Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”- Mark Twain

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sometimes it pays to replace old things!

Our fridge was old. Old, old old. It was a fridge that came with the house when we moved in. An apartment sized fridge that had had parts replaced to make it last longer, different doors put on etc. I'm sure she was a great fridge in her prime, but the poor ol' gal never stopped when we began using her. For months we noticed how it never shut off, and even had condensation forming on the inside. Since really replacing the fridge falls under our landlord's responsibilities, we were hesitant to do anything drastic. We made hints about how she wasn't sounding good. Nothing. More subtle hints about how we thought it was breaking. Nothing. Then we out right said that it wasn't working properly, and our landlords sent a technician in to look at her, who replaced something or other (which made no difference).

Not wanting to get in an argument over this with our landlords (since they are giving us a great deal on rent) we decided to look around and see about replacing her. We looked at fridges in Sears, and different small local stores, but really couldn't justify spending $500 or more on a new fridge at the moment. We decided to have a look on kijiji, and we found exactly what we were looking for.

For $100.00, we replaced our poor old small breaking down fridge, with a full sized 3 year old fridge that works like a charm. It was being sold due to the previous owner moving to a house that already had a fridge. Perfect! Not only do we get a ton more fridge space, hopefully it may cut down the power that our other fridge was using.

Well, the first power bill came the other day, and low and behold we saved $45.00! Just to make sure this wasn't just due to the time of year (less lights on), I checked it against last years power bill for the same months, and it was infact approx $40.00 cheaper!

The way this is going, the fridge will have paid for itself in about 2 more power bills! Hopefully this continues to be a money saving investment! Sometimes it pays to spend a little out replacing old things! :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Making My Own Wine - Yummy, Fun & Money Saving!

I'm a wine drinker. Not too much, but I did tend buy a bottle of wine on Friday's after work, and tend to drink it either Friday or Saturday evening. I decided a few months ago, that since I'm trying to save money in all other areas in my life, this also needed evaluation.

Say I bought one bottle a week, four times a month, at $14.00 per bottle (I never said I bought the fancy stuff, lol). This is $56.00 per month I am paying for alcohol. $14.00 doesn't sound bad, but $56.00 does.

My other half has tried his luck at making his own beer for a few years now (usually his luck doesn't win, LOL). Anyways, since we had all of the equipment, I decided I would try making my own wine. I dug all of my wine bottles that I had out of recycling, and hit up some friends for theirs, to make my bottle count 30.

When I was in the city, I went to the Noble Grape wine store (which is amazing by the way), and picked out a Valpolicella red wine, which is my favorite to buy in the NSLC. The kit was on sale (yippee!) for $54.00. I took it home, and got started right away.

The instructions were detailed, and the work was minimal. About once a week the wine had to be transferred to a clean carboy, and sometimes have a packet stirred in. Sterilizing the equipment and bottling the wine at the end of the four weeks was about the hardest part, and that really only took about an hour and a half. I had bought the labels and the shrink wrap, so we made them look very authentic.

We let the wine "age" for a few weeks, and decided we couldn't wait any longer. I was skeptical I admit, because I had tasted some very bad homemade wine from different friends making it over the years. We uncorked the wine, and poured a glass. To my amazement, the wine was DELICIOUS!! It is very VERY similar to the
Valpolicella wine I buy in the liquor store. I couldn't believe it! From this point on, I have been an avid wine maker. It's a fun hobby, and I am saving myself money in the long run by doing it. It's also a great present for friends, which costs you next to nothing.

My wine kit cost me $54.00, corks were $4.00, labels & shrink wrap were $5.00, and other misc equipment was approx $10.00, but lasts multiple kits (sterilizing agent, sweetener, etc). Total $73.00, or $82.50 with taxes. Each kit says it will make 30 bottles, but ours made 28. Not too bad. $82.50 divided by 28 bottles is $2.94 per bottle!

I make sure to only go through no more than 4 bottles of wine per month (unless some are gifts here and there). My total spending on wine per month now is $11.76, versus $56.00 previously. This saves me $44.24 per month, or $530.88 per year! (Which I of course put in my piggy bank).

