Thursday, December 29, 2016

2017 Planner Coral Carpe Diem

Last year I had a gold Dokibook and it held up very well. This year I decided to go with the coral Carpe Diem. I was able to purchase it through Chapters, and it arrived very quickly. The dividers are from January through December, the months and weekly pages are not dated. The binder seems to be very good quality and the paper is amazing. I can write with a Pilot G2 pen and it doesn't bleed through. I'm very happy with the quality so far.

I'm not a huge planner decorated. I have a few MAMBI sticker books but living in Canada, I haven't purchased any stickers from Etsy. I found the shipping expensive. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. I think I'll try to find some affordable functional stickers, because I do enjoy functional stickers.

The reason why I went with an A5 binder again is because I love the flexibility. My planner is also my budget binder, blog planner, meal planner, and notebook. I like that I can put in and take out pages when I want. I also like that I can find free printables online, and insert them into my binder. Yes, it's a bit big but overall I love it.

I'm excited to jump into 2017 with a new fresh planner.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Scholastic Book Haul

A video posted by Jennifer Q (@jennifer_q85) on

I love that Caleb's daycare allows us to order from Scholastic. The bundled books are usually what I choose. These books are used for bedtime stories and quick reads. We usually choose 2 books each night, and sometimes Caleb will try to slip in a third. I love that these books are short, but interesting reads.

A photo posted by Jennifer Q (@jennifer_q85) on

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Canada Reads 2017 Longlist

Canada Reads has announced the 2017 longlist and most of them are new to me. The question being asked this yeah is "What is the one book Canadians need now?" The debate will take place between March 27-30. I look forward to the debates each year. I don't plan to read all of these, but I will read the 5 on the shortlist. In the meantime, I might try a few on the longlist.

From CBC:
The Canada Reads 2017 longlist consists of:
The panelists and the final five books will be announced on Jan. 31, 2017.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Favorite Authors

If you're a reader, I'm sure you have some authors that automatically end up on your "need to buy" list. These are the authors that we close one books and can't wait to pick up their next book. I'm always on the look out for these authors next releases.

Amy Hatvany is definitely one of my favorite authors, each and every book I've read by her has left me sad to leave those characters. Her books are thought provoking, and very unique. Best Kept Secret was the first book I read that I loved. It dealt with an alcoholic mother who was starting to unravel and a little boy stuck in the middle. Outside the Lines  was another great read that portrays a father who has a mental illness, and a little girl who loves her father. His mental illness directly impacts her life, but it's not easy navigate their relationship.

The Language of Sisters (Review)
Somewhere Out There (Review)
Heart Like Mine (Review)

Richard Wagamese is a native author that I adore. His books bring me to tears, I see myself in his pages, I see my family in his stories. He writes both non-fiction and fiction, and both genres are written really well. I haven't read all of his books, but I will get through them. Medicine Walk was in my top 3 books I read in 2016. A son honors his estranged father's dying wish by taking him for a long journey through the woods. The father finally explains his side of the story, and the son is given closure. If you're looking for a great read, or wanting to learn more about native culture, pick up one of this books. 

One Native Life (Review)
Indian Horse (Review)

Kate Morton's books are always a solid read. Her stories are intricately woven, and masterfully told. Each of her stories are unique, and filled with twists and turns. The first book I read was The Forgotten Garden, and her books never disappointed me. They're longer reads, but worth the time.

The House of Riverton
The Secret Keeper

Friday, December 16, 2016

Top 3 Books of 2016

2016 was not a good reading year for me, but I did manager to read about 28 books. Looking back at the year, these are the top 3 books that will stay with me for a long time. You know it's a good book, when you finish and know it will stay with you. There are certain books that I see that will bring me back to a certain time in my life. If you're looking for a great read, try one of these out.

Medicine Walk 

Franklin Starlight is called to visit his father, Eldon. He's sixteen years old and has had the most fleeting of relationships with the man. The rare moments they've shared haunt and trouble Frank, but he answers the call, a son's duty to a father. He finds Eldon decimated after years of drinking, dying of liver failure in a small town flophouse. Eldon asks his son to take him into the mountains, so he may be buried in the traditional Ojibway manner.     

What ensues is a journey through the rugged and beautiful backcountry, and a journey into the past, as the two men push forward to Eldon's end. From a poverty-stricken childhood, to the Korean War, and later the derelict houses of mill towns, Eldon relates both the desolate moments of his life and a time of redemption and love and in doing so offers Frank a history he has never known, the father he has never had, and a connection to himself he never expected.    

