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I am not a financial adviser. I know next to nothing about investing, and terms like “dividends” and “annuity” make my head hurt (I had to look up how to spell “annuity”).

That all being said,, I’ve been personally interested in day-to-day financial management for a very long time. I have a head for numbers. I know exactly where every penny (or nickel, I should say, since we don’t have pennies here) is going. I realize I’m blessed and privileged to be in this position.

Recently, my friend and fellow blogger Steve wrote an open letter to well-known budgeting app YNAB (You Need a Budget) thanking them for fixing a very serious accessibility bug that rendered the app unusable to him. This got me to thinking. There are not all that many resources out there for Canadians that are both easy to understand and with accompanying tools that are accessible to me as a blind person. I am fortunate that while the finances themselves haven’t come as easily to me at times over the years, I’ve had the aptitude and some of the tools to be able to budget and save with the funds that I’ve had. Those tools – and a head for numbers – have kept me afloat during some really tough times. But financial literacy is seldom taught – resources can be hard to find and need to be sought, which usually doesn’t happen until a financial emergency occurs. And while I obviously don’t know everyone’s relationship with money, I’d like to start a conversation about lessons learned and useful tools, particularly here in Canada.

The most vivid memory I have of financial consequences was in the year I graduated from high school. I was living at home, and had a small but reasonable food budget. I could order pizza (the only takeout food available at the time) every Friday night, but then I’d have to figure out what to do for food for the rest of the month. What teenager doesn’t want pizza every weekend? After three weeks, I had $20 left for groceries, and had to figure out what I could eat for a week with that $20. The answer? Raman noodles. I couldn’t put anything on them like you can at trendy Raman eateries these days, but I could get a case of them, and some apples, for my $20. Nearly twenty years later, and I still can’t eat Raman noodles.

For me, this is a funny personal story, but food insecurity is a serious problem in this country. With many disabled people living near or below the poverty line, I’d like to open a conversation about some options available that can provide some practical money-saving tips. I can’t solve the country’s money problems, but maybe if I can start a conversation, we can all create a little bit of change.

I get it. Money isn’t a glamorous topic. it’s confusing to many. It’s a source of stress. It’s extremely personal. It’s a leading cause of relationship breakdown. I’m not going to tell anyone what to do with their money; heaven knows I’d resent anyone telling me how to manage mine. But I think it’s important to raise awareness of some of the tools that have enabled me to save effectively – if not aggressively – while maintaining the roof over my head. I’d also welcome personal stories and experiences and ways you’ve found to budget, save money, or stretch a nickel into a dollar.

The tools I will be discussing in the coming weeks are ones I’ve used personally. I haven’t received any kind of incentive or compensation for providing reviews; I’m simply a user of product or service XYZ and wish to share my experiences. They are, I am sure, not the only tools out there; they are simply a few that I’ve found over the past couple of years and found generally usable, effective, and primarily accessible. Come on this journey with me, and maybe we can learn a few things together!