Being a Mom on Tessa- Marie’s Plan

I am the $27.00 bra girl sharing some money saving tips on the first year of being a mom

After one year of Mommyhood, Tessa-Marie asked me to write my top tips for year 1 of this new adventure I am on!

While the path through pregnancy and parenthood varies greatly, the focus is always the same; we want the best for our babies.

Here’s what I have learned:

Say Yes! Say yes to baby equipment that is being offered to you, either on loan or for keeps. I have a Mom-Friend who had two babies before me and so generously offered me an arsenal of gear; baby bath, swing, chair, jolly jumper, play mat and playpen.  Retail value of my gear was over $1100.  My daughter enjoyed only the playmat and the bath.  Not all babies like the same types of movement or positions and you won’t know until your baby arrives. As much as I wanted that cute ‘baby sleeping in a cute swing’ picture, every time I tried it and she cried.  I was grateful I didn’t spend $200 on it.

Diapers: While I was pregnant, I searched the Internet for cheap but reliable cloth diapers, because I considered the one time investment compared to disposables and it seemed to make sense.  I bought a week’s worth of cloth diapers on a Black Friday sale while I was pregnant. Once my baby arrived, and the reality of new Mommy life set in, the last thing I wanted to do was to stuff liners in cloth diapers.  I discovered store brand disposables.  They retail for half the cost of brand name diapers, and work (for my active baby) just as well.  They rarely go on sale, but their regular cost is significantly cheaper than the sale cost of big brands.

Freebies: Many are shocked when they hear exactly how many free products I received from baby companies. A quick Google search of ‘free baby samples’ will cast you into a pool so deep you could be requesting samples for days! Diapers, formula, coupons, wipes, creams, lotions all arrived in the mail just before my due date.  Receiving mystery packages filled with baby supplies was a great perk at the end of a long pregnancy.  Some products I didn’t end up using, so it’s important to me to pass this point on; local food banks will gladly accept all un-opened baby samples.

Solid Food: This tip is what made Tessa-Marie realize I was well on my way to a ‘Planned Spending Mommy hood’. I did make most of my daughter’s food from whatever fruit and veggies I had on hand, but found it much easy to have pre-prepared food while I was out and about.  In the baby food aisle, below the fancy cute squeeze pouches, is the same food in jars.  The jars are not as cute BUT they are half the price for the same amount of food!

Clothing: I love baby clothes: the matching outfits, the little shoes! I did not know what gender my baby was until she arrived, but I wanted to be prepared.  I set a challenge for my self while pregnant: a $3 limit. Any piece of gender-neutral clothing that I loved, I bought. (Important: you have to love it! There are always amazing deals but if you don’t LOVE it, it’s a waste). Now, $3 makes me sound crazy, but the amount of pieces I picked up during those months was incredible! I kept the tags on everything, so anything my daughter didn’t wear went straight into a box to use as gifts for other babies.

Enjoying my tiny baby was my priority, having to not worry about dollars at the same time because my plan was in place made it all a bit sweeter.

Thanks Kathleen for sharing.

I hope new mothers will benefit from your experience.

If you need any help, please contact me at: tessamarieshillingford46@gmail.com

 

SOWINNG FINANCIAL SEEDS

 

Sowinng Financial Seeds

I would like to dig a little deeper into my last blog SETTING UP THOSE SPECIAL SAVINGS ACCOUNTS. There was a flood of questions about setting up multiple saving accounts.

In gardening a seed represents growth, development, and strength. If you don’t tend to that seed and give it attention which it needs, the seed won’t grow. It doesn’t matter how small the seed is, only that you tend to it, water it and encourage it to grow.

When I was setting up my multiple savings accounts, I was planting many tiny seeds and I knew that I needed to invest in them in order to see them grow.

In this blog I will address 2 of the top questions from my previous blog.

  1. Why would I only save between $3.75 & $11.75?
  2. What can that small amount of saving do for me?

In order for me to answer those questions, I have to first give you a background on those five savings accounts.