A novel about love, friendship, courage, and the idea that the land has within it powers of healing, Medicine Walk reveals the ultimate goodness of its characters and offers a deeply moving and redemptive conclusion. Wagamese's writing soars and his insight and compassion are matched by his gift of communicating these to the reader.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Reader Tag

Choose 1 word that describes you as a reader? 


What's the first book you fell in love with? 

Matilda by Ronald Dahl I loved that Matilda was a reader, and her family weren't readers. As a teenager, I think the first book I fell in love with was A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks. I had a few friends also reading, and loving the book and it felt great to all enjoy the book and talk about it.

Hardcover or Paperback?

Actually, I'm an exclusive ereader. I have a Kobo Aura One, which I love. I do prefer hardcover over paperback, but I love the functionality and the compact library that an ereader allows me to have.

What book do you read when you need to be comforted?

Harry Potter. When I really don't feel like reading anything or i'm trying to get out of a slump, I turn to Harry Potter.

Who taught you to be a reader?

I'm the only reader in my family. My parents always gave me the opportunities to feed my desire for books. They would allow me to order from Scholastic books, and took the time to allow me to pick out books at the library. For as long as I can remember, I was a reader. When I started to read, teachers would allow me to take home the reading books because I wanted to read ahead. Who taught me to be a reader? It was the combination of my teachers and my parents.

Describe your reading lounge?

My living room. It's cozy, and my husband and I relax once Caleb goes to bed. My husband isn't a reader but I read while he watches hockey. I also have to have a cozy, fuzzy blanket when I'm reading.

What book changed the way you act?

I can't pick just one. Books continue to provide information that make me think and question me as a person. I'm always looking to improve myself and be open minded. Books allow me to experience things I would never have the opportunity to do in real life.

Monday, December 5, 2016

November Book Haul

These are the books that I accumulated during November. Most of them were ebook deals, that I was excited to get. I haven't read any of these, but I do plan on checking some of them out soon. Have you read any of these? If so, what did you think about them?

Friday, December 2, 2016

November Wrap Up

November was a great reading month for me. I finally started to get back into reading during the evening. It also helps that hockey is back, and I don't feel bad reading when my husband is watching hockey. 2016 was not a good reading year for me, I don't think I'll end up reading 30 books this year. It's okay, I'm fine with that. I'm really hoping that 2017 is a better reading year for me. It's so enjoyable to dive into a book and get hooked. I've been reading alot of back list titles on my Kobo. I haven't been paying much attention to new releases.

I read some really great books that kept me reading. Joseph Boyden is an amazing writer, and Wenjack was a fantastic novella. I'm hoping to get around to a few more of his books in 2017. Sarah Jio was a new to me author that I had sitting on my Kobo for years. I'm so happy that I finally read some of her books. I really want to read all of her books. I believe she also has a new book coming out next year. A Christmas to Remember really wasn't my favorite, I think I would have enjoyed it more if it was edited a little more. The ending was good, but the story overall was okay. I would try another Jenny Hale book though. The last book that I read was Unwind, and it was really interesting. I really stayed away from YA books this year, because none of them really seemed like something I would like. I was really happy that Unwind was as good as it was.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Discussion: Gilmore Girls Revival

I watched the Gilmore Girls Revival, I binged watched all 4 episodes and was so happy to be back in Stars Hollow again. I watched Gilmore Girls when it was on the WB and then CW. Rory was always in the same stage as me school wise, and I related to her book loving ways. I loved that she was so motivated, and focused. When I finished that last episode, I felt disappointed. I could not longer relate to Rory.

First, Rory. What did Rory do in the last 9 years? She's now 32, living on different people's couches and doesn't seem to have the same drive. I'm okay with her not being sure about what she wants, but to be completely unemployed and not really doing anything about it, bothered me. Her relationship with Logan was also disappointing to me. I loved her and Logan together but to be the other woman again, and to be okay with that. NO, Rory... Why does she do this to herself again?? If Logan really loved you, he would forget about the "dynasty" and be with you. The life and death brigade coming back was great, but Logan ruined it by telling Rory he still planned to marry the Odette. Logan is to Rory what Christopher is to Lorelei. Jess seemed more mature than Rory. If the series continues, I would want her and Jess to be together.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Review: Unwind by Neal Schusterman

Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Released: 2007
Pages: 335
Source: Personal Copy

Unwinding is a result of a second Civil War that was fought between Pro Life and Pro Choice advocates. The new laws protect children until they are thirteen years old. If a parent didn’t want to keep the child, they were free to leave them on a doorstep. If they were seen leaving the child, the child became their responsibility and they could no longer walk away. Once the child was theres, they had to keep the child until they were thirteen. Once a child turned thirteen, parents could choose to “unwind” their children. This consisted to having all the parts of the child harvested to “live on” in someone else. Unwinding was a compromise between the two parties.

