Our mortgage amortization schedule is going in the bin: March 2014 Net Worth Update (+0.75%)

 amortization schedule dust pan NO SWIFFER NEEDED JUST A FIRE PIT

 

Yes, that’s right no more checking the amortization schedule on our mortgage to see how far we have come and costs involved with our mortgage.

The time is very near where we start the fire and light up those mortgage papers to say good-bye and good riddance.

Although the last few months of our budget have been filled with unexpected expenses we are still on target to say goodbye to our mortgage, for good.

Next months Net Worth update should be titled, Mortgage free at last…. or something to that effect lol. It’s been a long 5 years in this house but it was worth the sacrifices of using the budget (which is free if you want to download it) to save the money for all the necessities we’ve needed so we can be mortgage free before 40 years of age.

Although we’ve had the money for close to a year to pay the mortgage the exchange rate for the UK is at an all-time high since I moved to Canada back a few years ago now.

I’m pulling the money I have over there while I can. The last thing I want is to lose thousands more dollars because something happens with the exchange rate which to me is just as risky as investing your money.

Sure back in early 2007 my money was worth well over double when I came to Canada and I was loving every minute of it. Don’t let that excitement get you too cozy though because what goes up will come down and that is what we learned. Even though we’ve lost money since then and learned lessons along the way we know now that we still made the right decisions to wait it out.

I won’t get too much into it as I’ll save the juicy details for next months post.

 

We have a buyer

 

The interesting news for this month is that we received a letter from a real estate agent who has buyers for our home. I guess all my fancy landscaping and outside maintenance really does look swanky. See, landscaping on a budget can be done and impress even strangers into wanting to buy your home even if they haven’t been in it.

We’re not too surprised since we live in a sought-after area and our street is compiled of affordable family homes for most younger couples. The agent wants to bring the couple through our home for a private viewing to make sure the inside is as nice as the outside but it’s not finished yet.

We are upgrading pretty much everything and so far it looks 100x better than what we bought it for but with minimal investment. Keeping your house clean, fresh and updated doesn’t have to cost lots but when you get into the realms of renovations you need cash to do it.

We bought the house for less than market value so we have plenty of room for improvements. It’s great the way it is now with bits to take care of inside but we want to modernize it and finish off the basement.

Remember when I talked about buying the big house the other day and how it’s difficult to sell it sometimes because of a limited market well this is what I mean. It’s great when you own a home that you can sell fast because it’s affordable and well-kept but too bad for their clients as we aren’t ready to sell.

I was chatting with one of my Facebook fans the other day and told her that just to get some of the desired features in a home that we don’t have which we can really live without i.e. bigger property, walk-out basement, larger upper level it would cost us about $200,000- $300,000 more dollars on top of what we get for selling this house to pay cash for a newer bigger home in our city.

So just for a few extra hundred square feet in a home that is updated top to bottom we would be paying out the nose and having to look at another dreaded mortgage amortization schedule. No thanks, we’ll just stay right here.

The only way we will move is if you want our house so bad you’ll pay us double… how’s that for a deal! lol..

 

Amortization schedule

 

What is an amortization schedule anyways? I’ll tell you in my lame terms so maybe it will make some sense as mortgage jargon for some can get tricky. Don’t say you haven’t trusted someone and just signed on the dotted line.

An amortization calculator is basically a home cost calculator or what your mortgage will cost you over the life of the term or mortgage you have set up with your bank or broker. The calculator you can find free all over the internet and just about every mortgage company offers one for their clients.

You can enter in all your mortgage information and it will give you an amortization schedule which shares with you how long and painful a journey it is to pay off a mortgage when you pay month after month.

You can see how much principle you have or will pay off and of course the dreaded interest that is enough to make anyone bury their head. Mind you mortgage interest rates have been at an all-time low for years now so we can’t complain too much.

I’m sure many of you who owned a home with a mortgage back in the 80′s could share a horror store or two about how high the mortgage interest rates were back then.

I wouldn’t want to look at my amortization schedule back then it would scare me but not deter me from working hard and doing whatever we could to pay off the mortgage as soon as we can.

