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HUMP DAY SLUMP DAY

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This is the mid-week SLUMP DAY for me.  I was never excited for Wednesday to appear as many other people are.  What is so special about Wednesday?  This is Day 14 of sugar detox for me and I have been lacking the motivation to continue on with this new plan.  I woke up needing a boost of cheer so decided to make a photo gallery of some of my favourite things.  

Number one, I love my family and friends but didn’t get permission to post images of them on this site.  You will have to be my friend on Facebook to see those pics.

So we will have to settle for other things that bring me joy.  Christmas Morning, a smile from my sweet girl, and a blissfully sleeping baby, enough said.

I love being outdoors and don’t give myself enough opportunities to go out.  Walking from car to work, or car to grocery store, to home doesn’t count.  Whether it is walking in the park, sitting on a patio with a cool drink and soaking up the sun, or feeding the ducks, I would rather be there.  Ugh, I just looked out the window and saw that the snow is actually accumulating.  What happened to our brief glimpse of spring?

Let’s find my happy place again…Going to the CNE every summer, and eating TINY TOM DONUTS.  It is an annual tradition, and I can already taste the warm, powdered sugar goodness.

Sitting in a quiet corner of my favourite coffee shop with a book.  I haven’t been able to do this in years, probably since University.  But a girl can daydream right?

Well, I am being snapped out of my revery by a grumpy girly that has oversplept.  I need to shake off this SLUMP DAY mood.  But first I need to climb the mountain of laundry.

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You Had Me At Free

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I am cheap by nature, but that doesn’t mean I’m not generous.  I am generous with my time and affections, for sure.  Money? Not so much, teehee.  I clip coupons every week, much to my husbands annoyance.  I have stopped telling him how much I spend in a shopping trip.  At the beginning of the month I find out my budget and instead come home reporting how much I saved.  Coupons and flyers do take over our tiny kitchen sometimes, but I am learning how to keep them more organized.   

First place to start? Get a purse-sized organizer with accordian folds.  I got mine at my favourite dollar store, and it has ten pockets to organize my coupons.  I sort them into categories, and put the closest expiry dates in the front of the pile.  My every week shopping list gets tucked into the front.  This list has items I need every week because I can’t rely on my memory anymore.

Coupons can offer a way to try something new without wasting too much money.  Two weeks ago I got a FREE MAIL-IN REBATE for the new Lysol No-Touch Hand Soap Pump.  I bought the pump for $9.99, filled in the rebate and mailed it with my original receipt.  In a few weeks I should get a cheque in the mail.  I make sure to only do this with brands I trust. 

I plan my meals and purchases for the next week, based on the new flyers I get on Thursday evenings.  This is when the second list gets made, list your needed items by store and include the prices advertised.  This saves you from reading through all the flyers over over and over again.  I decide who has the best deals then bring ALL my flyers to the store that will price match.  There are people that still don’t know about price matching.  It is practised in many grocery stores, but in some stores it can also be applied to appliances, electronics, health & beauty, pet food, and baby items.  Sometimes it is only a matter of saving a few cents, but other times it means getting a $50 video game for $20.

Patience is important when it comes to getting good deals.  I will wait for the perfect sale and still hang on to every receipt.  Just in case the item goes on sale even more in the next two weeks, I will wait in line to get a price adjustment.  Some stores will give you money back up to a month after original purchase (Future Shop, I love you for this reason).

When I find a really good deal, will ask friends for the coupons in their newspaper too.

Visit websites of  the companies that make or promote your favourite things.  There are also free coupon websites that will let you browse through the brands that have offered deals.  Companies want your business.  They will give out free samples, coupons, and hold great contests to get your interest.  I just got 30% off my OLD NAVY purchase and saved more than $30 including the markdowns on the clearance items.  I got a long sleeved T-shirt for $1.23!!!  My total bill was $36 (for two T-shirts and a pair of yoga pants for me, and spring outfit including; 6 pairs of socks and a pair of sandals for baby girl).

Can you tell that I love a bargain?  I could go on and on about how much I love free stuff.  I am happy to do a little bit of work every week, to clip coupons, search the web, or pour over flyers to find the best deals.  It means that we get to live well, and within our budget, so we may have enough money to treat ourselves to a dinner out.  In the really tight budget months it means we don’t have to use credit cards just to eat and put diapers on the baby.  With a little time and planning, a good deal could mean stretching your budget a long way.  For me it means sneaking in a cute shirt, or a new lipgloss.  Especially when I shop at a department store that has everything under one roof.  Happy Savings!

*stock photos courtesy of dreamstime.com

Stranger Danger

For someone who never really had the nerve to speak up about anything for most of my life, things have really changed in the last year.  It is easier to talk to strangers than it is to people I have known for a long time.  I find myself talking to strangers more and more everyday.  Not just behind the privacy of my computer aliases, but in line ups at stores, coffee shops, and random places that my wander lust brings me. It used to be that I would stand stoic in line, waiting for my turn to be next, sometimes grumbling under my breath at the hold-ups.  I used to be able to stealthfully slip into stores and get my purchases home with little attention being drawn to me at all.  Now, I feel like I need to have a little more patience and to put on a happy face during shopping trips. It’s not that I am in any less of a hurry now, or have less on my mind.  I feel like everyone is watching the crazy lady with the cute kid to see what she will do next.  Paranoid?  

The biggest change in the last year and a bit?  For those that don’t know me, I am usually wrestling with an 18 month old while loading and unloading a cart, loading bags, handing over coupons, and paying the cashier.  And then if the totals come up wrong, hold on for another endless wait for correction, or worse yet, be sent to another line up @ the service desk to get your OWN money back.  Phew…excuse the mid-blog rant.  The physics of shopping have changed, so I have had to change too.  It is almost impossible to travel unseen or unheard in public places when you have a baby.  And the odds seem stacked against you for even the simplist of outings: 

1)A stroller or cart loaded to capacity, almost impossible to turn a corner without being Hercules. 

2)The Toddler screaming for the snacks on the shelves or in the hands of other people nearby.

3) The mommy brain that won’t let you remember what was on the list you left on the kitchen counter.

4) Getting on or off a bus with a fully loaded stroller and traversing 3 foot high snowbanks so carefully carved by the plows, and hard packed by the cold.

5) I forgot what I wanted to write for this one…

That being said, I can choose to let the frustrations come out and bombard the people who happen to share my personal space.  Or I can try to put a humourous spin on the situation.  The talking to strangers factor can sometimes pay off.  And generally I find that a smiling baby brings out the best in people, and somehow gives them the desire to be friendly in a situation that could be stressful or irritating.  Yes, I know there are people who claim to hate children, I have met many over the years.  I’m not addressing them today.  A smiling baby also distracts people when you cut in front of them in line.  Talking to strangers has become a newly learned social skill for me.  Apparently it’s not too late to teach this old cat some new tricks. Now if only I could remember what my closing point was supposed to be.