Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Leap Year

Happy Leap Year to all my Readers!!

End of the Month Figures for February 2008

Ok so let's check out my progress over the month of February!

First we need to review the numbers from January!

Federal Student Loan $4,107.91
Provincial Student Loan
Savings $110.00

Here's the new figures:

Federal Student Loan $3910.11
Provincial Student Loan $0.00 (PAID IN FULL)
Savings $410.00

As you can see things have been slow but still progressive. The biggest thing I accomplished was paying of that BC student loan! Yay for me! I also tried focusing a little more on the EFund which is looking a little bigger than last month so I'm proud of that as well. My Federal student loan has inched under the 4 grand mark so its also looking good to me.

This month money has been hard to manage. With all the family related activities and hardships its been hard not to spend here and there. Next month I'm going to concentrate on watching my spending habits much closer.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

News on the Job front

Well you may remember me complaining about a job I have been trying to get a few weeks back. It's been tag with this woman for quite sometime. Her disorganization is costing me a lot of time and I'm tired of it.

Last week I found a similar job posting for more hours and better pay. So I emailed them with a letter and my resume. Earlier this week I didn't hear back so I sent it again just to be sure. Tuesday while I was out they called and left a msg. I was so excited!

So the next day I called earlier morning and left a msg. We played tag all day long until we finally got to speak to each other instead of answering machines. The guy was hilarious and on the ball. I really enjoyed talking to him. During the call I was informed of some other perks that weren't in the job description. So far so good.

I'm on my way right now to meet with him and see if we can work something out.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

This post interupted for some aching news..

Todays post will be short and sweet even though I have lots to report. Unfortunately yesterday while I was having the first part of my TB test done it was discovered that my Tetanus shot was overdue. *sighs

I'm in so much pain I can't believe it!

That is all! :-S

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Getting Poked

Well I'm just about ready to get my buns out of here and get down to the clinic for the first part of my TB test for the new job. Ugh! I really hate getting this test done.

First of all I am a needlephobic like never seen before. There is a lot of deep breaths and thinking of happier things when I'm about to get poked.

This test is kind of gross because they insert the needle just below the skin and insert some fluids. The fluids create a bubble under the skin. Lovely, right? You keep an eye on it because if it starts reacting then you have a problem. By reaction I mean bruising, rash, redness etc.

I go back on Friday to have them look at the injection site.

Wish me luck and no tears!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Blog Link Love

Since moving to my new spot here on Blogger I haven't posted any links to my favorite blogs yet. Over the next month I'm going to decide on some of my favorites and post links to them here on my blog. I figure if I like them then surely somebody reading my blog might like them too!

Find Money Mondays - 3

Movie Night

Everyone loves to watch a good movie, sit back and relax. There is definitely a way to make this cheaper.

Even with the new promotions about no late fees, renting a movie is an still pricey. At 6 bucks a pop and usually a little bit of purchasing of goodies, it can start adding up. I have a few great way to save when it comes to this.

Borrow movies from friends

I'm sure you have a ton of movies stashed on a shelf or in a cupboard of your home. Maybe you're watched them a million times, but your friends haven't. The best way to borrow and lend movies is keep a little notebook listing who borrowed your movies and when. This saves a lot of stress when you realize it's missing and don't remember who you've lent it to. The best part about borrowing movies is its free and when you return them you can chat about it with your friend.

Revisit your own collection

Many people have video's that they haven't seen in ages kicking around. Or even worse you may have movies that are still in the cellophane! How about checking out what movies you do have and watching one of your old favorites.

Check your local library

I used to do this all the time when I lived in Alberta. The local library had a ton of movies. Classics and other variety's. The best thing about borrowing movies from the library is that it is free, unless you forget to return it... then you get late fees of course. I even borrowed the movie The Devils Advocate from the library so check it out and you may be surprised at what you find.

