• Goals Review: July 2014

    new goals



    My only goal for July was the Summer Spending Shutdown.

    No Spending on:

    • Clothes
    • Personal Care (unless 100% required)
    • Home decor
    • Cut down even further on eating out (can’t guarantee 100%)

    I was not allowing myself to put any non-reimbursable purchases on my credit card.

    Well, this is a FAIL.

    I was doing really well up to last week – spending under $100 per week! Last week I needed new sandals for work (last pair broke beyond repair), so I went to Mark’s because they had a clearance sale. Well, I didn’t find any sandals I liked/fit but I did find sweaters! 3 sweaters and $60 later and I fail my shopping ban/goal for July! Then I still had to buy sandals! Oh, and I put both of these purchases on my credit card … FAIL :(

    So, I have the same goal for next month and to accomplish this I’m leaving my credit card at home. Therefore, no temptation to spend more than what is in my bank account. Also, gotta stay out of stores! I did really well until I needed shoes.

    I know so many PF bloggers out there are so good at shopping with lists, going into a store with a sole purpose in mind, and only buying what they came in for. I wish I was like this. Temptation gets to me more than I would like. Also, sale and clearance are still triggers for me. If I want to save more and get out of this vicious credit card cycle, I have to say no to myself, I have to stop spending!

    How did you do on your July goals?

    Until next time,

  • Weekly Spending: July 21-27

    spending new 2


    7/21 – $13.98 (debit – David’s Tea) + $26.96 (debit – Bulk Barn) = $40.94

    7/22 – No Spend!

    7/23 - $8.80 (debit – lunch) + $1.80 (debit – Timmies) = $10.60

    7/24 – $7.35 (debit – dinner)

    7/25 – $8.42 (debit – breakfast for me and T) + $2.26 (debit – drink) + $47.45 (credit – Shoe Company) + $61.73 (credit – Mark’s) = $72.41

    7/26 – $20.33 (debit – pet food) + $7.20 (debit – coffees for me, T, and his Mom) + $44.03 (credit – Rexall) = $71.56

    7/27 – $19.90 (credit – book)

    Total: $222.76

    Well, this certainly was a spectacular end to my under $100 streak! Not only did I spend over $200 but I blew my spending ban out of the water. I needed new shoes for work (sandals) as the ones I had been wearing for 3 years (I was hoping for 1 more year) broke and there was no way to fix them :(

    This lead to going shopping. Mark’s was having a clearance sale so I figured I could find a good deal on work sandals, I didn’t find any I liked/fit well, but I did find 3 sweaters :( 2 of them were 70% off and will be good for all seasons and the other one more for summer/fall.

    I also used my credit card as I had moved a lot of money into savings, leaving me a bit short to go shopping – probably should have been the signal to stop spending right?

    Next month, the credit card is staying at home at all times, I promise!

    Anyways, things are looking better for this week, we have a better meal plan in place and no plans to go shopping.

    How was your week of spending?

    Until next time,

  • Does Pinterest Make You Spend More?



    Like most females these days, I have a Pinterest account. Hubby hates Pinterest, he says that it causes people to spend more because they see what everyone else has and then they want to buy it.

    I am a very visual person, it helps me to see things not just told or explained. When I was getting married in 2012, Pinterest was my best friend, it was like I had a 5th bridesmaid ;)

    But does having Pinterest really cause people to spend more?

    Yes, I’ve gotten lots of home decor ideas from Pinterest but we’ve been quite modest in our upgrades to the house (in my opinion anyways). Its more about future ideas, but I’m also sold on the idea of saving up for things before spending the money.

    For example, here’s pretty much my ideal laundry room:

    Credit: http://www.homewithbaxter.com/2013/05/house-tour-week-5-half-bathlaundry-room.html

    Our actual laundry room doesn’t look like this at all! Well, we have the new laundry pair but I’m seriously jonesing for a folding table. I hate wrinkly clothes!

    I also pin a lot of DIY ideas and I’ve only made a few things from this category. Home-made body scrubs? Yes, please!

    Credit: http://www.theidearoom.net/2009/03/make-your-own-brown-sugar-scrub.html

    One category I think Pinterest has really helped us save money in is food. I’ve pinned over 300 recipes! And yes, I’ve actually made some of them! (It seems this almost never happens to most people who use Pinterest).

