Moving Across Canada – Part 1

black car on hi way with fog

Photo by Markus Spiske on

Me and my family of 4 are in the midst of a move across the country, and I thought it would be an interesting blog series to share.  There are many trials and tribulations to have a successful move, and I figured that someone, somewhere could utilize the information that I have, and maybe even learn from my successes as well as my mistakes.  Plans, organization, lists and even the emotional aspects of a move across the country are to follow.

In Part 1, I plan to lay out our decision making process, and the emotional hurdles that we had to overcome in the same process.

It all officially started about a year ago, but to be honest, it was happening since the very beginning.

So just a little history to fill you in… In December 2013, my husband and I sold our home in Alberta and flew to Newfoundland with our dog and our toddler to be with his family.  His father had just been diagnosed with ALS, and we decided that while in home limbo, we could stay in Newfoundland for a few months and be close to his family.  My husband is lucky enough to work from home and so we are able to basically live wherever we want.  Aside from that, we had no idea where we wanted to be our forever home.  We had both grown up in a transient community that everyone works in, but no one retires in.  We call Alberta our home, but no city in particular has actually been our home base.  So while we were visiting family we were also doing up our pro and con lists to try to figure out where we should officially call home.

My husband has a lot of family in Newfoundland, and though something never quite felt right, we decided to make the transition to move there anyway.  In the moment it made sense, and plus, when you’re surrounded by people who are constantly encouraging you to stay, it seems like a good idea.  In retrospect my gut told me no, but I ignored it and tried to remain optimistic.  After making the life altering decision to move, my husband and I attempted a high five.  With the most disgruntled look on my face, I honestly had to physically force my hand into the high five.  That should have been a huge indicator that my heart was not in it, but I figured I could pour myself into this place and make it work.

In April 2014 we had purchased a home, and from there, every 6 months I went into a depression and talked about leaving.  Of course in the beginning it was just light comments here and there.  We had just paid thousands of dollars to move here, I’d be crazy to be suggesting we leave now right?  Nevertheless, it always came up.  Even when 2 years passed and it was time to resign our mortgage, my gut screamed no.  It was cheaper to do a 5 year mortgage and I just couldn’t stomach it.  Committing to stay here for 5 years on top of the 2 we already had?  It all seems glaringly obvious now that no part of me, mentally of physically, wanted to stay.  We decided on a 3 year mortgage instead. Still too long for my liking, but at least it wasn’t 5 years.

Slowly, bit by bit, I lost myself.  I was unhappy, and that initial spark and energy I put towards trying to make it work, was being worn away.  I kept trying to make everyone happy…  Everyone but myself.  And aside from my husband, who could see that I was very unhappy, everyone else seemed to have no problem with me sacrificing my own needs for everyone else’s.  Just over a year ago, my husband and I made it official that we would move back to Alberta.  We sat on the decision for several months before telling anyone.  It was no surprise that all of my family and all of our friends back home were ecstatic, but all of my husband’s family were heart broken.

Our plan was to wait until the following spring to list our house on the market.  We figured spring would be the best time to sell, and this way we’d have a year to get our house ready to sell, and to make sure it was truly the right decision for us.  Plus our toddler was no longer a toddler and was now in school.  We wanted to make the transition as smooth as we could for her, which meant moving during the summer while school was out.  During this year we also encountered many hardships with my husbands family.

I debated sharing any of this, but when you look up moving across the country you can find endless tips and hacks for packing and organizing, but not very much information on how to deal with the emotional backlash you may receive.

My mother in law asked me what the reasons were why I wanted to leave, and then told me how all of my reasons were wrong.  Now I understand that she is sad to see us go, but I still felt like it was all so inappropriate.  She claimed that it was her heart broken attempt to get us to stay, but it certainly didn’t feel like that at the time.  I felt judged, unsupported, ridiculed…  It’s like someone asking you what your favourite colour is, and let’s say you respond with red. Then that same person telling you why red is wrong and stupid, and how you should actually like yellow, and if you don’t like yellow “you’re just not trying hard enough”.  I assure you that this is a very mild comparison, and in actuality I was being told how my family and our friends in Alberta aren’t good enough.  That we’re loners and need his family around.  That we are very nomadic, and that we’re just bored looking for some new excitement.  Although she didn’t seem to mind our “nomadic lifestyle” when it brought us to Newfoundland.   Why ask us the reason that we’re moving if you have already decided the reason for us?