In Unwind, we have Connor, the “troubled” teen, Risa, an orphan and Lev, a tithe. They are all about to go to the harvest camp. Connor’s parents have signed the papers, and they don’t know, he knows. Risa is told she is to become unwound because of budget cuts and Lev has always known he would become unwound, because he would be a tithe. He’s accepted his faith, and although he’s scared, he doesn’t feel like he has a choice. The three of them end up on the run, trying to escape. Lev is really confused, and doesn’t want to be kidnapped by Connor and Risa. He’s a tithe, people have always made him proud to be in his shoes.

Unwind is a very interesting book that I didn’t really know about when I started reading it. I went in not knowing much about it, and I was really hooked. It’s very fast paced, action packed, different and disturbing. The story is told from three perspectives. The plot became very real to me, the world building was fantastic. There’s one section that gave me chills. I highly recommend this one. I haven’t been into young adult for a while, but this one was so original and interesting. I believe there are 4 books in the series, and I will be reading the others.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Review: Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio

Publisher: Plume
Released: 2012
Pages: 290
Source: Personal Copy

May 2011- Claire is a reporter working for a Seattle Newspaper. She’s asked to cover the “blackberry winter” snowstorm and compare it to a twin snowstorm that took place in 1933. As Claire begins to research the 1933 snowstorm, she discovers that a little boy went missing during the storm. Claire is clearly broken, she suffered a loss, and her marriage is barely hanging on. She hasn’t felt motivated in awhile, but she throws herself into this story. Her husband is the managing editor of the newspaper, his family are the owners. They work together but barely speak to each other. She has no idea what to do about her marriage but she uses the story to distract herself.

May 1933- Vera Ray is a single mother trying to provide for her three year old son. Vera is forced to leave her son home alone during the night to go to work. If she doesn’t go, her job will be gone and she’s on the verge of being evicted from their apartment. A freak May Snowstorm erupts and when Vera returns home, she can’t find her son. His teddy bear is left in the snow, the police think he ran away and will come back. She’s desperate to find her son.

Blackberry Winter intricately weaves two story lines, keeping the reader captivated. Both Claire and Vera are well developed characters. The pacing of the novel was well done, leaving the reader intrigued by both story lines. As a reader, if I’m more caught up with one story line, I tend to want to skip the story line that i’m not as interested in. This book had me enjoying both, equally.

This was my second Sarah Jio book that I read, and I really want to continue reading her books. She blends the past with the present, beautifully. Her writing is great. I really have a hard time putting her books down.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

November TBR List

These three books are on my immediate tbr list. I started Unwind by Neal Shusterman yesterday and these other two will be on my radar next. I can't believe I still haven't read Go Set A Watchman. The Witches of New York is high on my tbr because I loved Ami McKay's previous books. Have you read any of these? I haven't read much YA fiction lately, I don't really know what new releases I should pick up. I'm really excited to start reviewing some of these books again. I really struggled with a reading slump this year.


The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state, is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Review: The Violets of March by Sarah Jio

Publisher: Plume
Released: 2011
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5
Fun fact: I opened Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio on my ereader and somehow the ebook was skipped all the way to the back and when I sat down to read, I had no idea I was reading a preview for The Violets of March. When I finished the preview, figured out what happened, I immediately when to Kobo to purchase the ebook. I had to continue the story. I was hooked. I needed more.

The story opens with Emily in the process of ending her marriage after learning that her husband has left her for another woman. Readers immediately feel for Emily and we start the journey with her to rebuild her life. Emily is an uninspired, bestselling author living off royalty checks. As much as she wants to write, nothing good is put to paper. Her best friend, Annabelle convinces her to get away, and Emily decides to visit her Aunt Bee who she use to visit as a child during the summer. Emily returns to Bainbridge Island after many years away. The close relationship with her aunt is very apparent and  admirable. When Emily discovers a red velvet diary, she’s not sure if she should tell Bee. She’s not sure who wrote the contents, but it’s dated 1943. This diary leads Emily on a wild goose chase, and her own family history is dug up. Family secrets are not always welcomed by everyone once they are uncovered.

I truly enjoyed Emily as a character. She’s stuck, her husband has left and her career doesn’t seem to be moving forward. How can you miss a man who left you for another woman? Emily does, and it’s hard to move on. Bee is a fabulous older lady, and her storyline is great. This is a story about forgiveness. Love doesn’t always conquer all. We are humans, we are faulty, we can be stubborn. Secrets do surface and family secrets can be hurtful. The dual storyline kept me glued to the pages. I highly recommend this one. Now, on to Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio...