If you don't mind not having a selection, Costco sells wine kits, either Chardonnay or Merlot, in a 2-kit box for $60.00. Sometimes these go on sale for $45.00. This is a great deal, because you are getting two kits for what you pay for one, in a wine making store. This takes the price of $2.94 per bottle, way down.

I'm not sure I'll ever go back to buying the majority of my wine in the liquor store ever again! This is amazing!

Monday, April 26, 2010

My First Piggy Bank Purchase!

No, I didn't buy countries in Asia, as it may look in the picture! LOL, but I do plan to visit them. Like I've mentioned, I've booked my first piggy bank vacation! I've traveled before, but this will be the first time I've traveled with money I've saved (and am saving) off of my everyday bills and my side job. This is half paid for now, and I'm hoping to have the rest paid by the end of July.

The trip is in Sept. 2010 and is starting in Hong Kong, with stops in Taiwan, Shanghai, Japan, South Korea, and ending in Beijing!

We got such a great deal on this trip! (of course, I wouldn't have it any other way!). It is a 13 night cruise, which we booked through Royal Caribbean. We took advantage of their Best Price Guarantee and got the inside room for $1,000.00 CAD per person. We also booked our flights through a seat sale on Continental, and also got these for $1,000.00 per person. $2,000.00 for two weeks in Asia from Eastern Canada is amazing! We normally pay about $1200 each for one week in Cuba, so this is a great deal. We'll be staying a few extra nights in Beijing, for a total of 17 nights vacation. The hotel rooms were booked during an sale for $60.00 CAD per night at a well known hotel chain! All meals are included on the ship, the only extras will be liquor, day trips & transfers and of course spending money! :) I cannot wait for this trip!

Thrift Store Shopping - VERA WANG included!

Okay, so just because I am trying to save money, doesn't mean a girl can't shop! I was in shopping mode the other day, and decided to check out our local second hand clothing store. It's called Guy's Frenchies and it is a pretty big store. I admit that I've been a second hand shopper for years, on and off whenever the urge strikes me. This time I went on a mission looking for some summery clothes.

The store is broken up into sections and the clothes are in bins. It's a very clean and spacious store. There is anything from bedding to books, handbags to baby clothes. Pretty much every main category is covered.

Like I mentioned earlier I am going on vacation in Sept, and I do need at least two dresses to take on this vacation, and would like some nice outfits to wear to dinner. I have some dresses at home, but not a large selection. None that really feels right for the event. I was really looking for a simple black dress, or something easy. To my amazement, I stumbled a crossed a beautiful Vera Wang dress. It is the right fit, and drops just below the knee. It's strapless, burgundy satin, and is in PERFECT shape! I bought it for the low low price of $7.00!

On this same shopping trip, I picked up two books that I've been wanting to read (softcover, $1.50 each), a lovely Nine West black pencil skirt ($3.00), a black shrug sweater ($2.50) and a silver clutch wallet ($1.75). I also found a pair of shorts for DH ($3.50).

My total shopping trip came to $20.75 before taxes! I would have spent that on DH's shorts alone! Not only do I have a large part of my vacation wear, but I picked up some other extras too, all for a small percentage of what I would have paid in a retail store.

I may have to go back again next week to see if I can finish up my summer shopping there!

*I haven't had the dress dry-cleaned yet, so please forgive the wrinkles, LOL

Monday, April 12, 2010

Having a Side Job

Trying to explore all areas of growing my piggy bank, I decided to take on a side job. It's actually an opportunity that fell in my lap, and only takes 2 hours every other weekend. Since I already work 40 hours a week, I wasn't looking for anything that would take a chunk of my precious free time away. So this seemed to be great.

I have started cleaning house for an elderly lady in my community. Every other Saturday morning, I work for two hours vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, dusting and scrubbing a house that hardly ever gets dirty anyways. She is a sweet elderly lady, that is probably looking for company just as much as she's looking for a maid. We talk while I clean, and she tells me stories from long ago. I actually look forward to going there every two weeks, and sometimes will pop in for a visit in between shifts.

Although one days work doesn't seem to be that big of a payout, combining it together does. In one month I have made $100.00. Not too shabby for four hours of work. Doing this for six months will give me $600.00 that I normally wouldn't have had. My piggy bank is really loving this new opportunity.