Monday, April 26, 2010

A New Blog Coming & Canadian Home 10 Things About Me

Hi! Yes, I am still alive here, I'm just busily working on a new blog that will be set to launch in the next month or 2. I am still checking out/commenting on my favourite blogs daily in the meantime. That being said, today I will take a break from working on my new blog and participate in the "Ten Things About Me" posted over at Canadian Home. I will keep with the childhood theme so here we go!

1) My parents are both from New Brunswick and came to live in Ontario after they got married (apparently they moved for work). I was born and raised in Ontario and don't know my extended family very well. We have taken a few trips out East when I was younger (some visits were for funerals) and my parents have cut off most contacts with my Dad's side of the family after his mother died. This summer we (myself, kids and husband) are going to visit my mother's side for a week. I am looking forward to connecting with the extended family I longed for as a child and hopefully learn about them and my family's history.

2) Both my parents worked full-time and I was shuffled from babysitter to babysitter as a kid and eventually was left to watch over my brother (who is 7 years younger than I). It was pounded in my head that I would grow up and be a working woman too and do the same thing to my children. I hated all my babysitters and hated the responsibility of being a mother-type to my brother. I did work for many years climbing the corporate ladder faster than most and shocked everyone when I quit to stay home with my youngest child (I was up for a management promotion). Initially, I quit because it would have cost more for childcare, gas, etc. if I continued to work but I soon remembered the feelings I had as a child with working parents and now I'm proud to be a stay-at-home mother and raise my kids.

3) I learned what sex was when I was 4. I had a friend who was a few years older than me and she demonstrated with her Barbie Dolls. I asked her how she knew that and she told me she asked her mom where babies come from. Later that day her mom was driving us somewhere and my friend asked her mom about sex in my presence. Her mom asked me if I knew what sex was and I said yes (I thought I knew because of the Barbies) and her mother was very explicit about the body parts and where they go. I was quite shocked and confused. I came home and asked my mom where babies come from and she told me that God put babies in mommy's tummies and then quickly changed the subject. I knew at the time she lied to me (or withheld the whole truth) and I remember feeling very hurt by that. To this day my mom or dad has never had the "Sex" talk with me.

4) Even though we never had the "Sex" talk my mother scared the crap out of me by telling me what periods were when I was 9. She rambled on for which seemed like an hour but all I got from it was I was going to see blood "down there". For 3 years I was petrified of getting my period until it finally happened at age 12. Thanks Mom.

5) I got grounded for a week once for saying the word "Bastard" which I really had no idea that it was a swear word. My dad and I were playing Nintendo and every time he died he would say "Bastard". I happened to be playing, died and yelled "Bastard" when my mom was putting away laundry in the same room and she immediately freaked out and grounded me. I told her I didn't know it was a swear word but she didn't believe me. Thanks Dad.

6) The person I most idolized growing up was my next door neighbour. She was a great mother of 2 who treated me like a person not just another "teenager". I felt more comfortable talking to her than my own mother. I was always super skinny growing up and a late bloomer and as a young teenage girl this was hard. She told me that by the time I was a senior in high school all the other girls would be fat and I would look great. She was pretty dead on about that.

7) I smoked cigarettes from ages 12-22. I quit when I was pregnant with my son and picked it up again shortly after my daughter was born. I've been in the cycle of quitting and starting ever since. Right now I am down to 4/day (from a once 1/2 pack/day) and don't plan on quitting completely again until September. Summer brings around more gatherings and other smokers so a relapse is almost guaranteed. I am never pegged as a smoker, most people are shocked if they find out (I guess I look too innocent?). Besides I hide it well, usually only smoking in my garage.

8) When I was 5 I pulled out a sausage from the freezer that had got buried loose from a package for some time. My dad rinsed it off and cooked it for me and later I puked everywhere. I've never eaten a sausage since.

9) I played softball as a kid and for the most part hated it. My parents forced me to go and after much whining I did. I ended up late to one practice and had to be paired up with the coach to throw balls back and forth. The coach was too busy paying attention to all the others that he chucked one at me and nailed me square in the nose. Luckily, it didn't break but it was a huge bloody mess.

10) Overall, I had to grow up fast & teach myself most life lessons. It was a difficult childhood feeling alone although I had lots of friends. I longed to have my family around well into my 20s. I know now that I will never get that childhood experience and I need to let it go. The best thing I can do is be a caring mother for my own children and make their childhood full of loving memories. I believe that being a stay-at-home mom I can achieve that and look forward to all the adventures!
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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

West Jet Sale!

West Jet is having an awesome seat sale with many flights as low as $72! We just booked our trip to New Brunswick for the summer and I'm super excited!!! Check out the seat sale here but hurray the sale ends April 14th!
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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Easter Cookies

I love Cadbury Mini Eggs, they are so delicious! Here's my favourite cookie recipe with Mini Eggs substituted for chocolate chips:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Easter Cookies


1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup Cadbury Mini Eggs


Preheat oven to 350F. Mix flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; reserve. In another bowl, mix sugars. With a spoon stir in butter until blended. Stir in peanut butter until blended, then egg and vanilla. Mix in flour mixture until combined. Roll tablespoons into balls and place 3" apart on ungreased baking sheets. With a fork flatten each ball in a crisscross pattern. Press 2-3 Mini Eggs into each cookie. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are set. Cool on pan 5 minutes. Enjoy!

*This recipe is very easy to substitute ingredients. If you do not have cocoa add 3/4 cup of flour instead. Try substituting Mini Eggs with 1 cup chocolate chips, smarties or peanut butter cups cut into small pieces!
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Heart IKEA (until they discontinue furniture)...

IKEA furniture is my crack. Good thing the closest IKEA is 2 1/2 hours away from me or I would probably spend all my money there or worse yet get a job there and allow them to pay me in furniture.

My whole house is IKEA right down to my utensils. Two reasons why I love IKEA is the style and the price. My stuff is modern and nice to look at and if one of my kids wreak something it's not the end of the world because it didn't cost all that much. Well after potty training 2 kids (and continuing to do so) we have washed our IKEA couch slipcovers almost weekly. They are still holding up however they are looking a bit dingy.

I decided to price out new slipcovers online and too my dismay IKEA no longer carries my couches :( I found an alternative website called that wants nearly $700 for replacements!!! I was lucky enough to find some new ones on Ebay which should cost about $230.00 with shipping and exchange. At times like this I wish I knew how to sew!

So I tell Blake about my fabulous discovery and of course he could care less about the slipcovers. He just wants a new couch - not gonna happen. I need to fund this want myself - coming up with the cash is the hard part. So I have a cheque coming from Futura Rewards for approximately $120.00 however it is taking them FOREVER to cash out even after complaining that I've been waiting over 6 MONTHS! I also have $100.00 saved myself but that's all my money. I really don't want to spend all my $100.00 as I hate being completely broke. can I make extra money? Any suggestions? Or anyone know how to sew slipcovers???
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dear Monica

I've decided to participate in writing a letter to myself to read 10 years from now, an idea posted on Punch Debt In the Face blog you can check out here.

