Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Please Help make my Dreams Come True!





So...

This post is going to vary a bit from the usual.

For those of you not familiar with Patreon, it is a website that remodels the idea of patronage for the 21st century. It allows individuals to support creators by becoming patrons (for as low as $1/month) so that they can devote themselves fully to their projects. Each patron tier comes with a reward that is set by the creator.

As I have gotten deeper into the blogging, I have realized that while I want to continue blogging, I also want to do more.  I have finally made my way back to writing and I want to reach as many people as possible. One way I want to do this is to write an E-book that would be available on my site (ideally for free or an extremely low cost) to help people get their personal budgets back on track. I also have other books planned for the future and would love to see those come to fruition during this journey.



Please go check out my Patreon and see what it's all about. If it's something you're interested in investing in, please choose one of the tiers. If not, that's cool too. You've already done tons by reading and hopefully spreading the word about the blog.

Please share this with your friends. I can't do this on my own and word of mouth is worth its weight in gold.

Remember, every penny counts.

Regular service will resume on Friday with an absolutely awesome infographic!

Thanks again,

~A

To learn more, please click here or visit the site listed above.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Our Budgets are Products of our Past

I was fortunate enough to have my parents come and visit over the weekend. Talking to them helped inspire this post.

As I have mentioned before, my family lived on a fairly strict budget while I was growing up. I never wanted for anything, but I knew that Mom and Dad paid attention to every penny that went in and out of our home. I learned from her and while I am nowhere near as strict with my money as my parents, I still keep track of where every penny goes. I was immersed in a world of balanced books and cautious spending and frankly, the lessons stuck.

Parents, Bro, his wife, and the Brits


My parents came by their frugal ways honestly, as well. My Mom's parents emigrated to Canada from Britain shortly before my Mom was born. Both of my grandparents worked hard for their family and in the end, helped to teach my Mom about money and how to spend.

My Dad, on the other hand, was a child of the military, or what we call here a base brat. Being non-commissioned in the Royal Canadian Air Force did not translate into big bucks. A family of five living off a single income was tough, but through tight budgeting, smart spending and a little bit of wheeling and dealing, my grandparents kept the family afloat.

When Mom and Dad got married, there was not a lot of money to go around and Mom's (slightly) obsessive habits paired with Dad's learned frugality meant they were able to do a lot of things that, under different circumstances, they would not have been able to accomplish.

Parental units... That are so lucky I don't have any pics of them from the '80s


My parents played the real estate game and (largely) won. They started with a run-down farm house in small-town Central Ontario, flipped it and bought a parcel of land about 25km down the road in a small beach community. They sold the land for a profit then bought a half house, upgraded to a townhouse then eventually bought the home they're currently in. The only time they didn't turn a profit was with the townhouse, but the market was in a slump and they got their current home for a relative steal. They then went on to pay off that mortgage in half the time, all of that on a relatively modest income.

As I said, budgeting god and goddess.

I am a product of my upbringing. I spent my time watching how my Mom did the books every month, how she went to work and saved every penny to go toward the mortgage and how she made sure she got the best price on everything. I saw the work my Dad put in on the side, mending any issues on his own, working his side-hustles (he had a couple... one brought money, the other brought wine) and generally working his tail off.

As I said, we didn't want for anything. The Dominican Republic, 2009


I am fortunate I saw this as I was growing up, but as I got older I noticed that not everyone was so lucky. I watched friends blow through their money at light speed, leading to them having a hard time buying groceries. I saw adults in deep, almost insurmountable debt with no knowledge of how to fix the situation. I realized how fortunate I am.

I love getting the chance to share my knowledge. If I can help even one person learn how to better manage their money, I feel like it's a job well done. Obviously, I want to help more, but one step at a time.

Just because you haven't had the chance to learn about budgeting or saving yet doesn't mean you can't start. My biggest suggestion, though, is starting now. Start today. Even if you only put away a few dollars a month, you are starting your journey.

I plan on including infographics and helpful printables on the site over the next few months. Also, make sure to subscribe to the newsletter so you can keep learning and never miss a resource!

Let me know what you would like to see!

~A

To learn more, please click here or visit the Patreon site.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Infographic! - a budget-friendly home

Hello all!

