Life Update August 2018

Good morning all.

Aside from my Montréal Travel Diary that I posted back in March, my blog and social media have been all but abandoned for the past couple of months, and I wanted to dedicate a post to updating you all about my life.

I applied to graduate school back in February, and at the end of March I received my acceptance letter to the University of British Columbia’s Masters of Science in Speech-Language Pathology program. I am really excited for this new chapter of my life, but it means I’ll be moving to Vancouver and leaving my hometown behind, which scares me when I think about it too much.

At the same time I received this news, my grandmother’s health was rapidly declining and she was admitted to the hospital on Easter Monday. My mother and I visited her everyday and held her hands as she died six days later. My grandmother was, and still is, one of the strongest and kindest women I know and I can only hope that I become half the woman she was.

A week later, I flew out to Calgary, needing to get away from everything for a little while. And who do you think I saw there? If you guessed Scavenger Hunt Boy who I met in Montréal, you’d be right. His name is Mike, by the way. I spent eight days with him in his hometown of Calgary, exploring all the tourist spots and even venturing to Banff and Lake Louise. Mike is the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel to me, and makes me happier than I thought I deserved to be. I met him when I was at my lowest following a devastating heartbreak, and he has shown me only kindness and patience as I process it and move on. If heartbreak was the price of meeting him, I would pay it ten times over.

Once I got back, I started full-time work at my summer job, and that has taken up the vast majority of my time.

At the end of June, I graduated university with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a Minor in Linguistics, and immediately started planning out grad school in Vancouver. Real-estate is brutal as it is, and finding somewhere to live in Vancouver is near-impossible. I ended up finding an apartment and moved in at the end of July (stay tuned for an apartment tour post).

Then in August, I attended the North American Parkour Championships with Mike, and even learned a little bit of Parkour myself. The biggest takeaways from that weekend were that 1) I have a lot more muscles in my body than I ever felt before, 2) everyone who practices Parkour (called traceurs) has insanely sculpted abs, and 3) there really needs to be an online resource for people whose significant others do Parkour, something like “So, Your Boyfriend Does Parkour – Now What?” This is still a work-in-progress title though, because there are so many amazingly talented female traceurs and the resource would also be for male partners looking to understand the practice a little better. While I don’t think I’ll ever be NAPC-level, I think it could be fun to try out some Parkour sometime. After all, I have the perfect teacher.

In recent months, I have also gotten much more into bullet journaling, and instead of crowding up my instagram feed with journal spreads, I decided to create a new account @literaryandlovelydoodles for all of my bullet journaling and art, so you can follow me over there if you’d like 🙂 🙂

Finally, In 7 days and counting, I will start grad school and I am simultaneously excited and nervous. This is an incredible new chapter of my life, but it means leaving the old ones behind, and I have never been very good at letting go. With this new chapter beginning, I want to keep up with blogging. I’ve never been very good at sticking to one topic though, so bear with me as my content goes from beauty product hauls and reviews, to book hauls and reviews, to fashion lookbooks, to bullet journal spreads, to university life, to wherever else I decide to take it. When life gives you choices, I like to select e) all of the above (I am aware I already have 5 options listed above but the phrase doesn’t work with selecting f – just go with me on this one).

So here’s to a (hopefully) great academic year and a fresh start on this blog. Whether you have been with me since yesterday or since the very beginning, thank you for your love and support. It means the world to me. Sorry again for my absence, but I promise I am back for good this time.

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Montréal, Canada | Travel Diary

Hello all!!!

At the end of February, I was lucky enough to attend the Golden Key International Honours Society Leadership Summit in Montréal, the largest city in the Canadian province of Québec. While the summit itself went from the 23rd to the 25th, I arrived on the 21st and stayed until the 26th so I would have time to adventure around the city.

This trip was extra special in that it was the first time I had travelled completely by myself and arrived in a place where I didn’t know anyone. I arrived in Montréal late on the 21st, got checked into the Marriott Château Champlain where the conference was to be held, and then headed to the hotel restaurant for some dinner. I decided on poutine, a classic French-Canadian dish of french fries, cheese curds, and gravy.