    Here’s one I tried last week: Iced Chai Tea Latte like Starbucks!

    iced latte

    Starbucks Iced Chai Tea Lattes cost almost $5 for a large/grande!!! When I realized it was just concentrated chai tea, sugar, and milk it really made me feel like a sucker that I had paid so much for them in the past! These turned out pretty good :)

    These are really good and healthy too (and great for the summer when you don’t want hot oatmeal): Easy Refridgerator Oatmeal


    I made this for lunches this week, and I’ll admit that it tasted really good: Milestone’s Grilled Chicken Salad

    salad 2_2

    We short-cuted a bit by using Asian Sesame dressing then adding the peanut butter, soy sauce, and chili sauce (instead of buying rice vinegar and honey). Still really good. T and I love this salad and get it (almost) everytime we eat at Milestones. At $16 a pop though, its much cheaper to eat it at home! Oh, and much healthier: while I haven’t done the exact calculations for our at home recipe, I recently discovered that the Milestone’s version has over 1000 calories and 82 grams of fat!!! Crazy!

    I’m actually eating this for lunch right now (as I write this post!): Greek Tortellini Salad


    We’ve made this anytime we feel like tacos/burritos, and not only does it save money since we can use bulk seasonings, its way less in sodium: DIY Taco Seasoning

    Ever since I found this recipe, its a staple in our lunches. Store-bought granolas bars are so expensive! And not always all that good for you. Again, with all ingredients bought at the bulk store, this recipe is way more cost-effective: No Bake Energy Bites


    Recipes can also be a great gift! I made this for a friend once: Make Your Own Flavored Butters


    I’ve also made dozens of cookies for family/friends/co-workers. Way too many recipes to list here! But this one is a big hit over Christmas: Peppermint Sugar Kiss Cookies (I never made the hats though, that looks like a lot of work!)


    I’ve also made this one for a joke party: Unicorn Poop Cookies

    unicorn poop








    So, while I think that maybe I’ve spent a bit more money on things I never would have thought of before pinterest existed I feel that overall, Pinterest has helped me save money.

    How about you? Do you have Pinterest? Do you think it causes you to spend more or to save money?

    Until next time,

  • Weekly Spending: July 14-20

    spending new 2


    7/14 – $5.35 (cash – breakfast)

    7/15 – $2.30 (cash – breakfast) + $4.61 (debit – cough lozenges) = $6.91

    7/16 – $13.28 (debit – lunch) + $11.30 (debit – tea tree oil) + $22.44 (debit – cough syrup and sinus pills) = $47.02

    7/17 – $5.60 (debit – lunch) + $2.26 (cash – dollarstore) = $7.86

    7/18 – $10.72 (debit – lunch) + $20.00 (cash – drinks and snacks for me and T at baseball game) = $30.72

    7/19 – No Spend!

    7/20 – No Spend!

    Total: $97.86

    Wow, another under $100 week! I have to admit that I’m surprised because it felt like I was bleeding money last week.

    T was sick over the weekend so we didn’t do a good job of meal planning/grocery shopping and it shows. Also, when I’m sick (mid-week) I only feel like eating soup so it derailed some of the meals we did plan (and the leftovers they generate). We also ran out of everything we need for a cold right when we both got hit by one (typical) and that stuff ain’t cheap.

    I also bought some tea tree oil as per The Asian Pear’s recommendation. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to be affective on the seborrheic dermatitis that I have :( But its still a good antiseptic and pimple eraser so its not money wasted but maybe didn’t need to be spent right now. Oh well.

    How was your week of spending? Don’t summer colds suck?!?!

    Until next time,


  • Quick Update

    Just a quick update. I’ve been pretty sick this week and its been a crappy week overall.

    I’ve updated my Savings sidebars as yesterday was payday. This is a 3 pay month for me (woohoo) and this cheque is the one I’m calling the “bonus” cheque. I was able to replace the funds I took out of my planned spending (a/c repair) and still made my regular savings amounts.

    As long as no other unplanned expenses pop-up this month (*knock on wood*) I will be making my savings goal for this month (and then some). Yippee!

    Ok, just gotta get rid of this dang cold!

    Have a great weekend, everyone!

    Until next time,

  • Weekly Spending: July 7-13

    spending new 2


    7/7 – No Spend!

