The toy I will NOT be getting my niece for Christmas

‘Shopkins’ first came into my vocabulary after my partner asked our niece what she wanted for Christmas this year. I didn’t know what they were, but the name alone kind of rubbed me the wrong way. I tried to keep an open mind, but the more I read about it, the more I knew this would not be what I was getting our niece.

Shopkins are small collectible toys modelled after purchasable items such as shoes, makeup, or fruits and vegetables. They are marketed towards young girls.

Their slogan is “Once you shop, you can’t stop!”

I wish I was making this up.

Read more

Do rich people give less?

CanadaHelps, a donation platform used by many Canadian charities (including the one I work for), recently released their 2017 Giving Report, described as a report about “the charitable sector, where the money goes, and how people like you give.”

Overall, nothing about the data was too shocking: the majority of donations are made in December, monthly donors give more and are more loyal, and overall donations are down but online donations are up.

There is a lot of speculation in the fundraising world over the giving levels based on income, so I was particularly interested in that result.

Those with an annual income of $150-$199K earn 7.5 times more in income than those with less than $20K in annual income, but give just 2.5 times more in donations. (CanadaHelps)

On some level, I get this. All of us FIRE-wannabees know that not spending money is one of the components to getting there.

However, we need to be able to reconcile frugality with giving back. It doesn’t even have to be a lot of money. Most charities (especially a small one like the one I work for) would be SO HAPPY to receive your $5 monthly donation. When you think about it, that’s one coffee from Starbucks or a drink at a restaurant. I know that personally I waste $5 on something silly at least once a month.

In return for that $5, you will get personal satisfaction in knowing you’re doing something for others, as well as an annual tax receipt. Some charities even have special ‘clubs’ for their monthly donors that bring you behind-the-scenes, and make you feel personally involved. Make sure to align your charity of choice with your values and priorities. I give primarily to animal-based charities because I have two rescue cats and it feels very close to my heart.

In some cases (food banks, women’s shelters, etc.), there is also the option to donate goods. While any type of donation is positive, keep in mind that monetary donations are usually much more effective. Charities can often use this money to buy goods–like food for a food bank–at much better prices in bulk. When giving items, be sure to ask the charity what they have the most need of.

If monetary-giving isn’t an option, consider volunteering. There are so many different options for this, and often you can even let the charity know your area of interest or expertise.

Do you give to any charities yearly or monthly? What inspires you to give back? Do you agree that the “feel good factor” could be considered a return on investment?


Purchases I don't regret

Purchases I Don’t Regret

I am no stranger to buyer’s remorse. While I’ve improved over the years, as I’ve mentioned, I used to have trouble with impulse purchases. As a result, I’ve donated more bins of clothing and random knick-knacks than I’d like to count.

Often I look at the things I’ve decided to keep, and when I consider whether I would still spend money on them today, the answer is no. While I don’t necessarily regret these purchases, I do sometimes think I could have waited for better deal, or saved my money for something else. Read more

stamp collection

Can a collector be frugal?

I always had some sort of collection on the go as a kid. Usually multiple at once. Key chains, interesting rocks, Beanie Babies, and old coins are a few I remember off the top of my head.

I think this is pretty common for children, but it doesn’t always carry over to adulthood. I won’t go as far as to say the world can be divided between collectors and non-collectors, but it does make for an interesting dichotomy.

Read more

4 tips

4 Tips to Avoid Mindless Purchases

I have struggled with a shopping addiction in the past. Mindlessly spending $1,000 at Sephora really woke me up to this issue, and shortly after I took some steps to ensure something like that wouldn’t happen again. Most of my mindless purchases were made online, and these four steps truly helped me to minimize them. As always, your mileage may vary.

Read more

An e-mail from Sephora gave me the wake-up call I needed

Four years ago, a celebratory e-mail landed in my inbox. But as I read it, instead of excitement, I felt a knot form in my stomach.

“Congratulations,” it read, “on unlocking VIB Rouge, our new premium membership level!”

“Congratulations,” I heard, “on spending $1,000 you can’t afford on things you didn’t need and haven’t used!”

Read more