesn’t even really do it justice. I’m also really into the ‘massive logo on the front’ look right now and this one felt in such good condition, I had to purchase it. Cost: $1.00

Baby Gap Hoodies

These ones have been through the dryer a few times and have a little bit of pilling on them – but I honestly don’t think my brother’s babies are going to care! I mean… they’re so stinking cute, how could I pass them up? Besides, babies grow out of things so quickly, they’ll wear it long enough to look cute and then it’ll be passed along for bigger clothing. So I’d rather pay $1.00 for it at the Thrift Store then the $35 that Gap is selling them brand new for. Cost: $2.00 ($1 each)

If you have a Thrift Store near you, I encourage you to wander in there one day and take a look around. You never know what you might find. And, like my mom always says – something doesn’t have to be brand new to be exactly what you need in your life.

Thrift Haul – March 13

I’m a big fan of Thrift Stores. Something that my mom has instilled in my brother’s and I since we were kids is that things don’t need to be brand new to be exactly what you need in your life. As a result, we’ve all been frequent visitors to Thrift Stores over the years and have managed to find some pretty great things. I’m thinking I might start sharing the things that I find. Because… why not?

Today I needed to drop off some clothing at the Thrift Store for donations and I thought while I was there, I might look and see if they had anything nice. When I got there I noticed a sign on the door that said “ALL BABY CLOTHES .50 CENTS EACH, TODAY ONLY”.

As my two younger brothers are having babies this year, I’ve been on the hunt for some cute baby clothes for them. I thought “This is a sign from the universe, time to shop!” Here’s what I found:

Toronto Blue Jays Tee

For me – this shirt looks a little worn, a little distressed and perfectly lived in for me. It’s oversized and cozy and exactly what I need. And, I’m Canadian so I am absolutely a Blue Jays fan. Price: $1.50

Tragically Hip Tee

This shirt is for me – I’m not sure what this is from, really. But I’m a big fan of the Tragically Hip and I thought it was a cool shirt. Plus I really like band tees. It felt relatively new and only lightly warn. The tag says “M&O Gold”. I’ve never heard of that brand before. Price: $1.50

Roots Onesie

My sister-in-law really loves the brand Roots. Though she hasn’t asked for Roots clothing, my brother told me she’s really hoping that she gets some. I went to the Roots store last week looking for a onesie for their baby and they were $45! This Roots onesie is going to be perfect for their baby and I still have lots of money left to purchase other Roots clothing I find! Cost: 50 cents.

Carter’s Long Sleeve Shirt

Though this shirt didn’t have tags it felt brand new when I held it. And honestly, Carter’s clothing is CUTE. Why not? Cost: 50 cents.

Mickey Onesie

This was too adorable for me to pass up. Since I don’t know if I am shopping for nieces or nephews, I am trying to stick to clothing that can be worn by a girl or by a boy. This one felt perfect. It’s only been very lightly warn and is Disney Branded. I thought it was quite the score. Cost: 50 cents.

Oscar the Grouch Long Sleeve

This shirt, Sesame Street Brand, was brand new with tags still on it. I’m honestly not even sure if Sesame Street is still a thing with kids or if it’s all Peppa Pig now, but I thought this was pretty cute. Cost: 50 cents.

Life of the Party Onesie

I’ve never heard of the Small Wonders brand before but when I felt this it felt brand new. And, it’s cute. Why not, right? Cost: 50 cents.

Nike Onesie

I just thought this was adorable. It’s Nike branded and only lightly warn. It’s definitely much more green in person – my camera doesn’t do it justice. Cost: 50 cents.


There were so many brand new items at the Thrift Store today. There were jeans, with tags still on them, from American Eagle and Hollister! I couldn’t justify purchasing them though as they’re not my size.

I’ve been contemplating starting to buy these things when I find them and trying to sell them online. I don’t know if I’ll ever do that, or if it’s more of just a pipe-dream of a side-hustle. Either way – it’s still a good place to look if you ever need or want cool clothing! There were so many pairs of Levi’s there. If you’re a Levi’s lover like I am, check your local Thrift Store.