Dear Monica,

You are now 38 years old. At 28 now, you are commonly mistaken for 19 or 20 so I hope that you are still blessed with youthful looks as it will REALLY benefit you now! Your 3 kids are 16, 15 & 13 so I hope you can still stay sane through all the raging hormones...

At this point on your life you should be well past debt free - including your mortgage - and have experienced many fun family adventures including a trip to Disney. You and Blake should have great retirement savings built up and also have saved for your children's education.

I hope you've taken the time to discuss and teach each child about money so they have a great understanding as they inch towards adulthood. Always remember that you are the best teacher in this area. Reflect on the times when you started out in the "real world" and how uneducated and naive you were about money. Remember all the horrible feelings that debt brings as well as the stress on your marriage. You want better for your kids so show them the way.

Always remember that Blake is your best friend as well as your husband. I hope now that your kids are older you both take time for each other and have fun. In fact go plan a mini vacation for you guys RIGHT NOW - I'm sure you were proactive in saving for vacations. Since this year marks your 15 wedding anniversary you both deserve it.

Keep up the great work!


Monica (the younger version)
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wrapping Up Home Renos

My apologies for the lack of posting lately. First of all we had a great March Break and enjoyed every second of beautiful weather outside. Too bad it didn't last.

So we *thought* we would be able to wrap up the home renovations soon and we could call for our second audit. We met up with Blake's friend who is a contractor this weekend and paid him for the basement windows. Hopefully they will be in soon (3 weeks approximately) and the guys can install them quite easily.

I was curious as to how much of a rebate we would receive on the windows I pulled out the rebate guide provided to us by the auditor. After I started reading it closer I realized that we had completely forgot about insulating the basement walls! We insulated the headers in the basement and the complete attic but not the basement walls! Argh, how could we miss that?!?! So off Blake went to buy more insulation ($800 worth) and the fun begins. Hopefully we can get this project finished before the windows come in and we can be done. Unfortunately, we had to take the funds from our credit line but I pinky swear it will be paid back when the rebate comes in!

Have you participated in the Energy Audit program?
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

TV Series I Love

So I am very happy that now many of the shows I watch are back on however I hate it that they seem to conflict with each other. Blake and I are huge LOST fans and he's gonna be mad that I forgot to record last night's episode! I hate that The Biggest Loser is on at the same time because I like watching that show too. I usually watch The Biggest Loser and then record LOST at a later time to watch on Wednesday night with Blake but last night I forgot and went to sleep. This week Avelyn has been difficult at night time (I think she may be coming down with an ear infection) so sleep has been not so good. Luckily, I found I website awhile back to watch previous episodes online. Around Christmas time I watched all 3 seasons of Gossip Girl online (isn't Ed Westwick (Chuck) hot?!?!?).

So if you ever miss an episode of your favourite show or want to start watching a new series check out Watch Series.
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Monday, March 15, 2010

To-Do List Success

I ended up missing the Frumpy vs. Fashionable challenge this week over at Mommy Quit Her Job so hopefully I can participate this week. Check it out yourself here.

This weekend was very productive for us and we got a lot of those "nagging" tasks crossed off our To-Do list. As many of you know I am a big fan of The Happiness Project By: Gretchen Rubin and one of her first resolutions is to "Tackle A Nagging Task". Inspired by this I wrote out a master list of all our uncompleted tasks and it's shrinking everyday. I always grumble every time I pick up my list looking for something to complete but it feels great to complete a task. Think about it - every time you look at an unfinished task your brain starts telling you "You should finish that" or "Look at that mess, clean it up!" which is draining! So successfully this weekend we completed the following:

- New rocker panels installed on the van (installed by Blake and a friend for under $200, going to a body shop would have easily cost $1000)

- Fixed CD player in van (completely by fluke when installing rocker panels) Bonus!

- Sewed bedroom curtains (I cut them, Blake sewed - Yes he is that talented!)

- Organized my Holiday binders (I clip various recipes & crafts from Woman's World magazines, etc. and file in binders by specific holidays)

- Made Spring Cleaning checklists

- Did taxes for my parents & brother

- Watched last week's episode of LOST

- Painted the window trim in living room

So now that the list is dwindling we are getting down to the more difficult tasks. Organizing the garage, lots of painting, making wills, and family pictures are some of the tasks left. We have already contacted 2 lawyers for information on wills and neither one has got back to us yet. We finally have the money saved and are ready to face it and it's still being difficult. Painting is hard when the kids are here, one of us will need to keep them outside or find a babysitter which is difficult for us. Organizing the garage is going to be a complete nightmare as Blake and I have different definitions of "organized". It is really "his" garage, I just use it for storage. I don't fix or build things that's his forte so I need to cut him some slack when we clean it up. Family pictures require us to have Jenna here and nice weather. Blake's brother-in-law is an amateur photographer so he will take the pictures for us. The hard part is scheduling him, having Jenna, nice weather and co-operative kids at the same time. Sheesh! So enough excuses we will just have to pick a task and get it done then enjoy the satisfaction of completing it!
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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Planning Grocery Shopping with Coupons

Here's a little glimpse of how I get ready to go grocery shopping. The fun begins on Thursdays when most of the weekly flyers are posted online at either or

First I check to see what food I have at home already and make a menu plan for the upcoming week. I also check to see what I am low on so if an item comes on sale I can stock up.

After making my shopping lists I then pull out my coupon box and search for coupons for those items. I bought the box at IKEA a few years ago and made the index cards myself from old file folders with labels purchased at Dollarama.

Next I file each list with the coupons in my coupon organizer which is labeled with different store names. This organizer has 13 slots and I always keep any Free Product Coupons and Restaurant coupons in it. This was purchased at Top Dollar.

I also write the estimated total on each shopping list so I know I'm staying on track with my budget. We budget $90.00/week on groceries to feed 4 people (sometimes 5 if Jenna my stepdaughter is here) and its very rare we go over budget. I do keep my coupon box in my van when I go shopping so that if I come across a REALLY good deal I can go fetch a coupon but generally I stick to my list. Now I'm off to make my grocery lists!
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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Z-Day Event March 13 - Worldwide!

Imagine living in a world without money, where the BEST of everything was FREE. Sound, crazy? Impossible? Well, what if I told you it was possible, very possible. We (as the Earth) have enough renewable resources like solar power, wind power, etc. to completely eliminate the need to burn fossil fuels. We have the science and technology available to do almost any type of work - even major things like open heart surgery! We have the ability and resources to feed, cloth, and provide shelter to all humans worldwide. What's stopping us for living this great life where all humanity and the environment thrive? The monetary system and the "few" wealthy people and corporations running the show.

