Going through school, the last thing I would consider myself was a writer. However, starting this blog in 2006 changed things where I discovered that I enjoyed sharing my thoughts, and surprisingly, for an audience.

As time went on, I’ve played around with the idea of writing a book related to personal finance, but the timing was never right.  As I’ve written about taking baby steps towards financial goals, I’ve taken a baby step towards writing a book by contributing to one!


The book “The Beginner’s Guide to Saving & Investing for Canadians” has just been released and is authored by a team of personal finance bloggers.  The authors include:

So what is the book about?  It’s all about the basics of personal finance and it’s written in an easy to understand manner (about 100 pages in total).  What section did I write?  I covered one of my favorite topics, that is, dividend investing for beginners.

The outline of the book is as follows:

  1. Making a Budget – net worth, goals, debt repayment, saving money, emergency funds.
  2. Where to Save Your Money – why save money, saving for retirement, rrsp vs. mortgage, rrsp vs tfsa, resps.
  3. Investing Wisely – risk and return, investment plan, cash, stocks, currency hedging, reblaancing, sample portfolios.
  4. Dividend Investing – basic concepts, tax advantages, ETFs, dividend growth, living off dividends.
  5. Buying the Right Insurance – how much do you need, types of life insurance, disablity and critical illness.

This book is written by 5 individuals who live, eat and breath personal finance. I must say that Dan Bortolotti did a great job editing and bringing the pieces together.  I’m very pleased with the final product and recommend it to all people starting out on their personal finance journeys.

Want a Free Copy?

We are offering readers the chance to win 5 free copies of the book.  Here is your chance to get multiple entries.

  1. Tell me your best personal finance tip for beginners by leaving a comment in this post. (+1 entry)
  2. Sign up for the free Money Tips Newsletter (+1 entry).
  3. Like MDJ on Facebook (+1 entry).
  4. Tweet about this post, make sure to include @FrugalTrader (+1 entry).

The Details:

  • Only one comment entry per person (valid email addresses only please – privacy policy).
  • Only one tweet per twitter account.
  • Only those with a North American mailing address may enter (publisher rules, sorry).
  • Contest will end Fri 5pm EST August 10, 2012 and the winners, drawn randomly from all entries, contacted shortly after!


  1. bkhan on July 27, 2012 at 9:16 am

    in order of the contents of this book:

    1. Making a Budget – in your budget, pay yourself first (SAVINGS, see #2)
    2. Where to Save Your Money – max out TFSA / RRSP in that order
    3. Investing Wisely – index funds for beginners, but be patient, and dont refresh bloomberg
    4. Buying the Right Insurance – look for group deals/savings/discounts from your professional organization/alumni group/university group/professional memberships, etc.

    skipped dividend investing, as im still learning, and this book will help ;)

  2. Elizabeth on July 27, 2012 at 9:17 am

    My best tip is to set your retirement savings first, then build your budget around it. I figure if I can’t afford to make my retirement savings targets, I can’t afford a home (yet), new car, etc.

    Paying oneself first is great, but I’d like to know more about where to put the money. Would love to read this book!

  3. Len Currie on July 27, 2012 at 9:38 am

    “Make Saving Automatic” Is the best tip I’ve ever received for saving money.

    For me personally, if I have money.. I’ll spend it.. I have to make it so that it’s nowhere easily accessible.. and by transferring funds automatically to a savings account/RRSP.. helps incredibly.

  4. Jason St-H on July 27, 2012 at 9:56 am

    I was already applying the “best tip ever” before reading about it in The Wealthy Barber, but “pay yourself first” is a must. Set aside part of your income and make it grow. You’ll probably never miss it.

    Now reading the comments above mine, I realize I’m not very original :)

    My second tip then would be to read books and blogs and whatnot on financial planning and investing. We unfortunately don’t learn this stuff at school and it’s often a taboo subject among families. Learn about money, learn about money management, and apply what feels right for you and lets you sleep at night.

  5. Jamie on July 27, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Track your spending! You’d be surprised where it all goes.

  6. John on July 27, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Cut up DW’s (da wife) Credit Cards!!!

  7. darren on July 27, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Live within your means

  8. Steve on July 27, 2012 at 10:48 am

    A penny saved is worth more than a penny earned! (Income tax!)

  9. Mark on July 27, 2012 at 11:00 am

    My employer offers a 25% RRSP match with the group plan, It’s free money. Look for what is already available, and use it.

