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Monday, December 29, 2008

End of the Year Planning

This is a sunrise picture taken from my in laws window on December 26. They live on the Kamloops River.

2008 has only 3 days left. I have a personal habit of reflecting on the previous year. I journal pretty much daily so I have a pretty good record of what's happened. I always find it amazing, how much I forget and how quickly I forget it.
Also, at this time of year I plan our finances for the next year. To do this I grab my records from the year prior. This past year was our first complete year in B.C. and I kept a record of our monthly expenses on a lined page from my day timer. I know this picture isn't the greatest but it gives you an idea. I listed the regular bills that had to be paid and then entered the amount monthly. Our power and water bills only come every 2 and 3 months so this helps to figure out what it will be monthly. At the end of the year I just add up all the columns and divide by 12 and I can easily budget for 2009.

Next, I gather my periodic expenses. Things like property taxes, life insurance, house insurance, vehicle insurance and my VOIP bill which I will pay only once a year as it saves me significantly to do so.

My day timer comes with these forms, but it would be easy enough to just make yourself some. They are handy for several reasons.

1)I can see when big bills are coming up

2)I can plan to save for them monthly by dividing the yearly amount by 12.

To save yourself from having to do too much math, you can just use Rainy Day Budget.
This is a great, free tool that will figure out your budget, annually,monthly, bi-weekly and weekly. Once I have everything entered we have a family meeting(Terry and I) to be sure things are in the right amounts in the right categories. Part of this planning happened when we made a list of big expenditures coming up in the year and then we prioritized them according to the steps outlined in Uncommon Cents(see recommended reading on side bar of blog).
Having a plan helps us to stay on track.
Once a week I input our receipts into an Excel spreadsheet. If you are computer challenged like me just send me a comment to send you a copy. What I like about this sheet(thanks again Heather!)is it gives me a running tally of where I am at in each spending category. Happy Planning!!!Sue

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Airfare and Chicken Wings!

Merry Christmas all! Two more sleeps!
In the last post I told you about buy one get one free chicken wings at Cooper's and Save on. I went to Cooper's and paid $14.99 for 2! You need the coupon from the flyer and it's good until tomorrow! I am assuming it's the same price at Save On.
Need to fly and save a little? While it's not as good as the deals a few posts back, here's a savings passed onto Air Canada email clients. It is for one step up from economy and higher fares. Don't forget to compare what it would cost to go just Tango.
Save an extra 15% on our on Tango Plus and Leisure, Latitude and Executive Class or Executive First fares for travel until May 31, 2009. Fly within Canada, to the U.S, and to popular Sun and International destinations!
To get your discount today, simply enter this promotion code when booking: GF6V9EW1Offer ends December 26, 2008 at midnight from the city of departure.
All the best for your Christmas celebrations!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

This Week's Sales

This week at Shopper's Drug Mart

Life Brand Tissues .49(limit 4)
Life Brand Toilet paper 20 2ply $3.97
Christie Crackers $1.49

Coopers and Save On Foods

There is a coupon for buy on get one free Chicken Wings I am going to go check it out to see if it's a good deal.


No Name Sour cream is $1.48 for 500ml
No Name Frozen Vegetables are $1.88 for 1Kg(they go as low as $3.48 for 2Kg) Yams are .47/lb Brussels Sprouts are .96/lb and Cabbage is .38/lb

Chapters has a 25% off coupon... If the first link doesn't work try the second one.

My oven is fixed!!!! I went to go get the part yesterday, as you may remember from an earlier post, I have been waiting a long time. The woman at the appliance place said they would make it up to me on the price, as it was their error that delayed things so much. Well, it should have be $163, and she charged me $100 and said Merry Christmas!!! I will definitely go back to this business for all my appliance needs!