On Saturday March 13th, 2010 there will be worldwide demonstrations to introduce the Zeitgeist Movement and The Venus Project to the people. I urge you to take the time to watch at least one of many informational videos on this movement - you will be amazed how much you DON'T know but SHOULD know. If you are interested in more videos regarding the Zeitgeist Movement or The Venus project drop me a line and I will provide more links and information. Also if you are interested in attending a Z-Day Event please visit to locate your local chapter.

For now here's a great video to check out:

Zeitgeist The Movie

Again, if you have any questions or would like to see more about model cities and how things would function drop me a line!
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Monday, March 8, 2010

Food Inc. Review

A few weeks ago I read the book Food Inc. and was quite shocked about what was told about the food industry. I decided to check out the DVD from the library and watched it this weekend with Blake. I think we will both be looking at our food choices differently now. I found this movie and book both to be rather disturbing and informative. I think if ALL people knew what was REALLY going on with our food we would all be purchasing organic and locally. Check it out, your health depends on it.
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Friday, March 5, 2010

March 5 - Fashionable or Frumpy?

So I've decided to take part in the Fashionable vs. Frumpy challenge at Mommy Quit Her Day Job so here we go!


My thoughts on this outfit:


It is probably one of my most favourite outfits to wear when the weather is very cold. I can layer a thin t-shirt underneath it for extra warmth as I tend to ALWAYS be colder than everyone else! I like that this outfit is somewhat versatile and can be either dressed up with black pants or dressed down with jeans.


Because it is thicker like a vest I cannot wear it with my fitted winter coat (I cannot do up the zipper). If I am planning on being outside I need to wear my larger weather coat (which I hate) and then I am too hot! It also has a hood which gets in the way with the hood on my winter coat. Finally, I find the sweater makes me look flat chested, and if you have small boobs like me you don't need any more shrinkage in that area! LOL!

What it cost:

Sweater-vest - Purchased at KOHL'S in Michigan

Regular $40.00 USD
Sale Price $17.99 USD
15% off discount $2.70 (with KOHL'S charge card)
Tax 6% $0.92
Sub Total $16.21
Paid $10.00 KOHL'S CASH (earned from previous shopping)
Total = $6.21 USD
CDN conversion @ 1.08
Final Total = $6.71!!!

Jeans - Purchased at Old Navy (Boxing Day 2009)
Regular $39.50
Sale Price $15.00
25% off discount $5.00 (from
Tax 13% $1.30
Total = $11.30!!!

Total Outfit cost: $18.01!

Finally what are your thoughts? Does it look as cheap as it costs? Do I look like a 28 year old mom or a 28 year old trying to be 16? (I did buy the sweater from the "Juniors" section of the store as the Woman's section is a bit to conservative for me or geared towards "the working business woman" type.)
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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Awesome New Website!

If you know me you know how much I love coupons, freebies and deals. One of my brand new favourite sites is This site is very user friendly and lets you search the best deals at any store you will be shopping at. For example say you are going to No Frills. Search for No Frills and you will find not only the flyer but also coupons to use on sale products and coupons to use on items for FREE! This new site will not only save you money but time searching for the best deals.

Also this site is created to make members money. By contributing to the website by posting deals, YOU can make money! Sign up today and start saving!!!
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Monday, March 1, 2010

Yeah, it's March!!!

Nah, I'm not really that excited that's it is now March, however, it means we are getting closer to warmer weather and that's fantastic!

The Olympics are now officially over and wow what a great hockey game last night!!! I was on the edge of my seat and I'm so proud that our Men's team pulled it off. It was a great day to be Canadian! I actually ended up watching WAY more of the Olympics than I originally planned but I am also glad to see it done and over with. Now we can resume with regular TV again and many of my favourite shows are starting up again this month!
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Friday, February 26, 2010

Things About Me

Okay so here are some fun facts about Monica! Enjoy!

Getting the mail excites me. Sometimes it's the highlight of my day...I know that sounds kinda sad but I do get lots of goodies and freebies in the mail (many of which I forget I signed up for) so it's like Christmas in my mailbox everyday!

I've never eaten a Big Mac. They look gross to me. And I love hamburgers. Mmmm....

I HATE spending money. HATE it. That's probably why I love coupons so much. And yes if I am waiting in line I snoop other people's grocery carts and size up how much money they could be saving with coupons. I used to offer coupons to other customers but once I think I offended an old lady so I quit and keep the savings to myself.

I LOVE conspiracy theories and documentaries. I find them absolutely fascinating! Mention to me any conspiracy theory and be prepared for me to talk your ear off for the next couple of hours. If you like this kind of stuff a good movie to watch online can be found here

I am very creative and have many side jobs and income producing ways. Last year we made almost $200.00 from consigning clothes, I sell on Kijiji, I mystery shop, I do taxes, I make "gift baskets" with freebies I get from coupons and sell for Mother's Day and Christmas, Mail-In-Rebates sometimes yield me money if I used a coupons, and more!

I believe that nobody has has your best interest at heart than you. Many of the "professionals" are nothing but "sales people" so educating yourself first is key before seeking advice from a "sales person". This holds true from buying a car, investment your money to choosing a vacation destination. Think about it! Knowledge is power, don't be suckered into fancy talk or false promises. It can cost you!

Have a great weekend!
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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Life Wheel Part One - Family

I chose FAMILY as my first area of my life wheel to focus on improving. We already do have an amazing family life but there is always room for improvement.

First my objective: To have a happy, healthy family and provide a memorable childhood for each of our children. To be active in the development of our children through education and show examples of our core beliefs and family values. To incorporate the importance of extended family. To exercise tradition in respect to holidays and celebrations. To raise respectful, loving and caring children.

Both Blake and I like to be active in raising our children. We both came from loving families but had parents who weren't as involved as we would have liked. My parents both worked full-time and had my brother when I was 7 years old. A lot of focus was on the "baby" in the house and I was left to sort of grow up on my own and then become my brother's caregiver when mom and dad had to work. Blake grew up in a large house (5 kids) where his mom stayed home while his Dad worked long hours but his mom was sooo busy cooking, cleaning and caring for multiple children that one-on-one time was very rare unless it involved work.

We both try to do activities with our kids each and everyday even if its for a short while like playing a board game or reading a book. We also plan to take an annual vacation somewhere with planned activities for the whole family.

Each winter we plan on enrolling each child in one activity either skating lessons or possibly hockey for Zack next year. During the summer swimming lessons are mandatory and not negotiable in my eyes as we have a pool. Besides we live in an area where jobs are few and far between for teens that if our kids get their lifeguard status they will have something else going for them at that time. And that's it for extra-curricular activities. Some parents push their kids too much (we see that now with Zack's skating lessons for Pete's sake) and we don't want to do that to our kids. Our goal is not to push the kids but encourage them through THEIR interests.

Celebrating holidays etc., is another area we want to improve on. We do celebrate the major holidays like Christmas and Easter but the smaller ones like Valentine's Day were getting bypassed. This year we celebrated and had fun! It's another great way to spend time with the kids and show your love and appreciation for all family members.

