Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Go Green, Go Organic!

I am so sick of eating fake food, processed food, food with pesticides, and food that is chemically enhanced. I really don't know how the government lets companies get away with selling this kind of food to people. You would think that the government would want people to eat healthier to save on medical treatments and drugs. More and more people are getting diseases, illnesses, and the most common disease of all is Cancer. So many people I know now suffer or have suffered from Cancer. There has to be an explanation why this is happening more and more frequently. I think it has to do with the fact that we are eating poorly, not exercising as much and have more and more chemicals and pesticides in our bodies.

I have made a vow to myself and my family to start eating healthier which in fact means eating more organic foods and less processed foods. I am trying to stay away from buying anything with preservatives or chemically enhanced tastes/flavors. You would be surprised as to how much food actually has all of that in it. Unless it is certified organic you cannot be sure that the food you are eating is healthy. Even then you still end up eating a small percentage of pesticides with Organic Foods but the percentage is much much better then that of non Organic Foods.

One way to ensure natural and organic fruits and veggies would be to grow your own garden. You can actually have a garden all year round if you live in a more temperate climate like BC. Once the harvest has been done for all of the summer foods you can start planting the winter veggies. We had a fantastic garden this summer and had loads of fresh veggies all summer. We unfortunately didn't know when to plant for the winter garden and by the time we went to plant it was too late. Next year though, I would love to be able to have fresh veggies all year round.

Another way to buy fresh and organic, would be to go to your local farmers market and buy your produce. You can either freeze these to keep them from going bad longer or do a weekly shop so you always have fresh veggies. It also helps support local farmers and keeps your money in your community.

Make your own cookies, pies, jams, jellies, etc. Instead of buying already prepackaged items such as these make your own. You know exactly what you are putting in them and you won't be putting any preservatives in them. If you want them to last longer you can freeze them and have fresh pie for when guests come over. To heat them up just stick it in the oven on low for half an hour. The same goes for cookies, you can also use apple sauce instead of sugar to cut down the sugar. They taste amazing and again you can freeze them to make them last longer. I am just learning how to can myself right now but it's a great way to preserve fruit and veggies. The best time to do it is when all of the fruit is on sale in the summertime. Homemade just tastes that much better anyways.

Making your own food actually ends being cheaper in the long run too. Stores charge too much for things like this because of the convenience of having it on hand and pre-made.

I want my kids to have a fighting chance in this world of living a longer life then their parents. The more good stuff you put into your bodies the more your body can fight off diseases and illnesses. I know for a fact that Cancer runs in my family and I am going to make every effort for myself and my kids not to get it. There has to be a better way, a more natural way. By being green and eating organic is the first step in the right direction. A step towards a better and healthier life.

I hope some of you will make the vow to start eating healthier and eating organic. Maybe if enough of us do it, we will force the companies to stop making chemically enhanced food. It's not food, it's not good for any of us period.

I hope you liked todays read. Thanks for listening!


Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friday, 2 November 2012

Being Frugal by Staying Healthy

To be frugal means to save money right? So if you are constantly sick paying for cold medications, Kleenex, and drug prescriptions it's not exactly cheap. If you take care of yourself by eating healthy, exercising and taking care of your mental health you will save $$$$ in the long run. This not only applies to taking care of body but your teeth as well. Even if you have dental covered by your work you still have to pay anywhere from 10%-20% out of pocket. If you are constantly paying for fillings, crowns, and who knows what else it adds up. Take care of your teeth, brush 2-3 times a day and floss daily and you will save yourself hundreds.

Tips to staying healthy

1. Cut out the junk food- Not only is it unhealthy it is very very expensive to buy

2. Exercise at least a half hour each day- This could be simple cardio or stretches

3. Take your vitamins each day- If you are not eating certain foods or have a lack of certain vitamins, it's important to fill the gaps by taking vitamin supplements or taking a 1 a day multi vitamin.

4. Do something for yourself every day- the stresses of every day life can get to you so by taking a few minutes each day to do something for yourself (especially if you have kids) can leave you a little less stressed and a little more sane. Go read a book, paint, light a candle and have a bath, go for a walk, etc. 

5. Follow your doctor or dentists advice. They know what they are talking about, they are professional and can help you stay healthy. Go for regular check ups.

6. Everything in moderation- If you do want to have a treat or a glass of wine/beer once and a while it's ok, just don't go overboard. Everything in moderation.

7. Get a good night's sleep- Sleeping and recharging your body is one of the best things you can do for yourself to help you stay healthy. It also makes you less grumpy when you wake up in the morning. The average adult needs 8 hours of sleep to recharge.

8. Do something good for someone else. I know making someone's  day always makes me happy and makes my day a lot better. Try thinking and doing something for someone else. It could be anything from helping with the groceries, giving a compliment, or even donating to a local charity. You could also go and volunteer in your local community. 

9. Try eating local and fresh veggies from local farmers markets or stores. Even better, try growing your own veggies if you have the space and teach your kids where and how to grow them. Each fresh and organic food is much healthier and supports your local community.

10. Don't spend money you don't have. Going into debt is very stressful and can make any average person go insane. To keep your family happy and your relationships healthy just don't do it. Live within your means!

I hope some of you can benefit from these tips and maybe save you some money down the road. Keep up the good spending habits and stay healthy!

I hope you enjoyed todays read.


<p>Image courtesy of [image creator name] / <a href="http://www.freedigitalphotos.net" target="_blank">FreeDigitalPhotos.net</a></p>

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Meal planning

Meal Planning

Most people who live on a budget plan their meals according to their budgets. Obviously you wouldn't be eating steak and lobster every night if you were making a minimum wage. I like to try and at least plan my meals for the week in no particular order. I do one weekly shop at my favorite grocery store (where I get all of my airmiles) and write out what different meals I can make with all of the groceries I purchased. I set a weekly limit of how much I spend on groceries and try not to buy anything else during the week unless we run out of one of the staples like milk, butter, eggs etc. I for a family of four I usually try to stay within a budget of $100 per week. I count how many meals I have bought to make sure it will get us through the whole week until next weeks shopping trip. For instance I will write out on the calendar:

Wednesday- Chicken Parmesan with Veggies and Rice
Thursday- Roast with Veggies
Friday- Pizza night
Saturday- Fish Sticks with Veggies
Sunday- Chili and Garlic Toast

My husband usually takes all left overs in his lunch for work so all he has to do it is heat it up for a hot meal and we don't get stuck eating left overs all the time. It also saves us on lunch meat every week too.
Remember this is only a guideline and doesn't have to be followed exactly. It just gives you an idea for planning ideas and tell you what you have in your cupboards. It also keeps you from running out to the grocery store last minute because you can't think of anything to make for dinner. I will also right out what stuff we have for breakfast and lunches too to give people an idea of what what we have. For instance:


Fresh Fruit
Eggs and Toast
Bagel and Cream Cheese


Grilled Cheese

Again, this just gives you some ideas and hopefully will make you stay home and eat rather then going out to grab fast food. It will save you money in the long run. I'm ALL about saving money. If you must eat out set limits for yourself for instance only go once a week or twice a month. Some people eat out almost every day at least one meal and it is such a huge expense. They do it even if they can't afford it and thats bad news. Just because it's convenient doesn't mean it's better or healthier. Usually by eating at home means you will be eating healthier in the long run as well.

