Tips For Saving Money

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Obviously living alone requires you to be a little more focused on your budget and on what you should & shouldn’t be spending money on. I speak with experience because I sort of got fucked over last year and decided I wanted to live the party-lifestyle only to realize that yes I can sure party hard, but it would’ve been best in my pj’s at home.

Yes I did it all, the weekend getaways, the fancy dinners, the premium alcohol, the bars, etc. but then I got sent back to reality fairly quickly when I realized that my credit card wasn’t going to pay itself off.

My parents often told me this and told me that about budgeting and credit cards, but did I listen? Probably not as well as I should have. Sometimes in life you have to learn from your mistakes. In the meantime, I’m not your mom or your dad but just a friend giving you some advice.

Tip #1 Setup A Budget

This is EXTREMELY important and honestly I should’ve been more strict with myself about this critical step that could’ve saved me from owing Mr. Visa a shit load of money. Don’t skip this step please. It’s very easy, create a budget using Excel, or an online template. It’s very important to take account everything your spending money on. Making a budget can even help you realize why the heck you are spending money on certain things and help you manage your money a lot better.

Tip #2 Eating Out 

I won’t go too much in depth here because I’ve actually written 5 Basic Tips On Surviving: Food Edition and it will encompass how you can save money by modifying a few eating habits and eating out is one of them. Trust me there’s nothing I love more than going to a nice restaurant to eat but then there’s drinks, a bottle of wine, etc. It’s important to pick and choose your nights out and definitely do not go out every weeknight. If you’re like me, young homeowner & living alone, try 1-2 times a month. Make those special nights count.

Tip #3 Shopping

So whether you’re a male or female, shopping can get out of hand for anybody. Car parts, home decor, clothing, etc. it all adds up VERY quickly. It’s important to include a section of your budget allotted to  shopping, i.e. $150 on clothing twice a year or $300 a year on home decor. As for car parts and other larger projects like vacations (I specifically mention car parts because I am currently building a vehicle) you need to create a separate savings account for this, that way you can add a small amount weekly or bi-weekly without it affecting your priorities.

Tip #4 Setup Auto Withdrawals

It can sometimes get overwhelming to have several bills to pay, that’s why auto withdrawal can help you make sure your payments are on time. Late payments can hurt your credit & cost you a lot of money in interest fees. But at least with auto withdrawal you’re safe and this also helps make sure you don’t spend the money on things that are not priority.

Tip #5 Don’t Spend Money You Don’t Have

This ad is quite funny, but it’s extremely realistic. #debt

I cannot stress this enough and yeah my mom told me so many times and I didn’t listen, so maybe you won’t listen to me either but just realize that credit card companies like to target young consumers such as me and you and what they did was they kept sending me letters allowing me to raise my limit. I was always good at paying my bill in full until it got out of hand and I regretted saying yes to that first letter, and then the second and then the third… It’s okay to have a credit card and use it for the benefits that some of them offer but PLEASE don’t see as free easy money, make sure you can pay it off.

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Top 10 Things You Hate Cleaning

Alright so let’s get it out, there are tons of things we all hate cleaning. I can name you a bunch of them off my personal list but I don’t want to decide the general list for all so I reached out to my social network to see what they had to say about this topic. Let’s have some fun!

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1- The Crapper A.K.A The Toilet

Alright so personally the toilet is not one of my favorites, and according to my survey others hate it too. So just the word toilet sucks and makes you think of shit…sorry but it’s true. Not that it’s long to clean but I think we seriously lack motivation to get the job done. It’s awkward and you feel gross cleaning it.

2- The Oven

Okay so this came up a few times as well, and I tend to agree, however I am specifically speaking about the inside of the oven, which quite frankly I don’t clean much (oh shit..shhh). The top is pretty easy unless your oven is from the 90’s and you gotta take apart the stove top, that sucks. Does cleaning the inside mean changing the foil? Tips are appreciated here!

3- Microwave

I cleaned it once and for all and put it in the cupboard lol, decided I didn’t want to deal with a microwave anymore. Although great tricks exist like the classic bowl of vinegar to get leftover sauces out and whatever else always explodes in there. Who else would like to join me on this microwave boycotting? When I crave popcorn I pull it out, use it, and put away again. Don’t judge me, join me. #FUMicrowaves

4- Dusting

I nominate dusting because it’s so long, you have to remove all your picture frames and other crap, then dust, then put everything back and then 2 hours later it’s dusty again. Why do you exist dust, why? And with 2 dogs, it’s even worst. So in this case, don’t put any decorations or picture frames on any flat surfaces, hang all your picture frames, sell your dogs on kijiji (I’m kidding, I would never) and live in a plastic bubble. Some things simply can’t not happen.