  10. Judy on July 27, 2012 at 11:06 am

    My best advice is pay yourself first by setting up an automatic transfer every month to a savings account at another bank or online bank. This money is not to be touched except for investing.

  11. Daryl on July 27, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Gotta say that spend less than you earn and earn more than you spend is pretty easy advice to live by.

  12. Luc richard on July 27, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Best way of saving money is to have a an amount taken off your paycheck and deposited in a TSA or Canada savings bond. This way you don’t even see or have a chance to spend it

  13. Werner on July 27, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I’m going to have to say that for me, it started with, “…pay yourself first…”

  14. On Demand on July 27, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    make use of good debts and get rid of bad debts.

  15. Rob on July 27, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Don’t buy a house with the maximum amount of money the bank will give you.

  16. Bob on July 27, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    If you can’t pay for forseeabky in a month don’t buy it

  17. Brenda on July 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Have a Line of Credit approved at your bank asap, definitely before you need it.
    The interest rates are generally low, and it only costs you if you use it.
    In an emergency or an opportunity it’s quick money and easy to pay off with regular small payments as you can manage with online banking.
    Overdrafts are expensive, as is credit card interest.
    Deferred payment plans are great if you can pay off the total on the due date – use the line of credit and it gives you more time to pay and at a reduced overall cost.

  18. DontFearTheBear on July 27, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    The best beginner’s tip I can suggest is; one, stay out of debt! And, two, learn the amazing benefits of compounding interest!

  19. Digger on July 27, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Spend less than you earn!

  20. Daniel Stunda on July 27, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Spend less than you make, or find way to make more.

  21. Karen MacNeil on July 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    The best personal finace tip is to BEGIN saving. Even if you don’t have much or you know nothing about finance, once you begin, even if its only $10 a week, at least you’ve started. When we say we’ll do it tomorrow or when things get better, it never seems to happen.

  22. Andrew Spencer on July 27, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Buy tech stocks and real estate!

  23. John Lee on July 27, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Congrats on the book. Can’t wait until you publish your own entire book.

  24. Lisa Palmer on July 27, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    My advice for beginners is this, create an excel spread sheet to record every bill that goes out the door every month. From here, I look at what can be downsized. The big one I found was my cell phone. I had a huge account but never used it to its full capacity. By downsizing this, I am saving approx. $50/month. That in itself pays another bill for me. Once you get the hang of that, you can start keeping spreadsheets to account for every dollar.

  25. Koala on July 27, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Don’t spend more than what you make.

  26. tawcan on July 27, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Best advice is live within your own means.

  27. Dopple on July 27, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Always read and self educate, don’t be afraid to learn new things.

  28. Jatinder on July 27, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    I’d like a copy

  29. JW on July 27, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Put 10% of your earnings into savings/investing

  30. Paul Stoddard on July 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Spend less than you earn.

  31. Jeanne on July 27, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Manage your spendings and start the savings at the earlier stage.

  32. Steve on July 27, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    If you do nothing else – spend less than you earn!

  33. Hysljo on July 27, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    It’s great to see that you’ve taken the lead on helping people to invest. Just the other day, my daughter that is in university was asking me for advice on investing… and now I know I can start with your book! Thank you!

  34. Michael on July 27, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Spend less than you make is kind of the theme in these comments. While I agree with the comment, it is kind of a simpleton answer, and doesn’t really offer a “tip” other than common sense. For a young person starting out, probably the best tip to start you financial journey is do not get trapped by credit. As you start going to college or university, you will be swamped with credit card offers. You have no need for a credit card at that age. For the vast majority of young people, you will not be ready to properly manage this “easy money” and getting upside down and destroying your credit will be very easy. Buy what you can afford, shop for bargains, and actively learn about money and our Canadian tax and investment system. As you begin to pay taxes, you will soon learn about how much you “make” is actually yours. Learn about RRSPs and TFSAs. While some suggest start buying RRSPs, if you are trying to pay for school, pay as much as you can out of your pocket for the schooling. If you can start buying some RRSPs, great, but by simply filing an annual tax return, you will be creating RRSP “room” for yourself that you can utilize once you enter the work force and are actually making some money.

  35. Erik on July 27, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Take pride in saving money.

  36. Daria on July 27, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    It’s been said, but by far the best tip I have found is to put 10% of your paycheque away for savings “pay yourself first” whatever you want to call it. It works!

  37. Missy on July 27, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Don’t procratinate! Stop putting it off today and DO something about it.