I don’t know whether it was the time difference, exhaustion from travelling, or mental fatigue from recent life stress, but I slept for most of the 22nd before venturing outside with a peppermint mocha from Starbucks in hand to wander the city.

What I wasn’t smart enough to clue into was that -4 degrees is really cold, especially for a West Coaster like me who is always cold. After wandering for about two hours without a hat or a scarf, I returned to the hotel and indulged in some ravioli and wine to warm me up.

Friday morning I set my alarm, got up early, and embarked on a mission to find the Notre-Dame Basilica in the heart of Vieux-Montréal. It was absolutely gorgeous inside and I arrived just in time for the hourly English tour of the Gothic Revival structure.

By the time I got back to the hotel, I had just enough time to freshen up before heading down to the lobby to check in for the summit.

At check-in, we received swag bags and then were randomly grouped with student representatives from other universities to embark on a city-wide scavenger hunt. I ended up in a group with two people from Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta, and they were both so nice. That night was a scheduled networking night so all the people registered for the summit went out to Thursday’s Pub for drinks and appetizers.

Now, this is where things got interesting. One of the two people from Mount Royal University with whom I did the scavenger hunt was a boy, and not just any boy, but a really nice one. He walked back to the hotel with me so I wouldn’t be walking alone in the dark in a strange city, and we ended up talking basically all night about anything and everything.

Saturday was filled with interesting keynote speakers and workshops delivered by professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds. That night, everyone went out for dinner at Weinstein & Gavino’s, where I had one of the best chicken dishes I have ever eaten.

Sunday morning I headed out to wander Vieux-Montréal and the Old Port, but about 8 minutes in, freezing rain started pelting down. Most people probably would have turned back, but not me; I just kept walking, letting the rain hit me in the face, determined to see Vieux-Montréal and the Old Port. There definitely wasn’t much to see in the pouring rain, but the city was still beautiful to be in. When I arrived back at the hotel, I got changed, hung my drenched clothes to dry, and met up with Scavenger Hunt Boy to visit the Musée Des Beaux-Arts. The museum has these really neat red heart statues out front, which were one of the scavenger hunt items that our group didn’t find but I wanted to see. Plus I wanted to spend as much time with him as I could.

For dinner, he and I found an Italian restaurant called Monza, which offers family-size portions at the individual portion prices on Sundays, so we feasted on a massive bowl of mushroom pasta.

After dinner, we found the hotel pool and went for a nice swim to work off some of the pasta. And then at around midnight I got hungry again so we heated up the leftover pasta and realized too late that we didn’t have any forks so we ate it with coffee stir sticks from the coffee set-up in my hotel room.

Monday was bittersweet as I packed up all my things. I was looking forward to being back at home, but it meant I had to leave Scavenger Hunt Boy behind. It may sound silly that in three days I grew so attached to someone, but I did. He and I have talked every day since we met, and I am planning to head out to Calgary to visit him soon.

I know this travel diary is extremely late, but I still wanted to share this trip on my blog and to showcase some of the amazing sights in Montreal, as well as share how I met the most incredible person.

The only upsetting part of the trip was that it didn’t snow once!!! I was all excited to play in the snow and all I got was freezing rain. Not only that, but apparently it snowed back home the day I flew out. Clearly me and the snow just weren’t meant to be.

Chocolate Soufflé

Good morning all!!!

It has been WAY too long since I published a post on this blog, so to begin, a little life update:

First off, I am enrolled in two summer classes. The first, neuroanatomy, is online and is wickedly difficult, spanning the entire four months of summer. I just did my second online midterm last Wednesday and my self-esteem still has not fully recovered. The second class is cultural psychology, which is condensed into one month with lectures three times each week. I love the content and the professor is such a lovely person. I had the first midterm for that class last Friday and I feel pretty good about it.

I am also working full-time at the same job I have had for the last four summers. While it varies across countries, full-time employment is defined in Canada as working 30 hours or more per week at one's main or only job. Well, from July 1-15, I worked just over 97 hours.