Sure there are some of you that would never pay off your mortgage because you are investing gurus and you know, that’s great. Some people just don’t know how to invest or want to take risks with their money in hopes they score a return higher than what their mortgage interest rate is.

No one can tell me that they know what the crystal ball will of investing will provide day after day, month after month as it’s based on stats and hope that it gets better hence more returns for the investor.

Many people have been successful that way and hopefully one day that will be us but until we learn more about investing we’ll stick to what we know and that is our mortgage costs us money.

How often do you check your amortization schedule and make changes to speed up the mortgage pay-down process? Do you pay a chunk of you mortgage in bulk each year?

 

Understanding net worth

 

What Does Individual Net Worth Mean?

Net Worth is a snap shot of your financial health sort of like a picture or debt to net assets. In simple terms it’s a total of the value of your assets minus your liabilities.

 

Determining net worth

 

How to Determine Net Worth?

Net Worth = Assets – Liabilities 

Figuring out net worth is fairly easy as long as you know your personal numbers or monthly finances.

Net Worth is simply adding up all your assets (what you own) then taking away your liabilities (what you owe) which will give you a net worth number.

Understanding your net worth will help you determine if you are on track to meeting or beating your personal financial goals. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

Do you know how to calculate your own Net Worth?

Now you can stop asking yourself the question, how do you find out your net worth? Why? It’s easy to determine.

Why not go ahead and calculate your own using our Free Money saving Tool Net worth Calculator (Canadian Budget Binder 2012)

 

Goals

 

Below are our 2014 target goals some of which are the same from 2013 and many which are new for 2014. I don’t like to move on to new goals if I have other goals that are unfinished but I also like breathing room and play time if you know what I mean.

I hope by posting them each month it motivates me like it has this past year to get stuff done and reach our target goals with some form of ease although nothing in life is that simple.

I find it’s much easier to be held accountable when I share what we need to do with all of you.

Do you set goals for the year?

 

Our short-term goals 2014

 

  • First is to pay off our mortgage in full as of April 2014. :) This is very near… gone by the end of this month yay!
  • To renovate the upstairs bathroom
  • Re-model the spare bedroom (ie: decor, furniture)-done
  • Start working on putting in the new flooring in the living and dining room
  • Install a central vacuum system- Bought and on its way!
  • Purchase a new washer and dryer
  • Purchase all new kitchen appliances
  • Purchase 2 medium-sized freezers
  • Finish the landscaping in the front and back yards.
  • Invest more in our TFSA, RRSP etc.
  • Continue to meal plan, create new homemade meals- I’m always whipping up something new in the kitchen (check out all my new recipe index on the blog)
  • To  sow and grow more vegetables/herbs in the garden to save money- We decided to scale back on this for 2014 summer.
  • Learn more about passive income
  • To read a new personal finance book
  • Learn more about Search Engine Optimization and blogging and how to manage my blog.

 

Our long-term goals 2014

 

  • Finish renovating the entire kitchen
  • Finish renovating the entire master bathroom
  • Save for a holiday
  • Start planning basement renovations (bathroom, bedroom, family room, laundry room, office, storage area.
  • Look at new ways to invest our money i.e. rental units
  • Continuing to educate ourselves on personal finance and investments
  • Continue to network with other like-minded people
  • Continue in my new career in hopes of it becoming long-term permanent

 

Our financial numbers

 

When budgeting anything is possible, we are proof of that although we still have a long way to go in our journey. These are our numbers and our goals, not a means of comparison towards your own goals to others target goals.

We don’t care how much money others make or if they have a high net worth or if it is lower than ours as it’s not a competition. I hope our experiences perhaps will help guide you along your financial path working towards debt freedom.

 

Different paths

 

Not everyone has the same path in life. Some of you may have had to start over like I did or go to school a second time and now have OSAP loans to pay back.

Others may have divorced, lost money in the stock market or other investments, lost a job, fell ill and so on but you can’t let that stop you, I didn’t.

Some of you may have been given trust funds, paid-for homes, paid educations or perks in life that give you a financial kick-start and that’s OK too. Remember what I said, “It’s not about how much money you make, it’s how you save it”.

