[Ep. 1] My Personal Finance Journey

Want to hear all about my personal finance journey in my own voice? Well, that’s exactly what episode 1 of the Mo’ Money Podcast is all about.

If you’re a longtime blog reader, you may have always wondered what I sound like. Sure, you can guess my tone from my writing style. But sometimes I feel like I make way more sense talking than writing. And that is a big part of the reason I wanted to launch a personal finance podcast. I love writing on this blog. But I think to take my personal brand to the next level, I needed to do something new and different.

So, with the help of my audio engineer husband, I bought a few microphones and started emailing possible guests. Since I plan on having a new episode for you every Wednesday, finding new guests is going to be a big job for me. So if you know anyone who has a really interesting money story (or that person is you), please email me!

For my first episode of the Mo’ Money Podcast, I’ll be giving you a glimpse into my personal finance journey. How I grew up and how that influenced my relationship with money over the years. For all of future podcast episodes, I’ll also be writing show notes like this one for each episode to include any extra info and links to anything I mention in the show and some extra goodies too.

Here are some important blog posts you may want to reference.

Blog Posts I Mentioned

Blog Posts About the Big Milestones in My Life (Thus Far)


Episode 1: My Personal Finance Journey

Jessica: Hello and welcome to the first episode of Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses. The personal finance podcast with a dash of sass. I’m your host Jessica Moorhouse and if you are unfamiliar with me, or my blog, don’t worry. This whole episode is about getting to know me and what this podcast is all about.

I’m going to start from the beginning just to give you a little idea of where I came from and why I’m so interested in money and personal finance and all that fun stuff. Probably like most of you, I grew up in the suburbs. I grew up in Coquitlam which is a suburb about 30 minutes outside of Vancouver.

Although we were never poor, technically, my parents got married young and they had kids pretty much right away. There wasn’t a heck of a lot of money to be spread around. We always got everything we needed but there was definitely times that it was evident that we didn’t have something that someone else at school would have.

I remember, a random memory popping into my head right now, there was a girl I went to school with and in my mind she was the rich girl in school. She had a beautiful 2 storey house near school that she could walk to. Her parents had a BMW and whenever we went to her house she always had chips and pop and candy and basically anything.

It’s funny looking back now, I don’t think she actually was rich. They probably just spent more than they could afford because now that I know what her parents did, I think her mom was just a stay at home, and her dad had a trades job, I think they just spent their money differently than my family. My family has always been, and still is, frugal and thrifty. Always made sure that they didn’t spend when they didn’t need to just in case something happened.

I think a lot of that has to do with their upbringing, quite honestly. My mom has 3 siblings and my grandparents are originally from Quebec and they were a military family. I think they just always lived very simply and it translated to mom’s life.

Same with my dad, he grew up in Northern BC and I think also had a very simple, small town life. That’s kind of how they raised me. It’s always good to shoot for the stars and be ambitious and all of that. But when it comes to money, materials don’t really matter. It’s all about love and family and friends and that’s kind of it.

That all being said, because I did grow up sometimes feeling like I was lacking something, it definitely did put this fire in my belly that I wanted to have what my parents didn’t have, or what they couldn’t provide for me. I don’t feel like I necessarily needed more to be happy growing up because I was a very happy kid and I had a very wonderful childhood. But I just think that when I have a family I want to provide some extra things, some additional things, to my kids, if that makes sense.

For instance, me and my sisters, I have 2 sisters, we never got an allowance. That is kind of fine. We were just expected to help around the house and that was it. The only money we ever really got was for birthdays from relatives and Christmas. For years I would just save up whatever I got for birthdays and Christmas and try to make that tiny bit of money, sometimes it was just $100, try to make that last throughout the year.

It was fine. Honestly. If I ever needed something my parents would help me out, like clothes, food or whatever, but when it came down to just buying fun things for me like candy or toys or whatever, I would have to pay for that. I started budgeting. I want to say at probably age 11 or earlier, I don’t know. I never necessarily need an allowance to be happy. I feel like I got everything I wanted but I feel like there would have been less awkward situations sometimes.

I have big memories of being a kid and going to the pool and some of my friends being “Let’s go to the cafeteria and get some fries” and I did not have enough money for fries. I had enough money to go to the pool. I would just pretend that “Oh, I don’t want any. I’m fine”. Maybe that is fine. It definitely helped me become the person that I am today but it’s just something that I don’t want my kids to experience, I guess.