Make your own snacks

Buried in the back of your cupboards is your old trusty popcorn popper. Dig it out and put it to use. Popcorn kernels are very inexpensive. The greatest feature of popping your own corn is that you control what goes on it. No more chemicals for you. You can look up recipes online to spice things up a little if you get tired of butter and salt.

This weekend I'll be curling up in a big blanket with my big old bowl of popcorn and watching free movies. Maybe I'll call up some friends too and tell them I'll make the popcorn if they bring the sodas! What a fun way to spend time with friends.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

From the Ruins

Well it's been one long week since the home of my grandfather burned down. It hasn't been a picnic, even though we had one on the lawn yesterday but its nice to see my family coming together.

I have to say though one of the hardest parts for me has been the lack of empathy from other people. The constant worry of looters is horrible. The "looky-lou's" need to find a new hobby. The restoration crew that was hired to try and salvage things tossed out a lot of things they weren't supposed to and wasted time on my grandfathers dime. We even found a silver baby mug and photo albums of my cousins not even touched by fire tossed in the bin.

Yesterday was Saturday and the work crews don't come around on the weekend. We took the opportunity to rip the boards off ourselves and check things out. We took precautions and only went in spaces we thought were safe and we wore protective gear. The entire middle of the house is gone and so are all the structural beams so this proved to be a challenging task. Still, there were things we wanted badly that the work crews had ignored and so we took it on ourselves.

Among the things salvaged were three small bins of photos, a small bin of my grandparents handmade woodcrafts, and reports card of my uncles and aunts from primary school. There were a lot of things we couldn't reach or that were too dangerous to attempt accessing. Those things included all of my mothers personal items that were stored there. We will have to wait until the demolishing of the house to try and get them.

Being there every day and then regrouping afterwards at my aunts where my uncle and grandfather are temporarily staying is exhausting. Soon though the physical work will be done and then its all the paper trail. Itemizing every single tiny thing that has accumulated in that house over 30 yrs. The whole family will have to pitch in with remembering everything. We are checking recent photos to see what we can spot that may have been left off the lists.

I have been spending this week like I don't usually do. Some comfort foods for the family, a grocery shop for a family I know in need, and a birthday present for my best friends baby who turned one this week. Even though my funds are tight and limited there are some times when you can't focus that as number one. I have not compromised paying my bills or borrowed money or anything like that. It just means my extra debt payments were slowed for this month a little bit.

On a positive note I'm off to party with that little baby boy during his first birthday party!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

She's in the Garden

Well I guess its the time of the year to get my behind in gear and start planting! I have longed for a garden for years now. Living in tiny spaces and jumping from place to place never allowed me the pleasure. We are currently renting a house that could use the addition to the yard.

When I was a kid I loved being in the garden. I loved to play with the worms and woodbugs. As I got older I started to actually plant things. I started with peas in a small planter box. Eventually I expanded my garden to include carrots, corn, and pumpkins. ** If you plan on planting pumpkins they will take over your entire yard hehe.

So now that we are in the position to plant a garden we thrilled! We tried planting some herbs on our window still last year but only the chives and chillies survived. This week I need to dig up the spot I want and get some good soil in there. Next weekend I plan to get planting!!

I noticed at the dollar store that they had gloves and tools and even fencing to put around the garden. I also need to get some seeds but I'm still deciding what to plant. Since we are newbies to this I'll probably stick to my usual. I'm definitely doing peas again! I would also like to do carrots and tomato's since I use so many cooking.

There are three amazing reasons to plant a garden:

1) It helps cut down on the food bill!!

2) It helps the environment!!

3) It gives you a great feeling to pluck your home grown food from the ground.

I can't wait to get started. This will be a project of love.

Anyone else planting a garden this year? Have any tips?

The Australian Outback

Well I suppose I should let you all in on one of the bigger plans I have during the next 5 years. My sweetheart and I have plans to spend one year living in Australia in the next few years. We are talking around the beginning of winter 2009. By that time my sweetheart will have his Civil Engineering stamp and I will be debt free.

