How to create flower beds for your home

front flower bedsSPRUCE UP YOUR YARD


Flower beds are often used as beautiful focal points on the front lawns of many homes.

People associate gardening with a lot of work and while flower beds will always require some maintenance, planning ahead can help to limit just how much.

Now that spring has finally sprung you may be thinking about how you are going to spruce up your property this year. Adding a flower bed to your front yard or even in the back is a great, quick way to add some colour and liven things up a bit. Don’t worry, if you don’t know how to make a flower bed I’m going to share almost all of my secrets with you today.

Think about the amount of maintenance it will require after the garden is installed and are you willing to commit to the upkeep. Why waste the money if you can’t maintain your flower beds?

How much time are you able or willing to devote to maintaining the landscape of your home?


The perfect shape for your flower bed


flower bed shape

After deciding on the location of your new flower bed you are going to have to decide what shape you would like it to be. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say, while the ease of cutting your lawn is in the hands of the person digging your flower beds.

Flower beds that have sharp angles can make it difficult to get a lawn mower in those areas to cut the surrounding grass. Yes you could just do it with a weed whacker but the extra work can be avoided by constructing flower beds that have smooth, gradual curves.

See my wonderful artistic drawings above and hopefully you will understand what I mean. Drawing is not my forte but they are better than the dinosaur I painted once that my daughter thought was a camel…..

To dig or not to dig?


Remember if you plan to dig deep always “Call before you Dig” for locates just so you aren’t severing any cables or utility wires on your property.

Before pulling out the shovels you may want to consider installing a garden that requires no digging. Unless you are installing a flower bed on a brand new property that does not have an existing lawn you are most likely going to be making your flower bed where there is grass.

This grass can be removed using a shovel but that can require a lot of digging and hard work. To save your back you may want to consider laying down newspaper to smother out the grass in this area.

First cut the grass in the area relatively short followed by laying down the newspaper. Make sure that the newspaper is good and wet once you have it in place as it will help to speed up the decomposition process.

Next you build up your flower bed on top of the newspaper layer using some good quality garden soil and some nitrogen rich compost. Some people will recommend letting the flower bed sit to decompose for a couple of weeks while others will say they have been successful planting right away. I can’t see any harm being done if planted right away.

The only digging you may do is making an edge around the flower bed. Having an edge around any flower bed helps to keep mulch from getting in your grass and makes a nice clean distinction between your lawn and your flower bed. Avoid digging too deep of an edge so it doesn’t become a collect-all for leaves and other debris. I would say 2 inches deep is enough.

If you are embarking on a DIY project and think that the job will be too big for you to do all the work by hand you may want to consider renting some larger machinery. Unless you are planning on starting up your own landscaping business buying a roto-tiller or a back hoe will likely not be used to enough to justify the cost of buying one.

While the money may not be in your budget to buy one, renting the equipment you will need can save you a lot of your precious time. Many places will rent out tools, even such things as hedge trimmers, by the hour or even a few days as long as you need it. Big box stores like Home Depot for example have a rental service for tools so make some phone calls to find the best prices.

If you choose to rent larger equipment be prepared to pay delivery charges if you are unable to get access to a truck or a suitable vehicle with a trailer hitch to pick it up yourself.

Weed prevention


Landscape fabric is commonly used in flower beds as a method of weed prevention. Weeds are not able to grow up through the fabric but the roots can grow down through the fabric if the seeds germinate above the fabric layer. A combination of using landscape fabric and sufficient layer of mulch will be a strong defense against keeping weeds out of your flower beds.

Mulch is an effective tool for keeping the weeds out of your flower bed if enough of it is applied. While your chances of being completely weed free are slim to none, a layer of mulch 2 inches deep will certainly reduce the amount that pop up and the time required to remove them. Mulch also helps to moderate the soil temperature and to retain moisture, reducing the number of times watering your flower bed may be required.

I have seen on a few different properties where the landscape fabric was placed directly under the layer of mulch, this is not the best idea as the mulch is most likely going to slide off or be blown away in the wind. It is best that the landscape fabric be placed a few inches below the soil surface.

I prefer to lay down the landscape fabric before planting and making slits with a knife in an X pattern where I want to plant my flowers.By doing this you avoid removing whole pieces of the fabric you just put down.

