February 2012 Canadian Budget Binder Budget Update

$ How much did you spend this month? Well here we are again folks at the end of another challenging month for us. We have worked hard at making changes to our budget as we had found some flaws in our 2011 budget. We also went ahead and simplified the budget so we are putting away money each month for purchases we KNOW will happen this year. That way the money is saved bit by bit monthly and no surprises when it comes time to pay it. We also don’t want to use our emergency savings for bills that are not an emergency. So here are our last figures for February 2012.  I thought we would be over budget after the 20x points event at SDM but we are on track. These darn events are amazing but can put a dent in our grocery budget. The good thing though is we only buy items we WILL need and WILL use so our future grocery bill will be less. You can’t deny that  Shoppers Optimum Points is the best loyalty program out there. One reader asked about our grocery budget and what it includes. My answer was all household cleaning products, pet […]

Buying Clothes from Second Hand Shops..Is it worth it?

Do you shop at Thrift Stores? Many of these second-hand shops offer new or gently used clothing, accessories and household items for a fraction of the cost at a retail store. Who wouldn’t shop there first, right? Wrong! Some people take a look around them when they attempt to walk in a second-hand shop to make sure no one they know is around.  Myself I waltz right in as I just love second-hand shops. Tip: If you are worried what your neighbour or mate might say because they see you in the store ask yourself this “If they see you then you must see them” so what? Who cares? The stigma put on second-hand shops that they are for the poor or for starving students is WRONG. These stores such as Value Village, The Salvation Army Thrift Store ( Sally Ann)  have grown in popularity in exponential rates over the past decade. Why? The answer is easy many people now see the value in second-hand items. They also see the savings and understand  the cost to the environment and the re-use value.  Most clothing if not donated ends up in clear bags ending up in our landfills. We need to […]

How We Designed Our Budget Step 4-Notetaking

Hi there Folks~ Mr.CBB here… If we’ve learned anything about budgets over the past year it’s that you need to learn how they work before you carry out one.  I admit we jumped in feet first and have learned along the way. This tactic hasn’t been so bad but it can get frustrating, especially if budgeting is a new world for you.  Learning first then proceeding step by step is what we should have done. What we’ve learned over the past couple months is that there were ways to simplify our budget. We found errors in our budget and now realize that we need to have a completely separate Emergency Savings account. You will see all the changes when I post our February 2012 Budget Update. The one thing that has helped us to make these changes is that we kept such detailed notes. This is why I am taking you to this topic in Step 4 Notetaking. Notetaking is an essential part of budgeting. Why you ask? Let’s take a look together here: Scenario: When you were in high school and the teacher taught you a subject did you take notes? Probably, right? Why? So you could take the notes  home and study them to answer questions on a test […]

Kick the Smoking Habit, Save Your Health and Budget Update Week 4

Here we are at week 4 already, can you believe this! We certainly are in awe over our accomplishments. If you would have told us 4 weeks ago that we would be smoke-free by the end of February 2012 we likely would have thought you were nutty. The reality is you have to want it so bad that you can taste victory. You need not wait until you or a loved one has a health scare to make this decision. This was one of the main factors of participants in that Quit Smoking Program we participated in at the start of our journey. For us it was Health first, money last and it should be that way for everyone who wants to quit. You only live once and you can’t put any amount of money on your own life.  I have to admit though that this quit smoking process has been so easy it’s ridiculous.  We certainly thought I’d be sleeping in a separate room by now. As we end this week with a bang we are now coming up for full swing “Driven To Quit Challenge”  beginning March 1, 2012. If we have inspired you or yo are contemplating quitting you […]

Eating In Vs Eating Out- The Comparison

I had to write this post after eating out as I was just shocked at the cost of our meal at a well-known chain Restaurant. I used some gift cards I had received from Christmas to pay for the order. It wasn’t on my dime but I had to use them before they expired. So it’s my birthday and the wife and I decide to order some take out and enjoy the evening watching a movie. We don’t normally eat-in at restaurants  for 3 reasons: High priced food  15-25% Tips to the staff We like to eat home cooked meals We are frugal that’s no secret but eating out has never been big on our agenda unless we were travelling. Yes I know you are saying we need to “live a little” and you are right we should, but at what cost. Cost of Eating Out vs Eating In Here is the run down from last nights meal.. out of 5 stars we gave it a 3.5 We thought we had $15.00 on one gift card and $13.00 on the other. We wanted to go over that price so we didn’t have a balance on the cards. The likelihood of us eating […]

Mr.CBB’s Fudgy Brownies $5 a pan

I know you’ve waited for my homemade brownie recipe since I exposed that lovely tower of brownies on my Facebook page a few days back. Don’t you just love food photos where you just want to reach in with your hand and grab one like you do right now with these brownies. I’m sure it hurts even more if you are reading this with a hot cup of tea or coffee or a glass of cold milk and nothing sweet in hand. Homemade brownies are the ultimate naughty chocolate treat for me. If you are looking for Betty Crocker brownies you’ve come to the wrong place. Everything in Mr. CBB’s kitchen is made homemade. I don’t know why but there’s something about a good brownie that makes me happy. I’m sure it has something to do with all the chocolate but heck it’s only a once in a while treat, so I live it up a little. The time has come to let the secret brownie recipe out of the bag and I hope they become just as famous in your kitchen as it is mine. These brownies won’t break the budget but the best part is the house smells divine […]

grocery game monthly challenge

Can we Stick to the Grocery Budget- February 20-26 2012-Week 4

Last week was our first no-shop week and I must say it was difficult. You think it’s easy to say “I won’t shop” but it doesn’t work that way. Temptation is all around us even at the pharmacy or petrol station. Fighting the temptation can be won though. I’m happy to report that we did not shop last week for grocery at all. We did manage to get much more completed with our household to-do list. Sorry I meant Honey do-list.  We’ve been updating our New 2012 Budget Spreadsheet while transferring over Jan/Feb 2012. We hope to have that available soon. Note: If you are playing the grocery game and want to play for the rest of Feb and March I will draw for 2 winners if I can get 10 or more people to participate for this week. If  not we will start next week for March and this week will be a trial run to get you motivated~ If you haven’t subscribed to my blog, please do that way you won’t miss my posts!  So we have $64.00 to spend this week in the grocery budget. THE RESULTS: We spent a Total Out of Pocket $52.94 We used a Total of […]