The hardest part is incorporating extended family for us. We live about an hour away from my parents to the west and and hour away from Blake's Dad to the east. We are usually very busy traveling and its hard to get together. Also all of my extended family lives out East many of whom have never met my husband! This July we are taking a road trip with the kids to visit and hopefully the kids will understand how things people fit into our lives.

We try our best to be a untied front with discipline but it gets difficult when my stepdaughter Jenna is here. I tend to be the one who disciplines more naturally because I am with the kids more and it's my personality to be a bit bossy I guess...Blake on the other hand wants to have fun with the kids because he's been away from them all day and lets things slide a bit. All discipline in regards to Jenna should be coming from him the biological parent as if it comes from me it will tend to hurt our relationship as stepmother and stepdaughter over time. We are working on it.

All in all I think we are doing okay in this area. Our kids are still young 5,4,&2 and I'm sure greater challenges lie ahead. We will try as parents to be as open and honest with our kids as possible and let them know we love them each and everyday.
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Breakfast Battles

How does your day start?

Mine always starts with a battle over breakfast. My oldest son Zachary who was ALWAYS a great eater has decided to become picky over every meal served at breakfast. Zachary goes to school every other day and 2-3 days of the week I babysit Lisa so if either event falls on that morning we are time pressed.

I have tried making different things for breakfast and its still the same fight. One morning I even tried giving him a sugary toaster strudel and he complained before he given tried it! Once he tried it the complaining went away but I refuse to feed this "junk food" to my kids everyday for breakfast just to avoid fighting.

I have tried taking away toys and privileges, this helps speed it up but the fight is still present.

Waking up earlier to allow him more time is not an option. We already wake up at 6:45am and he sometimes is up earlier than that!

Personally I think it is just other one of those power struggles that is hard to overcome. I'm just really tired of starting my day off on a bad note and especially before I have my morning coffee!

On another note, ever hear of a life wheel? It's basically a wheel highlighting the important areas of your life that you hold important and trying to achieve balance in each category. This is my new project. My life wheel contains 8 parts:

5)Personal Development
7)Work & Home Life

I hope to explore this project in great detail as achieving balance in your life is the key to happiness and success in my eyes. What's your life wheel like?
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Monday, February 22, 2010

This & That

Since implementing our new budget strategy in February 2010 things have changed around here quite a bit. Let me say first its been great! Blake and I are FINALLY on the same page and I think he is starting to look at money differently - the way I've been trying to get him to see money for quite awhile. It's much harder to spend cash than it is to whip out the credit card so purchases are now more thought out and planned. I'm so proud of us.

Because of our new budget we have a new found love with Kijiji, I can't believe some of the deals we've scored. Also one of my sister-in-laws money into a new place this month and was desperate for stuff to furnish her new place so that provided me with the motivation to clean my basement. After a lot of cussing and sorting through which seemed like 100 Rubbermaids I was able to provide her with some great stuff and was able to clear out a lot of clutter that had been nagging me to deal with for a long, long time. We also took many bags of toys and such to the drop off donation bins which feels great to donate. We still have to clean up a bit and put all the Rubbermaids back in their place but that should be done this week.

We haven't stopped there. For the past couple of years we've been groaning about how much our entertainment unit sucks and we want a new one. Well during my research for a used one I took a real hard look at ours and figured with some creative re-arranging we could make ours work better. Since ours is from IKEA it comes in several pieces and all we had to do was move a few pieces around and remove a few pieces and voila *new* entertainment unit!
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ever Had an Ah-Ha Moment? I Did!

First of all let me apologize for the lack of posting the past few days.

Have you ever felt that a change was coming in your life? I've been feeling that way for a few months now, just never knew what the change would be (good or bad). Naturally, I thought about possible changes but all seemed to revolve around bad changes (like someone close to me dying or getting sick) and very few good changes seemed possible (like getting a windfall). I soon got tired of wasting my time imagining worst case scenarios and decided I needed a new hobby, like reading. So off to the library I go.

I am someone who likes to educate myself on all important aspects of life and tend to select 1-2 areas to "perfect" at a time. I started checking out books on personal finance (my favourite topic) as I am always open to new suggestions and information on this subject. Then I found the book that made me go "Ah-Ha".

All Your Worth - By: Elizabeth Warren & Amelia Warren Tyagi. This is a personal finance book like no other that I've read. They have introduced me to a financial formula that is so simple yet effect and I had to throw out all other strategies I currently have in place. And wow I feel great about our money. Really great! So great that I can't remember a time I felt happier in my marriage.

Blake and I were not getting along with the previous budget we had in place as I thought and hoped we would. I believe in this strategy more than any other budget we've ever had in place. It's really simple, let me explain:

The suggested formula is "Must-Haves" (like your mortgage, groceries, utilities, car payments, etc) are 50% of your net income, "Wants" (like clothes, make-up, vacations, etc.) are 30% of your net income and "Savings" is 20% of your net income. It's that simple. So what if you have debt? There's a plan for that!

Initially, debt repayment is going to be replacing your 20% Savings until its gone. But there is a 4 step process. Step One - $1000 Emergency Fund. What happens if your car breaks down and it costs $300 to fix it. You pay for it with your $1000 Emergency Fund, not your credit card. You must than replace this money first before going to Step Two. Step Two - Debt Repayment. 20% on your debt and it should take you no time to pay this off. Step Three - 6 Month Security Fund - This should be the equivalent of 6 months of your "Must Have" expenses so that in the event of an illness or job loss you have the means necessary to pay for it. Step Four - Savings. 10% should go into funding your retirement, 5% paying down your mortgage, 5% into other savings (like your children's education).

Bottom line, you need balance in your life. Budgets don't work and they are not fun. This can work and you can still enjoy life! My husband and I are 100% on board with this strategy and you know what it feels great to have fun! Take your "Wants" money out in cash and enjoy it. This is a strategy for life and you tweak it as you meet your milestones.

I highly recommend this book!
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Stockpile Pictures

Today I'm going to show you my stockpile pictures. Most of the stuff obtained is these pictures were FREE or deeply discounted with a coupon or my SPC VIP card. A lot of stuff even made me money by purchasing with a coupon and getting a full refund by a mail-in-rebate.

*NOTE* This stockpile is a result of 2-3 years worth of shopping. No shelves were cleared to obtain these products unless it was the last 1 or 2 of the item. Many items obtain are also given to food banks or family and I am very conscious of expiry dates so nothing gets wasted.

Here we go!

Why do I stockpile? For several reasons.

First, I live in the country. We have no drug store available, only a grocery store that is WAAAAYYYYY overpriced, never open, full of dusty soon-to-be expired products and a small selection. We are always in a bigger city on the weekends (for skating or to pick up Jenna) so we plan our shopping on where we will be. Nothing sucks more than having a shower Saturday night and running out of shampoo (5 minutes after the grocery store closed) and having to wait until Monday morning to buy more or doing an expected trip to a bigger city - just to wash your hair.

