Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year`s Plans

Oddly enough Blake is getting New Years Eve off this year. We flirted with the idea of going out with friends but seems that most people already have plans. Our friends Lynn and Robbie invited us to go with them over to a friend's house but the owner of the house did not invite us personally so we don't feel like crashing the party. I do know the girl from high school but we are by no means close friends or ever were.

So we decided to be a good boy and girl and stick within our $30.00 budget and stay home to celebrate. We decided we would buy some sort of alcohol we usually don't buy and order out some wings. I am making homemade pizzas and hopefully can stay up until past midnight! Besides, my parents just watched the kids for Boxing Day night, I don't feel right asking them again and I certainly don't want to pay anyone else to do it (not that we have anyone else to call anyway).

As dorky as it sounds I am excited to be with Blake only that night. We can have an official discussion of our 2010 budget and make plans for the new year. I believe that aside from improving our finances this budget will make us closer as a couple as we will be forced to discuss money more often.

Regardless of your New Years plans, be safe, don't drink and drive and I wish you a very Happy & Healthy 2010!
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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dear New Next Door Neighbour...

I understand how excited you are too be on "holidays" but please don't be a douche and play rap music until 2:00am on a Monday night. I will not be so understanding 2 nights in a row.
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Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Recap

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas this year. Ours was nuts as usual but not as bad as I expected it to be. I survived my in-laws house and the turkey ordeal, (probably because there was plenty of wine) but it was nice to catch up with my sister-in-laws. The kids got really nice gifts and we both got some good stuff too. Afterward we dropped off Jenna and still made it home early enough that the kids stayed awake in the van. Blake and I spent about 1 1/2 hours playing Santa and putting away all our Christmas loot.

The next day we opened presents and ran out the door to my parents house. The kids were very upset to leave as they just got presents that morning and the night before and didn't have a chance to play with them yet. So we ate breakfast there and opened more presents. We also stayed for dinner and came back home that night. Traditionally, we spend the night and go see a movie when the kids are asleep but this year nothing good was playing. So we came home and spent 4 HOURS organizing our house and gifts.

Boxing Day we got up at 6:00am to go to Old Navy and Future Shop which went pretty good. We were able to get some good deals and be on our way home in an hour. We all showered and went back to my parents house for dinner that day as friends join them every year on Boxing Day. We put the kids to bed and went out to see friends for the night. It was great to see them again!

We came home yesterday and caught up on laundry and dishes. Blake slept most of the day (he was majorly hungover lol) and he had to go into work last night. We put away the Christmas decorations and hit the sack super early.

I am thrilled to have 2009 Christmas over with and to start a fresh new year. It was great to spend the time with family and friends and see our children experience the magic of Christmas but its also great to get the stupid tree out of the living room and have our closet not barf out presents every time we open it!
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It Wouldn't Be Christmas Without Drama


I am super pissed. Here's why:

Every American Thanksgiving (end of November) my mother goes to the States to purchase a turkey for stupid cheap for Christmas. A few years ago I decided to go with her to get the turkey for my husband's Christmas dinner and I bought this huge turkey for about $14.00! That Christmas Eve as we were waiting to sit down for dinner I asked one of my sister-in-laws who was cooking how she was making out with my turkey. She confided in me that she did not cook the turkey I bought as my other sister-in-law's husband only liked "Butterball" turkeys so her mother gave it away to another family and they went out and bought a Butterball. It took every ounce of patience I had in my body not to lose it and tell off the family right then and there.

Fast forward to October 2009 when we were all discussing this year's Christmas and I was asked to go to the states to purchase the Christmas turkey by my husband's family. Figuring if I bought a "Butterball" we would be okay, so I agreed.

November was a stupid busy month for us with Zack's skating lessons ever Saturday, home renovations and Jenna every other weekend that it took some major juggling but I was able to squeeze in the trip with my mom and besides a few Christmas presents the turkey was the main reason for shopping. I luckily found a Butterball turkey for $13.00 so I bought it and we took it to my sister-in-law's house for storage.

Today Blake comes home and announces that his brother-in-law received a turkey from his work for Christmas and we will not be using the one I bought. I friggin' flipped out!!! Then he tells me they want us to bring a salad or dessert. No effin' way! First of all I am stupid mad about the effort it took to get the damn BUTTERBALL turkey and we live in the damn country with no grocery stores to get the salad or dessert! Meanwhile, one of my sister-in-laws lives across the street from a HUGE No Frills! Seriously!

