Posts Tagged With: Spending

The Surprise Shed

This past weekend I was happily munching on my Shreddies when I noticed a truck drive across the neighbouring vacant lot. Shortly after, it was followed by another truck. I near inhaled my Shreddies and ducked around my back patio door to see what was going on. Lo and behold, the previous owner of my house was clearing out the shed that is sitting on the property line between my place and the neighbouring vacant lot. The lot had been put up for sale and sold in a week, so they were there to clean the lot up, including the shed. I had reached out to the real estate agent to ask about buying/moving the shed, who told me the owner would contact me, but I never heard anything more about it.

Curious as to what the fate of the shed was, I wandered out to ask. I introduced myself and once the owner heard my name, he asked me if I was still interested in the shed. The sale of the lot was closing in two weeks and he needed to move the shed (and little wood lean-to) before the closing date. I asked what he thought the 16×13 shed was worth. He said $3000. I replied I would give him $2500 for the shed and the lean-to (including the wood in it) and I would take care of moving it. Just like that, I found myself the proud owner of a new shed.

I called up my Dad and told him I bought a shed and that it would need moving sooner rather than later. Before long, he was down at my place taking a look at the shed. It’s a solid, well built shed, with a work bench and lots of cupboards in it, so it got the all important Dad approval. After the previous owners got it all cleaned out and left, Dad nodded at me, smirked and told me I worked a pretty good deal. I think my Dad is pretty proud of me for getting a deal like that, which makes me feel great, but also makes me want to negotiate everything. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Township will be willing to negotiate on my upcoming tax bill. Oh well.

Moving the shed took up the rest of my weekend. Luckily, Dad had a pile of extra gravel (it pays to let contractors doing road repairs use your land) to level off a spot in the back corner of my lot. We got the shed’s landing spot all flat and smooth and then began jacking up the corners of the shed so we could put the beams and rollers under it for the big move. It’s never fails to amaze me what a loader tractor is capable of lifting. Once we got the rollers under it, we could push the shed with the loader over the rollers. The hard part was getting the shed turned around so it was square with my driveway. Thankfully, my uncle stopped in and between the three of us, we managed to get it into position and then set it down on the cement blocks. It was hot, dirty work, but do I ever feel like I accomplished something.


Of course, today when I noticed my bank account was $2500 less. Not having that money sucks, but having a solid, large shed adds to the value of my property and provides desperately needed storage space. I no longer have to worry about raccoons taking my lawn mower out for a joyride! I wasn’t exactly expecting to spend $2500 on a shed, but when the lot went up for sale I figured I might ask about the shed. Thankfully, I’m a saver, so when the opportunity came up, I was able to jump on it. Had I not had the money saved up and being unable to buy the shed, I think I would be kicking myself. Take it from me – it’s good to have money saved up, whether or not it’s a last minute trip or a shed, it’s good to be  able to take advantage of opportunities as they come along.

Have you had any big unexpected purchases come out of the blue that you could pay for because of your savings? Anyone want to come paint half a shed (the other half faced the road, so it warranted some paint apparently)?

Categories: Spending, Weekend | Tags: , | 8 Comments

A midsummer bonus: spending vs. saving.

I got a really great surprise with my last paycheque – a midyear bonus! Who-hoo!! What a fantastic way to start July, huh? I love that I work for a company that is willing to share profits with its employees throughout the year. Immediately after receiving the bonus, I’ve been mulling over what to do with my bonus. Here’s just some of things that came to mind:

  • Put some into my emergency fund (EF)
  • Make an extra mortgage payment
  • Buy a deck box
  • Buy new tires for my car
  • Use the money for my upcoming deck expansion
  • Use the money to get a will done

Unfortunately, my bonus isn’t big enough to let me do everything on my list. I would like my bonus to go as far as possible, so I’m going to try to do as much as possible with it. I have already set some money aside for my deck project, so there’s really no need to spend my bonus on that. I also ended up buying a deck box this weekend, when I found one on sale ($99) at Canadian Tire. I know, I know, I’m supposed to be on a shopping ban – but a horde of earwigs tried to move into the cushions for the deck chairs and it was frightening and gross. It was so bad, my Dad offered to buy me a deck box. My new deck box will hopefully keep my cushions earwig free.