Now I know their actions were mainly because they wanted us to stay, I get and appreciate that.  But they started to give us the cold shoulder, and it began to feel less like love and more like doubt in our decision making skills, or a distaste for me, considering I was the real reason behind us wanting to move.  The comments to my husband about how maybe if I had a job, had more friends or was in more activities (basically, if I wasn’t such a loser), that maybe I’d be happier here and not want to move.  Coming from people who I had now considered my own family, it hurt like hell.  Eventually it even came out that one of my husband’s siblings was actually just jealous of us because they wanted to leave too.  Instead of them being our number one supporter, they became disconnected, resentful and cruel.

Time has passed, words have been exchanged, feelings have been hurt, and we’ve tried our hardest to mend everyone’s hurt feelings. At this point it seems like we’ll never be the same as we were before, but maybe only time will heal those wounds.  And honestly, it has taught me many lessons.  Number one would be listen to your heart.  My wants and needs are important too, but I quickly shelved those things to be accommodating and to be a people pleaser.  At the time that we had decided to move, we knew that no matter what we chose. we’d be disappointing someone.  But it was easier to please the people in front of me, instead of dealing with their disappointment.  Well, had I listened to my heart and been brave, I would have just dealt with that disappointment at the time instead of dragging it on for nearly 5 years, only to have to do it anyway.  In the process I ignored my own needs, and that was wrong and damaging to myself and to my family.

So never again.

You can’t please everyone, it’s impossible. No matter what you do or say, someone will always hate it.  But on the bright side of that, someone will always love it too.  And the ones that love, support and encourage you for who you really are the ones that you should surround yourself with.  Everyone else will just drain you, and it won’t be long before you are an unhappy shell of who you once were.

In the end however, I don’t regret us moving here.  It taught me to believe and have faith in myself.  It grew my appreciation for Alberta, and revealed how I had taken so many things for granted.  It taught me that I can’t run away from my problems, and that it’s better to face them head on; this lesson showed up in more than one occasion.

So my advice is to just be confident in yourself and worry less what other people think.  I know first hand, how that is easier said than done, but it’s all true.  And if you follow that advice you will feel a lot better about your decisions, and care a lot less about everyone else’s opinions.  You’re not living their life, you’re living yours, and you have to do what’s best for you.

Anyway, that’s the bulk of the emotional burden of moving, aside from the stress of such a large undertaking, but I’ll visit that later.

That’s enough Debbie Downer for one day.




Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers have a permanent spot in our regular rotation.  I love that you can vary them in so many different ways, depending on what you have in the fridge.  I tend to lean in the same direction most times, and my family seems to approve so that is a plus.  This meal does have a lot of moving parts, but there are plenty of ways to simplify it if you are in a hurry.  Plus the filling can be doubled, and one half can be frozen for next time.  I love a good time saver.

For todays simplicity I made a single batch.  It’s complicated enough to put a bunch of ingredients that you generally just chuck together into an actual, measured, recipe.

So here goes…


Ingredients, minus the cheese… and water… and lemon oil


Rice (grain of your choice) and water


Fry up the ground meat



Add water, cover and let cook


Add cooked rice and mix


Top with lemon and oil or lemon oil


Remove peppers from oven





  • 3 Large Bell Peppers
  • 500g of Ground Meat (I used turkey… or chicken… I can’t remember)
  • 1/2 Cup of Rice (or grain of your choice.  I used a quinoa rice blend)
  • 1 Medium Carrot – peeled and diced
  • 1 Medium White Onion – diced
  • 1 Bundle of Asparagus – trimmed ends
  • 1 Can of Tomato Paste
  • 1/4 Cup of Water
  • 1 Cup of Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 6 Dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp of Garlic Powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste



  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Add rice to pot, and cook with water according to package directions.
  3. In a large pan, fry ground meat with med-high heat.  If using a lean meat, you’ll need to grease pan first.  I sprayed with Pam.
  4. When meat is mostly cooked add diced carrots and onions.  Mix.
  5. Add tomato paste, worcestershire sauce and water.  Mix and cover.  Reduce heat to low and let sit while you prepare the peppers.  Stir periodically (If using a fattier meat, you may not need to add any water).
  6. Cut peppers in half and remove membranes and seeds.
  7. Place peppers on a microwave safe plate, and microwave for 7 min or until soft.
  8. When finished in the microwave, shake off excess moisture from the peppers (I used tongs to avoid burning myself), then assemble in a casserole dish, pan or cookie sheet.
  9. Add cooked rice to your meat mixture, remove from heat, then scoop mixture into the peppers.  You may have some excess filling.  I like to keep mine and eat it as is later, but you can always add another pepper to make the most of it if you’d prefer.
  10. Top each pepper with cheese and place in the oven for 20-25 min or until cheese starts to bubble.
  11. While peppers are baking, fill a medium pot with water and salt liberally.  Bring to a boil.
  12. Add asparagus and blanch for 3-4 min.
  13. Shake off any excess water and then drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.  Or, you can be awesome like me and travel to Rome, buy a lemon infused olive oil, then bring it home and put it on your asparagus.
  14. Plate and serve!




Snow Day “Play doh”

We are bored over here…  REALLY bored.

The weather has been bombarding us and we continue to receive storm after storm after storm.  Well another snow day stuck at home is forcing us to get creative.  My oldest and I have decided enough is enough and we MUST make our own play doh!

We scoured the cupboards for ingredients, food colouring and some scents that we could use.  We ended up choosing yellow food colouring and banana flavouring for the scent.  We didn’t really follow any recipes too closely, but kind of winged it so your results might vary.


All ingredients and tools minus spoon. We ended up using almost double the water pictured here


Pour in flour


Pour in salt


Mix dry ingredients


Pour in water


Start to mix and add in the food colouring and flavouring


Get right in there with your hands to get it all mixed. This was about the time that we added more water


Mix mix mix


Shelter dinosaurs immediately afterwards for optimum results!



  • 2 Cups of flour (or more)
  • 1 Cup of water (or less)
  • 1 Cup of salt (or less)
  • 2 Tbsp of Oil (eyeballed drizzles)
  • 2 Tsp of Flavouring (squeezed desired amount)
  • 10 drops of Colouring (hi!)



  1. Start with a big bowl and large spoon for mixing.
  2. Add in all dry ingredients and mix
  3. Pour in water (pictured is 1/2 cup but we ended up using almost double that) and mix
  4. Add in the flavour and colour and mix some more
  5. Start to use your hands to really knead everything together
  6. Pretend that play doh is a banana scented, dinosaur cave dwelling


The Art of Organization


I’m not an expert at a lot of things, but I know that I am great at organizing my life.  I love writing lists, and scheduling small and large events for myself and my family.  It helps me to manage my life and to stay sane.  Simply thinking about running around like a chicken with my head cut off, due to my lack of preparation, gives me anxiety.  Unacceptable!

I decided to put together a little list of all the ways that I keep myself and my household organized.  I want to share my wisdom with others, but at the same time, I like writing lists, so this is also for me 😉



  • General tidy of the house and clean up at least one major thing every day.  By the time the week is done you’ll have a fully clean house without having to break a major sweat.
  • Also, don’t let the laundry baskets get too full.  Save yourself the trouble of searching for that pair of socks, or shirt that you planned on wearing, and finding them at the bottom of the over packed dirty laundry pile instead of neatly folded at the top of your drawer.
  • Set up the coffee maker before bed at night
  • Make lunches before bed to alleviate stress getting ready in the morning
  • Go through emails and check newsletters daily.  Pay those bills right away, or at least, make a note immediately in your calendar to do it at a later time.  Save the date, remind yourself to RSVP, make a note of the time etc. in your calendar right away.  Cell phones are amazing for this, utilize them!




