November's Update and December's Goals

My main goal this month was to not spend money on "crap" (TM GVO) and I am very happy to say that I had no trouble meeting this goal at all. I really had no desire to buy anything I truly did not need and I really was not tempted by anything. I did not venture out to the stores much and out of sight must have been out of mind.

I am going to challenge myself to not spend unnecessarily in December as well. I really do need a pair of flat black dress shoes as I do not have any and cannot wear heels every single day so I am going to allow myself $40 to find a pair in December.

I overspent my November grocery budget by $22.83. December's goal will be to stick to, and hopefully come in under, a grocery budget of $250.

Thankfully today was another NSD bringing the total to 7 NSDs out of my budgeted 10. I will not make my goal as there are only two more days in the month but I may just eek out and 8th NSD.

December's Goals:

  • to not spend unnecessarily on "stuff" I do not need
  • $250 for groceries (not including Xmas Eve food)
  • $75 food for Xmas Eve Party
  • 10 NSDs
  • start building the emergency fund back up now that I am working

Have gas prices ever fallen

Much to my delight, gas prices have fallen by about 60 cents per litre. That equates to significant savings. When gas was around $1.30/litre I was paying approx. $48 to fill my tank. Yesterday gas was at $0.79/litre and I filled my tank for $26.00. Huge savings.


Since the weekend I had intended on making a chicken dish Wednesday night (last night) but forgot to take the chicken out to thaw so being that I really did not want to spend money on take out, I stopped at Safeway on the way home yesterday to pick up chicken. I also picked up breakfast foods and a couple other items I needed. This is going to cause me to be over my Nov. grocery budget.

I'm failing at meeting my NSD Nov. goal of 10 days. I only have 6 so far and I *think* I can probably get away without spending anything tomorrow and Sunday but Saturday is my birthday and I am going out so that will definitely mean spending. If I am successful in not spending tomorrow and Sun., that will be 8 total NSDs.

This weekend I am going to set up my Dec. budget and make up my Dec. goals.

I got the call!!

Today I got the call from the NHL team and I have an interview with the CFO on Wednesday of this coming week. I hope it goes well and I hope I still want the job after the interview. YAY!!

3 pay days in December - YAY!

I was glad to discover yesterday, my first day at my new job, that we get paid three times this December. I was hoping they were on the schedule that would allow that in December and they are. This "extra" pay will go into my "buffer account" to help replenish my 3 month stash of funds for essential expenses.

I also found out that on Dec. 5 I will be paid right from yesterday through to Dec. 5 so there is no cut off date before pay day. It will be one day short of a full two week pay period. This should give me a good idea of what my take home pay will be every two weeks.

Made it through the first day

My first day at the new job was fine. I met a lot of people and had a site tour which took most of the morning and then I had a 2.5 hr. dept meeting this afternoon then an hour later it was time to leave for my part time job. I made it here (pt job) in time for 5pm but just barely and I doubt I'll be able to when the snow hits. I am going to start looking for another part time job that is closer to that end of the city.

Today was NSD #6.

I start my new job tomorrow

Well, tomorrow is the BIG day - first day at new job. I still am not very excited about this job but I am going stir crazy sitting at home and the emergency fund is not going to last forever so back to work it is.

I will now work 10 minutes from home so could even come home for lunch if I wanted to.

I'm quite concerned that I am not going to be able to get to my part time job Tues and Thurs nights in time as my new full time job is further from them than my last one was. Tomorrow I will find out. However, we still do not have snow and when we do, it will make travelling across the city take that much longer.

Today makes only 5 NSDs for the month thus far. Pitiful. I am aiming to not spend again tomorrow.

Last grocery shop of the month

I picked up the items I needed to make chili yesterday as I did not have quite everything on hand and I also picked up a few other items to go with the items I recently discovered in my freezer and pantry. Also, I am a HUGE cheese lover (very bad for the waistline, I know) and Armstrong Old Cheddar was on sale for $6.99 down from $13.98 and there were coupons right there for an additional $0.75 cents off per block.


  • canned mushrooms
  • tomato sauce
  • black beans
  • olive oil
  • Stove Top (for a chicken bake thing I am making later this week)
  • ranch dressing
  • tahini (for the hummus I made last night)
  • cheddar cheese (2 large blocks)

Total: $31.36

Club Card Savings $10.38

Coupon Savings $1.50

I may have to pick up a few dollars worth of produce later this week but that should be it. I expect to come in right under budget on groceries this month. Next month I am going to shop in my pantry and freezer BEFORE heading out for groceries so I expect to do much better with my grocery budget next month and will likely even scale it back and budget a bit less than I did this month.