That leaves: putting money into my EF, making an extra mortgage payment, buy new tires, or a get will. I’m leaning towards splitting the bonus in half and putting $500 into my EF and $498 against my mortgage. I’d love to get my EF to my goal of $10,000 and an extra $500 would put me closer to that goal. I figure I can wait on getting new summer tires for my car until maybe the fall and hopefully get some good ones on sale. As for the will, I know I should get one drawn up soon – right now I’m hoping it will happen in September. Being able to pay down some of my mortgage debt and get closer to a saving goal is really tempting.

What do you think I should do? When you get a bonus or some extra cash do you tend to put it into savings or spend it?


Categories: Goals, Spending, Work | Tags: , , | 35 Comments

Going in lockdown mode.

I am going on a shopping ban.


Y’see, for the last couple of months it seems I have been unable to control my spending. It’s not that I’m replacing my wardrobe every month or anything like that, it’s just that I seem to do doing lots of little shopping trips here and there and it’s adding up. Looking back over my receipts, it’s pretty easy to pick out a pattern: every time I go to the city, I end up going shopping and buying either clothes or stuff for my house.

It doesn’t help that I’ve been to the city much more than usual in the last couple months. It’s just so tempting and easy to go visit the mall or big box stores and buy something that I can’t get locally. Just last week I was in Toronto for a workshop and my coworker and I decided to visit Ikea – and guess who comes out with a cart full of stuff and $200 less in my bank account. Yeah, this girl. Not one of my shining moments, that’s for sure.

I usually try and justify my mini-shopping sprees by telling myself

  • ‘It’s ok, I don’t come to the city that often’ – when really, I usually end up in a city at least once a month.
  •  ‘It’s ok, I’m not buying much’ – but a little here and there tends to add up really quickly.
  • ‘I need x, y, z’ – I’ve lived without x, y, z so far and can seemingly function without it.

I feel like I’m regressing – although, it’s not at a point where I’m spending more than I’m earning, it’s just I’m not saving as much as I would like to. I’ve got a deck renovation and a major overhaul of the basement coming up and I want those to happen sooner rather than later. The only way that can happen is if I buckle down and save. I think rather than just going with a blanket shopping ban, I’m going to set myself some rules and exceptions:

  • No jeans, shoes, scarves, tops, sweaters, jackets, skirts, dresses from hence forth. The only clothing item I’m allowed to buy until the end of July are socks.
  • No home decor items shall be bought. Only necessary home items allowed: lightbulbs, batteries, etc.
  • I will allow myself to print 15 photos for two frames that I have recently purchased.
  • No makeup. I have more than enough make up.
  • Exception: sunscreen and bug spray. I allow myself to buy in bulk if necessary.
  • Gifts are exempt. This shouldn’t be too bad though, no upcoming July birthdays, just a couple bridal showers.
  • No DVDs/games. I really really want Season 2 of Justified, but I will restrain myself.

Those are my rules. Pretty strick, but I’m going to try my damnest to keep my wallet closed. Anyone else out there on a shopping ban, or has done one recently? Any tips, thoughts, or words of encouragement?

Have a good ‘un

Country Girl

Categories: Shopping, Spending | Tags: , | 7 Comments

May meet June.