When I opened those accounts in 1970, we had very little money to spare and our income in those days was not bountiful by any stretch of the imagination. Cost of living was also significantly less expensive than it is now.

After paying our bills, all we had left to save was $18.75 bi-weekly. I had to divide that into the five categories, which I convinced my husband was perfect for our future financial needs. Now my husband was not in favour of five accounts, he too thought that only saving $18.75 was meager and useless. He had no idea how to tame me, so he shrugged his shoulders and left me to my own financial devise.

And so I tended to my financial garden.

Here’s how the funds were divided:

  1. Buying a home   = $3.75
  2. Vacation               = $3.75
  3. Emergency           = $3.75
  4. Starting a family = $3.75
  5. Buying a Car       = $3.75

Total                                         $18.75

The next step was making sure that each raise we received was placed into those accounts. Seven years & several raises and job changes later, we were eventually able to save $82.00 bi-weekly.

At that time, our home buying account had $7,000.00 in it. We purchased our home with $5,000.00 down, paid our legal fees and shopped for used appliances on Queen Street with the rest. We bought a stove with a solid white door but no glass, a fridge, and a washing machine but no dryer. We hung our clothes out to dry in the basement. We bought nails and twine at Honest Ed’s, and used a brick as our hammer to set up our dryer line.

Honest Ed’s was our shop of choice – we were there every two weeks. We also frequently shopped at Knob Hill Farms, Bargain Harold’s and Bi-Way because back then they had the best deals. We kept saving and being cautious with our money.

All that I have financially today comes from that $3.75. Without it I could not be here in my present financial situation.

My small bi-weekly savings didn’t seem like much, but I was sowinng my financial seeds. My small savings were lettuce seeds.

As an avid gardener I can tell you lettuce seeds are tiny, but from that miniscule seed grows this huge head of lettuce.

I’m reaping what I sowed and I am helping thousands of people start their successful financial journey.

We’re all inherently gardeners in some form or another, but ask yourself, are you sowing your financial seeds?

Give it a try: make note of where you are today, date the page in your notebook and write the exact amount of savings you have today. The next step is setting up automatic transfers into a savings account. Calculate whatever amount you’re able to put away bi-weekly for one year. At the end of the year, compare your savings to what you had at the start. I can guarantee a big a-ha moment and a huge smile on your face.

To answer your question “what can a small amount of saving do for me? It can eventually give you financial freedom. Such a simple concept, with monumental results.

Let me know if you are going to take on the challenge. I will be here for you every step of the way.

Send me an email if you want to talk further about growing your financial lettuce.

tessamarieshillingford46@gmail.com

Thanks

Tessa-Marie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Cost of Living Increases for 2017

Here they are folks; hold on to your money.

2017 comes roaring in with a vast amount of increases. These increases are in every area of our life, and each and everyone will hit us in the wallets, where it hurts the most.

I am here to help you navigate through 2017 with positive financial results.

In order to get where you plan to be financially throughout 2017 you have to follow a plan. Just like going on a trip. You need a navigator. Especially since you are getting into unchartered waters.

I will remind you of what the major increases coming your way this year, and I am here to help you navigate through them. I am your financial GPS.

First let’s look at the list of items going up.

  1. The cost of fueling up or vehicles.
  2. The cost of electricity.
  3. The cost of heating our homes.
  4. The cost of feeding our families.
  5. The cost of public transportation.

Well the big five. What can we do to help us come out on the positive side of these life-changing situations? I will discuss each item with tips to help you move forward in a confident manner.

The cost of fueling up or vehicles

  • Make sure the tires on the vehicles are properly inflated according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • Keep up all service recommended by your mechanic.
  • Change your oil and filters when needed.
  • Avoid driving when walking is within normal limits.

The cost of electricity

  • Look for sales on energy saving light bulbs and take advantage of opportunities to replace your bulbs with low energy ones.
  • Turn off the lights and TV when not in the room.
  • Cook meals for at least two days when using electricity before 7pm or after 7am.
  • Do laundry on weekends or after 7pm in the evenings.

