I think money fear is a legitimate feeling that many Canadians should find relatable.
If you suffer fear about not having enough money or a fear of spending money, I hope my experience will guide you.
I was able to build a life in Canada, work in a career I love and become debt-free before I was 40.
On top of that, I worked my way into the blogging world and built a five-figure online business.
What I do regret is letting money take control of my life.
When I understood basic finance, I worried about whether I would earn enough money.
Money fear can be crippling to the point of depression, severe stress and worry about life in general.
Today I want to share how I overcame money fear and built up a wall of financial security.
Money Fear Can Take Over Your Life
Growing up, I started earning money as a paper boy who spent many days thinking about life.
I grew up in the UK, understanding that the father works full-time and the mum stays home to care for the family.
Household roles have changed, and parents must contribute equally with or without kids.
However, even with a dual-income household, that’s not enough to reduce the fear because of debt.
Unfortunately, circumstances make people never get to live their dream life without financial worry.
Growing up believing you want to be a doctor or scientist takes a spin once you realize the depth of each choice.
Some people make it, and others don’t due to financial and health reasons.
You’re unlikely to hear that a child wants a career as a weed control service advisor or bingo caller.
I also believe that without a dream, we aren’t giving ourselves goals to work towards and hope to fall into place.
Money Fear Growing Up Poor
I want to say that I grew up in a family without financial worries, but there’s no truth to that.
When other kids at my school went off on vacation with their families, we had to stay home and run the family business.
As a child who grew up in a family where money was a daily challenge, it’s safe to say I wanted more in my life.
You almost grow up faster when you realize that you don’t live as others do.
Friends of mine grew up in bigger homes but were detached or on private property.
Luckily I was fortunate to see both sides of reality vs the dream life I desperately wanted.
I can’t explain why I became money-obsessed, but I knew I would somehow free myself from the shackles.
The life I created in my mind was of hard work, career goals, money showers and debt freedom.
That was not much to ask of myself however without those scenarios in my mind; I would likely not be where I am today.
Ways People Suffer Money Fear
We’ve been asked why we still budget when we don’t have debt and are ahead of most people our age.
We don’t see it that way because where there is one debt-free success story, there’s another.
Debt freedom is entirely different for everyone; however, suffering from money fear should not be.
Questions I would ask myself when I was alone while I went to University became myriad questions.
- Do I even like what I’m studying at University?
- Am I following my dream?
- Will I be able to pay off my University, so I don’t need a loan?
- Can I see myself working in this career forever?
- What can I do to ensure I earn enough money?
- Will someone love me with or without a promising career?
- How much money will I need to earn to ease my money fear?
- What if I don’t find a career in the UK with my degree?
- Would my parents allow me to live at home if I needed financial help?
- How will I start saving money or investing in my future?
- Why do I feel like a failure?
- How do I face my friends who will earn more money than I?
Money Controlled My Life
There are probably a million more questions I needed answers to work on controlling my money fear.
I wanted to control my life, including how I earned and saved money.
After University, I realized I did not want to work with computers because it was boring.
You’re probably laughing because I’m a part-time blogger, but it’s far different from computer engineering.
Besides, blogging is fun because I get to share how my family was able to beat debt and increase our savings and investments.
In my earlier years, I took a horrible job in a beef factory that paid the bills on my first home.
Soon after I left that job, I moved on to a UK grocery distribution centre for frozen food.
Again, the money was more than minimum wage and helped pay my mortgage.
There was always a sense of pending doom because I didn’t want to work in a factory forever.
At that time, my money fear became intense emotionally because I felt lost in life.
Mental health and money go hand in hand, especially when you aren’t sure of your path.
Will it be the right path, or am I going to take the wrong turn?
Either way, life is a risk; without experience, you can’t learn how to improve.
Then, I met my wife, another blog post topic coming soon.
Money Fear and Marriage
After Mrs. CBB and I married and moved to Canada, money fears disoriented my thinking process.
What would I do for a job in a new country at 30?
It wasn’t long after landing in Canada that I knew I didn’t want a job; I wanted a life-long career.
Both men and women can suffer silently from having too much debt or money insecurity.
Thankfully Mrs. CBB lived a minimalist life and had a similar sentiment regarding poverty.
Both of us knew that if we started a family, we wanted to make sure money didn’t own us.
After purchasing our first home since living in a basement room for two years, we kicked it into high gear.
Creating The Life, We Wanted
Our life goals didn’t include unrealistic beginnings because we knew everyone had to start somewhere.
Setting financial milestones meant we knew it would take more than working to save money.
There were always ways to reduce the amount of money we spent and increase what we earned.
There are many examples I could share with you but below are what I was thinking at the time.
First, we needed to list what scares us the most about growing up.
- How do we save money to buy a house together?
- In what ways can we earn extra money aside from our jobs? (I started working full-time while returning to get a college education in the same field of study.)
- What is our worst money fear? (we wrote it down on paper and taped it to our room wall)
- Could we sustain living in a new house and having a baby when the time comes?
- How much is too much to spend when buying our first home?
- In what ways can we save for a downpayment without having to use our savings?
- How would we survive if one of us lost our job?
