• Updates – Oct 31, 2014

    So sorry about not posting in so long, its been ridiculously busy here at work (when I usually post) and when I get home I’m usually exhausted and want to do nothing more than sit in front of the TV. I have been going to aquafit once a week and doing stretches/going for walks a few times a week so I’m being a complete lazy bum but I have to admit that even though I’m only 4 months pregnant that I feel at least 6 or more. It takes much more effort to do a lot of things now, especially climbing stairs.

    Anyways, financial updates are that we (everyone at my company under the union) got a raise recently which included some back pay (difference between new rate and old rate) this was $460 and my pay is increased by about $15 per pay. We also got some benefits increased, which was nice. We booked insulation to be installed in our attic and paid for that with cash. Next up is new fridge and air conditioner, saving up for those instead of using credit :)

    I’m finished with my Christmas shopping other than 1 more gift for T, so far I’ve come within budget – more on this in an upcoming post.

    As with most Canadians I was very shocked at the death of a soldier in Quebec and in Ottawa last week, I can’t even imagine what the families must be going through right now. I really do wish and hope for a day that we can all stand together no matter what our race, background, religion, or beliefs and say that violence is unacceptable. Unfortunately, I know that we are a long, long way from that day if it will ever happen.

    So, that’s what’s going on with me and I’m working on getting more posts up and running soon!

    How have you been the last few weeks?

    Until next time,

    Morgaine



  • Pregnancy Shopping

    This may not be the complete list (not over yet!) but here’s what I’ve purchased so far.

    vitamins

    Pre-natal vitamins $12 for 2 months (60 pills) x 3 (Rexall) = $36 + $15.49 (300 pills) (Costco) = $51.49

    First I was going to a pharmacy to pick these up but then we got a Costco membership and their own brand worked out to be much cheaper $0.05 per pill vs $0.20 and I compared it to the brand I was already taking and it was identical, all the same vitamins and minerals in the exact same amounts.

    s pillow

    S-pillow $69.99 (Babies R Us)

    I normally sleep on my stomach; I realized that this won’t work with a pregnant tummy so I bought this pillow to help me sleep on my side. Its pretty comfy but I’m not sure it was really worth it. Hopefully I can sell it afterwards.

    cocoa

    Cocoa butter $20.00 (Body Shop)

    This is for stretch marks. TMI … I haven’t gotten any yet, I was already big in the stomach and my breasts before (and already have stretch marks there) but I’m still using it on my breasts because they’ve gotten really dry and itchy, not my stomach yet, but I do hear that can happen as well.

    sea bands

    Sea Bands $13.85 (Amazon.ca)

    These are for nausea/morning sickness. I didn’t get morning sickness but I would get queasy in the afternoons and I really do think these helped a lot. They are wrist bands with little plastic knobs that hit a pressure point on your wrists to help ease nausea, based on acupuncture. Its natural, no drugs involved so the doctor OK’d them and I would recommend them for any pregnant woman. (But, talk to your own doctor first.)

    socks

    Compression socks 2x $24.95 (on sale 50% off) (Shoppers Drug Mart)

    I noticed I was getting swollen feet/ankles and to try and prevent that and varicose veins, I bought these socks. Working pretty well so far, as is putting my legs up at the end of the day and getting up to walk around more often.

    leg gel

    Leg gel $15 (Thyme Maternity)

    Ok, probably not needed but it was another method to try and reduce varicose veins and promote circulation. Feels pretty good, it also means a foot/leg rub from T :)

    mat navy mat khakis mat grey mat grey stripped mat black dressy mat black cotton

    6 pants: Khakis $28.72 (Old Navy), blue cotton $28.72 (ON), black cotton $20 (Thyme Maternity), black dressy $75 (TM), grey dressy $20 (TM), grey striped dressy $39 (TM)

    Ok, so I tried looking online (Kijiji and Craig’s List) and a couple of Mommy boards for maternity clothing in my size (none of my previously pregnant friends are anywhere close to my size, *sigh*) and couldn’t find anything, nothing, zip, zilch, nada. First, I bought a belly band (see below) but I didn’t find it worked too well and my work pants were definitely too tight :(

    I see Thyme Maternity having a $39 pants sale, so I headed over. I was able to get the grey stripped and jeans in my size (jeans petite, the grey striped not so I had to get them hemmed). I figured I needed a black pair since I can only wear jeans on Fridays so I tried on every black pair they had (and none for $39) and the only pair that fit comfortably and was luckily already petite was a pair of pants for $75!!! Since I didn’t think I’d be able to find them anywhere else (oh and Motherhood Maternity is just as expensive, if not more) and I already couldn’t get my work place done up I thought I was stuck and bought them. Most. expensive. pair. of. pants. I. have. ever. bought. :( Oh, and I’m only going to need to wear them for the next 5-6 months :((

