START TRACKING YOUR SPEND
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Let's stop pretending that being good at money means you need to be good at math. Instead, let's listen to our body and our mind.
Reading a good book is one of my favourite ways to unplug and unwind. But, after becoming a mom, it slowly slipped away as something I felt I could squeeze into my daily routine. So, at the start of this year, I promised myself I would prioritize reading and set a big goal to read three books per month. I even went as far as setting up a Facebook group for a ‘book club’ that has now gone to silence-town.
But, that doesn’t mean I won’t have time to make that group my baby in 2022 — especially knowing how essential reading is for my mental health.
I love to read because it allows me to:
relax while still feeling productive
learn new things in new ways and from new people
I constantly lust for both of these things, and with the pandemic shouldering most of my hobbies, I’ve felt an even deeper need to find ways to fill this hole.
Regardless of my failure to read 36 books this month, I’ve still managed to finish 13 books so far. And, after a year of less than five in 2020, I’d call this a massive win! So, to celebrate, I’d love to share some of my favourite finds from 2021.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll already have heard me go on and on about how important this book is for everyone to read. Know My Name was the first book I read in 2021 because it was on my list since preorder was available. If you don’t know, Know My Name is a memoir from Chanel Miller. She is the woman who was involved in the Stanford sexual assault case from 2015. I was glued to this case on Twitter and read so much commentary because of the uproar from people angry to see news sites painting the assailant, Brock Turner, as a swimmer with a bright future.
Chanel writes about the entire trial, being anonymous, and her experience with recovery. Her writing is beyond amazing. She has such a great way of telling stories, and I feel like this book should be required reading in schools. It’s a unique look at what it’s like to be a female on the other side of a sexual assault case – having to defend your character constantly.
One of my favourite parts: Chanel often highlights the many times after her assault that she was sexually harassed while walking alone. She filmed the encounters and sent them to her boyfriend, and one of them is particularly disturbing. He says, “don’t send me any more videos. I can’t watch them; these guys make me too angry.” and she agrees, but then calls him back shortly after to express how unfair it is that he can tune out her reality. And then, just one page later, a line that stuck with me: I was trying to save the six dollars that the ride would’ve cost. It’s funny, really. Asking six dollars or safety.
The entire book is so excellent — a must-read.
Okay, this book — is so good. The number of lessons or parts of the book that I wanted to write down or refer back to frequently was ridiculous. I feel like this book has something for everyone. Whether you’re a mom, a wife, queer, been in a challenging relationship, it covers every corner of life and learning to understand why we operate the way we do and how we conform to society’s standards and expectations. But also how each of these things can limit us as human beings.
There were many aha moments for me, where I was like, wow, I’ve never thought about it that way before or from that perspective, and I found it to be such a breath of fresh air. She covers childhood as a woman, gender narratives, femininity and masculinity, the difficulties of being a parent today, racism and being white, religion. I can’t even list everything because it is all there. This is a book where I’ll have to go back and reread or listen again because there are so many thought-provoking moments.
You didn’t think this list wouldn’t include a money book or two, did you? This was an easy read! I finished in two days, powered through because I found it super valuable and helpful for some current contract negotiations I was working through! My favourite part was the section about talking money with friends. I never really realized how difficult it can be, why it might not always be best, and why it’s essential to consider the relevance of sharing your numbers. It’s always, in my mind, been a good thing to break down the awkwardness and make it less of a faux pas to share, but her perspective framed things differently for me.
I also appreciate the mention of enjoying different parts of money and how we spend it. This is the third book in Die Erin’s series, and she never fails to amaze me. I love her writing, tone, and variety of real-life examples. I feel it has excellent advice on negotiating and how to do it without feeling awkward.
Another book I reference pretty frequently after reading is The Courage to Be Disliked. At first, when I began to read, I found it challenging to gather the purpose of some stories. In addition, I had never read many philosophy books and felt myself disagreeing with much of what the philosopher was saying to the writer. But, ironically, the writer was doing the same — which made me stop and think. And that’s exactly what this book did, time and time again. It made me think — my favourite kind of read.
My favourite line from the book: “The value given to a one-dollar bill is not an objectively attributed value, though that might be a common sense approach. If one considers its actual cost as printed material, the value is nowhere near a dollar. If I were the only person in this world and no one else existed, I’d probably be putting those one-dollar bills in my fireplace in wintertime. Maybe I’d be using them to blow my nose.”
This book made me question how we spend, why we compete so heavily, how to combat our initial feelings of comparison, and why it’s essential to focus on your internal values rather than society’s values. Highly recommend it to anyone who feels behind in life.
After seeing so many of my friends talk about this book on repeat (cough, Bridget and Desirae, cough), I knew I had to give it a go. Die With Zero is a book about doing what you need to do with your money and still allowing yourself to live the life you want. In other words, every millennial’s dream. So many of the philosophies that the author shares are relevant to my current stage of life. They challenged many of the money thoughts that I’d been taught in the earlier days of my financial journey.
For instance, how we view retirement and the amount of money we need for retirement may not fit in the box that most financial experts tell us they do. Accumulating too much wealth can be a dangerous and unnecessary thing that many of us do, and I appreciated seeing money spoken about to such a different tune. It was refreshing and made me feel like I was doing more than enough for my future self. Please read. It’s your homework for December.
Ultimately, every time I read a new book, I feel myself looking at life differently. And isn’t that what we all desire? A chance to grow without having to hop on a plane and attempt to travel the world to become a more open version of ourselves? These days you don’t need to change your surroundings. You just need to be open to learning and using the resources at your fingertips.
What are some of your favourite reads from 2021? I’m starting my 2022 list and would love to hear your best finds!
Oh no, you missed the live webinar! But, good news: Mixed Up Money is pleased to share a resource for anyone planning for a future child or family.
Mixed Up Money is pleased to share a free resource for anyone looking to cut back on non-essential spending. My most-requested product is these monthly calendars to share on your Instagram story, use as a phone background, or print off to track your spending habits.
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