Balancing school and work has been a real challenge for me, and while it means I will only have one more university term to go before I graduate and I can start saving up for graduate school, I have not had much time for anything else.

That being said, a few weeks back, my friend Travis and I got together to celebrate his 29th birthday and tried our hand at making chocolate soufflés. I think they actually turned out pretty well.

Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 large egg yolks, 4 large egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Step One
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Lightly coat with sugar, tapping out excess. Set dish on a rimmed baking sheet.

Step Two
In a large heatproof bowl set over a pot of boiling water, combine chocolate, vanilla, and water. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Takes about 10 minutes. Then remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Step Three
Separate egg whites from egg yolks. Then stir egg yolks into cooled chocolate mixture until well combined. This is your soufflé base. Set aside.

Step Four
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on high until soft peaks form, about two minutes. Then gradually add sugar and beat until stiff, white peaks form, about five minutes. Do not overbeat.

Step Five
In two halves, fold egg-white mixture into soufflé base. To do this, use a silicone spatula to gently cut through the centre of the base and lift up some from the bottom of the bowl. Turning bowl, continue to cut down and lift up base until just combined.

Step Six
Transfer mixture to baking dish, ensuring none gets on the top edge of the dish. Smooth top.

Step Seven
Bake soufflé until puffed and set, around 30-35 minutes. DO NOT OPEN OVEN during first 25 minutes of baking. Then SERVE IMMEDIATELY.

Baking Notes

  • Travis and I actually made two smaller soufflés in baking dishes I gave him as part of his birthday present, thinking they would be about the right size for individual soufflés. They were bigger than I thought, but any size or number of baking dish(es) would work for this recipe as long as the mixture reaches just below the top edge.
  • Do not be fooled by all the talk about how difficult they are to make. It was actually really easy and we had so much fun.
  • We only ended up eating one soufflé right away, and by the time we finished, the second soufflé was a perfect example of why recipes say to serve them immediately: they really do collapse.

Have you ever made soufflé before??? Let me know in the comments below!!!

San Francisco, California | Travel Diary

Hello lovely readers!!!

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably noticed a lot of San Francisco pictures, since I was there a few weeks back. I started up at work again so my days have been pretty packed, but I had an incredible time and I wanted to share some of the highlights of my trip here on the blog. 

My mother and I landed in San Francisco in the late afternoon, so we spent the evening exploring the hotel and I got some amazing pictures of the lobby. We were also upgraded to a suite, compliments of the hotel, so we had way more space to move in and there was a makeup table. I cannot express how excited I was that I could do my makeup at an actual vanity. 

San Francisco 2017 Fairmont Hotel Plaque
San Francisco 2017 Fairmont Hotel Lobby 1
San Francisco 2017 Fairmont Hotel Lobby 2
San Francisco 2017 Fairmont Hotel Rivoli Suite 1
San Francisco 2017 Fairmont Hotel Rivoli Suite 2
San Francisco 2017 Fairmont Hotel Rivoli Suite 3
Sunday was almost entirely dominated by a baseball game at AT&T Park between the San Francisco Giants and the San Diego Padres (Obviously I am a Giants fan). The game went a whopping 12 INNINGS and in the blistering hot sun I was so grateful the elderly woman a few seats over shared her sunscreen with me. Otherwise I would have been a radish for the rest of the trip. The Giants lost 5:2, but it was still an incredible game. As an added bonus, the first 20000 fans into the park received a plush window cling of Hunter Pence, the San Francisco Giants’ right fielder. For dinner, we headed to the hotel’s famed Tonga Lounge and Hurricane Bar, which actually has a floating barge in the centre of it upon which live music is played. There are even sheets of rain” coming down around the barge sporadically. 

