How I keep my kids entertained for free

kids free playing in leavesFun Doesn’t Have to Cost a Dime


While I don’t mind paying for an experience with the kids the cost of entertainment can easily escalate taking more money out of your wallet and budget than you may actually be able to afford.

How many times have you gone somewhere and after snacks, amusement rides and souvenirs you have spent a lot more money than you anticipated beforehand?

No matter the season or the time of year having fun with your kids doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.

There are many things that you can do free of charge to keep your little kids occupied. These explorations will teach children life lessons or help them to expand their creative imagination while having some fun at the same time.

While you may not always have a souvenir the memories made and the bonding time between parents and kids will last longer than any souvenir you could buy.

While playing soccer, baseball and other sports with your kids is definitely time well spent explore your creative side and see what other ideas you can come up with.


Get Outdoors and Explore


There is so much to learn and explore when it comes to the great outdoors.

Remember we have washing machines for a reason and if our clothes didn’t get dirty what’s the point of having them?

Put on your rubber boots, get outside and enjoy the world!


Collect bugs


A plastic margarine container with a lid can be used for catching bugs, just don’t forget to poke a few holes in the lid.

Lifting up big rocks and broken branches will often expose a salamander or two. Remember not to keep them in the container for too long and return them back to their environment.


Take a hike


Go for a walk along nature trails or in a nearby forest or conservation area. You never know what nature has lurking behind the scenes for your children to see and explore. It also makes for good conversations amongst their friends the next day.


Bird watching

 kids free ducks

My grandpa was an avid bird lover and it is something that he passed on to my dad.

My kids like to go out and help fill the feeders and can now recognize a few different species of birds. They know the common Robins, Crows, Cardinals and Blue Jays but they also are able to point out what a Goldfinch is and can identify a hawk.

While I grew up with my dad and grandfather educating me about birds the internet can give  information and identifying characteristics that you can use to explore the many bird species with your kids.

Grab a pair of binoculars, a bird book or some internet print offs and go and see how many birds you can recognize together.

If you have a camera don’t be shy to bring it along because you never know if your little one enjoys capturing moments that will last a life-time.


Play I spy…nature edition


I don’t think this needs much explanation but it’s a great way to get the kids out and to give them a bit of exercise while having fun outdoors.


Plan a Scavenger hunt


Make a list ahead of time of things for the kids to find such as a red leaf, a plant with flat branches (Burning Bush), 2 different kinds of pine/spruce cones and an acorn.

Remember to always respect nature and not remove anything from a conservation area. This is a great time to teach your kids about respecting and taking care of our environment while enjoying some strong family bonding time.


Play in the rain


A rainy day can easily make for a depressing day for both parents and kids. Honestly are there any kids out there that don’t like to jump in puddles?

Dressing warm, rain boots and a rain coat can make for a fun rainy day provided there is no lightning or thunder.




I have always struggled to locate the Big Dipper while everyone else has no problem finding it.

There are various apps available if you own a smart phone that help you identify the different constellations.

If you own a telescope don’t be shy to bring it out at night and show your kids what lurks above in the midnight sky when the darkness falls upon us.

I look forward to doing this with my kids this summer.


Property Maintenance

 kids free gardening

Gardening, shovelling snow, cutting the grass (age appropriate, ear protection) is a great way to teach your children about gardening what you can do with seeds, soil and some garden tools.

Spring, summer and fall there is always some gardening that can be done whether it’s raking leaves for composting, pulling weeds or digging a new garden there is always something to do.

While pruning may not be age appropriate for young kids they often enjoy the clean up! Jumping into a pile of raked up leaves can create lots of jumping fun while knocking another chore off the to-do list.


Go to the Park

 kids free animal farm

While most cities have parks with playgrounds and plenty of space to run around some also have petting zoos and splash pads that are free to use or visit while the park is open.


Create something


Do a science experiment

Pinterest and other websites have endless ideas of home science experiments that you and your kids can do together. Whether it’s seeing how marshmallows react differently in various liquids or how to make an egg-shell disappear you can find just about anything online.


