Frugal Canadians Update?
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  1. #1
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    Question Frugal Canadians Update?

    How's everyone doing?

    We've been taking a look at our situation and frugality really has helped us a lot. We still weren't able to save for a kitchen reno this year. Mostly because I got totally discouraged by the $25,000 price tag the kitchen contractors were quoting me. Instead I bought a new computer and went on trips. I just haven't been very careful with money.

    I've also been depressed, which is a bad combination when you throw money into the mix. I have been going out a lot "to feel better". Unfortunately it's out to tea or supper somewhere, or to a nearby shopping district. I love having company. But it does get expensive after awhile. I was doing potluck style meals, but we have always provided the meat...the expensive part. And the people we invite are a lot worse off than us...and I like to help them. Still...

    I gave DH my CCs this summer because I was developing a habit of using them. We don't carry balances on our CCs, so it's not as bad as it could be. I've only used them twice since summer. It feels good. DH is relieved. Course we've used his a lot!

    I have no idea how much we've spent in our budget categories. DH has a complicated budget set up in Quicken that is just a monster to deal with. I don't get up there to check on things like I should. We're always at least one payday behind in entering expenses...which makes the expenses/budgeting function basically useless for my purposes. I need to know on a daily basis where I'm at.

    Well that's more than enough whining! With winter setting in I'm going to renew my efforts and try to be more focused on saving money for a kitchen renovation next year.

    My goal is no more CC shopping...period. I have Christmas gifts planned. I'm making everything.

    No more eating out unless it's once a month for a treat with DH. Or it's on my personal allowance.

    I'm also going to be stricter with myself. When the money we save hits a certain amount, I'm locking it away! We have the potential to save over $1000 a month...easy. So I am going to see if I can do that.

    So where's everyone at at this point in the year? How are you doing heading into the Consumer Season? What do you plan to focus on the next while?

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    Registered User Libby's Avatar
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    I need to buckle down on my spending as well. I find I've been eating out more often then necessary. Lately though I've been able to reign it in and cooking more at home and eating the leftovers.

    I have my Christmas money saved up - so to speak....it should cover gifts, supplies to make gifts, gas money for travel etc.

    I'm also trying to save up money for this upcoming wedding in Nov - I'm going with/taking my dad to my cousins wedding and then going to visit family nearby that didn't attend the wedding. With the recent events in his health this year - TIA stroke, blacking out and bumping his head, less & strained mobility, age quickly catching up to him after not doing anything for 20 yrs...its been a trying 2010. This may very well be his last 'big' trip on an airplane and that far. Need to do it while we still can and connect with lost family before its too late.

    Other then that, I just need to save....my EI ends in Jan for my birthday - what a fun gift eh? So....I'll need to make sure I have enough money for 'just in case' things regarding my dad and until I can find another source of income. I'm debating applying for the 'Caregiver's Allowance' benefit...I need to research that a bit more or else it's gonna be "Welcome to Tim Horton's, can I take your order?" which I have no problems with - its honest money.

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    Registered User MomToTwoBoys's Avatar
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    I'm not even sure where to begin.

    First, we spent a LOT of money to renovate the house. $6k to be exact.... but it was worth it.

    We have it listed right now and an open house is scheduled for tomorrow, so we're hoping we get lots of people coming by and hopefully some offers.

    This, of course, has caused us to be a lot tighter with money lately. I did overspend on Halloween, but I always do. Once Halloween is over, I focus on Christmas. DH will be commuting every two weeks from Edmonton to Calgary and back, which means about $65 in gas every other weekend (on top of what he'll spend on his way to and from work during the days). As such, I've decided to pay more bills out of my monthly pension and hopefully, this will help us until the house sells. I'm cancelling a lot of television channels this weekend and trimming down the grocery bill to make everything work.

    I haven't exactly been frugal as of late and I don't know when I can be again. I'm trying my best, though.

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    Registered User Wendy99's Avatar
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    We've just recently got back on the wagon, when my BEF got down to $300 or so and we were having troubles making the ends meet I got scared. We're up to $600 in the BEF now & have been going pretty tight lately trying to save. We need work on our car which worries me a bit - just worry cause where do we find the money. This week has been the tighest yet because we've had to put brakes on the car $70 and because we're already tight it makes to extremely tight!! Trying so hard to get to next pay day without using any of the emergency fund - will be a challenge, but will feel great if we can do it! With Christmas coming we're starting to figure things out and buy already to keep the costs and last minute panic down. Got a couple "new" things at thrift stores for gifts too cutting tons off what we will need to spend (sssshhhhhh). It's just been a really busy stressful week and having no money this week makes it worse - groceries, gas and prescriptions are the main concerns this week. Just another lesson as to why we should get rid of our debt, that extra $150 a month that goes to debt now would sure come in handy!!