Today I'm going to try something a little different - I have put together an infographic on how to save money in your own home. 

Let me know in the comments if there are any other infographics you would like to see, and don't forget to subscribe to my newsletter! 

~A





Click here orvisit the website.



Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Say NO - Stick to your Budget

No.

Just no.

It's only two letters long, but that word can have a lot of impact on your day-to-day living, especially when it comes to savings and budgeting.

It's OK to say no. (License- Creative Commons)


As I mentioned, last week was my anniversary. Husband and I kept it relatively low-key due to slightly tighter funds, but we had a plan and we had every intention of sticking to it. Naturally, this, the time when cash is low, is the time when some of my friends came out of the woodwork and decided to suggest we get together for a nice lunch.

Frankly, I didn't have the money. everything was either tied up in my budget, savings or celebrating.
I said I couldn't go out.

I was frank with my friends and said that this week wasn't good because Matt and I had planned something for the weekend (but that I would either love to get together for coffee or reschedule for later). Everyone was understanding and nobody gave me any grief for choosing not to overspend.
This idea may seem trivial, but it is actually a very important lesson. I could have put it on my credit card or just gone out and spent the money, but I didn't. I chose to keep to my budget.

I have heard so many people say it's embarrassing that you can't go out. Why? Everyone has weeks like that. We all have that extra expense that steals away the extra bit of "fun" money we have set aside. Whether it be a car repair, an appliance replacement or a mini-vacation, all of these are things you have chosen to put your money toward. That's not embarrassing; that's responsible.

Money is finite.

That's ok.

That's why you should feel fine saying "no."

~A


Click here or visit the Patreon website.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Wine can help you Connect

It's time to Connect with your friends.

The weekend before last, Husband and I had the opportunity to go out sailing with a couple friends of ours, K and M.

This is the third time we have been sailing with  K and M and when we go on these trips, Husband and I never like to show up empty-handed. Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I like to show my appreciation through food and drink.

$15.95 At the LCBO -- Source: LCBO Website
We live just outside of Niagara Region and are fortunate enough to be blessed with an abundance of cherries and peaches around this time of year. We picked up a nice bag of local cherries along with some (as local as possible) strawberries and of course, grabbed a bottle of wine. 

This time around we went with another Southbrook wine. The Connect Organic White is a lovely wine with a slight sweetness that is fantastic on a nice hot day. When you pour this wine you will immediately smell citrus (mostly lime) and mango notes. This wine definitely classifies as off-dry to mildly sweet, so it has a bit of staying power on the palate. The wine balances citrus and sweetness well and drinks very smoothly. I strongly suggest serving it ice-box cold as I find it loses a little something if it gets too warm. This wine would be relatively versatile and could be paired with a variety of dishes. Personally, I would serve this as a pre-dinner glass with a fruit-and-cheese tray.

I thought this wine was a perfect ending to a gorgeous day of sun, sailing, fickle winds and friendship. When we got back to the harbour (not allowed to be drinking without being docked or anchored), we opened the bottle, pulled out the patio (read: plastic) wine glasses and said a good "cheers" to one another. We laughed about the day and our ridiculous lack of wind. We reminisced about our other times on the boat together. We talked about the tanker that came thundering into Hamilton Harbour (it was actually very cool). We laughed about our other misadventures. We ate some local fruit enjoyed some wine.

Honestly, it was an amazing way to end our time on the boat.

In my life, community and family have always been built around food and drink and I have carried this tradition well into adulthood. I believe that almost anything can be better with good food, good friends and good drinks... not always in that order.

Check out Connect Organic White the next time you are meeting with friends so you can share something great while making new memories.

~A

***** The Connect White was provided by Southbrook Winery for me to write a review. The ideas in this post are 100% my own. *****

Friday, 4 August 2017

GUEST POST - Earning with your Phone and Laptop

How you can increase your income with no starting capital and no special knowledge

Hi there! My name is Steve from stevesincomestreams.com and Ashley has been kind of enough to invite me to talk with all of you about earning on your phone and laptop. You all seem to be focused on budgeting and creatively saving money. I do the same, however, I think that these extra earning methods would be a great way to increase your income, allowing for either more savings or a nice treat now and again! I’m sure many of you have already reduced your spending habits as far as you can, so supplementing your income will be a great way to either reward yourself every once in a while or turbo-charge your journey to a savings goal.
 