    7/8 – $5.20 (cash – snack for me and T)

    7/9 - $1.30 (cash – breakfast)

    7/10 – $3.05 (cash – breakfast) + $56.00 (credit – dinner for me and T) = $59.05

    7/11 – No Spend!

    7/12 – $30.10 (debit – LCBO)

    7/13 - No Spend!

    Total: $95.65

    Happy this week was another under $100 but not happy about eating out so much and having to use my credit card. I had too much come out of my first of the month paycheque leaving me a bit short in my chequing account but there shouldn’t be any problem to pay that off immediately using the next paycheque.

    Since next paycheque is considered a “bonus” cheque (i.e. 3 pay month and this cheque doesn’t have mortgage payment on it), I want to be able to leave myself a little bit extra so I don’t have to lean on my credit card anytime an expense is a little bit more than budget. I also have to save as much as possible from this cheque because I had to use my savings to pay for an unexpected problem with the a/c at our house :( Oh well, at least it came from savings and not debt.

    How was your week of spending?

    Until next time,

  • Spending Reports – 2014 Q2 and Mid-Year

    quarterly budget report


    Here’s the gruesome numbers from Q2 2014:

    Q2 2014


    As you can see, I’ve been overspending :( $-128.62 per month on average. This definitely needs to change! I’m supposed to be saving more, not spending more now that I have no debt!

    I feel that there has been some improvement in the eating out category but still not within in the budget I set out (which is still too high in my opinion!) But the worst categories were definitely Personal Care, Home, and Clothes. Hence my self-imposed shopping shut-down for the summer. I think I’ve spent pretty much my yearly allotments in each of these categories.

    For those of you who loves charts, here’s one of my major spending categories (Excel changed the %s slightly so that it added up to 100% even though it was over 100%).

    chart Q2 2014


    And here’s how I’ve done this year so far:

    mid year 2014


    The picture is a little better here. I spent less in Q1 than Q2 (other than eating out, it seems). The same categories remain a problem: Personal Care, Home, and Clothes (clothes – to a lesser extent over the full year, so far).

    And here’s the corresponding pie chart:

    mid year 2014


    A little bit more in line with Gail’s recommended budget (Household 35%, Debt 15%, Life 25%, Savings 10%, Transportation 15% – I include transportation into household). But I want debt to be at 0% and savings at least 30%. I’m ok with having my life be higher than 25%. As long as I have no debt I can include a chunk of the money I could spend on debt and transportation on life. Considering transportation could be 15% on its own but I include it in household and that category isn’t 35% is nice. It means T and I didn’t overspend on our house and have been keeping a good eye on the bills.

    I just have to watch the spending creep and keep my eyes on the prize (aka saving) and I should be doing well for the end of the year.

    How has your spending been so far this year? Can you believe 2014 is half over already?!?!?

    Until next time,

  • Weekly Spending: June 30 – July 6

    spending new 2


    6/30 – $3.25 (cash – breakfast) + $1.00 (cash – milk) + $10.00 (cash – dinner) = $14.25

    7/1 – $35.00 (cash – dinner for me and T)

    7/2 – No Spend!

    7/3 – No Spend!

    7/4 – $26.72 (debit – dinner for me and T)

    7/5 – No Spend!

    7/6 – $7.21 (debit – snack at Panera)

    Total: $83.18

    Not too bad, under $100 is pretty good, I think with 3 no spend days :)

    Of course, the bad part is eating out. But I’m happy to report we have eaten at home every meal since Sunday and we still have left-overs and a plan for the rest of the week.

    How was your week of spending?

    Until next time,

  • Monthly Goals Review: June 2014

    new goals


    Goals for June 2014

    • Stay out of debt – PassI had a small balance left over ($245) at the end of the month, was cleared with first paycheque in July.
    • Save at least $1,000 (and leave it in the accounts!)  – FAILSaved $720.35 in June. But I did leave it all in their accounts.
    • Spend under $200 on eating out – CHECKSpent $164.02
    • Make meal plans AND post them to the blog, then do a weekly write up on when we fell off the meal plan and why – CHECKWe did pretty well on meal planning and sticking to it this month, which helped keep the eating out spending on budget.
    • Do at least one INSIDE the house project – FAILYeah, didn’t get around to this, and since I’ve put myself on a spending lock-down, don’t see it happening anytime soon.
    • Complete at least 3 books - CHECKFinished “The Forgotten Queen” by D.L. Bogdan (about Margaret Tudor, sister to Henry VIII and Queen of the Scots), “The Queen of Last Hopes” by Susan Higginbotham (about Queen Margaret of Anjou, wife of Henry V), and “The 100″ by Kass Morgan (I got hooked on the TV show about post-apocalyptic teenagers trying to see if Earth is re-inhabitable after 300 years living in space).
    • Do something physical at least 4x per week – Pass - I would say it was closer to 3x per week than 4 but we went on lots of walks and bike rides – some were really challenging trails! I want to get back to going to aquafit then I think it’ll be easy to reach 4 days.

