Young woman embarrassed of her low-income family : The Saturday Weekend Review #151

The Saturday Weekend Review logo- low-income familyNOBODY KNOWS HOW MUCH MONEY YOU EARN UNLESS YOU TELL THEM



Not every low-income family struggles financially because views about wants and needs fall on different levels and some manage their money just the same.

They may not have all the luxuries they desire but they are happy, the bills are paid and they keep debt to a minimum or have none at all. It’s always going to be an ongoing struggle but they manage with what they have. Shopping may be at second-hand shops and their budget may be tight every month but they are content.

There are people who are opposite this and are resentful and unhappy about their life but do nothing about it or are unable to do anything to change the situation. When we were young we created a vision in our minds about how we wanted our lives to turn out. Not all of us will see that vision come to life. We live in a tough world but ultimately we are in charge of our happiness whether we have a fat bank account or not.

When I moved to Canada I had no job which meant I was earning no income for my wife and I. I was in a new country and was starting over in my late 20’s. I was a bit nervous who wouldn’t be. My savings weren’t going to last forever and I needed to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and fast. Thankfully my wife was working but it was then when I realized how vulnerable I really was. All of my life I’ve earned a decent living in the UK which is why I bought a house so young but I was also thrifty with my money.

Related: Buying my first property was I too young?

Even when I sold my house, got married and prepared to move to Canada I still found jobs to earn money while waiting for my permanent residence status. The money I earned was more than enough to pay rent in a decent place, buy groceries and anything else I needed to save for.

When I arrived in Canada I struggled to find work. I went to interview after interview and even though I have a University degree no one would hire me without Canadian work experience. I didn’t have a credit score so I signed up as a secondary secured card-holder on my wife’s account to build credit.

I miraculously also got a Sears MasterCard which I cherished like gold as it was all my own. I was glum about my career prospects and thought there had to be a better way to secure my future. Not everyone has an opportunity to go back to school like I did but I wasn’t going to miss the chance to live my dream.

Related: Building Credit in Canada as a New Permanent Resident

About 8 months after I started school I took a full-time job earning $15 an hour which was more than minimum wage at the time back in 2008 but less than what I had ever earned. I knew that I had to start somewhere and if I didn’t take the job I would have no money coming in. I wouldn’t be embarrassed to work for minimum wage because I’d sling farm poo if I had to.

There were no services to help me because my wife was responsible for me financially for 3 years in which time I could not claim government assistance, so that gave me extra incentive. Some people think that immigrants get all sorts of benefits when they move to Canada. I received nothing but my motivation to become successful with what I chose to do with my life. Things could be different today though for new immigrants.

Although we had money saved up it made me realize just how tough it was for any low-income family or individual earner to get somewhat ahead without being tight with the money they earned. I started to learn about the cost of living in Canada and although it took some time I got a handle on prices and how things worked. I continue to learn even today, years later.

At first I was used to pounds not dollars but it didn’t take me long to figure it all out even if I did look like a goof picking out my money. Lots of people just stared at me but I didn’t care. For a short while my wife had to take the change from my hand as I didn’t understand what was what with Canadian coins apart from pennies.

What I’ve learned over the years is that some people are embarrassed if they come from a low-income family or too intimidated to say where they work because they don’t want to look like a failure. Not everyone is comfortable talking about how much money they earn and where they earn it from. Mrs. CBB and I rarely talk about personal finance or how much money we earn in the real world because we’re not comfortable doing so.

Some of our friends and family seem like they are rich because of the cars they drive and the clothes they wear but for all we know, they could be broke. Honestly, I don’t even care. A person may be considered low-income if they work a minimum wage job but you don’t know what they have stashed away in the bank or invested. Some people like to rent or they aren’t ready to buy a house yet because they don’t want the added expenses.

Some of the smartest savers don’t earn 6 figures or even half that amount.


Low-income family living is not always by choice


Then there are people who live in low-income or subsidized housing many of which feel the wrath of those who judge them almost everyday. We have a friend who is a single mom and lives in subsidized housing with her 2 children but works in the healthcare field. She earns $20 an hour but she is never guaranteed full-time work. Although she continues to look for more work she makes ends meet and is smart with her money.

It’s hard for her because she has been accused of sitting on welfare doing nothing but collecting money when other people go to work just because of where she lives. She’s been told to “Get off her lazy a$$ and get a job”. Little do they know, she does work. She does pay for her utilities but gets cheaper rent until she finds a stable job. It’s not easy to get into housing either so she’s thankful for the help while she finds employment that will move her family into a permanent place.