May was expensive. Very expensive. I’m actually a little ashamed of myself and I’m more than a little embarrassed to put these numbers up. I suppose though, as a pf blogger constantly spouting off about being frugal and responsible, I must own up to my own slips. At least this month I had a bit of overtime, so that helps soften the blow a bit. Here’s the scary numbers:

The big numbers on my budget come from buying a new computer (a Mac – which I’m quickly getting used to and falling in love with) and gifts (soo many wedding/baby showers). Unfortunately, I under estimated how much my new shiny computer would cost – specifically the software – so I was over budget there. I was able to get a bit of discount through the Apple Education program, so that saved me a bit of cash.

In terms of overspending…heh, can you tell I like to eat? I know exactly what happened with my grocery budget – I went shopping when I was hungry. D’oh. It’s just really convenient to hit the grocery store before I head home for supper, which of course when I’m at my hungriest. In June, I’m going to try and shop in my pantry and freezer as much as possible. I’m looking forward to cheaper, fresher veggies and fruits too.

I also overspent in the personal care category. Darn my weird, angry skin. I ran out of everything and ended up restocking on my face cream, buying a bb cream, getting sunscreen and bug spray. I should be set for a little while in terms of lotions and creams.

In terms of moving forward into June, I’m looking to minimize the extra spending. Starting the month off with a big ole property tax payment will hopefully help to keep me on the straight and narrow. Other upcoming expenses for June include my best-friend-in-the-whole-damn-world’s birthday, a new pair of running shoes (I figure if I’m going to start running, I’d best start with a decent pair of shoes), and eating out. I’m planning on taking my friend out for supper as well as my cousin’s longtime girlfriend – she’s preggers and I think it would be nice to treat her to a nice lunch.

That’s how June is shaping up. How did May turn out for you? Anything exciting coming up in June?

Have a good ‘un

Country Girl

Categories: Budget, Monthly Summary | Tags: , , | 9 Comments

Worth it

I have started this blog post about six times, written about four sentences and then deleted everything. I must have sat out too long in the sun today (don’t worry, I put on sunscreen, so at least my skin isn’t burnt) or maybe my brain has a long weekend hangover, because this whole writing-thing is not working for me tonight. Sometimes, I can write and write and write, and then I have days like today when I can hardly string a sentence together. Of course, this happens the night I actually have the time to sit down and write a post too. In an attempt to thwart my brain’s blog writing rebellion, I’m going to do a picture post about things that I think are worth every cent. Take that, brain.

Here’s a few things that I will happily pay for and never complain about the price:

Cheese curds. I would consider selling an organ for a lifetime supply of warm, squeaky cheese curds.


Marcelle BB Cream. If I could only have one makeup product, this would be it. I’m not keen on makeup so this is my go-to alternative.

DAVIDsTEA Green Seduction tea. I have a pot of this every morning. Actually, I love most tea, so I never complain about the price of tea.

My Bogs. I spend a lot of time in rubber boots, and these (in green) are the best ones I’ve ever had. 

Good, non-greasy sunscreen. I’m the kind of person who burns on a rainy day, so sunscreen is not optional. Anything that keeps me from burning to a crisp or ending up looking like that scary tanning-lady from New Jersey is worth it.

What’s on your ‘worth it’ list? 

Categories: About Me, Spending | Tags: , | 15 Comments

Mayday! It’s May

May is going to be expensive. I was flipping through my planner and was looking at all the events I have to go to and seeing the dollar signs. I feel like there is something I have to go to every weekend in May. Here’s a breakdown of what all these events and extra May expenses I have to look forward to so far:

