Earning More

How to Love your Job and be Happy?

Finding a good job is hard. Finding the perfect job is even harder. As part of our Better Self series, I am asking myself if there might be something better out there to not only grow in my career but as a person. How to be happy in life is no secret and we are always improving ourselves every day to slowly raise our happiness levels.


Work does not make me happy anymore

Although I recently changed positions 8 months ago, it was a lateral move. Work is now closer to home, which is great, but there is so much more out there…

Sometimes I just wonder how it would be to change careers altogether. Change my field completely. I currently work in finances, in a client-facing role. I work in sales and this skillset can be used in any company, pretty much anywhere in the world.

Having such a skillset is great and opens a lot of doors but I have yet to open them. I have only worked in finance, that’s what I know, but sometimes it is good to look outside our comfort zone.

I currently work in finances, in sales, and this skillset can be used in any company, pretty much anywhere in the world. Having such a skillset is great and opens a lot of doors but I have yet to open them. I have only worked in finance, that’s what I know, but sometimes it is good to look outside our comfort zone.

Browsing jobs site, you can come across anything from sales representative to account executive, to strategic territory expansion manager, but in the end; you are still just helping clients buy stuff.

Someone has to sell toilet paper to the grocery stores before they can sell it to you and the chain goes up and up many levels. The good thing about this is that no matter the product or service, there are a few sales-related positions where I qualify for.

Ideally, I would prefer to enjoy the product itself. I am passionate about investments and those discussions come naturally to me but I have no idea how to sell toilet paper to a national supermarket chain. However, it seems like I am dragging it.

Change does not come easily, and that is perfectly normal. I am sure there is a situation right now, in your life, where you are experiencing the same fears and discomfort as me.


Getting out of your comfort zone

Exploring outside known territory and common grounds will make you grow and ultimately, a better person. This place where you find a routine and pattern that minimizes your stress and risk, get out of it!

Your routine might provide you with a regular, decent amount of happiness, low anxiety, and reduced stress but you will never be your best. To maximize performance, you need to be in a state of relative anxiety.

Stress is productive; stress will push you to innovate.

  • Start doing everyday things differently, change it up a bit!
  • Start asking yourself; why not? What is the worst that can happen anyway?
  • Take small steps, one thing at the time. Getting out of your comfort zone takes time.

When we get too comfy, we tend to do the minimum required to get by. Without deadlines or new challenges, you might feel busy but that is only a way to stay in your routine. Making yourself busy rather than daring and innovating is just keeping you in your comfort zone.


We need a place of productive discomfort,- Daniel H. Pink


By allowing yourself to take risks and exploring new challenges, you can learn to live outside your boundaries and prepare yourself for when life throws unexpected things at you.

In my situation, maybe changing jobs is the best thing that could ever happen to me. Or not. The only way I can find out is to get out my comfort zone.


Fear of missing out

What if there is something out there that will make you richer, happier, better off? Your comfort zone is actually restricting you and you don’t even know it. If your friends are having more fun, have more stuff than you, are they happier?

That feeling that you are missing out on more or something better was even added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013 as FoMO the Fear of Missing Out. This goes much further than just finding the right job. According to this study, nearly three-quarters of young adults reported they experienced the phenomenon. This includes the countless nights where you stare at your phone, endlessly browsing social media, just to make sure you are not missing out on anything.

If you are not feeling great and turning to social media to make you feel better, it actually makes you feel worse. Comparing your life to others, whether on social media, on blogs, or even in real life, is never a good way to cheer yourself up. That is a big reason why we do not share our net worth or income reports.


Social comparison seems sufficiently destructive to our sense of well-being that it is worthwhile to remind ourselves to do it less. – Barry Schwartz 


If you are constantly wondering if you measure up to idealist lifestyles people are sharing, you are comparing yourself to the illusions people are deliberately sharing. Out of all your friends sharing their amazing vacations on Facebook, none ever shares the credit card bill they received the next month.