    Then, I went hunting a bit more, doesn’t Old Navy sell maternity clothes? I went to our local store, no maternity section. Went online, oldnavy.ca no maternity section, however oldnavy.com did. The prices were significantly lower than Thyme so I may have gone a little crazy, bought 2 pairs of pants, 4 tops, and 2 hoodies. The total was over $100 so no shipping but I did have to pay duty but since I would have to pay 13% tax on anything I buy in Canada, it still seemed worth it. In fact, still came out to less than what I spent at Thyme.

    And then, I get an email from Thyme telling me that they were having a $39 pants BOGO free sale (WTF! Isn’t that just my luck!) I find a black cotton pant in my size (of course, I do) but I had already worn and washed the $75 pair so I couldn’t return them :( So I bought them and a pair of regular grey pants. If I had known about this sale of course I would have waited to buy the first two pairs :(

    mat jeans

    1 Jean $39 (TM)

    Fit pretty good and are a dark wash which means they are good for work and dressy casual events.

    mat top grey mat t teal

    4 t-shirts (light grey $10.34 (ON), dark grey $11.49 (ON), black $9.19 (ON), teal $9.19 (ON))

    Way cheaper than Thyme’s t-shirts. I will just layer these under cardigans/hoodies.

    mat hoodie grey mat hoodie blue

    2 hoodies (light grey $25.28 (ON), dark blue $25.28 (ON))

    Again, way cheaper than Thyme.

    mat halloween man halloween

    Halloween t-shirt $31.99 (ebay)

    Ok, so obvs not a need, but Halloween is coming up. I’ve seen this pregnancy shirt on Pinterest and thought it was cute and a fairly reasonable “costume” (especially since I’ve spent sometimes upwards of $50-80 on Halloween before). And I ordered T the complementary shirt :)

    mat yoga

    Black yoga/lounging pants $19 (Walmart)

    These have been great for lounging around the house and going out for a walk or doing groceries, etc

    mat band

    Belly band $9 (Walmart)

    Bought this before the pants above. Maybe a better quality one would have been better at keeping my pants up and be less uncomfortable? Oh well, I did use it a few times.

    Total $597.48  with tax/duty $672.28 (clothes $495.46 with tax/duty)

    So, in a nutshell, maternity clothes are damn expensive! I will try to sell the lot of clothes and other items (the pillow, etc) when this is all done and overwith. I’m pretty happy with my purchases overall since I’ve got all of my work bases covered now and I don’t think I will need anything else clothing wise until its over. I was very sad to see that not too many stores offer maternity clothes and Walmart’s selection was abysmal at best, a couple of jeans (that weren’t comfortable at all) but mostly leggings and yoga pants, neither of which I could wear to work. Target also has maternity clothes but absolutely nothing in my size (other than t-shirts which I got cheaper at Old Navy anyways).

    I will admit to getting “suckered in” by some of the purchases (pillow, leg gel) but the sea bands were totally worth it. I felt almost immediate relief after I put them on. I’m still a bit ticked at Thyme for having a decent sale which suckered me in followed by an even better sale and not having all of their inventory out. I swear I tried on all the black pants they had available and 2 weeks later I go back and the cotton pair were on sale for $20!

    What do you think? Did I go overboard or is this a reasonable amount of purchases?

    (Please note that I have not put any of this on credit, it all came from my budget or savings).

    Until next time,
    Morgaine



  • I’m Pregnant!

    peanut
    So, I’m pregnant. I’m 14 weeks (as of last Monday) and we’re very excited. Expected due date is March 30, 2015.

    I’ve been wanting to tell ya guys for a while as some of my purchases lately have been baby related (vitamins, skin cream to prevent stretch marks, “What to Expect when You’re Expecting” etc) and some maternity clothes. So, I didn’t post my usual weekly spending reports.

    I plan on putting together a post eventually outlining what I bought/spent on pre-baby items but I’m probably not finished yet, so it’ll wait until then. I will put a “baby” budget line in and any expenses will show there.

    However, T and I have a pact not to purchase anything for baby until we’ve had the baby shower(s) – one for family and one for friends, if I learned anything from my wedding shower, it was that my family and friends just don’t mix. We’ve broken this rule once already, we purchased a peanut M&M onesie when we were in NYC because it was just so cute and technically the baby was there with us :)

    I’ve also been saving fairly aggressively in the future/baby fund and will continue to do so up to baby’s arrival. I do get a top-up at work and will take the full year off, so I want to make sure we’re in a good place financially while I’m off.

