One Year of Savings After No Mortgage Payments : May 2015 Budget Update

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A MORTGAGE IS A HEAVY DEBT   Kissing our mortgage payments goodbye one year ago this month was one of the greatest accomplishments we’ve achieved financially as husband and wife. Honestly it was my wife that reminded me that it has been a year since our final mortgage payments were processed. Time certainly does fly by but I’m certain since having our son time is just a big blur to the both of us.   Mortgage Payments are reality   Having no mortgage payments have not gone unnoticed though as our budget has shrunk and our net worth has jumped up to just under $700,000. It would be nice to be worth a cool million before I turn 40 although that may be super optimistic of me. When we conquer one hurdle we set goals to conquer another. Having mortgage payments will add bulk to any budget but it’s not the end of the world if you have one. The reality is that most people who have a mortgage pay for it until the end of their term unless they pay extra to shave a few years off here and there. That is great if you can do this as […]

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Is Price Just An Excuse for Buying Junk Food? : The Grocery Game Challenge #2 June 8-14, 2015

IS PRICE JUST AN EXCUSE FOR JUNK FOOD (1)

YOU ONLY GET ONE BODY   Healthy food and Junk food is expensive no matter which way we look at it. The price of our grocery budget jumps depending on how we decide to spend our money and on which products. Healthy eating habits start at home and takes work which means yes you need to put some effort into what you put into your body. Your mindset before you set off to the grocery store will determine just what you will purchase and fall prey to. The reason is simple, the grocery store plays to our senses and our wallet. Buying unhealthy foods typically happen because we want to buy them, packaging is nice, they taste and look good or we believe that’s all we can afford to buy. I remember a time a mate of mine back home told me it was cheaper for him as a single guy to eat out every day rather than cook. I doubt that was the case as I had never seen him cook a meal in the entire time I had been friends with him. He had no desire to be in the kitchen so eating out and buying junk food […]

One Pot Spanish Chicken

One Pot Spanish Chicken 2

ALL YOU NEED IS ONE POT   Spanish Chicken is a great new way to serve up flavourful chicken rather than grilling, baking or stir-frying. The best part, you only need one pot! You can use chicken in thousands of recipes but for most people they stick to the recipes that sound delicious and that don’t take hours to prepare and cook. We all like a go-to recipe that is affordable not to mention quick and easy. This is a meal you want to add to that list. It’s always nice to try something new to break the food boredom trap that many people fall into. To make life easier in the kitchen I do cheat now and again to get a meal on the table. What do I mean by cheating a recipe? Well, not everything is homemade. Although I do my best to make all of our meals from scratch the reality is today’s parents don’t have the time to do it all. We don’t all want to be chained to the stove 24/7 so sneaking in something pre-made now and again is not a bad thing. In this recipe my cheat is the pasta sauce. I ran […]

Should kids who can’t afford school activities sit out? : The Saturday Weekend Review #124

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BUDGET MONEY FOR SCHOOL ACTIVITIES   Just when you thought you had your finances sorted you realize that you forgot to budget for school activities that you are asked to pay for during the school year. When you send your child to school you have to save to pay for clothes, electronics in some cases as well as supplies. The education system costs money and if there are extra trips for the students most or all of that money might just come from your pockets. The reality is that not every parent can afford to add this category into their budget for one reason or another. Offering the parents who have a low-income the opportunity to pay as much as they can afford is a great way to keep all kids happy included in school activities. The problem is that schools don’t know who is and who isn’t from a low-income family or a family who simply earns a good income but is plagued with tonnes of debt. Budgeting on a low-income can be challenging and when it comes to “extras” it either has to be set aside or saved over time.   Unable to participate in school activities   […]

grocery game monthly challenge

How to live on a raw food diet : The Grocery Game Challenge #1 June 1-7, 2015

HOW TO LIVE ON A RAW FOOD DIET

A RAW FOOD DIET CHALLENGE   If one would’ve asked me 6 months ago if I’d have considered switching to a raw food diet, I’d likely have looked at them as if they were looney. We’ve always worked to find a balance with our eating, serving our favorite foods with a sprinkle of vegetables in between. However, in the last 5 months, we’ve fallen in love with a diet that consists largely of vegetables, and this is nothing short of a miracle. Our family’s love affair with food has been long-lived. We are foodies by nature; you know the kind of family where love = how much good and tasty (not necessarily healthy) food you serve people when they show up at your door. As such, implementing a raw foods diet into our family has not been without its challenges. I remember going to Great-Grandma’s house on the weekends as a child. Everyone was welcome, and her large family always ensured that at least a dozen people would show up to chat on any given Sunday or Saturday. We’d walk in the door, unannounced (this is the way it was back in the day – you’d just show up to […]

