What is $1 Worth to You?

What is $1 Worth to You?


Is $1 a lot of money?

Today I decided to talk about what money is worth and how we all perceive it differently.

Is $1 a lot? What about $1000? A million?

If you ask different people, you will probably get different answers. My 16-year-old sister probably has a different perception of $1000 dollar than I personally do right now. The people I met in Haiti in 2009 before the earthquakes struck probably value a dollar a lot more than I do. We’ve probably all been told by our parents at some point in our lives a line similar to this:

“One day, you will learn the true value of money”.

That was certainly the case for me when I was younger. And I assumed I had learned what money was worth over the years. However, I recently realized that this perception changes fairly often and I’m assuming it does for most people.

Money Perception Over a Lifetime

This is a timeline of how it happened for me in my very fortunate and privileged upbringing.

There is that phase as a kid when you get $10 for your birthday and you walk in the Toys R Us or the dollar store like a big baller thinking you can buy everything you want. Cool feeling. At that stage, every dollar counts. Pennies for candy, a few dollars for the toy machine at the store, you’re willing to take it all.

Then you start growing up and the gifts keep getting bigger. You might even get a weekly allowance. If you want, you can save up enough over a year to buy something worthwhile. A IPod or a video game console perhaps. Welcome to the big leagues pal. During that stage, $20 increments are a lot cooler than a few bucks here and there.

Next, you can think about getting a job. Maybe a summer job or a part-time job during school. That was my “I made it” moment as a teenager. I started working for my mom’s office for $10 an hour over the summer in high school. Then I started working for the city in the maintenance department. Big status job for a teenager. $12 an hour. Finally, the big step up. During my university years, I became a merchandiser for Frito-Lay (Ruffles, Lays, Doritos, Tostitos, etc.) placing their chips in stores all across town. $13 an hour. Things were getting serious. Honestly, that’s where things can take a turn for the good or the bad. You have the power to either spend a lot of money on a lot of stupid things or get ahead in life and save a substantial amount of money. 17 to 23-year-old me decided he didn’t need to save. The first few paychecks were eye-opening. However, the hundred dollar bills disappeared just as fast as they appeared. What can I say? Domino’s pizza is good, I had a lot of fun in Europe and my $15 mojitos were excellent. At that point, I lost track of what money was worth. I knew I had enough to do what I wanted without thinking further or wanting more of it. I also didn’t mind debt.

Ensuing, there is the HOLY SHIT phase. That’s when you start getting paid the big bucks. For me that was a week after graduating university in early 2017. I had a teaching job lined up for the rest of the school year and it was pretty sweet. Getting paid $40 an hour to teach was a lot cooler than $13 an hour to place chips at Walmart. Luckily for me, it was also at the exact time I got started with financial independence. I was also a few months off from having only $1 in my bank account. Not only was I receiving big paychecks to pay down my debt, I wanted my finances to get back to green so bad that just as when I was a kid, I highly valued every dollar I could get my hands on. The more the better, no matter what. Without this scarcity mindset, I probably would have followed a good friend of mine in buying a sweet 2017 Dodge Ram.

Around the same time, I decided to pursue a master’s degree in the US. I was lucky enough to receive a great scholarship along with a part-time teaching gig. A lot of monetary value and amazing perks, but a very tiny paycheck. Therefore, I knew I wanted to save a lot of money while I had this high-paying teaching job. On the side, I used every trick in the book to make a quick buck.

In the summer of 2017, just before making the big move, I told a good IRL friend and mentor of mine, who is well on his way to be financially independent, that I was taking surveys online to make some extra money. He started laughing when I told him for how much and this is what he told me when he saw my confused look: “My friend, very soon you will understand why I’m laughing”.

Fast-forward to today, I understand perfectly. I recently became debt free and my net worth is now a few thousand dollars in the green. My perception of what a dollar is worth and what it takes to get it has changed.

Do I care as much now about taking surveys online for extra money? Nope.

Do I get mad if I forget to activate my Ebates portal for 2% off a $20 purchase? Hell no.

Do I track my money to make sure significant chunks of it go into my investment account? Absolutely.