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5- Cleaning Cupboards

A friend of mind recently did his and it made me realize how shitty this chore really is. I looked at my cupboards a while back and knew that one day I would have to, but I’m just not ready yet. Although this is long too, and you definitely need to book yourself a full day to do it all, I feel like it’s one of those things that you get so into it that you end up cleaning things in so much depth and BAM there goes your weekend…See you one day cupboards. AHHH just thinking about it…the classic tupperware cupboard LOL…Oh golly I can’t wait!

6- Shower/Bath

This is just f-ing annoying. It’s awkward as fuck and like almost  an acrobatic workout. Again, remove all the shampoos, soaps, razors, etc. Spray the heck out of it and then get on your knees to scrub everywhere. Sounds like fun but its not. Its the thing we tell ourselves we should clean weekly but end up doing it once a month…No judgement here folks. Please feel free to share your bath/shower cleaning tips with us.

7- Vacuuming

This was brought up and I wasn’t sure if I’d include it but then I realized how much of a shit chore this is too. Especially with dogs in the house, they have turned me into an expert vacuum user. I don’t hate this that much except what I hate most about vacuuming is the actual vacuum. Suction is never as good as you think it to be. But then you’re going to tell me buy a more expensive vacuum cleaner…WHO THE FUCK SPENDS $500+ ON A VACUUM? sorry I had to yell it out because I’m bothered, bothered by the fact that good vacuuming exists but for $699. Fuck you.

8- Windows

Windows is a full process as in make sure you aren’t doing anything else this weekend because you’re cleaning windows! Luckily this can get done like 1-2 times a year, thank god. So much windex and paper towel and then the patio door is just always dirty because of the dogs. They don’t care that you just cleaned it…Don’t forget that you have to do the inside and the outside. Ladders & heights oh my! I don’t get freaked out by heights but I would rather have died living a happy life rather than ”died cleaning her windows”. Be safe, practice safe window cleaning. Get a harness or something lol, don’t be stupid.

9- The Fridge

Fridge cleaning is unpleasant because who knows what you will find in there. There’s always something past date that somehow got left behind. There’s like blood stains from thawed meat, something sticky and fucking onion peels. Ya I put my onions in the fridge, let me be. Broccoli crumbs, sauce residue, floppy celery stick, 5 different mustard containers, 3 ketchup containers, pickles, olives, more mustard, etc. It’s exhausting just thinking about it. It’s something you just gotta do, no buts.

10- That Drawer Everyone Has

This is typical and I have seen a lot, don’t lie about it we all have that drawer. Not sure what I’m talking about ? drawer

Is it clearer now? Yeah that’s what I thought. Don’t be ashamed. Just let this be. A drawer like this is part of life, don’t think of it as a mess, think about it as a time capsule. Every few years you’re like ”okay I’m going to clean it now” and then you find all this memorabilia and useless shit you wonder why the heck you kept. So keep your lives exciting, let the drawer stay I say!

 

 

 

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For The Love Of Dog!

Once you get the home, now what? You buy a dog of’course. Cat people go away, because this blog is about dogs!

So after I moved in, exactly a month later, I was like ”Okay, I want to get a dog now!”. Figured it was the right move, because I wanted the company and had so much love to give to this future animal of mine. A dog of’course. Now we’ll skip the selection process and the why that species and etc., I got Marley the beautiful Rednosed Pitbull. She was just 5 weeks old when I got her. Found her on the famous ”Kijiji” and scooped her up the same night. Let me tell you how this dog changed my life.

Just so that we’re clear Marley was not named after the movie Marlee & Me, I actually watched this movie for the first time 2 weeks ago.

Marley is the cutest Pitbull and I’m not just saying that because she’s mine but seriously ask like 10 people and they will confirm these facts, also the vet, my mom who is not a dog person and everyone else. beauty marleyShe is so kind and gentle and really is a great representation of how the breed really is. Now I am not trying to make this an article on the lack of judgement people have about the breed but quite frankly people have to know how adorable, loving & caring these animals truly are, so hopefully I can reach a certain audience with this blog post who will reconsider their opinions about Pitbulls.