Fiscal Fasting

Yearly or monthly fiscal fasting saves you a ton of $$$$ on spoiled food. Every once and a while I go through my cupboards, fridge, and freezer and use up all of the food in the house before I go out grocery shopping again. I make sure I use up all of my produce that will go bad, soups and beans that may be expiring, frozen meats and things that may be getting a bit freezer burnt. The more I use the less I will have to throw out and the more money I save on groceries. It's really amazing just how much people actually waste by throwing out food every month. Also if you didn't buy so much food (only food you will actually eat) it can eliminate throwing away good food. I still do it even though I try not to. I'm bad at forgetting what I have bought in the fridge and letting it spoil. I try and make a list on the wall of all the food we have and some ideas on how to prepare it for my husband and for myself. Hopefully this will help us not throw as much food away. It also gets you thinking of fresh new ideas and lets you be creative in the kitchen. It's kind of fun to explore new ways on how to cook things with different food.

Hopefully you can all find ways to meal plan or do a fiscal fast. I try not to spend ANY money during a fiscal fast if I can. Just by doing this simple exercise a few times a year you will save hundreds of dollars on food. Think about the fact that in third wold countries all around the world, people are dying of hunger every day, yet we seem to be able to throw away tons of food worth hundreds and hundreds of dollars. It just doesn't seem right to me, doesn't seem fair.

If any of you have great ideas for simple meals by all meals please start posting!

I hope you enjoyed todays read!


Saturday, 20 October 2012

If it's free it's for me!

Everyone likes getting stuff for free but no one want to put in the time. There are a lot of services out there for free as well as ways for getting free stuff. Like I said in a previous post, I coupon and save money where I can. I also try and get things for free when I can as well. There are many ways of doing this:

1. Look in the free ads of your local paper or online resource- you have to be on the ball with this as the  really good things go fast. I know usedeverywhere.com has a free section and they always have furniture, misc items, electronics, pretty much anything you could think of.

2. Look at the curbs when your driving around- In Victoria there has been a mass number of people who decided it was ok to dump their garbage or unwanted good at the end of their curb. Now there are no laws against this yet here but check to see whether their are laws where you live. It can be a great place to find treasures.

3. Sign up to receive free samples- Their are a ton of sites online that you can sign up to receive their newsletter and receive a free gift or sample. I do this and often get little soaps, body wash, feminine hygiene products, etc. Some dry foods companies do this so you can try a sample of their products and you can score some baby formula, cereal, granola bars, etc. Keep your eyes peeled for these deals.

4. For new moms, you can sign up for the Nestle baby program and sign up for a backpack diaper bag full of samples of formula, baby cereals and info on your newborn. They also include a bunch of coupons for future purchases. All this absolutely free. I would definitely recommend this.

5. Some movie theaters of a couple of "free" days a year for families. I know Silver City does this and sells treats for $2 in support of a local charity. This is a great free activity to do with your kids and it doesn't cost anything if you don't get any food or drinks. The movie is absolutely free. Check online about a  theatre near you to see if they do this and make sure to mark it on your calendar.
-Also check Starbucks for free cup of coffee day
-And Seven 11 for free slurpee day

6. Check your local community centers and libraries for free fun things to do with your kids. There is always story time at the library that is a fun an interactive way to engage your child and it's totally free. There are also monthly family events around town that the community puts on as an incentive for parents to get out with their kids that are also free. Each month there are different activities depending on the season.

7. Check out websites such as Canadian Freebies, Woman Freebies and Smart Canuck and subscribe to their e-mails. This is a great way for someone else to do all the leg work and find the deals for you. They then e-mail you with all of the weekly or daily deals/freebies. I subscribe to a few websites and have entered a few contests and received a bunch of free samples and coupons from it.

There are many other ways to get stuff for free. These ideas are only a few of many. If you have any ideas on how to get things for free "legally" of course I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks for listening.


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

To have a pet or not have a pet that is the question!

I'll be honest, I am a big animal lover. I had animals all throughout my childhood and loved the fury, cuddly hair balls coming and comforting me when I felt alone or depressed or just having a friend to play with. Before we moved into our house when we were still living in our condo, that was all I could think about was owning a pet again. Because we would now have a yard we could get a dog for our daughter. Boy was I wrong, the moment we moved into our house I still pondered a pet but the thought of being tied down and not being able to travel as much bothered me. Not only would we not be able to travel but our monthly cost would go up as well. It's not cheap owning a pet and when I put it all together it would cost us a few hundred dollars extra a month. We would have to provide food, treats, pet grooming, vet services, pet insurance, etc. and it was just too much. Another factor was that I was pregnant with out son at the time and I couldn't imagine handling a new born and a puppy or younger dog at the same time.

I'm battling the thought of still owning a pet. Should I get my daughter a small animal like a hamster or guinea pig? Should we go ahead with a dog? My husband is allergic to cats so we can't get a kitten unfortunately. Guinea pigs and hamsters smell and we wouldn't really have a place to put one. We have  all laminate flooring so I would be afraid the dog would scratch the floors and damage our new leather couches. We are trying to to make our house nice and have nice things. We just bought a new dining table and chair set. I know with having two kids how hard it is trying to clean up after them, cleaning up crayon and pencil off the wall and washing and sweeping the floor two times a day. Do I really want to add to the mess by cleaning up hair from a shedding dog and "accidents" because we didn't let the dog outside for a pee. My daughter has enough accidents now and again that I have to clean up.

 I would love to know how other families do it.  Do we wait until the kids are older and can appreciate an animal, maybe even help take care of it? I'm really torn because I want my kids to have the same childhood maybe even better then I did when I was growing up. I didn't actually have a dog until I turned ten years old but I always had cats ever since I can remember. I also had a pet hamster when I was a young teenager.

I think at this point in the game, I will wait. Wait until we can fully afford everything that goes with having an animal as well as wait until my daughter is old enough to really appreciate it and take care of it. That will be her and her brothers responsibility. I hope this is the right choice because sometimes as parents we often second guess ourselves. I feel that for our situation it is the right decision and it gives us more time to do research on what the best animal/pet would be for our family. It should never be a quick decision and you should always make sure that you can provide a loving home for the animal for as long as the animal lives. I have seen too many posts about people giving away their animal after only a couple of years because they can't afford it or can't have animals where they live. People need to really be committed before getting an animal to keep the animal shelters from being overcrowded and keep poor homeless animals off the streets.

Hopefully others will do the same and I hope you enjoyed todays read.


Friday, 5 October 2012

Teaching your Kids about Money

So when do you start teaching your kids about money? The answer is simple.... As soon as they can comprehend the logistics of it. My daughter just turned 3 and I am thinking about going over money with her and teaching her what everything is called, how much it's worth etc. Also as soon as I feel she is old enough, I will give her an allowance once a week and teach her about spending and saving. They say giving your child $1 for every year old is what you should do depending on your financial circumstance. So let's say I start giving my daughter an allowance now. I would give her $3 a week every week. I would also make her save 10% in a piggy bank or open up a bank account to teach her about saving. The rest would be free money to spend on candy or toys etc but I would still instill my good spending habits on her regardless. (I am frugal you know).

So when do I start giving her an allowance? I think I am going to start off by teaching her some basic principles. See how she reacts with the information and if I feel confident she can handle it, I will then start giving her an allowance to spend as she likes.