The cost of heating our homes 

  • Lower the thermostat by 2 points, by 3 points when no one is home.
  • Wear warmer clothing when at home. Like track suits and socks.
  • Make sure you are not losing heat through windows and doors left open for long periods at a time.
  • Replace your furnace filters regularly.
  • Lower the heating cycle on your hot water heater.

The cost of feeding our families

  • Check the pantry I mean all your pantries. Like the places you put the extra toilet paper, pasta, rice and flour.
  • Open the kitchen cupboard; make a list of the items in your cupboard.
  • The fridge, checks it out, what do you have in there. Can it be used?
  • The freezer; how much meat is in there? Chicken, Pork, Beef and Seafood.
  • Make a list of the items on hand.
  • Use them before purchasing anything new.
  • Watch your vegetable purchases. Do you like kale; because someone said it’s good for you is not a good enough reason to buy it. You must eat it.
  • Only purchase items you will consume.

Public transportation 

What can we do about it? If you have to use it you must pay. Make sure you are using it to your advantage.

  • Do your math, is it better to purchase a monthly pass?
  • Is it better financial sense to purchase a weekly pass, if you do not use public transportation on weekends? Work the cost out and choose the one that suits your needs.

These are a few tips to help you navigate through 2017. I trust that you find them helpful, or at the very least trigger you to make some changes to keep more of your income.

Tessa-Marie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goodbye 2016 Hello Plan 2017

Goodbye 2016 Hello Plan 2017

It’s best to set a plan instead of a goal. You can control a plan, but you are always chasing goals trying to catch up with them. Your plans walk with you all the way.

Yes it’s the end of 2016. Are you one of the people who are saying, “I have no idea where the year went?”   Guess what, it went. Never to return. All the plans and hopes you had and all the things you wanted to accomplish left with 2016.   How many things you planned for 2016 that became a reality?

It’s time to create a plan for 2017. I am not talking about a New Years resolution. Remember it is a New Year for one day. With this in mind the resolutions you created that you kept for the first 24 hours of the New Year, is mission accomplished. The 2nd of January is not called the New Year it is January 2nd. The New Year left 24 hours ago.

Now let’s look at the plans you might consider making throughout 2017. You will have to take some time to work on those plans. During that time, you should not spend time looking at how you let those plans slip through your fingers in the lost plan section of 2016. Do not go there, nothing to gain looking back.

If New Years resolutions have not worked for you in the past make a short list. Three items should be tops, making a list with five items is stretching yourself. Setting you up for failure.   Check your record of success in the past before making a long list. How have you done? Remember your previous behavior is indicative of your future behavior. Take this into consideration when making your list.

The best way to target your plans for 2017 is to make a short list of the things that really matter to you. Vague or plans with no thought will treat you the same they will not materialize.   Plans that will work for you must be specific, describe it in as much detail as you can. Measure your progress towards the plan?   What have you done or what are you presently doing to ensure this plan becomes a reality. Is it a pipe dream or is it something you can attain with the resources at your disposal. Have you chosen a plan that is realistic?  Can you attain at this time of your life? Most important of all, when do you want to attain this plan. Give it a date in 2017 a real date, like August 20th 2017.

Now you have your list, place it somewhere where you will read it everyday. You noticed, I said read it everyday, not see it everyday. Reading and seeing are two completely different activities.   You should pause and read your list. Then ask yourself what did you do yesterday toward reaching this plan. What can you do today toward this plan? Ask that question everyday and note your progress and success.

If you follow the above plan you will have a very successful 2017.

It’s no point crying over spilled milk. The best and only choice is to look at the spilled milk, skip over it and walk in 2017. Do not look back.

Tessa-Marie

What I did on October 27th 2016

It was a cold rainy and windy fall day in Toronto. Not the type of weather to be out and about.

After the normal things that a retiree does, leisurely enjoying a coffee, reading the paper and just taking in the sunrise, I decided to tackle my cluttered washroom cupboards.

