Friday, 31 January 2014

Shopping Trips and Preparing Taxes!

Hi Everyone,

I've been in such a lazy mood for the last few weeks with the winter reaching -30 C daily. I've done the bare minimum with couponing and price matching by just checking a couple of stores for their deals. I can't but help dreaming of hiding under my sheets until spring arrives or dreaming about a quick trip south to recharge and bask in the sunlight. I hope you guys are all surviving and thriving! And Happy Chinese/Vietnamese New Year!

Here's what I promised! My shopping goodies from Walmart after New Years!
- Kinder Eggs $2
- 3 X Christmas card boxes for $1.75 each
- Owl Gift Card Tin 60 cents
- 8 X Various Ribbons ranging from 25 cents to 75 cents
If you're a big ribbon user like me, I find it hard to find good ribbon for cheap
- 2 X Non-seasonally descript wrapping paper for 75 cents
One was a red kraft type paper and another a super glittery red paper. Best part was they weren't the dollar store kind and was actually a large long roll that is about 3 or 4 times more than what I regularly would get from Dollarama.

Two Weeks Ago
 - Turkey Pie $1
- Baby Carrots $1
- Bagel Bites $1
- Chunky Soup $1
- 4 X Blueberries $1 each
- Empire Apple Bag $1
- Country Harvest Bread $2
- Bananas 57 cents/lb
- Snap Peas $1.50
- No Name English Muffins $1
- Barlett Pears 97 cents/lb
- Field Cucumber $.97

Last Week
- Wonder Bread $1.97
- Dolfino Havati $2.97
Makes really good grilled cheese!
- Activia 12 pk $4.97 
Who knew you could buy all strawberry flavour! That is the best thing ever!
- 8 X Grapefruits 4/$1
- Old Mill English Muffins $1
- Potato 97 cent/lb
- Plantain 97 cents/lb

Sadly, it's that time of year again where the government gets their pound of flesh from everyone in the form of taxes! There is a good two months left to get your things organized and pay up what you owe without incurring penalties. I found the stress of doing this last minute isn't worth it and if you're getting them done by someone else you'll be waiting in a long line up at the mall.

A few years ago, I used to be terrified to go get my taxes done as my parents always took care of things for me. But, I knew it was time to grow up and figure this crappy life chore myself. So, after being hugely dinged in my wallet by H&R to do my taxes as a self-employed person, I vowed to never take this huge financial hit again for my ignorance. I signed up for the next available H&R Block tax course and sat through 7 hours of a double tax class on Sundays for months. I was so dedicated going to every class after having worked till about 3-4am the night before. I can't say I can do my taxes perfectly as I learned you can never know EVERYTHING about taxes but I'm glad to say I'm a lot more knowledgeable about it. I tried to make it my friend than make it my enemy. This one course helped me:

- Budget properly to account for taxes paid in April
- How I pay and keep receipts
- Organize my paperwork for taxes and remitting HST
- Force me to see what I spend
- Get me to submit all my receipts to get reimbursed from my benefits so I can claim the remaining amount I actually paid
- Keep me on top of my TFSA and RRSP contributions
- It actually saved me money! Knowing what I can deduct/claim and enrolling me in government programs like getting an HST Credit!

Taxes just seem scary because most people just don't understand them nor want to. Who can blame them, it's probably one of the most boring subjects on the planet! So, if you're like me and are self employed take baby steps and learn to understand how taxes work. If you're like most people I know and get a T4 from an employer, you can still benefit by learning to do your own taxes and saving the dough you'd pay for someone. Or figure out how you can make filing benefit you and your family.

Good Luck!

Eros and Pookie

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Shopping Trip to Shoppers and Huge Sears Clearance Sale!

Hi Guys,

I scored some amazing deals lately! I got some post Christmas stuff from Walmart, which I forgot to take a picture of. So, maybe I'll post those at a later time.

Last night, I hit up the local Shoppers Drug Mart for some great deals! Check them out! I love using the gift cards and getting double points!

 - 2 X Royal Tissue Paper $3.99 and for each I had a $2 off coupon from GoCoupons, $1 credit from Snap Saves and $1 off from CartSmart. Essentially, I got both these boxes for FREE!!! 
- 5 X BioLife Detergent $5.99 each. Unfortunately, we only use this brand and it's down a few dollars this week and we are low. I'm still holding my breath for the crazy sale they had more than a year ago when they were $3.88 or something compared to regular $8.99-$9.99.
- 3 X Classico pasta sauces $1.97 each
- 2 X Colgate $.88 each
- 2 X Aquafresh $.88 each

I don't know if you guys are living around a Sears that is liquidating but the one here at Eaton Centre is have a massive furniture and merchandise sale on practically everything. I just went this morning and found some amazing deals! Unfortunately, I live in a small space and can't buy any big stuff like tables and chairs. But, I'm definitely going to go back after work to see what else they've got that could be useful! 

Picnic Table for $75! Wow! I wanted to pick this up for my mom but I think someone would jack this from her house :(

See ya next time!

Eros and Pookie

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Happy New Year!

Hi Everyone,

I hope you all had a great ending to 2013 and a good running start for 2014! I feel strangely tired and refreshed all at the same time! I've been keeping weird hours but I loved seeing friends and family during the holidays. But now it's time to face reality and gear myself up to head back to the office.

In total, I made three turkeys over the holidays! Thank goodness I got them all on sale! Sadly, the pre-made stuffing wasn't on sale too. They cost almost as much as the turkey themselves! I received this great turkey rub recipe from my boss that I loved, so I recreated it again this year. The secret to moist turkey is to stuff butter under the skin near the breast and cook them breast side down for about 1/3 of the time. The hard part is flipping over a super hot and heavy bird in the middle of cooking. I like to cover with foil so the top skin won't get too burnt and just remove when it's almost time to eat.

My raw turkeys

The butter!

I don't believe in buying fruit platters from the supermarket and prefer to pick and chop up my own fruit for my party. Why spend $20 on a fruit platter when you can spend much less and a few minutes of your own time to get 10 times the fruit. I'm also big on presentation and making stuff look as appetizing as it can be. 

 I also made fresh gingerbread cookies. Here is the slowest moving ingredient I've ever worked with! It took about 10 mins to get about 1/2 cup and cost me about 80 cents.

I'm so happy to now have a hand mixer! It makes life so much easier!

Using my cookie cutters for the first time! Everyone loved the Hello Kitty designs.

Tasty even without icing!

I also made my famous Skor cookies a.k.a. "Crack Cookies" as some friends like to call them.
Whole wheat flour all the way! 

Too much food!

I hope everyone has as much fun and food as I did this holiday! And I can't wait to write up some more money saving deals and tips this new year!

Eros and Pookie