    I did OK in June (on these goals, my other spending was atrocious!) If we can continue doing well on the eating out and do well on exercising we should be in good shape by the time we hit the streets in NYC in September. We just gotta keep it up and not let the laziness of summer creep in ;)


    Goals for July 2014

    • Don’t spend any money (unless 100% emergency or needed) in the following categories: clothes, personal care, home decor
    • Don’t spend any money (unless 100% emergency or reimburseable) on my credit card
    • Save at least $1,000 and keep the money in their accounts
    • Complete at least 2 books
    • Do something physical at least 3x per week

    Keeping it fairly easy going in July other than the first 2 goals as those are going to be challenging enough!

    How did you do on your June goals? What are your goals for July?

    Until next time,

    HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY to my American Readers!

  • Monthly Budget Update: June 2014

    monthly new



    Here’s how I did in June

    (spoiler alert, I did awful!) :(

    June 2014 Final


    Let’s see … EVERYTHING!!! Ok, not everything, but lots of budget areas were overspent this month, and for the first time this year, I officially spent more money than I made :( 

    P.S. I have paid off my credit card using today’s paycheque, so I’m not in debt! Woohoo :)

    It seems that I had been overstating my income for the last few months (not 100% sure how that happened, I thought for sure I changed it when I signed up for my buyback). I’ve now changed the income to what I’m actually bringing in. No more “I’m richer than I think”.

    Personal Care – Umm, I bought a whole new face cleansing “system” (is that the right word?) i.e. cleanser, scrub, mask, toner, and moisterizer from Vichy so that costed a pretty penny but I’ve been happy with the results so far. Also, I bought some trail sizes of a few different brands of makeup from Sephora and I’ve been testing them out. Once I decide which brand I like best, I will buy the full sized, either in NYC or later in the year. Oh, I also ran out of shampoo, body wash and razors this month.

    Home – bought a lamp for the backyard.

    Clothes – bought quite a few summer wardrobe items (3 pairs of capris, 4 shirts, and 2 cardigans). I now feel that my summer wardrobe is done.

    Entertainment – bought tickets to a musical (Monty Python’s “Spamalot”) and to the Toronto Zoo (haven’t gone to the zoo yet). Plus netflix, movie rental, going to the movies, e-books, etc

    Debt – repaid my credit card – I used the refund from my medical expenses to pay for something else (well, 1/2 of the reimbursement) so I had to pay back the rest.



    Woah, wait for it, did this actually happen? Yes! Yes, I was UNDER budget on eating out! First time this year! Definitely helped that there were no birthday celebrations I had to pay for (both of T’s parents birthdays are in June and he took both of them out for dinner, but I didn’t pay). Of course, meal planning and ACTUALLY STICKING TO THE MEAL PLAN (yes, this needed to be all caps) were the biggest helpers. I will restart my meal planning posts next week, this week didn’t really have a plan because we didn’t go shopping until Monday and Tuesday we just took as a day off (i.e. ate most meals out because we felt like it). The rest of the week should be ok, but best to start off on the right foot :)

    Pets – didn’t spend any money in this category, I bought huge bags of food, litter, treats, etc in May and they’re still holding out (well, I bought more pellets yesterday but that’s July ;)  )


    Savings and Net Worth:

    I actually did well in my savings categories this month, saving more than I had originally intended.

    savings June 2014

    Add in my company pension ($4,415.26) and Zero Debt and my current Net Worth is $6,385.63


    Here’s the proposed budget for July 2014:

    July 2014 start


    July is a 3 pay month for me! Woot Woot! I’m hoping to save lots of money this month (more than above, hopefully). I really think if I have my savings in a good place at the end of this month it will give me more motivation to keep saving and stop the spending spree I have been on lately.

    How did you do in June? What was your biggest budget buster?

    Until next time,