Second, it savings money. Being a coupon user for a few years I know how to smell a great deal. For example we eat at least 1 can a week of Hunts tomato sauce. No Frills sells this for $1.57 regular price. Last week they put it on sale for $0.99! So I bought 12. Regular price for 12 = $18.84 Sale price for 12 = $11.88 Total savings = $6.96! Now that might not seem like a lot but if you add up all the little savings you get big money ;)

Third, it can make a profit. Many times my friends or family members come over and want to "shop" at my house. LOL! I can sell them razors, shampoos, etc. that I got for free and they get for dirt cheap! We both profit. I look at it as paying me to be their personal shopper. Also as I mentioned before, using coupons and mail-in-rebates can earn you cash as well. At the end of 2008 for example Glade had a promo if you bought their candles at $2.97 you would receive a $5.00 Wal-Mart gift card. Even after taxes and no coupons you were PAID $1.64 to take the candle home. You could do up to 8 per household as well for a profit of $13.12 and 8 FREE candles!

Fourth, it's fun! I love to score a great deal and save money for my family. Last year alone I used $4700 in coupons and discounts. That's $4700 back in my family's pockets. It's also great exercise walking around the stores.

Many people may see it as a waste of time and gas or even an obsession. It is time consuming but I think of it as my "work" because I stay at home. If I physically left the house each day to go to work I would not have the time to dedicate to this hobby. I may not be able to bring in a lot of income but damn it I can save what we've got. That's my job and I take great pride in it. Gas is also not an issue for our family because my husband gets free gas as a perk from his work (and we are in town anyway). An obsession - possibly. It can be easy to get carried away or to use coupons improperly. Its a hobby that has a learning curve. If you are stockpiling too much "stuff" and it is getting in the way of your home life than it can be a problem. I am fortunate to have a room dedicated to my hobby, most people don't have the extra space. If my "space" gets full I can chose to donate or not buy at all. I've set restrictions for myself and if you chose the couponing life I caution you to do the same.
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Book Review : The Smart Cookies' Guide To Making More Dough Chapters 4-6

Check out last week's post for Chapters 1-3.

I will continue with the questions at the end of each Chapter.

Chapter Four: If The Shoe Fits, You Don’t Have To Buy It: How To Be A Smart Spender

1) How often do you use cash and why?

It is very rare for me to use cash because we charge everything to our credit card that earns us cash back and the balance is paid in full each month so we are charged no interest. The credit card company PAYS US to use their card. Why wouldn't I use it?

2) Have you ever gotten rid of a perfectly functioning item because you were worried it was outdated? Why?

Not that I can think of, maybe when I was younger and I cared more about keeping up with all the latest trends. I've probably saved oodles of money because I don't do this. I don't own an iPod, I have a MP3 player, it works just fine. I don't have an iTouch or iPhone or whatever they are called - I've got a Mike Phone through Telus because my husband has one through his work. I will likely cancel this soon even and own no cell phone!

3) What expenses do you think you could cut without noticing much difference in your daily life?

This is tough since we've already cut so much. The extra cell phone is one that comes to mind however I'm sure the cancellation fee will be big. I only use this phone to call him in the morning to see when he will be home. It would be cheaper to call him from our house phone, although its long distance it will still be less than our cell bill. We usually travel together so we will always have access to a cell phone. Hopefully my husband's company will be giving them a new truck that includes Sirius radio so we can cancel his subscription.

4) What suggestions do you have to save money in other areas of your life, like shopping and going out?

I like to shop at the end of the season for next year's clothes which I will continue to do. We don't go out much and whenever we do we try to arrange my parents to babysit for free.

5) How much do you want to set aside for fun money? What are some ways you would spend it?

We set aside $10 each per week for fun money. I have been saving most of it in my savings account. I don't have plans for it currently other than making it grow. If I'm going to spend it, it would be on magazines probably.

Chapter Five: Deflate Your Debt: Six Simple Steps To Get You Back In the Black

1) How do you think you’d feel if your debt was gone? How would that change your life?

Incredible! I could then focus on savings.

2) What kind of “good” debt do you have? “Bad” debt?

I consider all debt to be "bad" but I think the question is looking for my mortgage and car loan. I also have "bad" debt in the form of a credit line which is a combination of student loans, old car loan, credit card debt, and home improvements.

3) What’s the most you remember ever charging on a credit card? Why did you charge so much?

$2500 on our honeymoon. Part of me is glad we went away but to be honest we didn't enjoy it as much as we could have. I was 3 months pregnant so I couldn't drink and we had next to no spending cash. We figured at the time if we didn't go then it would be forever until we could go with a baby on the way.

4) What did you learn from reading your credit reports and checking your score(s)?

I have not done this in years. I should do this again.

5) What are three steps you can take now to improve your credit score(s)?

Although I do not know my actual score, I'm sure its pretty good.

Chapter Six: Make More Dough: Easy Ways To Earn Extra Income

1) Do you know what people in similar positions to yours are earning?

I babysit for $25/child/day. Lots of people charge $30-$40/child/day but since I am in a small town its uncommon to charge as much. Lisa is only here for 7 hours and she naps while she is here. I provide lunch and snacks. If I was to charge more I feel I would need to do more like take them on field trips or something but that's too many kids for one adult to control so I don't venture far.

2) Do you think you are getting paid what you are worth?

I am comfortable with the payment arrangement. If I was doing all kinds of trips and crafts I would certainly ask for more.

3) Have you ever asked for a raise? Why or why not?

No, see above answer.

4) How much do you want to be earning next year or five years from now?

Next year I expect to earn the same and then once Avelyn starts school I plan to quit babysitting.

5) Are you happy in your job? Why or why not?

Meh. It's not my first choice of work, the mother came to me and asked if I would take her daughter on. I keep the babysitting going for Avelyn's sake as they are the same age and will attend school together. Avelyn can be a shy kid and I think this friendship will help ease the transition when she starts school.
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Monday, January 18, 2010

Weekend Recap, Deals and Weekly Goals

It was a busy weekend after all, not like we had planned. Friday was pretty calm we discussed our budget and progress in detail and cleared up some disagreements we were having in regards to spending. Saturday we did our shopping and some friends came over that evening for dinner and drinks and they brought their niece and nephew who are close to our kids ages. On Sunday I went shopping with my mom and to the world's longest baby shower. I left early even (after 2 hours, 45 minutes) as I was starving and had to drive 45 minutes home yet. Last night Blake was told not to come into work as his transport truck had broken down over the weekend and his company needed to fix it. Good thing I guess because he usually sleeps Sunday nights after supper and he would have been a little pissed because I didn't get home until almost 7:00pm. Because of all the craziness this weekend I have fallen extremely behind in my household duties and I'm very tired today which is not helping. In the middle of the night two cats decided to scrap outside my bedroom window, that is not a noise you want to wake up to. Anyway, here's some pics of the deals I've got over the past week.