I’m not here to argue whether someone should or shouldn’t get welfare as that’s not my job which I’m sure comes with pressures of its own. There are people who do work but are still considered a low-income family which entitles them to receive government benefits like our friend. These benefits go a long way and certainly can make a difference.

Related: How to apply for Ontario Works Social Assistance

There are many services in Canada if you are a low-income family looking to get back to work, temporary income support or skills training through government benefits. If you are a student who comes from a low-income family you can also benefit from the CanLearn grant program that is offered. The low-income threshold for Ontario 2015-2016 for student grants for families with 2 people is $30,448 pre-tax income and in British Columbia it’s $29,734.

There are also families who are considered a low-income family due to other circumstances such as disability, layoffs, retirement or spousal death where he/she was the bread-winner, and so on. Sometimes things happen in life and if we can’t change them then we have to find ways to make the best of the situation.


Ontario Energy Rebate Program


The other day I posted an article on my Facebook page “465,000 people may miss start of Ontario’s low-income energy rebate” only to wake up to over 100 shares in the morning. WOW, that was probably one of the fastest spreading posts I’ve ever shared on the CBB page that I took from an outside source.

One woman sent me a message to say that she was eligible for the energy rebate and was thankful for the post as she wasn’t aware. She also mentioned that she was a bit embarrassed as one of her friends posted it to her timeline and said “You should look into this I bet you qualify”.

I’m certain she is not the only one this has happened to and yes some people may get annoyed when you post personal stuff on social media even if your only intention is to help. Sometimes it’s easier to send a private message.

She wanted to know if Mrs.CBB and I about our income with friends and wanted to know how she could get over feeling embarrassed about how much money she earns even though she continues to look for more work. It’s easy to get into a financial rut when you aren’t doing what you are passionate about yet you see all of your friends and family working their way up the career ladder.


Stay focused


The only suggestion I could give to her apart from my story upon arrival in Canada was that no one cares more about your money than you do. That means that no matter what happens in your life if you stop worrying about what everyone else thinks about you whether you offer up information about your finances or they come up with their own conclusions it will be the best motivation you can give yourself.

I didn’t care what I was doing as long as money was coming in and I had a plan b on the go,which I did. There are many people who become entrepreneurs to do what they love or start from the bottom to work their way up. You have to find that passion and run with it even if it may be a bit risky. You may be part of a low-income family but that doesn’t mean you don’t have high potential to succeed if you really want to.

Have you ever been the slightest bit embarrassed about being a low-income family earning less money than your family and friends? How do you deal with this and what advice would you give to any fans who find they are feeling this way.



CBB Week At A Glance


This week flew by even though I had the day off this past Friday and Monday which was nice to spend with my family and catch up with a few things around the house. We managed to go see Santa 3 times this week but our son is so scared of him that he just cries. Santa knows our son by name now! If we don’t get a happy shot we’ll settle for the screaming toddler look. I’m sure next year will be a better year as he understands a bit more.

Other than that we put the Christmas tree up finally!! Our son keeps taking the ornaments off but that is expected. The tree is as plastic as they come so we’re not too worried about if he decides to bash anything but right now he’s been fairly gentle with it. I’m more concerned if it falls on him so we’re always keeping a watchful eye on him.

In my final weeks before the holidays and I’m counting down the days. No snow either, I love it!   Chat to you all next week and I hope you enjoy this edition of the Saturday Weekend Review!



Published This Week


Just in case you’ve missed any of my blog posts this week I will share them all below. If you are looking for past Saturday Weekend Review posts scroll down to the bottom of this post where I will list up to 5 previous weeks for you to read.

If you have a question that you would like to ask Mr.CBB fill out the Contact Mr.CBB form on the Home Page and send in your questions. If you want to share a story via a Fan Question only please ensure that there is minimum 500 words and lots of details…we love details!

Right now CBB is posting Tuesday (Grocery Game Challenge), Thursday (Personal Finance Post), Saturday (Personal Finance and Weekly Wrap-Up and a recipe on Sunday!


Budget Brags


Submit your Deal or Brag:

Saving money while grocery shopping is essential in the CBB family and that’s why we share our grocery shops every week in The Grocery Game Challenge 2015.

What I love the most is when my fans share their amazing shops with me whether it be groceries or other deals they find at a garage sale, online or freebies!!!

If you have a brag that you want me to share email me at canadianbudgetbinder@yahoo.(ca) < remove brackets) or fill out my contact form by Friday each week to have your brag considered for the Saturday post.

free Grillpro bbq(1)

Hi Mr.CBB and Fans!

We were given this Grillpro Stainless BBQ for free which I’m thrilled to share with all of you. They are several hundred dollars to purchase brand new which means we saved ourselves some cash. The BBQ has 4 burners, side burner and a rotisserie. We replaced the 4 burners and the regulator hose at a cost of around $100 and now  we have a super BBQ for less than the cost of a cheap BBQ.

