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How To Save Every Penny Every Day

saving your pennies

With costs always on the rise, you’re probably thinking, “How can I save in this economy”?  Can I assume that many of us are, unfortunately, living paycheque to paycheque, correct?  It shouldn’t be that way.  It doesn’t have to be that way. 

I bet you when you read the word budget, you cringe, and you want to stop reading ahead.  Please read ahead.  I assure you I am only here to help in any way I can because I have learned (and still learning) to budget ourselves.

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There are many ways we can budget ourselves . . . save every little penny.  Even your actions throughout the day can help save you money.



When my husband and I got married, I also had found a new job. My husband would come and take me out for lunch. He works from home as an architect. My husband loves to take a break once in awhile.  We would go grab a gourmet sandwich and then get one of those fancy coffees. Well . . . let me tell y’all.

Those coffee days didn’t last too long.  When we realized we were paying like $14 for these coffees almost everyday, we thought how ridiculous to spend that much money everyday on coffee.  Once in awhile fine.  Love those coffees but …

I lived so close to home, there was no reason to go out for lunch.  So, I went home for lunch.  If we wanted to go out for coffee, we chose a less expensive coffee place.  There was a lot to learn to be more frugal in the start of our life together.  Being single and living at home was so easy.  Starting your own family was new territory.  Baby steps.


Tips On Where To Save A Little Everyday:

lights off, save energy, save every penny
  • Turn off the lights – if you are not in the room, turn off the lights. Famous words to live by 😊 It’s all about conserving energy. Our kids catch us sometimes and they are telling us now to “if you are not in that room, turn off the lights”.  So keep drilling it into your kids, and they will learn a thing or two from you.
  • Buying Proper Lightbulbs – talking about “turning off all the lights”.  Make sure you have energy-saving light bulbs – LED
  • Go home for lunch – if you live close to work, why not.  Get out of the office for an hour. Go for a walk around the block even
  • Bring a lunch to work/school – pack a lunch and eat in the work or school cafeteria/kitchen.  Take a break.  If you go out and about on your lunch, you are bound to spend money on something frivolous. 
  • Laundry at Night – never do laundry during the day if you don’t have to.  There are certain peak hours were the electricity is at it’s highest meaning more expensive during the day of the week.  We either wait for the weekend when it’s less expensive or in the evening.
  • Showering – again showering during the day and even multiple times can cost you.  Keep track of your water bill.  You’re best bet is to shower in the evening to cut down on the water bill.  Good luck with teenagers 😉
  • Keep Heat Low – although our winters can get pretty cold, there is no reason to keep the thermostat too high. If I get cold at nights, I just put on a hoodie. Then you will see those heating bills on the lower end.
  • Telephone Landline – we still have one because we use it to call overseas but in reality do we really need one.  In this day and age everyone is attached to their cell phones.  When friends or businesses ask for your phone number, what number do you give? 😉  This would save us about $30/month and then there are the long distance fees of about $15/month.  That’s about $45/month that we could save if we gave up our landline.  For now we have to leave it at status quo
  • Cell Phone – this is a very touchy subject in our family.  I could probably write a whole post on just our cell phone usage.  😉 (Maybe I will)  I never got a cell phone until I was 30 something. Never needed one.  When our son was born, I got it for security, in case I went out with the baby. I needed it to get a hold of my husband or visa versa. Now . . . kids are getting high-tech cell phones (better than what I got in the beginning) in elementary school. 
  • Anyways, onto my point.  There should be an “administrator” who overlooks everyone’s cell phone data.  Program everyone in the family to have an equal amount of data.  When they go over that amount I (the “administrator” in my family) shuts down their data usage.  Having teenage kids in the house, you have to keep an eye on everything they do.  If your data goes over, you will get charged a lot.  There are add-ons you can buy . . . $10-$30 when you are coming close to going over.
  • Cable TV – there are so many channels. Do you need them all? Do you really watch that much tv. When our cable company supposedly gave us a good discount, I went to check all the channels involved in this discount. It was way more than we needed. We just need the basic cable. My kids don’t even watch tv, now that they have their own laptops and watch netflix or youtube. I called the cable company and had them cut those extra channels out. Saved even more. And you can call your cable company and ask what they can do for you. Be firm and you will no doubt get a discount.
  • Bills Payments – to avoid astronomical interest charges, pay your bills on time. If you cannot afford the item when you purchase it, maybe you shouldn’t be putting it on your credit card.
  • Low-Rate Credit Card – if you have debt, get everything transferred to a low-rate credit card. You just have to research and call the credit card company and ask for a low rate.
  • ATM fees – for the love of God, inform your older teens of this.  Take it from me who has a 19 year old son. Be careful where you are withdrawing money.  If you use an atm machine make sure it’s your bank.  If it isn’t, you will be paying a higher service charge.  And where service charges are in question please check what kind of account you have, how many withdrawals you are allowed per month.  You will be charged for anything over. And regarding those “older teens” of yours, have their account attached to yours where you can see what they are doing but they won’t see your accounts. You have to teach them.  They don’t have your experience.