Am I still excited when I see my portfolio go up $25? Not as much.

All this to say that perception of money changes a lot. Right now, as I’m seeing the power of saving and investing, and the returns it yields, my $10 an hour side hustle at school doesn’t seem so relevant. I’m questioning it. Is my time now worth the effort for an extra $50-60 per week? It probably still is. But the motivation to get it is not the same as it was a year ago.

As you can see, I went through different money phases in my life. From seeing what I could buy as a kid with a few dollars, to earning a salary as a teenager and not giving a crap what I could do with it, to obsessively saving every dollar to reduce debt and finally to a level where one dollar is not as important as it was a few months ago.

My final take is that if you can get in a position where an extra dollar doesn’t really matter to you, you are one of the lucky ones in this world and doing well.

When I get greedy money-wise and start comparing myself to others who have more, I think back to January 2017 when I had $1.15 to my name. Or I think about my friends in Haiti and Nicaragua who have absolutely nothing. How is that for perception change.

What about you dear readers? Has your perception of what money is worth change over time? Is it still evolving today?

Story Time: Making 700% Profit Selling Clothes From my Locker in High School

Story Time: Making 700% Profit Selling Clothes From my Locker in High School

Today I thought I would share a funny money story from my high school days.

Even though I wasn’t very good at saving until a few years into my twenties in 2017, I’ve always had the entrepreneurial vibe going. When I was a teenager, I was pretty good at hustling for pocket change.

My grandfather always set me up with a few clients to mow lawns during the summer and I had a decent clientele for my car washing services. One summer, my grandpa and I set up a workshop in the back of his van and inside his summer cottage (OK, it was the presbytery attached to the church by the lake he rented every year). We built outdoor benches with lumber and sold them to family and friends.


My biggest money move came in my last year of high school when I was running a clothing store out of my locker at school. I was selling Lacoste polos from China to everybody who would dare buy one. Now, when I was buying them online from the other side of the world, they were advertised as authentic. So technically, I didn’t sell anything fake. They were good enough that people kept buying them. My neighbor even successfully returned one to the Lacoste store to exchange it for a different size.

I even had a PDF catalogue showcasing all the different products, colors and prices. I also had my Excel spreadsheet to keep track of all the orders and money coming in and out of this operation.

The greatest thing about this story was my profit margin. I bought the polos in bulk after seeing the first few sell like hot cakes and got a pretty sweet deal. I bought each polo for $5 including shipping and sold them for $40. That’s a profit margin of 87.5% and a markup of 700%. Still a pretty good deal for my friends considering the store-bought polos cost just over $100.

This shenanigan lasted a few months until everybody I knew was outfitted with their variety of Lacoste polos. It got old pretty quick and the Lacoste trend went away. I made a few thousand dollars doing this, but I didn’t pursue any other business venture afterwards.

Now that I care about money again, my mind is racing trying to find the perfect side job or side hustle to make a few extra bucks and work my way towards financial independence.

What about you guys? Any crazy side hustle you are doing to make money? What were some of the best money opportunities when you were younger?

Nashville Trip: My First Semi-Failed Attempt at Travel Hacking

Nashville Trip: My First Semi-Failed Attempt at Travel Hacking



I’ve always loved travelling and I consider myself very lucky to have visited many countries at my age. I don’t have a particular modus operandi when planning a trip, which is why I’ve travelled all over the place: Europe, Central America, the US and Canada. I’ve also travelled with school, friends, family, you name it. I don’t really care, as long as I get to see something new!

When it was confirmed that I was moving to the US, I quickly pulled up a map to see the options. I’m very lucky to be somewhere in the Midwest that isn’t too far from Chicago and Milwaukee, so those are easy day trips and a quick access to airports. I figured I would use my time here and my paycheck in USD to travel around the country as much as possible. As a Canadian, travelling to the US has always been expensive due to exchange rates and our physical location. Aside from the quick East Coast trips, going to the US always required a big budget and extensive planning.

Deciding where to go first was not easy. The wish list is long: Vegas, Nashville, San Francisco, Seattle, New Orleans, Miami and etc.