Focus on you and don’t let the evil eye of money jealousy or keeping up with the Joneses cloud your vision. No one cares about your money as much as you do so don’t waste your energy trying.

The only reason people accumulate wealth is because they know how to save or invest it wisely even if they did inherit money or win the lottery. The smallest improvements should mean big strides in working towards reaching your goals.

Sometimes we have to fail in order to learn and we’ve all been there. Money can be an evil force for some people especially those who are negative towards their own situation.

I urge you to be optimistic and little by little with determination you too should see improvements, if you want that to happen.

 

Our net worth

 

We are always looking for ways how to increase our savings and by tracking our net worth these numbers below show us how well we are doing in terms of meeting our target numbers or what areas we should put a bit more focus in.

 

net-worth-update-march-2014

 

Net worth updates 2014

 

Below you can click the links to read past net worth updates to see if we were on target or if we struggled with some of our numbers.

net-worth-preceeding-12-months

 

That’s all for this month’s Net Worth update. Check in at the beginning of May to see how we made out in April and what has happened to our finances since.

 

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Photo Courtesy of: Freedigitalphotos.net/artur84

Are you envious of others’ success in life?

Envious of successSTOP THE GREEN EYED MONSTER

 

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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Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net/David Castillo Dominici

Do full-price items make it into your grocery cart? : The Grocery Game Challenge #3 Mar 17-23, 2014

full price grocery shoppingYOU ACCEPT PRICES OR YOU DON’T

 

Grocery shopping for full-price items makes us cringe but the reality is in some cases you either accept the price or you don’t buy it.

At the end of the day it’s either you can afford it or you can’t. If you can’t you don’t buy it and find a cheaper alternative or knock it on the head altogether, if you can.

Should I or shouldn’t I?

Sometimes when I see people staring at a product in their hand I wonder what they are thinking to themselves.

Let’s face it we all talk to ourselves when we grocery shop, admit it.

Is this good for me? What are the ingredients? How many calories? What does it cost? Or should I buy it or not?

I often think questioning purchase price is the burning question in shoppers minds when they are holding products with a confused look on their faces. Who knows?

Many times we convince ourselves that we will find it cheaper even if we have rumbled through the sale flyers for the week.

We know that it might mean going from shop to shop looking for an item on sale. One product that we go through lots is cheese and without coupons it’s hit or miss with the cheese sales.

Mind you they do come out often but when they do it’s time to stock up otherwise face paying outrageous prices for a 500g bar of cheese.

Who pays $8.99 for a block of cheese that goes on sale for $4.77? The customers that don’t stockpile or simply are out of the product and need it for whatever reason, that’s who.

 

Full-price shopping

 

An example of full-price shopping we did would be a bottle of Tylenol we bought once. We needed to get Tylenol and the prices were astronomical. It was one of those times you wished you had a coupon for medications.

Funny enough we used to always have loads of coupons for pain killers but since we can’t order from SC Johnson any longer we haven’t really went online to look.

We are not big fans of printable coupons as we tend to get hassled more often than we use them. So we just forget about them.

If and when more retailers find a way to combat those people who are cheating the system with printable coupons we may change our minds.

We also don’t like those fancy install coupon printers for our computer for every bloody company out there. There has to be an easier way, plus ink costs money.

Who is saving the money now, you or the manufacture when they don’t have to pay to print thousands up thousands of coupons?

Anyhow, back to the Tylenol.  We needed it no matter what so whether we paid full-price or found it on sale it would make its way into our shopping cart.

Unless you want to waste time looking for a cheaper price you may have to do like us and pay full-price for the product or you do without. The problem is there are products out there that we can’t do without and many of them never go on sale meaning we pay full-price for them.

I know there are times when we pay full-price for an item like the Tylenol and a month later or even a week later a coupon comes out but there’s nothing you can do but grin and bear it.

Coupons are great for reducing your grocery budget as is using flyers to make a grocery list but when it comes to specific items having to pay full-price is the only way if you want the item. Another example we talked about last week were people who grocery shop in a rush and pay full-price for items.

Those grocery shoppers get what they shop for and nothing more. They are the grocery shoppers that these places rely on with full-price costing to balance out those getting the sales or the lost leader products that they sell just to get you through the door.

