Works for Me : Envelopes

Well our Work for Me Wednesday has a new home, hope our hostess has a big welcome mat!

What has been working well for me lately is using Envelopes, for budgeting purposes. Huh? How do I use them? Well I use a zero approach to budgeting. Every dollar has a spot where it is supposed to go. Now I am down to 2 ATM withdraws a month. When I take the cash out of the bank I have envies labelled and ready for the cash.

My envies are this for me

  • babysitting
  • groceries
  • taxis
  • fun
  • lunch/snacks

every other bill rent, cable, Internet and phone are paid via bank transfer, or check. When I take money out the bank it belongs to a certain envie, when the contents of that envie is gone well there is no spending till new money gets put in the envie at the next ATM withdrawal. Dave Ramsey first came up and taught the system and well for me it simply does work.  It is a great way to reign in spending and dont carry credit or debit cards out the door, just the cash.

Now I am off to read what is working for everyone else this week at our new home here.

Who Knew?

This common sense mom is really hating the news lately. It is all about layoffs, the financial crisis, how to survive stories. It is driving me crazy! Just a year ago these some reports would be showing us how to spend more money, find the best vacations, etc. They definitely were not preparing us for the road ahead. But really who knew? History did! You see history has a way of repeating itself until we wake up and really learn from it. Our grandparents knew how to save and still have fun. Our grandparents knew to go without UNTIL you could afford it, they were not the credit card generation.

What are some of the lessons I learned from my grandparents that are helping me today.

  • Not wasting food…My one grandma always had leftover night once a week, something I am doing now too.
  • The change jar-both my grandma and mom had change jars, lose change got tossed in, this money was rolled but once a year and was used for a WANT, something fun.
  • Doing without until you can afford it.None of my grandparents owned a credit card. They simply paid cash. The only credit card I have is a debit mastercard that way the money comes straight out of the bank and NO interest fees.
  • Buying quality if even second hand..My one grandmother would take me to a consignment shop, it was through shopping here I learned how to spot a good find. Maybe that is why I love Value Village and the like today. Quality does last and it really doesn’t seem to go out of style.
  • Keep a wide network of friends and family and stay in touch. I don’t think my grandparents ever really hunted for jobs they knew people who knew people with jobs that needed filling. My one grandfather even went into business for himself in the 50’s as well as keeping his job. He bought fixer uppers or land north of Toronto and sold it piece buy piece. I was around to see the last piece sold when I was in university. His house was open, and inviting and he hand friends from every walk of life .

These are a few of the lessons this mom learned along the way from people who did live the depression and knew hard times. They were ingrained into me. I think if we look back instead of  looking all around us we might find some of the answers we need to meet the needs of these times. After all who knew? Our grandparents did, and they survived it and thrived.

Menu Monday: Cheap, Easy, Frugal



Well it definitely was a busy week last week but I did get my menu planning done. How do I approach my menu planning? First it has to be fast and fairly easy. I now get home at 6 pm and want to be able to put dinner on the table within 45 minutes. I also want it to be inexpensive and healthy. If you look over at my goals you can see that 2 of my goals losing weight and saving money make me a very aware shopper. This week some really good buys I took advantage of included buying wholewheat pasta for less then $1 a box, 10 boneless chicken breast for less then $10, pancake mix for $1.99, 2 family size boxes of cereal for $7, and tomato sauce for less then $1 a can. For me I have to flyer shop and combine that will coupons.

So what is on the Menu this week.

On Monday we are having  Easy Chicken Cacciatore and salad..It is storming here so it will be a nice fast dinner after a yucky day.

On Tuesday it is National Pancake Day so of course we will be having Pancakes!

On Wednesday I will be using my slow cooker and make Chicken Chili .

On Thursday it will be fast and easy as well Chicken Nuggets, Fries, and corn.

On Friday it is Taco time.

On Saturday we will clean out the fridge of leftovers.

On Sunday my mom and her friend are coming for dinner so I’m making Mushroom Pot Roast, red potatoes, and carrots.

Now I off to Organizing Junkie to see what is on the menu for others.

A Late Freebie Plus Weekend Escapades

It has continued to be certainly busy here so I am really enjoying my current 4 days off! I am excited that I have had this time to recharge and I have been also using it to do some early spring cleaning.

I didnt post a freebie on Friday so will post it now. I love to scrapbook and love experimenting with different fonts. Now I can even make my own handwriting as a font and so can you. Your font is a wonderful site that lets you turn your handwriting flair into a font. You do need a scanner and a printer. SO have some fun and turn your handwriting or maybe your child’s into a font.

Now for our weekend escapades. Roo and I went on a wee shopping spree yesterday.Roo saved her allowance for 3 months and well here is what she got.



  • leggings
  • hat
  • converse style sneakers
  • 2 skirts
  • 2 tops
  • 7 headbands
  • and a Henna Tatoo kit

Guess how much she spent?  $ 50.00 ! She had so much fun hitting Ardene and Bluenotes, as well we looked at books at Coles.  After we got home we watched Baby Mama on tv..

Today we did Henna Tattooing and are getting ready to watch the Oscars. Who am I cheering for?

Best Picture should be won by Slumdog Millionaire ( it’s now my favorite movie).

Kate Winslet should get Best Actress and Sean Penn should get Best Actor. They were good in both their roles, and yes I have seen the all the movies this year. So tonight it is all about Oscar! We are munching on nachos and watching the show.