First pic is from last Monday night for the Shopper's Drug Mart Tell-A-Friend Event and No Frills:

1x Royale Paper Towels $4.77 - 1x $0.70 Coupon = $4.07
2x International Delight Creamer $1.99 Each - 2x $0.75 Coupons = $2.48
2x Schweppes 12 Pack 2/$8.99 - 1x $2.00 WUB2 Coupon = $6.99
4x Dempsters Bread $1.99 Each - 2x $1.00 WUB2 Coupons = $5.96
2x Nutrigrain Bars $2.50 Each - 1x $1.00 WUB2 Coupon = $4.00
4x Sidekicks $0.99 Each - 4x $0.25 Coupons = $2.96
3x Patak's Naan $1.00 Each - 3x $1.00 Coupons = $0.00

Total Coupon Savings $11.20


Mega Shoppers Optimum Points to be credited after January 20th (approximately 15000 = $25)

Here's Saturday's deals:

2x Toddler Mum-Mums $2.50 Each - 1x $1.00 WUB2 Coupons = $4.00
1x Vaseline Lotion $2.29 - 1x $2.00 Coupon = $0.29
1x Nordica Cottage Cheese $2.29 - 1x $0.60 Coupon = $1.69
1x Eggo Waffles #2.37 - 1x $1.00 Coupon = $1.37
1x Danone Yogurt #2.99 - 1x $0.75 Coupon = $2.24
4x Nutrigrain Bars $2.00 Each - 2x $1.00 WUB2 Coupons = $6.00
1x Ni Hao Ki Lan Game $10.00 - 1x $10.00 Coupon = $0.00
4x Dempsters Bread $1.99 Each - 2x $1.00 WUB2 Coupons = $5.96
3x Campbells Soup $0.50 Each - 1x $0.50 WUB3 Coupon = $1.00
2x Pampers Wipes 3 Packs $4.97 - 2x $1.00 Coupons = $7.94

Total Coupon Savings = $21.85!

And lastly Sunday's deals:

2x Schweppes 12 Pack $3.50 Each - 1x $2.00 WUB2 Coupon = $5.00
2x Dempsters Bagels $1.00 Each - 2x $0.50 Coupons = $1.00

Total Coupon Savings = $3.00


Free Roast from Sobeys (not pictured) with Club Sobey's Points Redemption!

Finally this week's plans include:


-Zack in school
-Lisa here
-Clean Bathroom and Storage Room


-Lisa here
-Monthly chore (to be determined)


-Zack in school
-Clean Bedrooms & Living Room


-Pick up Jenna
Continue Reading...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Mail Bag Goodies & Weekend Plans

Here's all the goodies I've received in the mail over the past week:

- FREE Club Lego magazine with 3D Glasses for Zack
- FREE Maxim magazine through SONY promo for Blake
- FREE Today's Parent magazine for me through Airmiles
- FREE Elle magazine for me through Egg Creations promo
- FREE Danone DanActive Bzzkit through Bzz Agent including FREE coupon for DanActive, several $1.00 off coupons, promo cards for DanActive contest FREE for 1 year, and a magnetic dry erase board with marker
- FREE Quick Tax 2009
- 20% off & 15% off coupons for Kohl's
- FREE USB key from Chapmans Kids Club
- FREE key chain from Chapmans Kids Club
- Numerous coupons

Weekend plans are minimal this weekend because we don't have Jenna and Zack's skating is canceled for an Oldtimer's tournament. We almost don't know what to do with ourselves when we have free time! As of now we are still going to take a trip into town to get some groceries tomorrow and on Sunday I have a baby shower to attend. I might go off with my mom to do some deal shopping (coupon gathering) on Sunday before the baby shower. I need to pump up my coupon supply and could use the break away from the kids and Blake. Besides I think its a good reality check for him to watch the kids on his own for most of the day so he can appreciate all that I do for him and the children each and everyday. As you can probably tell I'm not exactly impressed with him lately...I think he needs a refresher.
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chapman's Kids Club

One of the greatest Canadian freebie sites I know is Chapman's Kids Club. My four year old Zack loves to play computer games so this is a great website for him. At Chapman's Kids Club you play games and earn points and when you collect enough points you can order different prizes to be sent right to your doorstep! There are two different sections - one for little kids which has games like memory, jigsaw puzzles and word searches and a section for bigger kids that have more interactive games or your basic games at an advanced level. Points are easy to collect, in fact in one day you can earn enough points to get a small prize like a fridge magnet. Also right now they are offering a free 2010 calendar. Other great prizes include USB keys, $5.00 coupons (who doesn't like free ice cream) and freezer bags. Prizes are updated frequently so keep an eye out for changes. The best part is not only does my son love to play the games but his face glows in excitement when he receives a prize in the mail. Priceless.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Home Maintenance Painting Kit

If you have small children (or a messy husband) like me you are probably used to scratches, nicks or doodles on the walls of your house. I was forever frustrated by having to go down into the depths of our basement to search for the matching paint can to do touch-ups. After all that nonsense of prying the can open, painting, cleaning the brush, putting it all away, I would soon find that I missed a spot or a new one would spring up moments afterward. Urgh! And so the Home Maintenance Painting Kit was born:

Inside the kit includes:

- Small baby food jars with paint for each room
- Large baby food jar with white paint for doors & trim
- Can of spray paint for tables attached to our couch
- Several foam paint brushes
- Tiny paint brush
- Painter's tape
- Extra roller
- Paint stir stick
- Paint swatches

I have labeled each paint jar with the brand of paint used (I like CIL the best), name of paint colour and the location where it was purchased in case I ever need to get a larger quantity of the same paint.

Now paint touch-ups are a breeze!
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Book Review : The Smart Cookies' Guide To Making More Dough Chapters 1-3

The book I have chosen to review is:

The Smart Cookies' Guide To Making More Dough : How Five Young Women Got Smart, Formed A Money Group, and Took Control of their Finances By: Jennifer Barrett

I first saw the Smart Cookies on Oprah awhile back during the airing of her Debt Diet Series. I was instantly drawn to their story because they were close to my age and Canadian! They were a big hit and even started their own TV show helping others with their finances. I have watched several episodes when I caught it on TV and enjoyed each one, so when I saw they had a book out I had to read it.

I have to say that if I had read this book about 8-10 years ago it would have made a greater impact on me as back then I would have been part of the target audience for this particular book. However, this book is a great beginner's tool for someone looking to improve their finances and in my opinion targeted at young professional types without children. Most of the women of the Smart Cookies are in their 20's, single or recently married, no kids and all work in some sort of office or professional environment. Needless to say the chapters provided great discussion questions which are still a great exercise despite your financial expertise or situation, so I will post the questions and my answers over the next few Tuesdays.

Here we go!