 

Suppliers have a say

 

Even now suppliers are fighting back saying they don’t want the grocery stores advertising their products as loss leaders just to grab customers.

Putting a strict product price on items may be in the future for some items and I certainly can see a war happening either between the grocery stores and the manufacturers or between grocery stores in general.

Either way they are fighting for top spot and for the customer’s attention. They know that if they put the right items on sale that you will shop with them which means all those full-price (I call them over-priced) items you will buy because you are already there.

Let’s face it, many families don’t have time to run from shop to shop looking for deals. Sure you can price match but only at select stores.

Our favourite grocery stores aren’t always the stores we like to price match in. To be honest we don’t really find Wal-mart to be any cheaper than other shops with various products so it’s all hit or miss. Whether you decide to pay full-price for an item or just wait it out is up to you.

If you have company coming over for dinner tonight last-minute and need to run out to pick up some groceries will you be fussy about whether you are paying full-price for snack items and other grocery items? Most often people just put the items in their cart, get in and get out.

They have the planning head going on and making sure that their guests are comfortable and have all the food and drink they need is priority. Mind you, if you plan a dinner party this could be much different.

The point of this post is there are times when we have to either pay full-price for products or we simply do without or go hunting around for the best current price for that week.

You never know what stores don’t advertise in the flyers but you also don’t want to waste your time and gas running around on hope.

Do you pay full-price for items sometimes? Why?

 

March grocery game challenge posts

 

If you missed any grocery game posts for the month I will post the line-up for the month each week here in this section for you.

 

Grocery saving tips

 

Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!

Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists that were created to get us on track to work towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.

I hope you take the time to get back on track and start the saving process in your grocery budget today.

Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE. CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet for FREE.

NEW!! You can now download the Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel…… Grab it while you can… It’s FREE! We use it to budget.. check it out!

 

Ultimate grocery shopping guide

 

Everything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is below with new information added monthly.

If you missed a Grocery Game Challenge post some of the most popular posts are listed below or you can now find the posts listed on their own page called The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.

If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email and let me know.

 

Food food and more food

 

shopping-cart

No Frills

  • Strawberries 1lb x 2 Sale $1.44 each
  • Bananas Sale $0.57 lb. x 2 lbs
  • Cantelope Sale $1.47
  • Vlassic pickles Sale $1.88 x2
  • Cucumber PM Freshco $0.69

Total out-of-pocket $9.94

Food Basics

  • Scotties tissue Sale $3.88
  • Cheese bars Old x 3 Mozzarella x3 Sale $4.44

Total out-of-pocket $30.52

Shoppers Drug Mart

  • 3 x Sealtest Milk 4L $3.97 each
  • 1 x dozen white eggs sale $1.99

Total out-of-pocket $ 13.90

 

Grocery shop results

 

Yearly grocery budget for two: $2820

(The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $240 per year or $20 per month.)

  • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $235.00 or $78.33 week with potentially one no-shop week per month or $58.75 for 4 weeks per month. (During the months with 5 weeks we just make it work)
  • Total Budget for March $235.00
  • Total Coupons Used this Week : $0
  • Total Coupons Used to date: $24.50
  • Total Discounts this Week: $0
  • Total Discounts Used to date: $5.54
  • Total Gift Cards Used to date: $33.18
  • Total Rewards Points Used: $0
  • Total Rewards Points Used to date: $0
  • Stockpile Budget ($20.00): $17.94 (chickpeas dry) + $2.06 (beef) =$20.00
  • Stockpile Budget Used to Date: $20.00+$19.08+$17.94+ $2.06+
  • Total Spent This Week: $54.36
  • Total Spent So Far March: $27.69+ $69.33+$54.36=$151.38
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: $0
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month: $
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $235.00-$151.38=$83.62
  • Total to Carry Over Next Month: $0
  • Total Spent To Date This Year: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $242.66+ Feb $191.74+ March $
  • Weekly Overview: We didn’t need too much this week as we are still working our way down the freezer. We might look into investing in 2 medium-sized freezers to get rid of the large one we have now before we renovate. The reason is that it is so large that we would never get it up the basement stairs after renovations. It’s best to have smaller ones that we can manoeuver up and down without taking out walls.