Yesterday we went to see the orthodontist for our 13 year old. While in living in Alberta we had been going to the University of Alberta orthodontics program. This can save you lots of money but you need to have the time as appointments are longer. Anyways, we had started with them years ago with our oldest. They said her case wasn't hard enough and so we needed to see a regular orthodontist. Marissa, however was a different story. Her case was very interesting and complex, so they took us. They started with an appliance and the promise that braces were in our future. When we moved to B.C. she was almost ready to be finished with the appliance. Long story short, there isn't a University orthodontics program here and we headed off to a regular orthodontist. He had completed the xrays, molds and measurements and was ready to talk treatment plan. He said she won't be ready for braces for probably 3 years but we could start with headgear. We aren't covered for orthodontics with our insurance. I looked into Blue Cross and you need to pay into it for 3 years before you can be partially covered. For a family the website said it would cost us $1357/year. So, it seems we would pay almost $4000 before we could claim $500!! Anyways, that doesn't seem like it will be a good plan for us. We might as well save it ourselves and make interest! With the headgear we were told if we prepay we get a discount of almost $50, so that helps.
Ways to save: 1) see if there is an orthodontic program at the University near you
2) save up to be able to pay up front and take advantage of a discount
3) use whatever insurance coverage you have
Merry Christmas!!!! Sue

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Saving during December

It's been a bit since I posted last. I neglected this week's sales, because there aren't many good deals. As a rule I try to buy more in November and very little in December. Prices overall, in the grocery department, are higher. My suggestion? Use what you have. Go through your freezer and pantry and fridge and menu plan from there. Try to shop Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday. Our Superstore regularly has 50% off stickers on random, juices,milks, meats, and vegetables. This week I picked up 2 different kinds of ham at 50% off, one at .94cents/lb(bone in) and another at $1.92/lb(boneless).

My friend and I have faithfully menu planned for almost a month now! It has made a huge difference for both of us, monetarily as well as nutritionally and in time saved.

Need a gift for a lady on your list? Superstore has pajamas starting at $6.94 for a pant and shirt set!

Merry Christmas!!!Sue

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Savers

Toys R Us

We were Christmas shopping this week and found out at the till that Toys R Us has

Get a FREE $10 Toys R Us gift card when you spend $50 or more on LEGO products - excludes all Lego-branded video games.

They also were having buy 3 Ds,Wii,or Xbox games get one free. I'm not sure if that was just our store or if it's over this weekend. The selection in our store was picked over, but there were boxes of stock everywhere, so maybe they'll have more out?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Budget Saver

Buy $10 get $10 off! Here's a fun Christmas saver from Mark's Work Warehouse. The ad from Red flag deals is as follows.

Mark’s Work Wearhouse: Coupon for $10 off $10+ (Hot!) Mark's Work Warehouse has a Super-Hot $10 Off $10+ Coupon up right now -- and it's good through December 24! There are a couple exclusions: the coupon cannot be used towards the purchase of socks, gloves, underwear, headwear, or gift cards. Other than that, it's open season, so hit print and head to the nearest Mark's Work Warehouse. Use the store locator here to find the closest one.


Good Deals

A quick update on the Citizens Bank deal. So far so good. It took all of a minute to fill in the online application. Then a few days later the bank called to give us our account numbers. They will send us a stamped envelope to send our cheques in. The cheques are for $100 written out to ourselves. They must have our names and correct addresses on the cheques.
The bank will then deposit them and in 90 days from the deposit they will put in another $50/account! They have a savings account giving 3% interest, or a chequing account with no fees.

Free Skate sharpening!

If you need some skates sharpened, Sport Chek will do it for free. Just go to and print off the coupon. Here's the ad as it appears on red flags.

Looking to get your hockey skates sharpened? Use this coupon (PDF) from Sport Chek and get your skates sharpened for free! It's valid now through June 30, 2009 at all Sport Chek locations (excluding Quebec). Use Sport Chek's store locator to find the store closest to you. Here's the fine print: one coupon per pair of skates per sharpening. Limit one per customer per visit. This promotion cannot be combined with any other skate sharpening offer.

Friday, December 5, 2008


Cinnamon Buns baked in the toaster oven!

Frugality is about a lot of things, the hardest of which is patience. Often times getting things immediately means paying a lot more for it. I hesitated as to whether or not to share this as I want to encourage you in your frugality, not discourage you. After some thought I decided it would probably be more helpful than not.