San Francisco 2017 AT&T Park
San Francisco 2017 AT&T Park Pence Plush
San Francisco 2017 Fairmont Hotel Tonga Lounge
Monday was the über busy sightseeing day of the trip. We started out by getting a little lost in Chinatown thanks to me turning the wrong way down Mason Street when we left the hotel. Luckily we corrected our path soon enough and still got to see some of the neat features of Chinatown. We then hopped on a cable car to Union Square, home to a massive Macy’s store. After exploring the square, we boarded another cable car and got off at Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the world with 8 hairpin turns!!! From there, we walked to Fisherman’s Wharf and wandered through all the shops and eateries. Despite all the fresh seafood we could have had for lunch, I convinced my mother to try an American institution with me: In-N-Out Burger. The burgers are actually so good!!! After refuelling, we headed over to Pier 39, and finished off the day with ice cream in the famous Ghirardelli Square. By the time we got back to the hotel, we were exhausted so we didn’t go into Grace Cathedral, but it was so beautiful that I had to snap a photo of it. 

San Francisco 2017 Powell and Hyde Cable Car
San Francisco 2017 Fisherman's Wharf
San Francisco 2017 In-N-Out Burger
San Francisco 2017 Pier 39
San Francisco 2017 Ghirardelli Square
San Francisco 2017 Ghirardelli Square Ice Cream
San Francisco 2017 Ghirardelli Square Landscape
San Francisco 2017 Grace Cathedral
On Tuesday, my mother and I went over to Alcatraz Island, which served as a Federal prison from 1934 to 1969. This prison was home to some of the most infamous criminals like Al Capone, Alvin “Creepy” Kari’s, Robert Franklin “Birdman” Stroud, and George “Machine Gun” Kelly. Interestingly, because the prison staff lived and worked on the island, many children called Alcatraz Island home and seldom ever knew prisoners were nearby. While several escape attempts were made, it is believed that no prisoner successfully escaped. 

San Francisco 2017 Alcatraz Island
San Francisco 2017 Alcatraz Island B Block
San Francisco 2017 Alcatraz Island D Block
San Francisco 2017 Alcatraz Island Standard Cell
San Francisco 2017 Alcatraz Island Seagull

San Francisco 2017 Alcatraz Island William Baker Book Signing
Wednesday and Thursday were dominated by shopping around Union Square and Westfield Centre, and I scored some incredible deals on dresses and shoes (even with the terrible exchange rate of the Canadian dollar). We also had some delicious Ghirardelli chocolate sundaes for lunch (healthy, I know). 

San Francisco 2017 Union Square Macy's Store
San Francisco 2017 Westfield Center
San Francisco 2017 Westfield Center Ghirardelli Sundaes

I was sad to say goodbye to San Francisco and it’s beautiful weather on Friday morning, but I was looking forward to sleeping in my own bed again and, of course, seeing my fur baby. 

I know this travel diary is extremely late, but I still wanted to share this trip on my blog and to showcase some of the incredible sights in San Franscico.

Have you ever been to San Francisco??? What were your favourite things to see and do???

65 Years

Although my blog is mainly book- and beauty-related, I like to throw in a few life posts too. I love being able to preserve special moments in photographs, and I really wanted to share this one here 🙂 🙂

On March 15th, my grandparents celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. That’s right, 65 years, over 34 million minutes. On March 15th, 1952, at ages 21 and 22, they got married. My grandmother wore her best friend’s wedding dress, my grandfather had to get permission to leave the Navy ship, the ceremony was small, and they honeymooned in Vancouver for a weekend. 65 years is such a long time to spend with one person, and it is definitely something to have a little party for.

We brought in a cake and had a few family members around. We are going to have a giant shindig in the summer when all the family can come out to celebrate with us. Plus, hopefully the weather will be better and we can have it outdoors. 

I hope one day I can look back over years of marriage and still be as happy as they are. Ha, but maybe not 65; I would have to get married within the next year or two to even come close to hitting that milestone. 

(As a small side note, I asked my grandparents’ permission before posting this, though neither of them are still 100% confident that they know what a blog is. My grandmother though did wonder if any of you would ever see her down at Sears, so if you do, be sure to say hi) 

Picture 19

My Holiday Budget for Happiness 

As a university student, I take budgeting pretty seriously. While I was fortunate enough to receive a four-year scholarship for my undergraduate study, I still want to make sure I have an emergency fund, and that I am spending responsibly. Particularly around the holidays, my spending can get a little out of control as I go on the hunt for Christmas presents for family and friends, but I have a holiday gift guide/budget plan that minimizes overspending and maximizes happiness.