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Parenting Pressure

Do you have friends or family that have children the same age as yours? Do you ever feel pressured by your parenting peers? Parenting is hard, and when you start to feel pressured by others it adds to the stress. Lately, I've been feeling the pressure from family about Caleb's toilet training. I feel like he's being compared to others his age, and I really started to let it bother me. Overall, he does well with toilet training but he's not fully trained yet. He doesn't tell me when he has to go. When I starting realizing that I was really letting other people bother me, I decided I needed to take a step back and look at myself. Every child is different, and every situation is different. I work full time, and I'm not with Caleb all day. He doesn't really understand that a Pull Up is not a diaper. At home, I keep him in underwear and it works alot better. At daycare, it's different. Toilet training will come, and I need to let him figure it out. I will continue to encourage him, and work on the process, I don't think he fully understands the signs of when he needs to go. It will come.

I don't want to raise my son by comparing him to others. He has his own strengths and weaknesses (sleep) and I need to start being more confident in my parenting style. Yes, we still co sleep. Caleb doesn't sleep a full night. He wakes up EVERY SINGLE night, and one day he will sleep through the night. Until then, we have to do what is best for our family. When someone asks me "Does he sleep in his own bed yet?" I need to remember that they're not the one waking up with him all night, and not the one who has to go to work in the morning. No, he doesn't sleep in his own room, and that's fine. That question has to stop bothering me.

I do really well with not letting others bother me, but sometimes it does. In this case, I realized I was letting it get to me, I talked to my husband and we agreed that we need to focus on our situation and not be bothered by others. My husband is my biggest supporter and he encourages me when I need it. I'm going to stumble, and I'm going to feel frustrated but I always need to put my family first.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Reading Wrap Up: October

October was an okay reading month for me. I was very into personal finance books, and I read both The Recovering Spender and Debt Free Forever and thought they were both good. I do enjoy Gail Vaz Oxlade, she's very in your face and knowledgeable.  I find alot of these books start to sound repetitive, I'm not sure if I'll be picking any personal finance books up in November. I've been itching to get back into reading and I think the warmer weather will really help. 

Books Read

November I'm hoping to have some book reviews, some personal finance posts and more lifestyle/parenting posts. The personal finance posts have  alot of traffic, so I know people are enjoying them and hopefully are motivated by these posts. I've never been in a bad financial state but I think it's great to learn how to be better about finances. It's something that really interests me. 

My favorite book read in October was Wenjack. I think it's a powerful read, and I encourage everyone to pick this novella up.

I'm currently reading another Joseph Boyden book:

Before internationally acclaimed author Joseph Boyden penned his bestselling novel Three Day Road and his Scotiabank Giller Prize–winning novel, Through Black Spruce, he published a powerful collection of thirteen stories about modern Aboriginal life that made readers and reviewers take notice. These stories of love, loss, rage and resilience match virtuosic style with clever wit to turn stereotypes on their head and reveal the traditions and grace of our First Peoples. Readers come to know a butterfly-costumed boy fascinated by the world of professional wrestling, a young woman who falls in love with a wolf, to the leader of an all-girl Native punk band and Painted Tongue, the unforgettable character from Through Black Spruce.Though each story is told in a different and distinct voice, they are all united by their captivating vitality, nuanced perceptions and vigorous prose.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Book Thoughts: Wenjack by Joseph Boyden

Book Description

An Ojibwe boy runs away from a North Ontario Indian School, not realizing just how far away home is. Along the way he's followed by Manitous, spirits of the forest who comment on his plight, cajoling, taunting, and ultimately offering him a type of comfort on his difficult journey back to the place he was so brutally removed from.
Written by Scotiabank Giller Prize winning author Joseph Boyden and beautifully illustrated by acclaimed artist Ken Monkman, Wenjack is a powerful and poignant look into the world of a residential school runaway trying to find his way home."

Book Thoughts:

Wenjack by Joseph Boyden is a book that I cannot properly review. This is an amazing novella that is important literature that needs to be read. So many Canadians are not aware that residential schools existed for us, and they have no idea how atrocious they were. We need to change our history books because this needs to be taught in schools. Joseph Boyden is an amazing author. He really is, and I plan to read all his books. Wenjack is essential reading, please pick it up. This book is short and will leaving you deep in thought. It's important for our residential school survivors that we learn what they went through. The last residential school closed in 1996, it was an attempt to "kill the Indian out of the child." Many of these federally run schools had their own graveyards.