I told Blake to tell his sister to bring MY turkey on Christmas and I will give it to my parents to use for Easter. I am done. This year my contribution to his family Christmas dinner will not be turkey, salad or dessert. It will be not punching family members in the face. Maybe.
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Monday, December 21, 2009

In A Funk

Ever have those days where you wake up and realize your life is not anything like you imagined it to be years ago?

I'm having one of those days. And no I'm not PMSing. I'm in a funk. I'm itching for a change but I'm stuck as I don't know what the change is that I want. Make sense? Maybe I'm just tired of the same old, same old, you know?

I hate the town I live in, its full of old people and their stupid cats that like to shit all over my yard. There is nobody here my age, except the neighbour next door who I'm pretty sure wants nothing to do with us. In all honesty she is not the type of person who I who normally befriend but heck she is better than most people here. My stepdaughter is staying with us until Christmas Eve and went over to their house to see if the girl her age could come play and she never came outside. Poor Jenna feels pretty crappy that they don't want to play with her but I do not know how the conversation went, they are 5 years old. Blake expects them to come around more in the summer because we have a pool. I think if they really want to be friends they should do so before "pool season". I was one of those kids who used kids for their pool and really wanted no friendship. I do not want my kids to be treated this way.

Tomorrow and Wednesday I have to babysit Lisa and I`m dreading it. Four kids 5 and under are a lot of work especially when Blake is trying to sleep. This week I have decided it would be best if I did all my cleaning in one day instead of spread out simply because I have no time the rest of the week. I cleaned some today but really I don`t feel motivated to clean the toilet. I guess I just don`t have much of anything interesting going on in my life right now. I`d like it to change but really I don`t have much time for anything extra either as the kids, house & Blake take all my time.

I cannot wait until next week. Christmas will be done. No babysitting. Just me & my kids. And Blake will have an extra day off (with pay).
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Friday, December 18, 2009

Survivor Fans?

I am so excited for Survivor Finale this Sunday!!! I am in a contest for this season's Survivor and Jaison is my guy. I really don't think he will win it overall, but I am predicting that he will make it to final 3 along with Russell and Natalie. (I personally don't think he should win either!) I think that Russell has been the all-time greatest player of Survivor ever, but I'm not so sure the other cast-offs will see it that way as he really screwed over a lot of them. If you are a Survivor fan you know as well as I do that just when you think you have the game figured out, it changes. I'm also looking forward to finding out where the next Survivor is going to be. I would love to see another All-Stars one, those are the best! Anyway, wish me and Jaison good luck for Sunday!!!
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Surprise Visit

So yesterday as I was beginning to clean my kitchen, someone knocks on the door. We live in a small town of about 1000 people 45 minutes each way from the nearest big city so this is very rare. Usually, if someone knocks on the door its someone selling something so I hesitantly answered it. Much to my surprise it was my sister-in-law and niece who live 1 1/2 hours away! Wow, I was surprised but delighted at the same time. They presented me with coffee (Tim Hortons, mmm), a very beautiful gently used and expensive snowsuit that my niece had outgrown and a box of chicken. Now I am certainly the bargain hunter of the family but my sister-in-law has some hook up through Maple Lodge Farms where she gets a huge box of chicken (approx. 45 pieces) for $45.00! And it's so yummy! Funny thing she had called Blake's cell phone in the morning and I answered it as he was sleeping (he works midnights) and she chatted briefly and let me go(she was calling him to see how I liked my coffee, sneaky girl). We had a really lovely visit overall, and I'm not just saying that - she doesn't even know I blog. She had to leave to go to work so I quickly finished up my cleaning (well, most of it).

My daughter Avelyn was asking to go outside and drive the Power Wheels later that afternoon but she's a much better passenger than driver. Since Zack was in school and I'm too big I decided to take a chance and go over to the neighbour's house to see if they wanted to come play with it too. Unfortunately, the youngest boy was sleeping so only the 5 year old girl could come out. She drove Avelyn around for awhile and they had fun. My hopes was for the kids to all come out and play while I got to know the mother. Ah, well.
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

House Cleaning Schedule

How do you clean your house? Well, I have tried 2 methods.