Now dogs in general are a lot of work but if you have a dog and you live alone, it can be a lot of work for one person. You have to raise them at first and then spend their entire life cleaning up after them. I tried to show Marley how to clean but no dice, she is better at getting dirty more than anything. IMG_7714

What I value about my dog is the incredible relationship we developed over the years and quite frankly since day 1 I was in love. Today we are best friends and we know how one another feels and recognize our moods, etc. I simply can’t explain it but I know how she feels and what she feels, I can see it in her facial expressions. marley & mommy

The benefits of having Marley by my side are most definitely the safety factor, she protects me and watches the house when I’m not home. She is also a really good vacuum cleaner, I mean seriously drop some food on the floor and it’s gone and the floor is sparkling! She is active like me, loves to run, swim, do tricks and more. It’s really important to have a dog that resembles your characteristics. They say that a dog will look like it’s owner too lol I’m not 100% sure about Marley & me, but fine I guess she has my good looks! HAHA!

xmas marley

If you want a few good laughs, check this link out!

Another benefit of having a dog and this is one of my favorite benefits and it’s the fact that you’re never truly alone. sleeping marleyYou have another being living with you, sure she can’t talk back but you can talk to your furry companion all you want and cuddle, cry in her fur, kiss her, pet her…you get the point here.

Owning a dog & now I actually have two, is comes with BIG responsibilities but I am thankful everyday for my furry loved ones as well as I cherish & love them unconditionally and will forever. Only a dog owner knows the feeling of love that is felt for ones pet. I am happy to share my home with Marley & Axl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Winterizing Your Home

Winterizing your home is a very important process you need to make time for. It involves a lot of different things, so to make sure you get everything done, remember that making lists are always your best friend and help ensure you don’t forget anything.

I live alone so this is a big process, thankfully my boyfriend was really helpful with this because it would’ve taken many more days had I been alone. (p.s wasn’t always in a relationship and have done it alone in the past…it’s so long)

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I had a leaf blower jet pack…thankfully

I had to get my car shelter up, rake all the leaves (by the way there was like 50 bags of them), close up the pool, pick up a lot of dog poop, put away the outdoor furniture, cut the grass for the last time, etc. You get the point it’s a lot.

Let me tell you though, once it was done, wow did I ever feel great! It’s so fun being a productive homeowner! 🙂

Conclusion: Being a homeowner you will start to take pride in doing things around the house.

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Housework

So based on my title…you’ve guessed it. HOUSEWORK.The dreadful word we don’t like to do, hear or talk about. So let’s get this out of the way.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news here but the moment you become a homeowner is the moment you lose your mom whispering in the background ”did you clean your room?”

Ahh that sweet constant reminder you kept hearing oh maybe 4-5 times a week? Until the official ” you’re not leaving this household until you clean up your room!”. So then you finally did it before the weekend so you can have your freedom. 

Maybe it was a good thing to have your mom nagging at you,  but now you have to think about doing it ON YOUR OWN!

Takes adjusting but it’s doable, I promise.

Step 1

Pick a day.

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Pick your day that you will clean the house. If you’re like me and cleaning is not your forte, you’ll most likely be leaving it all to one day. (No judging here, we’re all humans).

I usually alternate with Saturday Morning or a random weeknight. Saturday morning might not happen depending on how messed up you got Friday night. Once again, no judging, we’re young, let’s have fun. Any who, regardless of the day, create an available block of a certain number of hours you can allot to housework. This will vary on the size of your house. Mine takes 2 hours entirely if I remain focused and not watch tv or pick up my phone every 5 minutes.

Step 2

Make a list of what needs cleaning and prioritize.white lined paper on white background (with clipping path)

I recommend making a list because it will help you stay focused and motivated.

Also, certain areas of your own which you use more frequently than others might not require major cleaning, i.e. the kitchen. I use my kitchen all week long so I generally clean it after I use it, that includes a little broom action and quick Swiffer on the floor too. Anyways, you wanna specify certain types of cleaning for certain areas is what I’m saying. Dusting, mopping, vacuum, etc.

Step 3

Just do it.

Try to just get it over with so you can enjoy the rest of your day/night. Who wants to be spending entire days cleaning? Not me and I hope you don’t either.

Now you may consider getting a maid because you really hate cleaning, and trust me I have considered it too, but it’s just too pricey for now. Why pay somebody money for something you can do very easily?

If you put aside your phone, and don’t get hooked on a tv show, you’ll get it done. Put some music on and just do it.

Need motivation? I find that if you have the right tools for cleaning you will feel more motivated. It’s okay to refresh your cleaning tools once in a while, make sure your vacuum is working correctly, that you have a clean mop, fresh rags, etc.

What cleaning tips do you have?

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”Le Gangster”

”Le Gangster” is a very simple & quick to prepare recipe.