Cheap Entertainment

I have spent quite a lot on DVD box sets over the years and some may think that was money ill spent and I disagree. I currently have the following full series on DVD:

  • Sex and the City
  • Felicity
  • Queer as Folk
  • Beverly Hills 90210
  • The L Word (one last season yet to air on TV)
  • Party of Five
  • Six Feet Under

I get hundreds upon hundreds of hours of entertainment out of these DVDs and because I love each show so much, I will (and have) watch them several times over.

I did have the Grey's Anatomy and Prison Break DVDs that have been released so far but stopped watching both shows so sold the DVDs on ebay.

Cleaning out my pantry

Man, I really need to go through my pantry more often. I knew I had food in there that I had totally forgotten about. I ended up throwing out of few canned items that expired 3 years ago as well as peanut butter, syrup, honey, brown sugar and power bars and I found that I had 3 open boxes of lasagna noodles, which have now been combined into one box. I also found two unopened boxes of baking soda that I had no idea I had.

Today's Goals:

  • do small grocery shopping
  • make pot of chili
  • make turkey burgers on the George Foreman Grill (love that thing!!)
  • make hummus with chickpeas I just found in the pantry
  • clean out fridge (if not today, then this needs to be done tomorrow for sure)

I've been tagged for the first time ever!!

I got tagged today by Frugal Dreamer to post 6 interesting things about myself and to tag 6 others. I am so new to blogging I don't know if I know of 6 other bloggers to tag.

1. I have four tattoos and a nose ring

2. I live in the northern most city in North America with a population of over 1MM

3. I became a great aunt at the ripe old age of 29

4. I like making jewellery and soap

5. I have watched the entire Sex and the City series at least 7 times

6. My dream vacation is South Africa. It WILL happen!

I am tagging:

Dolly Iris

Frugal Trenches

Canadian Saver

Saver Queen

Frugal Girl

Holly Is Stopping Shopping

I really need to get more organized in the kitchen

Rarely do I ever look to see what is in the freezer or cupboard to eat. More often I just pick up more food from the grocery store. Tonight I looked in my freezer and I have 2 packages of ground round, chicken thighs, chicken breasts, chicken burgers, turkey burgers and veggie ground round. In addition to that I have fresh ground turkey in the fridge that I just bought the other day. With that much on hand I should not have to buy meat for several weeks.

A goal for the month of December and onward is to not eat out so much. I really waste a lot of money on dining out and it is also very bad for the waistline.

Tonight I made chicken burgers and baked perogies for dinner, with fresh raspberries for desert.

Tomorrow I will be using my fresh ground turkey to make burgers on the George Foreman and I will take a package of ground round out of the freezer to make a batch of chili tomorrow as well.

I am tired of eating out so much and wasting food in my fridge to spoilage or freezer to freezer burn.

IA Clarington Target Click Funds

I am seriously considering moving my mutual funds to IA Clarington Target Click Funds. I have a call in to them and will be meeting with them this coming week to discuss these funds.

I feel just sick about losing over $23,000 of my portfolio this past year and need to look at other options.

I knew I should not have looked!!

My mutual funds are down 28.9% year-to-date. They've lost 12% this month alone.

Ugh. This really hurts.

Hosting Christmas Eve Dinner

I was thinking of having Xmas dinner at my house on the 25th but am now thinking of having it on the 24th instead as my cousin wants to have a big family gathering at her house on the 25th. I need to find out what hours my new employer is open on the 24th before I commit to anything. If I do host a Christmas Eve dinner I don't think I will do the traditional feast as we'll all be having that the following day. I am thinking of doing lasagna with salad, garlic toast, etc.

I'd love to hear suggestions for non-traditional fare that would make a good Xmas Eve dinner.

ETA - Now I am considering doing appetizers rather than a full meal. Hmm...

I love saving money on groceries

I buy the majority of my groceries from Safeway, which some people find expensive. I guess compared to Superstore and the like it is expensive but I like it there. However, I no longer buy much produce from Safeway as I can get it much cheaper at my local produce market. As an example, lemons have been $0.99 each at SW for the past several weeks. Today I purchased 5 lemons for $0.99 at the produce market. That is a HUGE difference and only one example.