Kids learn from our spending habits. Hopefully you will pass on good spending habits to them so that they will have the skills and tools needed when they get older to live on their own and be self sufficient.  My parents taught me about living a frugal lifestyle, my mom was always couponing and always had a list while grocery shopping. We never had fancy clothes (usually shopped at a thrift store) and we never had the latest and greatest gadgets but we lived a good life and a modest one. I guess I have just acquired their spending habits and love them all the more for it. I don't care that my husband and I make  "decent money", the only reason we are as well off as we are is because we manage our money wisely.  I know people that make twice as much money as we do yet they are always in debt. Why? Maybe their parents didn't pass on good spending habits or money managing skills. As much as I don't like them for making more money then we do, I kind of feel sorry for them being in debt all the time. Being in debt is never fun.

Now, I'm not saying your kids will never get into financial trouble. Somethings they will have to learn for them selves and from their own mistakes. But at least if you give them the tools, they can get themselves out of trouble. I learned from my own mistakes and got myself out of credit card debt. I did it and will never do it again because I learned the hard way. I didn't go as far as having creditors knocking on my door or phoning my house but have a few thousand dollars in debt at 21% I felt like I was never going to pay it off. That's what I get for paying for a trip to Cuba with credit before I could actually afford it. Lesson learned!

I just hope that both of my kids will learn the value of a dollar early on and never take anything for granted. If they want those designer jeans they will have to get a job and pay for them them selves. If they want to go to College or University I will pay a portion but not all of it. They need to prove to me that they want to be there. If I just hand everything to my kids they will never learn, they will always rely on other people to buy things for them and bail them out. I want them to learn how to be self sufficient. That is my ultimate goal, if I die knowing my kids will be alright on their own I will die happy.

Take your kids to the grocery store next time you go and teach them about buying the necessities, taking a list with you, meal planning, etc. Talk about saving for a rainy day but that you never know what tomorrow will bring. Save some money but not all of it as you still need to have a life and live a little. You never know, you could die tomorrow.....

I hope all of you with kids will instill good habits. Maybe if you're more conscious about it you will think to teach them more often. Even if you don't think they are listening, trust me, they are =) I didn't always listen to my parents, but even to this day I still remember my parents talking about the value of a dollar and thank them every day for it.

Thanks for listening!


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Princess Tea Parties

For all of you parents out there, you know how difficult it is to keep your kids entertained all the time. I have been so busy all summer with wedding after wedding I felt like we hardly got to have play time this summer. My daughter and I were having a tea party one evening and came up with a grand idea! We decided that we would invite all of her little girlfriends over and have a really neat tea party with real cups and saucers and baked blackberry tarts. (We picked a bucket full of blackberries).

This was a great way to keep the kids entertained, keep my daughter involved and have some "playtime". It was a lot of fun to plan, inexpensive to put together and easy to execute. All of the dishes you see in the above picture were purchased at thrift stores. That way I don't care of one of the kids drop and break one and they are inexpensive to buy. They don't have to be matching, the new fad nowadays is pretty mismatched tea sets.

We made own own goodies, blackberry tarts, scones and peanut butter and jam sandwiches. We also had a candy bar on a separate table that the kids could grab a bag and take some home with them. (The parents sure loved me).

Next I wrapped individual knives,forks, and spoons in a napkin and wrapped a candy bracelet around it to hold it all together. I also laid out a beaded necklace and wand at every place setting. I purchased a color table cloth form the dollar store and paper doilies to put on top in the middle as seen above. It makes the table look fancy but it only cost me a couple of dollars. Then my daughter and I picked wildflowers in the grass to put in vases on the table as our centerpieces. A fun thing to do with your kids and costs nothing. It also makes for a beautiful vintage centerpiece.

I also was busy cutting card stock to make bunting to hang up. I just bought a few pieces of different card stock from Michael's craft store and cut one triangle out as a guide and  traced the rest. I then made holes in both sides at the top and strung them together with some colored string I purchased at the dollar store. I then printed out letters off my computer and glued them on and VOILA! It's simple and looks great! The cutting is what takes the most time. I also strung some bunting on the candy bar table.

Making and doing things with your kids is fun and a great way to spend time with your kids. I never had that luxury before as I was a full time working mom. Now that I've had my son, I'm still on maternity leave and so I have all the time in the world to spend with my kids and I'm loving every minute of it.

I hope that all of you with kids take the time and spend it with them, get to really know them, and have fun with them. I can't stress that enough. All I wanted to do when I was working was spend time with my daughter and now I am doing just that and taking full advantage of it. It probably won't be forever because I'll probably have to go back to work at some point, but I certainly won't waste the time I have now.

I hope this inspired some of you to throw a random party for your kids and their friends and get creative!

Thanks for listening!


Sunday, 23 September 2012

Coupon Trading

Coupon Trading is a great way to save money. I personally started coupon trading on online forums and it works great! I even put out an ad myself on our local Usedeverywhere.com and Craigslist. I never meet anyone in person to coupon trade just trade by mail and it seems to work just fine. If you're scared of giving out your address I guess you could use a PO Box but not necessary. I don't have a PO Box I just use my address. Coupon trading works best when you have big coupon books like the Entertainment Book or Coupon Saver Book. There are tons of coupons I will never use in there and so why not trade them for coupons I will use? Since I shop once a week at Safeway I like to trade for Safeway coupons. On average I save between 30%-40% every week when I do my big shop once a week. It's not as much savings as some of the extreme coupon shows down in the US, but nonetheless in Canada it's pretty good savings. It's better then a swift kick in the butt right?

I've had so much response in regards to my ad that I've already made my money back three fold on the purchase price of the coupon book. It's a great way to get coupons you want or need and get rid of ones you don't need or won't use. You can also do this with friends and family if anyone gets the newspaper with coupons in it you can trade with them.

Another way to trade is to have coupon parties and invite all of your friends to bring unwanted coupons. Someone is bound to be able to use them. I am actually going to be hosting one in a few weeks where all of my girlfriends will come over for some wine and treats and swap coupons! I can't wait! It's a fun way to get together and trade and hopefully someone will find a use for all of the unwanted coupons out there. You could put a fun spin on it and have a martini couponing party if you'd like.

There are some great websites out there with downloadable coupons and you can usually find coupons from merchants on their websites as well. I usually get flyers and coupons in my weekly paper as well, so there are a lot of great coupons out there. It's just whether you can use them or not. Remember  coupons is like having cash in your pockets and it's not just for the poor or middle class. Anyone can use coupons and why not? It's almost like the companies are handing out free money but in coupon form. Who can say no to free money?

Happy Couponing!


Friday, 21 September 2012

Saving on Christmas/Holiday Shopping

In this day in age, everyone is trying to find ways to save money. For some strange reason though they seem to splurge on Christmas, Birthdays, and other holidays. Why is this? The average Canadian spends anywhere from $1000 to $3000 on Christmas presents. Holidays and buying material items are so over rated. Why spend thousands of dollars when Christmas is supposed to be all about family and togetherness. My husband and I barely spend $300 on Christmas presents. How you might ask? Every Thanksgiving we always put all of the adults name in a hat on both sides of our family. Each person picks one name and has a spending cap of $50 per present. In total my husband and I each spend $100 each for both families and then we buy one larger present for our daughter from "santa" and then we also buy a few stocking stuffers for everyone and my husband and I don't buy gifts for each other. We always buy a "gift" for a needy village like a goat or a pig to show our kids about charity and the value of donating.

