Sunday, January 29, 2012

SNCC, January 29, 2012

Thanks to the lovely Carla for our sunday Night Chit - Chat template. Go say hello to her please. :)
What are you…
Reading? The Promise of Rain by Donna Milner

Watching? I did watch The Perfect Storm this afternoon while knitting.

Listening to? Hubby has the tv on, while I'm on the computer. Twilight: New Moon is on. "Hello biceps!" And Cub is giggling playing with his trucks.

Cooking/Baking? I went grocery shopping late today so I only managed to whip up some Sloppy Joe's for dinner. They did go over well. :)

Happy you accomplished this week? I finished knitting one Swiffer Cloth, and have started another. I also decided to try my hand at knitting socks. I'm also super happy that I managed to keep up with my paperwork this week. DD2 got a video game on Kijiji (that she had been searching for for over 4 years) for $15.

Looking forward to next week? Getting the housing situation stress dealt with once and for all.

Thankful for today? Getting some work done this weekend, so that maybe next month our finances won't be so tight. Free yogurt with coupon during grocery shopping, and keeping the weekly amount under $75 for 4 of us. XD

Ok, I'm off to go watch Twilight and see how much of a single sock I can get knitted today.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

February Low Spend & Declutter Challenge

Here’s how the Low (no) Spend Challenge will work:

1. Choose a financial goal for the month!

~ I'm still working away at getting $500 into the emergency fund (still 34 days to complete this) by the end of February.

2. How will you achieve your goal this month?

~ I will be knitting and selling reusable swiffer cloths for $6 each, as a way to earn extra money. Alternatively, I will be putting 10% of my paycheques this month into the Emergency fund.

3. How will you allot your spending this month?

~ I will be using only cash available in my account from paycheques. Some must be set aside for bills, and groceries, so I tend to keep my spending to much less than I earn in a given month.

4. Track your purchases!

~ I have a great little wallet/notepad combo to write down everything. Still getting used to using this.

5. Are there any “exemptions” for the month?

~ My personal exemptions will be any medications if anyone in the family becomes ill.

Here’s how the Decluttering challenge will work:

1. There will be 4 main challenges for the month. I pick the theme, you pick the challenge!
  • Week One: Personal Space Challenge ~ Hallway Closet (it's huge)
  • Week Two: Family Space Challenge ~ The Kitchen
  • Week Three: Productivity Challenge ~ All the crafty stuff: Yarns, Plastic Canvas, Candles
  • Week Four: The “Dreaded” Challenge ~ Master Bedroom Closet
2. Bonus Challenges!
- I will be giving you 4 *bonus* mini challenges throughout the month! Fast & easy to accomplish!

3. Purging!!
- Toss, sell, or donate 29 items! One item for every day of the month in February… Easy as pie! ;)

4. The Proof is in the pudding!
- If you have a blog, before & after photos of your decluttering projects would be awesome please!!

~ Ok, I am going to give this one my best shot. when the Bermuda triangle of time wasters (internet/phone/cable) was down, I got so much accomplished. I'm afraid to post pictures of our junk, but I will do it anyway. Please be nice with comments, OK? I'm a little sensitive. I think 29 items will be the easiest part. Whatever the bonus challenges are, I guess I'll just roll with them.

I have to get to my knitting. Have a great weekend everyone!

Before the Challenge Links

Thanks again to Carla, domestic goddess extraordinaire for hosting the February Low/No Spend and Declutter Challenge.

Prior to the challenge, I thought I would post some handy dandy links to inspire and boost creativity in our decluttering, for those of us who are clueless.

  • Home Made Simple has this great article on how to Get Organised in 30 days. Lots of little links included for DIY projects that will keep you organised.
  • HGTV gives you 11 tips to get your kitchen organised and functional.

OK, that's all I got. I got distracted by Pinterest again. sigh.

What tips do you suggest for decluttering your home?

    Thursday, January 26, 2012

    What Happens when the Apocolypse Begins....

    Yesterday morning, a strange thing happened.