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    Registered User mslolsalot's Avatar
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    I'm feeling a little frugal fatigue. I've been SOOO careful with the money these last few months and I'm probably being excessive. I have no debt right now and I'm saving about $1500 a month (or more). $1000 goes to RRSPs and the rest to TFSA. I was feeling insecure because my TFSA is with ING and it takes a few days to transfer in an emergency, so I put $1,000 into my PC financial savings account for backup.
    I was highly motivated to save when i was looking at buying a house, but now that I've decided that we should stay put, I'm thinking about a splurge. I do need the brakes done on my car and some winter tires (had snow already this week) and that will run me $1K for sure
    Christmas is handled for the boys. I ordered everything online and the CC is paid. I got a few free things from Airmiles and whatnot. This is our cheapest Christmas ever- I spent $250. Last year it was double that. I'm pretty confident the kids will still feel spoiled.
    Overall, I'm pretty happy with how things are going. I feel really blessed that we don't have to struggle, I just have to learn to find a balance between saving and spending.

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    I'm thrilled that I managed to exceed my savings goal for the year but during the last few months I've actually kinda fallen off the frugal bandwagon in a few ways. The frugal habits I "loosened up" on were pretty big ones; preparing all meals at home, tracking expenses, using meal plans/careful price comparisons for grocery shopping.

    I'm working on getting back on track but am a little worried about the upcoming holiday season.

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    Registered User monkeywrangler71's Avatar
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    I'm not sure I fit any definition of 'frugal' anymore. Our move home cost a fortune and it's been pretty unrestrained spending since we got here. I haven't tracked our spending since June, the computer isn't set up yet. The only thing that saved us from going in the red is the fact that we had no living expenses for 4 months while we stayed with my parents.

    Need to get back on the wagon, but I'm kind of enjoying it too much, I've never been this relaxed with money before.

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    Registered User mom2three's Avatar
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    Monkeywrangler,

    Wow-I didn't realize you moved!

    I'm afraid we are not being very frugal. Our overall debt is the same as in September and our consumer debt is slightly higher. I need to track spending, but I actually spend little outside of groceries. Hubby has been much freer in his spending, but is now realizing how much it adds up, so hopefully that will change. Time to make a change!

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    Registered User bookworm's Avatar
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    I'm still chugging along, determined to pay off the mortgage in Feb/2012. I've been paying a mortgage since 1982 and I want to be done!!!!!
    I've really gotten into couponing this year and found out about coupon stacking at London Drugs. This lets me get tons of stuff for free, a big budget booster.

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    MonkeyWrangler: how do you find the costs of living in NS compared to other places in Canada? Did you move from Ont.? Can't remember... I'm thinking not just housing, but things like groceries, gas, etc.

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    Registered User monkeywrangler71's Avatar
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    Much more expensive than Ontario, but we knew it would be. House prices were a little lower, but we upgraded from a semi detached to a single family home so we paid more. The difference is gas prices is actually a little less since they started regulating the price, but still higher here. Groceries are a lot more without the discount store competition, but everyone is selling milk way below the dairy board price - not sure how they are getting away with it but it certainly narrows the gap. Produce & meat is so much cheaper in Ontario, but at least we can get fresh fish again. General merchandise can seem more expensive sometimes because there aren't as many stores to choose from.

    Higher taxes of course, dh's paycheque dropped by over a hundred dollars with the extra deduction, and HST is back up to 15%. Property tax is lower though.

    So generally more expensive, but not quite as bad as we expected and some things (like gas and milk) are better than when we left.

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    Thanks. We've been thinking about retiring in the Maritimes. I suspected things might be a tad more expensive...

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    Registered User mom2three's Avatar
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    Peanut,

    Even within the Maritimes, it varies. When my parents come from Nova Scotia, they complain about prices here in PEI. After 2 1/2 years here, I've found that you just need to know where to buy food. A big difference between Ontario and here are heating and electricity costs. Electricity costs in PEI (now ~ $0.16/kWh) are quite high, oil is similar to NS. We do not have HST and property taxes are the same in our town as they were in London, ON.

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    My sister lives in PEI...and I have another one in N.B. Both complain about the high cost of heat and tell me, whatever we do, to buy a place with wood backup. My girls are in NS, but they are in apartments so really don't have much of an idea about the costs of running a house.

    I find that groceries are cheap different places depending on a person's diet too. One DD swears by Sobey's, the other by Superstore. In PEI my sister loves Superstore, but she grows most of her own food. In N.B. my other sister insists on shopping Co-op to support the farmers...not worried about being frugal in that family.

    As far as I can tell there are two approaches to clothing acquisition in the Maritimes: buy thrift/make your own, or buy quality so it lasts forever.

    I just don't know if I could suck it up and pay $500/mth. heating bills...

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