Another easy and fun way of doing gift exchanging is everyone buying a gift $10 or under and putting it in a pile in the middle of the room without any names on them. Write numbers on pieces of paper from 1-10 etc depending on how many people brought gifts and put them in a hat and shake them up! Each person takes a number and in that order starting with number 1 they pick a present and unwrap it. The next person can either steal  the first present from the first person or get a new one and unwrap it. The last person to pick a present can steal anyone of the presents or take the last wrapped gift. This is a fun and cheap way of getting a gift and not spending a lot of money. It's amazing what you can buy for $10.

For Birthdays, we usually get together for dinner with the family. Instead of giving presents, we all chip in $50 per person except for the Birthday man/woman and put it into a Birthday account. It's amazing how quickly it adds up. We then take the whole family and go on a family trip. This coming February my family including my parents, my sister and her husband, my husband and I and our two kids are all going to Hawaii with our Birthday fund. It's a great way to travel if you don't have a lot of spare cash and for me I'd rather go on a family trip then to buy a silly present for someone who may or may not stuff it into the corner of a closet.

It's easy to have a lot of fun with little cost. You could try only putting in $25 dollars if $50 is to much or more if it's too little. Play around with it a bit and see what you come up with. Remember it's all in fun and make sure everyone is on board if you are going to do it. It's not fun when someone is left out because they can't afford it.

A great way to save for Christmas is putting a little away into an account every month until the end of the year. That way Christmas won't come as a shock and you have money to spend. You can also buy Christmas presents when sales come up throughout the year. It's a great way to buy products cheap an you don't have to wait until they jack up the prices at Christmas time.

Another way to save around the holidays is to bake or make your own gifts. Are you really good at making jams or cookies? Then why not make some for everyone on your list? Canning or baking costs are minimal when you have a lot of people to buy for. Make your favorite treat and share in the magic of giving! My holiday favorites are Church windows made with colored marshmallows, shortbread cookies, antipasto (my mom makes some every year), and of course homemade chocolate chip cookies.  Feel free to post some of your holiday favorites!

Next time you have a Birthday or holiday come up, why not make a card instead of buying one. Homemade cards are a lot nicer and more thoughtful then store bought cards. They will probably end up in the recycling eventually so why spend $6 on a card when you can make one for pennies? Be creative, come up with your own ideas on how to save money!

I hope you enjoyed todays read!


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Becoming Domestic

For those of you who know me personally know that I am not very domestic. At all in fact. I have just had my second baby and am now home for awhile now and so I must learn. I have an entire household to run including taking care of my three year old daughter, taking care of my two month old son and keeping my house clean. On top of that I need to learn how to cook. I don't do much of the cooking myself, my husband does most of it. I guess because he is working full days and I am at home now I need to start cooking. It's only fair right? 

Well the other day my daughter, son and I went and picked blackberries and filled an entire bucket. "What do I do with these?" I said to myself. I guess I'm going to have to make a pie! Man do I love a good blackberry pie with a little bit of vanilla ice cream. 

So I found a recipe online and got my husband to pick up the ingredients yesterday after work. Last night I baked my first blackberry pie and boy was it good! I was pretty proud of myself and my husband even went back for seconds. There is a picture of the final result up above. I even made it look pretty!

The recipe I found was this:

Blackberry Pie Recipe

1 Pie shell
5-6 cups blackberries, rinsed, picked clean, patted dry (if you use frozen berries, defrost and drain them)1/2 cup to 3/4 cup sugar (depending on how sweet your berries are)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon almond extract3 Tbsp quick cooking instant tapioca

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Mix all ingredients together and let sit for 30 minutes.

Pour into pie crust and place on middle rack for 30 minutes. Once 30 minutes are up turn the oven down to 350 degrees and put on for another 15 minutes.

Serve with vanilla ice cream!

Makes for one yummy treat. I think I will have another piece today! Of course my daughter helped picked the blackberries and helped make the pie so she will get a piece too. I think it's a great way for kids to get involved and learn all about baking. If they are a part of the process, they are more inclined to eat whatever it is you made. Whether it's breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert. I also made dinner last night for my family. I made one great spaghetti sauce and we all had a delicious dinner. I used a lot of herbs and veggies from our little pallet garden. It turned out really well and I will probably do it again.

I sure am turning domestic, and I love it! 

Hope you enjoyed todays read!


Monday, 10 September 2012

Which Mortgage to pay off first?

When you have more then one Mortgage the question is which one to pay down first? For me it's simple. We have a condo that we rent out where the rent pretty much covers our mortgage and strata fees in full minus about $100 a month. We also have a house where we currently reside. Because our mortgage is being paid for on our condo we don't really have to worry about it since our renters are paying it. So what if you have to pay interest on the mortgage? You don't have to pay out of pocket for it. Your renters pay it.

As for our house, we pay the mortgage, and we also pay the interest, therefore if we pay our mortgage down sooner the less interest we have to pay on it. In full, saves us money in the long run. I like saving $$$. Who doesn't in all honesty?

And so, I believe it is better to pay down whichever property you currently reside in. Saves you money in the long run. Our house also has a bigger Mortgage on it as well and so the interest costs would be greater. Paying it down sooner would in fact save even more money. I can't stress enough how important it is to pay down your mortgage sooner. Even if it's only an extra $50 or $100 a month. Those extra payments go directly onto the principle which brings your mortgage, interest and number of years down quicker.

I'm not rich by any means. I'm also not poor. I can afford to put down an extra $115 down on my Mortgage every month which I have budgeted into our monthly budget. It's not much but it saves me $40,000 in interest and pays off my mortgage 4 years sooner. So now my 30 year mortgage turns into a 26 year mortgage. The more I put on it the sooner my Mortgage will be paid off.

If I can save someone thousands of dollars in interest costs alone I will be happy. If I can keep your money where it belongs in your pocket, mission accomplished. I hate seeing people waste their hard earned money. I see too many of my friends and family members in debt and for what? I big screen TV, or a new kitchen that they just HAD to update? Why go into debt for material items? They just need to learn to be better with their money. Everyone would be that much richer if they didn't have debt repayment they had to budget into their monthly budget. If you didn't have that car loan of $200 a month or that credit card debt charging you 21% in interest you would be so much better off! Those things are not necessary to survive and certainly not necessary to live a nice life. They are extras, mire luxuries which if you can't afford, shouldn't have.

If I can get through to at least one person I will be happy and my job here is done.

I hope you enjoyed my rant today.


Saturday, 28 July 2012

Starting Now

So today I wrote a letter to my mortgage company asking them to up my payments on  my mortgage to increase what I pay off on the principle owing. Today was my first step in the right direction and I am excited to be on my way to paying off my mortgage sooner. I want to be worry free, debt free and not owe anyone else any money. That is my ultimate goal, to be self sufficient, be financially free and live my life to the fullest with  money to spare.

On top of what I am paying extra on my mortgage I will be putting any additional big money that I come into on my mortgage as well. I can't stress enough how important it is to pay off your mortgage sooner rather then later. Just by upping my payments an extra $115 per month I will be paying my mortgage down 4 years sooner and saving over $40,000 in interest  costs. That is a lot of money and I want to keep it where it belongs....in my pocket. I want to be able to take my kids on a family vacation once a year and with an extra $40,000 in my pocket over the course of the next 25 years there will be a good chance that I can.