Produce market:

  • bananas (4)
  • lemons (5)
  • persimmons (6)
  • pink lady apples (3)
  • mangoes (2)

Total spent $7.94


  • 2L Tetley Iced Tea (free with coupon)
  • tin foil
  • garbage bags
  • half and half
  • chicken burgers ($4 off with club card)
  • ground turkey
  • chicken thighs
  • raspberries ($1.98 off with club card)
  • prepared salad (buy one get one free with coupon PLUS $1 off with club card)

Coupon savings: $8.98

Club Card savings $6.89

Total Spent $42.27

Another NSD

Finally, another NSD for me this month - I am only up to 4 and it is the 19th. Terrible, I know. My goal is to have 10 and I have 6 more to go to achieve that and I'm not sure I can pull it off.

Tonight I've been invited to a wine and cheese party at the spa where I get my monthly facials (my facials and my gel nails are the two things I will not give up) and I don't expect to be spending any money there so should be good.

I dropped my signed letter of offer and other paperwork off with the new company and it feels official now.

Total NSDs: 4

I forgot to mention...

...that I received my vacation pay from my part-time job on the Nov. 15 paycheque. We get 4% here and it was just over $313. Not all that much I know but I usually only work 24 hours/two weeks. It went straight into the ING savings account earmarked for my next trip.

I am also expecting several hundred dollars ($550 or so) after taxes from what I paid into my pension at the place I just left. I was only paying into my pension for three months and since it was not a large amount I elected to take it as a payout (tax will be withheld) rather than flippnig it into an RSP. The main reason I chose to do this was because I thought I may need the cash on hand while I was job hunting. Now that I have a job, I am torn between putting that money directly into the savings account or putting it toward my debt (LOC).

I wonder how bad it really is....

I am afraid to look at my mutual funds and find out how much I have lost over the last while. Part of me does not feel the need to look as, even if they are down (and I'm sure they are), I don't know that I would rearrange my portfolio. I am in this for the long haul and have many years yet until retirement and have lots of time for them to gain what they've lost and continue to grow. However, the other part of me feels I should look at them and consider moving them into a less risky portfolio.

If any other Canadians are reading this blog and have thoughts on this matter, I'd love to hear them.

Why can't life ever be easy???

I picked up my letter of offer and though they don't have the Cadillac of benefits I am used to, their package is pretty standard.

I am going to accept as I need a job but I am stressed as I would really like the job with the NHL team to come through and I will hate having to resign from this one if it does. Maybe I won't even get called for an interview and it will all be moot.

Today's spending:

$21 - orange juice, Advil and frozen pizza
$17 - underwear

$3.86 - breakfast at McD's

Total NSDs: 3

My letter of offer

I am off shortly to meet with my new employer and pick up my letter of offer. We haven't talked about vacation time or benefits at all so I have no idea what they offer and I am hoping they have good benefits. I have been fortunate in the past to have worked for companies who offer the Cadillac of benefits so it will be a bit disappointing to take less but it is what it is.

I'll post more once I am back home and have reviewed the offer.

Mid-month Update

Today has successfully been another NSD bringing to total this month to 3, which is pathetic being that it is already the 16th. I am really going to have to strive harder to have more NSDs.

I have been successful in not spending unnecessarily, however, I am still spending a lot on food and I would like to cut that back.

Total NSDs: 3

Holiday Party Season Has Arrived

Tomorrow night is the Xmas party for my part time job and I have nothing to wear. I have been digging through my closet trying to find something and am not having a lot of luck. Due to my gaining weight (which I am in the process of trying to lose) none of my dressy clothes fit. Even if I was allowed to spend money this month, I would not want to buy something in this size anyway as I hope to not be this size for much longer.

Thankfully this company does not throw a really fancy party so I'm sure I'll be fine with whatever I end up digging out.

Rebates are always good

I took advantage of a Red Flag Deal that was emailed to me yesterday wherein if you purchase $50 of Proctor and Gamble products from Wal-Mart (does not have to be all at once) you can send in for a $20 WM Gift Card. I needed to stock up on toothpaste and needed toothbrush replacement heads so this was great timing.

Check it out here.

A job offer!!

