3 Budget Preparation Steps Not To Be Missed : Our April 2016 Budget Report

Budget Preparation Steps Not To Be Missed

YOU CAN’T BUILD A BUDGET WITHOUT BLUEPRINTS   Budget preparation is an essential action step that if you pretend you don’t need you’ll never get past GO with your finances! Creating a personal budget doesn’t have to be complicated however the fine details certainly help to assess where existing or potential problems may sneak up.  Using a financial spreadsheet to document everything to do with money coming in and going out of your life is in my opinion an essential tool for everyone, even if you think you don’t need it. You do! Every month before you sit down to figure out your finances there are budget preparation steps that you don’t want to miss. The reason for this is because if you put half the effort into your monthly budget you’ll only get partial or potentially inaccurate results. Like you, budgeting was new for us years ago and took time for us to get to familiar with but over time we can safely say we are in a place where we confidently collect the monthly data we need. If you are one of those people who think you can search the web for a free budget template and think […]

grocery game monthly challenge

10 Affordable Meatless Meals To Help Shrink Your Grocery Bill : The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 #1 May 2-8

Affordable Meatless Meals

  BALANCE THE MEAL PLAN TO HELP BALANCE YOUR BUDGET   Meatless meals have become a regular on our menu plan not only for the savings but because we enjoy the simplicity of a veg dish with simple alternate proteins other than meat and fish. That might sound a bit awkward to someone who doesn’t use a grocery budget but for our family a budget is essential to keeping us accountable for the food that we purchase.   Meatless meal day is any day   If you aren’t already aware there is a day dedicated to meatless meals and that day is Monday. Just because it sounds good though doesn’t mean you are required to forgo meat on a Monday. After a weekend of comfort food with the family a Meatless Monday is a nice way to start the week but it’s also a nice way to end the week or slow it down in the middle. What I love about ditching the meat once or twice a week is that I can batch cook easy meatless meals and enjoy leftovers the next day. I’m not a huge fan of re-heated meat especially if it is a steak, chicken, roast […]

30 Minute Meal : Tortellini with a Sausage Pasta Sauce

30 minute meal tortellini with sausage

FRUGAL MEAL TIME-SAVER THAT TASTES DELICIOUS   Italian tortellini are some of the best stuffed pasta you’ll find at the grocery store in the frozen food section for about $1.99 a bag. Tortellini is a meal that your family will love especially when you are in a pinch for time or are on a tight budget. If you are adventurous and want to make fresh tortellini they would beat out any store-bought brand but it can be a bit time consuming. Since we have a busy toddler running around and I’m working 2 jobs we’re cheating today with frozen ricotta stuffed tortellini for this 30 minute-meal. Since having our boy things have changed a bit in the kitchen which means until he is a bit older we have to compromise on some of the store-bought items that we normally would attempt to make at home. I’ve been a tortellini lover for years now because when I lived in the UK tortellini was very inexpensive to buy and fit nicely with my tight budget. What I like about tortellini is how you can bulk out the meal with meat and vegetables to stretch it. Back then I would eat tortellini about […]

5 Housing Options To Consider As We Age – The Saturday Weekend Review #170

HOUSING OPTIONS AS WE AGE

THERE IS NO HARM IN PREPARING FOR FUTURE HOUSING ARRANGEMENTS     No matter what generation you were born in eventually you will age and with that comes options especially housing needs to fit your lifestyle and budget. When we first bought our house in 2009 we were practically the youngest couple on the street with no kids. We looked high and low for the perfect house for us which meant we let house prices influence our real estate budget. We were fortunate to have so many houses to choose from at the time as prices took a steep dive. It was imperative for us to buy the least expensive house we could find in the most expensive neighbourhood. We knew eventually that this housing decision would come back in our favour and it has although we’re not quite sure we are ready to take the plunge and move just yet. Since then housing prices in our neighbourhood are through the roof with multiple offers over asking price that would shock any seller (in a good way). Some of our friends have had huge celebrations after the sale of their house as they scored big. This kind of housing windfall […]