I work hard for my money and I want to keep it to do things that I want to and not send it down a big dark black hole only to never see it again. I'm sure most of you feel the same way. Why should the big corporations have and take all your money? Why let them win?  Fight back by paying your mortgage off sooner and by being debt free. I'm not  saying put ALL of your extra income on your mortgage and not have a life for the next 25-30 years. That would just be silly. No, all you have to do is budget it into your monthly payments at a reasonable amount that you are comfortable with. Leave yourself with enough extra money to still have a life and to be able to go out once and awhile and really enjoy life to the fullest. I don't mean to sound cliche at all but save for a rainy day keeping in mind that you could still kick the bucket at anytime. It's all in moderation. You can't spend every single penny you have thinking you will die tomorrow, when you very well could live to 100. It's all about balance.

I hope that if you do own your own home and have a mortgage on it that you will consider paying it off earlier. For your own sake. Follow me as I pay off my mortgage years at a time and hopefully reach my goal of paying off my mortgage before I turn 40. That gives me exactly 12 years from now to do so. Every single extra penny I put down on my mortgage will help achieve this goal.

Please leave a comment and let me know if you've found ways to put extra money down on your mortgage, I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks for listening and happy saving!


Sunday, 29 April 2012

How to Pay off your Mortgage Early

My husband and I have decided we are going to try and pay off our mortgage before we turn 40. (We are both 28 now) So paying down our mortgage in 12 years, is that possible? We signed up for a 30 mortgage      so can we knock off 18 years off our mortgage? We we are going to do everything in our power to throw money at it in the next few years. During the first few years of a mortgage it is so important to put as much extra money down on the principle as you can. You will save yourself thousands of dollars in interest. For most people, during a 30 year mortgage you are usually spending almost as much as the purchase price of the house just in interest. The bank has to make their money somehow.

To put down as much money as you can on your mortgage you can:

1. Put any lump sums you acquire towards your mortgage. This could be money you win, come in to, get back on your yearly taxes, acquire by selling big ticket items etc. Most lending companies will allow you to make one large payment of up to 30% of the mortgage price once a year.

2. Start by cutting monthly costs and add an extra $25-$50 per mortgage payment. This will add up and will go directly to your principle.

3. Changing your 30 year mortgage to a 15 years mortgage will make your payments more each month but if you can afford it you will be able to pay off your mortgage quicker and reduce your interest by half which in turn will save you thousands of dollars.

4. If you don't already do so, pay bi-weekly instead of only twice per month or even once per month. This will make 2 extra payments per year which would be applied to the principle and help you pay down your mortgage quicker and take years off your mortgage.

5. If your mortgage comes up for renewal, refinance with a lower interest rate. Keep paying the same payments your were making before (or more) thus paying more down on the principle.

Give yourself an overall goal. To pay off your mortgage within a time frame by a certain date. This will give you something to look forward to and work towards. As long as it is reasonable even if you don't pay your mortgage off before the date you set, to be even close to that is an accomplishment in itself. I personally want to pay off my mortgage long before I retire so I can then focus on saving for retirement.  If I can reach my goal of paying off our mortgage before we turn 40 then I will be a happy camper. If I can do it even sooner that would be even better.

I wish everyone good luck in their venture to pay off their mortgage early. With a lot of hard work, a little good luck and determination you will. That financial freedom will set you free and set you up for a great retirement. I challenge everyone to take the test and pay off your mortgage in at least half the time of your original mortgage contract. You will be laughing in the end.

I will keep everyone posted on my own challenge to see if I can pay of my mortgage within 12 years. We are already putting our tax refund down on our mortgage and upping our bi-weekly payments. I will start a tally of how many years down and how much interest saved.

Thanks for listening,


Saturday, 31 March 2012

Urban Suburban

A lot of people want to find new and exciting ways to make their yards more efficient and more green. Living in the city doesn't make it an easy task to grow a garden or grow plants in general. Less space, less resources, and less nature period. I found this new way of creating raised garden boxes and I think it's a great way to save space, save time weeding, and it doesn't hardly cost anything to start if anything.

If you can find free pallets (a lot of business give them away for free) you can start and grow your own little garden. Keep in mind if you're going to be growing veggies, you need to make sure the wood hasn't been treated with any kind of chemical.

1. To start just get a pallet and staple back cloth on the bottom to keep the dirt from falling out of the bottom.

2. Place on either gravel or grass where ever you like.

3. Fill with dirt and plant your rows for veggies or flowers

By planting this way, it saves on weeding because the weeds cannot grow in between the rows. It also looks pretty neat and saves on space especially if you have a tiny yard. You could even put one on your sun deck or patio!

Green houses are also a great way to have fresh herbs and tomatoes all year long. Put a small lean-to on a deck or patio and let the fresh taste of spring and summer enter your home all year long.  Buy one from a local hardware/garden store or make your own from old windows or sheets of glass. Be creative make your garden yours and own whatever it is you would like to create. My hope is that after this season we will have fresh veggies, herbs, etc and be a bit more self sufficient at home. By doing this I hope my family will be happier and healthier and I hope to include my daughter every step of the way to show and teach her just exactly where her food comes from. I've even gone as far as buying her a little watering can and shovel to keep her involved in the process.  I think this is a great way for kids to learn about their surroundings and the environment.

There are so many other ways to be more efficient and green. Stay tuned for pictures and more ideas on how to create an urban garden in the suburbs.

Enjoy your day!


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Be Your Own Boss

I am like everyone else. A slave to working Monday to Friday, 5 days a week and expect my pay check in the mail every two weeks. I have just recently started my own little business on the side and have been in business for the last 2 years. This I do on my weekends off while I am still getting a full paycheck so that I do not lose any income. The point of this would be to try and be my own boss, to get away from the every day grind of work. I want to have my freedom, do what I want when I want to and have fun. Starting your own business certainly isn't easy, it's actually quite the challenge but very rewarding in the end. You have something to call your own that's yours, kind of like your baby. You watch it grow and give it the power it needs to succeed. You thrive on it doing well and making you money.

I started a small business from my home doing party rentals where I bought a bunch of stuff and started renting it out. I have a proper supplier and buy things regularly to stay in the loop. I was amazed just how quickly my name got around and how many clients I ended up getting in the first and second year.

I was so proud of my accomplishment, basically starting from scratch with no money up front I was able to get my business going. My hope is that one day I will be making so much money and have so much business, that I won't have to work Mon-Fri anymore so I can spend more time with my kids.

Find something you love to do, do what makes you happy and try and make a go out of it by selling your product or providing your services. There are a lot of people out there looking for good, quality, local items or services and even though the economy isn't the greatest, people still have to go about their everyday lives. Pick something you are really good at and thrive!

In the mean time, by working on the weekends I am making more money and thus have more money to spend on things (or more money to pay down my mortgage). A few extra payments a year makes all of the difference. You'd be surprised.

