Well, we’ve come to the end of another year. How did you do? Are you ready to slam the door on 2017? Are sad to see it go? What will you look back on fondly? I know for myself it was a rollercoaster ride. When my work life was going well, my home life was hiccuping. When my physical health was excellent, my work life was blowing up. I will be one of those people that will be thankful for the fresh start of a new year.

One of the things I did do for myself recently was, I went away. Thanks to my family and Linda, I took the opportunity to spend 12 days alone in the mountains of Costa Rica. I wanted to make good decisions. Plan my 2018. Most importantly, I took the time to bring back perspective. To clear the noise and see my life, my year, my tomorrows as they truly are, not the kaleidoscope of chaos I was manufacturing them to be. I am going to share a little bit of what I learned while I was away.

It felt like my industry was under attack like I was being attacked by the current federal finance administration and the constant rule changes. I felt I wasn’t able to help my clients effectively, I felt incompetent at times as no one knew what to do next, I felt insecure. I thought I could not provide my clients with the knowledge they deserved to know. I said I’m sorry, more times than I can count. I was frustrated, angry and for a brief moment, I contemplated a career change. Being away allowed me to remove the noise of the day to day activities. I realized, I love my job! I love helping people, I love my clients, and yes, I even love a challenge. I am a human; I will adapt, that’s what we do. I’m reminded of a quote from Viktor Frankl, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.” These words have guided me this year. This quote is my screen saver to remind me that I have a choice continuously. I will continue to move forward assist my clients and be mindful that the rule changes are opportunities for me to grow and growth is good.

I also took time to remember how blessed I am; it is easy to forget when you live in a country of abundance, and everything is at your fingertips. To keep a guiding focus, I label my years, for example, 2016, was Frugal Jacquie, my spending was out of control. 2017 was The Frugal Minimalist continued, my spending was curved, but I had too much “stuff.” 2018 will be a continuation of my frugal growth. I need to more practice at what I preach. I’m not saying I have to go without, Its more of a do I really need this _____? If I was moving to an 800 sq ft apartment in Europe, would I pay for it to be packed and ship the item? If the answer is no, I sell it, give it away or if I’m in a store, I don’t buy it. Surprisingly, what I’ve noticed over the last couple of years is how little I actually need and how quickly, the item that “I MUST” have is forgotten. The less I have, the better I feel. Its a bit of a high to say, “NO!” I don’t need this or that. Its pretty fabulous to not pay interest and to only be surrounded by the things you truly love, not just things that fill a space. I’ve also discovered Kenny UPull and the recycle yard where they pay you for your trash. Kigigi, FB markets, Used Ottawa, are all fantastic spaces to unload your treasures. I keep a box in the laundry room at the back door. This allows me easy access to store items that will to GoodWill or the like, I wash, dry and put the things in the box. (clothing, linens, or objects of use). Nothing goes to waste but it doesn’t stay here. Slowly but surely, I am emptying my life of the things that weigh me down and keep me from feeling free. I have met several incredibly happy people over the years, that live a minimal lifestyle, they are happy for a reason, they don’t have a lot of “stuff.” They surround themselves with the things they absolutely love. When you think of gift giving this holiday season, maybe consider the gift of your time? Homemade edibles. A gift of an experience? Instead of providing the receiver with something that sits on a shelf or gets tucked away in a drawer, never to be seen or thought of again. Maybe consider a gift of babysitting, preparing a meal, time alone, there are so many ways to say I love you, or I’m thinking of you without spending a dime. Get creative! There’s a saying, I think it goes something like, they won’t remember what you did, or what you gave them, they will remember how you made them feel. Why not give or make a memory?

If you are feeling the pinch of financial stress, too much stuff, or you would like a financial check-up, call me. I promise not to judge, I have been there. I promise not to preach, I’ve been there. I do promise to listen, help where I can and refer you to someone when I can’t help.

I wish you and your Family a fantastic holiday season.
P.S If you have a practical, frugal tip you’d like to share, email me.

New Rules Effect Renewing and Refinancing

As you know everyone is talking about the NEW Stress Tests when getting a mortgage, and it is hard to stay on of top of who and what this effects when buying a home.

Yesterday Global News published a great news piece to help Canadians understand the new stress test rules and what this means when getting a new mortgage, as well as Renewing or Refinancing.

Please click here to find out more about:

  • If you’re planning to buy a house with a down payment of 20% or more next year
  • If you’re renewing your mortgage next year
  • If you’re refinancing your mortgage
  • Four cases in which the rules likely won’t affect you

Contents care of Marnie Bennet.

Has the time come to lock in your variable rate mortgage?

It depends. But if you’re a little queasy about the rates and possible increases at the Bank of Canada, let’s lock you in.
Call me to discuss.

Click here for more information.