    That’s the big news and I’m very happy to share with you guys :)

    Until next time,

    Morgaine



  • NYC – Part 1

     

    Washington Square
    Washington Square

    Sorry for the radio silence, its been a busy few weeks! Its almost October already!!! Here’s part 1 of our NYC trip, not all of our pictures are up yet so its not going to be all in order (with corresponding pictures) but close enough.

    Day 1 – Friday, September 12

    We woke up at 4 in the morning. Yes, 4 in the morning! Took a cab to the airport (we live really close, was less than $30 for a luxury SUV – we didn’t ask for that but the taxi service to the airport is usually a bit nicer). We figured we should be at the airport super early since we hadn’t checked in yet (I tried online and had problems) and we had to go through US security. The flight was at 7am but by the time we got through check-in and security it was already 6:20 and they were loading our plane! Grabbed a quick breakfast and got on. We left early (when does that ever happen) and with clear skies we got into NYC 20 minutes earlier than scheduled :)

    Since this was a first time to NYC we were a bit unsure about using a bus or some other service to get us to our airbnb apartment so we took another cab, that was expensive! $60 USD. Well, we got a bit of a “tour” since LaGuardia is in Queens and we were staying in the Wall St area (south Manhattan). When we went over The Queensboro Bridge the cab driver let us know that this was the bridge from Spiderman. Pretty cool!

    We got to our apartment on Wall St (minutes from NYSE!) and the owners were there to greet us and give us the keys. We settled in for a bit, changed clothes, it was so warm and sunny that day! Filled up a water bottle and headed out. First time on the NYC subway and it is a bit daunting. T downloaded an app (sorry, I don’t have the name, I could find out if anyone is interested). We bought a $20 metrocard and swipped on in.

    fountain at Washington sq
    Fountain at Washington Square

    First stop, Greenwich village to check out Washington Square (see above) and have lunch at The Meatball Shop (http://themeatballshop.com/). After waking up early and being stuck in the airport on a plane, etc it was so nice to just relax by the fountain and enjoy the sunny day. The Meatball shop was super yummy! I had the chicken balls with creamy parmesan and T had a meatball sandwich (beef with marinara). And a chocolate brownie cookie with chocolate ice cream sandwich for dessert. We highly recommend this place, everything was really good.

    MSG

    We went to check out Madison Square Gardens (on T’s list) and I found it kinda boring, just a glass building (yes, I get that some of the most famous acts in history have played there, but I didn’t really find it interesting). We also found a huge Post Office building, that was beautiful :)

    Post Office

    We then hopped back on the subway to the Museum of Natural History (made even more famous due to the “Night at the Museum” movies). We knew we would only have time for one museum on this trip and I think we picked a good one. We definitely want to check out the others but that means another trip ;)

    Museum stn
    Museum subway station

    It was a fabulous museum, the dinosaur and evolution exhibits were extremely well done. We also really liked the ocean life exhibits. We spent 4 hours there (until it closed!) and it was great.

    museum 2

    We then headed to Central Park (which is right there!) to check that out – the pictures will have to be in another post, T hasn’t finshed with those yet. At 6:30 we realized we were super hungry (and tired, remember we woke up at 4am!) So, we headed out to get dinner (which also meant resting the feet) and then back to the apartment. I don’t even remember where we ate, it was on Lexington but nothing to write home about. We were just tired and hungry and ate at the first decent place we found.

    Headed back to the apartment, did some research about the next day and promptly fell asleep!

    Times Square

    Day 2 – Saturday, September 13

    This was a rainy day (but a bit humid as well) but we had a full agenda! First, we tried out Leo’s Bagels which was super close to our apartment. They were crazy busy which probably explains why they messed up T’s order. The bagel was good, big and fluffy just like you expect from a NYC bagel (and nothing like Tim Horton’s bagels) and I LOVED the garlic cream cheese I got. But T’s order was no where close to what he ordered (and by that time we were too far to go back) he didn’t enjoy it at all. It was also expensive ($18 for 2 bagels a coffee and a juice). Oh well, we’ll try somewhere else next time.

    High Line

    First thing, High Line. For those who don’t know, it used to be a rail line that was converted into a public green space. Really pretty. I wish we had more time to just sit and relax but we had way too much stuff to do!