    Derek Foster’s books, the Stop Working Now series, changed my life. These books take you through step by step on how to invest in dividend stocks.

    Don’t just read the books – Do one thing today, and one thing the day after today and one thing the day after that etc., towards becoming more financially independant.

  38. TJ on July 27, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Lots of good tips here from some very careful savers. I like the idea of having an amount of money deducted from an account at one bank and then put into an account at another.
    Like others I’d discourage the use of credit cards, if at all possible and particularly a Line of Credit, something which is always recommended as a way of consolidating debt at a lower rate. Lower rate money is pretty seductive.

  39. Kemberly on July 27, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Best financial advice I think is for a person to admit they need to take control then figure out exactly where they are financially, what their financial goals are (short or long term) and implement a plan that is useful to their situation. If possible find a friend or family member who can hold you accountable as well as give advice along the way.

  40. Dane on July 27, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    So many ideas for tips but I think the first thing a person needs to wrap his/her mind around is that it really is true that “less is more”. We don’t need big houses, multiple cars, weekend shopping excursions etc etc. The things that really make us feel happy and fulfilled almost never cost money. Once that lightbulb goes off, it’s much easier to start adopting all the spend less/save more tips.

  41. jess on July 27, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    spend less than you make

  42. Sammy on July 28, 2012 at 12:15 am

    Make sure you save a fixed amount out of your earnings each month and stick with the practice.

  43. LittleMissMuffet on July 28, 2012 at 2:34 am

    Spend less than you make, and when your income increases, live as though it did not… If this requires a rigid budget with every dollar accounted for, do it. If you have a good enough idea of what your financial situation is by looking at your bank account and knowing that the balance is steadily increasing, do it. Be as strict or as free as you need to be, but ALWAYS spend less than you make.

  44. sarah on July 28, 2012 at 4:29 am

    my tip is to first get to know and keep track of how much you spend on a certain period (be it monthly/bi-weekly…whichever makes more sense to you), analyze your spending habits (which items do you spend on the most), and create a budget.

  45. Janet on July 28, 2012 at 10:33 am

    The secret to wealth is not how much you make, but how much you spend.

  46. Laine on July 28, 2012 at 11:32 am

    All my automatic transfers go out the day my pay cheque gets deposited, every 2 weeks. That way, I don’t worry about having enough balance on the day the transfers will happen. I would love a copy of thie book!

  47. Ian on July 28, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    I’ve been a fan of your blog for a while now, and I know I need to finally learn more about being a more proactive investor! Hopefully this book could teach me all the essentials I need to know! The best tip I have is to follow the advice of the bloggers listed on this site and in this book.

  48. Chris on July 28, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    -Track your expenses (it’s a real eye opener)
    -Make a budget and follow it
    -Don’t use credit for anything that will not give you some possible return:
    –Home buying (although be careful in Toronto and Vancouver right now)
    –Education (for a degree that is in demand)
    –Borrowing to invest (in a business or the markets)
    -Don’t just blindly follow other people’s advice, everyone has unique circumstances that must dictate their personal finance decisions. Read, educate yourself and then make plans as part of a long term strategy
    -Never stop learning about personal finance and investing

  49. Gerard on July 29, 2012 at 12:03 am

    Deeply question every single purchase. Ask if you’re buying the item just because other people do.

  50. Troy on July 29, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    There’s lots of great advice already posted. Another key is: Get to know lots of people. Because the more peopleyou know, the more skills and knowledge you’ll have access to. If you need a plumber, electrician, roofer, etc and you’ve got a buddy who does that, it’ll save you money & hopefully time.

  51. Ken on July 29, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Great advice on your site. I’ve started to really watch what I spend, applied for the right credit cards for my lifestyle and now starting to look into investments. Thanks!

  52. Jon on July 30, 2012 at 2:16 am

    Pay yourself first! Take a percentage of your pay (as high as you can realistically afford) and have it automatically moved into a savings or investment account. You won’t miss the money if you don’t have access to it in the first place!

  53. Be'en on July 30, 2012 at 3:40 am

    Everyone must learn to budget to make sure you spend less than what you earn. Everything else comes later!

    Would love to read this book to see what it has to offer.