I also like to wait to put down the mulch until after planting as I don’t like to mess it up and have to move it around after just making it all look nice.

What is the look you are trying to achieve?

There are two types of flower beds to keep in mind when planning the overall theme of your landscape, one being formal and the other informal.

Formal flower beds


Formal flower beds typically require more maintenance as they tend to have more straight lines and geometric shapes so pruning of the shrubs in the bed is required more often to maintain the uniform look throughout.

Formal plantings often include hedges of shrubs like boxwoods and yews that are planted in a row to form a border or often used to create designs. The row of shrubs then gets pruned as one large hedge instead of individually shaping each shrub.

Informal flower beds


An informal bed is exactly what it sounds like it would be. Generally in an informal flower bed there is still some structure to the design of your garden but lines are not as defined as in a formal bed.

The plants are left to grow as their natural growth habit would be but are pruned back slightly just to maintain their size and to promote new growth.

Whether you have a formal garden or prefer more informal flower beds, designing and planning are keys to planting your flowers to show them at their best. Mixing and matching colors, plant heights and blooming periods ensure that the arrangements of flowers in your garden provide interest and natural beauty throughout the growing season.

Flowers and plants in a formal bed are usually limited to a few different types while many different textures, sizes and colours of plants are used to create the relaxed look of an informal flower bed.


Planting arrangement


To be able to capture the beauty of all the plants in the flower beds you should always plant the ones that will have a taller mature height at the back of the bed with the shortest planted in the front.

Some plants may be taller than others but you should always read the tag when purchasing them, you want to check what the maximum height of the plant will be. Many slow growing plants will eventually grow to be much taller.

Also check what the maximum width could potentially be and allow enough spacing between plants to avoid having an overgrown garden with plants crowding each other out.


Avoid planting too many plants


While it may be tempting to add more plants to your flower bed because it looks bare, keep in mind that those plants, especially the shrubs, grasses and perennials are going to grow so you may need to have a little patience while it fills in.

Buying a shrub at a nursery or garden centre that is a year old will always cost less than buying a 3-year-old shrub, as they have spent less time being tended to by the growers. If you chose the cheaper route and buy smaller shrubs, patience is a must.


Blooming times


If having colourful blooms in your flower beds throughout spring, summer and fall is something important to you then do some research when choosing your plants to ensure that you will always have some plants in bloom.




Once all the hard work is done what are you doing to do to keep your new flower bed looking great? Making and planting a flower bed is just the beginning, someone has to take care of it.

There are some essential tools that you will want to have on hand that will make maintaining your flower beds easier and more manageable. Buying good tools may cost you a little more than the local department store special but are much less likely to break than cheaper brands.

I like to save up my Canadian Tire money that I earn buying my gas to bring down the cost of my gardening tools.

Here’s a list of garden tools you may want to have accessible at home for your garden.

  • Buckets or containers for weeds and other debris. I often use an empty recycling bin or a large outdoor garbage can. The bigger the container the heavier it may be to move so be careful that the material you are putting in it isn’t making it too heavy.
  • A trowel or hand shovel is not only useful for planting but also for removing weeds.
  • A garden (hard) rake is great for spreading and leveling mulch and soil. For coarser materials like mulch use the rake with the tines facing down and for soil using the flat side of the rake on the ground with the tines facing upwards.
  • Plastic Rake is not only helpful for raking up wet leaves on your lawn and out of your flower beds but can also be used as a tool for doing a quick cleanup of the edges around your flower beds.
  • A shovel is always handy to have in a garden if you need to dig a big hole or can be used to turn over soil when adding compost.
  • Spade or Edger can be used to dig an edge around your flower beds
  • Pruning shears are helpful when cutting back shrubs and perennials. A good set of pruners is worth investing in, they should be comfortable for you to use and not cause a lot of strain on your hands.
  • Scissors are useful when cutting back grasses and other light foliage such as day lilies in the fall. You are able to cut off bigger handfuls with scissors than pruning shears.
  • A wheelbarrow is very helpful when moving materials around your property and can again save your back.
  • Knee pads may be helpful if sore knees may be an issue for you


Routine maintenance


While you will always have a few heavy cleanups every year with the changing of the seasons in your garden there are some simple things your can do that take little time if done often.