If you are thinking about owning and operating your own business there are a few key points you may want to note:

1. Pick something you love to do, do your research and make sure there is a market for it in your area.

2. Have a game plan, create a business plan and make goals for yourself

3. Make sure what you are doing is legal, apply for a business license in your home town

4. Apply for loans, grants, anything you can to help fund your new found business

5. Advertise, advertise, advertise! Get your name out there, promote yourself, make business cards, do as much free advertising as you can, put flyers on windshields, advertise on the a free website, etc

6. Work hard, put your blood sweat and tears into your new found business and be consistent

7. Make customers come back, spread the word and give you a testimonial. Repeat customers and word of mouth is probably how my business has survived. Word of mouth is huge as people often want verbal references.

8. Be organized! Make sure you file all receipts, keep up on your book keeping, create proper contracts, and most importantly be professional.

9. If it is a home business you have started up make sure you claim a portion of your bills etc. For instance if you have one room in your house you use for your business, take the square footage and make it into a percentage of your house. Then deduct that percentage from all of your bills as business costs. It adds up! Bills include but not limited to; mortgage interest, property taxes, heat/hydro, internet, water, maintenance and repairs, telephone/cellphone, etc.

10. Watch your competition and price accordingly. To stay on par with everyone else you must make sure that you're prices are not outrageous. Products and services are only worth how much someone is willing to spend. If there is someone down the street selling the same thing for 1/2 the price they are bound to go to them instead. Stay in the loop and price accordingly.

I really hope you all find your passion and can do something you love to do while still earning a profitable income. It is a lot of fun, a lot of hard work and dedication but worth it in the end. You have something to be proud of and have a sense of accomplishment. This is personally speaking and I am going to continue with my business in hopes of it's great success. I hope one day I can be a full time stay at home mom with my kids and work from home. That is my ultimate goal. In the mean time, I strive to be great, put all my energy into my "baby" and hope that it will continue growing for years to come. How else am I to pay for my mortgage?

I hope you've enjoyed, thanks for listening.


Thursday, 15 March 2012

The Laws of Attraction

Some people are firm believers that the laws of attraction are very real indeed. I am starting to believe it myself actually. The whole thinking behind the laws of attraction is that if you will it and you think and stay positive, positive things will come your way. If you think negatively and are always depressed or cursing the world all the time, bad things will come your way.

Last year something incredible happened to me. I had never won anything in my entire life, mostly because I never thought I would win. Then last April I was called #9 into a radio station for some tickets to a concert. This was only the beginning. All month the same radio station had been doing promotional advertising and giving the chance to win a brand new 2011 Chevy Cruze away. When you heard the beep (could be in the middle of a song) and you were caller #9, you got a ticket to go to a party where you were one in 100 to try and win the car. Well that following week after I won the tickets I was stuck in traffic on my way home from work due to a car accident. When I heard that beep in the car I started to try and call in to be caller #9. By some strange force I knew I was going to be caller #9. I kept trying, I tried about 3 or 4 times before finally getting through and low and behold I was caller #9!!! I was so ecstatic I was bouncing up and down in my seat (passengers seat). My husband was trying to cool me down as he knew there was still only a 1% chance of me actually winning the car. When we got home I was still bouncing and just knew I was going to win that car! I picked up my ticket to the party the next day and was still vibrating from all the excitement. As we walked in the parking lot to the radio station the car that they were giving away was sitting in one of the parking stalls and we walked right past it. As we walked past it I said to my husband "that's my car right there, I am going to win it, it's all mine!" Of course my husband was skeptical and didn't want me to get my hopes up but I didn't care, I just knew.

The following week was the party. I dressed for success as I knew I would probably be getting my picture taken when I won the car. I wore my lucky red lipstick because the car was red and I knew it would be good luck. When my husband and I got to the party we grabbed some pizza and pop and took a good hard look at the car we would soon be driving home. Everyone's name got put into a bin when we arrived and the order that they were drawn was the order that everyone picked their square. There was a board with 100 squares on it and everyone got to choose one square when their name was drawn. Some squares had not so smiley faces, some had other prizes behind them and there were five squares that had keys behind them. If you got a key you would be one of the five finalists who could try and actual key in the car. If the car turned on it was yours to take home. Most of the squares had already been taken when it came to be my turn. I was probably #75 in choosing my square. Four of the keys had already been chosen and so there was only one key left. I just knew I was going to get a key. I still had hope. I knew it in my mind when I stepped up to the plate. Low and behold I picked the last key. I was jumping up and down like mad because I knew, I just knew that car was going to be mine. I went over to the other people who picked keys and stood and waited until all other squares were picked. Once they were all picked, everyone turned their attention to the five people who had all won keys. We were each given envelopes with actual keys in them to try in the car and we tried in order. I was key #4. So key 1,2 and 3 all went and tried the key in the car and busted. No such luck. I turned to the guy behind me and said "well only a 50/50 chance" shook his hand and wished him good luck. I knew as soon as I sat in that car that the key would turn for me. It would start up the car and I pictured my reaction and what I would do. The time came for me to turn the key, sure enough it turned the ignition and started the car. I was so excited I literally screamed as loud as I could. The whole thing was being recorded live on the radio where I'm sure some of the listeners thought someone was being murdered I was screaming so loud. It was mine, the car was mine. At last!

I thought like the car was mine and could visualize me winning from day one. I just kept positive and kept my eye on the prize the entire time. I don't think it was just pure dumb luck, I think it was a lot to do with my positive thinking and wanting it so bad I could taste it.

If you are reading this and are thinking yeah right this was just a once in a lifetime thing, it'll never happen again. Well think again! Just the other day I was listening to the radio and if you were caller #9 you can have the chance to win some cold hard cash. I thought to myself I am going to be caller #9 and I am going to win some money. I let it ring a few times and finally I heard a hello on the other end. I was caught be surprise and as I was driving I quickly pulled over and stopped the car. I was caller #9 again? Wohoa! I thought to myself. Ok, now let's win some money. I had to open different envelopes and tell the radio VJ to keep going or to stop. I got to envelope # 4 that had $444 in it. I could have one farther but thought to myself let's not be greedy. I could loose it all! So I stopped and walked away with $444 worth of cash! I visualized myself winning and I won!

I never was a believer in staying and thinking positively but I sure am now. I think that the laws of attraction work and that if you send out positive vibes you will attract good vibes back to you. Either in luck, health, money, love, whatever it may be it will come with positive thinking. You also have to be very determined in your goals and do whatever it takes to help you achieve your goals. You can't just sit around and wait for things to come your way. You actually have to try. "You have to play to win"!

I hope this inspires some of you to be happier in your thinking and to think positive thoughts. Draw all of the positive energy towards you. Keep negative thoughts away and enjoy life.

Good luck in whatever you choose to do.


Saturday, 3 March 2012

Be all that you can be!

I have learned that it's who you are inside that makes you a good person. Not your religious beliefs, or your background, or even whether you have come from a good family or not. It is what you do with your knowledge, your education, your experience to make this world a better place. Whether you volunteer, help people in your line of work, or even make someone's day great by giving a tiny compliment, it's these small acts of kindness and generosity that make this world a great place to live.

Even though there is so much hurt and suffering still going on in the world, if you can make a difference in one person's or one family's life it makes all the difference. If everyone did this in their everyday life, the world would be better for it. I have my own morals and beliefs and I strive to be a better person everyday of my life. I know I am not a saint by any means and I know I am definitely not perfect but I feel that I am an overall good person. Not saying I don't make mistakes from time to time either.