I think it’s essential to be a critical thinker and look into the future with a plan for specific situations.
For example, losing a job could have had a massive impact on our mortgage had we spent more than we could afford.
Yes, Mrs. CBB lost her job, and we bought our house with one income.
That was a scary time and another reason we did everything we could to earn money legitimately.
There was no room for becoming house poor, so we talked about money daily as a married couple.
Being on the same page with a spouse about living for today, tomorrow, and the future is a blessing.
How We Overcame Money Fear Together
I think it’s important to remember that losing control of life often revolves around money.
I’m sure many Canadians feel the pain of inflation but never factored that into their financial plan.
Can you even do that? Not really, but you can save money for a rainy day.
Budgeting was the real turning point because it took a massive weight off our shoulders.
After a few months of using a basic budget, it was clear that our financial picture came to life.
We could see how we could save more money in budget categories that didn’t make sense.
For example, we aren’t fans of eating at restaurants; when we do, it’s most likely a celebration.
If our goal was to save money, we didn’t eat out or feel owed that luxury.
Both of us grew up eating home-cooked meals far less expensive than convenience.
Fight Debt Tooth And Nail
When we bought a home, we knew we wanted out of that debt hold as fast as possible.
A mortgage’s massive amount of money was scary because we couldn’t predict the future.
We did whatever we could to earn money on the side to put towards our yearly mortgage lump sum allowance.
After five years, we could pay the entire $185,000 mortgage in full before we were 40.
That was the most significant financial accomplishment that allowed us breathing room.
Although not having a mortgage any longer may seem like we’ve hit the jackpot, life is scary.
Almost nine years later, as debt-free Canadians, I still find ways to save money for our family.
Find Ways To Reduce or Conquer Money Fear
Not much has changed today as it did while we were paying our mortgage off.
We still live a frugal life by saving and earning money whenever it presents itself.
Putting our investments to work for us meant playing catch up by taking advantage of an RRSP, RESP and TFSA.
Although we were investing in our retirement while paying the mortgage, we put more weight on burning our mortgage papers.
You’ll be happy to know that I no longer have money fear running circles in my mind.
I’m glad that we were both able to stay on the same page with our financial goals and never give up.
Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had hard times but found a way to make it over the hurdles.
Did we go without because my parents couldn’t afford to give us what others got?
Sure we did, but now we are raising our son without putting the burden of money problems in his way.
Take Advantage Of Free Money, Rewards and Savings
Stop putting a spin on scenarios that will dampen your ability to reap monetary rewards.
Call us crazy, too frugal or greedy, but we still look for ways to earn and save money.
Please don’t laugh or roll your eyes because I can’t predict whether my health will be good to sustain our goals.
For this reason, we continue to use the following opportunities to keep saving money.
- Coupons and coupon apps are relevant and likely will be in the foreseeable future.
- Rakuten Discounts and Rewards Canada
- Flash Food App is unique, and we always check for reduced products to buy.
- Nielsen Home Scan Canada
- Credit Card Rewards – We use Costco, Canadian Tire and PC Financial MasterCard
- Rewards Programs such as PC Optimum, where we have almost 7 million points banked
- Blogging For Extra Income earns me a five-figure yearly side income that is also passive.
- No Fee Banking with Simplii Financial since I moved to Canada. Simplii Financial Is THE BEST!
- Freedom Mobile, $21 with 2GB of data a month, is the best mobile deal I researched
- A yearly investment review with our financial advisor is a must
- Shoppers Voice Canada
- Survey Junkie
- Focus Groups In our area (check with a local University as students writing a Thesis often pay for participants.)
- Paymi App
- Amazon Canada Prime Membership
- Ampli Cash Back App
- Investing in a Life Insurance policy
- Harris Poll Canada
- Pinecone Research
- Branded Surveys
- Great Canadian Rebates
You can find others on my Canadian Savings, Deals, Rewards and Discount page.
I am upfront to tell you that not all but some are affiliate links; however, I stand by each one of them.
The best part about sharing what apps work for us is that there are always perks for my readers.
Learn from the people living their life how you want to see yourself.
If debt-freedom is your jam, you’ve landed on the right finance blog for Canadians.
No Longer Have A Fear Of Spending Money
A budgeting journey coupled with money fear will not be easy to overcome, but it is possible.
I no longer fear spending money because we have a plan B and continue to save.
You’re not being greedy about saving more money even if others view you in such a way.
There’s nothing wrong with being frugal in the wake of Covid-19 and other health scares.
Forget negative people and release yourself from the burden money can take from you.
Make a list of all of your money fears, then write what your desired outcome would be.
One by one, seek out how you can cross each of the fears off your list.
In my experience, I had to hunt for answers, talk to professionals and seek advice from successful people.
For example, we have always feared that our investments could spiral down based on the economy.
With experience, we’ve learned that being risk takers with an aggressive portfolio means that it might happen, but we need to think long-term.
No matter what demons you are fighting, there is always a resolution if you are willing to take the steps, not the elevator.
Discussion: What money fear serves you a plate of stress topped with a dollop of depression?
Share any finance questions or your fears below, and I’ll respond to them.