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Inspiration through blogging

I have been really inspired lately by the personal finance world. After reading other blogs, I’ve been inspired to take more photos for GMBMFB, and after seeing everyone hop on the vlogging bandwagon, I’ve also been inspired to start attempt to try my own vlog. I’ve been unsuccessful so far, but it’s all a work-in-progress. :) New article ideas keep coming to me, and I remain happy and positive, despite a packed schedule.

Anyway, here are two personal finance events that I’m really excited about:

Financial Blogger Conference
It seems like it just a few weeks ago that the Financial Blogger Conference was announced. Now, we are just one week away, and I am really excited to meet everyone for the very first time. Long-time PF pals Money Smarts Blog, Finance Fox, Blonde and Balanced, Punch Debt in the Face, and Budgets are Sexy will be there, along with a bunch of new bloggers who seem super keen and energetic – as well as my Toronto Star/Moneyville editor, Adam Mayers. Check out the hashtag #FINCON11 on Twitter to join in on the conversation. Can’t wait!

Canadian Personal Finance Conference
Just a few days ago, Preet Banerjee and I announced the 1st (technically, the 2nd) Canadian Personal Finance Conference – which will be held in Toronto on September 21-23, 2012. I am thrilled to be co-organizing this event with Preet, and I can’t wait to help shape it into something amazing (and it will definitely be amazing). Register for the newsletter at and check out the hashtag #CPFC12 on Twitter for more information!

Now I want to ask you two questions:

  1. Is there something in particular you want me to write about?
  2. Is there anything you want to see more or less of out of this blog?

As always,  I’m open to all suggestions, so please let me know. :)

Welcome to the newly re-designed GMBMFB!

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you would have probably seen my angry tweets over the past few weeks about how hard it has been to try and find a talented, reliable WordPress designer. After I contacted 7 different designers (and having only 2 of them contact me back), going so far as to search “WordPress designer” in Google, and even posting an ad on Craigslist, I was about to give up.

Then, my blog saviour (Mike Smith, @blogdesigner) entered the picture. I guess he had found one of my angry tweets on Twitter, and contacted me to offer up his services. He promised that he was quick to respond, and he definitely didn’t disappoint. In only 6 days (with almost 50 e-mails exchanged, and at least 10 revisions), we were able to collaborate on a great design that blended my old design with a more modern, clean look.

If you can’t remember what my blog used to look like, here’s a picture to remind you:

I feel like this new design gives my blog some life. It’s the make-over it always deserved to have, and I’m really happy. By taking the elements of what I liked best with my old blog, this what I always envisioned GMBMFB to look like, I just didn’t have the skill or time to do it.

This is how awesome my blog designer was:
You all know me pretty well by now, so in typical Krystal fashion, I was a total backseat designer. I knew I would be. I created mock-ups in Photoshop, made him tweak the tiniest little details, and was super vague about everything. Not because I was trying to be a pain in the ass, but because I really had no idea of the direction I wanted to go. I was having a major online identity crisis. But he was so easy to work with. And he answered my e-mails within minutes. I would literally send him some vague babble mixed in with lame ideas, and he would come back with paragraphs of edits and suggestions. He was always positive, never got snarky with me, and was very professional. That’s how I like to do business!

The cost breakdown:
Like a good PF blogger, I will let you know that I received quotes anywhere from $250 all the way up to $3,500+ to redesign GMBMFB. Mike’s prices are actually a lot more reasonable, and his portfolio is also a lot more impressive than some of the designers charging thousands of dollars.

The pricing for one of his custom WordPress designs generally starts at $800. However, I was able to take advantage of a deal that he offers to bloggers who want to have their design built on top of framework that he had already created. This allows him to cut his production time down – which results in cheaper rates for us! So I only ended up paying $500. Which I think is amazing, but I have to admit that price wasn’t a motivating factor for me in hiring a designer. I wanted someone that I could work well with, and whose portfolio I really, really liked.

If you like Mike’s work, please connect with him via his website, or on Twitter. :)

Anyway, have a look around at my new design. Hopefully you like it as much as I do!

Review: The “It’s Your Money” Program

I don’t recall my first interaction with Nancy Zimmerman (a Canadian money coach), but she has been a wonderful personal finance friend for as long as I can remember being a part of this community. So when it came time for her to launch the It’s Your Money program on her website, Your Money By Design, I was eager to take a look at it so that I can share with you what her program is all about.

The It’s Your Money program is for those who need direction with their finances. If you spend more than you earn, are living pay cheque to pay cheque, maxed out on your credit cards, or feel like you’ll never get ahead, then this program is perfect for you.

What it is, is a series of 12 simple online modules which address key areas within your personal finances. It will help you identify where you are struggling, and what areas you need help in. It’s completely self-paced, which is great because you can take as much time as you need to go through each step.

By the end of the program, you will discover where your money is going, and you will have direction and a realistic budget you can work with. This is a program I seriously wish I had when I was starting to get a handle on my finances. The process was so overwhelming for me, having to do it on my own. I think I would have been much better organized if I had a plan to follow like Nancy has created.

Now, here’s the best part:
The It’s Your Money program is normally $64 (with a satisfaction guarantee), but Nancy has graciously offered a discount to GMBMFB readers. Just use the promo code GIVE-BACK-5 when you register, and you will get 10% off!

AND in an exclusive offer just for GMBMFB readers, when you sign up for the program using the 10% off promo code, you will be automatically entered to win 12 bonus one-on-one coaching sessions with Nancy (30 minutes each) to supplement each of the 12 modules of the It’s Your Money program. I seriously would have LOVED sessions with a money coach when I was getting out of debt.

The promo code and contest for the 12 one-on-one coaching sessions will be open until September 16, 2011 at 5pm PST. Good luck!

Oh, and TODAY (10:15 PST, Saturday, Sept. 11), Nancy is hosting a live Twitter chat with Marcy Berg and I. We will be chatting about everything from getting out of debt, to achieving personal finance goals, to mortgages and real estate. Feel free to join us by following the #ymbd hashtag! :)

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