A Busy Last Week in October

Hi friends,

I've been busy since I last shared in this space.

The weather has turned cool and the sunshine went away. We are now getting liquid sunshine. Sadly I didn't have an opportunity to get to my much desired walk in the park.  I'm still hoping to go soon and will share any photos I'm able to take.

In the meantime the weather has me doing domestic things.

First up, I made some delicious Butternut Squash Soup. It included carrots and potatoes and was even better than I anticipated. I also just love the autumnal colour. If you haven't made this soup yet you can find some good recipes at allrecipes.com


I'm currently making two different afghans. One is in the photo below. The other one (not pictured) is done in two colours: berry and magenta. I ran into some issues being able to get enough yarn for the latter. I started making it with my stash and when I returned to Michael's to purchase more yarn I discovered this yarn is now out of stock. I managed to find a very close match in a different brand of yarn as I don't have time to go searching for the same yarn or to try and find it on line.


A week or so ago I ordered  100 flocked hangers in violet colour just to get away from boring black.


The above hangers replace the large garbage bag of plastic hangers which I've advertised for giveaway. If no one wants them I'll see if I can donate them to a thrift store or other.



The hangers arrived late last week and on Thursday night I finally managed to start changing out the hangers in my bedroom closet. I ran out of hangers and am expecting another 100 in a few days. That will be more than enough. 


I like the look of uniformity that the new hangers give. 
It is kind of hard to tell due to all the patterned clothing but they are organized by colour and type (not by season). 
I still have plastic hangers to change out which you can see to the left. I'm saving the very large and sturdy plastic hangers to use in the coat closet.

The following photos are from my archives.










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Fall Colour & Sunshine

I went to City Hall to try and vote in the advance poll for a new Mayor and city Councillors. The line up was so long and I had many other errands to run so I decided to wait until Saturday which is when the regular poll will be open.

City Hall (front)


Back (northern view) from City Hall. Downtown is in the distance.


We've been having fabulous Fall weather this past week or so and the fall foliage is still on the trees but just barely in some cases. These photos were taken on my walk to City Hall.








The next several photos were taken on the weekend. Look at the tree on the left side of the photo below. It's completely  missing half it's leaves.





The large building complex in the photo below is nearing completion. You might recognize the tower from many of my earlier posts. I've been watching it go up for what seems like years though I think the construction started in earnest  last October.


I've heard that the tower is ready for move in though I'm not sure when the move in date is. The condominiums were sold out several years ago.


There will be a grocery market on the ground level. (The tower peeking out in the back is the one I've featured numerous times in my blog posts).  This is a higher end market called Nester's. There is already a branch of this grocery market a short 10 minute bus ride away to the south but this store will make grocery shopping extremely convenient for the resident owners. In fact there there is another food store just behind the building across the street.


I spotted this cute puppy at the park. He really didn't want to walk and laid down on the grass to protest. Eventually he followed his master and they went ahead in the general direction that I travelled.


Time has been flying buy as always. I'm still not quite 100% healthy though I'm learning I always feel sub par during the Fall months. It is my favourite season but I always seem to be sick for much of it with low grade fever, headache and fatigue. At least I can still enjoy the seasonal colour and I still try to keep up with a schedule as bet I can.
 The weather is supposed to remain good for a few days.  If I have time I will take a walk around a lagoon in the park downtown soon.  We'll see how it goes. In the meantime, I'm making good progress on an afghan I've decided to make for a friend's Christmas gift.  She doesn't read this blog so she won't find out what I'm making.

I have plans Thursday for surprising my brother for his birthday. Not a party as such because he has his own plans but a little something to mark the occasion. On Friday I will go to dinner with a friend and a lady missionary to Taiwan. Saturday is voting day and somewhere in between I have errands and the walk I'd like to take.  I hope to share photos in this space later.

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Another Week Goes By

 Welcome everyone,

I hope you are all enjoying the month of October so far.

Another week has flown by. I didn't get out to take new photos because I'm still under the weather but these photos are relatively recent. 

The weather is still beautiful here after a few days rain.

The forecast is for sunshine for another week or so.
I'm hoping to get out and enjoy it






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Saving Pennies

Hi friends,

In my last post I wrote that I would be sharing about ways I've recently been saving money.  I need to save money because the cost of living has only increased year after year and I want to continue giving to missions in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia. Savings in my own needs helps me to continue giving.

I am not denying my own needs though I often put them off and try to save something first. This is good common sense which should be done in any event.