As flowers die off in your flower beds removing the dead flowers will not only help to improve the look of the garden but since the flowers may form seeds they can be scattered throughout your flower beds if they are left to fall off on their own. You may end up having more plants than you desire if you don’t cut them off before they start to produce their seeds.

Many perennial flowers will stop blooming if any seeds have formed. By cutting off the flowers before seeds are produced it may encourage the plant to continue blooming. Scissors and pruning shears can be used to cut off the flowers and in many cases just your hands is not to take them off.


Raking out edges


Raking out the edges of your flower beds will not only help to keep the mulch in your flower bed instead of into your lawn but can also help to maintain a nice clean, grass and weed free edge. A couple of minutes every week can prevent having to re-edge your flower beds throughout the year.

Flower beds are great way to improve the visual appearance of your home and add some colour to your days but if not probably cared for they can easily become an eye sore and wasted effort. If you want flower beds be prepared for some work as it is inevitable.

  • Do you plan a flower bed budget each year?
  • What kind of flower beds do you have?




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Are aftermarket accessories for your vehicle worth it?

Aftermarket car accessoriesTHAT BLING THING


Maintaining your vehicle is just as important as maintaining your house, even if it’s with aftermarket parts rather than OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts.

For instance, the wheel nuts on our vehicle started to bulge and become distorted because corrosion had built up between the actual nut and the alloy coating on the outside.

The price for the new parts were $8+ each so I picked up aftermarket plain nuts for $1.25 each.

The vehicle now has new wheel nuts and they didn’t cost me the earth. Not only that but the vehicle still functions the same and it’s safe.

I’m an avid fan of maintaining what you have because it will last longer and cost you less in the long run.

In the last few weeks I have definitely noticed more and more people taking some time to give their vehicles a little TLC. We are no different, in fact our vehicle will be taken to the car wash place for a shampoo and blow dry too.

Not only is it getting cleaned inside and out to get rid of all the salt that has hit it over this particularly nasty winter period, but the tires will be swapped over as well. After I’ve swapped over the winter tires to all-season tires both vehicles will get a wax and buff.

Spending money on maintaining our vehicles is money well spent in our budget. Sure I could add all sorts of aftermarket accessories to my vehicle but with increases in prices in just about everything these days and building our retirement funds why bother.

Keep in mind most people have kids, mortgages, OSAP loans for school and other debts too. We’d rather enjoy our debt-free life than adding expensive aftermarket accessories on our vehicles that most people could care less about.


Aftermarket accessories


We only limit ourselves to aftermarket parts rather than aftermarket accessories, but for some that’s just the beginning. Car bling or adorning your car in aftermarket accessories seems to be getting more and more popular these days.

There seems to be this desire to personalize our vehicles and make them look what I can only describe as something they are not. I’m sure you’ve seen these cars roaming the streets especially this time of year with all the bling attached. What do I mean by aftermarket parts?

Aftermarket “soup cans” on the end of your exhaust pipe to make it sound louder is just one option. Alloy rims and low profile tires, rear spoilers, large entertainment systems, blue LED under lighting and the list goes on and on.

Certain people insist on writing cheques their cars can’t cash.

Last week I saw a very basic Honda that has a low powered 4 cylinder engine with expensive alloys and low profile tires that must have more value than the actual car. What a waste of money, especially when I’m sure it could be spent on something much more worthwhile.

Maybe this is my sign that I’m getting on in years but I’m failing to see the point of most aftermarket additions to vehicles lately. Certainly low profile tires have better handling capabilities on track cars but a four-cylinder Honda is not what you’d call track material.

The best of it was 90% of the other cars were passing because the vehicle was too slow. Maybe they should have spent the money on maintaining the engines performance which will likely get them much further. It’s like spending your money on landscaping when your roof is caving in.

These cars are what I like to call “all show and no go“.

The ever famous rear spoiler that stems from the late 70′s and early 80′s that people put on their vehicles always makes me chuckle. They have a front wheel drive car and place a spoiler on the rear. Now, instead of making the car go faster, they just made it go slower.

The whole point of a spoiler is to add down force to the drive wheels. But I suppose if you’ve got more money than sense then do you really need a point?