For instance, today we decided to help another person by becoming a Sponsor to a child in need that lives in Africa. One small step in the right direction and I feel pretty convinced that this act will make a difference. It certainly makes a difference in one persons life. It could have made the world of difference for all I know, I don't know. If everyone did something like this (and I know not everyone can afford to do this) the poverty crisis across the world would be slowly diminishing.

All I am saying really is be everything you can be. Be the best Doctor or Lawyer or Firefighter. Whatever your job may be, be the best at it and strive for excellence in everything you do. One day you too can change the world, make a difference in someone's life. Be educated, go out and learn first aid because you never know when you may have to use it. It may save one of your family member's or a total strangers life one day. Donate where you can to a charity of your choice. Pick something you believe in with all your heart and fight for your cause.

Live in peace and harmony and you will ultimately feel good about yourself. Think of others and not only yourself and you too will feel empowered.

I hope you enjoyed today's read. I would love to hear about all the ways you have changed the world one step at a time.

Thanks for listening!


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Eating Out, Is quick and Easy but not Cheap

Most people are guilty of going out for dinner or grabbing a coffee 1 or 2 times a week. Some people have that special $5 Latte every single morning on their way to work that adds up to over $200 a month on coffee? Really, $200 on coffee every month? Get up 5 minutes earlier and make your own coffee! Pocket the $5 and put it into savings. That savings becomes $200 a month which then in turn leads to $2400 a year! That's a lot of money. You could go on a nice vacation for that, or you  could invest it wisely. Here are  few ideas on how to invest it "wisely":

1. Put it on your current mortgage to pay it down faster. That's like 1 or 2 extra payments a year and if you already do rapid payments it adds to paying off your principle mortgage faster. You'll own your home outright in no time!

2. Put it into an RRSP. Saving $200 a month for 30 years will amount to a lot of money when you are ready to retire. Keep in mind all that interest you build will be compounded and over time it amount to a great deal. If you start your RRSP at 18 you will be well over a $1,000,000 by the time you retire. Instant millionaire!

3. Put it towards a down payment on property. Whether it be a condo, townhouse or house you will be glad you invested in property. It is a slow way to invest but if you stick it out in the end you can end up with a huge return. Keep in mind you will want to hold on to your property for at least 7-10 years to make a big enough profit.

4. Put it into a TFSA (Tax free savings account) where you will make more interest. Save it for a rainy day, save it for travelling the world, or save it for something you could really use like a new car.

5. Buy GIC's, Savings Bonds, Mutual Funds or something along the same lines. These are all mostly guaranteed return back on them and the longer you put your money away for the more money you will end up with.

6. Put all of your extra money on Red at the casino and watch it either double or loose it all! Try your luck! Even better go take all of that extra money you were spending on Latte's and go buy lottery tickets and increase your odds!

Eating out in restaurants can get expensive. Even if it's only once a week it still adds up with a family of four. Finding coupons for restaurants that saves you anywhere from 20% to 50%. Most are buy one meal and get one free! Not a bad deal. You can actually buy coupon books that have all sorts of coupons in there good for one year. I always buy one every year from entertainmentbook.com and then have hundreds of cities to choose from all over North America. Since I live in Victoria, I buy the Vancouver Island Entertainment book. I always keep it in my purse so that I have it handy for when we do actually end up eating out. Things come up like Birthdays, Anniversaries, Holidays etc where you end up going out to enjoy and celebrate. This is a great way to save!

To go out for dinner is expensive enough but add in the tax and the tip which is now mandatory in a lot of places, it's just outrageous. By the time you pay for your $10 burger and fries add 12% tax and 15% tip you are actually spending $12.70 almost a 3rd more. Times that by 4 people and it adds up.

Drinking while out at a restaurant is even more expensive paying anywhere from $5 to $10 a drink. Yikes! Having 1 or 2 is ok but planning on getting a buzz on while out is a bad idea. That can add up and you might as well all go back to someone's house and buy 1 bottle of booze and split the cost. It would end up being way cheaper. Either that or sticking to juice or water while eating out.

If you can't resist having a coffee while at work, you've already had your coffee you brought from home this morning and you find you need another one to get you through the day, bring a box of tea and coffee and keep it at work. Keep a mug for coffee at work and make your own coffee on your coffee or lunch break! It's easy, it's simple, and it's cheap. If your work doesn't supply you with a coffee maker, bring a small bodum or plug in kettle and keep it at work. People might start getting the same idea and then you can all pool or chip in for a nice coffee maker for the coffee room.

There are simple ways to save money. Why should the waitress who makes $8 per hour plus $200-$300 a night in tips make more money then you in one day? If you are educated, have a good paying job, and work a hard 8 hour day trying to bring home the bacon why is it that people who are uneducated, who only work 4 hour shifts, and have minimal paying jobs are making more money then you in one day. Don't let this happen. Keep your money, spend it wisely, save where you can! You work hard for your money so keep it.

I hope you enjoyed today's read.

Thanks for listening,


Sunday, 19 February 2012

How To Save Money Grocery Shopping

Every knowledgeable person knows that grocery shopping is a way of life. It's simply the easiest and cheapest form of feeding your family and in reality, a necessity of life. My theory is if you have to buy groceries, why not do it the cheapest way possible without compromising your integrity or your family's health.

Here are some really easy ways to save a lot of money when it comes to groceries. Most of them I live by.

1. COUPONS COUPONS COUPONS!!!!!! Coupons are great, coupons are put out by stores to get you to come into their store. Coupons are as good as money itself. If you shop at the same store all the time and they offer coupons, why not use them to get the same products that you would already normally buy for way less?

2. Flyers are put out by most grocery stores once a week. I get these flyers sent to me at home but most of them can be found online as well. I circle everything that I need/want and that is on sale and then I take the flyer into the store with me plus my shopping list and pre-plan what I buy. This saves money just for the fact that you're not going into the store and buying everything in site.

3. Shop with a list! When you look through your cupboards, fridge and freezer to see what you need to buy make sure you write everything you need down and only buy what is on your list. You will save yourself from buying frivolous things as well as junk food you probably don't need to consume.

4. Club Cards are a great way to get discounts, earn points and use those points to buy groceries. It is a store's way of saying thank you for choosing us instead of one of the many other grocery stores out there. Take advantage of these.

5. Shop one big shop once a week. Most people if they have a fridge and a freezer should be able to do this. This will save you on gas money as well as make you make a meal plan which in turn will help you save money. A meal plan is deciding ahead of time what you will have for dinner every night that week and going out and buying everything you will need to prepare the meals. The ingredients need for these meals will help you make up your shopping list.

6. Only buy produce, bread, dairy that you will eat before it expires. To throw out food that you don't eat because it has expired is a waste of money. Unless you freeze your extra fruit before it goes bad, or freeze that extra loaf of bread you bought it will just end up in the garbage.

7. Buy a deepfreeze so that you can stock up on things like, fruit, bread, meat etc when it's on sale and therefore save you from buying it at full price. These come in handy because you can really stock up when the stores have their big sales like customer appreciation days etc.

8. Know your prices! This is handy when you can decipher what is a good deal or not. When something is a great deal stock up! Stockpiling is good for things that you will always need such as toilet paper, paper towel, toiletries, vitamins, medicine, laundry soap and even all the food that you can freeze. So when toilet paper is on sale for $5 when it normally goes for $10, don't just buy 1 or 2 buy A LOT! You will need it eventually and it just means you won't have to spend your grocery budget on toilet paper for awhile.

