Monday, December 30, 2013

Introducing The Financial Mama Series

Before going on maternity leave we made some attempts to save for the income we would soon be missing. We definitely could have done a better job. We had to live very tight during my time from work... Sometimes uncomfortably so.

I am back to work now and have many "what could have been done differently" thoughts. I want to be financially secure, provide for our daughter, go on a vacation once a year.... And oh yeah.... Retirement is not to far away.

On Mondays we will be posting the "Financial Mama Series". I will share with you what I'm doing to get my financial house in order. I would love for you to follow... Maybe we can all do this together. I would love to hear about what you are doing in terms of money in your household. Any tips or suggestions? Please share.

So before I enter 2014, let me introduce you to my first challenge:

Can you track how you normally spend your money?  In some aspects this may be a piece of cake for me.   I have a spreadsheet that states unequivocally where my money goes in terms of my fixed expenses.

Fixed Expenses: The bills that are paid out at the same time and are a fixed amount.   ie: rent,  car payment, daycare

I also have listed my variable expenses.

Variable Expenses: Money that is spent on  any particular day and at any total.  ie:  groceries, vehicle gas,  hair appointments

I do an OK job at tracking my variable expenses. I have a cute pink notebook (and it is cute) in my bag.  Flip through and you will see a section of vehicle gas.  My budget is $240 per month.   Whenever I fill up I subtract what I spent and am aware of how much money I have left.  Same for my $75 clothing budget and $400 grocery budget.

I get in trouble with the variable category I call "Miscellaneous".  Why am I calling this miscellaneous anyway?  This is the money that goes to STUFF.  Could be coffee...  a movie...  a blouse....  Wait! !


See what I mean? You will probably find that you have a hard time finding out what happened within your variable category.

Like me, you may think this first task is a difficult one.  (why am I envisioning Jack Nicholson yelling that I can't handle the truth?)  This task is just to give you a visual heads up about where your money is going.  Easy peasy.

It is usually advised that you look over 6 months of expenses.  I am using two as I have been collecting a full paycheque during this time.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Mamalicious Year In Review

A year ago Missy Miu was 4 months old and I was one lonely Mama.   I knew there were groups of Moms who were getting out and keeping each other company.   I was experiencing so much despair that the thought of being sociable would paralyze me.  Many of the Mom outings were a bit of a commute.   Going to work entails a 52 km drive one way.  The long trips to mingle with the baby became another excuse not to get out.

I soon realized that at this point maternity leave was going to be sad experience.  The only way to get around this was to create my own group.   I mean surely I would be a social butterfly if it was my group.   If I planned events in my area then the excuse of a long commute would be removed.

Thanks to I was able to get some great ideas and form a mommy group Scarborough Pickering Mamalicious Mamas.   Almost a year later we have over 200 Mamas.   Many going through the same predicament of loneliness.  

We are all excited about being a parent, but were not really forewarned that sometimes it would be difficult to find other children for our little ones to mingle with,  peer support and things to do. It's pretty exciting to know that we had Mamas participate in almost 200 events.   I would like to thank the volunteer Mama's who host many of our outings.

Our group has evolved.   We have new Mamas and Back to work Mamas.   We are listening.   Even though Moms are returning to work they still want to keep in touch with each other.  They had lots of baby questions and they have now turned to toddler questions.

I'm excited about out first Weekend Mama event taking place next month on a Saturday.   Any member can attend however it is a great opportunity for back to work Mamas to catch up with each other and for their toddlers to mingle.

We have accomplished a lot with the Mamalicious Mamas and would like to continue.     We have some great ideas and are looking forward to working with businesses in the community.

I am back to work,  juggling family life but excited about upcoming developments for the Mamalicious Mamas.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Contest: The Go Anywhere Booster Seat

Now that we have a child getting ready to head out can be quite an experience. Now when we pack a few essentials, it looks like we are going on a major excursion. We have a mobile high chair which can be a bit of a hassle to carry. This would be why I'm very excited to blog about the Go Anywhere Booster Seat by A Parent Company.

On a trip to England Phil and Vanessa Carrington they came across the Go Anywhere Booster Seat; a product not offered anywhere in North America. They became the exclusive distributors for the North American market and it is now available here through their business, A Parent Company.

When folded away, it has the look of a stylish messenger bag with a handle and shoulder strap. I love the fact that it is very light to carry. In fact it weighs 1.5 lbs.

The Go Anywhere Booster Seat has three sets of adjustable straps that secures to a chair. It is a quick and easy setup which is a major highlight for me.

Missy Miu is so actitive, but I am able to secure her in with ease

Other selling points:
- It's a wipe clean seat
- BPA & Phthalate free
- It's stylish and hip
- great for traveling and everyday use
- Boasts a 5 point restraint harness
- Ideal for children who are able to sit unassisted up to 40 lbs

I am so excited that our Mamalicious Mamas are eligible to win a Go Anywhere Booster Seat. It will be posted on our event board on Dec 16th, 2013. All they have to do is visit A Parent Company's Facebook Page, Like it and make a comment on the selected photo with chair why they would like to win one. 

**The products for this review and giveaway were provided for free. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.**

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Cookie Exchange Event

We will be at Creative Play Indoor Playground for our Cookie Exchange.

While our little ones play we will get into the Holiday Season exchanging small tins of cookies.

You may bake em', buy em, then savour em. (nut free food is allowed on premises).

It will be a great opportunity to share secret recipes or the favourite secret spot you bought them.

Please RSVP by Monday, December 2nd. We will contact each Mama with her picked Mama name on Tuesday, December 3rd.
Shhhh.... It's a secret....

Mama Melanie will be your host for this event.