What Works for Me- Accountability

Last night I blogged about how very busy life has been managing being a working single mom of one very special young lady who is going through a really rough time. One of the things that has helped me deal with all of this is accountability. I have taken on some very serious goals for us as a family and for me personally. Right now the goals are:

1. Prepare to move back to Ontario August 1st

2. Weigh no more then 220 on August 1st

3. Save $3,000 by August 1st

4. Lose my Diet Coke habit

5. Have regular devotion time with Roo, concentrate on her self esteem and how we are seen before God.

6. Help Roo deal with the bullying that is a constant at school.

I have put these goals out there! They are public! For me accountability and having regular people I check in with about how I am doing help me to stay on track. Last year I was able to achieve most of my goals because I kept myself accountable. How do you keep yourself accountable?

For me having good friends who challenge me as well as writing out my goals does the job.

Now I am off to my friends at Rocks in My Dryer to see what is working for everyone else this rocks in my dryer


Winner and What Has Been Up

Well I haven’t blogged in more then forever and there has been a good reason for it. My 11 year old daughter has needed plenty of mom time lately. She has been having an extremely hard year. My daughter is the new weird kid in class according to her, and this has led to lots and lots of bullying with dear daughter even coming home with bruises! Most of my evenings have been one on one with her. Last week she told me she would rather be dead then at school. ER!

Now on for some good news that someone is going to like I recently hosted a blog contest and the winner was Jenn Ryan and her blog is here. Hope Jenn can use the $11.11!

I have still been menu planning, this week we are having

  • baked pasta and salad (last night)
  • chicken stir fry(tonight)
  • Breakfast for dinner: scrambled eggs, toast and tomato
  • pulled roast beef sandwiches, mixed veggies
  • pizza
  • grilled cheese sandwiches and veggie soup

I am working on losing weight as well and have been walking as I watch tv in the evening. I really would love to of lost 40 -50 pounds by August 1, as I am headed to Toronto then. I am trying every frugal trick I know to lose pounds and save cents at the same time! Thank goodness for Sparkpeople! Gotta love that website!

I am also working lots( I am very thankful I have work in a recession)! I am also trying to save $3,000 by August 1 st to help with my MOVE back to Ontario. Yes this common cents mom really wants to go back to the big city.

I am planning on using the blog here to track my progress both on saving and watch me save cents and lose inches at the same time. I will hold myself accountable and update the tally on the side once every 2 weeks! 

Well American Idol and Biggest Loser are both on tonight and I am fans of both, so my dvr will be on the go and I will walk while I watch..

Friday Freebie : Watch Movies, Shorts and Trailers

Okay one of my favorite things to do is watch movies, but in today’s economy getting to the movie theatre is a real treat around this house, so where do I watch FREE movies, that aren’t ripoffs from the the theatre. For us Canucks we have a great resource it is called the National Film Board. You can go to their website, explore, watch full length movies,  and shorts for FREE. It is a great way to support Canadian talent too and we really do have alot of it up here. One of my girlfriends owns her own production company and she was the first to share this wonderful free resource with me! So why not go watch something online that will make you laugh today for free. Now if you are not Canadian, welcome to some of the best that is Canadian.

Another Snow Day!

winter-08-09-022 Guess what my daughter Roo has? Another snow day! So far here this school year school has been cancelled 7 times and we are only at the end of January. But this has been a brutal winter here. Cold and Icy! I love winter normally but I am so ready for this one to be over.

So what do you do on stormy days when you can’t get outside?

Here is our list:

  • read, we have our pile from the library
  • Roo got a jewelery making kit from Christmas and I got her some pink and red beads so she is making earrings
  • bake muffins
  • enter contests
  • look for freebies
  • watch a dvd
  • watch the tv shows on my dvr
  • do laundry
  • clean the bathroom
  • write emails
  • play a board game
  • play guitar with Roo
  • write a song
  • get ahead on a project
  • call a friend
  • organize the closet

The muffins are done. I am doing some online stuff, and Roo is in making jewelery. I am not sure we will get to all the list but it was done to remind me there is lots you can do when stuck inside!

What Works for Me: Lists

6a00d83451c5ac69e2010535bfa96b970b-800wi2I am addicted to lists! They work for me. I think I am a bit Aspie’s like my daughter Roo. They really do help me to stay organizing. On my fridge there is a running grocery list, when I do my grocery shopping this list comes with me, it also comes off the fridge when I am menu planning. Then there is my list of recipes I want to try, and then is the list of books I want to read, and then there is the gift list, as friends or family mention things they like through the year it is added to the list so I don’t forget. I guess I am a listaholic! For me I have so much in my head that I have to use lists to keep me organized. I even made a list today of everything I wanted done today..

Okay I like lists! Do you use lists besides a grocery one?

Now I am off to read a LIST, you can find that same LIST at Shannon’s where we all List what works for us..

Commom Cents Mom Gives Away Cents


Okay okay it is one of my favorite times of the year– there are giveaways on so many blogs this week, and really who can visit all 1,000 or so blogs that will participate? Not me..I average about 200. Well this time I am participating, last time I did my OLD blog saw over 900 hits in 2 days…Yikes! So hopefully you will come for the giveaway, but then just maybe some of you will come back to visit again..

Since most of you are here for your very first visit, Im Hollie, a common mom who like to find ways to save and still have lots of fun. Some of you may recognize me from one of my older blogs. I was really cheap at one time, but in these tough times Iam finding it more common that moms especially are looking for ways to save, so that is where the title common cents Mom comes from.

What am I giving away?  1,111 American cents, to be delivered via paypal. So that makes it $11.11.

To enter the  giveaway it is easy all you have to have is a paypal acct if you don’t please get one at Paypal. As well please in your comment tell me your best money saving tip..I will feature some of them in the weeks ahead and if I do I will be linking back to your blog. So how do you save and have fun? Now I know that lots of you will be on the run this week as you try to visit lots of blogs so thanks for stopping by.

For more great giveaways go to Bloggy giveaways……

By the way this giveaway ends Feb 1 st, at 12:01 am EST. I will post on Feb 2nd the winner who will be picked by random number generator.