Invent something


Using old parts or things from around the house that you don’t need to create something new is fun for any kid. If you have just purchased a new dishwasher or washing machine and now money is tight, keep the box.

Anyone with kids knows that cardboard boxes are a favourite of kids. They can turn the box into a castle, doll house or fort and the kids will be overly joyed.




Let the kids help you create easy recipes such as cookies, a cake, anything. We fill plastic condiment dispensers with pancake batter and let kids create shapes in the frying pan (we do the flipping).

Make play dough or modelling clay from scratch, there are several DIY recipes available online and they are simple enough that the kids can help make it and then play or create with it after.


Make popsicles from scratch


Making homemade popsicles is often cheaper than buying a box from the store and can also be a lot healthier for your kids if you make them from fresh 100% juice or yogurt.

The kids then get to enjoy a special treat that they had a hand in making. Milkshakes and smoothies are also a hit in our house.

Let the kids choose from fruits/vegetables on hand so they can customize their own drink. You may have better luck having them finish it when they create it and less food waste.


Community events


Spend a few hours at the fire station

Every summer our local fire department has an open house at the main fire station in town. The kids get to climb up in the fire trucks as well as explore an ambulance and a police cruiser. Last year the kids even got to use a fire hose.

The kids had a great time learning about fire safety and exploring all the vehicles and left with a pile of stickers and colouring books and to top it off it was free.

While snacks and hotdogs were offered for sale there was no pressure to spend any money and the kids and myself had a great day.

My kids loved visiting the fire station where fire fighters would let them sit in their big fire engines and load them up with stickers, colouring books and other toys.


Go to the library


Check with your local public libraries to see what free reading programs they offer.

There are different programs for different age groups that include reading groups, story-time for all ages, puppet shows and more.

You could also check out how-to books so you and your kids can learn something new together. You may spark some sort of interest with your kids which might become a life-long hobby or expertise for your child. Let them explore their inner creativity.


Make a trip to the home renovation store


Home Depot and Lowe’s often offer free kids workshops on the weekends. Not only do they get to learn how to use basic tools but they also get to bring home a project that they have made.

Check out their websites for upcoming workshops in your local stores.




During Christmas, Thanksgiving, Canada Day or Victoria Day if there is a parade my kids want to go.

The marching bands are their favourite and they love to see all of the instruments. My uncle plays in one of the bands as well plus they love to dance.

They usually head home with some candy and a few colouring books which keeps them occupied for hours of fun.


Local festivals

 kids free sleigh ride

For Family Day this year the kids and I visited the local winter festival. Although it was cold outside we had a great time together as a family and it was free entertainment.

The kids got to go down an ice slide yet I have to admit it was also pretty cool to see some exceptional ice sculptures on site. It was also exciting for the kids to work on crafts and get their faces painted for free.

Many festivals whether they are seasonal or cultural in nature are held in many cities throughout the year often with free admission, a minimal fee or a food bank donation.

While fun, many of these festivals can be very educational for the entire family.


Around the house


Clean together

While cleaning may not sound like a lot of fun it certainly can be. I love spring cleaning.

I’ll be honest that I don’t overly enjoy the actual cleaning aspect of it but I love to see some of the unnecessary items go out the front door.

That’s the best part, downsizing what you no longer use to free up space in the house limiting clutter and dust.

I often hear my kids say ‘mom I don’t need this toy anymore can we give it someone else who can play with it?

We donate our stuff to charity but I like to get the kids involved having them help pick out the items they no longer need or use. There are many organizations such as a thrift store or church that would appreciate the donations.

Young kids also like to help out around the house because to them it is more fun than it is work. While we all hope our kids will grow up to continue helping with chores regardless teaching kids responsibility around the house at a young age is never a negative.

While our job as parents is to protect and provide for our children we are also their teachers. If you can make each day a fun learning experience that’s even better!


Make a Home Movie Theatre


Going to the movies is far from budget friendly these days but it’s not that expensive to create that experience right at home for less.

Putting on a movie, making popcorn and turning off the lights makes an at-home movie theatre very easy.