Popcorn Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

popcorn chicken salad lettuce wrap

DRESS UP YOUR CHICKEN SALAD   If you are a lover of Chicken Salad you will enjoy this unique twist on traditional chicken salad with the addition of popcorn served inside a lettuce wrap. What if I said to you, that you could bring a new kind of pop to your dinner table? What if your last bag of air-popped popcorn could be the highlight of your next potluck party? I know lots of questions BUT it’s leading somewhere delicious I promise you. I’m talking about enjoying Popcorn Chicken Salad in a lettuce wrap. It doesn’t get any easier and than that and it’s a light dinner. We were first introduced to this popcorn chicken salad by our neighbour and we were no, popcorn is for the movies or at home to watch your favourite program. That’s just not heard of. Popcorn chicken isn’t what you are thinking either. It’s not like the popcorn chicken you get at Kentucky Fried Chicken. It’s a moist chicken that is full of flavour and not deep-fried. There’s no harm in trying something new like I’ve done with this popcorn chicken salad. I like to serve our popcorn chicken salad exactly like the photo […]

Would you take half your spouses bonus as a stay at home parent? : The Saturday Weekend Review #123

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YOU WORK HARD FOR YOUR MONEY   Here’s a mock scenario. You’ve worked at your career for the past 8 years and every year you get a yearly work bonus of nearly $5000. When you go to work you work full-time and sometimes you work over-time which means you earn more money after the government takes their cut. While you’re off at work your wife stays home with your new baby for the next 12 months on maternity leave then you both decide she will stay home to care for the baby full-time and give up her career. She misses working because she enjoys challenging herself but loves to be a mother. Without a career and earning now she can’t go out and spend money on herself like she used to. No more purses, shoes, new wardrobes, manicure, new hairstyles etc. Now your wife wants half of your yearly bonus to spend on whatever she likes because she works just as hard as you do at home. Does this sound like your family?   Wife Bonus   I was reading this article today about this couple who splits the husbands yearly work bonus. They call it a “Wife Bonus” where […]

The Stranger way to borrow money online when you’re broke

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STRANGER DANGER IS EVERYWHERE   Strangers chat all the time because that’s the way we get to know people in certain situations although there are certain situations where you have to pull back and just walk away. For some of those people they don’t need to go to work in order to earn a living these days. All you need is a great story and people who believe it and donate to your cause. It could be friends, family but mostly it’s a total stranger who opens up their wallet to help out. Not all stories are B.S. but how do you REALLY know? Not everyone feels comfortable communicating with people they don’t know. I’m not one of those people as I’m a friendly guy who doesn’t mind chatting up a storm. Last year I wrote a blog post about scammers in parking lots who come up to unsuspecting customers and ask them for bus money. It is a scam that is ongoing to this day but it’s not the only one out there. The problem is trying to sort out what is real and what is actually a scam. Would you even waste your time and energy on a […]

grocery game monthly challenge

How to budget groceries for visiting out-of-town guests: The Grocery Game Challenge #4 May 25-31, 2015

how to budget groceries for visiting out of town guests

FOOD FOR EVERYONE   As you may know Mrs. CBB and I have out-of-town guests staying with us for 3 weeks. My parents are visiting from the UK which means our lovely grocery budget of $235 a month may just take a beating. Setting up the guest room and bathroom was the easy part. We cleared out the closets, put fresh linens on the bed, dusted and cleaned both rooms so it was ready for our guests. When we created our grocery budget we never thought much to having guests staying over at our house or to factor that in. If you are having guests stay over for a few days it likely won’t impact your budget much at all but if it’s for weeks or even months you may want to consider how you can budget the extra expenses into your grocery budget. Eating out is convenient when you have guests staying at your house but if you are anything like us YOU will pay the bill not your guests. That can get pricey if you start to eat out often so we opted to buy good food and cook it at home. The great thing is that my […]

Traditional Scottish Baps or Buns

traditional scottish baps

BREAD MAKING MADE EASY   Scottish Baps also called buns when homemade are fresh soft pockets of bread that are perfect for a sandwich. Just recently I started making buns again because the numbers in our budget were just getting too high. As you all know I love to be busy in the kitchen and looking for ways to help lower our grocery budget. One thing I like to do is make all the treats we eat in the house instead of buying commercially made products. My kids enjoy my Milk Toffee, Cinnamon Buns, Cherry Pie Minis, Granola Bars or even my Jam-filled Oatmeal Squares. Honestly, I could go on and on sharing recipes with the amount of homemade baking and cooking that I do. It suits our family and our budget. We have all discussed the cost of living, and living within our means lately and the biggest thing that was eating into our budget for a long time was bread and buns for sandwiches. I know you may think I’m joking but yes bread products can easily drive the budget higher each week. I was buying bread at reduced prices and freezing them but was finding they didn’t keep […]