  • New Computer – I bought a Mac laptop. My old Dell is getting moody and I can’t trust it anymore, so I bit the bullet and shelled out the $1,800 for a Mac (eep – but at least I was able to use my sister’s discount). It seems like such a lot of money for a computer; my friend pointed out I could buy 5 or 6 PCs for the price of a Mac. My thinking with buying an expensive Mac though is that I’m buying quality and that it will hopefully last longer and run with fewer problems than my previous PCs. COST $1,800
  • Wedding Shower Gifts x 3. Three showers for three different gals getting married. I don’t even particularly like these girls, but I’ve known their parents for a long time and like the family, so I’ll suck it up and get them a gift (gotta love small towns, sometimes). I feel really conflicted about giving shower gifts – especially after I see registries that are full of (expensive) home decor items and random stuff. Does the soon to be married couple really need an $80 dollar candle holder decoration-thing? I have no problem buying things that serve a purpose like casserole dishes, pots, pans, but I don’t see why I should dole out my hard earned cash just to help someone fill their house with stuff. I wish I could set up a registry for myself, I’d have all manner of useful things on it: shovels, wheelbarrow, tupperware and a stand-mixer, just to name a few. COST 50 x3 = $150
  • Baby Showers. I’ve been invited to two baby showers for the same couple. I don’t think I should be obligated to buy a gift for both events, so I’m not going to. I’ll buy a gift for the family shower, and then for the friends shower my sister and I are going to make a ‘Daddy Diaper Emergency Kit’, which should cost less than $15 to put together. COST $55
  • Mother’s Day – I’m taking my Mom for high tea for Mother’s Day. Truth be told, I’m absolutely stoked to get some devonshire cream out of it. As well, my sisters and I usually go in together and get Mom a gift certificate for the local plant nursery. COST $75
  • Slo-pitch fees. COST $50
  • Stag & Doe tickets x 4. There is a Stag & Doe every single weekend in May. Again, I am being a ‘good member of the small town community’ and buying tickets to these Stag & Does. I’ll volunteer to be DD, so I can get out of buying drink tickets, which suits me because I’m not a big drinker anymore anyways. COST $5×4 =$20

Yikes. May is looking like it’s going to be an expensive month. Seeing those costs sure makes me hope that nothing else comes up, like something breaking on my car. I suppose though, that’s why we save, right? One must be able to deal with the extra costs when they come up. Still, I’d be really happy if I didn’t incur any other costs this May. I’m going to write down these extra costs in my purple book of spending and hopefully seeing them every time I go to spend money will remind me to be as frugal a possible this month to try and balance out all this spending. I have no idea if it’ll work, but I’m going to give it a shot.

How do you deal with extra costs like buying gifts or unexpected costs? My bestie and I were discussing shower gifts and she feels obligated to buy three gifts for the three showers for her future sister in law (not to mention a wedding gift) – I think that’s insane. I believe in one shower gift, one wedding gift. I don’t think it’s rude not to bring a gift to each shower, what do you guys think? Am I the only one who hates the feeling of obligation to buy shower gifts?

Categories: Budget, Unavoidable Costs | Tags: , , | 14 Comments

January Recap

Goodbye January. I am absolutely ready to welcome in February and see what prediction the local groundhog makes for the rest of winter. I am hoping to hear ‘an early spring’ prediction, even with the mild winter we’ve had so far. Spring means I can get started on my outside projects.

Here’s my spending for last month.


Ugh. I hate those red boxes. My biggest budget upsets were:

    • My cat. She had to get her rabies booster and check up. Unfortunately only the large animal vet was in and his billing rate is more than the small animal vet. Then of course, two days after that vet visit, the cat hurled up a roundworm. Thankfully, I have a vet tech for a sister, so she was able to score some dewormer at cost for me. It still all added up to more than I initially thought it would this month.
    • Hydro. I used more electricity in December (on account of being home during the day more) and then there’s that delivery charge….consarnit all…
    • Shopping and Home Decor: I did a bit of shopping, picking up house stuff. It’s a bunch of little items that seemed to add up, like a new light cover for the fan and door knobs. I also bought paint and art supplies for some DIY projects I have in the works. I should have all that type of spending out of my system for February.