We plan to buy a van to live out of and spend the year traveling and working odd jobs to keep our cash flowing going through out the trip. We plan to bring only a backpack each worth of things and live freely for an entire year.

This will be so amazing for us. I think it will bring back a lot of really great moments for us. We met picking cherries on a farm (hence our pet's name Cherri) in the Okanagan. We woke up early, sorted or picked fruit, worked till noon and then off to the beach. We made dinner in communal kitchens and we camped under the stars. It was amazing.

After working on the farm my sweetheart returned to Quebec for his last semester in University and I stayed for awhile and then traveled my way back home. After classes were done he moved here to BC and hasn't looked back.

This trip will be good in so many ways. For one, I've been working crap jobs since I was 14. I want a chance to get out and learn about myself. See what I'm into and what makes me truly happy. I find myself going in a hundred directions and full speed to nowhere when I'm like this. I need to learn to slow down a little bit.

For my sweetheart, he needs the chance to explore. Right after school he was coaxed into "going all the way" with his education right away. People told him to go right away and not travel as he may not ever return to school if he did that. So he did it. Now he makes pretty good money and he's somewhat interested in his field but he's itching to get out and be adventurous. I guess he wants to know he made good choices and to spend some time just letting loose a little bit.

It will be good for our relationship. As a couple we experienced a lot together. First there was the long distance part after only knowing each other a short time. Then instantly living together once he arrived. Then for a year I worked graveyards and so we were on complete opposite schedules. Then came some tragic news for my family, job problems for me and landlord issues galore.

2007 rained down on me hard, but he was there. We made it through because we want too. We are a good team and that's so important. Sometimes we need help on the communication angle but the one single thing that makes this relationship so strong is trust. I trust him and he trusts me and he's somebody I can always count on for looking out for whats best for me.

So now the only thing is that between paying off debt and starting my RRSP and all these other things its very hard to find money to put aside for the trip. I've been considering asking him to stay here for one extra year. I know he wants to be here for the 2010 Olympics so that might tempt him a little, lol.

The reason being is there is a program next September that is a part time night course that I am very interested in. It's five months and could lead me to making more than double minimum wage. The problem is that I want to be able to work at the job long enough to make the cost ($2600) worth it.

I brought up the subject of the course with my sweetheart and he says we'll have to work out the costs of it. I've been thinking it over and the only way to make it worth it is to stay an extra year to get the proper job experience and to make some good coin. That leaves me a whole year to save some good travel money and get my finances in order and working for me so I have something to come home to if you know what I mean.

There's an information seminar in April for it that we will attend together so we can both be informed. My friends mother teaches part of it and so I can get info when ever I need. Both my friend and my aunt have worked in this field so I can also ask them a lot of questions. I think its worth looking into.

So that is one of my midterm goals. Get my affairs in order so that I can get my butt in that plane off to heaven... I mean Australia with my guy!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Hydro Bill

Last week I checked my PO Box and saw my hydro bill sitting there waiting, looking all evil! So I opened it up thinking it couldn't possible be as much as last time because I've been turning off light switches and putting on sweaters like a mad lady. It went up!!!

I am billed bimonthly in this house. My last hydro bill was in the $250 range for two months. I understand that usage in the winter months are higher but damn! The only one we'd had before that was about $60. I was not expecting the bigger bill but I dealt with it. This time the bill was $309. Excuse me?

Now I am shocked at this because my sweetheart and I are very concerned about environmental issues and so we already were taking precautions to limit our energy consumption. We only have two heaters on in the house and close all the doors to rooms that aren't being used. When the weather is nice I hang everything to dry outside and then fluff it in the dryer for a few minutes. We do a lot of little things here and there... I would fall over to see our bill if I didn't I suppose.

So what do we do? Well I think a lot of this has to do with the house we rent. Its very old and I think the insulation is at a minimum. I can feel drafts and I know that we are just about heating our block the way it passes through these walls. There are still some things we can do better so its time to take action.