Method 1

- Clean each room of the house all in one day

Method 2

- Pick 1-2 rooms and divide over 5 days (Monday-Friday)

Pros of Method 1

- Entire housework complete in 1 day
- Flexibility on which day to clean

Cons of Method 1

- Very exhausting
- Frustrating as children constantly interrupting
- Frustrating as one room gets cleaned and then someone messes it up while I'm cleaning another room
- Cleaning not done as thoroughly due to lack of energy and time

Pros of Method 2

- Cleaning gets done thoroughly in each room
- Not as exhausting

Cons of Method 2

- Work to be done everyday
- If work does not get complete on one day, spills over to the next

Right now I switched over to Method 2, 1-2 rooms per day. It helps me stay more organized and not so burnt out or frustrated from the constant interruptions from kids. I have a list of what needs to be completed in each room which is helpful. Each day of the week is different each week with Zack going to school alternate days and Lisa coming over to be babysat different days each week. The days it`s just me and Avelyn I do the more difficult rooms like the kitchen. I actually like to clean when I can be free to just work at it. I gives me a sense of accomplishment and I get lost in my thoughts while doing the work. Also its a great workout! I hate it when I get pulled away from unfinished work. Absolutely hate it! Anyway, it`s kitchen day so off I go!
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Plans

What are your Christmas plans?

Every year we travel lots as we live in between our two families - about an hour each way. On Christmas Eve we go to Blake's family's house for dinner where we each picked names at Thanksgiving and exchange presents between the adults. Everyone buys for each of the kids. We always provide the turkey as I get it from the states when they have their Thanksgiving sale. We usually have Jenna too and have to drive her home which is about 45 minutes from Blake's dad's house but thankfully this year she is getting picked up. This year is going to be interesting as Blake's dad recently moved from a $250,000 house to an apartment and their will be 17-18 people there. We offered to have it at our house (our house isn`t huge but its the biggest of everyone`s) but a certain sister-in-law had issues with it not being at her dad`s house. We all said fine, let`s show her how comfortable squeezing 18 of us in a 2 bedroom apartment will be, don`t say we didn`t offer!

We then drive an hour home completely exhausted to play Santa. The next morning we open our presents, shower, then scramble off to my parent's house. We exchange presents there and eat brunch. Then eat supper. Blake and I have started a tradition where we catch a movie every Christmas night at a theatre 1 hour away from my parents house while they watch the kids. We always have tons of movie tickets and never a babysitter. We then will be spending the night at their house.

Boxing Day mom & I are at Wal-Mart's doors as they open. We shop the deals then go home to cook another meal. We stay for supper again (roast provided by us) as friends of my parents come every year. Later that evening we are meeting up with my friends from high school for drinks. We will be spending the night at my parent's house again.

The next day we will be sure to high tail it out of there as 72 hours of extended family is enough for us. Besides, next month is January and is the start of 'Birthday season'. I swear we can't go a single month without someone having a birthday until November, then its time for Christmas again!
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Monday, December 14, 2009

On A Roll

Well we are on a roll with our home renovations! We are almost complete with my storage room/office, it should be complete in the next few days. All we have left is to cut, paint and install a bit of ceiling trim and do some minor mudding and paint touch ups. Last thing to do is purchase and install a mini blind but I am planning on buying more blinds for other rooms in the house and plan to do that all at once. Other rooms in the house need simple things done too and its awesome we are almost finished. We have decided to finish up one room at a time and this is the first project.

Also I am ready for Christmas, hurry up already! All my shopping and wrapping is complete now I'd like to get the presents out of my bedroom!

As I mentioned of Friday Blake got his vacation pay totaling $939.16 which is pretty good since he took vacation twice this year already and had 3 days off when his grandma passed away early this year. We also stopped at the consignment store and discovered we made $45.25 since our last cash out in November. Amazing! Then our neighbour paid us $115.00 for stuff we sold him. It`s been a great week financially :).
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Friday, December 11, 2009

Money, Money, Money!!!