Pimp my ride


I can remember a number of years ago when I still lived in the UK, one of the residents in my local area had a Ford Orion (it’s a UK car). It was a normal looking factory standard car when he bought it.

Every weekend and spare moment was dedicated to the pursuit of pimping up his car with aftermarket items. He had a body kit installed on it to flare out the wheel arches, a large exhaust system, tinted windows, alloys with low profile tires, chrome and a whole host of other stuff including expensive coloured brake calipers.

The trouble was he spent so much time messing around with it without truly knowing what he was doing and actually managed to destroy his car. The car wouldn’t start to begin with, then he had other break down issues followed by a final engine failure.

If he had left the car as it was it would have been a reliable car that would have him to work and back for many years. If he had decided that it wasn’t the car for him he could have sold it and bought something different.

Not this guy, he lost the lot and the car insurance company isn’t going to pay out on a car you destroyed from messing around with it.

You also have to be careful when upgrading cars, if you have altered them up to a certain degree and you are involved in an accident the insurance companies will more than likely not pay out.

The reason being that they insured the original factory car you bought not the jazzed up aftermarket version you crashed. If you are planning to jazz up your vehicle you might want to talk to your insurance company to see what the rules are surrounding the upgrades.

If you are young and live at home and have absolutely no intention of leaving the bank of mum and dad any time soon then why not bling the car.

For everyone else, can you really afford all the aftermarket accessories and does it really make your car run any better?



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How to be your own money manager



Becoming your own money manager is something that you should get used to especially if you plan to live as debt free of a life as possible.

I talked about the Money Box a few days back and that’s really where my passion for finance was born and the money manager in me came out.

Learning about finances is not so bad when you are watching television, reading the paper, online posts or even in magazines as long as it’s not about you.

Many people don’t want to learn about their own finances because they don’t want to know how far in debt they are and for some people, they simply don’t care about money.

They could care less if they have to claim bankruptcy over and over again. You may think it becomes a game when bankruptcy becomes the norm and to be honest if you can’t control your spending you really need to seek help.

Bankruptcy is not always the answer to the problem it’s more of a band-aid approach to solve the stresses of bill collectors knocking on your door. I know a couple at work who had it all, a nice house, 2 kids and they both hold decent jobs.

The problem with their relationship was not that they didn’t love each other it was that they loved spending money more than they loved being the money manager of their future. Buying cases of beer each week was more important than putting money away for their children’s education as was buying stuff they didn’t need when their house was falling apart and needed extensive renovations.

It’s much easier to block out what you need to do and put in place those feel good purchases so you forget all about what your real priorities are. Many people tend to forget that sure a new roof might cost $4000 and the $500 they have in the bank is not enough so they blow it without thinking maybe if we just keep saving we will have a new roof in no time.

What I notice from the people I’ve come in contact with in my life that are struggling with being their own money manager is that they put stuff before their life.

If money is owed to them whether it is government cheques, income tax returns etc. they have the money spent before it even arrives. The mere fact that “extra money” is coming into their hands sends them off into a spending frenzy. All those times they missed out on spending money and before you know it there is nothing left.

Better yet, the money is spent on things that for most would not be a priority. Life first, stuff second. If you can’t protect your life financially no amount of stuff will keep you afloat.

If you think about it money is a part of our lives no matter which way we want to look at it. Sure we can wipe our hands clean of debt by coming up with excuses like we’ll make more money, our wages will increase, I’ll find a better job, next pay I’ll pay that debt off. That day may never come for some people so the dream of debt freedom lingers on.

I have to question these people if they really do want to live a debt free life because if you complain about money on a daily basis and aren’t stepping up to be your own money manager then there really isn’t anything anyone can do for you.


Money manager


So how can you become your own money manager? Good question and to be honest it’s no more work than simple math. That’s right if you can add, subtract, divide and multiply becoming a simple money manager should be easy for you. It’s not so much that people don’t know how to do it they don’t set time aside to maintain the system they put in place to make sure they are following their money every step of the way.

Being a money manager in essence doesn’t mean you become an investor or stock broker either. I’m talking about simple budgeting, simple money management skills and following the money so you know where your dollars are going.

It sounds easy and it really is as long as you put some effort into it and stop complaining that life has dealt you a rough card. Sure, we all have problems that’s a fact, some worse than others but we aren’t going to move forward by sitting on the problem.