Product Price Adjustment: Don’t Miss The Savings!

product price adjustment money

DON’T MISS THE BUDGET SAVINGS!   Are you aware that some Canadian big box and grocery stores have a Product Price adjustment policy? If you are then you know about the great savings you can pocket if you keep your eyes and ears open. If you aren’t aware read on and learn how you to keep money in your pocket. We all know about returning products as I’m sure we have all done it at some point in our life. Once you have finalized a buy it is now your product. Most stores offer a return policy for unopened, unused or defective product. On a cautionary note be aware of a possible restocking fee. Typically stores have anywhere from 30-90 days for a return policy.   Product Price Adjustment   What is a Product Price Adjustment Policy? What most people don’t know is the Product Price Adjustment Policy for most stores also known as a Price Protection Policy. If you buy a product and the exact product goes on sale cheaper than what you purchased it for then you can get a Product Price Adjustment. Keep in mind the price adjustment policy time frame. This is why it is imperative to always […]

Is your Gas Tank Eating Into your Budget?

Didn’t you just fill the tank honey? What do you mean you are on empty already? If you’ve heard these lines before don’t despair, so have I. Everything around us is going up except the numbers in our bank account. In Canada every street corner adorns a petrol station with your choice of price. Take your pick, spin the bottle or take a chance that the station you chose will do the least damage to your budget. How depressing is that? Driving up the road after filling your tank realizing you could have saved $5.00 down the street. It was clear I needed to do my homework before I went a bit nutty. I managed to come across this website where you can check-in on the prices around town Ontario Gas Prices. Sounds great doesn’t it? Sure if you make it there on time but still a great reference. I remember 6 years ago when gas was 75 cents a litre and I thought it was great compared to my mates overseas. When I over-heard people complaining in Canada about how expensive gas was I remember thinking, you ain’t seen nothing yet. In the UK I drove a teeny weeny Ford KA 1.3 litre and it cost me […]

Kick the Smoking Habit Save your Health and your Budget- Update Week 3

Hey there fans! It’s now Feb 19, 2012 and 21 days ago on Jan 29 @ 9pm Mrs. CBB and I made the decision to give up smoking. We had both been smoking for some time now and wanted to make a healthy change. My Mileage Smoke-Free Days: 21 Cigarettes Not Smoked: 210 Amount Saved: $67.20 Life Gained: Days: 1 Hrs: 22 Mins: 9 Seconds: 45 Although we are not heavy smokers saving $120 a month will certainly come in handy in our budget. We’re  making changes to our budget as it is important to always tweak it if you need to update it like we need to. Check in next week as I do our monthly budget  to see how well we chopped the budget in February. Wake up and smell the roses…. boy did I ever! It was a celebration for me in the shower the other morning when I went to apply body wash to my loofah. The overwhelming musty smell of the product rushed up my nose. It was not a scent I recall smelling so vibrant, yet manly.  It was at that moment I realized I am moving in the right direction. Smell is a gift so beautiful and we should all experience it in its glory. Throughout the Days……….. […]

Nonna’s Meatballs and Pasta Sauce $1.65ea Feeds 10

What to cook with meatballs? Pasta Sauce of course! Well you’ve been waiting for it and here it is, Nonna’s Meatballs and Pasta Sauce. You can also create this easy pasta sauce and meatballs in a crock-pot if you want to set it and forget it. If you like pasta sauce in the jar, you have no idea what you are missing with homemade sauce. I’ll warn you this sauce is loaded with fresh garlic and basil and it tastes like nothing you’ve ever tasted before in a sauce. Unless of course you have an Italian nonna or have the secret recipe. I think every family who makes their own pasta sauce no matter what culture they are from has their own magic that they put into the pot. Making an easy Italian pasta sauce takes no effort at all. If you don’t like meatballs and would prefer a meat sauce for your pasta you can still make a huge pot of sauce that will taste better than anything you will ever buy in a can. All you need to do is sautee the  meat ingredients and add them right into the tomato sauce. If you don’t like the meat, make […]

The Mule was your Ride and the Backpack your Head

You watch the Food Network and your mouth begins to water and somehow your stomach starts fighting for your attention. Could it be that the recipes you see are so tantalizing you can smell them through the television. Yes, it’s true cooking from scratch is the best way to go. Celebrity Chefs and the Food Network thrive on all the amazing food they dish up to Canadians and Americans around the world. But does it have to break the budget? Do we really need to be eating convenience in can because we think we can’t afford fresh food? For the mere $1.29 cost of  canned pasta in sauce I can whip up something super healthy in a flash. Even College and University students are now taking a notice at their budget and meal planning in advance using flyers and coupons. The Mule was your ride and your backpack was your head You see, back in the day money was not so readily available to most families. You would see farmland from as far as the eye could see. Many families would grow produce, garlic,nuts, beans and grains etc on their land. They worked hard to put a roof over their heads and food […]