I guess tomorrow we are taking an unexpected trip to town. Blake's vacation pay cheque is in (they always pay this by cheque instead of direct deposit) and also his Christmas gift from his boss. Every year his boss gives 3 $50.00 gift certificates to a local butcher shop but this year he hired a whole whack of employees and its now only 2 $50.00 gift certificates :( however we are grateful for this generous gift regardless. This butcher shop is expensive but the meat is super yummy. We are purchasing a roast for a Boxing Day dinner at my parent's house and using one of these gift certificates towards it. We weren't planning on doing the extra trip, we were actually a bit relieved that Zack's skating lesson was canceled this Saturday but with Christmas around the corner we are able to knock the roast off the list at least. Today we are going to pick up my stepdaughter Jenna, who lives over an hour away from us and do a bit of shopping. It's going to be another one of those busy weekends!
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mail Bag Goodies

Over the past week I received some awesome goodies in the mail:

-$11.85 cheque from Glade Mail In Rebate
-$40.00 in President's Choice gift cards from Glade promo
-3x Chapman's calculators
-1x Chapman's Notepad with Pen
-1x Today's Parent magazine (free with Air Miles redemption)
-1x Neutrogena Men's Face Lotion Sample coupons including a FREE Glade Sense & Spray
-FREE Alberto European Hair Product coupon

I love getting the mail!!!
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Offical January 2010 Budget

As I stated in a previous post we established our January 2010 budget. Since our income is variable each month we have to base each month on our previous month's income. We chose to use November 2009 figures instead of December 2009 because December 2009 we will have a lot of unusual income coming in and we want to stay honest with our budget.

To start we figured out what "Money Surprises" might come our way in January and budgeted for them. If the money is not spent, great! If it is we are covered ;) In January these include:

- New Year's
- My Mom's Birthday
- Blake's sister's birthday
- Haircuts (Myself, Blake and Zack)

So here it is:


Mortgage Payment $588.45
Property Taxes $90.00
Hydro $127.00
Gas $60.00
Water $75.00
Home Insurance $40.36
TV $30.00
Phone & Internet $65.00
Homeline Payment $84.10
Homeline Interest $15.00
Repairs/Maintenance $100.00
Child Support $200.00

Van Payment $173.64
Van Insurance $92.00
Repairs/Maintenance $200.00


Credit Line Payment $1273.66
Credit Line Interest $130.00

RRSP - Blake $125.00
RRSP - Monica $30.00
RRSP - Spousal $25.00
RESP $75.00

Groceries $450.00
Life Insurance $39.47
Sirius $16.94
Telus $36.96
Haircuts $40.00
Birthdays $30.00
New Year’s $30.00
Restaurants $75.00
Alcohol $75.00
Allowances $120.00
Christmas $125.00
Vacation $340.00
Medical $50.00
Clothes $50.00
Entertainment $25.00
Gifts $10.00
School $15.00

TOTAL $5132.58
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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Update Continued

So Sunday we went to the states to finish up our shopping. We went to Kohls to each get an outfit for Christmas and also bought a vacuum. A Dyson to be exact. I love this vacuum! We have drooled over this magnificent piece of machinery for about 6 years and finally we bought one. Our current vacuum was over due to be replaced about a year ago and with installing carpet in 2 more rooms as part of our renovations we needed to buy a new one. I did forget about having to replace our vacuum until my husband brought it up when we did our budget. I cannot believe what this vacuum has sucked out of our carpets, its disgusting and amazing all at the same time. So of course I managed to get a fabulous deal here (keep in mind prices are American):

Dyson Vacuum (Reg. $449.99) Sale $427.49 - 15% off = $363.37
Boys Button Up Shirt (Reg. $26.00) Sale $15.60 - 15% off = $13.26
Mens Button Up Shirt (Reg. $32.00) Sale $3.20! - 15% off = $2.72 x 3 = $8.16
Mens Undershirt (Reg. $15.00) Sale $3.00 - 15% off = $2.55
Girls Dress with Matching Doll Dress (Reg. $48.00) Sale $28.80 - 15% off = $24.48
Womans Sweater (Reg. $40.00) Sale $17.99 - 15% off = $15.29

Tax 6% = $25.12

Kohl's Cash Redeemed $10.00

Total $443.72

$256.39 Saved!

Canadian Conversion = $481.04

Kohl's is fantastic! So then we went the mall in search of a Mom's Plan It Calendar for one of my Christmas presents and Target was the only store open. It actually worked out great for us because when we walked in they had this huge $1.00 stocking stuffer section so I told Blake to take the kids around the store and I will grab the stuffers here. I made out so great! And I even found a calender for $1.00!!! I was planning on paying about $20.00 at the mall so this was awesome. Blake was also super stoked as he found some cable he was looking for that you can hook up to the laptop & TV to watch movies for $14.99! We also shopped at Wal-Mart for a few groceries and had a yummy lunch at Chili's. It was a great day!