Given my love for country music and sports, I went with Nashville. There were interesting games to catch around Thanksgiving time and it didn’t seem too complicated to get there.


In this post, I will go over my semi-failed attempt at travel hacking and how much the trip cost. I have not calculated the final tally since coming back in November, so this should be interesting…

I wish my travel hacking involved more than coupon codes and filling up surveys, but here it is anyway!

Destination: Nashville and Knoxville

Number of people: 1

Duration: 4 days

Initial budget: $750

Transportation: Rental Car and Uber or Lyft

I could have flown there, but I love driving and road tripping is fun. Renting a car also allowed me to go to both Nashville and Knoxville. It was also nice to have the car while in town to explore the city efficiently on my own. This is certainly a case where I miss having my own car, as renting can be quite expensive. Because I don’t have my own car insurance, I had to purchase complete coverage for both the vehicle and myself. Since I wasn’t 25 years old at that time, I also had to pay a daily premium with most companies.

After calling around and looking at big name rental agencies and local places, I thought I had found a hidden gem: no young driver’s fee, cheap insurance and reasonable rates. Booked. The total was $280. Two weeks before the trip, I called to make sure everything was fine given that I had a Canadian driver’s license, along with an international license. Their website said it was fine. It was not. It took them a week to give me an answer because they weren’t sure and in the end, they said I had to provide my own insurance, that they couldn’t sell me one. Cancelled. Don’t bother with ACE-Rent-A-Car.

I called Enterprise and it took all of 10 minutes to figure out that I was eligible to rent a car, give me a price and make the reservation. I had amazing service and everything went smooth. It was a bit pricier but I went for it. The total came out to $420 for four days with a tank of gas included.

On site, I used Uber and Lyft to get from my Airbnb to downtown and back mostly. One ride in the morning and one ride at night. I spent $27.76 on 7 rides, including tips. I used the first time-user promo codes on both apps.

I also had to pay wonderful tolls in Illinois and Kentucky.

The Good: amazing service, pick-up at my house, upgraded to a 2018 hybrid sedan for free when taking delivery and cheap Uber¤Lyft rides with promo codes

The Bad: Cost more than I expected and I didn’t use Ebates to book (3% cash back)

Total cost: 559,76$

It’s amazing how cheap gas is in the US.


Nashville, TN

Accommodations: Airbnb

This was my first time using Airbnb and I loved it! I had a good experience both in Knoxville and Nashville. I rented a room in somebody’s house for one night in Knoxville and two nights in Nashville. It was perfect for me. A comfortable bed and a shower in a good location near downtown. The Uber rides to downtown were super cheap and I didn’t have to worry about driving the rental car and paying for parking.

I used the first-time user code for Airbnb ($40 off) and the total cost for my three nights was $97.

Because I’m young and a little bit dumb, I decided to travel through the night for the first day to save on accommodations and rental car days. I left around midnight and got to Knoxville around 1:00pm.

The Good: Promo code, cheap prices on Airbnb and I saved by driving through the night

The Bad: None. I think it would’ve been hard to get something cheaper than that.

Total Cost: $97


Knoxville, TN

Game Tickets: Jets vs Predators, LSU vs Tennessee and USC vs Vanderbilt.

This is where I messed up the most. Since I planned the trip around those games, I bought the tickets early. The one for the LSU vs Tennessee game was the most expensive at $106. What pains me the most is that Tennessee started losing after I bought the ticket and prices went wayyyyyyy down. At least 50%. I could have either saved a lot of money by waiting or gotten a much better ticket.

The Vanderbilt basketball game was only $9 and the Predators game, which was amazing, came in at a reasonable $42.

I used Seatgeek to buy the tickets and got around $10 in cash back for all purchases.

The Good: Using cash back on Ebates

The Bad: Not waiting to buy the tickets to the football game

Total Cost: $147


Food and Drinks

I had really good intentions for this category and I wanted to save a lot there to stay under my initial budget. I think this is where things went wrong.

I brought a lot of food I can get for free at school so I didn’t have to stop on the road the first day and pay for it. I saved on a couple meals doing this. I also had snacks for the whole trip. I even had a free pizza from Domino’s from points I had earned.

