• Why I’m not meeting my 2014 Savings Goals


    Its almost December and I’m just going to say what I’ve known (and probably my readers too) for some time. I’m not going to meet my 2014 Savings Goals (see post here).

    Mistake #1 – Counting planned spending in the Savings Goals total.

    I’ve “saved” and then subsequently spent a lot of money this year:

    • $1,665.94 for trip to the Dominican
    • $2,220.00 for backyard renovations (some of this came from income tax refund)
    • $1,200.00 for NYC trip
    • $500 for maternity clothes and maternity related items
    • $650 for Christmas Gifts

    Total $6,215.94

    While it was great not going into debt for these items, I can’t count this as savings, just planned spending.

    Mistake #2 – Not realizing that priorities can change at the drop of a hat.

    I had a goal to save $3,000 in an Emergency Fund. I re-routed funds when I realized that I needed more money for planned spending as things (backyard) became more expensive than I had first anticipated and we had some other issues with the house (fridge leaked, a/c stopped working, property taxes were more than we anticipated) that caused me to take out and redirect funds from this account. Its now sitting at zero :(

    Mistake # 3 – Not making savings automatic

    Now, I did set up automatic savings plans at the beginning of the year but with mistake #2 things changed and I stopped some of them (RSP one kept rolling and its, hmm, the only goal I’m actually going to meet – well other than Christmas but that’s planned spending, not saving). I still do try and keep savings as “bill payments” in my mind – i.e. I take the amount out of my paycheque before deciding how much I have left to spend. But if it came down to saving or having a balance on my credit card, the money doesn’t get transferred into a savings account and then it gets spent.

    In the end …

    I’m OK with how 2014 went. We saw places we’ve never been before (and first time me and T took any trips just the 2 of us that didn’t involve family in some way) and were able to stay out of debt while paying for the expected and unexpected. 2015 will be the first year I start since I was 18 that I have zero debt!

    One thing I particularly want to make note of (even though I have mentioned it before) … I do have a pension through my workplace (and a good one – government defined benefit) and I am working on having some retirement funds outside of this pension (OK, at the moment I’m repaying my home buyer’s plan, but this will increase at some point). So, my retirement savings are there even if it seems like my actual savings are pitiful. Oh, and I will be getting a top-up on my

    However, I know this can’t continue. I need to be able to save for longer term goals and have money in the bank for emergencies. With a kid on the way, saving for the future has never been more of a priority.

    How did you do with your 2014 Savings Goals? What will you do differently in 2015?

    Until next time,


  • Baby Update – Nov 14, 2014

    I’m currently just over 5 months (20 weeks and 5 days). We had 2nd ultrasound on Monday and everything went well, baby moving, heart beating, 2 arms, 2 legs.

    And … its a boy! I had a feeling I was having a boy, just call it mother’s intuition, I guess 😉

    I can feel the baby moving and kicking a lot now, mostly when I’m sitting (like right now!) and its a really weird experience, hard to describe.

    I’m now working on getting the registry together and want to make sure we have what we need when he arrives :)

    So, anyone who’s had kids (or can offer an opinion anyways) please let me know what I definitely NEED to put on the registry, any nice-to-haves, and any forget-about-it! I’ve been following Squawkfox’s advice for the most part and having SpenderSaver’s baby list is very helpful as well. Oh, and Lucie’s List for reviews and recommendations. And Pinterest has lots of frugal baby ideas as well. Really wish I had a sewing machine right about now, I’d make bibs and burb cloths and blankets for sure.

    We will be getting some hand me downs which I’m really grateful for but most of the gear (furniture, etc) will probably come from friends/family at the shower. What we don’t get I will probably try and get second hand from craigslist/kijiji or Once Upon a Child before we buy new (car seat definitely excluded!)

    We’ve also decided on cloth diapers for both cost and environmental reasons. We will probably use a service for the first month or so (just while getting the hang of things) and then buy a stash (preferably second hand). Again, Squawkfox’s blog is invaluable for information and advice in this area.

    That’s about it for now. So, please any advice about what to add for baby registry is greatly appreciated!

    Until next time,


  • October 2014 – Budget Update

    Decided on a new formula for my budget update posts (got the idea from Cait at Blonde on a Budget). Instead of showing my income and expenses, I’m just going to show percentages. I’m still anonymous but I agree with Cait that nobody needs to know my income exactly. I may change some of my older posts as well.

    Anyways, on with the numbers!

    Life Expenses – Budget 39% – Actual 31%

    I made a bit extra income this month due to raise and retro pay which changed the percentages but also my cell phone bill was lower than budget by $15! We’ve changed plans recently and this has done amazing things for my bill :)

    Variable Expenses – Budget 34% – Actual 28%

    Again, higher income than budgeted plays a role here but also I put gifts to zero as all the money came from planned spending (Xmas fund). Didn’t spend much on entertainment this month and nothing on medical/dental.

    Over budget on eating out ($18) mostly due to going up north to visit T’s Dad and friends (no way of making meals except at T’s Dad’s house) and treating T and his Mom one day (she had a really rough day and it was my turn to pay so I just paid for her too). Overbudget on clothes ($27.09), bought a coat and did some alterations on 2 pairs of maternity pants.

    Savings – Budget 27% – Actual 23%

    Again, this is due to increase in income. If my income had been as predicted then this would have been 100% the same as budgeted. Saved $928.20 ($128.20 to RRSP; $600 to future fund; $200 to Xmas).


    Now, if you add those numbers up, you don’t get 100% (its 82%) and that’s because the other 18% not counted above are reimbursable. I spent money at the chiro and massage but those are reimbursed (100%) by insured benefits so I didn’t deduct them to the budget.

    Also, spent $435.10 on insulation (came from Planned Spending) and $517.18 on Christmas gifts (budget was $650!) Still have to buy wrapping materials, etc but should still be under budget!

    So, that was my October, how was yours?

    Until next time,


  • 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,


  • Pregnancy Shopping

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


    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 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.)


    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,

  • I’m Pregnant!

    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,


  • 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.


    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!


    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,





    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,


  • 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,