Tomorrow I will post our January 2010 budget.
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Monday, December 7, 2009


It's been a very busy and productive weekend *pats self on the back* as we finally accomplished many things. First, Blake and I discussed our 2010 Budget plans and realized we had 2 different perspectives on this goal. We both agreed that paying off the credit line is very important but its not likely going to happen in 2010 *pouts*. However, we have set a very great plan in place and I'm excited to exercise it! Since we both have variable incomes we need to base our current month's plan off of the income earned last month. For January we decided to use November 2009's income as December 2009's income is exceptionally wacky this year and we don't want to be thrown off, besides we were able to come up with the "true" budget on Friday using November's income. We also wrote down potential "Money Surprises" throughout 2010 like those one-time expenses we always forget about like Zack's skating registration fees or possible birthday parties. Something else that we are doing differently this year is setting aside money for Christmas in a different account each month that way when great deals come along we have the money to buy it then and there instead of all in one shot at the end of the year. As excited as I am to implement this plan we also decided that if we are going to stay honest with this plan we need to finish buying certain things that were planned in December 2009 and also have a budget meeting every week to make sure that we are on track and in agreement. That being said, we shopped.

Saturday we finished all the Christmas shopping for the people on our lists *grins* except for those pesky stocking stuffers. As I was putting the last of the gifts in hiding I realized that I now have the awful task of gift wrapping. A little each night I guess, until its done. We also did some grocery/deal shopping and as promised here's a pic of how I shop with coupons/discounts.

Here's the breakdown:

1x Chapmans Supercones $5.27 + $0.69 (tax) - $3.00 Coupon = $2.96
1x Eggo Waffles $2.37 - $1.00 Coupon = $1.37
3x Oasis Juice $1.99 each - 3x $0.75 Coupons = $3.72
1x Nordica Cottage Cheese $2.67 - $0.60 Coupon = $2.67
1x Astro Yogurt 16 Pack $3.99 - $1.00 Coupon = $2.99
1x Frosted Flakes $3.99
1x Kelloggs Rice Krispies $3.97 - $2.00 WUB2 Cereal Coupon = $5.96
1x Smuckers Jam $3.00 - $0.50 Coupon = $2.50
1x Natrel 4L Milk $5.47 - $2.00 Coupon = $3.47
2x Nutragrain Bars $1.97 each - $1.00 WUB2 Coupon = $3.94
1x Cranium Hulabuloo Game $10.00 + $1.30 (tax) - $10.00 Coupon = $1.30
1x Clue Game $10.00 + $1.30 (tax) - $10.00 Coupon = $1.30
1x Sunlight Green Clean $4.98 + 0.65 (tax) - $1.50 Coupon (on product) & $2.00 Coupon = $2.13 (and I will send for Mail-In Rebate and receive a cheque for $5.63! Money Maker!)

PC Points Redeemed - $20.00

Subtotal (before coupons) = $69.56

Total After Coupons & Discounts = $12.71!!!

So there you go, a little taste of how I shop ;) Tomorrow I will post about our Sunday shopping trip in the states.
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Friday, December 4, 2009

What I've Learned in 2009

I've learned several things about myself this past year.

1) I DO NOT want anymore children. I love my kids with all my heart and soul. I have a boy & girl and a stepdaughter and that's enough for us. Crap, these 3 cost a fortunate and yes we are saving for post secondary education too here. Besides they all FINALLY sleep through the night. I don't want to sacrifice my sleep anymore, call me selfish but I like sleep.

2) Although I stay at home, I still have a job. Before kids I used to work as a financial advisor and I felt I had people's respect that I worked for a financial institution. When people ask me where I worked after I left the bank I would say "I don't work, I stay at home" and people would make me feel lazy, uneducated or "lucky". I now realize I actually have many jobs. I run a daycare in my home several days a week, I'm a product tester, a mystery shopper, I sell things, etc. all for income. So when people ask me what I do now I say I'm self-employed and I'm proud of that. The title "Housewife" often has a negative impression, only if you believe it. Yes, I am a wife and my work is at my house, just because I don't do the 9-5 grind somewhere outside my home shouldn't make me feel bad or any less of a person.