    I was sitting here at my computer, checking e-mail, typing a blog post, cruising Kijiji and Facebook, along with the hundred other things I do online daily, when the unthinkable happened.

    I lost my Internet connection.

    My hubby or kids will tell you that I am like Kryptonite to anything electronic. If it uses electricity, my presence in the same room causes things to stop working correctly. It's not that I do anything out of the norm, I just have really, really, really, bad luck when it comes to electrical things.

    I closed the page I was on, and reopened. Nothing.
    I restarted the computer. Nothing.
    I ran the anti-virus scans. Still no connection.

    I thought, Oh well, no biggie, I'll just watch some t.v. till it comes back on.
    No cable either. Hmmm.

    OK, I can handle this. I'll just call Rogers and have them come over and fix it.
    No phone line.

    Excuse my language, but FML.

    I had to work, and hubby was home early, so we decided to go have lunch.
    We got home hours later, and still nothing.

    Good lord this apartment is quiet, without the t.v. going all the time.

    The ever so helpful CSR at Rogers asked me if we had unplugged anything, moved the modem, or done something that may have caused the disruption. Of course I said no. I'm not about to tell him that I can cause a 25 year watch battery to suddenly die, just by putting on the watch. Not that he'd believe me anyway. He books an appointment for a tech to come on Thursday morning, sometime between 8 - 11 a.m. Then he tells me that if the tech finds something wrong due to something we have caused, we'll be charged an extra $59.99/hr on our bill for the service call. I start to sweat a little.

    No Facebook for Hubby, and Cub is having a meltdown because there is no Treehouse TV on. I make dinner, and tell them nice as pie that I'm leaving for a meeting. On my way out the door I think to myself, I hope they don't tear each other apart while I'm gone.

    Two hours later, I'm home again. The apartment is still quiet. Hubby's already put Cub to bed, and he is playing poker on the computer from a disc. I grab my book, and hunker down on the couch. Yawning, I headed to bed before 11 p.m.

    This morning, Cub has another meltdown because the tv is 'broke-dend'. I love that the telephone can't ring today.  The computer stays shut off, and I start another book. We have a quiet breakfast, and I take him to daycare. I wait for the tech to arrive.

    I clean all the toys up in the living room. I start purging in the entryway. Items are about to start leaving our small, stuffed apartment. I decide to keep a list of how much junk, crap, useless, unwanted and un-needed items are leaving, just so I can see how much we really don't need. I sweep and mop the entryway floor. I vacuum the living room. I start pulling piles of stuff from the bottom of the hall closet. Hallelujah! The tech is here.

    It takes him all of 15 minutes to get everything up and running again. And no, it wasn't my fault. Another tech was in our building yesterday, and when doing something at the point where the lines come into the building, he managed to cut the line to our apartment. Only ours. We are the only apartment in the whole building affected by this little mistake. I am so not surprised. That is how my luck is.

    I jumped on the computer to write this and to catch up on reading some blogs. But the pile of shoes, hoodies and assorted other crap sitting in the hallway is in my peripheral vision. It beckons me to come finish what I've started. The tv is still off, and the phone still hasn't rung. I think that this quiet is how it might sound just before the Apocalypse begins.

    Wednesday, January 25, 2012

    Debt Free Forever! (I can't wait to yell that!)

    I was at the first London Gail Club meeting of 2012, and we were thinking of a way to put a system in place for the new folks who want to get help with their finances. We talked about having regular monthly meetings, with bi-weekly check-ins for those who want something a little more structured. We discussed various topics that we could cover, and even where we would meet.

    Now, I think I'm fairly good at coming up with topics, and could likely write an article or two about ways to save money, but Gail Vaz - Oxlade I'm not. I've been noodling with ideas for the past week on how this is all going to work.

    Then like magic, Gail's blog popped up with this: For $4.99 including taxes, you get an instant download of her Spending Analysis with instructions, Spending Journal worksheet with examples and The Budget Worksheet with her Life Pie & The Jars incorporated! What a great deal!
    (Just so you know, I am in no way being compensated for promoting this products.)