I’m sure there are more ways to cut corners everyday.  These are some of the big ones that I find help our household.  Whatever and wherever we can save on a daily basis, we do it.  And we have our children thinking that way as well.  They are at that age (teens but we taught them) where they can help us save as well.  I’m not saying we’re perfect savers.  All I can say is we do our best.  It’s not only a matter of saving money, it’s also a matter of saving our environment.

I hope these tips can help you save a few pennies down the road.  It can’t hurt.  Make it a challenge in your home.  If you have small children, now is the time to teach them.  You could even turn init a game . . . “whoever turns off the lights in a room that no one is in, before mommy or daddy, gets a prize” . . . or something like that 😊

Good luck in your savings endeavours. Let me know how you do.

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How to Throw a Toddler Birthday Party

Toddler Birthday Party Planning

Planning a birthday celebration for your toddler is not difficult at all . . . when you have a plan. Celebrating a toddler birthday is both exciting for the child as it is for the parents. I know this was the case for our family.

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When our son was born, it was the start of many future celebrations. We couldn’t wait to experience this with our son.

First Time Celebrations

  • First Christmas – we dressed up our son and daughter in a santa onesie for Christmas Mass (cutest thing ever)
  • First Halloween – our son jumped up and down with excitement as a purple dinosaur. He was sick to go out trick or treating so he helped hand out candy.
  • First Easter – bunny rabbits and chocolate
  • First Birthday – the best “firsts”

When you have a child, you want to give them everything.  Half the joy is just watching your child’s eyes light up when they experience something for the first time. 

A Sly Design Photography newborn,
toddler birthday

First 12 Months

The first 12 months are a learning curve for us parents. Babies do not come with a manual. Babies as well as parents are all learning together to cope with each other. They are such precious little beings. You cannot wait to give them everything:

  • teach them how to crawl
  • how to sit up
  • eventually walk
  • eat regular baby food
  • first words
  • first touch
  • The list goes on. 

Then it’s time for their first birthday.  WOW!!  Cake Smash session.  I wish I knew then what I know now.  I actually do it for others.  A Cake Smash!!  A photography session where the birthday child gets to smash a pretty cake to bits.  Hilarious!!  Take my word for it.  As a photographer, I have done a few cake smash sessions.  They can go either way.  You get some children who don’t like to get dirty and then you get some who go to town on the cake.  It’s absolute fun watching, either way. Want to know something funny? 

Cake Smash Session:

A Sly Design Photography, Cake Smash Session for little princess, toddler birthday

Back in the day, no one knew what cake smash photography was.  But my mom made it a point when she sat each of my children in front of their first birthday cake, she put their little hands into the cake to see what they would do.  She actually invited them to smash the cake.  Folks, my mom invented the “Cake Smash”!!  😊 Her and a million other grandmothers and mothers, some 20 years ago. 

Here are some of the things you might want to look into when preparing for your child’s birthday. A few things to just consider. A little helping hand. I went through it twice with a boy and then a girl. Here are a few things I did when planning my child’s birthday.

First Birthday

  • Birthday parties are usually just family and close friends.
  • Go with an age appropriate cake, ex: Disney themed cakes, colour-themed (blue and pink)
  • Matching themed cake plates and plastic cutlery
  • Choose a photographer to have a Cake Smash Session either before or after actual party – will do family portraits as well

Second to Fourth Birthday

  • It will be a different theme: cartoons that they watch
  • Research for your child’s cake baker on social media – so many local mom groups out there eager to help you out
  • Stick with the paper plates matching your theme – easy cleanup
  • Plastic tablecloth of the same theme
  • Helium balloons and regular balloons for the kids to play with
  • Search some games for the kids to play
toddler birthday, create lists, make plans

Fifth – Twelfth Birthday

  • Now they are in the school age.
  • They have just met a whole slew of friends – it’s so adorable to see them intermingle with one another
  • Birthdays are just now becoming a bigger deal to both you and your growing toddler
  • Different themes arise every year – characters your children fall in love with
  • Back in the day my kids loved . . . Shrek, Toy Story, Harry Potter (still popular-more with the parents 😊), Barbies, Princesses (all still popular for little girls) and who can forget the “Justin Bieber” craze. 