Not long ago I purchased popcorn cups from the dollar store so we could make our own theatre popcorn and the kids love it.

You can get movies from the thrift store, online, garage sales, borrow them, library or trade with your friends for free or very cheap.

You can’t compare the costs to going to a movie theatre even though it’s an experience for the child if the budget doesn’t allow for it, think outside the box.


Read a book


Reading a new book together or finding different ways to explore a familiar book, for example look for a different object or letter on each page/

You can go to the library and find books for free that your child likes and bring them home for free entertainment.


Do a puzzle


One of my favourite childhood memories is sitting around our living-room table with my sisters and my dad doing a puzzle for hours on end.

Our dad was known to stay up for a few hours after we would all go to bed to keep working on that puzzle.

Playing cards and board games with my family was always a great source of family entertainment at home. Skip Bo and Mad Gab were some of our family favourites.

My dad often plays dominoes with my kids and my 5 year old son usually wins. He loves to play with Grandpa and even more so that he can beat him every time.

While turning on the television is an easy way to occupy the kids watching too much of it is not a good thing. I limit the time my children watch television because I don’t want them to miss out what our world has to offer.

Something as simple as building a paper airplane and seeing who can fly theirs the farthest can really make a kid’s day. The list of other things you can do with a little creativity is endless.

What other activities can you add to this list of free things to do with your kids?




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Photo Credit: All belong to Katrina and may not be used without permission. Please see disclaimer.

Free love with a post-it note no calendar required- The Saturday Weekend Review #59

I love you pink post-it noteLOVE DON’T COST A THING


The written form of love even on a post-it note is easy on the wallet and the heart will embrace your uniqueness.

Not everyone is comfortable sharing their feelings so writing them down is a great way to express love.

No, I’m not busting out into the Jennifer Lopez tune telling the world to put the money away because it’s not what love is all about, but in a way I am.

I’m sure you’ve heard enough about Valentine’s Day and how much money men and women spend around the world for this one day every year.

Sickening really, to see how we put a date on love and romance when every day should be filled with expressions of love.

I wasn’t going to write anything about Valentine’s Day this year because, frankly I didn’t have anything to say that I hadn’t said before.

Related: Budgeting for Love on Valentine’s Day

I was contacted by The Brighter Life who wanted my Valentine’s Budget ideas so I fired them off in an email and they shared my thoughts on their website yesterday for the world to see.

You will notice none of it entails spending money on going out, roses or chocolates. Rather, I aim to keep it simple because I enjoy sharing love with my wife every single day of the year.

You don’t need to buy love nor do you have to feel obligated to rush out and purchase something just because everyone else is doing it.


Post-it note


While reading my morning dose of Yahoo news today an article caught my eye. It is about a man Jess Hale who lives in Kansas that started a 100 day project of writing his wife free love letters on post-it notes, sticky-notes whatever you want to call them.

Why stop at 100 days when you could do it all year-long, no calendar required?

Day 22 You are the reason couch manufacturers designed snugglers

What a brilliant idea and I know if my wife read that she would push me in that direction because she is a visual type person. She likes to create memories through photographs and feeds her heart through word and touch, so loving her is very easy.

This man has got it right and I’m sure his wife is loving every post-it note.

I think we over-think what love is supposed to be when love really should be natural, do what your heart tells you to do and that doesn’t always mean spending money. That wears off, trust me.


Love on social media


It was great seeing all the love on my Facebook page yesterday and although no one is perfect when it comes to love, it’s about learning and growing with someone you are compatible with.

More importantly wasn’t the photos of the flowers I saw but what was written. It is the written word that keeps card shops in business but if we dig deep inside our hearts we can do just the same for free.

Free love on post-it notes, all-year long. The best part is you can read them over and over and they won’t die or end up flushed down the toilet.


Meaning of love


Being in love to me is a connection with someone who understands you and can hold your hand through any storm. It is also someone you feel comfortable with, who is your best friend and lover at the same time. You have no fear telling them your darkest secrets because you know they won’t bite you rather support you.