    Gail said: " I’ve created this package for all the people who keep writing to me to ask for budgets, spending analysis worksheets and budget binder pages. "

    I'm thinking it would be a great idea for those in our Gail Club who need it to buy this download, and this is what we'll work from, because we know from experience, that if you put in the hard work, this system works!

    My favourite paragraph that Gail wrote about this product: " If you’re an expert at excel, you can do this for yourself. You don’t need to buy the package. If you’ve got a system that works, please save yourself the five bucks and stick with what you’ve got. "

    What do you think? Would your family benefit from the use of a tool like this? Or is what you're doing now working just fine?

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

    Sunday Night Chit - Chat, Jan. 22/12

    Courtesy of Carla over at My Half Dozen Daily. Play along if you like. :)
    What are you…



    (Can't wait until The Walking Dead starts up again on February 12th.)

    Listening to?
    Hubby is watching The Hulk as I work on the computer.

    Last night I made Cabbage rolls, and we opted to have a 'leftovers' night to get rid of some of the stuff just hanging out in the fridge.

    Happy you accomplished this week?
    I finished the shawl I was knitting (boy, did I detest that yarn!) and another dishcloth that I found that was half done. Now I can focus on getting some Swiffer sweeping cloths knitted to use up my cotton stash. I also managed to put change in my sealed pot everyday this week, including the 39 cents that I found in the apartment building hallway today.

    Looking forward to next week?
    Getting the majority of the charity newsletter articles prepared and starting layout and design.
    Being able to eat lots of fresh veggies this week. I devoted about $20 of my grocery budget just to fruits and veggies to help me eat more healthy.

    Thankful for today?
    Working out a plan with Hubby that should alleviate the housing situation stress.
    Hearing my little boy tell a complete stranger that his mommy is 'boo-tee-full'.

    Friday, January 20, 2012

    Where I'm At Today

    Didja see the new progress bars I added to the side? ------->

    Trying to stay focused on several things at once is difficult, and my wee little brain gets all swarmed with things I'm trying to remember. Thank goodness I write mostly everything down and/or put them on my blog so I can see them every day.

    So this is where I'm at today with some goals:

    • 10 pound challenge: I've lost 1 pound. I have eliminated almost all salt from my diet, increased fruit, veggie & water intake. But I haven't exercised. Let's see if the 1 pound stays lost or it finds it's way back home to my rear end.
    • Emergency Fund: with only 39 days to go, I'm unsure if I'll make it to the $500. With $63.00, I'm 12.6% of the way there. Money will find it's way into this account if it kills me. :)
    • My sealed pot is collecting little bits of change here & there. I'm actually hoping to fill it.
    • I did start an Etsy shop, but am procrastinating putting anything in it. Must. Do. Soon.
    • I printed out my Big Book, and have started filling it out. Lots of info to compile still.

    My biggest stress right now is about our housing situation.I'm not comfortable sharing the whole situation, but suffice it to say we could be moving at the end of next month. We could have some very rocky times ahead of us.

    My girl has a PD day today, so I'm bringing her with me and Cub to playgroup this morning. We have a bunch of running around to do after, so it should be an exciting day.

    How are you doing with your monthly goals and challenges?

    Thursday, January 19, 2012

    This Just In!!

    *Update: This signing is now confirmed with Chapters, and the events page is up to date!

    With much excitement, I'm happy to report that I found another Gail Vaz-Oxlade signing!!!

    Who: Gail Vaz-Oxlade

    What:Gail Vaz-Oxlade, bestselling author and host of television shows Princess and 'Til Debt Do Us Part, knows a few things about taking control of your finances. Meet Gail as she signs her new book, It's Your Money: Becoming A Woman Of Independent Means.

    Where:Chapters Oshawa
    Oshawa, Ontario

    Saturday, February 18th
    1:00 pm

    Hubby and I have been fortunate enough to be able to meet Gail a couple of times. She is the most wonderful, down to earth, most beautiful person you ever want to meet.