We have been discussing our hydro bill with close friends and family and they all have the same concerns as us. We were able to score some good suggestions and we need to start implementing them.

I will write a post soon regarding changes you can make in your home to help ease the pain of the electric bill. It will not only save some coins but also help conserve the environment. It's a win win situation!

Eclipse Part 2

I've heard that you may be able to catch the eclipse again tonight. It was very cloudy in my area last night so we missed out :(

Did anyone else see the eclipse?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Eclipse of the Moon

Tonight there will be an eclipse of the moon between 7-8pm pacific time. Check it out or wait another 3 years to see it!

What's Cooking Wednesday!!! - Dolly's Homemade Chicken Fingers

Yes, I know you've all been waiting for this day to come along! It's time for my first "what's cooking Wednesday" post. Now I've decided to use a recipe that I recently tried and have made about 3 times since and will probably have again this week I like it so much. I've tried on a friend and on my sweetheart who both liked it as well. If you have kids.. you'll especially like this one!

Now I must tell you... it's hard for me to give exact measurements as I'm the type that will adjust things a million times and play around so it's never exactly the same. I encourage you to play with the taste of this recipe as well! Let the suspense be over.. here it is folks:

Dolly's Homemade Chicken Fingers

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup mayo
1 tsp curry
1 tsp lemon juice
8 drops hot sauce
1/2 pack Premium Plus crackers
3/4 tsp seasoning salt
2 tsp dried parsley

Preheat oven to 375%.

Crush up 1/2 pack of crackers in a ziplock sandwich bag. ( I use the bottom of a heavy beer mug) until it looks like bread crumbs. Add seasoning salt and dried parsley. Shake up and set aside.

Mix mayo, curry, lemon juice and hot sauce in a bowl. (Taste test and play around with it if you like - also you could make more and set aside to dip in if you like).

Cut chicken into strips.

Coat chicken in mayo mix and then toss around in the cracker mix until fully covered. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes, turn them over and bake for another 15.

Easy and delicious. These are all items that are regularly stored in cupboards so its very convenient for me. I usually steam some veggies and have a baked or mashed potato with it. They are so tasty they don't even need a dip. Use the size of the breast to determine how many strips you will get out of it. Leftovers are just as yummy!

The best things about making your own are it's inexpensive and you can control what you're eating. If you want less salt, put less. If you want to use low fat mayo then do it. No preservatives here folks!

* I made this last night and added a little more curry and sweetheart added some Frank's hot sauce (in addition to the Tabasco I usually use) . Delicious! We're both in love with this recipe.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Addition to the EFund

With my nervousness about money right now and looking for work I've made another addition to my EFund. Things are tight right now but the only way to get some money saved is to get it out of my sight. So I initiated a xfer today for a modest $100.

My EFund goal is small but its realistic for me right now. I just don't have the extra funds to beef it up as fast or as big as I'd like to. Over the next few years I will build it up. I think $10 grand sounds like a good round and safe number for me. I will probably want to save more after having children.

The real challenge is not using it all up again in the upcoming months. It will really put me to the test of living on a truly tiny budget. Good thing I'm fairly accustomed to the lifestyle anyways. I will have to rule out things that I already have problems with like eating out. Well, except for wing nights of course!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Finding Money Mondays - 2

Chinese Take Out

It's okay to have take out nights once and a while. All work and no play makes an unhappy Dolly. I love Chinese take out. I get a hankering for it that just won't quit. Luckily I have a few tricks for making this craving a little more affordable.

1) Pick it up!
Don't be lazy and go pick it up. I order from a place thats only a few blocks away. I order it and then walk over to pick it up. I get some fresh air, exercise and it helps build up that appetite. The best benefit is most places offer a discount if you pick it up yourself. My local place gives you 10% off your order!