9. Have a weekly and monthly budget. I shop with a weekly budget of about $100. That's $400 a month which is not bad for 2 1/2 people. I would never ever say we go without stuff that we want. I always get what we need/want and stay on our budget.

10. Always buy what's on sale. I never ever come home with the same brand of bread or anything for that matter. I always switch it up to whatever is on sale at the time. This will definitely save you money.  Most brands aren't much different from the next one so you shouldn't really notice a difference.

I hope I have enlightened you all and maybe helped you save some $$$$ along the way. This is just one more way to save you some money so you can start saving for your future!

Happy shopping,


Thursday, 16 February 2012

How to Save Money for your Wedding

Everyone knows that wedding's are expensive. You try and get a quote for anything and tell them it's for a wedding and I swear they jack up the price on the spot just because you said the word wedding! Now if you are frugal like me and want to save a few bucks when planning the big day I've listed a few ideas here. It doesn't have to cost you $20,000;$50,000; or even $100,000. You can plan a wedding on a budget and you can stick to that budget. It's very possible and you still will end up with a fabulous wedding day. Of course I ended up splurging on a few key items (after all it was my wedding day) but still managed to to it all under $10,000 for over 100 people. Not bad when you think about all that's involved!

Planning you wedding can be stressful so why not make sure you don't over extend yourself by following these tips:

1. Catering your wedding is going to be your biggest expense. Catering costs can be anywhere from $20 pp to $100 plus pp. You best, quickest, easiest and cheapest way would be to have a buffet style dinner. Sit down meals are often a lot more food and are quite a bit more expensive then a buffet.

2. Your venue price will depend on location. If you have your wedding in the fanciest hotel in town located on waterfront property of course it will be expensive. Most venue's will give you a price break if you order from their catering menu. Venue rooms usually start around $500 and can go up to $3000 plus. The venue is key to any wedding reception to set the tone and mood of your wedding but you don't have to spend a pile of money. Choose wisely and book way in advance so you aren't left with minimal choice. Most people tend to book their venue about a year in advance. I would recommend this or even earlier if you can.

3. Next would be choosing your ceremony site. Sometimes, you don't have to pay anything for your ceremony site as in my situation we got married on a local beach. I just had to get a permit to allow this which was free and it didn't cost anything to use the beach. Most government or provincial landmarks would be free or next to nothing to use as your ceremony site but make sure you check with your city first and get a permit if required. Sometimes if you advertise that you are looking for a nice ceremony site, you might be able to get someone with large property (maybe waterfront or gardens) to host for a minimal fee. Most hotels charge $1500-$2000 to have the ceremony at their place/venue. Do your research and remember it doesn't have to cost a lot.

4. Flowers can be purchased at a local supermarket instead of a florist which would make it considerably cheaper. You could even just buy the flowers and make up the arrangements yourself (if you have time that is) but most supermarkets don't charge too much to do this. Places like Safeway and Thrifty's are excellent places to order your wedding flowers on a budget. If you really want to save money you could always go out and purchase fake flowers and then resell them after the wedding! You'd be surprised on how real some fake flowers look =)

5. Wedding rentals can be expensive but sometimes can save you the hassel of buying your stuff and trying to resell it after the wedding. Some rental companies are very reasonable and some are quite expensive so again do your research before you choose a place to rent from. You can rent anything from a few things and do the rest yourself to everything. A lot of brides now a days have a DIY wedding (Do it yourself) and make up most of the decorations, centerpieces , etc themselves. You can find out how to do and make a lot of different stuff online and get supplies from your local craft store. This also gets you more involved in your own wedding instead of someone else planning and doing everything for you. Not for everyone but it could save you a lot of money.

6. Photography can be VERY expensive. Sometime packages can run for about $2500 for a day of shooting. This doesn't have to be the case for you though. If you have a friend that dabbles in photography on the side that could do it for you for a good price thats always a good way. Another way is also to try and find someone just starting out and that maybe just graduated from photography school who is looking to get known. They can usually do it for about half of the cost and the pictures usually look great! Make sure before you pick a photographer that you check out their work and look at their portfolio first before you make a decision. One thing I learned is that every photographer has a different style and some styles just don't suit what you want or need. I looked through I few portfolios before I found a style that I really liked.

7. Wedding cakes can be very elaborate and thus expensive. You don't have to go to a bakery to order one though. Most grocery stores with bakeries in them do wedding cakes for about half the cost. You can end up with a really nice cake with 1,2, or 3 tiers for a lot less. You can still decide and design what you want and have the grocery bakery give you a quote to see if that option is for you. In my case I have a sister that is a baker so our wedding cake was her wedding gift to us!

Cupcakes are another way to go when it comes to weddings. A lot of people are doing it now and it is an inexpensive way to have cake. All the guest will enjoy their very own little taste of heaven and you can rent a cupcake stand for really cheap. You could even make the cupcakes yourself, freeze them and decorate them the day before the wedding if you are feeling really creative and frugal. Cupcakes are the new fad and sometimes there will be a little cake on the top for the bride and groom to cut and save for their first anniversary.

8. Wedding music doesn't have to be expensive. It can be anything from you playing a simple Ipod connected to speakers to a full fledge live DJ. You could also get someone you know who has a little brother to come and DJ your wedding for a small fee to take care to picking the playlist and making sure the buttons are pushed when they should be. This is a cheaper way to go. If you want to go ahead with a DJ, some are better then others. Do your research on prices and music selection to make sure they are going to play appropriate music for your wedding. Sometimes, if you don't want to pay for a DJ but want professional equipment, you can rent the equipment from them and not pay for their time to be there. This would make it much cheaper.

9. Wedding bands can be expensive, but if you stick with simple ti won't cost as much. Also if you go to some of the bridal fairs in your area before you get married, usually the jewellery boutiques offer discounts on their products (sometimes up to 20% off), which is a really great deal. You can also try shopping online for the best prices but then you can't see exactly what you are getting so buyer beware. if it's from a well know site though you are probably pretty safe.

10. Your wedding dress! Probably one of the most important things about your special day. Everything revolves around the dress and you want to make sure you look and feel like a million bucks because everyone will be looking at you. Most bridal stores have discount racks you can check out. This is where I found my dress, I bought it as is and didn't have to wait for it to be ordered. You could always try to find someone online looking to sell their used dress (usually only worn once). This is a great way to find a dress as some people spend $1000-$5000 on a dress on average and if they've only worn it once it still looks new. Usually you can get used dresses for $500-$1000 sometimes cheaper, which is only a fraction of the original price. My sister did this for her wedding and the girl she bought her dress from had bought two dresses and never even wore the dress she bought from her. So she got a dress less then half the cost that had never been worn before. She got a great steal!

Well I hope this post gives you some insight on how to keep your budget low when it comes to your wedding. My wedding was one of the best days of my life and I never really had to worry too much about cost. I did my research and got a ton of quotes and compares prices. In a competitive industry prices can vary so always get a few different quotes from merchants and rental companies. Write down how much to expect to spend on everything and an overall budget for yourself (the max you would want to spend). Figure out what the three top priorities are for you wedding (what matters the most because every bride is different). Set your budget a bit higher for your top three picks and then distribute the rest of the budget for the other items. The start shopping and looking around for prices!

Happy Planning!