How To Ditch Your Pricey Mutual Funds

how to ditch pricey mutual funds

By: Mark Seed (If you’d like to contribute to CBB please contact me.)   GET PERSONAL WITH YOUR INVESTMENTS SO YOU KNOW EVERYTHING   Over the last few months, I’ve received a few emails from readers that go like this… I’ve been with my investment company for over 10 years now. I’d like to stay with them because I like them but I keep hearing that high fund fees are bad for your portfolio. Is that true?  Should I switch? If so to what? I like your blog a lot and I’m envious about how you managed to get out of your high-cost mutual funds into low-cost Exchange Traded Funds and some stock investing. Where do I start? What should I think about?  Readers, I sense your frustration.  I’ve been there so I know how you feel.  I feel my biggest investing mistake to date was investing in pricey mutual funds for far too long. Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results – Albert Einstein. Today’s post will share my background in investing, why pricey mutual funds will hurt your portfolio and what you can do about it.   My background and mutual funds 101   […]

grocery game monthly challenge

7 Secrets Of The Grocery Shopping Deal Sniffer : The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 #4 Apr 25- May 1

7 secrets of the grocery shopping deal sniffer

BLINK AND YOU’LL MISS THE SAVINGS   I would consider myself a grocery shopping deal sniffer because I’ve taken the time to learn as much as I possibly can about grocery shopping in Canada even though I knew nothing only 8 years ago. What is a deal sniffer? When I moved to Canada I had no idea about any prices and was led by my wife who helped get me on board with how things happened at the grocery store. I was always a deal sniffer in the UK and I even had a hand scanner similar to the Nielsen Hand Scanner where I scanned my groceries for rewards points. I did just about anything to save money as long as it was legal even if that meant eating the same foods week after week. My kitchen isn’t that boring these days because now I’ve got my grocery shopping goggles on the second I walk through the door. A deal sniffer is someone who knows their stuff when it comes to grocery prices, the grocery store and other places that sell food products. They know where the deals are how to find them and what they need to do in […]

Baked Frittata with Mozzarella and Fennel Greens (Low-Carb)

baked frittata with mozzarella and fennel greens(1)

NUTRITIOUS EGGS ARE INEXPENSIVE AND GOOD ANY TIME OF DAY   Ever since my wife started making changes to her diet to incorporate the low-carb methodology we’ve been working on new recipes like this baked frittata with mozzarella and fennel greens also known as fennel fronds. If you have never tried fennel before you must dive in and spend the few dollars  to buy one. Fennel is crunchy like celery but has an anise flavour too it that is gorgeous to eat raw, in salads or you can roast, grill and saute it. For this baked frittata recipe I only used the fennel greens as opposed to just the fennel bulb since most people don’t know what to use the fronds for and toss them in the garbage. You can use the fennel fronds to infuse water to make a healthy tea, fennel infused oil, stuffed in fish or to make a lovely soup stock. The sky really is the limit if you love the flavour of fennel fronds when cooking and adding it to your favourite recipes. How to clean fennel When I use the fennel bulb I chop the tough stems like cabbage after I slice the fennel […]

How We Let House Prices Influence Our Real Estate Budget: The Saturday Weekend Review #169

HOUSE PRICES 2 INFLUENCED OUR REAL ESTATE BUDGET

REAL ESTATE DECISION-MAKING CAN BE SCARY FOR ANY BUDGET   House prices can make or break you financially so it’s important to know your finances inside-out and make a decision to purchase a home based on affordability and sanity. Everyone knows that house prices have not burst as expected rather they have exploded and keep going up which means first-time buyers and graduates are struggling to slip into the housing market. Living in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) I’ve seen some of the most expensive real estate in Ontario. Back in the UK house prices were and still are astronomical in comparison to what you can buy in Canada. I was never one to complain about house prices in Canada until I started earning a pay cheque and life in Ontario kicked in. When you are a tourist from out-of-town where the money is practically double and house prices are high it’s easy to get excited about the prospects of owning a gorgeous home with space. Although I didn’t struggle to sell my house in the UK when I moved to Canada the current owner is struggling and has been for years to sell because no one can afford the […]

