The New Reality: going down to a single income

     Most of us are experiencing a new reality when it comes to work, working from home comes with many challenges, but it’s not the only new reality. Unfortunately, too often this new reality is one where there is less income coming in (layoffs, furloughs, pay reductions). I have now joined this group; we are now down to a single income where we had two and while we are fine a lot of people aren’t. Claiming Unemployment Benefits Today was a bit of a sobering day, I actually filed for unemployment benefits. The process was fairly painless and now I wait and see if there are any issues. My guess is that there won’t be any problems and the benefits will roll in. We as a family are in a position where we know we can weather this situation but it’s sobering none the less. Will we have enough to Continue Reading

How to Gamify Grocery Shopping

Groceries, we all need them but buying them is a little tedious, time consuming, and at least for me not very exciting. I was trying to make the experience a little more interesting and possibly get my daughter involved, at least a little. As it turns out gamifying grocery shopping is more challenging than I initially thought, but it is possible.  Initially, I had visions of a crafty title and that the gamification ideas would just flow out of me into digital format. After a little effort, my initial ideas were pretty much all I had, though I did have a few other ideas they really felt forced. I’ve decided to stick to the actually tested ideas that have worked and if you have any other ideas please pass them along.  Why gamify grocery shopping? The question of why would you gamifying buying groceries does come up. Realistically the answer Continue Reading

Meal planning your way to a balanced budget!

“What do you want for dinner?” It’s a common question that a lot of families routinely ask themselves around dinner time. The question by itself is telling, it says that you don’t know what you have in the fridge and pantry and it says that you probably throw away thousands of dollars per year on groceries. We’re not talking going out for meals but just what’s in your house.  There are various statistics that I’ve seen put the average is that in North America we waste between 1-2lb of food per person per day. I know from experience that we routinely get more food than we need, and it goes to waste and it’s a real shame but more importantly, it is bloody expensive.  [CUE: Superhero music]  Meal planning to the rescue!!! A few people by this point will have a puzzled look on their face wondering ‘what is a Continue Reading

Finding the balance between our ‘Wants’ and ‘Needs’

To survive we have a series of ‘needs’ that, pardon the pun, need to be met. Once we have these basic needs met our wants can (but don’t have to) improve our lives. However, for most of us, our lives are spent beyond these basic requirements. We have access to food, water, shelter, and if you’re reading this you are probably relatively safe too. Thus, making the question of ‘wants’ versus ‘needs’ more interesting because I doubt many of us think in terms of true needs. Now more than ever this topic is incredibly important, and I think it needs to be revisited. We’re in a time of crisis when what we want and what we really need is clearer than it has been in years. Knowing what is essential and what we don’t need can be a very powerful tool; one that we can use to our advantage. There Continue Reading

Christmas shopping – done right, with a plan!

Stepping into the mall you are instantly accosted by the sights and sounds that accompany your trip to the church of consumerism. But, today things are a little different! It seems busier than usual and there is different music playing, then you realize the Christmas shopping season is upon you. Now that we’re less than 1 week away, this has become even more amped up, almost to a point of frenzy. Christmas, regardless of if you celebrate it, has become a highly commercial time of year for retailers. First of all, the Christmas holidays are all about gift giving which would normally be enough for the retailers, but there is an added perk for them. Around Black Friday most retail outlets start making a profit for the year. The average is that for the first 10-11 months the money that comes into a retail outlet does nothing more than cover Continue Reading

What’s gets measured, gets managed!

There is an old adage that I heard when I started working, in the late 90’s, and that is: “What gets measured gets managed”. There is a whole lot of truth in that statement that even my 20-year-old self, understood at a basic level. This is now even truer than it was all those many years ago. In today’s day and age, companies are collecting and using data at alarming rates. Why? Because they use it as a tool, a very powerful tool, one that allows them to increase their profits and also one you can use. If you look at the concept of data it’s just information, impartial numbers, and facts that don’t lie, they just give us a value of a measurement. From temperature to the speed that you’re driving as you pass the little old lady on the highway. This information doesn’t care about anything, it is, Continue Reading