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 […]

The money-box inspired my passion for finance

The Money-Box

 SAVING MADE EASY    The money-box I had as a child is a memory that has inspired my love for finance which has continued to broaden as I get older. My post today is for financial literacy awareness hosted by The Heavy Purse blog. I’m participating with many other bloggers around the world sharing their Ah ha moment when it came to money at some point in their life. I was asked to remember my first Ah ha moment in my life when financial sense struck me. For me the money-box was key. Growing up in the UK for most of my life may differ from life in North America but saving money is universal. After looking back and remembering things from an early age, I can say without doubt that I’ve been careful with my money for a long time. The money-box  Even as a young child of roughly six, we got given pocket-money and mine went in the money-box I had. It was nothing special, just a standard looking cube with a coin slit in the top and a stopper in the bottom to get the money out. I was never happy spending it on things at the drop of a hat. […]

Do we ignore the poor people? : The Saturday Weekend Review #67

freebies with coupons canada

NOT SHY TO SPEAK UP BUT EASY TO IGNORE   Many of us have a helping hand when it comes to helping the poor by donating your time by volunteering, fund-raising etc. I watched this video this morning called “F the poor” which I will share with you below but what is ironic in the video is how people react to a strong message and what they consider to be powerful words. When people are on the streets going about their daily chores and actually see homeless poor people asking for help many turn a blind eye. No one asks to live in poverty yet circumstances are sometimes beyond our control. Some people even shake their heads in disgust and have nasty words to say like, “get a job” or calling the poor “lazy”. Most often it’s the opposite and they’d do anything for someone to reach out or recognize them. It’s true though, without a job how can you make any money? I can’t tell you what life is like being poor as I’ve never been there and I won’t even try to explain to you what emotions some must feel. I’m sure their motivation has decreased and they […]

Would you buy a jar of clean air? : PF Weekly grab a brew #67

chocolate covered cheesecake bites

IF THERE IS A BUYER IT WILL BE SOLD   There have always been odd products on the market that most of us shake our heads at but would you jump at the chance to buy air? I’m all for the entrepreneurial spirit and using your creative imagination to invent a product or service for the public in order to make a profit. Forget about encouraging your children to be young entrepreneurs selling just the obvious like lemonade or making their way to Dragons Den when you can score some big bucks selling air. (I’m just having a laugh… please do encourage your children’s creative side.) The most you have to pay for is the glass jar you store the air in and labelling because well, air is free as long as it is clean air. I know I’m having a laugh but really it’s true that not just one person but 3 people are selling air and making a nice profit from it.   Buy my air   That’s right I nearly fell off my seat this morning wih my coffee in hand when I read a Yahoo article about a male artist from Beijing who is protesting the […]

Easy juicy meat buns

Meat Buns

BATCH COOKING FOR EASY MEALS MADE SIMPLE   If you haven’t tried meat buns yet and you love hamburgers you must give these little packages of love a try. Last week I made those lovely steak bakes for you and this week something a wee bit different. Meat buns are a no fuss put together meal that can be made the night before or frozen for another day for a quick on the run meal. I’m always looking for easy meat recipes so family doesn’t have to have the same meals over and over again. What I like about these meat buns are that they are unique. The Japanese have something similar with their Japanese meat buns although I believe they are steamed buns. I’ve never had them before but I would like to one day. They are comparable to what a Cornish pasty is in the UK. If you haven’t had a Cornish pasty before you must try one. My friend over at Farmgirl Fare has an amazing recipe for Cornish pasties which are traditional and created by the one and only popular British Chef Jamie Oliver. I make my own as well and I’ll share that recipe with […]

Is customer service affected by the clothes you wear shopping? : The Saturday Weekend Review #65

Makinthebacon

IS YOUR MONEY GOOD ENOUGH?   I think just about everyone has had someone turn their nose up at them while shopping. If you are the owner of a business with employees who shy away from customers because of their look you might be losing tonnes of cash. When I read a story about customer service and how you might not get service if you look homeless or dressed like you just went for a run true scenarios starting running through my head.   Time to shop   The writer called the Fashionista dressed down in gym attire to go shopping at some of the most prestigious stores to explore a Harvard study. This was where a doctoral student and two professors found that shop assistants in Milan found that dressing down meant more buying power. Meaning that dressing in casual or gym attire might score you the best customer service. So, armed with her gym wear and looking neat and tidy with make-up and her hair nicely kept the Fashionista and her friend Jeremy went shopping. Jeremy was around more to watch from the sidelines what was going on and he was well dressed. To be honest I would […]

How my co-op program shaped my work ethics

Penguin by the pool

EXPERIENCE LASTS A LIFE-TIME   Co-op programs have been around for ages now and the kids that do get involved have for the most part come out from the placement with a positive learning experience. We’ve talked about career choices and how they should be your own and not up to your parents and taking advantage of any co-op program experience might be your ticket to self-learning. While relaxing a little last night and watching some programs that had been previously recorded the show “Undercover Boss Canada” came on. The television program is based on a British television show called “Back to the Floor” from a several years ago and encourages the Boss to get back to the nitty-gritty. The Undercover Boss segment in question was about the “Toronto Zoo” which in itself was very interesting but also made me think about my involvement in a ‘Work Experience‘ as we call it in the UK a ‘Co-op Program‘ in Canada when I was still in school.   Co-op program   What is a co-op program? Also known as co-operative education in Canada securing a co-op placement is a head start above the competition when it comes time to look for […]