    Valentine's Day is coming up, so my request to Hubby will be to go to Oshawa, meet Ms. Gail and have her autograph my copy of her newest book, It's Your Money: Becoming a Woman of Independent Means , along with a couple of other books of hers that we own. :)

    The first time we met Mizz Gail. :D

    Us with Mizz Gail again. Sweet!

    I hope to be able to go see her again. Please Hubby??? Please???

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

    Tuesday time

    Today's a work day, and I have a ton to accomplish today. It's not quite 8 a.m., and I already have tonight's dinner on the stove. (I'm attempting to make split pea soup with ham.)

    Our morning routine is a little out of whack, as hubby is home when we get up in the morning. He was summoned to court for jury duty, and was picked as a juror. For the next several days, he will home in the morning when we get up, and I will drive him to the courthouse after we drop off the kids. Parking costs downtown are outrageous! He paid $15 for parking for the day yesterday. That could easily give our already bruised budget a serious beating, if we aren't careful. Hubby does not get any financial compensation for parking costs or lunches while he fulfills his duty, but for him, it's worth the cash outlay to not have to go to his place of employment for a few days.

    I am working today, and plan on crossing another couple of items off my giant to - do list. I'm hoping to get some documents to my lawyer, and fill out some other forms for something for my kids. My new organization system seems to be working, but I have to remember to keep using it.

    I haven't had any change for my pot this week (no cash on hand) but I do have all year to fill that baby up. I sent in my 'beginning' weight for the challenge. So far, I have cut almost all salt out of my diet, decreased my sugar intake, and increased the amount of fruits, veggies, and water going in. Now to get my body moving!

    To keep my hands busy, I'm knitting away like a fiend. I finished one cotton dishcloth, and am getting closer to getting the shawl finished. I did put a few more rows on the superhero cape, but the colour of the yarn bothers me. It's going to take me some time to finish that one.

    I have to get everyone out the door shortly, so I better get going.

    Happy Tuesday everyone!

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    Ignore Me, I'm Just Knitting

    I'm not exactly a senior knit-i-zen, but I am a Grandmother, and I do love to knit.

    I have gobs and gobs of yarn around this place. There are bags full of yarn and half finished projects stuck under tables and in closets. There are boxes and totes full of yarn for future projects stacked in the corner of our bedroom. Those little ends of yarn that I snip off when I switch balls, or when I've finished something? Those are all over the place, because Cub loves laying them on the floor to drive his cars on them. He calls them roads, lol. My stash is beautiful.

    Hubby doesn't think so. He thinks it's a waste of money, all that yarn just sitting there with me not making it into something useful. He's forbidden me from bringing any more yarn into the house until I have used up what I already have. I'm also not allowed to spend another cent on yarn until the other stuff is gone. What's a gal to do?

    Mostly everyone who knows me, knows that I knit. I knit almost everywhere, as I take a knitting project with me almost everywhere I go. I can knit while I'm waiting for my turn at the doctor's office. I can knit while watching Cub play at playgroup. I can knit while watching television or a movie at home. I knit at the library too. It's amazing how many conversations I have had with people who have approached while I was knitting. Usually they ask what I am making, and then they usually tell me that they have no idea how to knit and would love to learn or that a family member taught them years ago, but they haven't done any knitting in a long time. This is usually my intro to telling them about the charity I knit for and the free classes that happen every week.

    I figure if I can get two rows of knitting done while I'm waiting for the doctor or dentist, thats two rows closer to getting the project finished. Finishing knitting something is what it should be all about, right? (OK, not always, but that's another post in itself.) Seeing as I have a ton of things I would like to make, I have to finish the ones I'm already working on. In order to get to be able to buy the Hemp/Cotton blend and knit myself a tank top, I have to get rid of all the yarn in my house first. To use it all up, I have to knit.

    See Eboo knit. Knit Eboo, knit!

    Happy weekend everybody!