There was a long, drawn out saga about a company I had applied with 7 months ago and they not being able to pay the salary I was looking for, which I wrote about here. Today they called and made me a verbal offer. They came up quite a bit in salary and I knew I would have to take a cut from my last position and they offered me the minimum I was wanting to take. I mean at some point in the next few weeks I might have had to take an even lesser paying job but I had my minimum and they met that and it feels great.

Only drawback to this is that yesterday I applied for almost the exact same position with an NHL team and I think the NHL team would be my first choice since the positions are almost identical. I don't know how soon they will be doing interviews or even if I will be invited for one but if I do get an interview and get offered the job, I don't know what I would do as I would hate to accept this other job and then leave after a few short weeks. I'd feel like a total heel. The last two people they had in this position did exactly that and I would hate to do that to them as well.

I also got called today for an interview on Friday for an HR Recruiter position, which I applied for as a long shot as I don't have a lot of HR in my background. I accepted the interview though as the verbal offer is not in stone yet and I do not want to count my chickens before they hatch.

Making Xmas Gifts

Today was not a NSD as I picked up a couple grocery items I needed at Costco and while there picked up a couple things I needed to finish making Xmas baskets for my family. My mom and sister will be getting baskets filled with Sbux coffee, gourmet teas, biscotti and candies all wrapped up in cello and tied with ribbon. Last year I made my grown nieces with families of their own "night in at the movies" baskets with DVDs, microwave popcorn, chocolate bars and other candy. They seemed to really like them.

I am trying to get away from the overbearing commerical aspect of Christmas and do simpler gifts that don't add to a person's household clutter and can really be used. Certainly, my mother does not need more tschochkes, sweaters, earrings or bottles of perfume.

Finally! Another NSD

Today I stayed in and did some housework and laundry, which means it was a NSD. YAY!!

I called a drycleaner today to find out the cost of having them press my duvet cover - not wash it - just press it and he quoted me $20. That seems expensive to me for the 10 minutes it would take them to press it on their large machines. I guess I will just save myself the $20 and continue to hang it over my shower rod and steam it with my clothes steamer as I've been doing. This is a PITA but has to be done as I cannot put it back on the bed the way it comes out of the dryer.

Total No Spend Days: 2

No Spend Days

Well, I have only had one NSD so far this month and today is the 9th. That does not make me feel very good. I would like to have at least 2 NSDs each week.

I was looking forward to today being a NSD but I didn't pick up coffee cream last night on the way home from work so had to go out and get some first thing this morning as I cannot drink coffee without it. Since I was spending anyway, I also picked up yogurt and orange juice as I needed them as well.

I think I will also go out and fill up my car today and get anything else grocery-wise that I might need so I can dedicate the next couple days to being NSDs.

Maybe timing really is everything...

Six months ago when I started my last job and my boss was fired a week after I joined the company I had interviewed with a company and that process went on forever as they pretty much promised me the job but due to all their internal processes determined that they could not pay what I needed and this whole process went on for a couple months.

Well, I was on monster the other day and saw that this same position was posted so I emailed the HR dude (who I know from a past employer where we both worked for over 10 years each) and he called me and told me what has been happening with them. They filled this position a while back and that person was there a week and then left for another job she had been shortlisted for which paid more. They then hired another person who also ended up quitting shortly after starting as her previous employer offered her more money to come back to them. So here they are, needing to fill the position again.

He said that they are happy to hear I am still interested and he was intending on contacting me as well just to see where I am with things and he said that he really thinks they can increase the $$ as they've been proven twice now that their salary is too low and it has caused them to be unable to retain a good employee in that position. He said that it was the VP HR who was concerned with increasing the $$ before as it would have caused internal inequities but he would like me to come in and meet with the VP HR as he thinks that if that VP can talk to me first hand that he will see what I can bring to the table and be more willing to increase the salary. So the HR dude is going to call me back once he gets a hold of the VP HR.

I am feeling excited about this possibility and am hopeful that this can work out. Maybe things really do happen for a reason and maybe 6 months ago just wasn't the right time. This place is a 10 minute drive from my house with free parking, which is great.

It will still be a reduction from my last salary but if they can offer what the HR guy is hoping they can, it will be fine.

I NEED to get back to work!!

