The Time I Overpaid For A House Cleaning Service

House cleaning Service

Too Good to be True?   Doesn’t someone else cleaning your house sound glorious? Elbow grease besides your own scrubbing and buffing until surfaces are gleaming? It sounded great to me until I actually went through with it! House cleaning wasn’t something I had ever considered until this fall. I was moving into a new apartment 1,200 miles away, and I was doing so in a hurry. My husband’s relocation gave us two weeks to find an apartment in a city neither one of us had ever stepped foot in and move our entire lives there. The process started with frantic apartment hunting online in an attempt to secure housing from a distance. An unsuccessful week later I took a one way flight to New York City to rent an apartment and rent it quickly. I wouldn’t leave until I had a lease with my name on it. Within a few days I found an apartment, signed on the dotted line, and booked a flight back with one day to pack belongings before hitting the road in a moving truck New York bound. If you think that sounds crazy, it was. With all that craziness I knew that the last […]

grocery game monthly challenge

Nielsen Homescan Canada: Shop, Scan and get Rewarded! : The Grocery Game Challenge #3 Dec 15-21,2014

Neilsen Homescan

HAVE YOUR SAY, ENJOY THE REWARDS!   Who thought that going shopping would be so rewarding? Believe me when I say joining the Nielsen Homescan Canada panel will open up a window of rewards to you because I’ve done it in the UK. Nielsen studies consumers in over 100 countries because they want to know what you like to buy! I remember the time when my wife came to the UK and we went grocery shopping together for the first time. Not only was she reading just about every product she could get her hands on (it took forever to shop with her) I was also explaining to her a little about this program I was involved in. I think it made more sense to her once I showed her my scanner and exactly what I needed to do. When we got home she wanted to help me put all the groceries away but I told her that we had to wait a moment so I could check everything over and scan them in. Scan them in? She had this look on her face like I was nuts but clearly she had never heard of the program I was part […]

15 Frugal City-Living Tips To Save Your Budget

Frugalwoods_City_Living

LIVING IT UP ON A BUDGET   Living in the city isn’t for everyone—it’s hectic, expensive and not the most natural outlet for frugality. Or is it? I’ve found that city-living actually lends itself very well to the frugal life. There are plenty of ways to extract value and reduce your expenses while living in traditionally high-cost locales. Mr. Frugalwoods and I have done the city thing. Since graduating from college, we’ve lived in New York City, Washington, DC, and Cambridge, MA (twice). Why would we, as notorious frugal weirdos, live in some of the most expensive cities in the world? Well, to be honest, because we wanted to. We were both raised primarily in the mid-western United States and had romanticized visions of the chic, cutting-edge, cultured cities of the fabled east coast. We wanted to prove we could make it, that we could succeed in these notoriously competitive job markets, and that we could maintain our frugal wits in these havens of lifestyle inflation. And we have. The past 8 years have been an incredible experience for us. It has also been instrumental in teaching us what we really want out of life, which, as it turns out, is the exact opposite of […]

5 Minute Hazelnut Chocolate Fudge

Hazelnut Chocolate Fudge wm

FUDGE-MAKING IS SO EASY   If you’ve ever been in a pinch for a dessert because you have company coming over this easy hazelnut chocolate fudge recipe will blow you away. It literally takes no time at all to make and it won’t break the bank either. Growing up we never did eat fudge too often and it wasn’t until the wife and I went on a trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake where I was introduced to some creamy Canadian fudge. The one candy shop we went in while in Niagara offered sample tastes of every variety of fudge they made and I was more than happy to sample them all. OK, I didn’t try them all but I did shovel down as much as I could without going into a sugar coma. I had my favourites like the maple fudge with all the tastes of Canada that you would expect, pure maple.   Fudge Making   I never gave much thought to making chocolate fudge before until I was watching a Christmas episode of my favourite Food Network program, The Pioneer Woman where Ree Drummond made her version of  condensed milk chocolate fudge. She created a beautiful easy peppermint fudge perfect […]

