A Balanced Budget Doesn’t Make It Unbreakable : January 2016 Monthly Budget Review

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BALANCE IS NEVER A STEADY VARIABLE IN FINANCE   I often hear that a budget is ready to go once it is balanced but a balanced budget doesn’t mean that it can’t incur hiccups along the way. Someone asked me how we could possibly budget every single month. “Isn’t it time-consuming?” After a bit of practice it gets easier BUT is your life not worth the effort? Think about that for a second. Anything you do to better your life IS worth it. It’s not hard to make a budget look pretty with colours and numbers but numbers are like credit, once you spend it you are stuck with it. You still have to pay it back. What I’m trying to say is that anyone can say they have a balanced budget and still screw it up. Too many people rely on a fixed balanced budget and ignore it for the rest of the year as if it’s bulletproof.  This is a huge mistake in my opinion because when it comes time to review your budget the last thing you want to find out is that you messed up along the way and didn’t pick up the broken pieces. Even […]

grocery game monthly challenge

Should You Buy Into The Costco Membership Consumer Hype? : The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 #2 Feb 8-14

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COSTCO WHOLESALE STOCKS YOU UP BUT DOES IT STACK UP $$   Put away your coupon binder if you plan to shop at Costco as they don’t accept manufacturer coupons because they have their own coupons and promotions for private members. They also boast having the best deals because their buyers are able to negotiate great prices. Just how great are these prices though compared to your typical grocery store paired with sales, coupons and coupon apps? Let’s find out…. Related: How to chop everyday food prices without coupons I think not owning a smartphone and Costco membership at the same time either means you’re very frugal, don’t see the benefit or there is no Costco location nearby so there’s no point considering if there are any budget savings to be had. I don’t have either BUT we do have a Costco very close to our house so we wanted to see if there was a benefit for us to stop in and shop on my way home from work. What I found interesting was that Costco motivates shoppers who entertain saving money by buying in bulk every frugal persons’ dream but they also offer a Costco Concierge Service. Can […]

Queen of Hearts Jam Tarts For Valentine’s Day

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NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF LOVE AND SWEETS   We love jam tarts of just about any description in our home so when a special occasion pops up like Valentine’s Day I don’t mind baking up a few batches for my family and friends. This Queen of hearts jam tarts recipe boasts a beautiful pastry filled with either raspberry or strawberry jam followed by a light dusting of  icing-sugar. If you’ve ever wanted to create your own jam tarts, today I will show you how easily I was able to make my recipe and how you can do the same in your kitchen. Most men and women are scrambling at the last-minute to get a Valentine’s Day card and treats but with a bit of planning you can make these Queen of Hearts Jam Tarts for Valentine’s Day and your loved one will love you even more…if that is even possible. Other simple Valentine’s Day recipes for him or her which you can make and add to a Valentine’s Day Gourmet Basket, Bake Sale or for guests. Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls Cherry Cheesecake Blueberry Cheesecake 5 minute Hazelnut Chocolate Fudge Cherry Pie Minis Coconut Custard Tarts […]

grocery game monthly challenge

Big City Savings Tips To Survive Grocery Shopping : The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 #4 Jan 25-31

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OPTIONS ARE ENDLESS IN THE CITY   Many people who live in the big city choose not to drive, can’t drive or can’t afford to drive. This means rolling their shopping cart into a large parking lot to load groceries only to whiz home around the corner is not an option. Many of us take for granted the luxuries of living in a smaller city while shopping especially when it comes to parking and space. You’ll get more of that than you will living in the big city where space is at a premium. Related: How a small town family saves money on groceries The smartest tip that I can share with you today about shopping in any city is to be ORGANIZED. Without organization you risk having a less than ideal shopping experience. I find when we have things planned out it’s almost always smooth sailing. Unless of course we have a tired toddler, dirty nappy or it’s feeding time. Download my Free Printable Tools to get you started on the organizational train. With millions of people who live in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area you will certainly find just about every grocery store on the market. In […]