  • When the seasons change, so should your front closet.  Remove the extra shit that you aren’t using anymore.  It just adds clutter, gets in the way and slows you down.  It sometimes seems like a pain in the ass to gut things out, but you’ll thank yourself for having done it in the long run.
  • Switch out seasonal clothes in your own closets too.  I have baskets in all of our closets where I keep shorts or sweaters, depending on the season, and rotate them out.
  • Keep a basket or box in the front closet for each person to store outdoor accessories (hats, gloves, sunglasses etc.)
  • If you have kids, keep a basket and/or hooks by the door just for their crap.  Hang up your own damn jacket!
  • Have a box or container in each persons closet where you put garments that are too small, or that you wish to donate.  Keep a mental note when your little one has pulled on a pair of pants that are now capris.  After laundry day, put those half pants in the box instead of back in the drawer.  It’ll save you the trouble when you are rushing to get out the door to Grandma’s and your kid has put on those stupid friggen half pants, insisting that they are their favourite and refusing to change.  Just trust me and put them away before hand mmmkay?



  • Download a Christmas list app and input ideas as you get them, all year.  Those stored ideas come in handy for Birthdays too, so be sure to include December and January Birthdays with your Christmas shopping budget, because, let’s be honest… it’s all the same shit to you when you’re spending your money during the holidays.
  • Collect points with your debit and/or credit card and redeem gift cards for some lucky Christmas list recipients. The end of October or the beginning of November (to allow shipping time) is the best time to redeem these points.
  • I usually end up giving away quite a few boxes of chocolates.  House parties, neighbour gifts, and they’re really nice to top a parcel off with.  Make a list of who will be receiving one, and include one or two extras (because you will forget that one teacher or work friend).  Be on the look out in your flyers for a good sale, and buy them all at once.  I used to have a hard time with this.  Buying 10+ boxes of chocolates seemed excessive and expensive.  Psychologically it was a lot more pleasing to buy a couple boxes here and there, it didn’t seem as expensive.  But ultimately, this strategy costs you more money and time.
  • While you’re scouring the flyers for chocolates, look for party hor’deurves too.  It’s nice to have swedish meatballs ready to go during the holidays.  You’ll definitely use them at some point.
  • Set a budget and maintain it!  There is nothing more gratifying, and organized than coming in under budget.
  • When the holiday season is over this is when you pounce and buy holiday cards, wrapping paper, decor items etc.  I know, I know… what does this have to do with organization?  I can’t tell you how awesome it feels to pull out the Christmas boxes and find brand new wrapping paper etc all ready to go.  No extra trips to the store during an already busy time in your life.  Enjoy those Christmas parties and activities instead!