Setting Limits

Each month, any incoming money is divided into separate accounts for living, saving, and emergency. It is important for me to set an overall spending limit of my savings on presents, as well as price caps on gifts for each person so I know going in how much I am going to spend.

Resist the Call of the Red Starbucks Cup

This one is so hard for me, especially around the holidays when the Christmas cups come out and my favourite drink, the peppermint mocha, is officially back, but this is an easy cost cutter. While I am by no means a daily drink purchaser, I still think that saving money in little ways like this can amount to big savings at the end of the year. That being said, I do treat myself to the odd one though, and maybe even a frosted snowman cookie.

Gift Experiences, not Items

Something new I have been doing the past few Christmases is gifting someone an experience like a travel voucher for a weekend getaway, a certificate for an adventure like camping or zipining, or even something simple like a dinner out together. This really helps with coming up with gift ideas, plus I find the memories last longer than giving someone an item that won’t last as long.

Homemade Presents

The past month or so, I have fallen in love with Pinterest and all its Christmas knitting patterns. One in particular that I think is just adorable is for little stocking christmas tree decorations. I have made about 7 so far in various colours and patterns and I am planning to give them to my family members, particularly my grandparents who, at ages 86 and 87 don’t need clutter but would love something sentimental.

Homegrown Gifts

While I am not much of a gardener myself, people like my grandparents gift jam made from raspberries they grew themselves and small spice plants, and other people I know gift handmade candles from backyard bee hive wax. I think this is such a nice way to gift something special and useful while not having to go out and battle the shopping malls.

Essentials and Splurges

Instead of trying to think of unique gift ideas for people, think about what they use on a daily basis like a particular beauty product and gift that. Some might say this is unimaginative, but it is guaranteed that the gift will be loved, appreciated, and used. Another great gift idea is purchasing something that you know someone would like but would never buy for themselves. These splurge purchases make such nice surprises and show that you were paying attention, plus stores usually have really good sales going on so you can scoop up splurges at fractions of the original price.

Gifts From All of Us

I remember as a kid thinking that a group present was just a way for people to get off the hook for finding someone a unique present, but really it is genius. Luckily my grandparents don’t have Internet so I don’t have to worry about ruining the surprise for my grandfather, but my mother and grandmother and I all pitched in and bought him a DVD recorder that he can use to convert his 800 or so VHS tapes to DVD format. While this item was more pricy and well over the price cap the family set for presents, pooling our money and getting him a nifty gift like this that he will get so much use out of is a great way to save money and give a gift someone will love.

What are some ways that you budget for the holidays while maximizing happiness???

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas . . . 

Goodness me, I have been a real naughty and haven’t published a single post in December thus far and it’s almost half over!!! Ha, looks like Blogmas isn’t happening this year. 

In my defence, school ended on on the 2nd, and then I had finals on the 5th, 7th, and 10th. But now I have a bit of a reprieve until the 19th when I write my last exam. Regardless of what courses I take or how much planning I do, I always, always, always end up writing an exam on the last day of exam period. Does this happen to any of you???

Christmastime this year was heralded by something that hasn’t happened in my city for years: snowfall. And not just the old 1cm light dusting that is washed away by rain the next day. I am talking about 10cm, covering the ground, people driving like right fools on the roads despite the ice and snow warnings, and snow people on everyone’s front lawns. Despite the fact that I live in Canada, snow is not common in my city, so this was a lovely surprise to wake up to. I wish I was a more artsy photographer but I am hoping to learn some tips and tricks in the new year, and I had to snap a few pictures of the gorgeous white blanket:

snowfall December 2016 1

snowfall December 2016 2

snowfall December 2016 3

 

Is it snowing where you live???

Turning 21 . . . 

Birthday cake 2016So as of Wednesday morning, I am 21 years old. 

It’s scary to think that not all that long ago I was still in high school, and now I am almost finished university. I’ve always been intrigued by the way that time can feel as though it passes at a glacial pace one moment and then at warp speed the next.