It’s about all the little things like a kiss on the forehead, holding hands or doing things together that you both enjoy like walks in the park or road trips to sight see. The love letters even if written on post-it notes or scrap paper will create memories that will last a life-time.

My wife really likes the love letters and she should because they are free just like Jess Hale says and it shares your inner most feelings with someone about them. Saying you are in love is big business and for those that are true romantics say it because they mean it.

You can buy all the Hallmark cards you want but nothing says I’m in love with you than the written word followed by actions of being in love.

I love being in love just like the next person and trust me when I say you know when you are in love because you feel it. You can’t stop thinking about that person and all you want to do is make them happy even if they are a million miles away.

Happy doesn’t have to cost money either. Happiness should come simple and easy and when I read this story it made me realize that my wife really is someone who is simple when it comes to love because she embraces the world like nature.

Just like most woman a man loves to read about love even if they claim they don’t, they do. Most men love being in love and they want to hear from the person they are in love with and what they have to say.

It goes both ways in love, it’s never one-sided.

Never let the flame die because once it’s gone it may just become a memory. It’s hard to have someone you are in love with find that special place again but if it’s meant to be it will be just don’t push it in the wrong direction for no reason.

Using a post-it note love system is a great idea and maybe an important message to send to all those couples out there who are in relationships.

Money and debt may be a huge reason why relationships fail but that’s also followed by falling out of love with the person you claim to be in love with because you gave up or got too comfortable with them.

Never give up.

IF all it takes is a minute to write a quick love message on a post-it note every single day then you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Like a photograph that stands out in your mind forever so do the words of love that live in your heart.

Now, let’s hit the dollar store and load up on those post-it notes, shall we?

How do you keep the romance alive in your relationship?


Canadian Budget Binder this week


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


CBB at home and the blog


Not too much going on this week except I was being a nosey neighbour and went to an open house with my wife down the road.

The house was a flip so I wanted to see the kind of workmanship that went into 3 months of house flipping. To say I was shocked and surprised is about right. The materials they used were top of the line for the most part and the kitchen was amazing with quartz counter-tops and dark wood cabinets.

The railings were new and also a dark solid wood with wrought iron that were stunning. When I got down on the ground though it was all the things behind the prettiness that makes me wonder.

I could easily see where corners were cut and they did cheap out on some things just to get the job done. I’m going to start the renovations on this house so I don’t want to over-renovate our home so seeing what’s in the neighbourhood is important to me.

The house is on a decent lot and was selling for over $600,000 although it is a bit bigger than ours. It’s about 600 sq. feet bigger upstairs with a larger basement so we should be ok with what we want to do.

Sometimes spending more money on your home than what others in your neighbourhood are doesn’t always net you the best return so take caution.

Other than that it’s almost time to get the garden seeds going, how about you? I’m sure Katrina will have lots of great landscaping and gardening tips for us all summer long.

Are you excited to get rid of this snow, I know I am. I’ve had just about enough of it.


Fan deals and inspirations


fan deals Facebook auction

Submit your Brag or Inspiration If you have a brag that you want me to share email me at canadianbudgetbinder (@) [yahoo] [.ca] or fill out my contact form by Friday each week to have your brag considered for the Saturday post.

This week CBB fan Jen Peacock shares how Facebook can save you money with online-auctions.

Here is my organizational deal:
  • Little Tikes toy chest bought from a local Facebook auction site: $19 (retail unknown but newer versions are approx. $80)
  • Shelf with bins bought from a local Facebook for sale site: $25 (retail on sale at Canadian Tire $39.99)
Now Adam’s toys are organized!  (the Little Tikes bin is FULL of Mega Blocks that I got at a garage sale for FREE!)


Making a difference


If you know a personal finance blogger that is making a difference and want to nominate them please send me an email so I can reach out to them for a feature story.

Note: If you are a blogger who gives back and would like to be featured by all means get in touch with me as I am filling spots up for the rest of 2014 and they are going quickly.

Problem:  I had a Blog all lined up for today however the document sent over was corrupt so I couldn’t load it to the computer. If you are sending over a write-up for Making a Difference simply send it in an email. :) Hopefully we can have her blog photo and write-up ready to go for next Saturday.

