What three condos and 15 years of being a mortgagee taught me about managing my home finances

paint brushes stained with multiple colours
Photo by t

The first two things I purchased after buying my first condo 15 years ago were a tool box and a book on easy home repairs written for women.

For decades, have been leading the charge as first-time home buyers. I was proud to be on the front lines. I had mastered the art of extreme budgeting to save enough for a down payment. Now I was ready to tap into my inner DIYer and master the art of homeownership.

Turns out…


Thank you for writing this! I'm only a few months into a freelance career and am still trying to figure these things out. My business is just starting out, so my first client is getting a "friends and family" discount. I based it on the hourly salary of my last job. I was talking to my career coach, however, and she blasted me for undercharging. She said what I charge is a reflection of the quality of my work and the confidence I have in my abilities. Even my client has offered a commission on some upcoming projects. I think it's important to figure out your basement (ie the salary you need to earn to cover your living expenses). But don't forget to raise your ceiling and strive for it too. Advice I need to follow.


This is so important! I lucked into this with my first client for my media consulting company and it's made all the difference. I truly care about my client and her message and it comes across in my pitches. When you really believe in your work, you'll reach for all the best words. When you don't believe in it, the writing goes on auto-pilot. Readers can tell.


My secret to dealing with stress and putting a stop to catastrophic thinking

Actual photo of my broken kitchen pipe. Who knew a pizza box was that strong?

I was in the middle of stress-cleaning before a writing shift when I heard it, an innocent sounding pop under the kitchen sink.

I had just propped a pizza box in the recycling bin but decided it wasn’t full enough to warrant the trip downstairs to the building recycling. The door wouldn’t close completely, but I thought “it’s just cardboard, I can shove it closed.”

And then “pop”.

The pipe under the kitchen drain sliced in half, buckling under the pressure of a cardboard box. …


Downtime has new meaning when you stop the Monday-to-Friday grind

This is the moment Pearl realized we were spending my “day off” at her favourite off-leash dog park

Anyone who works weekends knows the joy of taking a day off in the middle of the work week. Grocery stores are less crowded. If you can avoid rush hour, the streets and public transit are easy to navigate. Running errands in the middle of a Wednesday feels like a secret world of retirees, stay-at-home parents and the financially independent.

It’s one of the reasons I don’t mind working weekends for my news writing gig. …


I'm working on staying in this mindset. I know in theory how valuable my skills, experience and network are. But putting an actual monetary value to it, well, it's not how I'm used to thinking about my personal value. I've lead a career of "salaries" and "hourly wages". This is a totally new way of thinking. Add to this a lifelong fear of being seen as "conceited" or "full of myself" and you've got my general discomfort negotiating terms that reflect my worth. But, I'm still learning. Now I start with what I think I should charge, then I double it. After all, you need room for negotiating, right?


Why Canada’s NDP Leader is my new role model for self-confidence

From Jagmeet Singh’s Twitter @theJagmeetSingh

I have a well-documented love for NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. The charismatic ( political leader has been campaigning hard this past month, to the point I worry about him when he sounds tired or parched.

I adore his wife and their relationship. I envy his social media game. But most of all, I admire his confidence when asked daily about his game plan when his party comes up short of leading the country.

If you’re unfamiliar with Canadian politics, we have six official parties to choose from. Historically…


Excellent advice! I have quite a bit of downtime coming up and plan on using it to build a more manageable schedule where I can tend to what needs tending. And I may need to hire someone to fix the printer. I'm good at a lot of things, but not this, lol


I feel seen! I have been burdened by all of these worries and actively work to quiet them. Thanks for writing this!


There are two things I miss about working in a team: having an IT department and having someone to blame when things go wrong. Can you Ctl+Alt+Delete it all?

Photo by on

If I were building a list of things I miss about working in an office, having an IT department would be top.

I changed Internet providers a few months ago and thought I had connected all of the necessary devices to the new Wifi. Then I went to print something.

My wireless printer simply refuses to connect to the new Wifi. I’ve tried multiple times. …

Tara McEwen

Navigating the next phase of my career, where I’m determined to come out of this pandemic better than I came into it | Word nerd | Dog mom

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