In addition, I used my hard-earned swagbucks points to buy gift cards. $25 x 2 at Red Lobster, Olive Garden or Longhorn Steakhouse and $15 x 1 at IHop. I wanted to get four meals out of these gift cards, but I only got three. I stopped at a lousy White Castle somewhere in Kentucky on my way back instead of using the remaining $12 on the cards. Dumb move, White Castle was terrible.


This left me with a few meals to pay throughout the trip. I was really bad at being frugal for those. I bought overpriced food at the football game and hockey game. I went for the very expensive BBQ plates at both restaurants I tried in Nashville. I bought pralines, twice. All in all, it wasn’t terrible, but I definitely didn’t need to eat this much BBQ, or have a full meal at the games. At least it was delicious.

I also had a few beers and drinks before the game in Knoxville and on Broadway in Nashville, as well as a few stops for water and energy drinks on the road.

The Good: Swagbucks and bringing food

The Bad: Going nuts on the other meals and not being frugal at all

Total Cost: $125

Entertainment and Miscellaneous

Aside from the sport games, I went to the Johnny Cash museum and the Country Music Hall of Fame and museum in Nashville. Both were amazing and well worth their entry price.

I also bought some random stuff throughout the trip like postcards, a poncho, a clear bag to get my things into the stadium in Knoxville and etc.

The biggest money fail was going to the shooting range. I like hunting and shooting, but I had never shot a pistol before. I saw a sign on the side of the road and just stopped there. I figured that then was the right time to do it. $62 for roughly 25 minutes of shooting. Yikes. I had a blast though!


Finally, I bought extra data on my cellphone to have the GPS, be able to order a ride in town and google things. $15 well spent.

Good: None

Fail: None of this was planned, except the museums visits…

Total Cost: $137


The final tally for the whole trip was roughly $1045.97 instead of the $750 budget I had originally planned. This isn’t terrible and I had an amazing time. Still, I wish I hadn’t given up on being frugal during the trip. I kind of gave up on saving and said screw it at one point. I wouldn’t change anything to the trip itself, but I would certainly reduce spending in certain categories, like food.

The trip would certainly have been cheaper had I travelled with a partner or friends, mostly for accommodations and transportation.

How do you guys travel? Do you have an initial budget broken down into categories? Do you travel hack? Do you simply spend and look at your bank account when you come back?

Newbie Investor: Change of Plans and Doubling my Money on the Stock Market in 4 Months

Newbie Investor: Change of Plans and Doubling my Money on the Stock Market in 4 Months

In my last post, I detailed how I went from a negative net worth ($22 500) to a positive net worth ($3000) in one year. I mentioned that my savings rate each month, along with my investments, was what allowed me to reach that goal of becoming debt free.

However, even though it’s not a lie, I feel like a fraud leaving the story as is.

The stock market played a HUGE role in achieving that desirable “debt free” status. More so than I could have imagined. As a result, I feel like luck played a bigger role than me saving or investing strategically.


When I looked at my goals in September, it was a possibility to become debt free in 2017 if I stuck to a strict savings rate each month and if the stock market played nice.

The result? I sucked at saving for the last three months, but my investments went into beast mode.

When I detailed my investment plan earlier this year, I was following most basic investment rules and playing it smart. My money was split equally between index funds through a robot-advisor, a high-interest savings account and mostly cannabis stocks. It was a good plan to keep my money safe and grow it a little bit until I have to pay my student loan before interests start in 2019.

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Well, greed and envy got the best me.

That plan? Out the door. Basic personal finance rules of investing? Screw that.

I went full-on crazy mode and invested entirely in cannabis stocks. Here’s why:

-I felt really strong about investments in this sector, hence the initial investments

-This is one of the sectors I’m the most educated about

-I could see the insane returns every week on my small initial investment

-I had multiple people around me making a killing in this market

-It really felt like I was sitting on the sidelines and passing up a good opportunity to make money

In early October, I started by selling my index fund and gathering up some extra cash I had laying around to invest in more cannabis stocks. I knew what I wanted to buy and what I was ready to lose. I was fine with losing a few hundred dollars if it didn’t work out and that’s where I drew the line.

