Sunday, 24 November 2013

DIY Advent Calendar!

This is one blog post I have been eager to write...and with December less than a week away, today seemed like the perfect day to share!

I have fond memories of counting down the days to Christmas through use of the highly sought after chocolate advent calendars. However, through my ever changing family unit, and thus ever changing family traditions, I have longed for a way to bring new tradition to the Christmas season. Enter the new and improved DIY Advent Calendar...sans chocolate.

The final project...I wonder what's in each envelope?

I started this project by 'washing' an old piece of douglas fir with red paint. ( I wanted the wood grain to show through so I just made a water and paint mixture that almost stained the wood).
 The douglas fir was picked up by my husband from a timber framing company he used to work for. It has, and will continue to come in very handy for this DIY family!

The project in it's early stages... was still working on the layout and envelope designs at this point!

I then began decorating each little envelope with a countdown day! I found the great little brown envelopes on Etsy  for about $20.00 including shipping. Although that seems expensive, this was my only expense for this project so I easily justified it!

I then made the activity inserts for each envelope. Some of the activities I included were, "have a no TV day", "bake cookies with the whole family" "go on a shopping trip for the food bank" and so on... I made those using good old and most importantly, cheap shipping tags from staples!

I had so much fun making this project and decided to send it to a friend instead of keep it for myself so I can't comment on it's success. I can however comment on the fact that a year later, I look at this picture and feel very proud of the project! So proud in fact that I might even tackle another one this year...only a bit different...stay tuned and cross your fingers I have the energy to create something new before that countdown to Christmas begins!

--As always, thanks for taking time to check out my blog :)

Monday, 18 November 2013

Budget Update...

It's been about two weeks since my last 'budget' post and I'm sure you've been d y i n g to find out how everything is going!

We just completed Level 1 of the MyMoneyMyChoices program and already we are feeling so much more comfortable with our finances.

Some highlights of our budgeting 'workshop':

-created a spending analysis and dissected why we overspend when we do--how therapeutic!
-updated our debt repayment plan to suit our changing needs--(It has an end date and we are working with a very low interest rate! yahoo!)
-created a NetWorth statement...interesting exercise nonetheless--will be neat to watch it grow!
-earned our first level badge!

-started Level 2!
-we did this months ago but we have a very easy to follow budget calendar that made it easy to align our cash flow and bills

What's coming?
- we are going to start our spending

I can't really assume that everyone reading this blog has the same financial situation as us. But what I can assume is that if you've made it to the end of this blog post, then you're interest is probably peaked... Please send me a tweet or a facebook message if you are interested in more info--why not be financially literate? And for purely selfish reasons, I'll get bonus points for guiding someone through Level 1! ha ah

Oh and...minor celebration--Gail Vaz-Oxlade and I have been exchanging tweets! I feel so honored! (as long as she's not considering me one of her Money Morons!)

Happy Budgeting!

P.S. Christmas is coming which means DIY projects are on the rise! Stay tuned for a sneak peak at the advent calendar I made for a friend last year!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

DIY it goes

I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the subject of this blog post. "How to set yourself on the road to financial freedom". Wah wah.

What I will NOT apologize for is sharing a fantastic, new, hands on, user friendly, and most importantly, free, resource for how to set your finances straight.

I am a huge fan of Gail Vaz-Oxlade. She is the host of various budget 'helping' shows such as Til Debt Do Us Part, Princess, and Money Morons. I have been following her blog for years and with her help, my husband and I have learned how to spend cash only and create a monthly budget so we know exactly how much money we have to 'spend'.

The problem is, we seem to keep spinning our wheels and can't seem to get ahead. For whatever reason (maternity leave, emergencies--flood in particular etc etc).

Enter Gail Vaz-Oxlade. I can't even remember how it started. I think I responded to a tweet Gail sent out about people interested in gaining financial literacy. I have been receiving emails since regarding the launch of her new website/ financial literacy course.

On Friday we were sent the confirmation that the website had launched and we could begin our road to financial freedom! We quickly gathered what we needed to begin the program...

Six months of bank statements, an excel spreadsheet, and colored pens. We mean business. Working on earning our first 'stone'-- We've almost completed Activity 1!

I won't waste your time sharing details of the program--I'll let you check that out for yourself on your own time. Head on over to My Money, My Choices and see what my hype is all about.

For those who know me personally, feel free to send me a private message on Facebook to learn how to become part of our 'Tribe'.

Or, leave a comment below and I'll see how I can help :)

Happy Budgeting!!!