  • You have a cell right?  It comes with a calendar application… use it!  This is your new best friend.  Also, if you are running a house hold, like myself, have a calendar hanging up somewhere that everyone can see.
  • Sync your calendars often.  It’s useless to have these calendars otherwise.
  • Take the time to write everyone’s Birthdays down on these calendars too. If some of these people live away from you, make notes on the calendar to remind yourself to mail cards and parcels before hand.  No belated card purchases for you!
  • I like to set reminders on my cell for even the little things.  There can be so much going on in my life, and it is sometimes hard to remember that it’s orange and black day at school, or that I have to put out the recycling or what not.  It’s great that my phone will beep and tell me to do it so that my brain can turn off and rest sometimes 🙂
  • Meal plan and shop according to this.  Every week or so, plan to double up on a meal and freeze half.  Cooking the extra freezer meal while you were cooking supper anyway is a win win in my books.  These freezer meals come in handy when everyone is up to their eyeballs in work, activities and just life in general.  The drive-thru is tasty when you choose it, but not usually as tasty out of necessity.
  • Relieve your fridge of the responsibility of chilling expired food.  Toss that shit.  I tend to do this on grocery day, basically out of necessity to make room for the new purchases.  Ultimately I’d say you’d be far more organized to do this BEFORE you come home with a load of groceries, but doing this the day of just works for me.  Maybe it will for you too!
  • Purchase (on sale) a storage cupboard/pantry, or allocate a space in your house to store excess food.  When you find a good sale, or buy in bulk you can put the extras here.  This will also serve to declutter the cupboards that you use on a daily basis instead of having to move around that can of chickpeas that you don’t plan on using anytime soon, just to access the crackers or cookies.
  • Take time for the little things.  For instance, I always kept my kids baby books out in our living space somewhere, so that I’d remember to add to them every month.  Otherwise, no…  I don’t remember how much they weighed at 5 months, or what date they started clapping…
  • Next time you’re out, take out some cash.  I never used to use cash, but now that I have a kid in school and activities, it’s like you need cash for everything!  Avoid being the deadbeat that sent your kid to school without that donation, or money for the field trip.  No bus ride to the Aweseomarium for you little Billy, Mommy spent all the cash at the liquor store.
  • Have some kind of storage system in place for toys or the extra clutter in your life (whatever it may be).  Every few months re organize everything into it’s proper home.  Also, have an ongoing box/bag for donation or garage sales.
  • Keep your recyclables in designated areas and make sure to actually take your bottles to the bottle depot.  Free cash people!  Remember our talk about cash?
  • And lastly, list to your hearts content!  Just try to keep your list in one place.  It doesn’t do you any good to have a million scraps of paper around, reminding no one of anything.

Easter Wreath 1.2

My crafting has taken a bit of the back burner lately.  Life is a bit hectic, and crafting almost seemed overwhelming to me.  I have to be creative AND clean up a mess after?  Plus I’d have to search all around the house for the required supplies, ugh, just so much work!  One of these days I’ll make my own little craft room/area where everything is organized neatly in one location.  That day is not today.  Today is a day simply for one craft that I got around to doing.

It all started with my oldest daughter needing an Easter Bonnet for school, so we went to the dollar store and hot glued the crap out of an old fedora hat until voila, an “Easter Bonnet”.  Well this craft felt good.  It felt really good!  It reminded me how crafting, albeit messy and sometimes a hassle, really is enjoyable for me and I’d been a slacker for far too long.  I knew my original Easter wreath that I had put together several years prior to was in need of a face lift, nay, over haul.

Remember the original?

Well some of the little pink eggs were starting to fall off and I just didn’t love it anymore, and decided to strip it nude and start fresh.  Using more dollar store goodies and even more hot glue, I created my new and improved Easter Wreath 1.2!

The bad news is that the grass went out so far that it no longer fit a standard sized door. Hahah, and this type of situation is sooo me.  I get so into certain things, and I tend to cut corners, thinking, nah… I’m good.  Going all the way around the corner properly is for suckers!  Thus my extra large wreath.

The good news is that I now have an indoor wreath! Until I get the crafting itch again that is.  Yes, a year or 4 down the road, I will grow tired of this wreath and expose it’s twiggy skeleton again.  Perhaps then I will have an outdoor wreath.  We’ll see.

Also I think it’s nice, yadda yadda.


Goal Achieved!



My first goal was 13lbs and I finally achieved that a few days ago.  It felt so good to actually see those numbers on the scale.  This achievement didn’t come without it’s drama however.  For 3 days steady the scale didn’t move.  Not even 0.1lb, which has NEVER happened to me.  The scale always moves a least a tiny bit.  I was at a stale mate, and with just 1lb left to lose, I was feeling quite pissed off!  The scale had never seen so little action.  It did however provide me with the last motivation I needed to stay on track and hit the treadmill a few times.

On average I lost 1.63lbs per week which is pretty ideal in my eyes.  Makes it seem more permanent the slower it comes off.   In total my husband and I have both lost 28lbs, and still counting.