3) I need to meet more people. Specifically, more people like me. Out of all my closest friends (pre-kids) I am the only person who has kids and until recently the only only who is married. I had my son at 23 and daughter at 25 and I also live in a town that is full of old people and their cats. It makes it very hard to connect with those friends who can just 'get up and go' meanwhile we need to arrange childcare, etc for everything. In October, a younger couple has moved in next door with 4 kids and the 2 younger kids are the same age as my stepdaughter and son. We have met them but have yet to get to know them better. The mother stays at home too like me. We are hoping to see them at tomorrow's Santa Parade to invite them over for drinks. We'll see. Sheesh, it's harder to make friends when you get older. I used to be so popular back in high school, people flocked to me. Now, its weird. Making friends now is almost like dating again, if that makes sense...
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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mail Call

So yesterday afternoon I received my refund cheque from Reliance for $790.06! Can you believe these guys charged me that over 6 years when I own my own water heater. When I first bought my house I called them to see if my water heater was in fact a rental through them and they told me it was - all the while they had the wrong address. I remember calling them back after my first bill as the address at the top of the bill was for a different city but the bill part came to my correct address. They assured me everything was right. Idiots. I hate to be the homeowners of the address I was paying for having to cough up $800 in arrears because of their stupidity.

So that knocks the credit line down some (yeah!) to about $23,250 after all Christmas presents are charged. Also today I received an email regarding a rebate that I send away in September. Home Depot was having a 20% back when you buy 2 CIL paints and I received notification that the paints I bought did not qualify (after I specifically checked with the Home Depot employee and she happily handed me the rebate form). My option was to appeal the rebate decision and go through all this crap about sending to the USA to have it re-evaluated. Normally, I would have gone through the trouble but I decided not to on this one. After photocopying and mailing to the states to have denied again they didn't deserve to rip me off even more money. So anyway, today I get an email saying that they were in fact processing my cheque for $12.99. Thanks Home Depot for getting your head out of your ass.

In today's mail I received a FREE ELLE Canada magazine, and 2 envelopes of coupons from I love the mail!
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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

2010 Goals

Talking about my financial plans in yesterday's blog post inspired me to write out all my goals for 2010. So here we go:


PAY OFF the Credit Line ($23,900) - This is going to be the hardest challenge for us for 2010. We should be able to knock off a good chunk over this next month and then its going to take some discipline (more on my husband's part). Blake gets restless and likes to spend money on a whim more so than I do, however he has no idea about our finances usually as this is "my job".

Contribute $30/month to MY RRSP - Since I took money out of my RRSP for a down payment on our house in 2003 I am required to pay back $115 annually over 15 years. I paid back a huge chunk a few years ago so I don't have much left to pay back but $30/month will cover my required 2010 contribution.

$1500 for trip out East - We figure this will be more than enough for gas, 2 hotel stays, food and entertainment. I am hoping that our tax return will cover this.

Coupons - I love coupons but it is easy to get things that are "FREE" that you don't need or a "REALLY great deal". I DO NOT need any more shampoo, shaving cream, razors, etc for the next few years. Seriously. I am planning on living off my stockpile as much as possible in 2010 and really limiting my deals on Health & Beauty & Cleaning supplies. Food doesn't not count here.


Potty Train Avelyn 100% - She started in June 2009 and did well to start, however if we put her in a Pull-Up for a day (like if we travel) its starting at Square 1 again. Most of the time she will go Number 1 on the potty and sometimes Number 2, then its like she says "Eff this" and decides its easiest for us to just clean her up. Whoever said girls were easier to train is a liar. LIAR!

More Holiday Celebrations - We do celebrate all holidays (birthdays, Christmas, etc.) but its usually half-assed. I plan to take more time with the kids and do crafts and decorate this year since they are at the perfect ages to enjoy holidays.

Bake More - This should help with the food costs. Once a week (cookies or something) is my goal. I would LOVE to do OAMC (Once a Month Cooking) but am planning on tackling this when we get a stand up freezer and the kids are both in school so I have the time.

Take More Family Pictures - This is a MUST. I am planning on making calendars for Christmas presents next year so I NEED to do this. Plus now I have a wicked camera so I have no excuses. One nice family photo is also on this To-Do list.

Better Communication with Blake - We communicate great, but need to talk more about finances. Blake is WAY laid back and likes to drop bombs on me like "Oh ya, the van needs _____ replaced NOW, I forgot to tell you last month, and its going to cost $$$". This conversation usually takes place after a large purchase. I don't know shit about cars and never take repairs into consideration because I have the mindset "It just went in for service" blind to the fact something else can go wrong ANY time. I need to pay more attention here and ask Blake questions to keep us on track.