Thirteenth – Fifteenth Birthday

  • Enter . . . The Teenage Years . . . yay!! 😊 It wasn’t too bad
  • They want their privacy now
  • You prepare the food and make sure everyone is happy and then you leave the room
  • Then you hear all the giddiness and talking (and screeching) start . . . sheesh !!
  • That’s ok with me … I could use the break from all the preparations
  • at this stage it’s easier just finding a venue like a restaurant, so they can enjoy each others company.
  • click here to find out how to handle older birthdays and more lists


With all this information I have shared with you, may be a little overwhelming. But it really shouldn’t be. All you need to do is to first make a plan, write things down and maybe even create a folder to keep all the information at your fingertips. You can also have this folder to hold receipts and invoices, so you know how much you spent.


Let Me Help You Plan A Toddler Party !

When planning a special event like a Toddler Birthday Party, it may become difficult to keep all your ideas and plans straight. So, I created a couple of lists to help you stay on track.

Download those lists now and start making your plans and budget.

 

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    I have created for you a couple of spreadsheets to plan out your next event. One of the lists is an invitation list where you will be able to:

    • name of your guests
    • check mark of the invitation sent out
    • who is attending
    • who cannot attend
    • how many adults
    • how many children
    • and a place to write down notes

    Another list I have created gives you the opportunity to budget yourself:

    • list of possible supplies
    • where to buy your supplies
    • amount needed
    • budget
    • actual cost

    I have also created a blank list for you to put the supplies you need if they are a little different then mine.

    Related Posts: How to Plan A Sweet 16 Birthday Party


    Happy Planning folks. Hope I made your planning a little bit less stressful 🙂

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    How To Plan a Sweet 16 Birthday Party

    Planning a Sweet 16 Birthday party

    Unbeknownst to me, having an all out “Sweet 16 Birthday party” (more like extravaganza) was a “thing”.  Huh!!  People . . . it’s exhausting. ☹ When I turned 16 it was like any other birthday.  It was celebrated but not on today’s level.  All I cared about was getting my drivers’ license the day I turned 16 …baby.   I didn’t care about the fancy decorations or the fancy cake.  I just couldn’t wait to start driving. 

    Sweet 16 Birthday

    Million Dollar Family

    When our son was born, we were extremely happy.  But when we were ready to have another, we prayed for a girl this time.  We so wanted one of each.  When we went in for the ultrasound to see what it was going to be, my husband and I prayed for a girl.  Our wish came true.  We were having a girl.  A Girl I can dress up in pretty little dresses.  Teach her how to put on makeup.  (Now, she thinks she’s teaching me … sheesh!!)


    *This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link



    What a treasure.  A million dollar family.  Over the years I have planned so many kids’ birthday parties (check out my post  (How To Throw a Toddler Birthday Party)  for both boys and girls.  Like every mom, I created a themed party for both my son and daughter.  I planned themes from the likes of Shrek to Toy Story . . . from Barbies to Justin Bieber themed parties.  They all ended up fantastic.  The kids loved them.  I love to be creative.

    When planning my daughter’s Sweet 16 Birthday party, that became a whole new world for me.  There were no “Sweet 16 Birthday” parties growing up.  Where do I start.  I knew I had to revert to what I do best … write things down, make lists, make spreadsheets.


    Web Hosting

    Where To Start

    Sweet 16 Birthday
    • Plan a date and time frame – my daughter’s birthday always lands around the March break. A lot of people go away for March break.
    • Invitations – kids these days survive through social media like snapchat or instagram or even texting. So depends how formal you want it to be
    • Theme – is there a theme she wants to go with. Maybe a certain colour theme. My daughter’s favourite colour is red. So we went with a red and black with silver accents.
    • Amount of People – will it be a mix of family and friends or just her friends. My daughter really just wanted “a kids only” party. That was fine. They’re growing up and they need their own fun and privacy.
    • Venue – do you want to hold it in your own home or a special venue. You need to consider how many people she wants to invite. We held it my daughter’s in a private room of a restaurant. Just big enough for her close friends.
    • Food and Drink – you need to plan the menu. I think a simple finger foods is the easiest like pizza, sliders, fries, etc. For drink: pop, juice or water.
    • Decorations – balloons, streamers, backdrop for a photo session. If you are planning at home then you might need theme-coloured plates and napkins and plastic glasses.
    • Cake – this is a special birthday so I think it should be a little more fancier then your usual grocery type cake (not that there is anything wrong with that – I used their themed cakes for every birthday). For this birthday, I found a great lady who does beautiful cakes but nothing overly fancy. My daughter is a simple girl. So we kept it very simple but elegant.
    • Rentals – I was contemplating having her party at home and I looked into renting a couple of cruiser tables and black tablecloths to cover them.  It’s not very expensive.  Even though I did not have it at home, I still had the same effect in our private room.  It was exactly as I pictured it.
    • Party Supplies – these days a lot of us like to diy – I know I do.  If you want to do the decorations yourself start researching ideas and see if you can do it yourself.  I love being creative so I made my own decorations; from the balloon arch to the paper flower backdrop.
    • Other Food – Veggie tray or fruit tray or cookies – if you are having it at home.