  54. SST on July 30, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Best personal finance tip for beginners?

    Enter a LOT of contests to win FREE stuff! ;)

    Other than that…educate yourself on what you are buying, be it a condo or stock or vehicle or RRSP contribution, etc. Remember the old saying, “Time is money” — spend some time to understand (if not fully then at least a solid grasp of the basics) where you are putting your money. The more knowledge you have, hopefully, the less likely you are to get burned and the more likely you are to prosper.

    And don’t forget the contests.

  55. James on July 30, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Pay yourself first and live within your means.

  56. Elbyron on July 30, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Avoid consumer debt like the plague, and ALWAYS pay off the full balance of your credit cards.

  57. Bill on July 30, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    How to pay yourself first (automatic savings/investments)? Look at your regular daily and monthly expenses (phone, cable, car insurance, gym, daily coffee); what can be reduced or even eliminated? Those regularly occurring expenses tend to be invisible month-to-month but add up enormously over the years!

  58. the.salivator on July 30, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    My best personal finance tip is to forget the big banks and open online bank accounts, especially with PCfinancial. You get the benefit of a brick and mortar bank through CIBC for ATM deposits and withdrawals and the benefits of an online bank with higher savings rates and no banking fees.

    You can use your PC online account to do anything your standard online bank — write cheques, pay off bills, transfer money to other high-rate online banks accounts, like Ally (which are more troublesome to deposit/withdraw money from).

  59. Bas on July 31, 2012 at 2:54 am

    Best personal finance tips:
    1) Im 42 and havent used a credit card in over 12 years. I highly recommend going through the exercise of not using your CC, ever, no matter what, for at least 2 whole years. You will gain priceless life lessons that are both about money and not about money. You will feel amazing about yoursel and esp. about life. Ultimately you will come to realize cards are quite unnecessary except under special circumstances (and I dont mean buying stuff on special!).
    2) Never underestimate the power of compounding capital gains, dividends, stock investing.
    3) Make a frugal monthly budget that includes a small savings portion, and RESPECT it. Why? A documented budget actually protects you by keeping you out of all sorts of danger and makes you a stronger individual. Frugality in spending is simple and a surefire method of effortless, stressfree living,
    3) Dont carry a heavy heart

  60. JT Money on July 31, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Live within your means and pay off your credit card in full every month!

  61. Margaret on July 31, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Pay yourself first and everything else will fall into place. It’s one of the most popular responses because it works! Budgets are great for tracking expenses and ensuring that you spend no more than what you make, but it’s those automatic transfers to your savings/investments that will make you wealthy in the long run.

  62. Jamie on July 31, 2012 at 11:27 am

    I’d just started getting serious about personal finances and I’d say the immediate first thing to do is to track your spending and know where all your money is coming from and going to, before thinking about anything else.

  63. Stephen on July 31, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Try to figure out a new way to save money, my personal favoirte is homebrewing beer and wine. When done correctly, quality easily matches or exceeds commercial brands. Startup equipment costs are around $100 new and a decent wine kit from your local brewing store (don’t cheap out on this, and don’t bother with the costco kits) runs about $80 for 30 bottles of wine. Age for a few months then enjoy saving ~$10 a bottle everytime you have people over for dinner.

  64. TJ on July 31, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    I tend to spend savings which accumulate in a savings account on a big ticket item. Better than borrowing right?
    To discourage me from doing so, I’m thinking I might just buy GICs with the accumulated funds-probably get more interest than a savings account and be less of a temptation to spend it on something which could wait.

  65. Scott on July 31, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Using credit cards wisely is very beneficial. They allow me to travel for free, I can’t imagine paying for flights and hotels when they can be free. They credit card on its own card is not a bad thing, how it is used can turn out to be a bad thing for irresponsible people.

    Purchase used vehicles from the USA, do your research on the vehicle similar to any major purchase. Never buy a brand new vehicle.

    Leveaged investing works if you are in it for the long haul (20+ years) and if you have an expert picking your stocks / funds.

  66. A.M on July 31, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Best personal finance tip for beginners? Avoid all life insurance policies except term life.

  67. SST on July 31, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    @Scott: “Never buy a brand new vehicle.”

    Very true (well, for all us average people).

    Just bought a used car (1999) for 20% of the original sticker price.
    However, it has only ~20% of the expected lifetime milage.
    It’s 13 years old but pretty much brand new!

    Another valuable lesson: shop around.

  68. Jo on August 1, 2012 at 10:36 am

    My favorite money tips are the same ones that I apply in the fitness program I follow almost daily (Because for me, health is the most important asset in life. It’s way more important than money!)