-Colleen K.


Making A Difference (MAD)


Note: If you are a personal finance blogger (anywhere around the world) and would like your blog to be MAD featured simply drop me an email and I’ll explain the process to you.

This is my way of giving back to the personal finance community through networking and sharing knowledge with my fans. Today it is my pleasure to share with you to Femme Frugality a blog I’ve followed for many years.


Hi, CBB crew!

I’m Femme, the writer behind Femme Frugality. When I started a personal finance blog over four years ago, I had no idea I’d still be doing it today. I had decided to go back to school, and as a result, our household lost an income. I was forced to find all these crazy ways to make our money work. I tried telling all my friends about them, but they weren’t overly interested. So I went to the internet. I told myself it was because I wanted to help people. I had all this knowledge and wanted someone else to benefit.

In all reality, like most human beings, I probably just wanted someone to listen.

Mr. CBB was one of the first people to listen, in fact. He invited me to guest post on his blog, giving me a boost of confidence during those early days when you’re trying to decide if this is all worth it.

Fast forward four-ish years and I’m still here doing it. And I’m loving it. I’ve helped people save a ton of money on their weddings, identify errors on their credit scores, figure out how to apply for and win scholarships, and managed to dole out a little hope along the way. Our family has gone from low-income to middle, and I’ve done my best to document that journey.

The biggest thing I’m excited about right now is the Frugality Challenge. As our income went up, I realized we were spending a little more for the sake of convenience. In an effort to bring frugality back into our lives, I started a challenge where readers could make smart money decisions right alongside me. We earned points for doing awesome money things, like saving, paying off debt, and cooking our own food. We DIY where applicable. We budget and track our expenses.

It grew to a point where I had to redact myself from the competition, as we got a sponsor and started having prizes. I needed to administer. I still find such joy in watching other people compete to do positive things with their money. We’re on Facebook, and any and all are welcome to join.

Thanks so much for lending me your ears today. Thank you for listening. If you want to stop by, or chat in Mr. CBB’s comments, I’d love to fulfill my end of the bargain and do my best to help.


Top Recipe


buttery jam filled thumbprint cookies(1)

Food and grocery shopping is a BIG part of CBB because food is a large part of the budget which people struggle the most with.

If you are someone who would rather buy convenience meals or products consider cooking homemade meals or baking from scratch.

Not only will you save money but you will be proud of what you accomplished and you’ll see that from the smiles on those you feed.

If you don’t already know I have a second Facebook page called The Free Recipe Depot where I share recipes from other Food Bloggers from around the world.

I also share recipes on the blog once a week on Sundays either made by my in-house home blog cook Nicola Don or myself. This is a fun, interactive blog where we talk about everything that happens in our world.

This week our Top Recipe Pick goes to Amy over at Chew it Out Loud for these Buttery Jam Filled Thumbprint Cookies.

These cookies are nostalgic for Mrs. CBB as her grandmother used to make them and every few years she will whip up a batch for Christmas. My favourite is the mint jelly filled thumbprint crusted with chopped pecans.

Some of our favourite holiday cookies on the blog that are fairly inexpensive to make and are traditions in our house. Although we haven’t been able to make them all over the past year since our son was born we plan to continue so we create traditions of our own.


Top DIY Project


popscicle stick Christmas Crafts(1)This week Mrs.CBB and I were talking about crafts that we could do with our son starting next year. We plan to set up a craft table for him so we can invite him to use his hands and creative side.

This is important since he won’t be going to daycare and we want him to be semi-prepared for when he goes to elementary school.

I came across this lovely blog called The Frugal Navy Wife who has a post sharing 10 Easy Kids Christmas Crafts which we loved.

As a stay at home mom of 4 who home-schools I’m sure Danielle has to come up with many ideas to keep the creative juices flowing which we plan to do.

If you are looking for some frugal crafts for your kids to work on working with Popsicle sticks is the way to go plus you can typically find them at the Dollar store.


Editor’s Pick


Every week I will pick a blog post of the week from around the web that I found interesting and want to share with you and an Editor’s top blog post pick.

Editor’s pick (That’s me Mr.CBB) goes to Sam over at Financial Samurai who shared a post detailing Income Profiles of Financially Free People. What does it take to be financially free? Work Ethic is one and as you read down the list you’ll clearly see that all it really takes is motivation to be the best you can be while swimming through the waters which can be rough at times but they can also be calm and glorious. No ever said freedom came easy, especially when it comes to money. A great read.


How people find CBB


Every week I get thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog. Any spelling errors below are because I share with you the exact way they typed their search engine query to land on my blog.