Along the same lines, because we didn’t get an allowance and my parents got married really young, they never set up an RESP for us. We never had a college fund like most kids have. Again, that is fine. It made me who I am and I am really proud to say that I am the one responsible for putting myself through university. I think that is awesome. It is a great feeling to know that not only did I get into university, do well in university, get that diploma, but I also got to pay for it. It is a pretty remarkable thing.

But on the other side of the coin, I know that I was very lucky. I went to a university that was very close to my house and I lived at my parents’ house for the 5 years it took me to do my degree. Not everyone has that opportunity or that freedom.

Some people come from a small town, or whatever, and they have to go somewhere else to go to university. Sometimes they have to move. They have to pay for their living expenses plus tuition and all that stuff. I also want my kids to have the freedom to be able to choose what university they want to do. I went to Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, and it is a great school, but I kind of had to go to that school because I felt like the only way I could afford to go to university, and pay for it, is if I stayed at home.

The other kind of local university was UBC but it was just a bit too far for me to travel. It would have been an awful commute for 4-5 years so I chose the best closest school for me. I wish, when I eventually have a family and have kids that are going to go off to college, that they could not just choose the best closest school, but the best school.

So I want to be able to pay for that for them. I still want to be not just “Here is a free trip to school. Good luck. Don’t fail”. I would definitely make it “I’ll pay for your tuition but you have to pay for your living expenses” because I don’t believe that anyone should get just a free pass. I don’t think kids will learn about money if they don’t have to deal with it, if everything is just paid for them.
I know that because I met a lot of kids like this at university and they were just terrible with their money. They made terrible choices because it wasn’t their money. It didn’t matter. Or they would have their parents’ credit card or a credit card that their parents gave them.

What would you do if you were an 18 or 19 year old, on your own for the first time and you get unlimited money? You’re going to spend it. You’re not going to save it for a rainy day or to eventually have a retirement fund or buy a house. You’re just going to spend.
Eventually, if you do get cut off, what do you think is going to happen? You’re going to maybe get a job, start making your own money, but you are going to have those same terrible money habits. You’re just going to waste your money. You’re going to wrack up your credit card.

I’m very firm in my idea, and same with my husband, that when we have kids we will pay for their school but they need to have a job. I think it’s a ridiculous notion that you cannot do two things at once. I worked, sometimes 30 hours a week, while going to school full time. It made me a hard worker. It made me good at multitasking and understanding that, guess what, life is hard.
It also helped me when I was finished university because I honestly had this ridiculous idea that once I eventually got a full time job, moved out on my own, oh, then I could relax because working and going to school, that was tough. But then if I’m just working full time, wow, all the free time I’ll have.

Yeah, that was before I actually moved out I think, that I had that idea. It probably took me about a good month, maybe not even more than that, that I realized that “Oh wow, I have more free time but stuff is expensive. I need more money”. I don’t really want to reveal how much I made in my first job because it was really, really low. It was basically just above the poverty line. I hardly made anything and it was really hard to save. I’ll get to this a bit later in the program.

When I finished university I was actually unemployed for 8 months. During that time I was an on call teleprompter for the news. Thanks Dad. I got that job through my dad and it was the most random job I’ll probably have ever done. I don’t think I will ever do something so random and if none of you are familiar with what a teleprompter does, they are the people that literally scroll the script on the teleprompter machine for the anchors.

When they are talking live on the news there is literally someone controlling the style, making the script go up. I’m not sure if that is even a job anymore. I actually didn’t even quit that job. They phased me out and replaced me with a foot pedal. How sad is that? Now the news anchors just do it with a foot pedal.

When I had that job for those 8 months I was considering quitting it once I got my full time job but then I started realizing how expensive things were and maybe it would be nice to have a little bit of extra money so I’ll just keep this on call gig for the time being to make a bit of extra money, maybe after 6 months or a year, I’ll quit. I kept that job for 3.5 years.

That’s how much I realized that I needed a second stream of income, basically, starting out. Things are expensive, starting out at zero is no fun. I needed that second job. I think definitely working and going to school definitely prepared me for real life, because guess what? It never ends. You’ll always need more than one stream of income.

That’s kind of the brief glimpse of me growing up and going to school. I feel like I should actually mention what I went to school for because I feel like it definitely reveals a lot about me. You probably think I would have gone to university for accounting or business or marketing, because that’s what I work in right now. Actually I was an “artiste”. I thought I was going to be a filmmaker or film editor or something like that.