    1. Set yourself some realistic objectives (Like your own Million dollar objective)

    2. Monitor what you’re doing to get to these objectives (I LOVE http://www.mint.com for that particular reason… it tells me where my money is going without any bullcrap and it never forgets anything… and best of all, I don’t have to think about it, it’s all automatic)

  69. Charles on August 2, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    1) Start saving early! Even if it’s only a small amount, it adds up really quickly!

    2) Track all your spending, avoid using cash as it’s an easy cash sink without no audit trail. With that being said, a good credit card with a reasonable limit will do wonders!

  70. Richard Lussier on August 3, 2012 at 11:54 am

    My oldest just turned 17 and started her first job a few months ago. My wife and I are trying to teach her good money management skills. A book like this would be a valuable tool for her.
    My advice, build a budget and track expenses.

  71. Brian Akerley on August 3, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Thanks for the chance


  72. chad on August 3, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    live with in your means.
    Stay away from high interest rates ( money stores and credit cards)
    If you cannot afford to pay for it in 6 months do not buy it.

    gl to everyone saving.
    30 something chad

  73. Christopher Dunlap on August 3, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Best personal finance tip for Beginners? Here’s a couple.

    – Start saving and investing NOW! The practice becomes habitual and the power of compounding will really make a huge difference.

    – Create a budget and live within your means. Pressure from your peers and the media will cause you to believe you need the latest….. or that you need (and deserve) a nice vacation. Don’t buy in unless you’ve saved for the item or trip you want to buy.

  74. Brad on August 3, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    My best tip is to never carry a credit card balance.

  75. Sandeep on August 3, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    – Your savings is your income
    – Make a plan and stick to it.
    – Give up short term profits for long term gains

  76. Douglas Murray on August 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    1. Plan my purchases
    2. Track all my transactions (I use MINT. COM)
    3. invest regular amount to a TFSA (start small, $25 / pay)
    4. When I have $ left in my account by the new pay, I transfer it to my largest balance credit card.

  77. Sabrina on August 3, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    My best tip as a 30 yr-old homeowner is track your spending and work your goals from there!

  78. Paula T. on August 3, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Know where your money goes! Track it! Give 10%. Save 10%. Live Simply and enjoy your life!

  79. Manette @ Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance on August 3, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Automate your savings account, where at least 10% of your income should be directed.

  80. Jane sue on August 3, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    1. Do not spend more than you make!
    2. Set financial goal.
    3. Learn how to invest

  81. Eric on August 4, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Savings must be done automatically, save at least 10% of your income and do not invest in assets you do not understand.

  82. Joel on August 6, 2012 at 12:48 am

    basic savings tip…. spend less than you make

  83. ThePaperboy on August 6, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Be willing to learn as much as you can when it comes to personal finance as well as being able to apply what is learned even if that means altering your current lifestyle (ex. saving money by brown-bagging it at work)

  84. sean on August 8, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Educate yourself by reading blogs like Million Dollar Journey.

  85. Neil on August 9, 2012 at 1:23 am

    Don’t give into the desire advertising creates to buy the latest gadget. Life is already full of wonder and living in a wholesome manner is certainly financially friendly too.

  86. Josh on August 9, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    I’ve just begun learning about investing and came across your site. Your blog and the user comments have been very informative, thank you.

    As a beginner, I have maxed out my TFSA, but It looks like I have a lot more to learn before i get into other investments.

    I look forward to reading your book

  87. Tiago on August 21, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Hey, I just arrived in Canada and I’m glad I’ve found this blog. Back in my country, Brazil, I’m used to do several types of investments, but here I’m just getting familiar with the investment process which is way different from Brazil. Yet, I’m eager to start investing in the canadian market.
    Before that, I take a good read at the beginner’s guide.

  88. Jerry on December 12, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Love it – more dividend investing (for Canada) articles please :)

  89. Bonjoy on December 12, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    FT, Love your blog! Informative, well organized, and best of all, Canadian.

    My advice:
    Educate yourself. Increase your Financial Intelligence. Nobody gives a damn about your money as much as you do.

  90. bill on December 15, 2012 at 11:10 am

    The most important investment that anyone can make is not, which stock, dividend, reit, bond or any other type of investment vehicle out there but it is to invest in yourself first. A mere 10% from each pay cheque will direct you on your way to financial freedom. As you’re saving this mere 10 cents from every dollar you are bringing home, you can read up on how to invest that money on websites such as this one

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