Maybe there is a better job out there but am I just seeing what I want to see. I am comparing all those job postings with salary-comparison sites and dreaming about the nice paychecks. Only using the recruiter’s description as a point of reference. However, just like on Facebook, job descriptions only show what they want you to see.

No recruiter will ever describe the redundancies or annoying micro-management that comes with the position. Nor will they ever talk about the fact that the co-worker you will be sitting next to yells over the phone all day and smells of fish-fillet after lunch but that is a risk to take if I want a new position.


Be grateful

Instead of comparing yourself with others, start looking at what you have. Be grateful for everything you take for granted. Your home, family, and friends are often overlooked. Just take a second to think of a life without those.

Gratitude improves one’s physical and mental health, improves self-esteem, enhances empathy and reduces aggression. The simple act of consciously appreciating people and things around you has been proven to make you happier. According to this study, grateful people are more agreeable, more open, and less neurotic and generally exhibit higher life satisfaction.

It sounds so simple. Say yes to life, it is not just worth living, but rich with texture and detail.

I am grateful for the position I have. Grateful for the company I work for, and grateful for my great colleges.

Is it worth it to jump ship? What do you think? Xyz.



Earning More

How to Make $500 Fast When you Desperately Need Money?

Whether you want to splurge at that new Tapas bar that just opened down the street or simply invest an extra $100 this week, it is always nice to earn a little extra income without working harder. There is a bunch of tricks to earn a little more without necessarily clocking in more hours at work. If you are looking for an easy way to make $500 fast, or even $1,000, the secret is to cut where you can and take what is offered to you.


Let Uncle Sam pay you

For any dollar you earn, Uncle Sam (or Johnny Canuck up here in Canada) will take his share. For us, our marginal tax rate is 41.12% so any dollars we can stash away from the tax man represents huge savings. Using tax-advantageous accounts such as an RRSP (401K) or TFSA (Roth IRA) will drastically increase your net earnings at the end of the year. The best thing about it is that you don’t even need to put in more hours at work!

You can check your own tax rate using this tool for Canadians or this one for Americans. You can also find out your contribution limits with the CRA website in Canada or the IRS in the United States. If you do not already have a registered account, open one today with Ally.


Start a blog

Getting a blog up and running is a low-cost, rewarding, way to start sharing your passion. Just pick a topic, register for your domain name and hosting, and start writing. You can find something really fun, start sharing it with the world, and actually make money off of it.


Get rewarded for every dollar you spend

For the dollars you do spend, you can earn thousands of dollars back with rewards credit cards. This year alone, we booked trips to San Francisco, flew across Canada, booked luxury hotels, and are still left with a small fortune in accumulated points. Point rewards are a tax-free, legitimate way to travel for free or at a very reduced cost. You can earn thousands in rewards just by signing up.


Get the benefits you are entitled to

Spend the time to call up your human resources department and chat about all the options offered to you. You might be surprised to discover benefits you never know were offered to you. Whether it’s an employee share purchase plan with a match or a health spending allowance you were never aware of, we can all benefit from free stuff.

You can also check your federal benefits using the Benefits Finder tool from the CRA in Canada or from the tool in the United States. You might discover some tax credit you didn’t even know existed.


Be a minimalist

Letting go can be very liberating. Go through your house and find things you did not use once this month. Once you have a good pile of unused stuff, take crisp pictures of each item and try to make a few dollars online.


become a minimalist


Local Facebook groups are great to sell to your neighbors and help people in need around you. Unlike eBay, there are no fees so you keep all of your profits and there is no shipping. You can do the same using Craigslist or Kijiji and try to sell as much of your stuff for better use.

For clothing, you can bring shopping bags full of clothes to your nearest H&M to get a shopping voucher for up to $50. No matter what brand and what condition it is, you can drop off your used clothing for recycling. H&M recycle your clothes initiative was started in 2013 to encourage sustainable garments.

They either send apparel to be worn again as second-hand clothes, reuse old clothes as other products like cleaning cloths or recycle your donation into textile fibers.

