“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” -Warren Buffett

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas with a budget!

Our family really enjoys celebrating Christmas and the entire holiday season.  There are many reasons, the first of which is our faith.  Next to that we deeply value the downtime with each other and our extended family.

Each year at this time of year I can't help but see the consumerism all around us.  Black Friday sales that starts weeks before this "event" that is focused on endless spending on the new big ticket items for people who probably already have far more than they need.

In the Kitchen: Homemade!

Chocolate Black Bean Muffins
I've been slow to get back into the routine of blogging this fall after taking some time to relax this summer... Thanks for sticking with us in spite of that!!

Today I'm going to share some of our tips for saving money in the kitchen by making things at home. So many items can be made at home for a fraction of the cost and can be customized to suit tastes, while often being a healthier option. They're also delicious and make great "gifts" when you find an opportunity where you want to help someone out but don't quite know how. Dropping off fresh baked muffins, bread or a meal can be so welcome through life's transitions (births, deaths, weddings, moves and so on).

Where does your money go?!

Today I want to talk about where our money goes!  We spend a fair amount each month/year for insurance (home and auto), property tax, food, gas and misc spending (I'm looking at you amazon!).  We've shared tips on reducing expenditures on insurance, food and other bills, but I want to know what other areas you are spending in that we should talk about in more detail!  I love learning from how others adjust their habits and being encouraged to adjust ours further as we work to achieve our financial goals.

Freezing food and a FlashFood Update

I want to share a quick update to start our week off! I'm working on a plan for the blog over the next few months now that the kids are back in school, so will have more regular posts and content to share soon!!

Since I first shared about the FlashFood app about two months ago, I have purchased over $54 worth of discounted food (well over $120 sticker value).  Thanks to referral bonuses from the people I've shared with, I only paid out of pocket $21 for all of it!!! That is a huge discount on one of our largest budget categories.

Investing in our future - TFSA and DIY Investing

As we've started to move out of the zone of just paying down our mortgage and building our savings portfolio I've started learning about the world of the stock market investing.  Our small portfolio is primarily managed by a financial advisor we've been very happy with.  However I started doing some
math and listening to podcasts about investing and realized we are potentially losing out on a ton of gains, but using an advisor rather than taking a DIY approach to investing, like we've done with SO many other things over the years.

Saving in the kitchen with PC Express Click and Collect and Flashfood

I have two tips to share today on saving money in the kitchen!  Groceries are one of our biggest variable expenses, and can be difficult to find new ways to save.  We already meal plan and try to avoid wasting food, but inevitably as I browse the store I end up picking up this or that along the way.

One tip that has been very successful for us in reducing our grocery bill, is signing up for PC Insiders and using their Click and Collect program.  We have significantly cut our grocery bill by avoiding impulse purchases, shopping what's on our list and taking a moment to go back over our entire cart before we check out and finalize our order.

Finding your why

Over the last number of years, as we've focused more efforts on our financial journey, and as we've started documenting our financial story, I've been struck by the why of it all.  I think one of the important things to do if you want to set yourself on a path, is to answer your why.  Maybe it's a weight loss journey you are on, and your why is your health, or to be around to see grandchildren grow up.  Maybe it's a financial journey and your why is to retire early and spend more time in good health with your family.  Maybe it's a journey to simplify your life and move towards minimalism, and your why is to free up time and money and enjoy simple living.  Whatever your journey, it likely started with a why moment.

Our Budget Template

This week I'm sharing our budget template on the blog!
It's simple, but if you are just getting started, it's very easy to get used to and adjust as you need to fit your financial situation. I adjusted it slightly to share so that you can include tracking of debt payments and saving/investment payments as well. We've used this template or a very similar version of this one for much of the last 10 years. We have also tracked actual spending in Mint over time to ensure our budgets are fairly accurate over time.

How do you value your time?

How I made $350 in 15 minutes

A day consists of 24 hours - that's 1,440 minutes. Nobody has 30 hours. A day is a day for every living being. No matter what race, religion, gender, etc,

Choices: Kids Stuff

This is our last post in our Choices series... And this one is about kids stuff!  All the toys, games, gear that kids seem to "need".

Choices: Insurance

After a small delay, we're continuing with the series on making choices to move your financial life ahead. This week's topic is Insurance! If you own a house, car, or pet, or rent a place to live, you likely have some kind of insurance. For many this is a big

Choices: Food

This week we're talking about making choices related to the food we eat. Take out, fast food, fine dining, groceries, all of it! One fairly large area in many household budgets is food. Especially if you live in a rural area, choices can be limited and you may feel

Choices: TV

In an earlier post I mentioned we'll be hosting a series of posts on choices. Life is about choices, big ones, small ones, ones that change your life and many that are mundane part of our existence. We've found that many of the choices we've diligently made have led us to save significant amount of money, just by questioning the status quo, and not just doing what friends or family are doing as the default

Making choices: Upcoming Series!

Over the next few weeks I'm going to post a series about choices. In our case, we've made many choices to cut back in certain areas to allow for spending or saving in others. Some of the things we'll cover include phone bills, insurance, groceries, and other household expenses.

What's our plan?!

Since publishing and sharing our site last month, we've had a number of friends ask "what's our plan?" for the site and our life in general moving forward. I'll be honest and say we don't have that fully figured out. We have a number of ideas about what life could

Ways to simplify your home... and make money!

Part of living the life we've always dreamed of is about focusing our time and energy on the areas that are important to us and minimizing the time and effort that goes towards areas that aren't a priority. One of the big ways we do this is by simplifying as much of our life as possible so we can put our time

Ways to Save! Kids Lunches

From time to time we'll post some tips and tricks on the blog titled Ways to Save! The first one is our top two tips for packing kids school/daycare lunches! Our kids are in maternelle (grade Primary/Kindergarten) and deuxième année (grade 2) so we've only been packing lunches for a couple of years. But in that time we've figured out some

Passive Income with Solar Power

Free energy from the sun

One of the biggest ways to live the debt free life is by owning your life. Own your car, your home, your purchases, your decisions and so on. We've chosen to make this our reality over the last 12+ years by living below our income, aggressively saving and paying down our only debt (student loans) and making choices for sustainable living, where there is long term financial benefits to be gained.

Paying Off Your Mortgage

Artist Kathie Wright's watercolor rendering of our home
There are so many options out there from traditional mortgages to home equity lines of credit! It can be difficult to know what's best for you. Shopping around can make a huge difference in how quickly you are able to pay

Welcome to Own It Debt Free

Where our journey began! Our wedding in May 2006
Wow! Believe it or not this site has been a dream of ours in the works for about 7 years, and in the brainstorming stage even before that! Along the way we have started drafting content, but the timing was never quite right to
launch, between health issues,