In September my husband's aunt and uncle stopped in for a visit. The kids and I made cookies for our time with them. As the oven was preheating it made a very loud bang noise! I opened up the door and watched as the convection fan slowly stopped. Those of you who know me are probably wondering what's up with her and ovens?? In my other house I went through three in a very short period of time! Anyways, long story short it turned out it was the control panel. The stove is only 5 years old. It's a Kenmore and I had really felt I had received pretty much new appliances when we moved in here last year. When I called Sears it turned out the part new was $300 plus dollars. We had already explored fixing it ourselves, which wasn't an option as it needed an electronics person, so I started calling around for used. I found an appliance store in town that fixes things and they thought they could get one for me. Turned out the cheaper way to go was send mine away to be fixed. This would cost $163. So, I took it to them and they said 2-3 weeks. My sister-in-law was kind enough to lend me her toaster oven(she uses it in the summer on the deck to cut down on the heating of the house). It is a bit larger than your regular toaster oven, you can fit a regular size pizza in it, it just hangs over the edge a little, so you just have to turn it once and awhile. For burners I use my plug in hot plate that I use on the deck in the summer. I learned(the hard way) that it does not heat as well as the burners on my stove! We were making a dinner of fried fish and chips and it just couldn't get the oil to the right temperature. Long story short, I am compromising with my cooking. We use the crock pot often and think about whether or not the toaster oven will work for our planned meals.

It is now December. A few weeks ago I phoned to find out why my part was not in yet, it had been a month. They said they'd call the suppliers to see what was happening. Later, I got a call from a mortified, very honest woman, telling me she found it on their back bench of the shop, it had never left! She said they'd send it right away as a rush and make it up to me in the price....
So, that long story to say what? Yeah, sometimes it's a hassle to only making 6 cookies at a time. The compromise? I babysat for my sister-in-law one night and she let me bake my heart out! Yeah, it's a hassle using the hot plate that doesn't heat up. The compromise? We don't do things that need that kind of heat. What have we learned? Again, we see it's about patience and creativity. My kids, my husband and I learn about delayed gratification. We get a small glimpse(very small as we have back up) as to what it might be like to not have an oven. We become more grateful for things we'd normally take for granted. In the end it's a happy story.
Cherry turnovers in the toaster oven!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Sunset tonight!

Do you need to get somewhere? I just found this fantastic flight sale as I was searching for a January flight. It's for West jet. Go to on the book flights page enter this promo code 6L256R55. From Edmonton to Kelowna I found tickets for $49!!!! The code gets you $25 off one way or $50 return. To see all the details go to Combine it today with West jets sale on until midnight Dec 4.

Happy Flying!!!!Sue

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Straight talk about Menu Planning

The sunrise this morning!

So today I thought I'd touch on menu planning. To be honest it's still one of the hardest discipline for me????The question marks are because I don't get me. A few minutes of planning feels like a week off. Therefore I did what others do when they are struggling with an issue...I found an accountability partner! Every Monday(mostly) we'd meet for a coffee and nobody leaves until menu planning is done. My friend didn't move when I did, and so I have spent the last year floundering in the planning department. Sometimes doing it and sometimes not. Recently during a phone conversation with this friend we came up with an menu planning!!! You are probably wondering how this works. Well, on Monday I phone her and we arrange a time that day that works for both of us to be on the phone. At said time we pull out our cookbooks, having already done the dreaded fridge clean out, our schedules, and we are off. The conversation is one of each of us talking to ourselves about what we think will and won't work, with an occasional,"Oh, your having that?I could have that on Friday." Every so often we will ask for an easy recipe for something. I'll quickly check out .They actually have an ingredient search where you type in what you have and they show you what you could make! I usually use a magnetic, erasable one week calendar, but just recently I found some very inexpensive paper calendars. I thought perhaps I could keep these menus so that in the future I could look back for ideas! I had hoped to put a picture here, but for some reason it only throws it at the top of the page? I will start a new blog with the calendar picture, sorry! Happy Planning ! Sue

Monday, December 1, 2008


Costco has a picture deal right now.

Receive 5 free 5X7 photos. Follow this link go the photo bar at the top. Click get started and then express. Upload your photos and use promo code CWAN1124, don't forget to push apply. Voila free photos! This promo can be read at it is for Costco members. Enjoy!