I know that not everyone knows where to begin when it comes to being a money manager and that’s why there are so many amazing websites and blogs on the web to help get you started.

I don’t admit to being a money manager pro but we’re both under 40 and living a debt free life including no mortgage living in the GTA and it’s not because we were handed money or got lucky every step of the way.

I also don’t make a 6 figure salary either but I’m working hard at making sure that I’m moving up in my profession so one day I can make the income I’ve always dreamed of.

I want to make sure if we have a child that we can afford to save for their education to give them a jump start in life while teaching them about money. I also want to make sure that our child doesn’t have to worry about us financially because that’s just a stress he/she doesn’t need. Financial freedom for us is about having the ability to make the best choices for our life as my friend Jason at Celebrating Financial Freedom says below.

It’s about having the freedom to make the best choices for your life because you don’t have to consider your debt situation first.

What we do is budget, straight up simple math and find ways to save money by living a frugal life by spending money on quality when we need to and buying generic in other areas.

We both struggled just like the next person but we did one thing I encourage all of you do… NEVER GIVE UP! You never know when opportunity is lurking so be ready to grab it and follow your money wherever you go.

Be your own Money Manager 101 …..




Planning the way your money is going to be saved and spent is something that most people shrug off as they view it as tedious and not necessary.

I disagree because we should have a money plan in place so we set goals and targets to achieve success along the way. You may want to put that new roof on like I talked about above but if you don’t plan how much you can or should save each month as well as a time-frame to have it saved you may just kill the plan and spend the money on something else.

What will happen is your roof will just continue to fall apart because you couldn’t be bothered to invest the time needed in planning out the savings to purchase that new roof. So before you go and laugh at your friends who say they can’t afford to do something because they are saving up for a large or even small expense make sure you look in your own money house and clean up areas you need to improve on.




Budgeting doesn’t mean you need to use a budget spreadsheet, paper budget, envelope system and so on… it means knowing where your money is going. Not everyone likes to budget and although I highly recommend it because its what has helped us to get to the point where we are now, it doesn’t mean it’s right for you.

Figure out what money manager system works for you but the most important part of your plan is knowing where the money goes. If you don’t track your money you will never know if you are spending more than you earn and what parts of your lifestyle you need or should be cut back on in order to stay on track financially.




I don’t know a household that can run on its own so if you think your finances can all be automated and you turn your head to say everything is taken care of you might be surprised one day to realize that there is more to being a money manager than automation.

Sure it’s great to pay all your bills automatically each month but that’s just a small part of being a money manager. Although we paid all of our bills manually aside from the fixed expenses we made sure we followed up with everything.

Fixed expenses are easy because you know they will never change but don’t think errors can’t happen. Just last week I noticed our home and vehicle insurance shot up by $12 a month and by sending off an email to our insurance adviser we found out an error was made in the automatic renewal. The account will be credited but if we didn’t follow-up with our expenses we wouldn’t have known.

Having a budget and managing your money for every day expenses requires that you follow-up whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. We sit down once a week and input all of our receipts that we keep from every purchase made as well as automated expenses into our budget. We keep on top of things because if you don’t it’s easy for it to mount up and this is where people throw in the towel.

They view it as too much work. Try to dedicate even 15-30 minutes per week to stay on track so you don’t have a tonne of paper work to do with your budget at the end of the month. That’s just my tip but do what works best for you.

Becoming a money manager is not difficult by any means it’s getting started and staying on track that is the hard part. Whether you make enough money to cover all of your monthly expenses or not if you don’t know the numbers you will never get ahead financially, unless you win the lottery but even lottery winners go broke.

How are you a money manager of your life?

What other tips can you suggest to the readers?



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Is the big house the problem or the price? : PF Friday grab a brew #66

grab-a-brew-online-reviewGO BIG OR GO HOME


We all know someone who bought the big house and later found out it was too much to handle or too pricey for their budget.

We may like to browse online at pictures of big houses for sale but for many it’s just a dream or a distant reality.

We have been through some beautiful big houses when we have toured opened houses and although we are being nosey we love for that moment to feel what luxury is all about.