So there you have it - the general goals for 2010! Wish me Luck!
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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

1 Month Left!

Ah, it's December 1st. 1 month left to a fresh new start, a new year. I'm particularity excited for 2010 as this is the year we are going to *pay off* or pay down significantly our credit line. After this month we will be implementing our new budget for 2010 which I'm very excited about. Ever since I turned 18 and got my first credit card debt has been adding up with zero intention of paying it off until a few years ago when we decided I would be leaving the workforce to take care of our children. Add my stupid spending with Blake's and you got a hot mess. We have been working extremely hard at paying off our massive $65,000 of consumer debt and got it down to $18,000. We decided over the summer that we would continue to live at our current residence until Zack turned 10(another 6 years) and it would be necessary to do some home renovations to make it livable. We then also decided to partake in the energy audit and all the government rebates being offered this tax year to make our home more energy efficient. With all the renovations (and Christmas shopping) our current credit line balance has grown to $23,900 *GASP*. We have not received our rebates back yet except for $150 which we will have to just pay back to have the final audit done, so when we get this money back it should reduce this number. Also, the $800 Reliance cheque I mentioned last week should be here any day to help with that. I do have a few more gifts and stocking stuffers to buy and then I am DONE for this Christmas season. Other anticipated money coming our way is Blake's vacation pay & annual bonus (for not taking summer holidays) and of course a tax return. I don't know how much these figures will be and I hate to guess and get myself disappointed. This money will be thrown at the credit line except for $1500 which we will set aside for a trip out East to visit my extended family this summer. That means that in 2010 Blake will not receive an annual bonus because he will be taking summer holidays but with Zack in school we don't have much of a choice. On another note I received a cheque for $11.85 today from Glade! Yeah! I love getting paid to buy stuff :)
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Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Shopping

So we got the camera at Shoppers for $59.89 (tax was charged on the full price of $229.99 before $200.00 redemption). Stupid thing requires us to buy a memory card and this is also a Christmas gift so I can't post any pictures until then. I would however like to give my husband's head a shake as he forgot to use his Shopper's Mastercard to pay for the difference so we lost out on a lot of points. Oh course this is MY FAULT that he forgot because I didn't tell him to use it. Idiot. The only reason why we got the card was to USE AT SHOPPERS. *Sigh*

On another note we did get a few more gifts crossed off the list at Toys R' Us where we received terrible customer service. The cashier helped another customer before us and 2 employees while waiting on us which is very annoying while shopping with 2 kids. We were also using 2 coupons - 1 $5.00 off any Nintendo product and 1 $10 off when you spend $50 and he gave us a lecture about how he was only supposed to use 1 coupon so he was doing us a favour. Whatever guy, ring in 2 separate transactions there are 2 of us here if its such a problem. I don't need a teenager explaining coupon policies to me as I probably know more about store policies than 90% of the cashiers that work at these stores. I hate cashiers that act like they are doing you a favour by accepting your coupons. The coupon does not come off your paycheque the company gets reimbursed 100%. Anyway then the cashier proceeds to ask my husband to donate some money for some charity and when he refused the cashier had a bit of a hissy fit stating "My brother had cancer and they really helping out our family but whatever" and was slamming our stuff around while his finished checking us out. I'm sorry for his brother and cancer has touched both mine and my husband's family too but this was totally uncalled for. If we gave money to every person that asked us for a donation we would have nothing left to buy Christmas presents! I am not opposed to giving donations in fact I donate to the food bank whenever I can and I'm anticipating the high school coming again this year for donations which I plan to give generously when that happens. It just pisses me off when people who work in customer service are rude. IT IS YOUR JOB TO GIVE GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE. If you don't like it find another line of work! Geesh! I also believe in karma, so I'm sure that this employee will get his karma payback eventually.