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    Catching Up

    I've been a busy girl. I won't bore you with the details, but I spent about eights hours straight yesterday getting a major item on my to do list accomplished. My business files for 2011 are almost completed, and I am pretty much caught up with paperwork now. My new systems are in place for 2012, so I shouldn't get bogged down by it too much this year. On a good side note, my HST reports for 2011 are all filed now, and I will likely be ready to file my Income Tax on time this year. My notebooks and receipt/notepad are helping me to stay focused on not spending. I managed to cross off 5 items off my giant to do list just by starting this! (Are you proud of me Carla?)

    As I was going through paperwork, I found a reimbursement cheque for $21.77 that was written to me in August. If the bank will still take it (I don't think it's stale dated yet), it will be a good little jump start on my $500 E-fund booster challenge.

    I've not been spending much cash, so I haven't had much change to put in my sealed pot so far. But there is a little tinkling sound when I shake it, so there is something in there. I keep changing my mind on what I'd like to do with that money when I get to open it. I keep flipping back and forth between the idea of restocking our freezer with meats, and putting it all in my RRSP for the tax benefit and the retirement fund boost. good thing I have several months before I have to really decide.

    For my weight loss challenge...well, not so good. I haven't gained anymore weight, which is good, I guess. I'm stagnant at my weight, which I know is part of not being active. I have to make the time to work out, even if it is only going for a half hour walk during the day. On a positive note, I haven't added any salt to any of my meals this week (and boy, am I craving it!), and I am cutting down on the amount of sugar in my coffee, as well as the amount of coffee I drink. I'm trying to incorporate breakfast into my day, but that isn't going too well just yet. It will take some time to switch the bad habits for good ones, so I'll just keeping plugging away at it. One day at a time.

    Murphy's been to visit our house too. Well, actually he didn't make it into the house, he decided to have his way with my work van. The latch for the back lift gate is totally messed up. Good thing that my friendly mechanic is so good with these things. Another mechanism is on order, and as soon as he gets one, he will replace it for me. The replacement shouldn't cost too much, but it is imperative that I get it done as soon as possible.

    I have a long work day ahead of me today, and I'm still tired from working last night. I had wanted to be in bed early. I guess 1 a.m. is early, isn't it? Ha ha ha. Of course, then I was woken up by 5:30 this morning. I desperately wanted to roll over and go back to sleep, but that wasn't meant to be. I will be in bed by 10 p.m. tonight, I can guarantee you that!

    Off I go. Happy Thursday!

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Another Challenge - Big Book of Everything

    From time to time I come across something amazing that I just have to share with you all, and this is one of those times. I’ve written before about making your final preparations (I am a Funeral Director, after all) and have tried to give you options to think about. But there is so much more to estate planning than just figuring out one’s final disposition.

    There are wills, bank accounts, life insurance policies, and much, much more. Many folks advocate having a binder that puts all of your information in one place, in the event of your death. I am one of those folks. If something happened to me, Hubby would have no idea how to access my bank account, let alone figure out how to pay the bills online.

    This is important folks! I cannot stress enough how helpful having all this information in one place will be to your spouse and/or executor should something unexpected happen to you.

    Please, look over the following page, and click the PDF link at the bottom. (It is geared to our American counterparts, but it is still interchangeable for us Canucks.) Print it off, and start filling it out. It may take some time, but it will be worth it to your family, I promise! Each page can be put in a page protector and can be assembled into a binder.

    If you set no other goal for yourself this year other than to complete this binder, you will have accomplished more than 90% of the general population.

    For the link to the PDF, go to: (It’s at the bottom of the page.)

    I will be doing this myself. I will be filling it out, a page at a time, until it is completed, to the best of my ability. I challenge you all to do the same.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    Lose 10 Pounds in a Month!!! (yeah, right)

    Lots of people have a New Year’s resolution to lose weight and get healthy. I prefer to set actual goals, with a plan of action. Step by step, I can follow my plan, and achieve the goals I set for myself. Here are some tips to start a weight loss journey.