I was having my morning brew while reading Yahoo news and again another Hollywood star is struggling to sell their big house or mansion as we would all call it.

He has the big house that is absolutely stunning on the market for $15.5 million dollars BUT no one has purchased it and he has slowly reduced the price. This is the one and only Bruce Willis which we have learned to love over the years from watching various movies.

The Idaho ranch is now listed at $8.8 million dollars nearly half off the original listing price. If I had $8.8 million dollars and depending on other factors such as location and what the house has to offer I’d say that’s a darn good deal. I would almost feel as if I just won the lottery if I bought that house for nearly half off.

If you are looking for a big house to rent for parties or simply to rent you might just be in luck with some of these sellers who are struggling to sell but need to make cash to pay off the mortgage because they have since left the house to work on other ventures.

The problem?

You may never be able to sell it at $8.8 million down the road let alone the $15.5 million Willis originally had it on the market for. Having a big house is great but we all have to remember there are only a limited amount of people who can whip out a mortgage or pay cash into the millions of dollars to purchase said homes.

Not everyone is looking to buy really big houses even though many of us might dream of having the mansion property with all the bells and whistles. Many homes are becoming less affordable to most people these days.


The big house


The same goes for houses on a smaller scale and I’m not talking millions I’m talking hundreds of thousands leading up to a million or two dollars. Sure, it’s nice to have all the frosting on a new big house but are you prepared that if the time comes and you need to sell that it might not sell as fast as your neighbours up the street and around the corners house might for $400,000?

We see it all the time in our neighbourhood as some of the homes are in the million dollar range and they sit on the market. It’s not that they are overpriced as we are in a sought after area.

It’s because there is a limited amount of people willing to dish out that kind of money. It’s nice to have a big house but with that mortgage comes bigger expenses as well. Buy a mansion and you’ll likely need staff to help run the property. Sure they eventually sell but not as fast as many anticipated.

Do you remember the post I wrote about the couple a street or so over from us that jumped the gun and bought a pricey house while they still hadn’t sold their house? It took them ages to sell their house on a beautiful street and they had to cover two mortgages at the same time.

Sure the price was reduced over the months and eventually it sold but there’s a reason sticking to a realistic budget is important whether you are rich or not. It’s also important to make sure you can cover the expenses of two properties if you do buy a second home.

Sure most of these celebrities have cash although many of them don’t because we hear of so many of them going bankrupt or the money is tied up in real estate. It’s also because they blow money faster than they make it sometimes because they live on another money planet than most people.

I remember watching a program once where Michael Jackson went shopping. He walked in a store and was just pointing at items and saying he wanted that, and this and so on. Money takes some people to a level most of us will never experience. Some might not want to because money doesn’t equate to happiness. These stars for the most part can afford to do that because they make the big bucks but I still hold true that budgeting your money no matter how much you make is important.

My wife and I had a conversation about buying the big house down the road if we decided to sell our current home. We would like a bit more space, maybe a pool and walkout to a larger property BUT that all comes with more expenses, a new mortgage unless we can pay cash to cover the difference in price for the new home.

We bought our house on one income because we didn’t want to be house poor or stuck if something were to happen to one of our incomes. It’s a tough call and for some risk is better than kicking back like we did. That’s what made us feel comfortable though. We aren’t sure if we are prepared to go bigger as we like the debt free lifestyle and the doors it has opened for us.

If you live in Toronto, $500,000 is nothing for a house but think prices relative to your community so this all makes sense to you. I’m not sure how many millionaires reside in Idaho but I’m sure at one point someone will jump on the 50% reduction on his ranch.

It’s easier to sell a home in the mid-range to buyers and much quicker that the near million dollar home. That doesn’t mean you can’t go out and spend a boat load of cash on buying a big house but if you decide to sell realize that the price you want might not be the price you get.

If you need to move for work or are getting divorced or need to sell fast you might just have to take a price dump to get it off your hands.

I don’t know how much Bruce paid for that big house but like any property it has likely gone up in value. Whether it has gone up enough for him to still make a profit is his business but sometimes people don’t care and just want out profit or no profit.

Do you know someone who bought the big house then struggled to sell it and had to cut the price just to find a buyer?


Top recipe


marshmallow and white chocolate brownies

If you don’t already know I have a second Facebook page online called The Free Recipe Depot where I share recipes from other Foodie Bloggers from around the world.

