Weekly Wrap-Up: Books, Blogs and The Best Money I Spent

A weekly recap of the week that was, including some of my favourite blog posts from the personal finance world, great books you should know about, the best money I spent this week and more. Happy Sunday, friends!


I’m Currently Reading…

I took a trip to the library to return some books that were due back, including the totally awesome Stop Over-thinking Your Money! by Preet Banerjee, and picked up a few others.

(Also, it’s been months since I got my library card to cut down on my book purchasing habit, and I am still not over the joy that is free books. They’re just free, you guys.)

One of them, that I’ve torn through in just two days, is The Man Who Quit Money, by Mark Sundeen. I first heard of it from J$ in a Budgets are Sexy book giveaway, and it jumped off the (web) page at me as something I seriously, seriously wanted to read. When I saw it on the shelf at the library, it was a no-brainer to check it out.

It’s the story of a man who gradually, due to a variety of different factors, decided that opting out of the monetary system – no banks, no cash, not even any government-issued ID – was his best life. So he set up shop in a cave in the desert, and still maintains excellent health and a strong social network. It’s a different version of financial independence, that’s for sure, and while it’s not necessarily for me – I do not camp and running water is definitely my thing – it’s amazing to see such an extreme take on personal “finance.”

I Wrote Some Stuff This Week

It was a slow week over here at Half Banked, mostly because I spent a large chunk of my staycation revamping the site’s design! I still managed to get my act together to put up a post about how I redesigned the site on a budget, so if you’re interested, you can read all the totally-not-gory details.

Elsewhere, There Were Awesome Posts Too

As someone who has had to be talked down from many a ledge when I’ve ruined a meal I had high hopes for, this post from She Picks Up Pennies about the time she ruined dinner absolutely made my day. It was one of those “oh thank god I’m not alone on this one” moments, and a must read if that has ever happened to you – or if it might in the future, which, let’s be real, it probably will unless you’re some kind of Masterchef contestant.

Actually, even they have their off weeks. So. Go read it.



I’ve favourited this one post from Jordann at My Alternate Life a few times over the past two weeks on Twitter, but fiiiinally got around to reading it this weekend and it is awesome. She writes about how to get the best return on money she’ll need for a house down payment in two-ish years, and it resonated – a lot – because that’s about the time frame I’m on as well for the exact same goal. She’s way ahead of me though, since I’ve (so far) been content to park my money in a high interest Tangerine savings account and call it a day.

Also worth reading on that page? The comments. Bridget from Money after Graduation chimes in with some stellar comments about the strategies available with our tax-advantaged accounts in Canada on that post. They’re amazing points everyone should check out.



Early retirement isn’t even on my radar yet, with other looming priorities including a home purchase and a fully funded emergency savings account, but I love love love reading about it from bloggers who are closing in on their early retirement date. Our Next Life wrote a great post this week about the things they’re happy to give up to reach their early retirement date – and the things they really, really aren’t.

It’s a great read, and I could not identify more with the sheer exhaustion of returning from business travel if I tried.



I’ve been lucky enough to avoid debt almost entirely, but some of my favourite bloggers are the ones who share their stories about debt repayment. Alyssa at Mixed Up Money wrote about five ways to stop blowing off your debt this week, and the first point was actually something that, as a marketing grad, I know all too well. If you’re not ok with the salary caps in your job or industry, you can do something about it. An always-useful reminder, in addition to four other really, really key points delivered in a totally no-nonsense fashion.

The Best Money I Spent This Week?

Lastly, I’m working through the Mindful Budgeting Program this month, and every Sunday I sit down to review my spending as per Cait’s awesome templates. The best and definitely most fun part is trying to answer the question,

“What was the best money I spent this week?”

With this week being a staycation, there was a fair bit more spending than a usual work week, especially taking into consideration all of the travel to and from different family events for Thanksgiving on the long weekend. Let’s just say that Little Car and a teeny commute had not prepared me for the cost of gas when driving long distances. 

That said, true to its name the Mindful Budgeting Program had me thinking about how I was spending money, and what I was spending it on. I’m happy to – within reason – spend on things that make me really, really happy. This week, there was a lot of spending, but almost to the dollar, it was money spent celebrating and being grateful for wonderful moments with friends and family. The best of it was a wonderful dinner I had with my grandmother, my mom and The Boyfriend celebrating my grandmother’s birthday.

Taking her out for a nice meal to celebrate another year with her? That’s some best-money-spent right there.

What About You?

What blog posts, books or silly GIFs did you find this week that really spoke to you? Toss the links in the comments – I can’t wait to spend Sunday morning reading them over coffee! (And yes, your own writing definitely qualifies!)