Things don’t really turn out the way you plan them when you are 17, do they? I went to Simon Fraser for film and I really loved it. I don’t regret my decision to go to film school. Thank God I didn’t go to a private film school where it is $20,000 a year or something like that. I actually got a legit Fine Arts Degree from a really good institution but 5 years later, I graduated in 2009, I’m definitely not a filmmaker. I’m actually working in marketing. It’s interesting to see where life will take you.

After I graduated in 2009, which you’ll remember was big time recession. Great time to be a new grad. I had all these dreams of what I would do and I was very lucky that a professor of mine helped me get this job at the Vancouver Film Festival which was literally my dream job. All these independent movies, I’m really in the Vancouver film scene. This is amazing.

It was just a 4-month contract job. It was awesome. It was a lot of work and I learned a ton. I’d never worked in an office before that but it was a great experience. After that, the contract was over in mid-October, I just assumed I would get a job within at least a month and well, it took me about 8 months to find another job.

Probably the hardest 8 months of my life, especially since I had spent 5 years of my life preparing for this career, I can finally move out of my parents’ house, start my real adult life and nothing. I was unemployed, living in my parents’ basement for 8 months at 23.

I literally thought my life was over. I was just horrified what was happening to my life. I’m like “This is not me. This is not real. This is not what I had planned. What the hell?”. The good thing that did come out of it actually was that I had a lot of free time and I read a lot of blogs and books about money and personal finances.

Actually, I’ll give credit to my older sister. She is the one who introduced me to the world of personal finance because she was reading a couple of blogs and she was like “You should read this” and I just got hooked. This is perfect for me. I was always thinking about money and I was always so conscious of my relationship with money and budgeting and making more money and it was just always on my mind. This is perfect.

Eventually after the 8 month period ended I got my first real full time job that allowed me to finally move out of my parents’ house and get my own apartment with some roommates and finally start living like a real adult.

I honestly, stupidly, thought “Okay, yeah, awesome, everything is going to be fine. I don’t have to read about personal finance anymore. I’m going to have so much more money. I’m just going to live my life and have an awesome time.” and not soon after did I realize, “Okay, I guess I’ve got to keep that teleprompting job. I can’t do all that awesome stuff that I thought I’d be able to do and I guess I’m going to be eating a lot of Ichiban noodles.” It was not an easy first year, I’m telling you.
I don’t want to freak out any almost new grads out there but maybe, I’m hoping, that it’s not as hard anymore.

Maybe this was an isolated incident because it was a recession and I had no money when I moved out, I don’t know, but it was a hard year. It was probably one of my hardest years.
I really wanted to prove to myself that I could be independent in all ways possible, including financially independent, and that meant keeping a second job while working full time and not spending any money. I almost need to find some of those old receipts so I can see how little I spent that year. I remember that I even wrote about this in one of my posts about some of the most cheapskate things I did.

One of the things I did to save just a few dollars, and I did this on a weekly basis, was I would get milk and you can get a 1 liter milk at this one grocery store that was in a glass bottle and it cost $2.00. But if you brought back the bottle you’d get a dollar back so it would be half off, essentially. It was ridiculous because I didn’t have a car at the time and this grocery store wasn’t necessarily super close to my house, but maybe every 2 weeks or however long it would take me to finish the milk, I would clean it and then bring it back to the grocery store to return just to get that dollar back.

That’s how every little dollar counted for that first year. But the thing was, even though it sounds kind of awful and probably no one would want to even think of doing that themselves, it taught me a lot about budgeting and saving and just living off what you need. Just buying what you need and not focusing on all that stuff you want but it actually doesn’t add any value to your life.

Based on that first year, because my mind was so wrapped up in money and personal finance, I got the bright idea to start my own personal finance blog. Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses was born on December 13th, 2011. If any of you are wondering how the heck I came up with that ridiculous name for a blog there are a few reasons. It’s like an onion, there is bunch of layers.

The first reason is my old roommate, one of my first roommates, she came up with the idea. She thought it was a ridiculous, hilarious name for a personal financial blog because it’s a bit cheeky but silly and also references one of her, and one of mine, favourite hip hop songs which is “Mo Money Mo Problems”, right? Anybody? Anybody?

The second is that it kind of involves my last name, Moorhouse.

I guess the third layer would be I want to include my last name, not just to have a double entendre, but just because when I grew up in elementary school, you know how kids used to make fun of your last name, well kids used to always make fun of my last name, Moorhouse, and used to taunt me, “Oh, Jessica, you have more houses”.

