The Cost of Smoking on your Health and Budget

There’s no surprise when hearing about deaths related to smoking or the various diseases caused by smoking but turn a blind eye. Is it really worth it to smoke? I’m sure you know the answer to this question but most smoker’s either choose to ignore it or struggle to give up this habit. Smoking is a harmful addiction, one that can cause your bank account to suffer and your loved one’s wishing there was something they could have done when you’re gone. As I lay here tonight and write this post I am thinking about tomorrow morning and what life will be like for us.  While watching Global Television a commercial appeared called driven to quit which is a challenge to motivate smokers to quit for the month of March. My wife is a huge Young and the Restless fan so everyday we were seeing this commercial Monday to Friday when something clicked. We both decided that it was time to stop letting cigarettes rule our lives as of January 30,2012. We both signed up for the challenge with the support of friends and family.  Quitting smoking for the month of March was far from our goal as we want to quit for […]

Can you tell the difference? Brand vs No-Name

Years ago I remember being a hard-core Ketchup fanatic and I still am today. I could never dream of anything else but Heinz dripping from my hamburger or drenched on my French fries.  I just loved the flavour and even enjoyed ketchup,mustard and relish on a warm pita. (Don’t knock it until you try it) I thought for sure I would taste a difference and there was no way someone could fool me. Well I was fooled and learned a lesson at the same time. Not everyone’s pallets are chef matured and not everyone can tell the difference between Heinz Ketchup and No-Name Ketchup. My wife managed to save a plastic Heinz bottle and refilled it with the suspect ketchup to see if I would notice. I can envision her smirking in my head each time I gave it a squeeze. Summer had come and gone and plenty of BBQ parties with friends.What I thought was really Heinz Ketchup was in fact a No Name brand Ketchup. What I’ve learned from this lesson was that No name products can be just as delicious as the “Super Brands”. Sometimes we tend to reach for the trusted name brands but many times it is […]

Fettuccine with Tomato,Garlic, Lemon, Basil Sauce

Fettuccine pasta is one of my favourite pasta recipes especially when I create a fresh tomato, lemon, basil sauce, which is an easy pasta sauce to make. When I’m not in the mood to cook a big meal for the evening or to get into anything too fancy I turn to this pasta dish. No only does it have fresh ingredients it one of those 30 minute meals that you just can’t complain about. Meatless Recipe This is a meatless pasta dish because we don’t tend to eat meat every single night of the week as that would weigh heavy on the grocery budget. Meatless meals are great to include in your weekly meal plan as they really do take no effort at all to create and you can make them very tasty. A small portion of pasta mixed with a lovely tomato salad on the side is the perfect meal for 2 or for a family with hungry kids. Sometimes when I’m in the mood for something with some meat I’ll make it a sausage fettuccine or add some fresh shrimp to make a shrimp fettuccine pasta dish. As long as you have the base of the sauce and […]

Our Goals 2012 and a look back at 2011!

As we look back in 2011 we can see many areas we could have saved more money but that’s what budgeting is all about, learning. Keep in mind we don’t make huge incomes so the frugal lifestyle we lead is imperative to our savings whilst still enjoying life. I don’t predict the same extra income in 2012 so a tighter budget has been put in place. We are hoping to get a bathroom renovation completed and landscaping of our yard by the end of the year. Our main goals for 2012 although I’m sure this list will grow! Spend less on grocery $190 a month. Save more with a shop free week each month and playing our grocery game challenge. Collect enough Optimum Points at Shoppers Drugmart for 2 Redemptions. We accomplished 4 at top-level in 2011. Figure out what to do with our Savings Max out both TFSA (Tax Free Savings Account) Invest more in RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) Pay down Mortgage currently $157k, $164K was 265K when purchased in 2009. Current Market Value Aprox $339k. Accelerated Weekly 3.9% 5yr fixed 25 yr Amortization Build Emergency Savings by $ 8k Renovate Bathroom under 5k Educate myself on Investing, read more […]

How We Designed Our Budget Step 1-Gathering All The Information

You made it this far so you must be curious how we went about designing our budget. Don’t yawn, it truly can be a fun experience especially when you see your savings grow! So…. Let’s get at it! You know all those bills you have in a shoe box or in the “junk drawer” it’s time to fish out those paper critters and get organizing.  Some of the steps we took to get organized in preparing our first budget are: Gathering All The Information Locating all bills including credit cards! Anyone you owe money to including the mortgage/rent. Organizing bills into piles by date ie: Rogers, Union Gas, Hydro, Reliance or finding data from logging into the respective websites Make a list of dates and cost of each bill in an excel document Make a list of dates bills typically need to be paid by but this may vary. Make note of interest rates if you are not paying bills off in full. If you don’t know get on the blower and find out! Make note of the cost of each bill whether it was variable or fixed It was imperative to ensure we had all the information at our […]

Why the word Budget hurts our ears!

  To some people even mentioning the word budget can cause them to go into a bull horned frenzy. If I mention saving money is about “budgeting” not “bargain basement” they stare at me like I’m talking a foreign language.  Bargain basement meaning that just because you think you are saving by getting deals doesn’t mean you are doing it all right. I don’t delve into deep conversations with friends and colleagues about my personal situation but in idle chatter I am stunned to hear how so many are in financial ruins and desperate for a way out. Over the years I used to think saving was making sure an account was growing with interest in the bank. I always made sure I spent less than I made from a young age. Stashing my paper route money away was where it all began. I purchased my first condo at 21 and later sold it to buy a house at 23. I later sold that home and purchased a modest home with the Mrs. at 32 due to a move out of the city for work. Being the simple guy that I am I was never materialistic but I did love […]