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Monday, October 3, 2016

What To Do When Your Spending Gets off Track

1. Stop The Behavior

The first thing you need to do is stop the behaviour. Try to figure out why you're spending is off track. Are you impulse buying? Emotionally impulse buying? Having a hard day at work is not an excuse to go shopping. That impulse buying is not going to help, and it might leave you with buyers remorse. Maybe something came up and you had no choice but to go over budget.

2. Don't Give Up

Just because you've gone over budget, doesn't mean you should give up. Don't continue to keep spending. Every dollar counts, just because your budget isn't where you want it doesn't mean you can throw the budget away this month. Things happen, you need to learn to be flexible. Life happens.

3. Reevaluate Your Budget

If you've shopped too much or something unexpected came up. Don't panic, don't be discouraged. These things do happen, and they happen to everyone. Look at the budget and see if you can adjust it. Can you spend a little less in another category to make up for it?

4. Tell Yourself that Credit Cards Are Not An Option.

Personally I will make it work without using a credit card. I don't want to feel like credit cards are my safety net, my safety net is my emergency fund. When you stop using credit cards, and use cash- you really feel the effects of spending too much.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Why Complete a No Spend Challenge?

A No Spend Challenge doesn't have to be a month, it can be whatever you want. Start with a week if you're scared to try a month. The goal is to reset your habits and evaluate yourself. When I started the challenge, I was eager and I had a plan. As the time when on it did get harder, but I also became more determined. If I found myself wanting to give up, I reset myself. If I failed, I decided to keep going. Don't give up because I bought 2 books.

 The whole reason I did this challenge was to stop myself from impulse buying. I wanted to see if the items I REALLY wanted at the beginning of the challenge, were still "must haves" now. Honestly, they're not. I've moved on.

When you complete a no spend challenge, be careful not to go spending crazy once it's done. That will defeat the purpose. You need to continue to be disciplined. Remember why you did it. Look at what you saved, and the goals you accomplished.

When you're finished the no spend evaluate if some of the things you gave up were really that hard. If giving up your coffee or eating your lunch out wasn't that big a deal. Maybe you can cut the budget for that? I learned how to avoid temptation, and stay busy when I would normally go window shopping.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

5 Things I Didn't Expect When Bringing Home My Baby

  1. You know the saying “sleeping like a baby” well I learned babies don’t sleep that well... Atleast Caleb didn’t, he was literally up ALL night. This went on for weeks and weeks, eventually I had to start co sleeping because it was the only thing that worked. The minute I would lay him down in his bassinet or crib, he knew and would wake up. No matter how gentle I was...I spend MANY hours in my rocking chair.

  1. I had no idea that I would feel incredibly lost when I brought Caleb home. I would second guess myself, I had no idea what I was doing. I thought I would just “know” and it was hard for me to realize that there was a learning curve, and I needed to give it time. Everyone gave me advice, and it gave me alot of anxiety. Especially when they were telling me to do the opposite of what I researched.

  1. My C Section was not as hard and painful as I was expecting. When I was in the hospital, I kept waiting for the excruciating pain, but it didn't come. It really wasn’t that bad. I was terrified. I didn’t even take pain killers, Tylenol was sufficient.

  1. I had pregnancy P.U.P.P (ITCHY Rash) and it was horrible! It was literally a rash that covered my entire body, except my face. I was so itchy, that I couldn’t even sleep when Caleb did sleep. My feet were probably the worst, and I didn’t know where to put them or what to do. This rash went away a few weeks after Caleb was born and came back 6 weeks later. I cried, I was so discouraged. The only thing they could give my was Benedryl, and I was already SO SO tired.
  1. I had no idea that I would be so scared of something happening to Caleb. He slept with a Levana monitor, and I would still check him all the time.

3 Things I Would Tell A New Mom

The first 8 weeks are the hardest, and you seem to settle into your new role. Both Mom, Dad and baby are learning how to fit into this new world. It’s normal to be afraid and feel lost, but give it time. I remember thinking “when will this get easier” it does, but it took awhile

If you need the help, and have it- Take it! I’m the type of person who wants to do every thing myself, and some times you need to step back and allow people to help you. Sleep deprivation will make you feel like you’re going crazy.

Take time to take care of yourself. Don’t forget that you need to be happy, healthy and sane to take care of baby. This new world is going to take some adjustment, and you need to figure out how to make it all work.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Tips On How To Save Money On Child Expenses

Newborn Outfits

All the little cute outfits are tempting but my experience taught me that you want the baby to be comfortable. Your little one will be sleeping, in a chair/swing or your arms most of the day. Hoodies make it difficult to hold the baby. I'm sure cute tutus would be similar. I can't tell you how many outfits, Caleb never wore because it was just too complicated. A onesie was much easier to put on him day to day.