I’m sort of wavering today, which is typical for me.  I reach a goal, and it’s like my mind clicks, and tells me that I am good to slack off now.  Some days I just want to take a break, but I know that a small break will turn into falling off the wagon, and I do not plan to find myself on the dirty ground next to a stupid wagon.  Sometimes I just add an additional cheat day to my week (out of necessity really), but I make sure to get back on track as soon as I can.  Extra snacks in the afternoon?  Don’t throw your day away!  Maintain a healthy supper and snack before bed time.  The week is still salvageable.

My new goal is 10lbs away.  I haven’t set a time limit for myself, especially with the holidays coming up.  I’m prepared for a slower drop in weight, and I am okay with that.  I don’t want to deprive myself.  I think it’s important that a change in diet shouldn’t interfere too much with your social life, or else it’s just another excuse to quit.

Typically I get an idea in my head, then I plan it all out and want to do it all RIGHT NOW!  I’m extreme like that, and often it will lead to high highs and low lows. AKA I’ll be stationed at the nearest McDonalds a few days later.  For example, a few years back my husband and I thought it would be a great idea to do a 1 week juice cleanse…  With a new born…  During a move from one city to the next.  Yeah, that was a disaster waiting to happen.  We were at each others throats, and then we were at KFC, just like that!  Slow and steady is unnatural for me, but it’s definitely way more efficient.

The ol’ ball n’ chain and I have booked ourselves a little trip to NYC in February for our anniversary, so that’s a good piece of motivation to have on our minds right now.  Until next time…

Eating Right Update

Today is the middle of week 3 and so far things have been going pretty well.  Week 1 went basically according to plan.  I had to up the calories a little bit because I had noticed a drop in my milk supply, but that was an easy fix.  Eat more?  Don’t mind if I do!  As for exercise, I didn’t end up going for a walk every day like I had hoped.  I did walk some days, but for the most part, I was just sure to be active at home.  Cleaning, cooking, general tidying – I was always on my feet. The first few days I was starving, and had to have many snacks, but I stuck with it.  I had some headaches, and felt like I was about to get sick even though I never ended up getting sick, so I’m assuming there was some detoxing going on.  Did I mention I’m basically addicted to sugar?  Yeah, I guess it was holding on to my body for dear life as I murdered it per se.

I had a cheat day on Halloween which worked out rather well for me, and allowed me to eat candy while it was very much in my face.  I really did not want to set myself up for failure, and this couldn’t have worked out better for me.

Week 2 I still ate veggie omelettes or oatmeal for breakfast, with salads for lunch, but my husband and I decided to switch up our suppers a little bit.  We had turkey meatballs with sweet potato mash, and the same meatballs with spaghetti squash, and always lots of veggies.

I may have over done it with the cinnamon this day

I may have over done it with the cinnamon this day

I had some bok choy in the fridge, and decided a lunch change was in order.  I sauteed a bunch of vegetables, and cooked some quinoa to make a veggie stir fry.  For suppers we’ve been having sweet potato and turkey sheppards pie and chicken parm with half pasta, half peppers and onions.

Veggie stir-fry and quinoa

Veggie stir-fry and quinoa

Ground turkey and sweet potato sheppards pie with a little bit of cheese on top

Ground turkey and sweet potato sheppards pie with a little bit of cheese on top

Lightly breaded chicken parm with red peppers and rotini

Lightly breaded chicken parm with red peppers and rotini

So far, from day 1, I’ve lost just a little over 7 lbs.  I am definitely one to bloat easily, so I’m sure I was retaining water to begin with, from all of the salt and sugar I had been eating.  I plan to stick with this and see where it takes me.  I have 5 lbs left until I reach my first goal, so there is still plenty more to come.

Week 1 – Food and Fitness Goals

So it is finally here, tomorrow is 6 weeks postpartum, and the beginning of my journey to health and wellness.  To start off, I will be making small goals instead of a giant one that seems very far away.

For week 1, my fitness goal is to go for a walk every single day, whether it be outside or on the treadmill.  I’m also going to do some squats, lunges, crunches, and a few moves to work out my triceps.  A little bit every day, whenever I can fit it in.

