Saturday Weekend Review #14- Credit Card Surcharges, Would You Pay Them?

  Paying to use our credit card each time we swiped it would certainly make the choice of not using it easy for us. A recent conversation with a local pizzeria owner we frequent shared with us that it does cost him money when customers use a credit card. If we ever order a pizza now we pay in cash because we kinda feel bad about it, but not sure if he meant to make us feel that way or we feel sorry for him. He does make a good pizza for a reasonable price though. Canadian businesses are charged fees from 1.5 to more than 3%  of each purchase put on a MasterCard and Visa credit card. Best of it is, if you are using a premium credit card merchants have to pay more. The transaction charges imposed are per the anti-competitive rules set out by the competition bureau of Canada. Would you not say that this is just part of the cost of doing business?  We have seen signs at shops that say “Cash Only” or “Debit and Credit Card Machine” down in our days but tend to stay away. In Canada merchants can ask the customer to pay a surcharge […]

Easter Bunny Butter Shortbread Cookies With Lemon Drizzle

Easter Bunny Butter Shortbread Cookies

EASY EASTER SHORTBREAD   The best memories I have of baking especially at Easter is coming into the kitchen after school and smelling and seeing what my mom had baked. My favourite cookie that my mum would make is the butter shortbread cookie which I will share with you here today.These butter shortbread cookies are super easy to make and decorate and are far better to make homemade vs store-bought cookies. My mum used to make these amazing double shortbread cookies which are two pieces of shortbread loaded with jam in the middle and icing on top. We always used to fight over those when we were kids just because they were doubled up and stuffed cookies. After moving to Canada I had to get this shortbread recipe from mum so I could bake it with my kids, which is actually my grandma’s recipe. I love lemon and so does my family which is why I created this shortbread cookie with lemon drizzle. My youngest Rhia is the helper to decorate the cookies even though she eats more than the actual decorating. Of course there is always a fight to see who gets to finish off the lemon drizzle icing or to have […]

PF Reading List #13- Good Friday, Good Food and Meeting Gail Vaz-Oxlade

Today is Good Friday, a religious holiday for many Christians which is celebrated the Friday before Easter Sunday all around the world.  It’s a time to commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. Since we observe this holiday, along with an afternoon mass we will be serving this day as a day of fasting eating one full meal and 2 smaller meals which are normally light meals. Others will be celebrating Easter this weekend with family traditions and lots of  Easter Chocolate and egg hunts. Easy Good Friday Meals Tonight we will be making a meatless meal which will be a lightly fried fish served over lentils and rice a tradition we started last year and hope to continue each year. Another great meal that my friend Megan at Cooking Whim’s posted is a lentil Sheppard’s pie which is another easy frugal Good Friday meal to make for the family. I’ll be posting my version soon but check hers out it looks delicious! You could also go modern and try my meatless lentil Sloppy Joe recipe for some new and exciting at the table that the kids might just love. Come Easter Sunday if you want to hang out with your friends and […]

The A-Z Of Saving Money E-Book-A to Zero Excuses!

When Glen who blogs at Monster Piggy Bank emailed me about this new A-Z e-book project he wanted to start working on I thought it was a great idea. Glen had also asked me if I was interested in contributing to the e-book along with many other personal finance Bloggers and I was honoured that he had asked me. I had thought about writing an e-book last year but I was nowhere near that stage in my blogging hobby to even attempt that. I just knew that one day I might want to take everything that I have learned and put it into a book that everyone could easily read. At that point though I was still learning about blogging and networking with many Bloggers whom I consider good virtual friends today. I’m not kidding when I say I read over one hundred blog posts every week and can’t get over how friendly the personal finance Blogging community really is. Canadian Budget Binder When I started to brainstorm for Canadian Budget Binder I knew that I enjoyed talking about saving money and finance but I was far from a finance professional. I’m just a regular guy with a dirty little secret, I have a […]

Saturday Weekend Review #11- What’s Happening Mr.CBB?

What’s Happening At The CBB House? I’ve worked like a mad man trying to get things done around the house this past week and as you all know multitasking is not what I’m good at and neither is Mrs.CBB. Besides my career, the blog and hanging with the wife and friends I’ve set aside time to work on plans to get some renovations done around the house which are long overdue. Our plans so far include new updated bathrooms a new kitchen and some simple landscaping. Making sure we  keep in line with what comparable homes have sold for to get the best return for our renovations. The last thing I want to do is over-renovate and lose money. The catch is we now have to save the cash to do these renovations  since our savings account will be depleted shortly. We knew we would be using up our cash to pay off the mortgage and are in no huge rush to renovate. That only means our plans will be stretched out over the course of the year and into next year. We planted the garden as you would have read the past two weeks and I’ll be starting my flower […]

How Smoking Affected The Cost Of Our Life Insurance Premium

We all know the health risks of smoking followed by the dent it can put in the budget just to buy cigarettes. Did you also know that it costs smokers more money when they apply for life insurance, like it did for us? Who knew there would be such a significant cost difference for life insurance for a smoker and non smoker as you will later find out. It’s been over a year now that we butted out (January 29, 2102) and are both still smoke-free today. We will always give thanks to all the support along the way from not only each other but external motivation such as family, friends, our family doctor, the pharmacy team and of course The Smokers Helpline. The Smoking Memory As time went on smoking became less of a habit for us and more of a memory and now we don’t even think about it. We won’t lie and say that if someone sparks up a smoke that the smell is captivating because it still is. We smoked for quite a long time and every smoker knows that the first inhale is the best of a newly lit cigarette. When I’m at work it no longer bothers […]

grocery game monthly challenge

The Grocery Game Challenge #11 March 11-17, 2013-Shopping Twice A Week!