Another great option is to donate to your local charity. Even in highly developed countries, there is always someone in need around us that would give a second life to your stuff.


Get roomy

About 6 months ago, we started renting out our spare room on Airbnb. We are able to stay constantly booked and make a few extra hundreds of dollars per month. Having a guest does not require much work, is quite easy to manage and does not intrude on our privacy too much.

We equip our room with a few extras and make sure our house is clean and welcoming. We provide soap, shampoo, a clean bed and access to our kitchen.

Using the Airbnb platform is super easy and convenient. If you want to list your place, either to share or as a whole house rental when you are away, take a few sharp pictures and you should receive inquiries in no time.


Ask for a raise

This might sound silly but why not simply ask? Meet with your manager, prepare your points, and be ready to sell yourself. You might be surprised. It is as hard for your boss to say no when you ask as it is for you to ask.

The first step is to search and compare salaries on Glassdoor and Payscale in your industry. Once you know what others pay, you can then add any extra value you bring to the table such as special projects you worked on or a deadline you beat. You can also see if your salary has followed inflation (2% or 3% per year) since you started there and add that to your arguments.


Following those few steps, you can greatly increase your total income without working any more hours. The best thing about these is that they can be recurring savings. If you get into the habit of investing in tax-sheltered accounts or get a raise, it will also benefit you for the years to come. Share with us in the comment section if you have any other tips and we wish you great wealth.

Mr. and Mrs. Xyz.


Earning More

Earn Passive Income in your Sleep

Income is what sustains us, it is what pays the bills, and knowing that this income will be there tomorrow is truly freeing. Having to stress about money is never fun but there are easy tricks that can make you relax and enjoy life. If you are like most of us and work for income, you are generating active income. You are basically trading your time for money. This can be risky depending on your health, life events, or any major life changes. Would you still bring in as much if you got sick? Would you still earn as much if you wanted to work part-time? What if you wanted to take a year off to travel the world? Wouldn’t be better to have some passive income coming in to sustain your expenses?

For most people, active income comes from their job and if you are like 76% of Americans that are living paycheck-to-paycheck, you might be a lot more dependent on that paycheck that you might think. However, there is a remedy to all this. You can live a happy, stress-free life, with passive income and of course; living below your means and saving.


22% of the 1,000 people it recently surveyed had less than $100 in savings to cover an emergency, while 46% had less than $800. – CNN Money

passive income


Earn in your sleep

Passive income will bring you the security and leisure to enjoy life like you should. By passive I mean, whether you put in more hours or not, the income will come. A perfect example of this is dividends; you work once to accumulate and invest into a dividend-paying security, then dividends will roll in without any additional effort.

If you are somewhat creative, there are so many things that you can do today to earn a little side money; selling digital music, writing books, writing a blog, making apps, creating online courses, making games… Or you can always invest in others to earn you some passive income.

Passive income is not easy and does take commitment to start up. Success doesn’t come overnight and you need to continue pushing before earning enough to live comfortably off of it. Some might build empires in a few months, it is possible now with the massive client base found online but for the rest of us, you need to be patient and continue at it.

To summarize passive income, you need to do only two things:

  1. Invest your time, or
  2. Invest money

You need to see the long-term prospects of your work or money and stop thinking in hourly-wage-mode. The hundred hours spent to write an Amazon book might generate income for years and years to come without any additional efforts.


Size does matter

When starting to earn, you might not be impressed by your first checks, but you should be! Let’s say you start a website and earn $100 a month in passive income. You might have invested a few hours of work into it and feel like you wasted your time but think of it as a dividend.

To earn $100 a month in dividends, you roughly need to invest $50,000 in index funds (assuming 2.4% annual). Now to put that in perspective; how many hours do you need to work at your day job to earn $50,000?

On top of this, that additional $100 a month is a great start to financial security. Having a buffer lightens the load and will allow you to focus on other things in life.



Having multiple income streams is a great way to increase your income and have a more secure revenue if anything would happen. By diversifying your income, you could be able to face a change of employment or layoff from your principal job much easier than if you were living paycheck to paycheck.

