Episode 27 - Mindful Budgeting with Cait Flanders

Cait Flanders of blondeonabudget.ca shares her journey of getting out of almost $30,000 of (mostly) consumer debt in two years by creating and sticking to a simple budget. She also shares the challenges and benefits of putting herself on a year long shopping ban and why she chose to continue for a second year. We also talk about spending habits, gift giving, World Domination Summit, having a "minimalist Christmas," and even a little Ned Flanders (no relation) Simpsons trivia.

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  • [3:15] Blonde on a budget origins
  • [4:15] Past saving and spending habits
  • [7:45] Budgeting and spending tracking
  • [12:55] Shopping ban
  • [15:05] Challenges and benefits of the shopping ban
  • [21:40] Jeff discusses his own spending habits and challenges
  • [25:55] Quality vs. quantity spending
  • [27:30] Supporting friend’s work and donating to charities
  • [29:30] A “minimalist Christmas” and gift giving ideas
  • [32:35] World Domination Summit takeaways and creating community
  • [35:15] Why Cait does what she does
  • [36:45] What Cait is currently working on
  • [37:35] How to connect with Cait


  • “I started [the blog] when I was 25 years old and maxed out with almost 30,000 dollars worth of debt. And most of it was consumer [debt].” (Cait Flanders)
  • “I got to this point where I was completely maxed out, I literally had 100 dollars in my checking account and 100 dollars left on my credit limit on my credit cards. And I had to make that last me for 6 weeks. So at that point I had no other option but to start a budget and figure out what was going on with my finances.” (Cait Flanders)
  • “When I was paying off debt there were months when I was putting upwards of 50 to 55 percent of my income towards debt repayment. So saving 20 percent afterwards should have been easy, but it wasn’t.” (Cait Flanders)
  • “I realized since paying off the last of my debt, I had really let lifestyle inflation set in.” (Cait Flanders)
  • “I decided to do the shopping ban because I just knew: A. I wasn’t getting anywhere with my savings goals. But B. I could look around my home and have no idea where my money has been going for the first year that I’ve been debt free, but there’s certainly nothing in my home that has made my life any better. So I just needed to stop spending and figure out what my spending should look like. What would make my life better. And I guarantee it won’t be bringing more things into my home.” (Cait Flanders)
  • “The biggest thing for me, and advice I give other people, is if you’ve never written a budget before, you’re not going to be able to start from square one just because you decide to write one. You really need to understand where your money is going. And that’s something I never knew about, so I started tracking my spending.” (Cait Flanders)
  • “Denial doesn’t help you with what you’re going through it only hurts it as time goes on. So becoming really aware of where you’re at really is the first step to moving forward to where you want to go.” (Cait Flanders)
  • “The challenges have been around giving up anything that I had a habit around.” (Cait Flanders)
  • “Overall the greatest thing [the shopping ban] has taught me is that I don’t value stuff, I value experiences.” (Cait Flanders)
  • “I’m actually happy to buy someone’s want. If they’re going to use it.” (Cait Flanders)
  • “The biggest burden that comes with having so much stuff that I wasn’t using was the guilt that comes with it. So I don’t want to add to anyone’s pile of clutter, and add to that sense of guilt that they have when they look at the thing that I bought them that they didn’t use.” (Cait Flanders)
  • “When you’re thinking about giving gifts to others, just be sure that it’s going to be something that they’re going to put their hands on, actually use it, watch it, wear it, or gift an experience.” (Cait Flanders)
  • “I started my blog originally obviously for me. I was using it as this accountability tool when I was getting out of debt. But over time I’ve just wanted to make sure that I’m continuing to share my story, but that I’m really creating a space for people to talk about stuff that’s normally pretty taboo. Money is still one of the most taboo subjects in our society.” (Cait Flanders)
  • “The basic questions around money are questions for a reason. It’s not stuff we’re taught in school, and we don’t all have great role models or examples in our lives to look up to.” (Cait Flanders)


Intentionally Wandering,