2) Choose Combo's
The trick to getting a variety of food at an affordable price is very simple. If you look on the menu of your local place you will see combo's for one person usually with a variety of 3-4 things for about $10 or less. If there are only a few people this is great! Order two of these. There will be enough food for 2 people to eat with leftovers for the next day for both of you. It would easily feed 3-4 people.

3) Swapping
So maybe you only like some of the things in the combo. Maybe you would like to change some things. Just ask! I usually switch things up a little. I like the foods on the combo menu's but to get the maximum variety I try to switch things around a little. My hunny likes a few things off the regular menu so we trade. For example maybe you really like ginger beef but you don't the spring rolls that come on the combo. Ask if you can trade and they will usually do it for $1-2 more depending on the item. Rice and chow mein are usually no extra charge if you prefer one over the other.

So there you have it! You can get a big variety of foods at a great price. I usually get a total of 8-9 items (including two chow mein) for about $20. Can't beat that. I showed a friend how to order this way and she was amazed at all the food we got for the money. Try it next time you order Chinese and you'll love me forever!

Find Money Mondays - 1

Saturday, February 16, 2008

When Tragedy Strikes

I don't know why I'm writing this.. I guess its becuz its so late at night and I dont have anyone here to talk too since Francis is away skiing. I just got a phone call that my grandfathers home is burning down as I write this. We lost my grandmother this year and now all of her things will be gone too.

My uncle and grandfather live there. The things of my mother, uncle and grandparents all live there too. Its strange how you think of things before tragedy strikes.

Just a few days ago I thought of a plate I had designed when I was a child for my grandparents. Growing up they had plates that ran along the top of their dining room. Collector plates and eventually plates from all the kids. Mine was never there. For years and years I asked them but it never happened. Then one day I went there and didn't even look, just started complaining but it was there! I finally got my place on the wall. A few days ago I thought about how happy it made me and that I wanted to go take a photo of it hanging there amongst the others.

All of my baby photo's, all of our family photos, all the things that we cherished so dearly. We had planned to scan all the photo's onto discs for everyone but never did. Photo's of my grandparents partying at my age. All my grandparents handmade treasures. I just can't even comprehend this all right now.

Oh! Francis just called. Thank god! I needed to let out some tears.

I don't know how I will make it through the morning. Its 1:16am. Our family is all waiting for the phone call in the morning from the firemen to tell us its done smoldering and we can look for anything that may have survived the fire. They don't think anything will be recoverable. My mother will call me and we will go together. I hope I can hold it together when I see my grandfather but we'll all experienced so much loss this year it will be a great challenge.

Please readers, don't put off tasks the way we did. Preserve your memories somewhere safe and don't procrastinate... the price is to big to bear.

Federal Student Loan Account Number Changes

For those of you with federal student loans you should have already gotten your interest forms for your taxes. Enclosed with them were notices regarding changes to your account number. If you haven't updated your online/telephone banking with the new account number you should take the time today before you forget and post a payment to the old one.

I posted an extra payment last week and called Friday to make sure that the payment posted correctly. It's always good to check up on these things since statements only come out quarterly. Better to find out now then later!

As for BC student loans... if you are still waiting for your interest forms from them don't feel stressed. I called earlier this week and they advised me they wouldn't be sent out until mid month. So it should be in the mail soon guys!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Visual Appeal

Over the next little bit you may notice my blog changing so that it is more aesthetically pleasing. I am a very visual person and felt the change was necessary. I've changed templates and am adding bars in the right hand column to show my debt and Efund progress.

I'm slowly figuring out how to change and add features so bear with me please. So far people in the blogger community have been very helpful in answering any questions I have.

I hope you enjoy the updates!

Hunger Pains

So I've said it before... eating out and food are my biggest problem areas. I love food! The problem is I always want to order in or eat out. I really need to focus on cutting back in that area. I've been trying to use new recipes that I find online and experiment more in the kitchen. So far everything I've been making has been turning out pretty good but actually getting in the kitchen and making this a regular habit is where I struggle.