In my case, I have 4 different income sources to support my family. This blog, for example, is passive. I spend a lot of time researching and writing but my work has long-term earning potential. Then I created a few apps in 2015 and they continue to earn over $10 every day in ad revenue. I have not worked on, promoted, or changed anything at all on these apps since 2015.

In addition, I have my day-job and invest over half that income. Investments are a great, truly passive, source of income that anyone can start with a very low initial capital or time commitment.


online side hustle tips


You need to find your passion and find a way to monetize that said passion. I suggest you focus on one thing at the time and try to work hard on that one thing. Focusing on only one project at the time will allow you to optimize it and become a pro at it.


Start earning more today

The secret in building a strong stream of passive income is to be motivated and invest that initial time needed. It can get challenging to stay constantly motivated but it is crucial to your success. Start today and keep a regular schedule for a while. If you don’t know where to start, you should check out 23 passive income ideas you can start today by 

Investing in index funds are a great, truly passive, source of income that anyone can start with a very low initial capital. With indexing, you do not have the concern of choosing the right stocks or knowing when to buy or sell individual companies. I suggest you go with Vanguard given their free commissions.

start a website todayStarting a website and monetize it with affiliate programs or ads takes creativity but can be passive after an initial time investment. Affiliate programs can be very profitable and are easy to implement.

Agencies are quick to signup and let you choose which product to promote. Once you mention a product on your site and close sales, you’ll get a cut of the sales. This is how this site is run and I find it much less intrusive than ads.

If you have a passion and you would like to blog about it, WordPress Hosting will be ideal for you to start a blog and monetize it.

Writing a book can be hours and hours of work but could be a great source of passive income for years and years to come. Now with Amazon, it is easier than ever to self-publish and promote your book yourself. It’s something I am considering myself since you can write about any subject that you want and have recurring royalties coming in for years to come.


I hope this helps you start a long stream of recurring income to secure your financial freedom. Good luck and live happily, Xyz.






Earning More

Optimizing your Bank Account and Cards (My Bank Gave me $1000!)

Yeah, that’s right! My bank gave me $1000 this year, and you can do the same. (EDIT: We got even MORE in 2016!) With the top bank accounts available, super high-interest savings accounts, and credit card rewards, you can easily make as much. It might seem hard to find the optimal bank account and cards but check out how we did it.

Here is the thing; most personal finance recommendations will say to keep your money in high-yield savings accounts and use a good cashback credit card to get 1% back on all your purchases.  I say; do the math and see how much you can really get. We use reward cards to do a little travel hacking and fly for free.

Using credit cards for all your purchase can be very advantageous if, and only if, you pay back the full balance on time every single month. Interest on cards are way too high and it will affect your credit score if you are late on payments. If you are good with debt, then you should be more than fine using credit cards for rewards.


Use cash or credit cards?

I suggest you use a credit card for all your purchases for two reasons,

  1. It is easier to track since it is all in one place. (Try Personal Capital for free)
  2. You will get rewards for each dollar spent. (Find your optimal credit cards)

Now, of course, this assumes you manage your spending and always pay your full balance on time. It is very important to never pay any credit card interest given their high fees (19%+). That is pretty easy to accomplish if you track your spending habits.

Personally, I try to put every single expense on cards, not only store purchases but also municipal taxes, online purchases, work expenses (I get them reimbursed but still get the cashback).


Cashback or rewards?

If we put it in numbers, a 1% cash back means that on an average spending of 2000$ a month, you only make 20$ in cashback a month. Not that great!

Where it gets interesting is with travel reward cards. We have multiple cards and earn a return over 5% in travel points!!!

Of course, you need to be a traveler to make it worth it but I know my points will be spent given my urge to see the world. Some cards offer points that are not restricted to one single airline. You can also convert your points to Aeroplan or other points programs and combine reward cards to accelerate your accumulation.


Getting more than one card

It is super easy to apply for multiple cards and accumulate thousands of dollars worth of points over a short period of time. I suggest you do not apply for more than one card a month but some people get away with 4 or 5 times as much without ever getting denied.