Expecting today to be a NSD...finally

Today is Nov. 6 and I have spent money each of the five days of this month leading up to today. Today is half over and I have not spent anything yet and intend to keep it this way. I have to work tonight and will take something for dinner with me from home instead of grabbing Subway.

Actually, I made just over $120 today as I delivered some Avon today (I dabble in Avon) and made a profit, which promptly went into the bank account.

November No Spend Days (NSD): 1

The job hunt continues

I have to leave for an interview in about an hour. This will be my second interview with this company and while I was quite interested in this company before I had an interview elsewhere last week, it is no longer my first choice. However, I have not yet heard from the company I interviewed with a week ago, which now is my first choice.

I'm going stir crazy being at home and really need to get back to work so if today's interview goes well and it gets offered to me, I will take it. The job itself is fine and is what I've done for more than the past decade but the other job, the first choice job, would be a change of pace as it is not the same job I've been doing all these years and that is a big part of why it is so appealing. It's also only a 10 minute drive from home and I would not have to pay the enormous downtown parking costs. Alas, I have not heard from them either way yet so need to continue with the search.

I think this is a rip off

I was just reading about this on Dolly Iris' Blog and it reminded me of how I feel I, and the other part time staff, get ripped off.

I have a part time job where I work evenings and weekends and they deduct $9/month for the Staff Fund. This covers things such as summer BBQs and the Xmas Party. Being that I never get to attend the BBQs as they happen during the weekday, all I get to partake in is the Xmas Party, which really is not my thing. However, I did go last year as I felt since I pay $108 per year into the Staff Fund, I may as well attend the party. Last year the dinner was really nice and I did win a door prize of $25 GC to Sears so I guess all was not lost.

I guess I will go again this year although I have nothing to wear and am on a shopping ban so will have to make due with something in my closet. It's a good thing that it is not a really dressy party.

An unplanned purchase

I use my camera a lot, particularly for taking pix of things to post online such as on ebay, etc.

Something happened to it last night and I think the USB connection on the camera is now damaged as my computer will no longer read the camera and the problem is not with the cord itself. I am going to have to make a $20 unplanned purchase of a portable memory card reader as I cannot be without my camera and the card reader will be far cheaper than fixing the camera or buying another one. I called one of the only camera repair places in the city and they charge $52 just to diagnose the problem and then whatever the costs are to fix it.

This purchase may be unplanned but it is necessary and I have a small budget for household items and will use money from there.

The waiting is killing me

I had a job interview last week and though I was not sure I was all that interested, after having the interview and thinking about it a lot more since then, I really am interested. It is a 10 minute drive from home and I would not be incurring $200+ costs to park downtown any longer. The company has been around for 110 years and appears to be very stable which is important to me as I intend to be with the next company I join for several years to come. It will mean a pay cut but I am okay with that if it means being satisfied and happy with what I do every day.

They said they were continuing interviews last week and that I should hear this week. I know it is only Monday but the wait is killing me. Even if I don't get it I'd rather know than be kept in suspense.

I have another job interview this Wed. but this company/job is not my first choice but I will take it if it is offered to me and the first choice job not. I have been off work for 1 month and though financially I am fine, I am going stir crazy and am bored to tears. I have never left one job without having another before and doubt I will ever voluntarily do it again. B.O.R.E.D I can't even pass the time by shopping.

Planned Purchases

Well, I managed to resist buying anything from Overstock, which fills me with satisfaction.

Yesterday I made a planned purchase of Xmas stocking stuffers and really wasn't tempted to buy more than the few items I needed.

Last night my PC stopped reading my camera. It worked fine earlier yesterday but now when I hook the USB to the camera nothing happens. I am hoping it is just the matter of needing a new USB, which I can get for about $5, and not something wrong with the camera itself.

UGH! Temptation

I just discovered, from reading a money saving blog, that now ships to Canada and they are offering a $20 flat shipping charge currently.

I have always loved and always wished they would ship to Canada. Sure enough, now that I can't spend any money, they do and they are offering great shipping rates.


First Day of No Friviolous Spending

Today was the first day of my month of no spending and it has gone well. I did not feel tempted to purchase anything that was not necessary.

Today I spent:

$33 gel nails (is a necessity and is allowed by the rules)
$25.29 groceries at Safeway
$20.78 groceries at Sobeys

I picked up the ingredients for a pan of lasagna and will be making that tomorrow, which will feed me for a few days and the rest will be frozen for easy meals later in the month.