Television and Internet

I have been wanting a smart TV and so I finally took the plunge and bought one just over a week ago (Sony Android 55 inch). It was $200 off the original price.

 I'm just getting used to learning how to use it and have only watched a few You Tube videos on it. It will take some getting used to as I had my other TV for so long that using the controls became second nature to me. But my old TV while still working started showing signs of malfunction a few years ago already. I'm surprised it lasted so long and I think I will keep it as a bedroom television. So you might be wondering how this saves me money. It is only through shopping the sales.  I've already been looking for one for years and recently got the best price through online shopping at Costco. My American and Canadian readers will know that store. In addition to getting a sale I got some points toward a reward program I use.

It took 3 tries to get the right TV. The first time they sent the wrong model. The second time the TV had 2 scratches. The 3rd time it was the right model and it came scratch free. (A little funny story. Yesterday I was at my computer when a delivery man came to my door. He was delivering the 2nd TV back to me. Of course this was an error. For whatever reason someone put an X through the return label and left my name and address on the box. I sent it back).

I purchased through Costco on good advice. They don't put you through a hassle when it comes to returns. I was also advised by my family member to purchase a warranty because the TV is now a computer and I will require some technical support along the way.

The second way I saved money on TV and internet is by calling my local telecommunications provider. I've been wanting to do this for long and put it off for reasons that I won't get into right now for sake of brevity. I was very pleased to deal with two representatives who in the end gave me a very good package and shaved about $60 dollars off my monthly bill for a bundle of services: home telephone, TV and internet. It helped that I was willing to enter a 2 year contract. I don't like such contracts but I know from research that I cannot beat this pricing and I've been with this company for 25 years straight. I'm not likely to walk away from them in the next 2 years unless I give up watching TV altogether and I do consider it from time to time.  One time savings for the TV is $200.  The annual savings for the telecommunications package is $720.

Errors

When I was last paying my credit balances I discovered I had overpaid one company by a significant amount (almost $700).  I've only ever overpaid my utilities before which I do deliberately but in this case I must have accidentally hit the wrong "payee" button when online banking.  The refund just arrived (I had to ask for it) and  along with $200 I'm expecting from a portion of reimbursement for glasses and a refund from the tax man, my television costs and warranty costs are more than  covered.

I don't recommend over payments to credit card companies but I guess it is better than not paying one's bill. Also it was a pleasant surprise to have my cash ready there to be used when I made a decision about purchasing a big ticket  item.

Warranties 

In general I've learned over the years not to sign up for extended warranties. However in this day and age of appliances, televisions and so on being computerized I think it makes sense to sign up for warranties. This makes it cheaper in the long run if you have issues.

Earlier in 2018, I  purchased a washer and dryer with steam functions (among other things). You might remember I had an issue within a few weeks of purchase when the steam mechanism was dripping water after one use.  The original warranty was still in effect so someone came out to investigate, order a new part and returned to replace it. The fact that I could get two visits by the repairman, a part ordered and replaced, made me feel extra confident about having the additional years of warranty which I purchased. Now if anything else should go wrong I will be covered.

Same thing for the new Smart TV. I feel secure knowing that if I should have a problem someone will help me at no additional cost.


Reading 

As of now I've read 50 books this year and I'm still reading with no target goal in mind. I borrow the books from the library though from time to time I do purchase books. I can't help myself but these days I do very much limit myself because I want to off load stuff not collect more stuff.

Just think if I purchased 50 books at $10 each that would be $500. Most books cost more than $10. They are more like $20 each so that is a possible spending (and saving) of $1000 Canadian dollars. Some years I only read 35 books or so and that is still a savings of anywhere from $350 to $700 Canadian dollars. I've never really calculated the savings involved in my reading but it is interesting to do so and see that it all adds up. Approximate savings is $1000. since I am still reading books for another 3 months.

Yarn & Christmas Gifts

I've already been thinking about Christmas gifts. Some of my long term readers know that I am not real big on giving gifts or expensive gifts to all and Sundry but I like to surprise family and friends from time to time with what I think will appeal to them.

The afghans I made and wrote about here have been well received and so I decided I am going to make one for another friend who turns 70 this coming year. I know she often falls asleep on her sofa and I thought it will be nice to have a cosy blanket to cover up with when she is relaxing. I just asked her the other day about the colours in her living room.


I purchased some of the yarn I need before I spoke with her and it turns out I purchased the right colours (the one at the top of the pile in the above photo). How cool is that?