Chapter One: The Taboo Topic: Starting the Conversation About Money

1) Have you ever talked about your finances with anyone else? If no, why not? If yes, who? And how did the conversation go?

I have had serious conversations with my husband about money. They usually always seem to go well until he sees something he desires than the "budget" becomes the enemy to us. To him he feels restrained and to me I feel guilty I cannot give him what he desires. We are working on finding middle ground on this weekly. We now discuss finances each and every Friday to make sure we are on board and up-to-date.

2) What do you feel is your biggest financial weakness?

This is a tough one. I guess guilt from others is my biggest weakness. Guilt mainly comes from my husband but also from my kids, family and friends. Most people I know do not operate on a budget (and they are almost ALL deeply in debt or the opposite very well off) and all seem to spend money quite frivolously. It's not often we are asked to go out for a night with friends but if we do get asked you can bet it will cost a lot when you factor in dinner, drinks and a babysitter so it makes it difficult to decline. Right now we are grappling with the decision about a Valentine's double date we are invited too at $30/person (dinner and comedy show) plus drinks, etc....

3) What would you most like to change about your current financial situation?

I would LOVE to be debt-free!

4) What advice do you wish you’d gotten earlier?

Stick to a budget. Save at least 10% of your income. Live within your means. Debt is bad. The list goes on.

5) What do you hope to gain by reading this book and/or forming a money group?

I have no intention of forming a money group, but I hope to maybe discover other financial tidbits that I might not yet be aware of.

Chapter Two: Know Your Numbers: Four Facts You Need To Know about Your Finances

1) Where does most of your discretionary money go each month? Why?

I just started giving myself an allowance this January. We agreed upon $10/week to be paid out on the first Friday of every month. So far I have spent $5.00 of my $50.00 and have already regretted it. My first purchase was a bad one - 2 cigars for New Year's for myself and husband. We both are ex-smokers but like to have the occasional cigar. We were going to split the cost of these but I ended up smoking both of them myself (bad, I know) but truthfully I wanted them gone from our possession before they became a habit and I hate to waste things so I couldn't bear to toss them. I will not be buying them again anytime soon. The next purchase was a Woman's World magazine which was quite normal for me to pick up during a weekly visit to Wal-Mart. I clip all the crafts and recipes and file them away in binders. I soon realized this magazine was going to drain my allowance fast so I have now hung on to my cash.

2) Can you think of an impulse purchase you made and regretted later, or an occasion when you spent money out of guilt or obligation?

Well the above answer can answer the first part of this question. I often have spent money out of guilt or obligation in the past. If someone buys me a gift I feel obligated to reciprocate. When I worked in the bank I was constantly asked for money for someone's retirement, or to sponsor, or charity, etc. I hated that. HATED it, but I usually gave something.

3) What’s the most you ever spent preparing for a date?

Wow since I've been married for almost 5 years its hard to think back on my "dating years". One time my friend and I were dating two guys that were best friends and the guys were organizing a romantic double dinner date for us. We decided to go and get our hair done at a salon and we most likely bought ourselves new clothes. I'm sure we spent quite a bit.

4) What is your most prized possession? Why?

Aside from photo albums of my kids and wedding I have to say my laptop. It allows me to keep my life organized in so many ways.

5) What would you like to be spending more money on? Less money on?

I'd like to spend more money on vacations. I'd rather spend money on great memories than material things. I'd like to spend less money on eating out on weekends. We do a lot of little trips to McDonald's for a quick breakfast (like muffins) or quick lunch (like $1.69 burgers) but all the little trips add up. If we could save this allotted restaurant money we could afford a nice family dinner out which would be more satisfying.

Chapter Three: Whose Life Are You Living? How To Create (& Afford) the Life the You Want

1) How is your life different than you’d imagined it would be at this age?

I never thought in a million years I would be a stay-at-home mom. I was raised to think that women that stayed at home were "lazy" or "lucky" which in reality was just my mother's own jealously. I grew up believing that if I wanted to have a good life I would have to work. I wasn't until I actually did my own research that I realized it made no sense for me to be in the workforce while I have small children, it would actually cost me money to work! To work at a place that I hated.

2) How do you envision your life in one year (or in five)?

In one year my life won't be much different. Small changes include - debt paid down significantly, Zack in school EVERY day and Avelyn 100% potty trained. Those are all great changes I am looking forward to. I so tried of cleaning poop. In five years - debt will be long gone, mortgage paid down significantly, savings for Disney, great savings for RESPs, possibly look at selling our house and moving to a bit bigger place.

3) What about your life now brings you the most and least amount of joy?

My kids bring me a lot of joy. I get excited for every summer because we can have new adventures together as a family and its gets better every year they get older and more responsible. The least amount of joy comes from the debt. I also hate cleaning the bathroom. That's a joy killer right there.

4) What would you rather be spending more, or less, money on?

I'd rather be spending more money on paying off the debt, vacations and education savings. I rather spend less money on child support for Jenna but that's stuck with us for many, many years. It's not that I don't want her to have any money, its just frustrating handing over money each month to someone you don't necessarily like (or trust) and believe she is using all the money for my stepdaughter and not fueling her own lifestyle. It would be awesome if we were responsible for buying her clothes, or school stuff, or deposited money into a trust account for college that we can say yes that went directly to Jenna.

5) What would you rather be spending more, or less time doing?

I'd rather be spending more time interacting with the family. Less time traveling during holidays or fighting about money with Blake.

Next week - Chapters 4-6!
Continue Reading...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Weekend Recap, Deals & Weekly Goals

Hope you had a great weekend!

We were able to get everything accomplished and more. Friday Blake and I both got our haircuts and shopping done, Saturday we completed all our shopping in record time and took Zack to skating lessons and Sunday Blake took Jenna and Zack to public skating before dropping her off.

As promised here are some of my coupon deals. I will start will last week's deals I forgot to post.

4x Oasis Juice $1.99 each - 1x $0.75 coupon & 3x $0.50 coupons = $5.71
1x Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk $3.57 - 1x $0.50 coupon = $3.07
1x Eggo Waffles $2.37 - 1x $1.00 coupon = $1.37
1x Yoplait Tubes $1.99 - 1x $0.50 coupon = $1.40
1x Johnson's Baby Wash (not pictured) $4.34 - 1x $1.00 coupon = $3.34
1x Infant's Motrin (not pictured) $6.57 - 1x $5.00 coupon = $1.57
1x Zack's Haircut $11.40 - $2.00 Coupon = $9.40

Total Coupon Savings = $12.25

Purchased 1x Rump Roast (not pictured) for $14.14 (paid with gift card)
Redeemed $20.00 in PC Points

= $46.39 in coupons & discounts!