Once a week I pick one recipe that has been submitted as my Top Recipe of the week. Trust me when I say this is no easy task as some of these foodies can cook up a storm.

This week that recipe goes to a food blog called “Family Food and Travel” with their Marshmallow White Chocolate Brownies. If you know me I have a thing for brownies.

Don’t believe me? Check out my Brownie board on Pinterest with well over 1000 pins and over a 1000 followers on that one board alone. I’m not the only fan of brownies of all kinds and I can understand why. They are delicious no matter what you stuff or layer them with.

Weekly CBB posts


If you missed any CBB posts from the week here is the list of posts you can catch up on reading!


Weekly reads


Every week I share a few of the best personal finance blog posts that I read online over the past week with all of you so please enjoy my top picks.

Well, that’s a wrap for this PF Friday’s Grab a brew #66. Happy budgeting and I’ll see you here again next week when I do it all over again.





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Are you envious of others’ success in life?



Envious definition for me means that someone wishes they could have your success but they just need to find their own path to reach their goals. 

The minute your friends Facebook status goes up and says they got a new job, a new car or are in a new relationship do you get upset that it’s not you?

Do you question why nothing good ever happens to you?

Are you feeling jealous of other people’s success?

Don’t be but if you answered no I’d say you are telling a lie because every one of us a tiny bit of envy towards something. It’s how we handle that envy that matters the most.

No one likes to feel as if they failed at life and that they have no other options but to accept what they have been given. I think that we can do anything we want with this one life we are given if we find a way to make our dreams come true.

Sometimes all you need is a positive boost from a friend or someone who believes in you and before you know it you will land your dream job. Never give up on yourself.

I don’t think that just because someone is envious that it’s a bad thing. I should hope that with being envious of others success that someone challenges themselves to work harder.

Sometimes that’s what it takes to light a fire under someone’s butt to get the ball rolling in terms of their career or financial goals. Too often people sit around and sulk about how life has not been the greatest for them yet they put all that negativity ahead of anything positive in their lives.

When we look at things that spark a bit of envoy or jealousy in our lives and take that and work it into our own lives maybe we will be the next ones laughing all the way to the bank.

Envious people


There will be jealousy all around us whether it’s envious friends, envious co-workers or envious strangers that we’ve never met before.

They want what you might have but lack the desire to achieve it on their own or feel they can’t, have tried and failed then gave up. I’m sure the list can be ongoing but none the less these people need to flip their attitude and work it into bringing in success that makes them happy.

I’m pretty sure most of you have a friend you can call Money Bags because they seem to have an unlimited supply of cash. Then one day you will catch them on one of Gail Vaz Oxlade’s shows like Money Moron because all that showing off was done on credit they can’t pay back. What’s to be envious of that?

You may even find jealousy in your relationships but that just means someone has to build up the confidence in themselves and just trust love. Envy in love is not a good place to be because money and love can cause problems if the two people in the relationship are not on the same page.

If the male believes he is unsuccessful or that he should be making more money than his partner it could cause problems. If you are not happy with your career in the first place this may cause problems in a relationship because one is so focused on getting a job rather than the relationship.

Some people can’t be happy in love until they are happy in career. It’s just the way they are wired and sometimes letting go of these relationships might be the best thing for both of you unless you can weather the storm together.

Job envy


Being on the bottom of the ladder in an industry can be hard. Everyone around you gets paid more and has more opportunities to advance their career or move on to another job. This is the time to start learning past what you’re getting paid for and don’t let the envy under your skin.

It’s easy to come home at the end of the day and forget about work. You could be moaning about how someone at work was bossing you around because they are higher up than you. Get out there and improve yourself, take part-time courses if necessary.

Having envious thoughts against your neighbour because they have a better job than you can be a little harder to swallow. If they are a trades-person they have served several years as an apprentice on the bottom of the ladder too.

They had to acquire skills over the years to get to where they are now. A doctor or other highly skilled medical profession also takes years. I’m sure some of these people were envious of others at one point or another but put their skills to work and now they are reaping the rewards of a career they always dreamed of.

A lot of people have good jobs or well-paying jobs because they listened, learned and applied themselves to be the best at what they can be. They sacrificed nights out drinking with their buddies to build something that you are now envious of.