We also hit 2 McDonald's this weekend to use up the last of our FREE fries & ice cream coupons for the kids that were expiring November 30th. Both times we asked for the ice cream to be in cups and both times were handed cones. When we asked for it to be corrected they simply flipped the ice cream (cone and all) over into a cup and rudely shoved it back at us. WTF! Maybe people are jealous that we are smart shoppers and get awesome deals???
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Friday, November 27, 2009

Weekend Plans

So our weekend has officially started since Blake works midnights and has Friday & Saturday nights off. He sleeps for a few hours Friday morning and then gets up and at 'em. Today is different though. I have a dentist appointment this afternoon so he is going to take Avelyn to pick up my stepdaughter Jenna and Zachary is in school until 3:30pm so after my appointment I am kid-free. Ah, to be kid-free again - those times are so few and far between for me. Blake gets to remove himself from the house and go to work and focus 100% on his tasks at hand but I am stuck here on call 24/7. Somedays I even add a kid to the mix when I babysit Lisa! What was I thinking???

Anyway, plans for this weekend are the usual running errands, home renos and skating lessons for Zack. Saturday is the long awaited Bonus Redemption Day at Shoppers Drug Mart where I can redeem my Optimum points for $200.00 worth of merchandise. As much as I would like to be frugal and buy groceries, Blake and I agreed a long time ago that we would buy a new digital camera when this day came. Ours is pretty crappy but we would like to get a way better one to take more quality pictures of the kids. My plan for next year is to make a calendar for my parents for Christmas so they would love this. Hopefully we can find a great one at a Shoppers location as this is going to "replace" my laptop as a Christmas gift. If not we will be buying groceries ;)
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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Christmas Came A Month Early

Thanks to my Father-In-Law Christmas came early for me this year. Right now I am writing my blog on my brand new laptop connected to the internet by my brand new wireless router. You see my Father-In-Law forwarded us a virus which buggered up our computer so badly that my options were:

A) No internet or computer until Christmas
B) Wait around for my husband to fix the computer (which probably would have taken longer than waiting for Christmas)
C) Open new laptop and wireless router
D) Punch Father-In-Law in the face

I chose "C" but I would have so liked to do "D". Really, really would have liked to...
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Weeoooo!!!! It's Wednesday!!!

Hooray it's Wednesday! Why am I so freakin' excited? Because this week "Wednesday" is my "Friday" meaning I'm done work for this week. I babysit a little girl Lisa who is the same age as my daughter Avelyn 2-3 days a week. Being the same age is about the only thing they have in common. Avelyn is a sweet, mostly quiet, well-mannered child and Lisa is a loud tornado that rips through my house and looks at me like I'm stupid if I ask her to pick up her toys - who gets worse with age.

Why don't I just quit? I wish it was that simple. First of all, the girls will be attending school together in *sigh* 2 years and Avelyn is quite timid so I feel she would do better with someone she knows. Secondly, the money. We are trying to pay off our debt and my babysitting money brings in $200-$250 per month extra so it helps.

The only thing that keeps me going is that this is temporary. Talk is that next year the school system will be changing and the Junior and Senior Kindergarten children will be attending ALL DAY, EVERY DAY!!! *Me Happy Dancing* C'mon September 2011!

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Renovations Suck!

For the past 6 years we have been living through renovations. Yes, 6 YEARS! When we first purchased our house it was a complete disaster and they were necessary throughout the ENTIRE house. We have always seemed to take an "all or nothing" approach when it comes to renovations and they completely consume our "free" time. During the past 6 years we have had 2 children so naturally we have to put projects on hold. Well the time has finally come where we are getting close to the end of the interior projects!!! In just 1 short month the "major" work should be done and just minor jobs will be left over to do over the next year.

The biggest change was moving the laundry room to the basement so that I could have a stockpile/office space room. The stockpile part is up and running how it should be, which is a huge relief to my husband since his closet isn't barfing out toilet paper anymore. Since I have found the wonderful world of coupons 2 years ago this was a much needed change. Having a stockpile has been the greatest for us since we live in the country and don't have a Wal-Mart around the corner. Not to mention I got most of my stockpile for FREE or next to nothing. Yes, you read right FREE! (I will post my deals on here as I get them.)

The office part will be up and running at Christmas. Two of my gifts this year are a laptop and wireless router (I know, I know I shouldn't know this but I do) so it can't be finished until I have these two things.

On a side note got some great news today, twice!

1) Received $150.00 rebate cheque from our Energy Audit (didn't expect this until after we had the follow-up audit)
2) I will be getting a cheque for about $800.00 from Reliance! Long story short - for the past 6 years we have been paying for someone else's water heater rental. We OWN ours. I am glad to be wiping my hands free from this company.

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