Being the planner that I am, I read numerous articles and blog posts about what 21 was going to be like. Well, most of the articles must have been written from an American perspective because all the exciting things had to do with drinking. I drink socially, but certainly not enough to have a go-to drink, an alcohol budget, a preference for getting drunk on decent versus cheap liquor, or having a preferred bartender.

The other main thing mentioned in the articles was being able to travel to Vegas. I am actually planning to head to Vegas for the first time in early 2017 as a belated birthday celebration (spoiler alert for future travel blog posts!!!) but I already have my gambling cap set at $50 (talk about living life on the edge).  

Turkey Casserole November 2016
Grandma Pearl’s Incredible Turkey Casserole
As I do every year, I celebrated my birthday at my grandparents house, and my grandmother just so happened to have my favourite meal stashed away in her freezer: turkey casserole. Essentially it is all of the leftovers of Thanksgiving dinner combined into one culinary creation, and it is my ultimate comfort food. 

Last year I shared 20 facts about me in celebration of my 20th birthday, but this year I wanted to do something a little different and open up the comments section to questions. 

Birthday cake 2016 unlit
13 opened boxes of Smarties and one giant pink candle later, and my grandmother created the most epic pink birthday cake.

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25 Facts About Me

I always like reading these posts because I get to learn random little facts about people, but it is much harder than I expected to come up with facts off the cuff. Nevertheless, I give you 25 random facts about myself:

  1. I have to read the entire menu at a restaurant before I can order, even if I already know what I would like. 
  2. I love mailing and receiving handwritten letters. 
  3. I have a typewriter collection. 
  4. My first stuffed animal was a teddy bear named Duffy. I still have him to this day, and he has the VIP seat on my bed. 
  5. I enjoy fancy social gatherings wherein I am required to dress accordingly.
  6. I almost never answer the phone. I don’t know how to deal with phone calls.
  7.  My hands and feet are always cold.
  8. I dressed up as Elmo for my first Halloween. 
  9. I prefer Macs to PCs. 
  10. I am a Scorpio, and I read my horoscope almost every morning, if not every morning, just to see what it says the day holds. 
  11. I am an only child. 
  12. I always seem to be years behind on trends. 
  13. Beauty and the Beast is my favourite Disney movie. 
  14. I like ketchup, but not tomato soup. 
  15. My perfect day would be sitting in a comfy chair next to a fireplace reading a book aloud to my best friend, with my cat curled up in my lap and a cup of hot chocolate on a nearby table. 
  16. I don’t drink alcohol all that often; only sometimes at holidays or out with friends. 
  17. I did not learn how to drive until I was 19 years old. 
  18. I want to take classes for so many different things: sign language, spoken languages, Braille, art, and yoga teacher training to name a few. 
  19. I love buying new and used books whenever I travel somewhere new. 
  20. I want to go on a road trip through the US, hitting up states like Ohio, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Kansas, Texas, Tennessee, New York, and so many more. 
  21. I have a box for each one of my friends, inside which I keep little items from my time spent with them like movie tickets, wrappers, rocks, etc. 
  22. I always organize my shopping cart at the grocery store. I detest a haphazardly loaded cart. 
  23. My phone is an iPhone 4, and I have had it for over 6 years now. It still works most of the time, except on occasion the home button gets stuck. 
  24. I can’t have different foods touch on my plate. 
  25. I am left-handed. 

I’d like to get to know you better too. Tell me a random fact about yourself in the comments 🙂 🙂 

How To Stay Financially Fit This Summer

With the end of classes and the arrival of sunny summer weather, many people put together a fitness plan to get swimsuit ready, however, far fewer people create a financial fitness plan for the summer to help budget for school, travel, and living expenses. I was contacted by Credit Card Insider with the idea to publish a post to assist young people such as myself with managing credit cards and making sound financial decisions.    