The yarn was on sale for a few dollars off. I went armed to Michael's with my 40% off coupon but couldn't use it because the yarn was already reduced. So if I did the math right I saved not quite 20% which is still a good savings. I should be able to save 40% off the next two balls of yarn as I'll only buy them one at a time so I don't have extra yarn cluttering up the room. (I went back on Tuesday and the manager gave me 40 % off the 2nd ball of yarn I need even though I think the item was still on a discounted price).

I've also ordered several items and have several other (online) discounted on my 'to order' list for Christmas gift. These are all lovely items such as mugs (like the ones below), book marks and trinket holders.


I still have to think about those things I will want to give to my family members who are always a bit more challenging to buy for. Since I drafted this post I found an awesome 1000 piece puzzle for only $3.99.  I think this must be old stock at a local supermarket and I have no idea what the regular price was. My niece loves puzzles so now I've got a start on her Christmas gift. Total savings approximately $10 to date (more savings expected before year end).

Clothing

I'm signed up on several sites so I get notices when there are sales events. I purchased some lighter winter jackets, as well as a few clothing items (blouse, pants and nightgown). These were all 40% off and this time I got smart and purchased 2 of everything in different sizes. This way I can try on and return what doesn't work and not wonder whether another size might do the trick. It costs more for the initial outlay but the shipping and returns are free. Also when you return the items of course you get your money back. I've done some other shopping this year at 40% off but am only counting this one purchase. Total savings approximately $95.00 once 

Food

Food shopping is always done based on flyer sales. But a few months ago I wrote here about menu planning and batch cooking. Since I've started doing that I no longer purchase so much food. I do not batch cook each and every week but what I have done really helps to keep the costs lower, keeps me thinking about using what is on hand and so far I would say my food costs and frivolous spending on food and snack items has been reduced by almost 50% or in real dollars by about $250 Canadian give or take $50. I think that is pretty substantial. I am still buying almond and coconut milks for cereal, meat and fowl and lots of fruits and veggies. Total savings approximately $250 monthly x 12 is $3000.

Toiletries

I've been using Dr. Bronner's liquid soap for some time now. I look for it on sale and I've also tried using the substitutes sold at my local environmentally friendly stores.  I found them a little too watery in consistency so have been looking for alternatives that are easy to find in my neighbourhood. Recently I tried the brand called 3-in-1  liquid soap (shampoo, body wash and face wash). I like it because it has a nice gel like consistency. Recently I found the soap for a very good sale price and purchased 2 large ones.  This will last me for a very long time because I still have just over half left in the original jug I purchased. I don't use it sparingly. I want to feel clean when I bathe and I like lather. Anyway this savings was about  $3. for each jug. I also found Tom's toothpaste for a few dollars off the tube. Instead of $6.99 or $5.99 I paid $4.99.  Finally, I purchased 3 different Garnier and Biore products, all at $4.-$7. off each, and one came with an additional $5. off coupon.  All these savings do add up because next to food drugstore products are one of my big ticket items. I've done a lot of this kind of shopping over the year but am only counting these purchases. Total one time saving is approximately $27.00.

Grooming

I only go to the hairdresser about 3-4 times a year at most and do my own hair in between. Some years I've only gone to the hair dresser once. My hairdresser charges about half the price of most hairdressers for root touch up, highlights and cut and dry.  Even so my hairdressers prices have gone up $10 - $20 for each visit and I feel a bit choked about it even though I know the cost of living has gone up for everyone. I started going to her because she was the only one who would apply henna that I premixed and she did it very reasonably along with wash and blow dry.  I saved $110 on my recent hair service. I'll count this savings once.

A new beauty salon opened up near by and I was able to get a main-pedi for half price. The cost was $39. and so my one time savings was $39. The promotion is now over but I was  pleased with the service. I haven't had any mani-pedi for long because the last place I went to I wasn't happy with the results and my fingernails were damaged. It took several months for me to want to try again. Normally I do mani-pedi over the summer but  this year I did none over the summer. I'll probably get one or two over the winter months.





Points

I've never been one to pay for a credit card just to collect points but last year I decided to try it and I liked what I was accumulating so I paid again this year. Not all my purchases are being done on this major credit card because sometimes I prefer to pay cash or use another card.  Also not every retailer accepts all credit cards, especially Amex due to their high service fees. Despite not being able to use Amex at many places I'm pleased to report that I've still collected enough points or cash back to fund a return air ticket to somewhere of my choosing. Now I must do some research and planning about the trip.