Blogging helps me stay on track and pushes me to get things down because I want to practice what I preach. Since I want to save money to put it towards better things like debt reduction, savings and oh I don't know.... fun... I need hold myself accountable.

With all this being said I'm going to be strapping on that apron and get back into the kitchen! I've decided to try new recipes and feature one each week in a post I'll be calling "What's Cooking Wednesdays". I hope in doing this that I will be more productive in achieving my goal and spread the cooking bug to my readers.

Feel free to email me your favorite recipes. I'm trying to stick to things that are relatively easy, cost effective and delicious. Don't expect anything fancy, but I promise the recipes will be ones you'll want to try out and love.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines Day to My Readers

Whether you are single or in a relationship.. Happy Valentines Day to you.

This Valentine's day will be a little bit different for me. My sweetheart will be leaving today for a ski trip. We were supposed to meet for lunch but instead I'm going to surprise him with breakfast in bed using things we already have in our fridge and cupboards. I'm totally ok with him leaving today as we already had our special romantic time last weekend.

You don't need a partner on Valentine's to enjoy the day! Have a potluck with some friends and drink to being happy! I see so many people depressed about being single on Valentines. What a shame. Remember the days back in school when we gave Valentines out to all our friends?

I wish my friends wouldn't be upset over being single on what is mostly, in my opinion, a commercial holiday. I mean I don't cry at home and eat ice cream on mother's day because I don't have children. I see many green faced people drinking on St.Patrick's day and I doubt they are all Irish.

My point is try not to let a label ruin your day! Now get out there and have some fun today!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Free Suzie Orman Book

Just a quick note.. Suzie Orman is offering a free copy of her book "Women and Money" for download until 8/7c tomorrow on Valentines day!

You can find the link here if you are interested!

My Job Status is "in the works"

Two weeks ago I emailed a job contact that I made before going away for the holidays. She asked me to contact her back when I returned. I emailed her and she didn't respond so last week I gave her a call. She said she'd been out of office but was glad to hear from me. She asked me to fill out one of their applications so that she could contact my references. So I did that on Monday.

The next step after my references check out will be to book a TB test. Ugh! Have you ever had one of these done before? I hate it! They take a needle and inject this liquid just under the surface of your skin. At first it makes this little bubble. Gross, right? Ok, well then you go back in 24 hours for them to check the area for irritation. I had one done a few years back to work for a nanny agency. I suppose its a common thing when working with children or the elderly.

I will also need to have a criminal record check done which is $30 but only takes a day or two. I hate having to pay for these! I think that the cost should never be covered by the employee unless they are deemed unemployable after having it done.

Lastly I will need to give them a copy of my food safe certificate. I took this course many times in school but was never given the actual certificate. I suppose I will just take it again. No harm in brushing up on skills. It's a one day course but if I remember correctly it's about $60. I'm not sure if I'll do it online or in a class room.

The job would be part time for now with some on call work. The pay is not bad and I like working in kitchens so it should be ok for me. I don't want a job where I'm working around too many people. Its also very close to my home which is a bonus. The job title is "dietary aide" and I would be working in a retirement home.

The job hunt still continues but its looking alright. I just want to find something where I'm not feeling stressed at work and I'll be fine. I'll keep you all posted on how it goes. I still have some reservations about this job so I'm hoping things will work out.

On a side note: Happy 23rd Birthday to my little Brudah!! Love u!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Year of the Rat

This weekend while away we happened to get a great surprise in stumbling upon the Chinese new year celebrations. It was a real treat and a lot of fun despite the rain trying to chase everyone away.

There were red envelopes and money pinned in doorways of the china town area. The streets were all closed off to vehicles so there was literally dancing in the streets. It was really fun to watch all the performances. There was tai chi, dragon dances and firecrackers at every turn. We couldn't help but purchase some "Snappers" from a tiny shop after watching all the children playing with them. You just throw them at the ground and they explode. The street was covered in them but it was so fun.

