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!
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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 ;)

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!

“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.

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.

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

Cut up DW’s (da wife) Credit Cards!!!

Live within your means

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

Spend less than you earn!

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

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.

Buy tech stocks and real estate!

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

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.

Don’t spend more than what you make.

Best advice is live within your own means.

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

I’d like a copy

Put 10% of your earnings into savings/investing

Spend less than you earn.

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

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

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!

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.

Take pride in saving money.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

spend less than you make

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

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.

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.

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

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!

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.

-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

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

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.