Crib Bedding

Crib bedding is so expensive but not necessary. It's not recommended to have the set in the bed, I skipped on it and bought a toddler set. It fit the crib, and I put the comforter/sheet away until Caleb was able to use it. I kept the fitted sheet on the crib.


You don't need a 300 dollar swing, a cheaper one will do fine. Actually, Caleb hated the swing altogether.  We could have skipped it. The Baby Bullet or similar baby food making machines are not necessary. If you have a blender or food processor that would be perfect. Use what you already have. Be careful not to get caught up in purchasing top of the line swings, strollers and other expensive equipment.

Baby Food

I made my own baby food, and it was very cost efficient. I started with a blender and ice trays. I eventually bought a Baby Bullet because I got sucked in, but it wasn't necessary. I made food ahead, and froze it. It was very easy, and I was able to feed Caleb a wide variety of foods.


I know it's tempting to stock up on diapers, but if your baby/toddler grows out of the size before your boxes are done, you might be stuck with them. A store might let you exchange them, but there's a chance you won't be able to.  Diapers are on sale often, I personally don't recommend stocking up. Caleb didn't even fit in newborn diapers.


You know how they say "Children grow really fast?" Well they do, and you will go through alot of clothes. Be careful not to over buy because within a few months, it's too small.  Some of it may not have be worn. Caleb is 2, and he's gone through 3 shoe sizes in a year. Now, we only buy what we need because he grows out of it so fast.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

No Spend Update 3

I'm still doing good on the no spend, but it's getting harder. I suspected that it would and it is. I also started this early, end of August. I actually bought 2 books this week that I plan to read on vacation. I found them cheaper on and decided to order them. It wasn't much, but I know it wasn't a need.

I hope these financial posts have peaked some readers interests. I have seen alot more traffic on these posts, and that's been interesting. Personal finance is so personal, and scary but I've been loving it. I have many more posts outlined, and it's sparked my blogging interests again. I can't wait to get these posts out, and I have some scheduled in advanced. This blog has grown with my through the years, and I suspect that it will continue to grow with me. It's been almost 8 years, and even when I have no ideas, even when it's been long months without a post. I'm not ready to give it up. I'm happy that I have content ideas again.

Books are still apart of my life, but my love of writing reviews has dwindled. I'll still post some book reviews, and book posts but I plan to have a wider range of posts. I hope you'll stick around.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

How to Stay Motivated When Getting Our of Debt

Find a Community

If you feel alone, it's hard to stay motivated. If you join a group, and see that you're not the only one. It gives you motivation to keep going. There are many Dave Ramsey followers on Youtube, and I love watching their channels. They're documenting their journey. It's a great way to stay motivated. There are also many Facebook groups out there.


Don't forget to check your progress. It may feel like you are getting no where, but look back at where you started. Document where you started from, and check in from time to time. There are also debt free charts online that you can print, and use as a visual. Debt Free Charts

Reward Yourself

Put a reward system in place. When you pay off a certain amount, get halfway or complete your goal to get the reward. Obviously, this reward has to within reason.

Remind Yourself of the End Game.

Imagine what you can do with the money when you're out of debt. Imagine the security you can have with a fully funded emergency fund.

Keep Your Emotions in Check

Expect that you will have bumps in the road, life happens, murphy happens. You will still be okay. The budget takes times, and sometimes something comes up. Learning how to deal with these bumps will be important. Don't let yourself get discouraged, and decide to give up.

I highly recommend Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Why I Learned To Love Personal Finance

If you've noticed a lot of personal finance posts on my blog it's because Personal Finance is something I've been researching and learning about this year. Money touches almost every aspect of our lives, and it's really important but not something people talk about. When I hear that half of Canadians are living paycheck to paycheck, it makes me worry. It's so important to have an emergency fund and to have a backup plan. I've been learning so much, and I want to encourage others. You don't have to live a stressful life in regards to money. If you take control of your money, and you're disciplined, it will make a world of difference.

Money is common sense, but people don't use common sense when dealing with money. As a whole people are relying more and more on debt. If they don't have the money in their account, they charge it. It's normal, it's something we're all use to. Affording the payments, is not affording it. So many people don't really care about their debt, until they've lost their job and risked every thing. Life is not a competition, trying to keep up with the Jones when the Jones are probably broke. Live within your means- learning to handle your money actually feels like you have more.