I also accumulate savings and rewards all year long by purchasing items at a local drug store. I mainly purchase sale items but I don't keep track of annual savings for discounted items. I also accumulate anywhere from $400-$500 cash back over the course of a year. I use this money to purchase items I need at the same drug store. Truthfully I've slowed down my shopping a lot at this drug store as there is only so much you can buy at a drug store.

Conclusion

These examples of savings are how I try to save money on an ongoing basis. Some of these I've been doing for years and other things are newer to me like the points Amex card. I am not an extremely frugal person or there are numerous ways I could save even more money. 

Altogether I calculate my savings at approximately $5201 in this current year (savings by purchasing items on sale and savings from not purchasing items at all).

If I count the washer-dryer I purchased a few months ago, that is an additional $300 savings.

I also have a cash back reward of approximately $1600 which I haven't used yet (and a few smaller cash back rewards which I am not counting here because the amounts are very small).

Overall  savings  $7101 (seven thousand one hundred and one dollars) Canadian. I am pleased with these results. I am all about maximizing my purchasing power and I make some smaller efforts at gaining cash back. I suppose if I move to using one credit card it would be easier to maximize cash back rewards. In order to really take advantage of this I would have to switch credit cards and I may do in future.  In future I may also think about being more extreme with my savings through non spending or reduced spending.

I'd love to hear about how you go about savings money on a day to day basis. Feel free to let me know in the comments section.
Have an awesome day! 


Tuesday News

Hi friends,

I hope you are all doing well. I've been a bit under the weather so I have slowed down since the weekend.

I managed to get together with a friend I seldom see. She invited me last minute for coffee and snacks and we were able to work it out. I always enjoy visiting with her. Other than that I've been catching up with various people in Kenya regarding matters that crop up during the missions outreach I do there. That always takes a fair bit of my time and is difficult because of the time and distance differences. I may have a more full some update later on the missions. I know some of you have been waiting.

Since I posted my lovely sunny photos last Friday, the weather has returned to rain. Not endless rain so it is okay but gloomy looking overhead. I am not complaining because my neighbours in the province of Alberta have had lots of snow. I prefer the rain to snow.


 No complaining when I see views like these.



 




Other than enjoying the beautiful scenes at the beach I've been on a personal mission to save a few pennies here and there.  My next post will be about saving money.

I send a lot of funds overseas to help people in desperate situations because I know we are blessed here in North America where even the poorest people have access to food banks, food kitchens, shelters and so on.  I send to people mostly in Kenya not through any organization but directly to people I've met along the way.  I also sponsor some children in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. I also like to try and send a bit extra at this time of year for the families of the sponsored boys so they can have something extra for Christmas.

In Kenya they like to have a meal of chicken (sometimes goat if the budget allows) and also a new change of clothing at Christmas.  This is in the villages where historically the people would not have so much access to new clothing due to the cost or to things we take for granted here at Christmas or any other time. There the focus is on eking out a day to day existence and trying to ensure the children get an education. Just these two things are beyond the ability of many families. If you are a subsistence farmer there is very little to meet all the needs and some are not so fortunate as to have a farm of their own.

If you would like to sponsor some very needy children I recommend signing up with Compassion International. I sponsor through the Canadian office and have found the staff to be excellent and responsive to all my questions including following up on an issue here and there about local conditions in Kenya.  I get letters from my sponsored children several times a year and I know they are all growing and developing well. Compassion tries to deal with the whole child and not just give them food or a bible. You can learn more about their approach here.

I also sponsor through a new to me  group called Food for the Hungry. I learned about them last year when the wonderful gospel singer, Don Moen was here and he encouraged his audience to sponsor a child that night. The response was very overwhelming and I know this organization also does great work. Both Compassion and Food for the Hungry take great care with the funds they receive and manage to keep the administration costs down to a very reasonable level. This means your donated dollars are actually getting to the child and to the communities.

This week and last week I took a bit of time to write my sponsored children some letters and also some cards for Christmas as well as figure out what to send to their families. In case you are interested, Food for the Hungry doesn't allow gifts to the children other than what you can send via the mail. Compassion allows a gift annually to the child for general needs and birthday and a gift annually to the family.The photos below show my boys from Kenya and Ethiopia. I don't have a digital photo of my boy in Uganda and my scanner doesn't seem to work anymore.

Ian

John

Wondimu


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