    Write It Down

    • There is so much to plan out (yes you have to make a plan)
    • Let’s get organized
    • Let’s face it we cannot remember everything
    • If I think of something I need to write it down (I even have a pad and pen on my nightstand-just in case 🙂 )
    • I always create lists and spreadsheets to keep myself organized
    • There are so many events you need to organize when you have children … (first birthdays, baptisms, first communions, confirmations, christmas parties, etc.)

    Lists and Spreadsheets

    • I have created a couple of lists for you that would come in pretty handy when planning out your celebrations
    • one list is an invitation list to plan out your guests . . . who to invite, who is coming, who cannot make it, etc.
    • the other list is a spreadsheet of all the things you need for the event . . . from decor to food and drink and anything in between.
    • you need a budget before you start and this list can help you with that so you can keep track of everything you buy

    Let Me Help You Plan A Party !

     

    When planning a special event like a Sweet 16 Birthday Party, it may become difficult to keep all your ideas and plans straight. So, I created a couple of lists to help you stay on track.

    Download those lists now and start making your plans and budget.

     

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      How To Make Christmas Gift Shopping Less Stressful

      Christmas Planner

      Where has the time gone?

      It wasn’t too long ago that we were decorating the home in autumn colours for Thanksgiving and then Halloween.  My daughter told me that as soon as Halloween is over, she is loading up on Christmas music.  She cannot wait for Christmas.  She loves the holidays, as do I.  Everyone is bright-eyed with a joyful spirit, as we begin to think of the holidays.  From card giving to the Christmas dinner celebrations.

      I want to celebrate our neighbours to the south with their Thanksgiving slowly approaching.  They have it tougher preparing for their Thanksgiving celebrations and the Holiday Season shortly after that.  With the pressures of Black Friday and Cyber Monday in between that.

      It can be overwhelming at times, preparing for the holiday season. But it doesn’t have to be if you have everything under control. And what better way to be organized and in control than to have a plan in action.

      We are preparing for the next Holiday Season that is so close. And I’m sure we are already thinking about Christmas Shopping. 

      What are we going to buy for the family?

      What are we going to buy for our friends?

      What are we going to buy for the neighbours?

      What are we going to buy for the teachers?

      What are we going to buy for the co-workers?

      Are we feeling stressed yet?  Sorry.  It comes with the season.

      To make Christmas time a little less stressful, I have created 4 different

      Christmas Wish Lists

      CHRISTMAS WISH LIST

      It will be fun filling out these lists with your family or friends or even co-workers.  I know we had fun at work filling them out with co-workers.  It’s a fun time of year why stress over it.  My daughter is already excited about using them.  She’s 15 and just started working and she is already looking forward to filling out these lists as a family. 

      CHRISTMAS WISH LISTS

      Gift Exchange:

      If you have small children, you can help them fill out the list. It should be a fun family event for your family.  When you are out Christmas shopping, you will not be circling all the stores wondering what to buy for your family because you have your “LIST” with you. You will not be wasting precious time away from your family when you could have been spending your extra time with your family or perhaps baking cookies for the Holidays.

      Since most of us have everything we need, families with older children would probably find it more beneficial to pool in money to buy a little something special for only one member of your family by doing a “Gift Exchange”

      Whether at work or within your family, “gift exchange” is always a lot of fun. I have created these wish lists for everyone participating in this exchange to write down all the things you wish to receive for Christmas (keeping in mind the dollar amount limit) You should also set an amicable dollar amount for your gift.  You don’t want to receive something more expensive than what you bought for someone. It should be fun, sharing a little something with a co-worker. I’m sure you can come up with a few ideas without going over the specified limit. Maybe aim a little higher dollar figure if it’s in the family.