I  never had a finance class in school, I've always been intimidated by numbers but now that I'm taking the time to learn about it, it's really interesting. I see how carefree some people are, and their financial future is scary. My goal is to have financial freedom. Pay down/off debt, build a substantial emergency fund and continue to be on the same page as my husband. It doesn't mean we can't buy something, it means we plan for it.

Life happens and you need to be prepared. Retirement is something you need to plan. I went to school and didn't have any school loans, I had a different funding. If that funding for some reason doesn't exist when my son goes to school, I want us to pay for his school. We started an R.E.S.P when he was one years old. Personal finance is something I've really started paying attention to, and I'm fired up about educating others.

Monday, September 19, 2016

How To Get Out Of Debt

You need to WANT IT!

The first step to getting out of debt is to really want it. It has to be YOU, not someone else telling you that you should get out of debt. It starts with you, because you're going to be living it. You're going to be the one paying it off. If you're wishy washy and not ready to commit to this, it won't happen. You don't wander out of debt, you decide to get out of debt.

Make a Plan

There are many debt repayment systems such as the debt snowball (paying smallest to largest debt) or the debt avalanche (paying largest interests to smallest) you will need to decide HOW you will get out of debt. You need a plan, without a plan you won't be focused and it won't be long before your running off the track.

Implement the Plan

Create your budget, and implement your plan. The budget is key to controlling your money. It's the contract that you need to make work. While creating the budget you need to make sacrifices, get current on bills, if you're not and you need to live within your means. You need to stop depending on a credit card, because getting out of debt means not putting more on credit.

Stay Focused

Remind yourself why you want to get out of debt. When you're in debt, and life happens you don't have alot of options. That's why it's important to have an emergency fund. If you follow Dave Ramsey, he suggests 1000$ baby emergency fund. This is the first step to his plan, after that you start to tackle debt with the debt snowball. Having that baby emergency fund breaks the dependency on credit when something happens.

Stay Motivated

Staying motivated is crucial when you're getting out of debt. It's not easy to cut out your lifestyle, and see others being carefree. However, you don't know their specifics. Worry about yourself, and fix your situation. You must make the changes necessary.

Friday, September 16, 2016

No Spend Update 2

The no spend month is going really well. I thought I would struggle alot more than I am. I've been staying away from stores, or when I do go, I don't feel tempted. During the week, I tend to read or blog during my lunch break. At home, we don't normally go anywhere in the evenings. The weekends are probably a little harder, but it's been okay.

I will admit that I had one crazy day where I failed on the no spend. The minute I turned on my PC at work, I had issues to deal with, and when I left I had a whole set of new issues. I had no breaks, no lunch and I was so drained. When I came home, I didn't have dinner prepared and I knew I needed to give myself a few minutes to stop stressing or my whole evening with my family would be ruined. I ordered a pizza....I didn't feel bad about it. It gave my a chance to reset and focus on my family. Leave work at work. Life happens, and sometimes you need to make a judgement call.

Week 2- all in all has been good. I think it might get harder as my vacation starts to get nearer. Hunting season is around the corner, and we'll be going back to our hometown to visit. I need to keep my spending in check, and realize I won't need any new things.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Tightening Up The Budget

There may come a time when you will need to tighten up your budget, it may be due to an income problem, or a savings goal. Tightening your budget doesn't necessarily mean that your managing your money badly. It means that your are managing your money, and for whatever reason you're looking to make changes.

Learn To Say "No."

The first thing you need to learn when tightening up your budget is how to say "no." As Dave Ramsey would say "Children do what feels goods, Adults devise a plan and follow it." If you have to tighten up the budget, you're going to have to say "no."

Evaluate the Budget

Look closely at the budget, and see if there are some things you can cut out. Do you have magazine subscriptions that you're not using or don't need right now? Maybe the gym membership has to go. Cable is not a necessity, maybe you can cut down the bill or cut it altogether. You have to look at the big picture, and decide what sacrifices will need to be made. Maybe cut down the "eating out" category, and add to the grocery category.

Renegotiate Your Bills

Cable, internet, insurance companies, and cell phone providers may be able to offer you a promotion price. Talk to the loyalty department and see what they can do.

Grocery Bill

The grocery bill is one of my hardest budget items to keep in check. It's important to keep an eye on this expense. If the grocery bills are getting higher, you may be able to cut down on the bill. Remember that groceries are apart of your "Four Walls" and must remain a priority.

Track your Spending

When you're trying to keep that budget in check, especially when trying to tighten the budget. Track your spending. You can use an app, or even have a spending journal. When you keep seeing how much your spending, you're less likely to keep making those mistakes.