    1.       Increase water intake and cut out salt. This one is going to be tough for me, because I love me some salt. There are varying opinions on how much water a person should be drinking per day, but if it’s more than you typically drink, it’s a good way to start. Salt intake leads to bloating, which is counterproductive to weight/size loss.

    2.       Start exercising. If you are a couch potato, start small. Take a brisk walk that will elevate your heart rate for at least 10 minutes per day. You will want to work yourself up to one hour of exercise per day, and include strength training.

    3.       Record what you eat. Much like tracking your daily spending to see where your money leaks are, recording what you eat will give you an accurate picture of your eating habits, good and bad.

    4.       Cut out fried foods and fat. Replace them with fruits and vegetables. Think about snacking on baby carrots instead of chips. Put two vegetables on your lunch time sandwich. Add fruit to your morning oatmeal or cereal.

    5.       Limit caffeine, chocolate and sugars. This will be tough, but if you want to lose weight, you just have to do it.

    6.       Record your exercise. Try to incorporate more physical activity into your day whenever possible, like using stairs, getting off the bus a couple of stops early and walking, Take every opportunity you can to burn off those calories.

    7.       Write down your goals and your weight on specific days. Put it somewhere highly visible for you so that you can see if often. It will help to keep you motivated.

    8.       Don’t give up, and don’t take a day off, if you want to lose weight. Don’t overdo it, but challenge yourself daily. You will be amazed at what you can do if you put your mind to it.

    9.       Make sure you are getting enough rest. A full eight hours of sleep will do more for you than only getting 6 hours of sleep per night.

    These are the guidelines that I will be following for the next month. My goal is to lose 10 pounds in  30 days. Seeing as I am going from no exercise at all to doing anything, I think that this should be relatively easy, but we shall see.

    I know that there are some folks who are joining in some ‘Weight Loss Challenge’ hosted by a blogger.  I am  taking part in this challenge, and am actually challenging myself, so I’ll be doing this right along with you (Jane).

    What other tips do you have for trying to lose some weight?

    Monday, January 9, 2012

    10 Pound challenge

     I joined the 10-pound Challenge hosted by Newlyweds on a Budget. Lose 10 pounds in 12 weeks, win $$$. Are you in?

    The Rules:

    1. Lose 10 Pounds in 12 Weeks. That’s less than a pound a week.
    2. Participants can sign up at any point in the contest, but the sooner you sign up, the faster you can get started losing weight! Please sign up here.
    3. Contest officially begins Jan. 16 and goes through April 9. *if you sign up today, that means you get one whole extra week to work on losing weight!*
    4. Participants must declare their participation in the challenge by either posting the snippet above on their blog and/or posting the button on their blog. You can choose one or the other, or both!
    5. If you lose 10 pounds or more, you’ll be entered into a drawing at the end of the contest, along with everyone who lost 10 pounds.

    Little Ways To Pad Your Emergency Fund

    An Emergency Fund is an essential part of a solid financial foundation. It is a cash cushion that you have accumulated over time. It should be easy to access, and to be used only for an emergency.

    Some so-called experts will say that you should have 6 months worth of salary in your Emergency fund. Others say that having only $500 to $1000 set aside is a good start. You have to decide what amount is right for you and your family. I am rebuilding my Emergency Fund after having to use it this past fall. I’m starting small, with a goal of $500 by the end of February.

    Here are some Microsavings tactics to help pad your Emergency Fund:

    ·       Automated transfer $25 from your paycheque. You have to start somewhere.

    ·       At the beginning or end of the week, transfer the last three digits of your bank balance over to your E-fund. (If your balance is $542.68, transfer the $2.68.)

    ·       Save your pocket change. 50 cents a day can add up over a couple of months.

    ·       Sell something and put the proceeds in your fund. Kijiji is my personal favourite to sell unwanted items.

    ·       Add government cheques like GST/HST or your income tax refund.