This week's deals:

1x Natrel 4L Milk $5.47 - 1x $2.00 Coupon = $3.47
1x Eggo Waffles $2.38 - 1x $1.00 Coupon = $1.38
2x Motts Fruitsations $2.00 each - 1x $1.00 WUB2 Coupon = $3.00
4x Danone Yogurt $1.00 each - 4x $0.75 Coupons = $1.00
2x Patak's Naan $1.00 each - 2x $1.00 Coupons = $0.00
5x Campbell's Beef Broth $1.99 each - 5x $0.50 coupons = $7.45
1x Monica's Haircut 20% off with SPC VIP card $2.38 = $16.19 (including tip)
1x Blake's Haircut $18.00 - $2.00 coupon = $16.00 (including tip)

Total Coupon Savings - $13.50

Received 20 Bonus Airmiles for purchasing 5 Beef Broths

Total in coupons & discounts = $15.88!

*Seeing that most coupons expired December 2009, my stash is pathetically low right now so I am actively seeking new coupons. There isn't word right now that there is much available out there but I am sure it will pick up soon. Also as I've mentioned in earlier posts I am looking to spend less on things like shampoo, cleaners, etc. as I am fully stocked from couponing in 2009. Most deals you will see here will be food related.*

Now for this week's plans. Tonight I am going shopping at Shopper's Drug Mart for the Tell-A-Friend Event that allows you to rack up mega points. I signed up through Smart Canucks and if you'd never been to this website before and like deals and coupons go check it out! Here's the rest of the weekly breakdown:


Zack in school
Lisa here
Clean Bathroom
Clean Office/Storage Room


Clean Kitchen


Zack in school
Clean Bedrooms
Clean Living Room


Lisa here
Monthly Chore or Extra Chore


Zack in school
Lisa here
Shopping Lists & Weekend Plans
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Friday, January 8, 2010


Well, its Friday which means Blake is officially off. It was nice the past two weeks he was off on Thursdays due to Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve but now its back to 5 day weeks. Unfortunately due to weather conditions he had to work late this morning so he didn't get in until almost 11:00am (usually it's 8:30-9:00am). Our plans were to leave here at 1:30pm, go get haircuts, do some shopping, pick up Jenna and be back for supper. Now the official plan is to wake him up at 3:30pm, eat an early supper, pick up Jenna, get haircuts, do some shopping then get back here. Jenna still has her gifts from Santa to open so I've got a feeling that we might not be able to accomplish everything we want to today.

Aside from today's hiccup its been a very good week. I have managed to devise daily schedules which should be easy to maintain. The problem I had before is Zack's school schedule always switching. He goes to school all-day, every other day but if there is a PA Day or holiday it flip flops. Whoever thought of this ridiculous system should be fired. Thankfully, beginning next year the kids will start all-day, everyday. In addition to Zack's crazy schedule Lisa comes to be babysat different days each week. One week she comes Tuesdays & Wednesdays, the next week Monday, Thursday & Friday. During the week I have the responsibility as a housewife to maintain the housework so I like to do majority of it the days I have the least amount of kids. I have created 2 2-week cycles that will switch when Zack's schedule does. They are perfect. They are also a huge part of the Household Binder I am working on and that is coming along quite well.

Another little project I am working on is to duplicate a picture of Avelyn posed like a picture of me when I was her age for my parents. I was able to get a pretty good shot of her but now I need more ink for my printer. Ink is also needed for the Household Binder so this will hopefully be picked up this weekend. I also need to buy a photo frame that holds 2 5x7 pictures. My parents birthdays as well as mine and my brother's all fall in January & February. We are planning to getting together for dinner at the end of the month or beginning on next month to "celebrate" so I will give this to them then.

Hope you have a great weekend, see you Monday!
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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

January Projects

Last night we went and got our library cards (yeah!). The con is that our library sucks and has next to no books but the pro is I can have books sent there from other libraries usually within a week! With that being said I requested a few books be sent to me so I can start a new project.

I plan to read and review at least one book per month mostly on the topic of money and personal finance but occasionally other topics as well. The books I have requested are:

-The Smart Cookies' Guide To Making More Dough : How Five Young Women Got Smart, Formed A Money Group, and Took Control of their Finances - By: Jennifer Barrett (Love the TV show)

-Broken open : How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow - By: Elizabeth Lesser (Saw this on Oprah FOREVER ago and wanted to read)

Another current January project I am working on is creating a Household Binder. It's a binder that has all the important information that our family needs all in one location from menu plans, clothing sizes and vacation checklists to name a few. Right now I've got a good rough draft started but I do need more black printer ink to complete the final project. If you'd like more information on how to create your own Household Binder check out for some free printables and great examples of how to make your own.
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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Back To Routine

Well, today we are officially back to routine. Zack is in school all day today (yeah!) and Lisa is here today too. It was a great break while it lasted. I feel refreshed from vacation and glad that all the Christmas stress is over and done with.

Today's To Do List includes:

-Clean bathroom and storage room while Lisa naps
-Chicken Alfredo for supper
-Work on Household Binder
-*Possibly* go to Library after supper

I am looking to borrow a few personal finance books to read from the library and went to the closest big city on the weekend to get a card. They told me that I need to get a card from my area first and then I can check out books there. *Sigh* There are 2 libraries near me and both are pathetically small so I was hoping to get one in the city my parents live in since we are there almost every weekend for Zack's skating. We'll see if Blake is up for it...
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Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy 2010!

I hope you had a wonderful New Years. Ours was very low-key in fact we feel asleep before midnight! Also, we managed to come in at $13.05 under budget for our New Year's allowance which is a good start, however, I gave $10.00 of this overage to Blake to replace the headphones I broke accidentally. Oops! The rest went onto the credit line.

I am super pumped as we are finally starting our new budget. Blake however is having difficulty adjusting. Before I would give him $10.00 cash/week which he would use to buy coffees, lottery tickets or chocolate bars while he was at work. I never had an "allowance", my only real weekly indulgence was buying a Woman's World magazine for $2.25. Anyway, we decided to give the whole month's allowance at once - this month at $10.00/week equals $50.00 each.

Blake was told about this website by his tech-geek brother-in-law and wants to now order everything on the site. (Oh yeah by the way it's American which means the prices need to be converted to Canadian). He's made a list and is well into spending about 5 months worth of allowances 2 days into the year. I had to talk him down as this is no more money than he was given before, its just all at once so if he spends it all he's got no money for the coffee and chocolate bars he desires.

Also, his brother-in-laws (3 of them) have all picked up paint ball as a new hobby and now he also wants to jump on the bandwagon. The problem is we live about an hour away from them, and Blake has his daughter every other weekend so he is really pressed for "free time". Besides, we only see him for about 4 hours/day (sometimes less) and most of that time is spent cooking supper, eating supper, kids baths & bedtime. Weekends are spent traveling to get Jenna and dropping her off an hour each way, Zack's skating lessons 45 minutes each way and shopping (usually multiple stores).

I agree everyone needs a hobby and I have no right to say how he spends his money, I know. Sometimes I wish he would just take the time to assess everything and make a better decision. My fear is that he will spend everything at once and try to re-negotiate the budget part way through the month and make he feel bad for denying his request.
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