Does your neighbours home improvement really affect your property value? : The Saturday Weekend Review #101

house property value

BABYSITTING THE PROPERTY MARKET   Your property value is determined by many factors and whether your neighbour paints his garage door pink or purple that has nothing to do with how much your home is worth. Sometimes I can’t get over how some neighbours pick on each other for the silliest of things. Earlier this year we talked about one of our neighbours who hardly ever cuts the lawn. We got serious about overcoming laziness as a homeowner and joked about renting a goat. That was a legitimate complaint because there is a city by-law against leaving your lawn to grow to a certain height. Sure if the homeowner were to sell his house it may impact how much someone would be willing to pay him. The house might deter potential buyers of other homes that are well-kept but for the most part I don’t think it would bring down property value of all the homes. When a homeowner lets their home fall apart that’s when I’d start to worry but not if they are making improvements to the home and keeping the property looking good. It becomes a pain in the butt when the neighbourhood patrol group picks on […]

Would you put your wealth plan on hold for the kids? : November 2014 Net Worth Update (+1.91%)

wealth plan

WHAT’S YOUR FINANCIAL STRATEGY?   A wealth plan to me is exactly what it sounds like or just a fancy way of saying retirement savings but not everyone views retirement savings equally. When CBB fan Mary pointed out an online article about a retired Maritimes couple who were digging themselves out of $145,000 worth of debt I knew I wanted to read this debt story. The couple who are both retired civil servants earned a  combined income of $90,000 and over the years paid off their $45,000 mortgage. Now, I’m the first to say that you don’t have to live the extravagant life to blow through your money. Why? Because even the small amounts of money we spend all add up. It’s very easy to go broke spending little bits here and there as opposed to losing it all by making larger purchases. You never win no matter what way your swipe the credit card. The couple had $75,000 in credit card debt which snowballed into 16 maxed out credit cards and a refinance on their mortgage for $70,000. So where did all the money go? I’m not sure if they really know but what they do know is where […]

grocery game monthly challenge

Do you track money-back from points cards as part of your budget?: The Grocery Game Challenge #2 Dec 8-14,2014

points cards grocery store

IT’S YOUR MONEY TO SPEND!   Almost everyone I know has points cards of some description especially cards that offers points to be redeemed for groceries. I was reading a post by my friend Alicia at Financial Diffraction where she discussed “Tallying the other money” ie: rewards points redeemed, PC Points, Shoppers Optimum points, Swagbucks, Coupon apps and so on. What I found interesting is that she considers the money as “found money” or “other money” where I call it “extra income” which means I didn’t spend as much in our budget. My wife and I are both on the fence with this topic as we aren’t sure how we will tackle it moving forward with our budget. I have a section in our budget where we can add in money earned from points, rebates, cheques (ie: coupon app rewards) etc. so it’s put back into the monthly budget as income. I look at it as money I would have spent from the budget but since I was able to redeem points I didn’t have to so I put that money back into the budget as income but it comes back out when I input budget data. I find it […]

A Beginners Guide To A Grocery Price Book (Free Template Included)

grocery price book

Why Make A Grocery Price Book   For many families, groceries make up a large portion of their monthly spending. If you’re looking to spend less every month, it’s possible to save a considerable amount of money on groceries. Knowing your prices is one of the best strategies to save money on groceries. It helps you evaluate the sale flyers to know if a sale really is the best price in town. Prices are always changing. If you track the prices, you’ll know when to stock up and how much to buy. The simplest way to really understand your local food prices is to create a grocery price book. What is a grocery price book? A price book, also called a price comparison chart, is a sheet that tracks the prices of the items you buy most often. It takes sometime to set up, but you’ll earn back your time quickly. To really see this in action, take the example of my favorite brand of bouillon, Better Than Bouillon Chicken Bouillon. Here are the prices at my local grocery stores: Wegman’s: Regular price of $3.99 Giant: Sale price of $3.99, Regular price of $4.49 Walmart: Regular price of $3.58 When […]