  • Scrooge Gift– That’s easy… give nothing at all!
  • Is telling the clerk that an item came from the 50% off bin considered stealing?– No, that’s lying. If you stuffed the product under your shirt and walked out, that’s stealing.
  • Best date square recipe ever- You got that right… 🙂
  • Why don’t Canadians like free food?– I’m not Canadian and I love free food. My wife is Canadian and she isn’t opposed to it. Honestly I haven’t heard of anyone who doesn’t like free food.
  • Having a Dollarama birthday party– Sounds good to me!

That’s all for this week friends but be back here next Saturday to enjoy the next edition in the Saturday Weekend Review Series. Don’t forget to subscribe to my daily blog post by entering your email address on the home page and verifying the subscription email once it is sent to you.

Note***If you don’t verify the subscription via the email I send you right after you subscribe you won’t get my daily blog post*** I’d hate to not have you here so please click “Subscribe” in the email.


Related Articles:

Mr. CBB who was born and raised in the United Kingdom, moved to Canada where he is now a permanent resident. He is also a father to a very active 3 year old boy which keeps him young at heart. He bought his first house at the age of 21 in the UK after graduating University and his second at age 24. Mrs. CBB bought her first house at the age of 30. Both Mr.CBB and his wife are 40-ish year-old finance lovers who accomplished debt freedom before the age of 40. Canadian Budget Binder is a fun, family-friendly place where he shares their financial journey with his readers and hopes to learn about theirs. No silver-spoon just hard work and perseverance. Welcome to Canadian Budget Binder! You've got this!


  1. I just wanted to say the older I get the more apparent it becomes to always remember what is important. This can be very difficult in the world we live in. There is constant pressure to keep up. But I remind myself that it is not a competition and the only person am in a race is my old self. I have learnt so much from reading blogs, shows and just listening to other people who manage their finances well including those that suck at it talk. It is very clear and obvious that you can never make enough, your wants of you are not careful outweighs your resources. My sister always would say it is not a deal if you cannot afford it. I was born and spent most of my early years in a third world country and that has helped me put a lot of things into perspective of what is important, what is a need or a want. What I can live without. Recently I bought my first home, it came as a surprise to a lot of my friends, especially those I work with as we get paid the same amount roughly. Some of them still live at home. What they do not know is that this home, has been planned for two years ago. I don’t drive a new car or the latest model but you could not tell because I take care of my things well. This translates into other material things I have, I try to buy the best quality I can afford at the time and take care of it well. That is another aspect I feel like we have lost, my generation anyway, we buy and dispose things so easily. Just a few thoughts that I had from reading your post. Keep up the good work CBB

  2. thistlelips says:

    I was a single working mother of two living in subsidized housing in one of the most expensive communities in Canada. Here are a few things that might help your friend feel better. Nobody knows how much money you make and may of those people who live in fancy houses may be massively in debt, have huge credit card bills and be one step away from being bankrupt. I’ve known people who drive expensive cars but live in houses with 15 other people in order to have low rent so they could pay for their car. Whenever I used to feel a little insecure about my financial situation I used to remind myself that I may be poor, but that didn’t mean I was slovenly and squalid. I made sure that everything in my house was safe, uncluttered, clean, tidy and in good repair. My garden was weeded, my floors were vacumed and my car was washed. Secondly, money can’t buy being gracious and hospitable. A good host can make a hamburger BBQ more fun than the most expensive dinner in a fancy restaurant. Your children’s friends will prefer a hamburger anyway. Third, money can’t buy taste. I’ve seen some very ugly expensive houses and I’ve seen some really cute subsidized places. I’ve seen some very wealthy parents come over to my home to pick up their children and be very impressed with how comfortable and cute my home was. Fourth, young kids don’t care that you might be poor. Rich kids could come over to my house and play with my children and have a great time. We didn’t have the expensive toys but I was able to give them attention. I could take the kids down to the beach with a candle and a tin can and melt smores and they considered it an adventure. Fifth, the greatest gift you can give your children is a love of books and a library card and that’s free.

  3. I never share my income or how much I earn with others. Not that I don’t want to be judged, it’s really ethical not to. I just let them guess on the basis of what they see and feel. But, totally I don’t mind their opinion.

  4. Christine Weadick says:

    We would be classed as lower income here as hubby has health issues that forced him to retire early and to apply for and get Canada Pension Plan disability payments every month. People that know and care about us know what is going on here financially. The rest can go take a leap. I am doing the best I can and that is all I can do really. Somebody wants to judge me because we get CPP-D every month they judge all they want, I don’t particularly care what they think…..
    Have a great weekend!!!

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