    ·       Add amounts equal to your ‘spending – savings’. If you buy groceries and reduce your out of pocket expense by using $7.50 worth of coupons, transfer that amount to your Emergency when you get home from the store. Same goes for your loyalty rewards points accounts.

    ·       Have a No Spend/Low Spend month to reduce your variable expenses and deposit the difference.

    ·       Round up your budget categories. If you spend $146.50 on cable/internet, budget $150. At month’s end, sweep remaining funds into your emergency fund account.

    ·       Replace one bad habit with a good one: If you smoke ( or whatever your vice is), smoke one less cigarette a day, and put $0.30 into your change jar. At month’s end, deposit into your E-fund.

    ·       Make something you can sell; sewing, knitting, woodworking, and card making are all viable types of side income for boosting your e-fund.

    ·       Do some babysitting, pet-sitting, house sitting, snow shovelling, attic cleaning or whatever to earn a little extra funds to pad your account.

    ·       Reduce your consumption of meat for a week or a month. Whatever you would have spent, add to your E-fund.

    ·       Skip a take-out meal or two (or a month). Save your money instead.

    To have a fully funded emergency fund, you have to start somewhere. I am a firm believer that having an Emergency fund is part of a healthy financial plan. I won’t tell you how many months worth of expenses you should have, only that you should have an Emergency Fund. So should we.

    Here’s to starting over, in a new year, with renewed hope, and renewed focus. 51 days to $500.

    Saturday, January 7, 2012

    London Gail Club, 2012

    Now that Gail has taken down the Gail Club boards, we are on our own to figure out a way to keep our little club going , if that is what we want to do.

    Some newcomers have expressed an interest in joining our club, and I have gotten many e-mails about it. One lady has even offered her office space for our group to meet, although I'm not sure if it's in an area that will work for everybody.

    My suggestion is this:
    1. We work out a schedule to meet monthly, with additional meeting every second week for those who want something more structured to help them with their journey to debt-free forever!

    2. We develop a monthly topic schedule and bi-weekly list of tasks/ideas for those who want more than just to meet and chat.

    I'd like for us to get together on Wednesday, January 18th, 2012 at 7 p.m., at Coffee Culture on Dundas St (across from the Central Library). This could be our Meet & Greet session and we could decide as a group what days we want to meet, make a meeting schedule and decide on topics and so forth. I think using Gail's books, Debt Free Forever and Never Too Late as our guides for tasks and ideas would be a good way to track what we all are doing.

    I'll be emailing a copy of this post out to anyone who has shown any interest in the Club.

    Please leave any comments, suggestions, ideas, etc. in the comments if you are part of the club, or want to be.

    Friday, January 6, 2012

    My Latest Purchases

    My daughter just had to go to the bookstore yesterday. She had been waiting forever for the book she wanted, and didn't get it for Christmas. She did have her own money to spend, so off we went to the bookstore. The Coles bookstore in Argyle Mall to be precise. They are closing that location as of January 31st, 2012, so they have some deals on books.  GOD HELP ME.

    Books are a weakness for me. Being in a bookstore can be hell for my finances. But I went anyway. I didn't emerge unscathed, but I didn't buy any more reading material for myself. I bought said book for the DD2, a large calendar for DD1, and for myself, I bought a 3 pack of Moleskine notebooks (for keeping track of finances) and a portable money organizer.

    This little organizer has six accordion pockets on the left side, with tabs for personalisation, a pen, and on the right, a notepad for writing down what I've spent, with columns of Date, What and Amount. I can tally up totals, and there is space for notes. The only thing I don't like about it is that at the bottom of each page is printed: "When all else fails, charge it."  This is going to be fabulous for me because I can keep receipts separate for business and personal and I can keep coupons in it also.

    *** Edit: You can find this little gem in Coles stores or you can order it online. Here's the link:  ****

    I pledge to myself that this will be the year of complete change. I will keep track of my spending (and as much of Hubby's as I can as well). I will save more and spend less. I know I cannot pay off all of our debt in this calendar year, but it is a work in progress. We can pay off the credit card debt though. And that will make me happy.