I know I said we would work on staying out of the shops during a “no-shop week” and we’re working hard at that. We now have to worry about us going back into the shop a second time in the same week. It’s not much and we aren’t over budget and some of you might laugh but for us we are trying to work at making this a way of life so we aren’t spending more in the grocery budget. It’s all these triggers that keep popping up that make us think about our actions. If we went out everyday to a new grocery store I’m betting it would make it tough although some people do enjoy shopping like this. We like to get it all done one day a week and move on with other projects in our lives. Being here is what is keeping us on track especially posting the grocery shops where we need the most help in our budget. What Went Wrong Mr.CBB? It’s simple, we forgot our coupons on the kitchen table that we were supposed to take with us in addition to what the wife had stashed in her luggage (a.k.a-The Handbag). We normally […]

The Saturday Weekend Review #10-Daylight Savings 2013, Door To Door Sales Begins!

Hearing the birds chirp when I wake up in the morning is a sure-fire sign that Spring is on the way! It’s daylight savings this weekend and besides having to spring forward our clocks one hour we will lose one hour of sleep no matter what we try. I don’t mind it to be honest as I’ve had just about enough of the white fluff and am ready to get outdoors and get my hands dirty. The part I don’t like is the melt and all the muck that comes along with it. Here Comes The Sun Again The biggest change this time of year is the amount of sun that blankets us, a warmth we crave all winter long. In some cases though, I wish I could make it all go away especially some mornings before I get my butt out of bed. In other cases I’m just going to bed and need one of those fancy eye masks (not really, I just bury my head under the sheets). Why, do you ask? For one, the sun is beaming through our upper bedroom window (that silly half moon stupid invention of a window) that we have no cover for. Each time I […]

February 2013 Canadian Budget Binder Budget Update #2- Big Ticket Expenses Hurt!

February 2013 is a month we hope to forget but also learn from as our budget took a right hit coming out into the negative. As you already know we had our water softener go belly up and I had to replace that to the tune of over $1100. The good thing is I received Sears points and Canadian Tire MasterCard rewards points as well have 90 days to hope the unit goes on sale for less than $899.99. That way I can go in to Sears and get a product price adjustment. We also had Union Gas around to change our old meter to a new updated meter so I’m guessing we can expect higher bills from now on. Over time the older meters don’t read correctly, hence Union Gas wanting to change them. It was good while it lasted. We also had an increase in our telecommunications bill which I touch on later in the blog post. Let’s see, we had to pay city taxes, our electricity and water bill which comes every 2 months. I noticed a spike in our water bill and once I get the next bill I should be able to pinpoint why and I’ll blog […]

grocery game monthly challenge

The Grocery Game Challenge #10-Mar 4-10,2013-Road Trip To Target Canada

The arrival of US Discount store Target Canada has ended in 3 Ontario cities Milton, Fergus and Guelph. These 3 pilot Target stores in Canada opened their doors today to anxious waiting customers. We thought we would go on a road trip to the closest Target store to see what the fuss was all about. Instantly I said, it’s a “Zarget” as there was still an aura of  Zellers in the air. I’m sure the reminiscent feelings will slowly die off but it carried through most of the store. In fact it seemed more like a modernized version of Zellers with the high-tech electronics section with some pretty cool cameras (I was tempted but, not this time. There was also the expected traditional pharmacy and the health and beauty section for cosmetics which was bright and so very Hollywood. The great part was the wide aisles, bright colours and it seemed spacious, not cluttery at all, then again it is a new store. Housewares seemed different as there were styles that we had never seen before and the clothes departments were airy and open as opposed to crowded with old clothes and loads of discount racks. A huge change was the amount of […]

The Saturday Weekend Review : Put On Something Sexy…

I just had to touch on this article I read about a child who won a book called “Put on Something Sexy” in his grade 8 sexual health class. Apparently it’s cartoon based book and when you flip the pages you see the couple getting it on (having sex) and the woman putting a condom on the man. A Nanaimo, B.C. mom says she was “disgusted” when her grade 8 son brought this flip book home from school. An organization Aids Vancouver Island said “they had material on tables the kids could pick up if they wish” during sexual education. One of the pamphlets was about oral sex and how to perform it and was quickly removed. So the school apologizes, writes a letter to the parents and will make sure all material is reviewed in the future, bla bla.. you can read the entire story at Huffington post Canada. So the boy is in grade 8 and I’m sure by now he realizes he has something special going on down there. I’m also pretty sure he’s not stupid and knows what to do with it. The TV is plastered with sex, music videos depict sex, video game, movies, magazines, internet and heck, kids talk. I’m sure […]