Stay Motivated

It's  hard to make sacrifices but the key is to keep motivated. Don't give up. There's a reason why you are doing this. Budgeting and tightening the budget can be done for various reasons. I firmly believe everyone should have a budget system.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Review: Kobo Aura One Vs H2o Reader

Comparing the Kobo Aura H20 to the new Aura One, the first thing you notice is the size. The Aura one is taller and slimmer. I really like the size of the Aura One. Instead of reading on a paperback sized reader, you'll be reading on a hardback sized reader. I think it offers a great reading experience.

The overall system feel is very similar to the H20. I think don't there's much of a difference. I really like Kobo's interface. Both readers are waterproof which is a huge benefit. I can read outside and no worry about rain drops, I can read in the bath. If I go to the beach, bring the reader along. The Aura One doesn't have the port plugged like the Kobo H20.

The Aura One also allows readers to use Overdrive, which I'm very excited for. I'm hoping the H20 will get this same upgrade. I borrow alot of books from the library, and this would be great to have across the readers.

While I was commuting to work, I found the size to be very comfortable with the Aura One. However, when the metro was REALLY crowded I was alittle afraid to hold the reader with one hand. It's very slim, and I was afraid to drop it. I do find the H20 more easier to hold with one hand.

Overall, I was really happy with the Aura one. I received a demo to use for a few weeks. I own the H20 and would love to own the Aura One but it will have to wait until I'm ready to upgrade. If you're use to Kobo the new reader won't be a big change, but it does have some cooler new options such as the comfort light. The biggest advantage the new reader has is the bigger size. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Zero Based Budgeting

Throughout my no spend September month, I want to try and educate about finances. I'm a former spender, and I've come along way. 

Why create a budget? Every wonder where your money went at the end of the month? If you have a budget, you keep track of your spending, this will be a thing of the past. Budgeting is being in control of your money. Have your money work for you, you work hard enough for it. It's easy to ignore your finances, but it's not going to benefit you in the short or long term.

When I first started budgeting, I only wrote down bills. I didn't include groceries, savings, or personal money. Now, I plan for every thing, including gifts that will come up in a month. One of the first things, that made me stop and hop on the Dave Ramsey wagon was when I heard him say Christmas shouldn't be a surprise. We know Christmas comes up once a year, plan for it. Now, I have a Christmas fund that gets funded monthly. 

1. The first step to budgeting, is write down your income. If you have a fixed income this should be easy. If you have a variable income, you should do some research to get some help.

2. Create a monthly budget of expenses. If you are in the red, make sure you have your four walls covered. Food, shelter (including utilities), clothing and transportation are necessities. They should be at the top of your budget, not at the end. These are things, you cannot cut out. Give every dollar a purpose. Have every dollar accounted for. This could be personal money, savings, sinking funds, money put towards your debt...

I highly recommend looking at examples of budgets online. Look at how detailed they are. Those details really make the difference.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

No Spend Challenge Update 1

I started my no spend challenge a few days early, just to "practice." I thought my week days would be hardest because that's when I'm tempted to go browsing during my breaks. I was right, that's when i'm most tempted. I'm tired, and want to get away from my desk for a bit. Once I decide to suck it up, and not go to the malls. I do well. These malls are connected to my work through underground tunnels. I usually end up staying at my desk and reading. I've also been writing and outlining blog posts. I've been really into personal finance and I have some blog posts coming up that I hope will encourage people like me who are natural "spenders." Money is common sense, but it's our habits that get us into trouble. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Review: Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

Review: Harry Potter and The Cursed Child
J K Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne
Little Brown
301 Pages
Personal Copy
Rating: 3/5

Harry Potter will always be my favorite book series. I started reading the series when I was in highschool, I can remember getting the library book and sitting down to read it in the evening. I waiting patiently for each book to publish, and I went to the midnight book sale for the last book. When I heard about The Cursed Child, I was excited and couldn’t wait to get the book/play. I knew going in, that it was written as a play and J K Rowling wasn’t the only writer. However, I didn’t expect it to have such a different feel. It’s a character driven story, without much storytelling. There’s a lot of flashback storylines but not a lot of new material. That’s where I really felt like the story fell flat for me. I really struggled with the plot. I expected more from J K Rowling. If she was committing herself to continue the story, I expected her to give her readers more. This play felt like it was a “filler” project, something to just get done. It was not an eighth book in my mind, it didn't even come close. Yes, a play is meant to be experienced but I’ve read plays before, and I’ve enjoyed the plotlines. This script felt like a trip down memory lane and nothing really substantial was added. It wasn’t horrible, but it was just okay. I really don’t see myself going back and reading it again, not like the books themselves.

What were your thoughts? I’ve seen alot of mixed reviews. In a way, I wish I hadn’t read this one.