Cauliflower Rice & Broccoli Stir-Fry with Sausage (Low-Carb)

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REPLACE WHITE RICE WITH CAULIFLOWER RICE   This easy to make cauliflower rice recipe will blow your taste-buds away and I’m not joking. Cauliflower rice is the new mashed potato and versions of this dish are getting rave reviews all over the world especially from low-carb eaters who quit eating rice. Mrs.CBB is a rice quitter. I was a big skeptic when Mrs. CBB kept telling me you could turn cauliflower into mashed cauliflower which tasted just like mashed potatoes but better. I gave it a try last year and didn’t mind it at all although I’m a potato lover at heart coming from the UK where we ate lots of potatoes growing up. There’s nothing quite like a Sunday roast dinner with mashed potatoes, gravy, veg and Yorkshire pudding. Mrs. CBB was all fired-up to make this cauliflower rice likely because new recipes are exciting when you are limited with what you can eat. Armed with our kitchen-tools, a pot and cheese grater away we went. With the addition of cumin and turmeric along with Frank’s Red Hot sauce this cauliflower rice dish came together beautifully. Not only was the colour vibrant but it looks as delicious as the […]

How To Find The Best Real Estate Agent For You

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THE REAL ESTATE MARKET IS FLOODED WITH AGENTS READY TO SERVE YOU   Finding the perfect fit real estate agent to work for you and your housing needs is not a task to take lightly. You want a real estate agent that knows all about the latest real estate trends and who will guide you in the right direction. Find a real estate agent who will be just as excited as you are to see a Sold sign as they are to close a deal. A happy client who sends referrals and returns as a customer in the future means the agent went above and beyond. You want this real estate agent working for you, but how do you find them? Whether you are a first time home buyer or have had your feet dipped in the real estate market don’t rush to find a real estate agent. Taking the time to hand-pick the best real estate agent in your area that works best with you is key to your buying and selling success. Not everyone wants to hire a real estate agent as they choose to go it alone with for sale by owner or buying a house privately. […]

grocery game monthly challenge

How often should you complete a food budget review? : The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 #3 Jan 18-24

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PROJECT BUDGET CONTROL   Some people spend FAR MORE money on groceries than they need to like one  CBB fan who chopped her $1100 grocery shopping budget to a manageable $600 a month in less than 6 months. She had to make serious changes but the biggest of all was a review of how much money she was actually spending every month. Without knowing that number she wouldn’t have known just how much she was spending. Related: How I decreased my grocery budget from $1100 to $600 in 6 months Understanding food cost can be overwhelming for anyone as I’ve learned from experience over the years. When I moved to Canada I had no idea what the cost of anything was so I had to learn from the ground up. Last week we talked about how to calculate your monthly grocery costs and today I want to talk about how often you need to review your grocery budget to make sure it still fits with your overall budgeting goals. By know you already know how much your grocery budget should be BUT when should you review that number? Some people like to review their grocery budget yearly which is what […]

Do Customers Expect Too Many Freebies From Businesses? : The Saturday Weekend Review 2016 #155

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DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH A LEMON COSTS?   Freebies are nice to get especially when it saves consumers money. When customers try their hardest to get free stuff that they aren’t entitled to it then turns to “Greed”. I honestly believe that some customers feel that they are “owed” something when they visit an establishment and demand free stuff or get upset when they don’t get what they want. I’ve never been to a place that will serve you and take care of your needs as a customer for free especially while sitting in an establishment. When I read an article written for The Journal.ie about a restaurant review on Trip Advisor for Bennett’s Cafe and Bistro in York, UK (which went viral) about an upset customer over a cup of hot water and a slice of lemon, I was not shocked. I’ve dealt with the same type of customers over the years in various places of employment. Some may classify her as the entitled, cheap customer or believe “The customer is always right”. Sometimes the customer is not always right, but when should a business speak up? I’m not talking about signing up for freebies or asking companies […]