Here’s what my February budget looks like:


It’s going to be an expensive month – 3 mortgage payments and property taxes. Technically the taxes aren’t due until March 1, but I’ve stuck them in this budget because I’m going to pay them this month (today, actually). Also, I’ve got to take my car in for servicing. I think they are some rocks jammed in under the motor mounts from when they resurfaced the road I live on. It makes the car vibrate when you’ve got the brake pressed in the reverse gear. It’s kinda weird, and really annoying, so I’m hoping to get that sorted out this month. I’ve also upped my budget amount for hydro (grr), so I’m hoping I’ll do a better job of guestimating my bill.

February Goals

  • Get all the measurements for the basement/kitchen/stairs reno and start a couple design options.
  • Get all the canvas off the inside/outside of my trunk
  • Complete the February photo challenge
  • Make a spring cleaning list for the inside and the outside of my place
  • Don’t buy: clothes, home decor stuff, or any extras (one exclusion: foundation, because I’m going to run out)
  • Calculate my net worth.

Wish me luck! How was January for you? What are your plans for February?


Categories: Budget, Goals, Monthly Summary | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Nictitating membranes are hard on my budget

January is going to be a bare-bones kind of month. After all the hoopla of Christmas, I’m feeling a bit spent out and that I need a break from my debit card. I have most of the things I need for my house now and lots of things to do, so I should be able to keep my extra spending to a minimum. That being said, I did go out for a fancy-ish lunch today with a coworker and one of our past summer students. It was a fantastic meal; I got the rainbow trout. It was pan fried to perfection. I am drooling just thinking about the big ole filet. I also got dessert (creme brulee) which is something I very rarely get, but definitely worth it. I picked up the student’s meal, so my bill came to $45 (with tip). That will be my only meal out this month, so I’m glad I got a good one in.

Here’s what my January budget looks like:

Budget Item Monthly Budgeted Amont
Bank Fee  $                              
Business Services  $                              
Auto Insurance  $                  122.41
Gas & Fuel  $                  225.00
Service & Parts  $                     50.00
Entertainment  $                     30.00
Coffee Shops  $                              
Fast Food  $                              
Snacks  $                              
Groceries  $                  150.00
Restaurants  $                     45.00
Gift  $                              
Dentist  $                              
Fitness Class  $                     90.00
Gym  $                     51.00
Mortgage  $                  721.52
Books  $                              
Hobbies  $                              
Property Tax  $                  185.00
Travel Cost  $                              
Mobile Phone  $                     39.55
Personal Care  $                     20.00
Home Insurance  $                     98.90
Pet Food & Supplies  $                     15.00
Veterinary  $                  150.00
Clothing  $                              
Electronics & Software  $                              
Shopping  $                     20.00
Phone/Internet  $                     75.00
Hydro  $                  150.00
Uncategorized  $                     20.00
Spending Subtotal

Pretty bare bones ‘eh? My entertainment budget will cover 2 movies: Sherlock Holmes (I paid for my ticket and my friends), and the Tintin movie. I also will be paying for my next bunch of yoga classes this month ($90), as well as a trip to the vet for my cat. She’s going in for her rabies shot, but she also has a wonky eye and the vet can’t seem to figure out what’s wrong, so she usually has to get a scraping or something done anytime I take her in. I swear I can’t get out of that clinic without my bank account getting $100 lighter. Anybody know why a cat’s nictitanting membrane (third eyelid) would be pinkish and halfway up over one eye for six+ months? Thankfully it doesn’t seem to bother her, but it’s definitely weird.

This month I plan to get a good start on a couple of my goals, the big one beinChairg the refinishing of my trunk. I am kind of on a refinishing kick right now. My aunt gave me an old desk chair. It was a little beat up, but actually a damn comfy chair. A bit of spray paint and some new fabric (from the scrap bin at Walmart, so three yards cost me $10), and I have a greatly improved office chair. I even have enough fabric left over to do my other office chair (it’s fire engine red). This success has inspired me to start on the trunk. I will save all the gory details (there are sharp implements involved) for another post though.

Any big items in your January budget? Do you have any refinishing or restoration projects on go?

Have a good ‘un

Country Girl

Categories: Budget | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

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