As for food, my husband and I have meal prepped some healthy food for the week.

Day 1

Breakfast: Oatmeal w/ fruit

Lunch: Salad, hard boiled egg and an orange

Snack: Apple w/ natural peanut butter

Supper: Chicken breast, rice, broiled zucchini and a chocolate pudding (I need some chocolate =])

Snack: Veggies and hummus

Day 2

Breakfast: Veggie omelet

Lunch: Tuna, salad and a banana

Snack: Apple w/ natural peanut butter

Supper: Chicken, sweet potato, cauliflower and pudding

Snack: Veggies and hummus

I’m going to alternate between the two days so that I don’t get bored.  I’m also not going to be stingy on the portions.  The last thing I want to do is feel deprived and be tempted to eat crap, plus I am breast feeding and can’t cut too many calories.  I’m also going to do one cheat day a week; something to look forward to, and tell myself if/when I’m feeling deprived.  Hopefully this plan works for me, and then I can move on to other bigger and better goals.

Wish me luck!

Living Life on a Budget

There came a time when my husband and I were living life on a tight budget.  These times seem to come and go depending on whatever life throws us, and we’ve had to pick up money saving habits along the way.  As the years have gone on, I’ve continued to collect these money saving habits, and despite our financial situation, I still use all of my money saving techniques today.

First thing we do is add up our previous months spending, and form a reasonable budget for the following month.  When I add up the grand total, I usually don’t like the number, so I’ll go back through the list and see where we can adjust and cut costs.  Here are some general places that you can cut costs.

  • Cancel your cable.  We just have the internet and Netflix.  I find that I really don’t miss much TV once it’s gone, and we save almost $100/month just by doing this.
  • Lower your heat, turn off the lights, and monitor your hot water consumption.
  • Look through your flyers for sales and form a meal plan.  Buy in bulk and always check out the discount racks.  A lot of people are too snobby to buy discounted food, but why?  Especially if you are going to eat it that day, or freeze it.  I buy my meat in bulk from Costco, or 50% off.  It’s easier to find these deals when you show up first thing in the morning on a weekday.  Not only is the store empty, but you get first pick of everything, not just sale items.  I also buy 50% bakery items when I can.  I make my own garlic bread and chop up bread cubes for homemade croutons in soups and on salads.
  • Don’t be afraid to shop the dollar store.  Brand name pasta sauce, sugar, cake mix, spices etc.  They are all brands you will find in the grocery store, but at a discounted price.  Be aware of some things like Kraft Dinner that you can often buy in larger quantities for cheaper at the grocery store.  Never assume one store always has the cheapest prices.
  • Shop sales and clearance for next year. I do this for clothes, holiday decor and anything seasonal really.  I buy my kids clothes at crazy discounts in larger sizes and put it away for next year.  If you are a shopaholic, you still get to buy buy buy, but everything is cheaper.  Sure, you don’t get to wear any of the clothes now, but it always feels like Christmas when you can open up that box of new summer clothes the following year.  We are planning a Disney trip this spring, so November 1 I’ll be heading to the store to grab some cheap Halloween costumes for my girls.  They can dress up as their favourite Disney Princess while we are on vacation, and we won’t have to break the bank or use our vacation budget to accomplish this!
  • Don’t waste left overs, produce etc.  This is why meal planning is so important.  It helps to clean and prep your produce so that you’ll be more prone to grab fruits and veggies as a snack to ensure it all gets eaten.  Plus it’s likely more healthy for you than what you were gonna grab from the cupboard.  As for left overs, I love having pasta, stew, casserole for lunch instead of a sandwich.  I never understood why leftovers are looked at as complete garbage to some people.  It was delicious last night for supper, why wouldn’t you wanna get down on that again??
  • Live a minimalist life – have 1 of something instead of 4.  Even if it means washing more often, or cycling it out, it just makes life much less complicated.  Less clutter in your closets, cupboards, shelves and so on will be much appreciated and makes things far more simple in the long run.  Did I mention having less crap around means you spent less money?
  • Make/Bake it yourself – This is cheaper and healthier.  Bake bread and cookies, sew your own new pillow cases for the cushions on the couch or make your own wall art to decorate a room.  You can find cheap canvases at a liquidation or dollar store and there are tons of simple tutorials for this on Pinterest.
  • Use coupons.  Whether you find them in the flyers, on food packaging, or print them off online, coupons are sure to cut your costs in the long run.  They especially come in hand for things that you are constantly buying like coffee, or diapers if you’re a parent.  Don’t forget promo/coupon codes when shopping online.  If I’m doing any shopping online, first I’ll check to see if they have a deal with Airmiles, so that I can collect points there.  I’ll also google for coupon codes, and don’t forget to sign up with the website.  They’ll usually have 10-15% off your first order just by simply signing up your email address.
  • Make your own cleaning supplies.  I have a foam soap dispenser that I add 1/3 liquid soap from the dollar store, then top up with water.  That is literally how foam soap is made, even from the fancy bath shops!  You can find many tutorials on how to make your own Febreeze, window cleaner, laundry soap etc on Pinterest.  Look it up!  Plus this route is better for you and the environment. Win win win.
  • Check out store websites ahead of time to look for the best price before heading out to buy.  It saves you from driving around checking out store to store for a good product and/or price and will save you gas and your personal time.  It also eliminates those impulse buys.  I hate purchasing something then seeing it cheaper at another store a few days later.  Especially if I know I impulse bought the product simply for the convenience of me being there.  Sad times.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount when a product is damaged or missing a piece.  The other day I was at Winners looking for a great picture frame.  I found a really nice one, but the backing with the stand on it was missing.  I knew I planned to hang the frame on the wall, so having no stand didn’t bother me.  When I got to the cashier I was still sure to ask if I could receive a discount on the frame.  They don’t need to know whether the missing piece was important to you or not, that’s not the point 😉
  • Buy second hand. The less you buy brand new, the more money you’ll save, plus less product packaging will go to waste. Isn’t it annoying having to get rid of all of the packaging on toys, small appliances, decor etc?  I prefer to buy furniture like dressers, shelves and such on Kijiji (online classifieds) to avoid all of the large cardboard that I’ll need to cut up and break down afterwards.  Plus I won’t have to put all the furniture together.  After moving as much as I have, you’ll hate building furniture too!