    MnM

    We got on the subway to Times Square! I have to admit to being quite underwhelmed by Times Square. Yes, it was cool to be where so many movies and TV shows have shown us before, but I didn’t really think it was all that impressive, just a bunch of huge ads and lots (and lots and lots) of people. It was neat to see the ball from NYE and where all the Broadway shows are but that’s it really. We went into the M&M store, that was neat and ended up with a bag of candy each :) We then headed to the Marvel Avenger’s exhibit (also T’s idea), it was cool, more for kids I think, but was really interactive. We couldn’t take pics inside, but here’s a website with some pics (Marvel Exhibit).

    Library 1

    We then headed to the Library. What a beautiful building! T wasn’t sure why I had wanted to go until he saw it, the architecture and design details are astounding! We also loved that it is a functional library, with people studying and using their laptops.

    Library 2
    This is a library? Just beautiful :)

    We then visted the Empire State Building and Chysler buildings, well, the outsides and lobbies anyways.

    Chrysler 1 Empire

    Stayed tuned for part 2 – Saturday is not even done yet!

     



  • We’re Back!

    Wow! That was a whirlwind trip! My feet are ready to fall off any time and I’ve already had a day to recover! We walked so much even though we did take the subway, buses, and taxis.

    We saw everything but 2 of the items on our list (and saw some more not planned) in 3 and a half days. It was crazy!

    We saw/went to … Washington Square, High Line, Madison Square Garden, Central Park (2x), Museum of Natural History, Delacorte Theatre, Belvedere Castle, Times Square, NYSE, Washington Federal Memorial, Raging Bull Statue, Port Authority Bus Terminal, Cake Boss Shop, Grand Central Station, NY Public Library, Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Sak’s Fifth Ave, 34th st Macy’s, Rockefeller Plaza, Top of the Rock, Radio City Music Hall, Gershwin Theatre, Bryant Park, The Dakota (where John Lennon was shot), Tavern on the Green, the Bow Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Irish Famine Memorial, 9/11 Memorial, Freedom Tower, Brooklyn Bridge, DUMBO.

    I really do hope to have some photos soon. Also, I’m pretty sure I went over my budget, but I still have to tally up my credit card purchases. I may have to raid that Xmas fund after all :(

    Oh well, it was an amazing trip and I’d go back anytime (I’ve heard right around Christmas is a great time, but definitely not this year!)

    Until next time,

    Morgaine



  • NYC BABY!

    NYC

     

    Tomorrow we leave for NYC! We are super excited. Thank you soooooo much to all those who offered suggestions on where to eat, we’ve got so many great suggestions, its gonna be hard to hit all of them but we will surely try at least a few and report back.

    I’m going to track my expenses but probably not down to the penny. Any money spent in NYC is part of a separate budget, so unless I go over, I won’t be subtracting what I spent from my regular budget.

    I will report back with (approx) how much I spent, what we did, and what we ate! Hopefully with pictures sooner rather than later.

    Ok, gotta wrap up some work stuff and then home to finish packing!

    Until next time,

    Morgaine



  • Weekly Spending: Sep 1-7

    spending new 2

     

    9/1 – $32.00 (debit – dinner for me and T)

    9/2 – $3.24 (cash – David’s Tea)

    9/3 – $1.00 (cash – milk)

    9/4 – $4.48 (debit – drink and snack)

    9/5 – No Spend!

    9/6 – $54.52 (debit – Walmart) + $22.00 (cash – dinner for me and T) = $76.52

    9/7 – $20.33 (debit – pet food) + $23.00 (debit – hair cut) + $2.25 (cash – dollar store) = $45.58

    Total: $162.82

    Not a great start to September spending, the little things like a drink and snack can’t be an everyday occurance. So, I bought a portable drink cup that I can fill up at home in the mornings and at work in the afternoon. It folds when empty so it doesn’t take up much room in the lunch bag nor is it really heavy like some of the aluminum bottles. We also bought crackers to have as a snack on the train to avoid grabbing something on the way home.

    Picked up some odds and ends in Walmart, some stuff for the trip (4 more days!) and hair dye that was badly, badly needed. Bought pet food so they don’t starve while we’re gone  – don’t worry, T’s Mom lives with us and she’ll be giving the bunnies food and water, treats and attention while we’re away :) I also got my hair cut, something that I needed badly over the summer but waited until my “shopping ban” (ha!) for the summer was over.

    We went to a food truck festival on Saturday, so much food! Too many choices! In the end, we weren’t too adventurous and had gourmet grilled cheese – mine was The Sarducci – Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Red Onions (took these off, I hate onions!), Fresh Basil, Balsamic Glaze on Multigrain and T had The Lumberjack – Cheddar, Bacon, sliced Granny Smith Apples, real Maple Syrup on White. Soooo good! They also had hip hop karaoke going on a stage which was cool.