 

Coupon Sleuth

 

Did you find any coupons? If so share the details in the comment section of this post where you found it and what the coupon is for with expiry.

GGC coupons March 2014

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible.

 

  • Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?

 

No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops only to win a monthly prize. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.

 

  • When does the Grocery Game close each month?

 

The Grocery Game Challenge closes at midnight of the last Sunday of the last post for the month. You can post your shops all month-long.

 

  • Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?

 

Yes our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any more. It’s just one way to help cut your budget to save money.

 

 

Here are your latest Coupon Match-ups of the week and your weekly Checkout 51 offers from 25 Newspaper Inserts around Canada compliments of Save Big Live Better that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge.

 

  • What is an FPC?

 

An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.

 

 

You can find all your store coupon policies here. If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.

 

 

I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.

Over time you will gradually learn where you should and shouldn’t go in the grocery store or at least how to say no, I’m on a budget I need to buy this or that.

You may also substitute items in order to stick to your grocery budget to make it work. Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this part of our budget like many people do.

This is why the grocery game challenge was created to not only show you that we are like everyone else but to bring us all together to work as a team to get our budgets on track.

If you have just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2014 get ready to dive deep into your grocery budget and learn just where you are spending, how much you are spending and what you are saving.

Feel free to read all the above posts that I linked to above which I feel are relevant to learning about the grocery budget and grocery shopping in general.

You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!

Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge Canada 2014!

-Mr.CBB

 

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Do you blow your grocery budget if you rush? : The Grocery Game challenge #2 Mar 10-16, 2014

rush grocery shopping cartLET THE GROCERY GAME BEGIN

 

I guess only you can answer whether you bust your budget on groceries if you are in a rush.

I can tell you what our answer to this question is but I’m betting every grocery shopping situation would be different.

The key here is not so much the time it’s whether you are prepared the minute you walk through the doors at the grocery store.

Alternatively I like to earn cash back on groceries meaning I like to use coupons and other means to trim the grocery budget like just recently learning about Checkout 51.

Another way we save is by using our PC Points because saving money is important to us especially when it comes to groceries and other items that we can easily reduce on our own. Free money is good!

You may find cash flows in as fast as it flows out if you aren’t watching where you money is being spent. Can you agree?

 

The grocery rush

 

Just the other week I watched a mother come zooming in to Wal-Mart with her child who immediately wanted to play on the money operated toys they have in the front of the store.

The mother turned around and said “Jacob come on we have to get you to the dentist, let’s go”. So the boy ran over to his mother with a sad look on his face and hopefully they didn’t spot me watching this go down.

I don’t want to seem like a grocery guy stalker rather I’m intrigued by the way people conduct their shopping. In the process of pushing her cart and calling for her son she grabbed a Wal-Mart flyer and started to flip through it faster than I’ve ever read a grocery store flyer.

I felt like I was on an episode of a grocery games type TV show because that’s how much of her anxiety of being in a rush rubbed off on me.

It was like, go go go and there were many times where she left her child unattended in the shopping cart while she walked up further in an aisle or was wandering around with her back to him.

I’m pretty sure many of you can say you’ve seen this before or even a shopping cart left unattended with a purse wide-open. Mindfulness is something we should all practice in our lives.

Now you are not only rushing but you are putting your child’s safety at risk. What if he fell out of the shopping cart somehow or if someone nabbed him before your eyes?

I know you don’t want to think about that but the reality is that it does happen. You should never take your eyes off of your child no matter how much of a rush you are in.

Clearly she was in a rush and needed to get in and get out with some food for her family. It was plainly obvious that she did not have a grocery list prepared nor was she prepared for this rush grocery shop.

I wonder if she even planned to grocery shop at all that day or whether it was a last-minute decision with some time to spare. Either way she was in a rush and proceeded to the products in the front of Wal-Mart where they showcase the specials of the week.

If you shop at Wal-Mart you know exactly what I mean. I don’t want to say I was tagging along with her to spy on her shop but in a way for this post, I did.

She immediately started grabbing those sale items and tossing them in her cart. She picked up a pack of paper towels that were in my eyes expensive and tossed them in without a care in the world.