I really do use these techniques all the time, and once you start saving money it becomes addicting.  You’ll feel guilty buying things full price simply because you are too lazy to put in the work.  Saving your family money that you can use for other things (like, say, a vacation to Disney World?) can be very rewarding.

What are your money saving tips and tricks?  I’d love to hear them!

Baby Weight Update

Well baby girl #2 has finally arrived, Baby S, and she’s pretty awesome.

Right before my baby was due I was 15lbs heavier than my pre pregnancy weight.  Again, I’m not going to count the weight that I lost and gained during my morning sickness bout in the first trimester.  So after baby S was born I lost 10 lbs, and after a week and a half I am now 1lb less than my pre pregnancy weight.  I don’t know how I managed this because I am not one to lose weight easily, especially with the lack of exercise I’ve had.  Must have been some water weight, but anyway, now I’m just playing the waiting game.

October 26th is game day.  That’ll be 6 weeks postpartum and I’ll be good to go for exercise, and will be introducing healthy meal planning.  In the mean time I’m going to eat a bit more sensibly, but I’m not going to deprive myself by any means.  Alcohol for one thing is very caloric, but I’ve been alcohol free for 9 months, so I’m definitely not saying no to that any time soon.  I’m also breast feeding which brings on this insatiable hunger and thirst.  During pregnancy you get weird cravings and love to eat, but the breast feeding hunger is something totally different.  I’m just so hungry, I don’t care if I’m eating chips and dip, a bag of apples or left over steak.  I’ll pretty much eat anything, just as long as it’s in large quantities, so I hope that doesn’t some how catch up with me.

I said I’d keep up with the progress, so stay tuned for more!