      Fold up the “wish list”, put your name on it, and put it in a “hat” or bowl and start picking. Have some fun with it. Take a few minutes of your time either on a weekend with family during a special dinner while decorating the tree or with co-workers … maybe create a little impromptu gathering while decorating the Christmas tree, with hot coco and cookies and some Christmas music.

      Don’t forget . . . Keep it a Secret. Bottom line: have some fun with it.

      DOWNLOAD NOW

      Subscribe to get our new FREEBIE

      4 CHRISTMAS WISH LISTS

      Each one is different

      Let’s have fun with these lists. Find out how by subscribing here

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        Posted on

        Are You Ready For Halloween?

        halloween Spooktacular
        decorated pumpkins

        When our son was old enough to walk on his own, we couldn’t wait to dress him up and take him out for Halloween.  When the day came for trick or treating, the poor guy got sick with a cold and we couldn’t take him out.  But we still dressed him up and he watched the kids come to our door with sheer delight.  He was soooo excited to see the children come to the door. He would jump up and down repeating “chick-o-cheet”.  It puts a smile on my face every time I remember how small he was.

        He was the cutest little purple dinosaur.  That was some 17 years ago.  Every year, we couldn’t wait to dress up our kids in all kinds of costumes.  When the kids were quite small, we dressed them for trick-or-treating in those cute lion or bear costumes.  It was perfect because when it was cold outside those costumes would keep them warm.  When my daughter came along, she too wore those same furry animal costumes for a few years.

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        When the kids grew a little older, we would all dress up along with the kids.  Halloween was a family affair.  As the kids grew older, they obviously wanted different kinds of costumes.  I still have those costumes somewhere tucked away in tupperware.  Cannot seem to let go of them.  I am a true sentimentalist.

        As the costumes changed, we made it a tradition to dress up in a theme . . . all 4 of us.  While I took the kids out trick or treating, my husband would stay behind to hand out the treats and give the older children quite a scare.  It began to be our thing.  Every year we would plan out what we would wear.  Here are some of the costumes we would wear.  Maybe it might help you figure out what kind of costumes you might want to get:

        Halloween costumes
        Bride of Frankenstein and Mr. Ninja
        • Purple Dinosaurs
        • Furry Animals … lion, tiger, bear …
        • Vampires, Bride of Frankenstein
        • Police vs Prisoner
        • Zorro vs Bandito
        • Biker Gang Family -my favourite
        Biker gang family theme for halloween
        • Witch
        • Pirates
        • Cats – my daughter and I had fun with the make up
        • Mime – my daughter comes up with good costumes
        • Super stars – Katy Perry (my daughter) … Madonna (myself)
        Halloween costume - mime
        Little miss Mime
        • Fisherman
        • Sports Theme – I was a soccer player at work while others were baseball players, football player and hockey player
        Katy Perry costume
        This is my little Katy Perry

        How Do You Prepare Your Home For Halloween

        I love all the holiday/special events days.  With Halloween coming around the corner, it has started me thinking how I want to decorate our home this year. 

        Ever since our son was old enough to know what halloween was all about, I have been decorating our home with all kinds of halloween fun.  But I kept it colourful and cute. Meaning I used the typical fall colours of orange, auburn and reds, cute little scarecrows and casper the ghost.  Another tradition of ours would be to carve some pumpkins together.  Every year we would carve it a different way.  So much fun was had. 

        When both my son and daughter were a little older, I was able to advance my decoration skills into the dark and (little) scarier themes.  Heh heh heh!!!  The cutesy casper the ghosts and colourful decorations never went away.  I just added more scarier and darker things.

        That’s when I added the blacks and dark purples to my repertoire of house decorations and the scary headless woman and witch-on-a-broomstick window dressings, among some.  Mua ha ha ha ha!! Cue the scary music 🙂  

        • seasonal tablecloth – think cobweb, purple, black, orange
        • lots of white cotton fluff – can also be used at Christmas
        • spooky halloween props like spiders, witch’s hat, scary garland – all can be found at HomeSense
        • green lightbulb for your front porch to make it just that much spookier 😉
        • had some cut out bats and rats in a heavier black paper and taped it to our staircase risers
        • also larger cutouts of some scary witches or headless woman or ghosts and goblins to put in the windows with a small light to just light up the cutouts in the windows.
        • we also put at the top of the windows a sticky window decal representing blood dripping down the windows.
        • can’t forget the scary music, right?
        Halloween table decorations
        witch on a broomstick
        jack o lantern-pumpkin carving
        skeleton lawn decoration
        scary pirate lawn decorations
        pumpkin carving
        pumpkin decorations
        Happy Halloween