Financial envy


I’ve written before about how you should never compare your financial numbers with others numbers because you simply can’t do that. For different reasons and opportunities we all have accumulated wealth based on our savings ability, income levels and our determination to be debt-free or not.

I’ve said it a million times that “it’s not about how much money you make it’s how you save it” and it’s a saying that I created years ago and stand by fully. I’ve pretty much littered this blog with my quote in hopes of getting through to people and I’ve had some fans tell me that since starting a budget they understand what I mean now.

I know that when I was making a lower-income I was still saving money and paying off bills however I did not accumulate any debt. We were still able to go out for walks and spend time together as a couple doing things that didn’t cost money or very little. I guess thinking ahead of ourselves was smart, marriage, house, kids, travel etc.

If we wanted to do all of that we knew we needed the cash set aside. If we blew all of our money now to live in the moment we 100% knew we’d struggle down the road. If that’s the road you want to take, then so be it. It’s your life.

If you make the decision to start putting things on credit then you are deciding to bring debt into your life.

If you can save cash to pay for what you need it is 100 times better than putting it on a credit card and paying minimum payments each month. The other options are to save cash and buy second-hand items. If you have the mind-set that you need to impress everyone and have shiny new things and you don’t have the cash be ready to live with debts you need to pay off.

If you don’t have that mind-set like we have then you can live with an older refrigerator, a used vehicle and buying things that are essential as opposed to ‘wants’ in our lives. This has helped us to get where we want to be today, debt-free.

We never once cared what other people make because we know that just because you make 6 figures doesn’t mean that you are worth more than the guy who makes minimum wage. Think about it for a second.

It’s all about spending and saving. If you don’t have the discipline to save and watch your spending DON’T complain about what others have in the bank.

You don’t need TV, Internet, Junk Food, pop at the gas station, fast food, theatre nights, fancy clothes, hair styling, nails, booze, travel etc. In those rare circumstances there are people who live at the poverty line or below it or cannot work for one reason or another.

If you are fully capable of working then get out there and keep looking until someone says yes or find ways to get more education, volunteer, network even move if you have to. Do whatever it takes and get rid of feeling sorry for yourself because no one will care.

Those items above and many more are nice to have but only if you have the cash to pay for them while accomplishing your financial goals. That is what we live by but others may disagree and that’s fine, it’s your bank account in the end that maters to you not me.

So go ahead and be envious of what other people have but I’ll tell you that it won’t get you anywhere until you focus on your own financial goals and priorities.


Happiness envy


You don’t know everyone’s circumstances so this is very difficult to judge and besides I would never even attempt to build my happiness on what others have or don’t have. Happiness doesn’t mean you have money.

I know some people who have not a penny to rub together but they are always happy and enjoying the simple things in life. They are happy just to wake up in the morning. Sometimes the more you have the more you want or think you need. Then there are the people who have money and are miserable because just like the saying goes, “money can’t buy you love” or happiness.

Some people could have everything in the world yet be depressed. It depends on what you find that makes you happy. It could be helping others, achieving goals each day. The only person that can make you happy is you.

Looking into others’ lives and deciding that since they go out as a couple all the time or family vacations and believe they have no worries in the world is the wrong way to view people. Credit cards buy happiness for short periods of time and some people can hide being unhappy very well.

How not to be jealous of other people’s success

If you find you are envious of someone else’s success the first thing you need to do is accept that you have that envy but then do something about it. Find a way to make other people envy your drive and success.

If you can fuel yourself from something that you view as a negative half the battle is won. Below are a few tips I would use if I was envious of someone’s success and needed to find a way to boost my own.

  • Worry about your own life first
  • Set goals, realistic ones and start achieving them
  • Involve others in your happiness
  • Get out make friends and spend time with family
  • Smile
  • Network with like-minded people
  • Ask for help when you need it
  • Get rid of that negative attitude
  • Believe in yourself
  • Never give up

As you can see being envious of others successful life or what you believe is successful is really all in your head. It’s up to you to make your world the happiest, best place it can be and no one else will do that for you.

Be grateful for what you have and if you want more, well you know what you need to do and maybe you might find people are envious of something you have that they don’t.



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