Single mom: she saved $17,000 in 2023 with a salary of $65,000

Single mom: she saved $17,000 in 2023 with a salary of $65,000
Single mom: she saved $17,000 in 2023 with a salary of $65,000

I would like to tell you the story of my editor, Ariane Caron-Lacoste. She’s a single mom who managed to put in $17,0001 aside in 2023 – on a salary of $65,000 – by applying the savings advice found in my book She invests: building her wealth thanks to the stock market. I’m so proud of her!

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She writes down her expenses and she invests

Ariane found something psychological. Every morning, she writes down the expenses she made the day before. Non-essential expenses are written with a red pencil: “it helps me control my expenses! A little $10 here and there goes quickly,” she told me.

Ariane explains to me that before each paycheck, she “resets the counter to zero”. For example, if she has $500 left in her checking account on payday – and all other expenses are budgeted – she will automatically transfer this amount to her TFSA, then invest it in the stock market.

She buys used

Ariane is an adaptor of second-hand items. In fact, 95% of what she owns in her home – furniture, dishes, lights, books, etc. – comes from Marketplace, Kijiji or Renaissance.

She also subscribes to the local “Buy Nothing” Facebook group, through which she recently obtained a free rug for her living room.

It includes the opportunity cost

“Everything changed when I understood the concept of opportunity cost that you explain in your book! Even for a $20 lunch, I know that if I put this amount in my CELIAPP, combined with the effect of the compound return, I could reach my financial goal more quickly,” Ariane shares with me.

She has set a goal of putting $23,000 aside in 2024.

“Small” salaries, big investments

Ariane’s case is not unique. We sometimes think that you need to earn $100,000 per year to be able to put good amounts aside, but that’s not true.

I recently did a vox pop “small salaries, big investment portfolio” on my Instagram page @Elleinvestit and I had hundreds of testimonials from readers who earn less than $100,000, but who have investment portfolios worth double or even triple that amount!

Most of them are tenants and share the cost of rent with their partner or roommates. They travel on average once a year, buy what’s on sale at the grocery store and don’t have a car payment.

Like the first book by financial author Nicolas Bérubé, these testimonies demonstrate that “millionaires are not who you think”!

Ariane’s thrifty tips

  • She writes down her expenses every day. Non-essential expenses are identified in red.
  • She buys used: her second-hand items come from Marketplace, Kijiji or Renaissance.
  • She subscribes to the local “Buy Nothing” Facebook group, where members offer items to donate.

1This amount includes a tax return of $4,465, since Ariane contributed to her RRSP. For her allowance, she shares custody of her son with her ex-partner. The allocation amounts are therefore divided in two. Ariane cooks a lot: she makes her own bread, yogurt and even her vegetable milk. She eats little meat. She does not have a phone payment (provided by the employer) or a car payment (paid in cash). She walks to work. The subtotal of his monthly expenses is an average of his expenses over the last 12 months.

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