Image - Creative Commons. Source - WikiHow
 

When Ashley asked me to introduce you all to an earning method, I considered many options. I could have talked about a number of methods that require some money down, like index fund investing, starting a small business or flipping domain names. I also could have talked about an income method that required specific skills, like app development. However, I settled on phone and laptop earning because it requires neither. These methods are incomes streams that require NO starting capital and NO knowledge - so you have NO excuses to not get started with them today! Here are my favourite methods below.
  1. Lockscreens. I used to be big into lockscreens, even running five at once at one point. Recently, though, I have reduced the number of lockscreens on my phone to 3, due to SlideJoy’s decreased earnings. They now include Adme, Smores, and Fronto. I may get rid of Fronto as well, due to their app’s buggy behaviour. Use my Amde code, vPTmE0i4BX, and Smores code U0GZQR, for bonuses. At the moment, the lockscreens earn me about $10 per month – the equivalent of owning $750 worth of stock paying a 4% quarterly dividend! I’ll take that kind of earning any day.
  2. Robinhood is a fee-free stock trading app that is a great way to put those lockscreen earnings to work! I wrote up a brief description of some strategies a few days ago if you’d like some tips to get started. Use my link for a free stock worth between 3 and 250 dollars!
  3. Panel App is an app that tracks your location and asks occassional questions about your experiences at certain shops and parks. I consider this method passive, since the questions only come about once per week for two minutes, and it earns me about $25 dollars per year.
  4. Lastly, ebesucher is still chugging away for me, earning $10 a month without any work on my part. It is a surfbar site, where you open a tab in their site and then minimise it and let it run in the background. Ebesucher will automatically visit various paid advertisers who are trying to get their page visits up, but you don’t need to actually look at the sites that the tab visits. Easy passive income!

Those are the earning methods I’ve found useful enough to keep on my phone and laptop lately. How are you all earning side income? Do you know of any apps or sites I should check out? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for letting me help you all out!

PS – check out my blog’s new twitter @StevesStreams!
 

 

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Anniversary - Bologna Budget Style

Yesterday was my anniversary.

As of 7:40 yesterday evening, Husband and I had officially been married for two years. I would like to say, before I get into the meat of this post, that I am very lucky to have married my best friend. We really are like peanut butter and jelly.

The very newly minted Mr. And Mrs.

*****

With me rebuilding my freelance career, we decided to go relatively low-key when it came to celebrating this year, and I have to tell you, it has been fantastic (so far... we are doing more celebrating this weekend).

We didn't have to spend too much, either.


Matt and I with the full Idle contingent (minus T... she was probably behind the camera).

We chose to have a nice dinner out at a local restaurant (Borealis, a new favourite of ours), have a drink and just spend some time in one another's company. It wasn't extravagant or excessive in any real way; we just enjoyed a very good, intimate dinner with one another (not to mention a little dessert... this place does AMAZING desserts) and called it a night.

We didn't get each other gifts or do anything over the top - we exchanged cards of varying degrees of cheesiness and ... this is where I get into the bologna budget side of things - wrote each other letters in our anniversary journal.

Me and my Man of Honour ("little" brother)



This was an idea of Husband's last year. He went out and got a nice moleskin journal and started a tradition that I hope we will continue for the rest of our lives. He wrote me a beautiful note (that made me cry). He told me that every year we were to write each other a letter in this journal around our anniversary to say what we are thankful for in our marriage. Honestly, if I didn't get another anniversary gift for the rest of my life I wouldn't be upset, as long as we keep filling in that book.  It shows more love, thought and caring than anything that could be bought and paid for.

To me, those are the real treasures.

... I think I may have gone on a bit of a tangent there...

Matt and his Groomsman (He introduced us 13 years ago)


What I'm trying to say is that, just like everything else, you shouldn't just measure gifts in dollars and cents.

Husband is not a romantic person, nor am I. When he opens his heart like that, it means everything. I know it means a lot to him when I do so as well.

We are so cute (totally biased)

So again, I stress that value does not come with a price tag. Getting caught up in money when it comes to gifts could make you miss out on something truly valuable.

~A

To learn more, click here or visit the Patreon website.