Variable income. Such a nice way of looking at it. Variable brings up thoughts of income coming soon, or maybe… simply that it varies a bit every once and a while from the norm. But those of you who have lived on ‘variable’ income know that sometimes it means ‘low’ income, or even ‘no’ income. It’s feast or famine in today's freelancing world, and sometimes no matter how hard you work you’re left sitting with nothing on the horizon wondering how you will possibly be able to eat this month. I have been in that place. I’m kind of in ...
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Avoidance is Expensive: Reflections on Root Canals, Relationships, and being truly debt free

I've been thinking a lot about debt this week. Avid readers will know that I recently found myself in a bit of a situation. Yesterday, I sat down in the dental chair and my very lovely dental assistant arranged the tools they would use to torture me. A shiny mirror couldn’t distract me from the picks, drills, and other various bits that were prepared to remove the root from yet another of my teeth. I, being the giant dental baby that I am, was filled with something that felt a lot like panic, and I was left wondering for the ...
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Managing the Unexpected: The Story of Emergency Funds for Artists

Risk-proof your life. That’s what the personal finance experts will tell you. Well, experts.. The prospect of ‘risk-proofing’ an artist's life seems pretty dang daunting. Do you guys ever feel like there’s nothing in this business that you can actually control? I grew up on a farm out west, and it never ceases to amaze me: you can be the best farmer in the world, but if it rains every day, your crop will suck. It can be the same way for artists. There are so many talented, driven people, but it seems like there have to be a thousand ...
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How I got back into debt

Just when I thought I was out… I got dragged back in. It was almost 2 years ago that I became debt free. I had finished paying off my tax debt, polished off those pesky student loans, and it was great. Being debt free was awesome. All of a sudden the money delegated to minimum payments was mine again! I had banished the lingering shadow of those ignored CRA calls,  and shrugged off the feeling of owing someone something! I could finally move on to other kinds of money goals. Retirement. Building my POG collection. Maybe traveling from time ...
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Chapter 5: Choosing Change: the 50,000 dollar question

*chapters do not have to be read in order. Just dive in* When I started cutting back on spending, I developed one odd form of rebellion. I wouldn’t spend as much on clothes, I would cut back on eating out, I stopped taking cabs... And I started buying scratchers (those fun little lottery scratch and “win” things you see at every corner convenience store). There was a ritual to it. I’d walk down to the end of my street, and buy two: one had to be bingo themed, and the other one I’d switch up. I’d go for the middle-of-the-line ...
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Managing Deductions for Freelancers: It’s not your Money

My resume is terrible. I have only had one real job in my life, for one summer, and that was almost ten years ago. There are times when I am proud of this fact, and other times when it’s more on the “extreme shame” side of things. I’ve spent most of my life working as either a farmer or an artist; two jobs that can fill the day with work, but are difficult to translate in to “resume” type experience. But I did have that one summer, in which I experienced the sinking feeling of opening your first paycheque and ...
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It finally got me. After avoiding it through most of the season, one wily cold bug snuck its way past my defences and sent me packing to my bed. Oh well. It’s never to early in the year to spend a few days in bed… right? So there I was, in bed with my box of tissues watching the Golden Globes, when my (totally legal!) stream got unfairly shut down and I was forced to turn to the embrace of my ever-constant friend... Netflix. In a delicate place, and not really wanting to be stressed out by the antics of those fast-talking Gilmore ...
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The Secret (to making a budget that actually works)

I’ve heard from quite a few people who were inspired by the tracking challenge and are ready to face their finances head on. They started drawing up budgets. YES. A total win, right? Well, it’s not that I’m not about budgets, but let’s be honest... They totally suck. Plus, mostly they don’t work. At least not most of the time. How many budget horror stories have you heard? How many budgets don't reach their 1 month birthday? A budget seems like the exact sort of thing you “should” do…. Well... I also “should” have gone to law school. I “should” floss ...
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The Story of Mint

So. Here's the thing... Quite a few of you have been asking about MINT.  That’s because it’s super popular and pretty dang awesome. I am a relative newcomer to Mint. I downloaded it this summer, and quickly realized what all the fuss was about. There’s nothing in the market quite like it. Why is Mint awesome? When you first sign up for Mint you sync it with all of your bank accounts and credit cards. Mint then pulls all the information in to a one stop shop for your personal finances.
  • It can link to most banks, it even linked ...
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The Story of YNAB - From Rags to Reasonable


What's a YNAB?: If you READ MY STORY, you know that a huge teacher in the early part of my financial education was YNAB (You Need A Budget). It’s a budget software. It's really easy to use, and it looks great. But the truth is it’s more than just a software. It’s a budgeting philosophy, it’s a community, and it’s a bunch of fine people who will work with you and help you get back in control of your spending and saving. The Philosophy: In the YNAB world there are 4 rules RULE 1: GIVE EVERY DOLLAR A JOB RULE ...
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I’m Chris. I’m an opera-singing financial planner, and I want to help you start getting control over your money. 

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Want to get control of your money, but don’t know where to start?

Answer a few questions, and get a personalized ‘next step’ for you and your money.

Tools to try:

My favourite tool in THE STORE right now is this:

Even though I wrote it for music students, it’s a great guide for any artist who wants to start getting control over their money, their business, and their variable income.