Postage stamps can hit the budget hard at Christmas: The Saturday Weekend Review #100

Canadian Permanent Stamps P

SENDING COSTS MORE THAN GIVING…   Postage stamps rise in price just as the gas prices do in Canada. The only difference is that gas actually goes down in price just like we’ve seen lately. You’ll never see that with postage stamps. You know it wouldn’t be so bad if we bought Hallmark greeting cards but when you shop for a greeting card at the dollar store and then stick on a stamp that’s worth almost the same it seems a bit much. Having friends all over the world seems that the cheapest route for us is using the internet to say, “Happy Birthday”, “Merry Christmas”, “Happy New Year”, “Happy Easter”, “Congratulations on your Wedding, Baby, Pet” etc. well, you get the point. Mind you we haven’t stopped sending cards but we have noticed the difference postage makes to our budget. I don’t miss opening a greeting card that comes in the post which eventually ends up being tossed in the garbage. My wife and I are always asking each other “How much is the price of a stamp?” but mostly for my International stamps. The permanent “P” Canadian stamp that we can buy means that even if prices go […]

British Sausage Rolls

British Sausage Rolls 1 wm

ROLL EM UP AND ENJOY!   There’s nothing more comforting than the British classic sausage rolls. These sausage rolls are so easy to make you won’t ever want to spend money in your grocery budget on over-priced frozen store-bought finger food again. This sausage rolls recipe always takes me back to the time of year where they are a staple at almost all parties and social gatherings in our family. Now that the Christmas holiday is right around the corner it’s crucial that I plan my grocery shops to include all of the staples to make my treats and appetizers. Our house is always busy at Christmas and New Year’s as I’m sure it is for most families and everyone has come to expect my decadent treats as well as my savory appetizers like these sausage rolls. It’s important for me to create lots of finger food recipes so there is always something ready for our guests to munch on. This time of year we always have guests coming and going, mum making her Christmas cakes, milk toffee and mincemeat pies. There’s never a dull moment in our household.   Sausage Rolls   Memories of gorgeous sausage rolls that are […]

grocery game monthly challenge

Do you engage in random chat at the grocery store? :The Grocery game challenge #5 May 26-June 1, 2014

woman random chat grocery store

FOOD IS A CONVERSATION PIECE   If you are a foodie the best random chat that you might ever get is while you grocery shop. I’m pretty sure that if you think back you can say that you’ve either learned something from simple random chat at the grocery store or you’ve taught someone something that they didn’t know. It’s amazing how people often look for someone to talk to while going up and down the aisles but it’s also apparently one of the best places to meet people and find true love. I don’t know how true that is but my wife said if you want to find a single woman looking to date go to the grocery store or pharmacy (just stay away from the “woman section” if you know what I mean, ha-ha). That doesn’t make for a very good conversation starter. If you are a woman looking for a date don’t miss out on dating opportunities with the best way to meet men being at Canadian Tire or any big box store. I had to laugh but maybe she is on to something. When I grocery shop I don’t tend to talk with strangers because if you […]

How we became mortgage free in five years

mortgage free seagull in blue sky

THE SECRET IS…THERE IS NO SECRET!   Becoming mortgage free is not an easy task so I won’t make it out to be something that it’s not. In fact many things have led to us becoming mortgage free in 5 years which I want to discuss with you today since many of you have emailed me. Ever since I blogged about wanting to pay off the mortgage early I’ve had fans email me wanting to know if there were any secrets. I thought I’d wait until we actually became mortgage free to fill you in just how we did it. No, we didn’t win the lottery or get money from family or friends we earned every last bit of it. If you read our net worth update for April last week you already know that we were excited to tell everyone that we were finally saying good-bye to the mortgage payment. I promised you I’d let you know what we did and what problems we met along the way. I thought the best way would be to get my good friend Michael Anthony Lloyd a mortgage expert who blogs at www.homehappy.ca and has blogged here before to share a bit […]

Scones with blackberry apple jam and whipped cream

luffy scones with jam and cream

INDULGE WITH THIS SIMPLE TREAT   Scones are one of my favourite treats and something my mum always had baking in the oven just about every week when I was growing up. Today is Mothering Sunday or what you call Mother’s Day here in Canada. My mum has already had her day at the end of April back home in the UK. I keep saying to my husband I should get two Mother’s Day celebrations but he just laughs at me. That’s fine, I don’t need a special day to know my family loves me.   Scones   Today I am going to share with you my mum’s fluffy scones recipe. I loved these English scones as a kid although we would always have to wait until they cooled before eating them with homemade jam. She would make individual scones or a big round scone that could be sliced into big triangles. It was a big bake that day if she was making scones it meant that somebody was visiting and she would be making pancakes and shortbread too. Needless to say I learned lots about baking from my mum because I was always willing to help her out in […]

Why you need to review automated bill payments: Our family budget April 2014

April-Monthly percentages pie chart

DOUBLE CHECK ALL OF YOUR BILLS   No matter what payment methods you choose to pay your bills with especially if it’s an automated bill payment you must review them. If we didn’t do just that with we would have paid around $594.96 extra per year for our auto insurance. I can think of many other areas of our finances where that money could be used. Whether you use a budget or a bill payment spreadsheet if you’re not careful you may be paying more for that automated bill payment like we just did. If it wasn’t for our budget and reading all of our bills and receipts we may not have caught the error. I know people who have any bill they possibly can set up so the bill payment is an automated bill payment directed that way mainly due to convenience. What is an automated bill payment? Well, it’s simple. It’s where you don’t have to do any of the work because the company that is billing you for a service they provided will debit your bank account for the amount of the bill. It’s that easy all you need to do is authorize that bill payment and […]

How to build a rock garden with weed prevention

rock garden plants hens and chickens

SAVE WITH ROCKS AND MULCH   A few years ago I travelled to England and my first comment when we arrived at our destination was where is all of the grass? Not one single house on the street had a lawn, rather they had a rock garden. I was informed that being in walking distance from the Irish Sea the drifting salt water made it difficult to have vegetation growing on their properties. Instead everyone had rock gardens. It looked great! Rock gardens   Rocks gardens can look nice in the beginning but that can change quickly especially if not prepared or maintained properly. It’s not too often that we see entire properties transformed into rock gardens in North America though many people do enjoy the style and natural touch they can add to their properties. Unfortunately, there are too many rock gardens that have been neglected or not installed well that are now overgrown and full of weeds, in some cases you are barely able to see the rocks or stones. Why would you consider building a rock garden? If a rock garden is properly prepared and installed, it can be a relatively low-maintenance required addition to your landscape […]