The very thought of doing it was intimidating and I wondered how far I would get before giving it up all together and finding something more exciting to do.

Then I remembered in one of my blogs, I asked all of you to do some de-cluttering. Well I suddenly felt like the parent who had told their children to clean their room but I hadn`t cleaned my own.

First thing first, I began by gathering all the things I needed. Large garbage bags, gloves, wet rags, some vinegar and dry rags. Now I was ready to tackle the clutter.

I began at the top of the cupboard, it was very dusty but not much clutter. Note to self I thought, I should dust this more often. Then the lazy voice in my head said to me; Why would I dust there when it`s not bothering me and no one can see it. I shrugged off the voice.

I did not realize that this type of dialogue with my internal self would continue throughout the process.

The first cupboard has two large shelves that were filled with over the counter medicine that supposedly fixes whatever is not going well. There was the Vicks vapor rub, cold syrup and then of course Tiger balm. I have no idea what to do with Tiger balm. I had it in the cupboard so I must have bought it for some reason. Maybe it was on Dr. Oz. This is when that voice started again, listen it said, you might need it for something you never know. No, I said go away! and into the garbage bag went the Tiger balm, miscellaneous tablets including headache tablets. I never get headaches. Whenever I say that to my siblings they tell me it’s because I swear so much. My friend Corrine Chapin will never pick me up any more headache medicine after hearing this.

The clutter on the following six shelves in that cupboard was all my doing. The lotion and potions in those cupboards was worth thousands and I mean thousands of dollars. I found a cream intended to be used just for the right side of your face, if you sleep on your right side to prevent wrinkles. I sleep on my back. What was I thinking with that purchase? The cellulite cream was the funniest. Why did I think it would work? The sales lady told me cellulite would disappear from my thighs. I forgot to ask her where it would go. I guess it did not matter because it is still there, it did not disappear and I could not see the difference so I stop using the cream. More money down the beauty drain.

Purple or any hew of purple eye shadow calls to me. Its like a magnet, but I am allergic to any shade in the purple family. Knowing this, why do I have so many of them? I am sure some sales lady told me it would accentuate my dark brown eyes. Really? All it did was puff up my eyes and break blood vessels. So I heard the voice said, maybe you are using too much? You know the voice said less is more. I ignore the voice and threw them all out.

The nail polish was another story. I mean, a whole other story. There was so many brands and bottles I thought I was at Sephora. Thousands of dollars down the beauty drain. The nail enhancer, the nail grower, the nail strengthener, the nail dryer, the fast drying nail polish, the decals and the nail extender. The voice said, well now that you are retired you have the time to use these products, so you better keep them. No I said and out they went.

Feet and toes section of the cupboard. Do you know I had purchased nail polish just for my toes? I must have bought this in New York. When in doubt blame the Americans. It had hardened in the bottle so I could not use it. The ever-faithful voice suggested I soften it in the microwave. No I said and dumped it. Then there were all those knives and tools to take away half my feet and make them soft and smooth. Since I had not been trained professionally on how to use them, I swear on my first attempt I would have end up in the emergency room. The voice, came through again, saying I would save money by doing my feet myself. No I said, I tried it once, my back hurt and I cut my feet. It does not work for me so in the bag they went.

Since de-cluttering was going so well I decided to take on the shower area. It was much easier. I threw away all sorts of shower gels and shower scrubs. Some scrubs hurt and after one use I never touched them again. I do not like the feeling of sand on my body unless I am at the beach. The voice stayed very quiet while working on the shower stuff, I wonder why?   Maybe it was the swear words I used when I remembered the feeling trying to rinse off some of these scrubs off my body. I guess the voice did not like that feeling either.

I completed the task. Congratulated myself on a job well done. Then the voice said what about me I helped? You did not I replied, if I had listen to you the cupboard would be the same and nothing would have gotten thrown out!

This is not my usual style of blog post but I hope you enjoyed it and perhaps you might be motivated to attack the bathroom cupboards on a wet, cold, or gloomy day.

Tessa-Marie