CBB Year-End Financial Report 2015 (+22.6%) : November (+2.06%) December (+1.51%) Net Worth Update

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THE NUMBERS ARE FINALLY IN   We anticipate our year-end financial report like little kids because we want to see if our predictions were accurate for the year. At the beginning of 2015 we predicted we would be sitting on $700,000 of net worth by the end of 2015. Although we track our finances all year and can make changes as we go it’s always nice to find out if our hard work has paid off. As we treat our finances like we are running a business it is only fitting that we spend some time talking about our year-end financial report for 2015. No we aren’t the Donald Trump’s of Canadian budgeting but we certainly take our finances seriously. What is in our year-end financial report? Numbers, that’s what. Our year-end financial report will tell us just how well we were able to save money, reduce debt and how our investments did for us over the course of the year. Not every year will be the way we dreamed it would be but if we are headed in the right direction towards our financial goals we know we will get to where we want to go eventually. Even though […]

grocery game monthly challenge

How To Calculate Your Monthly Grocery Costs: The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 #2 Jan 11-17

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BUDGET ONE STEP AT A TIME   One of the top questions I get asked is “How much should my grocery budget be?” and I reply,  “How much are your current monthly grocery costs?” Before determining your grocery budget it’s important to know what your current situation is costing you.  Most often my question goes unanswered or I get a response of “I don’t know” because for some consumers grocery shopping is simply buying food for the week and paying the bill. Unfortunately budgeting and frugality are not normally part of the shopping trip until it becomes necessary for some people. Don’t make this be you. A food budget should be essential for everyone unless you have unlimited income where money is of no object to you. Not many of us reading the blog are that fortunate I’m afraid. Typical grocery costs per month will differ from person to person depending on many factors such as size of the family, income level, health and special diets and so on. You can read all about that in the post I linked above. Currently it’s high-season for budgets now that new year has arrived and people want to get back on track […]

Lemon Coconut Macaroons

LEMON COCONUT MACAROONS

FOR THOSE TIMES YOU CRAVE SOMETHING SWEET   Not only are these lemon coconut macaroons budget-friendly they are also super easy to make. Those who enjoy these little treats will be amazed by the simplicity of making them yet revel in the fluffy coconut center and decadent outer chocolate flavours. Don’t panic if you’re not an of lemon either because you can simply eliminate the citrus and add some pure vanilla extract for more of a  traditional coconut macaroon. Sharing cookies is a great way to say thanks to neighbours, friends and family without breaking the bank. I often bake cookies to bring to our neighbour’s house just to say thanks for being a good neighbour and friend. There doesn’t have to be a special occasion to make someone smile. While reviewing recipes for lemon coconut macaroons on Google and Pinterest I noticed that many bakers said that their mixture was too runny. I wanted to see what problems other people were having with their recipes so I could perfect my own. When reading over some professional chefs recipes I found that they too don’t go into much detail about how thick the lemon coconut macaroon mixture needs to be […]

How To Investigate Whether A Sale Price Is Worth Your Money : The Saturday Weekend Review 2016 #154

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DON’T LET THE SALE PRICE BLIND YOU   It’s amazing how many of us won’t blink an eye when shopping and see a sale price that silently shouts pick me, pick me. We believe we are reading the truth, but are we really? I’m betting that most of you have made your way to outlet stores across the country in search of quality products with a bargain sale price. Who wouldn’t, especially around the holidays when expenses can run high for any budget. Just recently we went to the Toronto Premium Outlet mall and to be honest there wasn’t as many deals as we thought we would find. In fact many of the prices were higher or just as much as we would pay had we bought the item at the mall. Some of the products we found with lower price tags may have been end of season or on a sale rack. I’m sure there were lots of deals to be found at the outlet stores although we were looking at specific items. Stores bank on customers believing that if they don’t buy it there than they will be paying more money somewhere else. Don’t let someone else tell […]