Credit Card Insider is an excellent online resource for unbiased consumer and commercial lending options. Many financial things are complex and so we tend to avoid them,  but Credit Card Insider makes financial education simple and easy, helping customers understand credit and debt and how to use credit cards responsibly. They provide research and comparisons of credit cards for various financial lifestyles, along with assistance with applying for a credit card.  In its simplest terms, there are different types of credit card, such as for students, business, travel, or rewards. In other words, the primary purpose of the card. Then there are different issuers like American Express, Capital One, and Discover. And both of these rest in credit rating, which ranges from excellent to limited or none. 

Getting involved with money and becoming financially savvy was an important part of growing up for me and helped me learn to make good decisions before I began attending university, which involves more financial responsibility. I find the summer months to be the best time for a mid-year check-up on my finances when I can set and adjust financial goals based on short-term needs for the summer and long-term needs for the coming year. So here is an outline of my financial plan:

Find a Summer Job

I have returned to my summer job that I have now held for the third consecutive summer. Being financially independent from my parents is really important, while also making sound choices. Not only does this job in the tourism industry provide me with a bi-monthly paycheque but it has really improved my interpersonal skills, professionalism, customer service, and organization, abilities that will look good on my résumé when I look for jobs in the future.

Direct Deposit

While many employers directly deposit paycheques into into employees’ bank accounts, some still give paper paycheques, which does not help curb unnecessary or impulsive spending. Arranging a direct deposit can help avoid overspending, and also means that there is no need for a trip to the bank to deposit the cheque.

Have a Separate Savings Account

I have two bank accounts: one that I operate out of and pay my bills from, and a high-interest savings account where I squirrel away a portion of my paycheques for a rainy day, a big purchase, or in case of an emergency. I pay myself as though I am paying a bill, transferring 10-15% of each of my paycheques into this account so I always have a little nest egg of cash.

Research Different Types of Bank Accounts

From student accounts, to high-interest savings accounts, to tax-free savings accounts, to chequing accounts, there is a myriad of account options. The simplest way to compare accounts and select the best one for your financial lifestyle and goals is to make an appointment with a financial advisor at your bank and seek their recommendations. Some accounts offer no annual fees, while others offer better interest rates, unlimited transactions, free e-transfers, and so on.  

Find Ways to Save Money on Products and Activities

There is a plethora of sources for rewards programs, coupons, and student discounts, which have greatly helped me save money on everyday items and on things I have wanted to do like movie theatre ticket discounts on Tuesdays, vouchers for a free game of bowling, and 2 for 1 dinner coupons in the local newspaper. Every little bit helps.   

Apply For and Use a Credit Card

This may sound counterintuitive as many kids are warned early on about the danger of using credit to purchase things, but starting early to build up a good credit score is really important, especially if one is looking to apply for loans for school or a vehicle or a mortgage in the future.  One method I use is that I only purchase things on my credit card that I know I can afford and immediately pay it off online. That way, I am building a good credit score while never having to worry about missed payments or accruing interest. An automatic monthly payment can also be set up through online banking, but my one issue with that is it doesn’t force you to look at your purchases for the month and evaluate which were necessary and which could be avoided next month. 

Learn Self-Control

This goes hand in hand with what I wrote just above about purchasing something on credit. It is an easy way to build up a good credit rating, but it is important to learn to delay gratification, i.e. waiting to purchase those to-die-for shoes until you actually have the money to pay for them up front. There is nothing worse than getting shoes on sale, only to pay for them on credit, forget about making payments, and then having to pay all that you saved on the shoes to the bank in interest. 

Know the Ins and Outs of Your Money

By this, I mean keeping track of the sources and amounts of money that are deposited into your bank account each month, and the sources and amounts of money that are withdrawn or spent. Doing this makes it really easy to see how small daily purchases like coffee or lunch can add up to hundreds of dollars in a month, and provide a big picture view of where expenses can be cut down to ensure expenses never exceed income, and clearly show where savings can be made. 

Prepare your own Tax Returns

Honestly, I haven’t done this one yet, but I plan to for the 2016 year. I just think this will help me better understand my finances, income tax, and the calculation of net pay in relation to monthly expenses. That, and then I can save myself the fee each year by having a company do it for me. 

What is your summer financial fitness plan???  Blog logo