There was never a time in my life when I went to the grocery store and just blind shopped like she was doing. As she proceeded around the store this rush shopping continued at a pace that was comparable with someone who just wanted to get it done.

Not everyone likes to grocery shop and clearly this trip to the grocery store was the last thing on her mind. I didn’t follow her to the cash after a few aisles of being nosey with what she had in her cart but I will say it was all name brand products with many of them selling at regular price.

 

Price is no object to some people

 

I’m betting she had a high grocery bill after that shopping rush but you know what, some people don’t care. For all I know she is a master grocery shopping whiz and can process prices faster than a speeding bullet. :)

Many grocery shoppers might not care how much they spend on groceries each month because they don’t pay the bills, they have more than enough money or they simply don’t care about the number when they are feeding their family.

To some families food is a celebration and it doesn’t matter the price you pay to get good food and some will shop at the expensive stores like Metro or Sobeys etc… because paying a bit more is not a priority for them.

It’s the quality of the product or what they have learned through commercials on TV, experience or other media outlets. Rush grocery shopping is not my cuppa tea however I won’t say I was never in the same position as the lady grocery shopper and her son but I was mindful of the products I put in my cart.

Did I spend more when I shop in a rush? Well, yes and no you see because sometimes you are in such a rush that you just grab the essentials on your list and if you can’t find something you skip it.

Makes you wonder if you really needed it in the first place. Other times I get everything on the list and maybe more because I deviate from the list when I see sales or products that are a good price and I don’t give myself enough time to process whether I really need it or not.

Most times my mind says yes so I have to be mindful of the games we can play with ourselves financially when we are in a rush and not paying attention to our finances like we should be.

Do you spend more or less on groceries when you are in a rush?

Have you seen a customer just toss items into their shopping cart randomly?

 

March grocery game challenge posts

 

If you missed any grocery game posts for the month I will post the line-up for the month each week here in this section for you.

 

Grocery saving tips

 

Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!

Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists that were created to get us on track to work towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.

I hope you take the time to get back on track and start the saving process in your grocery budget today.

Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE. CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet for FREE.

NEW!! You can now download the Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel…… Grab it while you can… It’s FREE! We use it to budget.. check it out!

 

Ultimate grocery shopping guide

 

Everything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is below with new information added monthly.

If you missed a Grocery Game Challenge post some of the most popular posts are listed below or you can now find the posts listed on their own page called The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.

If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email and let me know.

 

Food food and more food

 

shopping-cart

Freshco

  • x6 Extra Lean Beef  Sale = $39.44- $2.06  for Stockpile = $37.38
  • 2x Hellman’s Mayo Sale $2.99
  • Fresh Ginger- $1.05
  • Bananas Sale $0.57lb  $2.44
  • 2x Strawberries 1lb each $1.44 each
  • 2 x Kiwi baskets Sale $2.49 each
  • 2 x cucumbers PM FB $0.87 each
  • 1 x Celery stalk PM FB $0.87

Total out-of-pocket: $59.48-$2.06= $57.42

Shoppers Drugmart

  • 3x 4L Bags of Neilson 2% Milk $3.97

Total out-of-pocket $11.91

 

grocery game march rush shopping

 

Yearly grocery budget for two: $2820

 

(The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $240 per year or $20 per month.)

  • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $235.00 or $78.33 week with potentially one no-shop week per month or $58.75 for 4 weeks per month. (During the months with 5 weeks we just make it work)
  • Total Budget for March $235.00
  • Total Coupons Used this Week : $0
  • Total Coupons Used to date: $24.50
  • Total Discounts this Week: $0
  • Total Discounts Used to date: $5.54
  • Total Gift Cards Used to date: $33.18
  • Total Rewards Points Used: $0
  • Total Rewards Points Used to date: $0
  • Stockpile Budget ($20.00): $17.94 (chickpeas dry) + $2.06 (beef) =$20.00
  • Stockpile Budget Used to Date: $20.00+$19.08+$17.94+ $2.06+
  • Total Spent This Week: $69.33
  • Total Spent So Far March: $27.69+ $69.33
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: $0
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month: $
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $235.00-$29.47=$205.53- $69.33=$136.20
  • Total to Carry Over Next Month: $0
  • Total Spent To Date This Year: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $242.66+ Feb $191.74+ March $
  • Weekly Overview: The extra lean beef went on sale so we stocked up a bit so we have some beef come time we can actually see the BBQ again. Other than that we picked up 3 bags of milk since we are drinking more milk these days.