    So, that was my week of spending, how did yours go?

    Until next time,
    Morgaine



  • Monthly Budget Update: August 2014

    monthly new

     

     

    Here are the (surprisingly good) numbers for August:

    Aug 2014 end

     

     

    Under Budget

    Wow, ah everything! I know I said I would continue the shopping ban even after failing spectacularly in July, but I just don’t think I’m cut out for those. I’m still learning how to not spend more than I make and stay within a reasonable budget. Once I get those things down, maybe I can try a shopping ban again.

    One thing that really, really helped was that I left my credit card at home, it did not leave my sock drawer all month and I really do think this had a lot to do with me staying on point this month. So, other than when we are in NYC, its staying in the sock drawer!

    We were also lucky to not have anything go wrong with the house last month (*knocks on wood*) and not have any out of the ordinary expenditures.

    Over Budget

    Nothing, absolutely nothing! And, I cut my regular budget by $50 this month :)

    Savings

    Made all my savings targets this month, $400 into Future Fund, $200 into Christmas, $128.20 into RSP (remember this is only RSP payback for my HBP, I have a company/government pension as well).

    Debt

    Absolutely no debt to speak of. Only items that went on my c/c were auto payments which were promptly repaid from my chequing account :)

    Net Worth

    +$8,260.52 – This includes my company/government pension and all personal savings.

    That was my August, did you stay on budget last month?

    Until next time,
    Morgaine



  • Weekly Spending: Aug 25-31

    spending new 2

     

    8/25 – $27.29 (debit – dinner for me and T)

    8/26 – No Spend!

    8/27 – $8.23 (debit – lunch)

    8/28 – $3.24 (debit – David’s Tea)

    8/29 – $6.67 (debit – breakfast for me and T) + $11.51 (debit – lunch) = $18.18

    8/30 – $12.00 (cash – gift) + $30.00 (cash – food @ CNE) = $42.00

    8/31 – No Spend!

    Total $98.94

    Well, this is a pleasant surprise! Under $100 again. Considering we ate out too much last week (it was a crazy, busy week!) and went to the Canadian National Exhibition (like a town fair) on Saturday, I really didn’t expect this.

    It definitely helped that I only brought a set amount ($40 cash plus whatever change happened to be lurking in my wallet) to the CNE and didn’t bring my credit card. I was tempted a couple of times (I probably still wouldn’t have spent more money than what I brought, but the temptation would have been a bit harder to set aside with access to more money) but in the end, stuck to the amount I brought and no more.

    Hope everyone had a wonderful Labour Day weekend!

    Until next time,
    Morgaine



  • Payday! And a Quick Update

    Today is payday, I’ve updated my sidebars with how my savings are going. I’m fully funded for NYC ($500 – this doesn’t include flights/hotel which was already paid for) and I’ve started saving for Christmas as well.

    In order to have a bit more balance to my savings, I decided to stop contributing to my EF (for now) at $1,000.00 so I can start contributing more to other goals. I will start this one back up in January next year – possibly sooner, if I don’t spend all $500 in NYC then the leftover gets moved to Christmas, if I save $500-600 for Christmas before December then I will start re-contributing to my EF.

    My RSP is chugging along, its in the Tangerine Balanced fund and sometimes it gains a few cents sometimes it loses a few. I will definitely be looking to invest my RSP in something a bit more likely to make more money next year.

    I’ve decided to throw the bulk of my savings into “Future Fund” – this is everything from things needed for the house (like a new fridge next year!) to baby, when that time comes. We’ve been thrown for a loop with some home expenses this year from a leaking fridge to non-working a/c so we definitely need to start bulking up savings in that regard as opposed to sending a monthly budget out of whack.

    I also wanted to say sorry about not posting much lately, I’ve been finding I haven’t had as much time as I would like to spend thinking about and writing posts, its a combo of writer’s block, not sure if I have anything interesting to say, everything kinda just ticking along.

    I also haven’t been paying as much attention to my budgeting as I should. Yes, I’ve been tracking my spending, but not putting the expenses into my budget regularly so its (almost) a complete surprise when I look at what I spent in total and how much overage there is. I think this is a summer thing, hopefully will get rectified soon :)

    Anyways, I hope everyone’s summer (what’s left!) is going well and if anyone has tips of places to see – and especially places to eat! – in NYC, please let me know! :)

    Until next time,
    Morgaine