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 […]

15 Frugal City-Living Tips To Save Your Budget

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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 […]

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

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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 […]

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

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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 […]

Why you should think about your 2015 budget plan now: November 2014 Budget Update

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DON’T JUST PARK YOUR VEHICLE…   The end of 2014 is staring us in the face and now is the time to start thinking about putting together your 2015 budget plan. The worst thing you can do is leave budgeting until the last-minute if your plan is to track your expenses over the entire year. Sure the ideal time to put a budget plan into action is the beginning of the year but starting a budget any time is better than no budget at all. Why is planning important? The first thing you need to ask yourself is why you are planning? Do you have a mission in mind? If yes then you need a plan. If using a budget is your mission then you need a plan. Planning is part of a strategic planning cycle that starts with a mission then goals, desired outcome, strategies, measures/target and finally results. That’s how we measure success and in our home the budget is critical to managing our financial success even more so now that we have a son. As we were going over the November budget we talked about how not having a mortgage has affected our budget. It really does […]

What pushes people over the edge financially?

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FALLING ON HARD TIMES…   We all know someone who has struggled financially at some point in their lives and although it’s not easy to stay above the water how some people handle it is shocking. It seems like each time September rolls around the media is filled with articles about people who are getting into trouble with the law for reasons relating to money. Financially holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas can be a tough time for people who struggle with their money. Many struggle in silence. It’s no wonder talking about personal finance is taboo especially if people are ashamed of their debt load. This time of year it seems as if we hear more about thefts, robberies, fraud and scams leading into the Christmas holiday. Just the other day on Facebook my wife read a message on a group board from a mom advising other moms to make sure they lock their doors and take their gifts inside as someone had broken into her car and she lost everything. It only took me a few minutes online this morning to read another article about a couple who faked a pregnancy so they could steal products from an […]

I’m ashamed I owe money because I chose to conform

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 LIVING IN A PLAY PRETEND COSTS $   No one likes to owe money and there are times that people push the thought of paying back debt to the side until it comes time that the bills are mounting up. I don’t think we purposely set out to create debt but I also think some of us have misconceptions about life and money and how it’s all going to roll out in our favour. Often that’s not the case and the motto “work for your money” or “spend less than you earn” is not as important as it is to be socially compatible with friends. A hefty price to pay for friendship although we fashion a lifestyle that we believe will get us ahead and for some it works but for many it does not. I’ve always been someone who didn’t try to fit in rather I made my fun. I figured that if I needed to make an effort to be someone I’m not I likely shouldn’t be hanging around certain people. Even though one might work hard to bring in an income every month it’s important to allocate that money towards the most important parts of of their […]

Million Dollar Baby: Should travel insurance have protected them? : The Saturday Weekend Review #98

travel insurance

 A MEDICAL BILL SO BIG…   We believe travellers insurance protects us but this story should be an eye-opener for all travellers going to the USA and abroad from Canada. Baby Reece’s parents a couple from Saskatchewan found out the hard way just how easy it is to spend a million dollars after giving birth while away from Canadian soil. I have to talk about this story today because I know so many people who travel to the USA for one reason or another if even for a short trip to save money in their budget. With Black Friday upon us and the holiday season many Canadians cross the border to find deals but be careful when leaving Canada. How could the birth of a child cost almost one million dollars when one has travel insurance?   Travel Insurance Surprise   Jennifer Huculak-Kimmel from Saskatchewan was shocked to get an enormous medical bill after she went into labour prematurely October 2013 while travelling in Hawaii. Jennifer was 6 months pregnant when she gave birth which meant her baby was put in the NICU for 2 months. The bill for this stay was nearly one million dollars! I wasn’t shocked to […]