Things worked out. I was seeing the same results as I did when I originally invested my pocket change.

In November, it was time for boost mode 2.0

Student loan? Cannabis stocks. Emergency fund? Cannabis stocks. Every paycheck? Cannabis stocks.

Same game plan: know what price point I want to get in and know when I’m ready to call it quits if things go sour.

As a result, somewhere in November, my investments yielded my first $1000!

For those that are curious, I’m investing in APH and THCX.

Well, things have been going really well. If I count my student loan, which needs to be paid back in 2019, I invested roughly $11 500 and turned it into $20 500 as I’m writing this. Given that I started investing in the cannabis sector in September, I’m really happy with that!

That last push for cannabis stocks in December is what made the biggest impact on my returns and me becoming debt free.

As for my foolishness in doing all this, I feel like it was a calculated move. My emergency fund was higher than it needed to be for the moment and I set strict limits as to when I would sell if things didn’t work out. I’m monitoring the market with the same approach now and will sell in due time.

If anything, this is a good investing experience and it shows that sometimes, it’s worth jumping on the train rather than staying behind!

PS: FOMO is real and I’m glad I acted on my instincts.

To a good 2018 in the cannabis sector!

Are any of you invested in this sector? Would you consider it?


How My Net Worth Went From $-22 500 to $3000 in One Year

How My Net Worth Went From $-22 500 to $3000 in One Year

There it is, the unofficial one year mark of my financial independence journey!


I started in early January of 2017 with $1.15 in my bank account and roughly $22 500 of debt. The biggest chunk of debt was my student loan, my car and then some credit card debt.

When I started, I was amazed by all the incredible stories in the personal finance community: financially independent in 10 years, retired at 35, killed $100k of debt in 2 years, $500k net worth at 30 and etc.

I thought, how cool would it be to be one of those people one day.

Well, as of December 29th 2017, I can tell a story of my own:

I have no car debt, no credit card debt and my student loan is covered. I even managed to build a positive net worth of $3000 before the year ended, thanks to the stock market (more on that later). I didn’t achieve anything out of the ordinary, but I didn’t think I would get this far this quick either.

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This is probably where I should wear the personal finance blogger hat and tell you how I did all that, with a catchy thumbnail (guilty) and some magical advice and tricks.

Truth be told, there is none of that. The formula has been explained multiple times on the good ol’ internet: spend less than you earn, eliminate debt, invest leftover money.

Sure, I used some money-savings tricks I learned online, but 95% of the progress was made using this formula.

I focused on my savings rate at first, which averaged 50% in 2017. Then I eliminated debt by paying my credit cards and selling my car. Finally, I invested my money and set it aside to pay my student loan in due time. You can read about my initial investment strategy here.

If there’s one thing I want to stress is that you don’t have to sacrifice your lifestyle or things you enjoy to work your way towards financial independence. You simply have to make choices. By staying within my savings rate goal of 50%, I was still able to enjoy life and have fun, while cutting out useless things.

My biggest “sacrifices” were my car, takeout meals, restaurants and useless material things on Amazon.

What I splurged on was a first-class ticket to the US, Sony noise cancelling headphones, now lost UA sunglasses, a full wardrobe, a trip to Nashville, football game tickets, day trips to Chicago, a trip to Miami for 2018 and MMA classes.  

Seems like a fair tradeoff considering I eradicated all my debt and started seeing a positive net worth on my spreadsheet!

I also want to thank everybody in the personal finance community on twitter and online. The support from the beginning has been amazing. What I like the most about this community is not that people are savvy with money or successful financially, but that they are goal-oriented, motivated, driven and supportive. This positive aura around everybody’s life story online has given me a remarkable boost of motivation in mine.

What’s next?

To be continued!

Finance Newbie: My First Investment Was a Cannabis Stock and Overall Plan

Finance Newbie: My First Investment Was a Cannabis Stock and Overall Plan

Let’s be real here: cutting down debt and building up an emergency fund is rewarding and fun, but not nearly as thrilling as investing money! At least for me!