You can even book rental cars, hotels, or even cruses with reward points. We used them on our honeymoon and saved a ton by doing so!

If you have a high credit score and good credit history, you can seek out the welcome bonuses many cards offer and apply to them just for the rewards. If you apply to multiple credit cards, you need to look for the minimum purchases required to get the bonus (most American Express cards are $1,500 in the first 3 months) and you need to watch your credit score if you are doing too many applications at the same time.


Read the conditions and fine prints

When choosing a credit card you need to consider the annual fee, of course, but with most banks, you can get it waived if you have multiple products with them or apply during a promotion. Make sure you read the fine prints and maximize your rewards by paying attention to the payback structure.

In some cases, some purchases will give out more points depending on the category such as gas and groceries. You can optimize your cash back by having different cards for different expenses. Some cards advertise a 5% cashback but the fine print specifies that it is only on groceries and gas then 1% on everything else. You can also look into airline credit card if you fly frequently and plan on using your card to pay for travel expenses. Many airline credit cards are specific to a single carrier but can offer great advantages.


Find your card today and start earning those SWEET miles!


Optimizing your bank account

With so many banks and so many choices, you might find it hard to choose the best bank account. Either for your checking or savings accounts,  your banking could end up costing you more than you think. The most important thing to remember when shopping for bank accounts is that it should not cost you anything, it should reward you!

For any account you shop for, you should avoid the following fees:

  • Account maintenance or administration fees.
  • Withdrawal penalty fees.
  • Minimum balance penalty fees.
  • Deposit penalty fees.
  • ATM use fees.
  • Account link/online banking fees.

Some banks even use promotions to get you in but will charge you fees after a certain period of time or will charge high fees for less common things like Replacement Debit Cards or  Incoming Wires. You should always read the fine print before signing up for anything. Open an account online today and start getting the most out of your bank account.


You should make money, not pay fees

With interest-bearing checking accounts, you will be able to generate a few bucks out of your day-to-day account instead of paying monthly fees. After searching, I found that the Discover Cashback Checking is one of the highest paying checking accounts given its reward structure.

You can get 10¢ cash back for every single purchase you make, no matter the dollar amount. Their cap is 100 transactions per month which work out to 120$ in cash back per year. Compared to most other banks where you usually need to pay monthly fees on checking accounts, it is a pretty good deal. On top of this, their cashback checking does not require any minimum balance!


You should save money

For any unplanned little thing that life could bring us, we all need an emergency fund. You should have at least 3 months of living expenses in cash for those unbudgeted events. Some go as far as 6 months but it all depends on your job security and personal preferences.

Your emergency fund should not be in a checking account. You should simply open a high-yield savings account and earn a higher interest on those thousands put aside.

I suggest you shop around for the highest paying savings account and pay attention to the services offered. Some online banks will offer ATM access, some others don’t. Some online platform such as CiT Bank will offer unlimited transactions without any monthly fees.


Now, how about Canada?

For Canadians like me, none of the Big Banks offer very high yields. We do have options with online banks such as PC Financials or Tangerine but the service might be lacking.

Another option for those of you who have a brokerage account (you really should) is to invest in High-Interest Saving Accounts at discount brokers. Such funds have symbols like BTB100, ATL5000, or RBF2010.

To purchase those funds, simply enter a mutual fund order with the proper symbol. *Make sure your broker does not charge any transaction fees for HISA.

These offer higher rates than money market funds and are guaranteed by CDIC up to $100,000.

If you are fine with an online-only bank without access to ATMs, I found that Alterna Savings offers a great rate on their savings accounts and works great as an emergency fund.

Finally, I’m sure you can achieve and surpass my accomplishments. Simply choose the right card and use the right bank account to maximize your returns. You should do everything to optimize your returns such as keeping your emergency fund in a high-yield savings accounts and opening a cash back checking account on top of optimizing your credit card rewards. On this, let’s see how we do next year!


Be happy, Xyz.