Did you find any coupons? If so share the details in the comment section of this post where you found it and what the coupon is for with expiry.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible.

 

  • Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?

 

No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops only to win a monthly prize. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.

 

  • When does the Grocery Game close each month?

 

The Grocery Game Challenge closes at midnight of the last Sunday of the last post for the month. You can post your shops all month-long.

 

  • Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?

 

Yes our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any more. It’s just one way to help cut your budget to save money.

 

 

Here are your latest Coupon Match-ups of the week and your weekly Checkout 51 offers from 25 Newspaper Inserts around Canada compliments of Save Big Live Better that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge.

 

  • What is an FPC?

 

An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.

 

 

You can find all your store coupon policies here. If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.

 

 

I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.

Over time you will gradually learn where you should and shouldn’t go in the grocery store or at least how to say no, I’m on a budget I need to buy this or that.

You may also substitute items in order to stick to your grocery budget to make it work. Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this part of our budget like many people do.

This is why the grocery game challenge was created to not only show you that we are like everyone else but to bring us all together to work as a team to get our budgets on track.

If you have just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2014 get ready to dive deep into your grocery budget and learn just where you are spending, how much you are spending and what you are saving.

Feel free to read all the above posts that I linked to above which I feel are relevant to learning about the grocery budget and grocery shopping in general.

You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!

Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge Canada 2014!

-Mr.CBB

 

Money-quote

 

Are You New To Canadian Budget Binder?

Finances are like moon phases: February 2014 Net Worth update (+1.25%)

Moon phases of our net worth financesWATCHING INVESTMENTS GROW

 

Like moon phases, our finances including Net Worth is constantly changing and this month is no different.

There will always be ebb and flow in everyone’s finances, sometimes purely by the choices we’ve made.

In the CBB household we didn’t have an awful lot left over as spare cash from last month as we had city taxes and pet costs leave the bank.

However, there was positive news on the finance front in the form of yet another increase in the exchange rate due to the falling dollar.

This increase has led to our UK funds exceeding the total of what is left to pay on the mortgage and with quite a chunk of money left over.

 

Moon phases

 

We are definitely moving into our Waxing Gibbous phase where our finances and what we have set up are starting to fall into place.

The Full Moon phase will be when our mortgage is paid off and we can move on knowing that fact that we will be carrying zero debt. In the very near future we have to decide what we will be doing with the spare cash that is left over once the mortgage is paid off.

The money that we would have spent on mortgage payments needs to go somewhere and we are struggling to weigh up which investments to place it in.

There is another choice if investing is a little too sensible, expensive renovations that include the basement and kitchen. A visit to our financial advisor gave us good news about our investments, the returns were around the 12% mark.

There were of course variances between certain investments but they were good returns considering the market ups and downs and the fact we’re quite modest in our aggressiveness.

We’ve reached the $100,000 mark in our investment portfolio with our financial advisor which then leads us to lower costs in managing the funds as we will change over to a fee based system.

You may have read from our previous Net Worth update in January that we included an increase in our principal residence.

To put an actual figure on that we asked our real estate agent to present us with a calculated figure based upon comparative market analysis.

The estimated value for our house is $365,000, which is great news for us although one increase a year is more than enough for our egos. That is a $100,000 increase in value in just under 5 years of owning the home. Location, Location, Location.

We have therefore decided to leave our house value at $345,500 as of the January Net Worth.

How did you make out in February?

 

Understanding net worth

 

What Does Individual Net Worth Mean?

Net Worth is a snap shot of your financial health sort of like a picture or debt to net assets. In simple terms it’s a total of the value of your assets minus your liabilities.

 

Determining net worth

 

How to Determine Net Worth?

Net Worth = Assets – Liabilities 

Figuring out net worth is fairly easy as long as you know your personal numbers or monthly finances.

