Category Archives: blog

A fresh, new look to GMBMFB

Just a quick note today to let you know about the design changes here at GMBMFB. I’ve switched themes to the one I’m using over at Frugal Wanderer. I think the layout is a lot cleaner than the one I was previously using, and a bit more mature. It’s a move I’ve been thinking about doing for the past few months, and while it’s up and running for the most part, there will always be tweaks that need to be made. :)

Here is my old blog look, in case you forgot:

A lot of my older posts look a bit weird due to the new format I’m working with, so over the next week or so I’ll be working hard to fix most of the major things – especially the images and the wonky looking mobile theme. Thanks for your patience!

Happy 5th Birthday to GMBMFB!

Wow, I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for five years. FIVE YEARS!

So much has changed over the last 1,825 days – not only within the personal finance blogosphere, but my life is completely different than it used to be. And I honestly never, ever thought that I’d be writing a 5-year anniversary post here on GMBMFB, or that there would be people here, reading what I have to write.

Since I started taking care of my finances, I’ve gone from a -$21,000 net worth, to over +$71,000. That’s a difference of over $92,000! What I’m most proud of is the fact that I was able to accomplish this with an average salary of just $44,000/year – proving that you don’t need to make a huge salary in order to change your life.  You just need to be determined to do whatever it takes. :)

For long-time readers, you know that things have changed a lot since February 2007. In the past five years, I’ve had 6 jobs, move 5 times, and went through 2 tough break-ups. And just last year, I bought my very first home. Other notables include getting adult braces, having LASIK eye surgery, getting fired from a job, and my big blogging break with the Toronto Star/

This blog began on February 25, 2007, and since that time this is what has happened:

  • Posts: 2,500+
  • Traffic: 2,500,000 visitors
  • Highest traffic (day): 11,500 visitors
  • Highest traffic (month): 90,100 visitors
  • Featured in (print): FLARE Magazine, Financial Post Magazine, Globe & Mail, Toronto Star/Moneyville, Metro News
  • Featured in (web): MSN Money, The Consumerist, Wall Street Journal, Montreal Gazette, MoneySense,, Yahoo! Finance
  • Featured in (radio): 103.5 QM/FM, CBC Radio One, CKNW 980AM, NewsTalk 1010
  • Featured in (television): CTV News Channel

Thank you to all the GMBMFB readers out there. You guys are fantastic. It’s been a great 5 years, and I’m excited to see where the next year takes this blog!

Travelling Europe with

I am absolutely thrilled to announce as our accommodation sponsor while we are traveling through Europe this year!

During the next 7 months, through my trip recap posts – along with my usual thoughts on money, savings, and budget traveling – I will be sharing pictures, stories, and reviews of the hostels that I stay in. Much like my Paris trip recap from a few weeks ago. So you shouldn’t see a difference in how I write – just maybe a couple more links and tips on the hostels that I like. With the generosity of and the hostels that we will be staying in, we can stretch our budget and visit more places – making our European travel dreams come true. :)

In case you weren’t aware, is an average of 8.7% cheaper than Hostel World, has no booking fees (!), and guarantees the lowest price. It’s the website we use the most to book our accommodation when traveling, so you can imagine how thrilled I am to be able to work with such a great organization that I actually use often. just announced their 2012 Awards For Excellence – where they showcase the top 3 hostels on each continent for a bunch of different categories, such as cleanest, best value, best location, most popular, best for newcomers, and much more. And I’m happy to see a couple of hostels I’ve stayed in before have made it on the list. :) It’s probably a really good starting point for those starting their hostel search.

Here are a couple photos of two of the best hostels in the world – pretty nice, eh?! You can also check out the YouTube video for more photos of this year’s winners.


Anyway, I feel like this is just the beginning of a lot of really cool, fun things that are going to happen in 2012. So stick around – our first trip to Munich is happening this month! I also have a new freelance job I am just dying to tell you about too. :)

GMBMFB Mailbag: answering questions

I’ve received a couple of questions via Formspring, so I thought I’d take the time to answer them here.

What advice can you give to someone who’s just starting out a blog? Were there times you just wanted to give up on your blog?

There were more than a few times where I wanted to give up on my blog. In fact, some of you might remember when I was still blogging anonymously, someone publicly outed my identity in a comment this blog. I couldn’t believe someone would be so cruel, and decided that I was going to kill this blog. I went and purchased a new domain name, and set up an entirely new website. I was seconds away from deleting GMBMFB. Thankfully, someone talked me out of it. Shortly after that, I started blogging as myself anyway, so it all worked out.

As for advice I would give someone who is just starting out – it takes a lot of dedication and time to run a blog. I wouldn’t say that I’m a successful blogger compared to everyone else out there, but I’ve been able to steadily increase my traffic and readership over the years. If  you’re looking for advice to make money, I’m not the right blogger to talk to. But if you’re looking to learn and grow and become a part of an online community, I would suggest connecting with like-minded bloggers by commenting on their blogs, as well as getting in on the conversation and connections happening on Twitter. Feel free to e-mail me if you’d like to chat! I can’t guarantee a particularly timely response, but I do try to get back to people within a couple of days if I can. :)

Have you thought about going on a year-long travel again?

Actually, I never stopped thinking about it. It’s something I really do want to experience. Recently, it’s been on my mind a lot. I’ve spent my whole adult life waiting for someone to travel with, only to be disappointed. And at this point in my life, I’m beginning to realize that if I don’t actually set a goal to do this trip – with or without someone, I might never get to do it.

Now, I’m not saying that I’m just going to pack up and leave tomorrow. But I do need to think about what I want over the long term, and I think doing Kiplinger’s 10 Financial Commandments exercise really helped me focus a bit more on what I want out of life, besides financial independence. :) So while I do like where I am right now, we’ll see what happens in the future.

GMBMFB Media Mentions

Just in case you missed it on Twitter or Facebook, this blog was mentioned a few times in the media over the past week. :)

October 12, Metro Newspaper (nationwide in Canada): “We all have to start somewhere

November 2011 Issue, Flare Magazine: Young, Broke, & Fabulous (download pdf)


October 11, Credit Card Assist: Best of the Best Blogger Series – Give Me Back My Five Bucks
I spoke with Bill Hazelton about student loans, credit cards, and debt. Check it out!

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