No idea what that means, honestly. I don’t think they knew what it meant at the time but it used to always really irritate me, just because I was like “Stop it. I don’t know. I just have one house”. It always used to stick in my mind and I think as I grew up I’m like “I’m going to show them. I’m going to have more houses than all you all.”

The fourth layer, the last layer, who knew Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses had so much depth, the last layer is because I read so many personal finance blogs and that a lot of them focused on income property. One of my dreams, and still is, is to eventually own a bunch of properties and be a landlord and make a bunch of money by renting out places.

So, having Mo’ Money for Mo’ Houses.

That is how I choose my blog’s name and now I’m going to get into a bit about what my blog is about but what also this podcast is about. It’s basically another extension of my blog. I love having my blog. I love having an outlet to write all my ideas and thoughts and whatever, but I do feel like sometimes I need another way to express myself and my personality.

I think I am funny, I don’t know, and sometimes I don’t know if that comes across in my writing. In addition to that, I do feel like my blog is about me and I just talk about me, which I think is relatively interesting to lots of readers out there, but my podcast is not going to be that.
I’m not just going to be talking for 20 minutes by myself, full on monologue style. I’m going to be interviewing people. I’m going to be interviewing real people that I know, mainly millennials, and talking about real money issues that they’re dealing with.

Maybe they’re planning an expensive wedding. I went through that so I could totally give some advice or we could talk about it. They have student loan debt. That is almost everyone I know. They have crippling debt and they’re trying to figure out how to pay off their debt but also how to put money in the bank and start saving for retirement. Stuff like that.

I’ve got a bunch of ideas but I’m totally open to anyone out there who wants to give me some helpful criticism, some comments, some ideas that you’d like to hear on this podcast. Or if you even have some people in mind that you think would be great to talk to me on this podcast, I would be totally open to that. If you do want to contact me make sure to go to momoneymohouses.com and on the contact page there is my email.

But feel free, if you don’t want to email me, you can contact me on Twitter or Facebook and I’d be happy to listen to your thoughts and ideas.

On that note I’m going to wrap things up. Thank you so much for listening to the first ever episode of Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses, the podcast. This is Jessica Moorhouse, your host and I can’t wait to share episode 2 with you.

Disclosure: Nothing on my website or affiliated channels should be considered advice or an endorsement, and some content may include affiliate links in which I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Please read my disclaimer to learn more.
Showing 6 comments
  • Ali @ Anything You Want

    Well, I officially just binge-listened to all three episodes of your podcast and I am so excited for more! I love your style of storytelling – its comes across so well via podcast. It also just sounds like you’re having so much fun with your guests! Great work and keep ’em coming!!

    • Jessica Moorhouse

      I really am. It’s super casual conversations and that’s probably the only way I could do a podcast. I’m no radio host but I can just chat forever! Thanks for listening Ali and thanks for letting me know what you thought about it! 🙂

  • Jessica

    It really bothers me when people say “I’ll pay for my kid’s tuition if they get a job while going to school”. I went through engineering and there was no way in hell I could juggle a job as well as school. ~40 hrs in the classroom in addition to the ~40 hrs they expect you to put in on your own time. Hardly leaves time for a part time job. Sometimes its not possible, would you really hold that money back from your kid (if its already saved?) if they can’t add a job to their schedule? Summer jobs/co-ops and internships excluded as those are great options outside of when you are taking courses.

    • Jessica Moorhouse

      I wasn’t excluding summer jobs, co-ops and internships, but I do think it’s important to work while going to school. I gained a number of helpful skills by doing that and it also helped that I could have some stuff on my resume after I graduated instead of starting from ground zero. And it definitely depends on what my kids are going to school with. Thanks for your comment Jessica (great name btw!).

  • Ash

    Hi Jessica,
    I have listened to the first two podcasts and have really enjoyed them. Will be listening to the third episode later today. I read your blog regularly (sorry i never comment) and I love how your posts are personal. I find too many blogs out there which are tailored more towards getting hits and don’t really have that personal touch. Great work on the podcasts and you seem to have everything so well organised with the corresponding blog posts and all. Keep them coming and congrats!

    • Jessica Moorhouse

      Aww thanks so much Ash! That is such a nice comment! So glad you listened and like my podcast! It’s been a pretty cool new thing to do, so I really appreciate your feedback.

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