If you want your blog featured email me now!


What is a blog carnival?


Some fans have asked me “what is a blog carnival?” so a little explanation is due here for anyone reading for the first time or for my long-time fans.

A blog carnival is where a blog or website hosts what we call a carnival of blog posts from around the web. Most blog carnivals have a theme and certain rules for submitting which must be followed.

If you are a blogger and would like to learn what blog carnival directories I submit to each week you can find the information in a previous Saturday Weekend Review post that I wrote.


Carnival glory


A big thanks to these pages for accepting my blog posts and sharing them in the following carnivals and/or sharing my blog posts with their fans.


Google search terms



Every week I get thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog.

Here are a few of my favorite searches that may have even brought you here and you’re reading this, right now.

  • How to pay off $100,000 in one year?- Either you better have a huge salary, win the lottery or have wealthy friends and relatives who don’t want you to pay them back.
  • Snow storm meals- That’s new to me…. I wonder what they cook when it rains?
  • Imagine Dragons Net worth- Nope, won’t find that here. Amazing how people want to know how much others have.
  • Canadian Budget Binder Retirement plan- I don’t think I’ve really put a plan out there for all of you yet
  • Sexy Men’s kitchen tool- I can only imagine


That’s all for this week’s edition of The Saturday Weekend Review #59- Free love with a post-it note no calendar required.

Have a great week and catch me here again next Saturday with more updates.



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 Photo Credit: StuartMiles/





Not everything online is free for the taking: PF Weekly Grab a brew #59

grab-a-brew-online-reviewASK BEFORE YOU TAKE


Be careful what you post online because someone might just think they can use it for free.

In fact, it’s true many people do share information online but fail to credit the original owner.

Granted, mistakes happen.

Could you imagine pouring your heart and soul into a work of art or a hobby of yours online only to have someone take it and use it to make a profit?

They are making money… yes dollars off of your skill. I read somewhere once that if you have a skill and are good at it don’t do it for free.

What happens if someone just takes it though? You go after them, that’s what you do. Is it worth it to you though? That’s your decision.

So why is it ok that someone thinks they can take something that a skilled person created and posted online and use it to make money for themselves? Greed? Maybe.


Protect your stuff


It happens all the time and it’s why I always suggest to try to protect any work that you put online so you have proof that you are the original owner of that work. The same goes for recording artists or people who write and sing their own songs but aren’t famous. Protect your work.

Many photographers for example post photos online and for the most part people don’t know and take photos and use them for their own purpose. Especially on Facebook if the photographer is an amateur or isn’t a professional photographer and does it as a hobby.

That means they didn’t plan to make any money from their photos but someone else might have the bright idea to take that photo and do just that, because they think they can.

Sometimes they even say that they took the photos themselves and take the credit for the work, that is wrong.  You don’t need me to tell you that but what I do suggest is to try to protect what you own online so no one knicks it, in other words steals it.


Making others rich


When reading Yahoo Finance news like I do every Friday morning I was intrigued by an article that spoke of a an artist Kal Barteski from Winnipeg who runs an online website where she shares her art work.

Online marketing of your work is a great way to network and make a name for yourself. Eventually someone may want to pay for your work and that is essentially the name of the game for many artists online.

A friend of hers who was shopping and clearly knew all of her work spotted a handbag at a J.C Penny shop in Florida with a photo on it that was identical to her friends art work.

She took a photo and sent it off to her friend who hoped it was a copy but discovered it was not. This happens all the time and most times artists don’t know their work is stolen and used to make a profit.

How do you protect yourself and your online work from being used to make money? You should be making the money or least a profit in the deal shouldn’t you?

Not everyone is smart enough to know the ins and outs of what you can and can’t use from the internet but generally speaking if it’s not yours ask if you can use it and at least share who the owner of the photo is and or link back to them.

You can watermark your online work for free at PicMarkr and many programs can watermark but even that can get snipped off.

It’s best to slam the watermark right in the centre of your photo if you can without compromising the look of the photo. Normally I just use the bottom left or right but lately have seen others putting it right in the centre of the photo.