Net Worth is simply adding up all your assets (what you own) then taking away your liabilities (what you owe) which will give you a net worth number.

Understanding your net worth will help you determine if you are on track to meeting or beating your personal financial goals. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

Do you know how to calculate your own Net Worth?

Now you can stop asking yourself, how do you find out your net worth because it’s easy to determine.

Why not go ahead and calculate your own using our Free Money saving Tool Net worth Calculator (Canadian Budget Binder 2012)

 

Goals

 

Below are our 2014 target goals some of which are the same from 2013 and many which are new for 2014. I don’t like to move on to new goals if I have other goals that are unfinished but I also like breathing room and play time if you know what I mean.

I hope by posting them each month it motivates me like it has this past year to get stuff done and reach our target goals with some form of ease although nothing in life is that simple.

I find it’s much easier to be held accountable when I share what we need to do with all of you.

Do you set goals for your year?

 

Our short-term goals 2014

 

  • First is to pay off our mortgage in full as of April 2014. :)
  • To renovate the upstairs bathroom
  • Re-model the spare bedroom (ie: decor, furniture)
  • Start working on putting in the new flooring in the living and dining room
  • Install a central vacuum system
  • Purchase a new washer and dryer
  • Purchase all new kitchen appliances
  • Purchase 2 medium-sized freezers
  • Finish the landscaping in the front and back yards.
  • Invest more in our TFSA, RRSP etc.
  • Continue to meal plan, create new homemade meals- I’m always whipping up something new in the kitchen (check out all my new recipe index on the blog)
  • To  sow and grow more vegetables/herbs in the garden to save money
  • Learn more about passive income
  • To read a new personal finance book
  • Learn more about Search Engine Optimization and blogging and how to manage my blog.

 

Our long-term goals 2014

 

  • Finish renovating the entire kitchen
  • Finish renovating the entire master bathroom
  • Save for a holiday
  • Start planning basement renovations (bathroom, bedroom, family room, laundry room, office, storage area.
  • Look at new ways to invest our money ie: rental units
  • Continuing to educate ourselves on personal finance and investments
  • Continue to network with other like-minded people
  • Continue in my new career in hopes of it becoming long-term permanent

 

Our financial numbers

 

When budgeting anything is possible, we are proof of that although we still have a long way to go in our journey.

These are our numbers and our goals, not a means of comparison towards your own goals to others target goals.

We don’t care how much money others make or if they have a high net worth or if it is lower than ours as it’s not a competition.

I hope our experiences perhaps will help guide you along your financial path working towards debt freedom.

 

Different paths

 

Not everyone has the same path in life. Some of you may have had to start over like I did or go to school a second time and now have OSAP loans to pay back.

Others may have divorced, lost money in the stock market or other investments, lost a job, fell ill and so on but you can’t let that stop you, I didn’t.

Some of you may have been given trust funds, paid-for homes, paid educations or perks in life that give you a financial kick-start and that’s OK too. Remember what I said, “It’s not about how much money you make, it’s how you save it”.

Focus on you and don’t let the evil eye of money jealousy or keeping up with the Joneses cloud your vision. No one cares about your money as much as you do so don’t waste your energy trying.

The only reason people accumulate wealth is because they know how to save or invest it wisely even if they did inherit money or win the lottery.

The smallest improvements should mean big strides in working towards reaching your goals.

Sometimes we have to fail in order to learn and we’ve all been there. Money can be an evil force for some people especially those who are negative towards their own situation.

I urge you to be optimistic and little by little with determination you too should see improvements, that is if you want that to happen.

 

Our net worth

 

We are always looking for ways how to increase our savings and by tracking our net worth these numbers below show us how well we are doing in terms of meeting our target numbers or what areas we should put a bit more focus in.

 

net worth update February 2014

 

Net worth updates 2014

 

Below you can click the links to read past net worth updates to see if we were on target or if we struggled with some of our numbers.

 

 

networth feb proceeding 12 months

That’s all for this month’s Net Worth update. Check in at the beginning of April to see how we made out in March and what has happened to our finances since.

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Photo Courtesy of: Freedigitalphotos.net/Exodus