The ingredients needed are the following:

  1. Pork Loin
  2. Dijon Mustard (1 tbs, maybe a bit more to taste)
  3. Red onions (chopped but not too finely)
  4. Fresh shallots (chopped)
  5. Fresh chives (chopped)
  6. Salt (pinch)
  7. Pepper (pinch)
  8. Olive oil (drizzle)
  9. 5-6 strips of bacon (depending on length of pork loin)
  10. Preheat the oven at 400 degrees C.

Prep time is about 10 minutes

Ideal cooking time is 25-30 minutes, maybe it’s longer for you. (depending on variety of reasons: A. your oven sucks or B. you like dry meat)

Let me know how yours turns out! 

Step 1

Rub the pork loin with the dijon mustard, the red onions, shallots & chives. Drizzle with olive oil.

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Step 2

Add pinch of salt & pepper. Make sure the entire pork loin is rubbed with the ingredients. Wrap the pork loin in bacon strips.

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Step 3

Cook for 25-30 minutes at 400 Celsius and enjoy!

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Neighbors

When you move in to a new place, meeting the neighbors can either be a horrible experience or a pleasant one. Nothing can guarantee the relationship you will have with them and quite frankly who says you’ll want to be friends with them?

It’s always interesting to meet your new neighbors, there’s so many different types of people in the world and your neighbors will consist of these different types!

I’ve got 7 houses surrounding mine, okay we’ll say 6 because the house behind mine has been abandoned forever (so sketch). There’s the lady in the corner with also 2 dogs, her dogs and mine communicate/bark at each other every time they’re outside. Oh let me clarify that her dogs bark at my dogs…just saying. Then there’s some of my best friends/most amazing neighbors in the world, let me explain how this happened. Basically their grandparents owned the house and sold it to their grandchildren who are pretty much my age and we kinda knew each other through other people (because we live in a small town) so anyways no complaints, it’s the best neighbor situation anyone can ask for, the parties, the lending stuff to each other, the helping each other out, the 5 à 7’s, etc. I am thankful everyday for them.

Then there’s crazy cat man on my right (he’s a little too close for comfort), his weeds are completely out of control, and he feeds all the wild cats of the neighborhood and he’s weird and he really needs to get his shit together because his yard is a disaster. Sorry Reggie, but you’re too fucked for me. Then there’s the neighbors across the street, Mrs. Robinson, sweetest old lady, just saying her name brings peace like the Beatles, she’s to kind and loves to garden. Next to her, straight across from me is like a 3 apartment house. There’s the nice Jamaican family (I don’t know how many they are but it looks like there is 20 people living in there), and then random other tenants that always come and go so I don’t bother reaching out every time, quite frankly I just don’t care.

And last but not least there’s ex crazy lady and her family but now were good and their super nice to me. I don’t blame them for hating me for the last 3 1/2 years because I was an out of control young broad and I pissed off neighbors quite frequently, now we have a reasonable relationship and we speak regularly, so it’s good.

If there’s advice I can give you it’s very simple, it’s actually something my mom’s friend

told me just before I moved in and it was;

” You don’t have become friends with your neighbors, just be respectful ”

If you’re nice to your neighbors and respect them, in other words advise them ahead of time when you throw crazy parties, then they will respect you back and not call the cops on you every time something happens at your place.

Just do what Mr Roger’s said Love your Neighbor as yourself

What are your neighbors like?

mr rogers

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I’ve Got Shit To Do: Why you shouldn’t care about your weekend attire

I was having this discussion with a colleague about how when you own a house, you have so much shit to do on the weekends, it’s nuts. We agreed that fashion was no longer a big deal and we both didn’t care about what we wear, because it simply doesn’t matter anymore.Why even bother.

#WeekendHairStyles

You get to a point in life where you don’t have time to care about what you’re wearing or to look your finest at all times. You’re wearing rain boots, joggers, an old sweater, a baseball cap and you’re out running errands, cutting the grass, cleaning the pool, cleaning the house…the list is endless!

My fall outdoor clothing fashion

I have some friends who would look at me and say ”you’re going out like that?” I say hell ya I’m just going to run errands who cares, I got so much to do at home, no time to get all pretty if I want to get things done.

Working on cars, always working on cars

If you have a busy weekend ahead of you, which is generally what my weekends look like (working on my cars, cleaning the yard, cleaning the house, etc.) there’s absolutely no point in dressing up ”nice” to do these chores. You’re going to get dirty, sweaty and more dirty. And if you have to run out to get something quickly, are you really going to shower and get all pretty just to run to the store and then come back to your chores? I don’t think so.