There was also lettuce hanging from all the doorways to attract the dragons. The dragons were followed by colorful flags and a steady drum beat. The dragon would approach the store doorway and eye up the lettuce. Then he would jump up and rip it off from where it was hanging. Then he would chomp it up and spit it back in the doorway. There was lettuce everywhere!

Though I don't know the significance of all the ceremonies I do know its the year of the rat. I happen to personally have a pet rat that I consider to be my little "fur baby" and so I was very excited to tell her all about how its her year. Seeing as rats have such short lives (2-3) years she is very fortunate that it's happening now as it only comes around every 12 years. My pet rat loves Chinese food too so its all very fitting.

It was a very fun day and I'm glad we stopped to check it out. We didn't spend much. I'd say I spent about $6 on 3 packs of "snappers" ( I wanted to bring some home and throw them at unsuspecting friends) and about $25 on a delicious authentic lunch. Soon the rain started to pour to the point where we were soaked so we headed home but overall it was wonderful.

Happy Chinese New Year Everyone!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Find Money Mondays - 1

Today's money Monday is focused around the change jar.

Change. If you are like most people you probably have a lot of loose change floating around your home. You need a change jar. This could be anything... from a pretty planter pot (like I have) right down to a simple mason jar. The object is to stop leaving the change around everywhere and put it all in one place.

Once you've done this you're going to want to roll it up and get it in the bank. Don't spend a lot on rollers. You can either pick an assorted bag up at the dollar store or steal some from a friend who has extras. Roll it all up and leave the extras in the jar until next time.

It actually cost more to make a penny than its worth... so you are doing your part by getting it out of your home and back into circulation.

Take it to the bank. As long as its rolled up the bank is happy to take your change. Deposit it into your account and then immediately go home and put that money to work. Some good ideas would be to either put it in your savings fund where it can actually grow or if you are in debt you could make an extra payment.

Now it may seem trivial but I've actually paid for quite a few things with all the change that has built up in my house. There is no sense in keeping this change around doing nothing when you could be putting it to work for you.

I encourage you to go around your home now, collect all the coins you see laying around and see what you come up with. Let me know what you do with it!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Valentines Day Approaches

Well since my anniversary and Valentines fall so close together we tend to celebrate them both together. This year we managed to save some money on our weekend away.

First off we got a steal of a deal at the Empress in Victoria. We are even in one of the Gold rooms! Ooh la la. We booked in January and saved $100 off our room rate. We also picked a place that is within two hours driving distance so that we can cut costs by driving there first thing Saturday morning (tomorrow) and paying for only one night.

I decided to cut some costs by buying some chocolate wafers, strawberries and almonds to make my valentines treat for my sweetheart. Chocolate covered strawberries are actually incredibly easy to do.

We'll be taking in some of the activities in the area and then we'll do the big splurge on dinner Saturday night. Since it is two special events wrapped in to one and we managed to save so much money we'll be dining at a special seafood restaurant. Mmmmm... seafood... my favorite.

So what are some special things you can do for cheap for your valentine?

*Pick some wild flowers
*Make a sexy card
*Run a bubble bath and surround it with candles
*Make a nice dinner
*Make a coupon book for lovers (one free back massage etc)
*Write them a letter telling them how you feel

These are just a few simple ideas but the main focus here is that it doesn't need to be over the top expensive to show someone you care.

Have a great weekend everyone! I will ;)

Canadian Bonus for ING Direct

I've been meaning to do a post about my experience with ING Direct for some time now so here it is.

I love ING Direct. The interest rate on my Investment Savings account went up last month to 3.75% and they sent me those pretty flowers just the other day.

Setting up an account with them was easy and definitely worth it! I use mine for my EFund and it helps me cut down on impulse spending becuz it takes about two days to transfer money back and forth. They have great customer service and if you check out the site everything is very straightforward and easy to use. I haven't been disappointed yet!