Personally, I don’t like to see the watermark in the middle but if you can hide it well it might not be that bad. Always having the original of your work helps so keep a copy of everything you own.

The artist tracked down the company in Montreal, The Aldo Group which many know of the Aldo store in many malls among other names offered her a payout for using the artwork without her permission.

I agree though that many people who are active online have no idea when they take things for their own use that it’s wrong.

Many people might laugh at that and say it’s common sense but we all know what’s common to one person isn’t to another.

What I was told when I started blogging was to add a copyright/disclaimer to my blog telling people they can’t take my personal photos or my work to use without my permission although not everyone reads the fine print.

How many times have we talked about the fine print here at CBB on a number of issues and it’s reality that many people don’t spend the time to learn about what they can and can’t do especially when they sign on the dotted line.

In the end Kal got her point across and it made some waves online and hopefully it sends the message to people to ask before you take because not everything online is free.

If you do make an error, correct that error immediately and credit the person before you end up in a lawsuit that you might struggle to win.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!



Top recipe


red velvet cupcakes with oreo cream cheese frosting

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

This week that recipe goes to Jamie Sherman who runs the online foodie blog called “Love Bakes Good Cakes” where she shared these beautiful Red Velvet Cupcakes with an Oreo Cream cheese Frosting for Valentine’s Day. Enjoy!


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.

Plcanadian-finance-blogs-2014ease VOTE!- Canadian Budget Binder… it takes a second!

It’s that time of year again where Jeremy over at Modest Money is holding his Top Canadian Finance Blogger 2014 Poll again. Please if you are a fan head over and VOTE Canadian Budget Binder~

All the rules are in his post. It’s a simple vote though. Thank-you in advance to all of you that do vote for this small personal finance blog that brings Canadians together like family to talk about issues that are near and dear.

Well, that’s a wrap for this Friday’s grab a brew #59 so happy budgeting and I’ll see you here again next week when I do it all over again.



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What is a high net worth?: January 2014 Net Worth Update

high net worth money growsBELIEVE IN YOUR OWN WORTH


If you believe you have a high net worth that means you have likely achieved many of the goals you have set out for yourself financially. That’s great.

Nothing happens over night unless you win the lottery or something extraordinary happens in your life financially.

For most people we put a little bit of money in the buck and hope that it continues to grow into our retirement years so we  have something to look forward to.


High net worth


What is a high net worth?

It’s all relative to what your income might be, your savings ability, your debt load, your investments, your age etc. Sometimes we hear that our net worth is high but really it may be high to someone else but not to us because our goals are set and we are aiming to achieve them.

When I think high net worth I think being able to live comfortably for the rest of my life being able to do the things that I want to during retirement. I’m working hard now to make sure that the money is there so we don’t have to worry.

Not everyone will look at our net worth as being high, we don’t in comparison to our long-term goals. We look at other couples who are similar in age and have what we believe is a high net worth but comparing your net worth will never work.

I wrote a post once about how comparing your financial numbers is a big but for the sake of argument an measure to see how others in your age group may be doing. Everything in your financial bank depends on your life.

In essence, we all have our own personal beliefs of what a high net worth is and what will make us sleep better at night.

In fact, some people could care less what their net worth is and would rather just track how much actual cash they have in the bank. They feel that anything other than cash could sink in a heartbeat so it’s not money in your hands until it’s real money in your bank account.

Whether net worth is important to you is for you to decide no matter what way you look at it. What you set as a high net worth or a long-term goal is financially is set by the way you choose to live your life and how you use your finances.

It’s your money at the end of the day and if you want to have more, then make your money work for you.

However you choose to do that just know that everything that deals with money comes with risk. Money can come in one door and out the other in an instant.

What is a high net worth to you?


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)




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.



As you will have noticed by now, there are two graphs this month. This is intentional and is all part of the changes that happened at the end of year 2013 and beginning of 2014.

The first table shows the increases in Net Worth as per usual. January was a good month with a helping hand from a falling dollar which increased the part of our net worth currently held in UK Sterling.