    I have hope for this year.

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    Happy Birthday GrandCub!

    Your parents were surprised to find out about you, as were we.

    You grew, and grew inside your Mommy's tummy, while they prepared for your arrival.

    We knew you were a boy, and I was so excited to become a Grandma. I couldn't wait to meet you.

    And then you were here. Born on your great-great-grandma's 91st birthday!

    We all wore shirts with your name (in case you could see them).

    You made Tabba an Auntie.

    You made Douglas (Cub) an Uncle.

    We welcomed you, and sang Happy Birthday to you for the first time.

    You started growing....

    ...and growing...

    ...and doing all the busy things babies do.

    Before long, you'll be starting new adventures.

    Happy 1st Birthday little GrandCub! Have a wonderful birthday!

    ~ With all my love, Grandma

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    A Positive Perspective

    I know that I am naturally a pessimistic person. I naturally see the 'bad' or negative in everything in life. It takes a lot of work on my part to see things from a positive perspective. But I try anyway. I don't want to be that person who always bursts others' bubbles, or tramps on their dreams. I actually don't do that; I see the negative, but I usually keep it to myself.

    When it comes to my own life, that's a whole different story.

    I can blame the weather, the lack of income, circumstances, and a million other things for the way I feel about my life. The truth is, I have to practice what I preach, so to speak. I am a firm believer that if you don't like something in your life, you must change it. No one is ever going to come knocking on your front door to offer you the 'perfect' job (if there even is such a thing). Or to hand you a detailed plan on how to make your life happier. Or to give you the 'secret' to getting rich, or whatever. 

    I will try my hardest over the next few months to see the good in everything in life. Yes, my job is stressful, but at least I have employment and am able to work. True, it seems like we are not getting any further ahead with our finances, but we are now better equipped to deal with things than we ever have been before. I'm not pretending that everything will turn out all right anymore, but I'm also not giving up. I won't let the negativity that is in my head keep me from doing what needs to be done.

    After all, we only have one life, and I intend on making the most out of what I've got.

    We are facing a situation right now that seems a bit absurd to me, but I'm not so sure that I can change it in any way. It is what it is. I am determined to make the best of it, regardless of the outcome. I choose to see the 'good' in the situation. Maybe it's time for this thing to happen, so that other good things can happen to us as well. In the meantime, I'm learning a very valuable lesson. One that will never need repeating. I'm hopeful that we will come out of it without too much damage.

    Having said all that, all is well on the home front. We put away the tree and decorations for another year. Most of the gifts have found a home in our small space. I have months of decluttering and purging ahead of me. I need to get all of last years bills, receipts and invoices organised for when I have to be ready for income tax time. ( I won't ever file late, ever again!) I have to get all of my handcrafting stuff organised and truly make it into a side hustle. I did manage to get my hands on a Kit Kat Christmas tin. The one with the coin slot in the lid. I'll be using that as my 'sealed pot' instead of making one from plastic canvas.

    I have mountains of laundry to do, and am about to get the kitchen cleaned up. Ham and scalloped potatoes for dinner, I think. *Crossing fingers* - I just hope I won't have to leave the house today and drive anywhere. The snow is not looking appealing to me today.

    Sunday, January 1, 2012

    Goals, goals, goals

    More Goals in 2012

    1.       Write 250 posts over the year.

    2.       Make my first $100 (actual cash) in blogging.

    3.       Increase followers to 50.

    4.       Have weight loss of 40 pounds by December 1st of 2012.

    5.       Make sealed pot to save change in until December 2012.

    6.       Have a rotating buffer for monthly bills in account.

    7.       Read 25 new books during the year.

    8.       Get an Etsy shop to sell handmade stuff.

    9.       Organize monthly bills, payments, etc.

    10.   Get rid of 100 things in the house that do not need to be here (declutter).

    I hope that keeping this list of things I want to accomplish will keep me focused, as I tend to veer off my path from time to time. Mostly, it will be about helping me to stick with the plan so I can check off all these items at years end.