The best part about setting up an account is you get a bonus. In the USA if you open an account with a minimum of $250 you would get a bonus of $25.... thats 10% return already! If you are Canadian the deal is even better! Open with a minimum deposit of $100 and get a $13 bonus!!! That's a 13% return.

How do you get this bonus? Well here's the thing. They also have a referral program where if you refer somebody who opens with the minimum balance you BOTH get the bonus. Yup! Since I'm Canadian this next part will only apply to my fellow igloo dwellers (lol).

If you decide to sign up for ING Direct after reading this post please use my referral code!

Here's the link and my bonus code is: 17037983S1 (you can just copy and paste this)

Anyone who uses my code... thank you so much in advance! If you are an American leave me a note and I'll refer you to another blog with links!

Cheers Everyone!

ING Direct Flowers

The other day I checked my PO Box and there was a letter from ING Direct. With the letter was a small orange flower that is packed full of flower seeds. All you do is soak the flower over night and then plant it!

Thanks ING for a great surprise in the mail! Just one more reason why I love thee sooooo much!

Find Money Mondays

Starting this Monday I will do a weekly post on where to "find" money. Stay tuned.....

Done and Done

Yesterday I called my BC Student Loan office and informed them I wanted to make my last payment on my debt with them. Yes, that's right.... done and done. I am one more step closer to being debt free.

I also took the time to move some extra funds to my EFund and even put a little extra on my Federal Student Loan. It feels good to be making progress. I now owe just under 4 grand.

They said once the payment posts it takes up to 30 days for them to send out the paid in full letter (I'm dying to get it). Once it gets here I'm going to post a picture! I feel its a good one to start posting photo's in this blog for!

I made some other progress today but I will blog about that later. 2008 is still off to a good start. Well I'm off to update my tallies.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Wing Night

Ok so I'm not the best at tracking where my money goes, but I have a pretty good idea. The only nasty habit I have for spending is eating out. Last night I spent $40 on pizza and such. My hunny and I take turns paying when we go out.

Usually we go out every Thursday night with friends for wings. We go out and have a few drinks and huge baskets of wings at 20 cents a piece. This is our favorite time of the week. We noticed the prices going up at our regular spot so we found a new place last Thursday. The wings are just as good and the drinks were $2 less. This was great.

It's nice to have a night out with friends. It's even better when its super affordable and everyone can come and not worry about busting the budget. My hunny and I both filled up for 20.85. Now that's a good deal. The place had a better atmosphere as well. We decided it's our new weekly spot.

Its my goal this month to cut down on eating out besides our weekly night out. Last night I spent $40 (even with coupons) and then wasn't even happy with the food. I hate spending money and regretting it. Oh well... at least there are a lot of left overs. It was a pizza and movie night with a girlfriend so I don't feel too bad but I definitely wont be doing that again. I should have stuck to my regular pizza place for half the price but I decided to splurge. Booo

So where is your money splurged?

Career Morals

This week I got a call back from a job with a bank that I was interested in. I was so excited to get the call since looking for jobs in my area is quite the rollercoaster. Unfortunately this job would have crossed over my personal morals boundary and I had to turn it down.

The job was for a loans officer at a local bank. I thought it would be fun to work in a bank because finances intrigue me so much and I'm always dying to learn more. The downer was this job was more of a sales opportunity with qouta's to fill. Which means I wouldn't just be helping people secure loans I would be pressuring them. I spoke to a friend who said she knew somebody who had held that position before and had decided to leave the job because of the high pressure.

At first he worked in a high populated area where people were walking in all the time and asking for loans. Then he was moved to another branch and was forced to call clients and convince them they needed to come in and sign for a loan. UGH!!!

Knowing what I do about the struggle and stress of debt I could never do that and feel good about myself. This job had to be turned down and the search continues.

Sometimes you have to remember who you are and what you stand for.

Bye bye job offer!