The second table shows exactly the same amount of changes with the addition of a reduction in vehicle values. As almost all cars depreciate in value, then it was always going to be inevitable that I would have to reflect it in the net worth statement sooner or later.

We have also increased the house value due to smaller houses on the same street going for a figure of $349,000 on a fairly regular basis with no signs of trouble.

This news is fantastic, but I have gone ahead and shaved off 10% as that is what is suggested the housing market is over valued at.

This new net worth figure of $565,306.28 will now be used as our base figure for the forth coming year.

If at any point the housing market crashes, then an appropriate figure will be replacing this new house value.


Net worth updates 2013-2014


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-2014-proceeding- 12-months

There are two Jan 2014 bars in the above chart, they represent the two increases posted above in the two tables. The first Jan 2014 figure is the normal increase in net worth and the second illustrates the increase in house value and depreciation in vehicle value.



Are You New To Canadian Budget Binder?

Photo Courtesy of:

PF Weekly grab a brew #53: Free excel budget template takes off for 2014

grab-a-brew-online-reviewBUDGET ON THE BRAIN?


Unlike New Years diet and exercise videos, budgeting your finances doesn’t have to be painful.

Having only enjoyed two days of the New Year I have noticed a common influx from viewing site statistics.

My Free Excel Budget Templates for creating your own budgets have been popular to say the least.

There is no better time than right now to start your budget and for some eager viewers, they have wasted no time in showing that.

The beginning of the year is the best time to start your new budget if you’re already familiar with them or to start your first budget from scratch.


A reason to budget


For some people January bills can be daunting especially after the holiday period. I’m sure there’s always some items you bought before Christmas in the grand hopes of using them and yet failed to utilise them.

I’ve done it a few times, I just learned and moved on. That’s what budgeting is all about, learning where your money goes and then correcting the situation. Information is the best tool you have and only you have all the information to start your own budget spread sheet.


Being on a budget is good for you


As you may have read from one of my recent posts we will not be changing the grocery budget and we we’re spot on for the year. We have honed down our budget to work for us and at a good degree of accuracy.

Our January bills will be in the post-box with everybody else’s, but we have budgeted the money we make to have those bills paid as soon as they arrive.


Kick-start your finances


I created a budget for our household and then proceeded to create an ongoing Excel Spreadsheet to contain all the information we enter into it. This in turn then generates meaningful figures and facts about our monthly and yearly expenses and what money we have left over for investing and fun.

You may say it all sounds a little boring and tedious but bear with me. If you want to take control of your finances then this is the year to do it.

Stop procrastinating and read our budgeting series and then download the Free Excel Budget Spreadsheet that is right for you.


Our Budgeting Series


  1. How We Designed Our Budget Step 1- Gathering All the information
  2. How We Designed Our Budget Step 2- Categories
  3. How We Designed Our Budget Step 3- Tracking Receipts
  4. How We Designed Our Budget Step 4- Note-taking
  5. How We Designed Our Budget Step 5- 5S Organization
  6. How We Designed Our Budget Step 6- Who Does What and When?
  7. How We Designed Our Budget Step 7- Balancing Our Budget
  8. How We Designed Our Budget Step 8- Knowing our Coupon Savings
  9. How We Designed Our Budget Step 9- Reading Our Bills
  10. How We Designed Our Budget Step 10- Projected Expenses


Top recipe



Every day Food Bloggers from around the world pass by my other love the Free Recipe Depot Facebook page to share a daily recipe which I share with my fans.

This weeks festive Top Recipe comes from a blog called “Kitchen Dreaming” run by two lovely ladies whom have been featured here before. I just love their food and they never cease to amaze me. When I went searching for a top recipe today I wanted to find a  hot bowl of something. When I found their Meatball Vegetable Soup, I knew this was the recipe for me.


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 over the past week with all of you so please enjoy my top picks.

Well, that’s a wrap for this Friday’s grab a brew #53 so happy budgeting and I’ll see you here again next week when I do it all over again.

-Mr. CBB


Are You New To Canadian Budget Binder?


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