Just chill and drink wine

On top of it all, It’s the weekend just relax, if you’re at home doing things around the house, or just chilling out, who are you trying to impress? Your significant other isn’t going to be bothered by your attire, chances are he or she will join you in this full blown ”vedge-mode”. Save that pretty look for a nice evening out or dinner with friends. It’s important to give yourself a break on the weekend, a break from everything also includes the way you dress, makeup, hair etc.

Doing your laundry perhaps?  Hahaha usually laundry is a weekend thing so if you’re like me you’ll be wearing sweats or pyjama’s while you’re doing your weekly laundry run, pretty much another reason why you’re wearing comfy clothes. FullSizeRender (21)

Don’t sweat it, nobody cares really. My comfort on weekends is one of the things that help me disconnect from everything. As a homeowner, you realize that nobody is there to pick up after you, or to do anything for you. You’re the one who needs to do the chores and maintain your household. trust me the last thing you want to be wearing when you’re doing is housework is a pair of tight jeans, talk about getting your panties in a bunch!

In conclusion what I’m trying to say here is that as you get older, as you become a homeowner, a parent , etc, things that once were important to you like looking top notch 24/7 eventually don’t feel as important. We live such busy lives with work, school, managing your house all week, etc., Is it wrong to have weekend comfy clothes? Not at all, join the club and feel great!

What do your weekend comfort clothes look like?

#thesurvivalguides

You’re never alone to live through events & feelings, there’s always someone else out there going through the same stuff as you – VB

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Life Goes On: Panic, Plan & React

Do you ever feel like everything is going great for you, life is good, the relationship is good, everything at the house is good. When you find yourself in a position where you feel invincible, like nothing can go wrong, but then again, how can this be real?

Well the truth is, it’s not. If you’re life is so perfect and nothing is wrong with it well then f*** you. Seriously. Do you ever have these moments when all of a sudden the shit has hit the fan? I do. In fact, I have made myself an editorial calendar of the approximate times my shit will hit the fan and it’s based on a quarterly schedule.

Calendar Joyride is over

Things are fantastic and out of this world for 4-5 months and then boom your car motor blows up and your dog suddenly needs emergency surgery. When this happens I just want to lose it completely and wake up from this horrible dream. Unfortunately it’s not a dream, it’s reality. What’s important is the crisis management plan you need to put in place.

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Step 1

I’m a pretty emotional girl, so this may vary for you. I say let your emotions out, cry, scream, laugh…whatever it takes. My boyfriend told me I was talking in my sleep last Friday, saying ” Everything will be alright, everything will be alright (and I was laughing hysterically at the same time)”, so whatever works best for you, do it. Get all the negative out so that you can put your action plan into place and start thinking straight.

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Step 2

You need to evaluate the situation(s). My car’s motor blew up, so my first move was to establish how much I paid for the car…Now on a side note I do have a background in auto mechanics and know a lot of people in the automotive industry so this event that is definitely a big deal, was a manageable big deal for me, having connections really helped.

So I paid $2000 for this car almost 3 years ago. If I were to “scrap it” it wouldn’t be a total loss because the car did serve me for 3 years and I didn’t have to put any money on it. Now my other option was to repair it and find a new engine, which is what I did. notepadCalculating the cost vs. benefit made me realize that by fixing up the car I would be able to drive it for another few years.

*Fun fact: A lot of Japanese cars can go up to almost 400 000 km! 

So yes I resolved my problem, but that’s only part of it. Money is the MAIN issue here. This is not free, were looking at $1100 in total cost of repairs & my dog needed surgery so I had to tack on another $400. Now I didn’t mention this before but ya I have 2 jobs (thank god). One full time career and one part time job that pays for the extra’s including the emergency situations.

Life is so unpredictable sometimes you always need a back up plan. You also need a cushion and by cushion I mean extra cash saved up for the occasional “life slapping you in the face” moments. It’s called life.

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Step 3

Know where to cut down. In other words, lock yourself up, you’re not going anywhere and you’re eating tuna cans (not literally) but this is the survival attitude I want you to have!dec23-survive

You’re in “money saving mode” and on high gear too until you’re done with this. Don’t be dreaming of Martini’s, you’re drinking wine out of a box this week. (Ew gross don’t even do that!)

Just remember that you’ll manage to work things out. Just follow my 3 step guide: Panic, Plan and React. And remember, life goes on.

Panic plan react

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Vanessa Barbeau

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Melanie Prada

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