VarageSale App Is The Newest and Safer Way To Garage Sale

VarageSale Cover Canadian Budget Binder

SLEEP IN WITH VarageSale AND SMASH THE WEEKEND GARAGE SALE CLOCK ON THE HEAD BECAUSE YOU CAN SHOP FOR BARGAINS WITH THIS COOL APP!   It was late last year when the VarageSale App started popping up in my Facebook feed and I was intrigued to find out what it was all about.  I had heard a few people in my circle of friends chatting about this new App which you can use on your Smart Phone. VarageSale is FREE to use at www.varagesale.com, and the mobile app is available on IOS, Android and Kindle devices. Since I don’t own a cell phone I had my wife download the VarageSale App from Apple iTunes to her iPhone so we could check it out. My wife and I and are huge savers when it comes to buying second-hand treasures or even brand new with tag items that people sell. One of the best places for us to find these super saving deals are during the summer months at garage sales. Sadly in Ontario not many people hold a garage sale during the winter unless it’s an indoor garage sale so there are about 6-7 months each year that we were left […]

grocery game monthly challenge

Strange Things People Do At The Grocery Store To Save Money: The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 #3 Apr 17-24

strange things people do at the grocery store to save money(1)

SAVING MONEY CAN BECOME A CHALLENGE HIGH   I’ve blogged about grocery shopping for 5 years now and have learned so much about how Canadians grocery shop. I’ve learned the good and the ugly about how far people will go to save money on one of the biggest budget expenses apart from mortgage/rent and vehicle payments- food. While at the supermarket I’m on full radar and see so many strange things people do to save money that it amazes me how they can be so easy-going about it. When cracks in the savings system are found some consumers cash in because they want more than a little, they want it all even if it’s a bit underhanded. Financial times are tough in many households as grocery prices and living expenses are steadily increasing where the tightest grocery budget will feel the strain. You may think that only people who are struggling to buy food will conquer the grocery store using crooked ways just to save a few bucks but this is far from true. Even the richest of people are frugal and will do just about anything to keep money flowing through their bank account even if it is cheating […]

Homemade Potato Waffles

POTATO WAFFLES

USE YOUR LEFTOVERS TO CREATE A NEW RECIPE: NO FOOD WASTE   So, Monday rolls around and we had a refrigerator with Sunday dinner leftovers of roast-beef, potatoes, carrots and peas swathed in an onion gravy. What’s left from our meal is the roast beef, gravy and some boiled potatoes. Usually I would make Stovies (a Scottish dish where you place meat potatoes and fried onions in a pan brown slightly with some lard then add the gravy) but nobody fancied that this evening. Instead I decided to make potato waffles which I served piping hot with the rest of the leftover roast-beef and some baked beans. Every once in a while I like surprising my family with a new recipe creation and this my friends is one recipe that I must share with all of you. This was a new recipe idea for me so it took some trial and error but in the end they turned out just right. Since the potatoes were leftover boiled potatoes and not mashed I did question why I didn’t take the time to mash the leftover potatoes beforehand while they were still warm. That would have made the process of making these […]

5 Garage Sale Staging Secrets To Help Sell Your Stuff Fast : The Saturday Weekend Review #168

Garage Sale Staging Secrets

PURGING STUFF FROM YOUR HOME IS ONLY PART OF THE PROCESS   Garage sale staging may not be a secret to seasoned sellers with years of experience under their belts but for the newbies these tips will help you rid of unwanted household weight fast. Many garage sale success tips that you will find online will explain to you how to use garage sale signs, how to price garage sale items, what you can and cannot sell but the one critical point that is missing is how to set up the garage sale so it’s an ideal selling ground. Heck, I’ve covered just about every one  of those topics over the years on the blog. Some of the best garage sale finds come from garage sales where the homeowner has taken the time to organize what they are selling by means of garage sale staging. This might sound odd to you but think about this for a second…when you sell your house or your car you want to make sure it is in pristine condition and is ready to sell. The same ideals can be applied to a garage sale. The S-Factor  One of the easiest parts of garage sale […]