I’ve come to really enjoy reading about the stock market, the different options and see how the market reacts to certain news or events.


To be honest with you, after a lot of reading and thinking, I still don’t know what I want to be invested into for the long run. I’m experimenting and learning as I go.

Therefore, after paying  my consumer debt and building up a sufficient emergency fund, in addition to having more than $1.50 in my bank account, I was ready and eager to invest.

Where My Money Goes

So, the only debt I have left is a $12 000  now $19 000 student loan that’s due in July of 2019. Until then, I don’t pay any interests.

For that reason, I’m taking a somewhat aggressive approach with the loan. Instead of putting every dollar that comes in towards paying the loan, I’m investing it!

The reason why the loan is now $19 000 is that I was eligible for a $7000 interest free loan recently and took it. I dumped it straight into my high interest savings account and voila. $133 a year for free.

I also have a good chunk of the initial loan covered and invested in a few places right now. So here’s where all my savings after expenses roughly go.

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My theory is that although I do have a loan, I won’t need the money from the Wealthsimple and Qtrade accounts to cover it in July of 2019, hence the more aggressive investments. By allocating a third of my savings to my high interest savings account, which yields 1.9% yearly, I will have enough money to cover the loan when it’s up in 2019.

My Investments and Returns

QTrade Trading Platform

This platform is probably unnecessary at this point for me in my financial journey, but I’m super interested in stocks and wanted to learn through a real-life experience.

I will probably use this platform in the future to buy all my index funds and other investment needs. Right now, I’m invested in two things through this platform: ETFs and equities.

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Yup. I’m invested in weed. marijuana. ganja. cannabis. That was my first investment into equities!

With legalization coming across Canada in July of 2018, I truly believe it was the right time to invest in this sector. I did a lot of research into companies and how the market reacted in the world for previous legalizations.

HMMJ is a marijuana ETF traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange and is invested in 10 different companies from different sectors in the marijuana industry. Since cannabis stocks are extremely volatile, I wanted to protect myself against that and play it safe. The ETF has been steadily climbing and should pick up steam when the politicians go back to work soon and finish the legalization process. Although the project still faces opposition in Canada, the government in place holds the majority of the seats and should be able to see this through.

THCX is a small marijuana company in Canada. It’s one I researched carefully, but it’s still a little bit of a long shot. It’s my home run swing, I’m going for the fences. They have bigger facilities being built right now, have approval from Health Canada for a high level of production and appointed former BC health minister on their board of members. They should have the elements in place to profit from legalization and make good money, which should reward shareholders on the stock market. Fingers crossed, but so far so good! The stock has been up and down a lot, but I’m holding it hoping for good things!

FTN is a split-share corporation invested in the financial sector. They pay a high dividend of around 0.126% every month at the moment. However, it is not guaranteed. The corporation is also subject to a new vote every five years to see if it will continue exist or not. This is where it gets tricky between the split shares. From my understanding, people with the preferred shares, which is not my case, would get paid their capital back first if the corporation were to close down. If the corporation is not doing well, that could leave the other shareholders like myself in a bad spot. However, the corporation has been up and running since the early 2000s. The vote for a renewal is in 2020. So far the fund has not performed too well since I bought it and I haven’t received a dividend yet. I’m hoping the price will go back up and that the hefty dividend will make up some of my losses on this one!

Wealthsimple Account

So, Wealthsimple is a robot advisor and it’s the first investment I made after clearing my consumer debt and building up my emergency fund.

The process with them is easy and painless: set up an account in a couple minutes, link bank account, talk to a rep on the phone to select your portfolio type and voila. They invest your money, adjust their portfolios throughout the year and you don’t need to do anything.

Their management fee is also very low and even non-existant under certain amounts and conditions. I don’t know that I will keep using this platform for too long, as their portfolio selections are made public and I can purchase index funds through my other trading platform.

Here’s the breakdown of what my investments are through my WS account.

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Roughly 80% of the portfolio is invested in index funds mirroring the stock market from different countries or regions. Some of the index funds have performed well, while others not so much. My return so far through this portfolio is -0.5% in 2 months.

