Monday, April 30, 2012

Clothes Shopping on a Budget

Five or 10 years ago to me Value Village was relegated to Halloween Costume shopping.  Flash forward to today and it's my go-to spot to buy used books/magazines, furniture to customize (I'm currently on the hunt for a sturdy wood surfaced coffee table with storage), flower vases, and recently I've hunted for specific pieces of clothing.

I'm down a size (XL to L) since starting to track my food choices/exercise through Lose It and using #pfworkout and wanted some new clothes which I will hopefully be replacing in another 2 months or so when I transition to Medium sizes (in shirts at least).

Last week I ventured out to Value Village on the BOGO Free event and snagged three shirts and one pair of workout pants:

All for only $17.97!!!

With prices like these, I will definitely be able to get through the year on a clothing budget of $600.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Professional Development - 2012

In addition to making use of my benefits plan this year, I'm also giving myself a "raise" by taking part in as many professional development opportunities as I can.

Between Kindergarten and O.A.C. (Grade 13 in Ontario) I was enrolled in French Immersion.  I learned how to read in French before English, learned subjects like Math and History in French, and had no problem writing and speaking to Francophones.  Now, I speak French slowly, and often pull out my French/English dictionary for words I used to be able to remember. 

A couple of months ago I spoke to my boss about the possibility of taking French classes to improve my skills at work.  He was supportive and said to let him know how much courses/books/parking would cost and we'd make room in the budget for them.

So, as of next week I'll be taking French classes at Algonquin College!!  I'll take another class in the Fall (I'd end up missing 4-6 classes in the summer because of my trip to Europe, so it wasn't worth it. 

I can add another $1,000 (approximately) to my "raise" this year!

Does your employer offer Professional Development opportunities?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Summer Food Savings?

I'm always looking for ways to save.  Calling Rogers to reduce my services, making sure I'm getting all relevant discounts on car/home insurance, and pre-planning all meals to avoid purchasing more groceries than I need.

This summer I'm going to try to grow my own veggies.  I have a small-ish balcony (about 9' x 6'), but enough room to have a nice little veggie setup.  I've never tried to grow anything on my own, so next weekend I'll be visiting a couple of Ottawa nurseries to get some advice on what I need to purchase - I've set myself a $60 budget to start (rebate cheque coming next month from Great Canadian Rebates).

Here's what I've bought so far:

Dollarama sells 3 packages of seeds for $1.00!!!

As practice, I bought packages of basil and coriander about a month ago and so far so good.  I'm not sure at what point if I should move the plants to a larger pot, but I'll hopefully get some tips after the nursery visit.

Come mid-summer this is what I'm hoping my vegetable pots will look like!


Do you have any tips for me?  Any experience growing veggies on a balcony?