What is screwing with my net return right now is the currency exchange. A lot of the funds were bought with US dollars, which was bought with Canadian dollars. Ever since I’ve invested in those funds, the $CAD to $USD ratio has been consistently raising.

This explains why my VTI and IEFA funds have been in the negative, although their respective price has been going up for the last 2 months.

However, as you can see, my other Vanguard fund in the US, which is $CAD hedged, is in the positive. This hedged fund is protecting me against dollar fluctuations.

No big deal. I’ll just need to monitor the dollar exchange if ever want to sell what I have there.


I think in the long run most of my money will go to index funds, and a little bit allocated to individual stocks.

So, what do you think? Is my plan reasonable? I don’t have a lot of money invested right now, so I think it’s a good time to learn and experiment.

I’m curious to hear how you guys got started and what your first steps in the investing world were like! Let me know down below!

How Having $1.15 in my Bank Account Got Me Started With Financial Independence

How Having $1.15 in my Bank Account Got Me Started With Financial Independence


I started my financial independence journey in January of 2017, not knowing what my goals were.

I had some knowledge about saving and investing, but I lacked the motivation and faith/belief that it was worth pursuing.

After reading a lot of blogs and articles on the subject, I realized that anybody could improve their financial situation. From horrible to bad, from bad to good, from good to amazing. People from different financial background and wealth level can aspire to improve on their current situation. I am one of them.

Now, I don’t consider myself a PF blogger or money expert. But I’ve fallen in love with this idea and I like to talk about it. Writing about it also allows me to put my plan into perspective and analyze it in greater details.

Setting the Wheels in Motion

I wouldn’t say that I was in a terrible situation when I started, far from being irreversible, but things weren’t pretty either.


Having $1.15 in my bank account after my car loan went through was a definitely a low point and it helped me consolidate the decision to get started. As I mentioned before on this blog, I also stumbled upon some PF/PI people on twitter around the same time and the rest is history.

The first thing I had to do was identify the mistakes that lead me to my current financial situation and set goals.

For me it was very easy.

I can’t recall the number of small purchases I’ve made telling myself this: Oh it’s fine, it’s only a small amount. The problem was I could tell myself this several times a week.

The other thing was that I had only worked sparingly during my undergraduate studies, working just enough to get by, not to stockpile cash or make stupid purchases over and over without accumulating debt.

So here was the plan in January:

  1. Cut down on the small recurring expenses (mostly takeouts and amazon stuff)
  2. Get my savings rate as high as possible each month
  3. Pay all my consumer debt ($8000 on my car and $2500 on my credit card)
  4. Start saving money for my $12 000 student loan due in 2 years (interests don’t kick in until then)
  5. If I’m on track with my student loan, start investing in other investment vehicles for the long run (financial independence)

September Progress Update

It’s been 8 months since I set those goals in January and I think I’m doing pretty damn good!

For no.1 and no.2 of the plan, I have been very successful. I have kept my expenses down and mostly bought things I needed. My average savings rate for the year so far is 45%. It includes the first couple months at 0%, because I was paying my consumer debt and I wasn’t tracking my expenses at that times. So I had to count all my payments towards my credit card debt as expenses.

As for the debt itself, the car loan and credit card debt is long gone. I sold my car back in May, making an extra $500 on the sale. My credit card debt was completely erased around the same time.

Finally, for no.4 and no.5 of the plan, things have been going smooth. I only started investing a couple months ago, so my returns are pretty much zero (more on that later). However, I’m mostly happy that I have money invested and I’m not too worried about the returns yet.

I already have a good amount saved up for my student loan and I was able to start investing for retirement as well! Win!

So far this year…

-I’ve eliminated all my consumer debt

-I’ve reduced my overall debt by 74%

-I’ve funded my emergency fund

-I’ve started investing for retirement

For the rest of the year I want to…

-Eliminate 100% of my debt

-Make a donation

-Fund a trip in December or January

(there’s a strong chance that item 2 and 3 for the rest of the year will prevent me from reaching that 100% goal, but it will be a close call)

Only a few months left in 2017, it’s go time!

What are some of the things you guys want to accomplish before the year is over?