Saturday, April 8, 2017

Spaghetti and Meatballs


Last night was more freezer food! This is how I plan the meals...during the first few weeks of my menu cycle, I plan more meals that include fresh produce. Then by the end of the cycle, it's mostly freezer food unless I've had a chance to get back to the market for more fresh stuff. The sauce is one that I love: Basic Tomato Sauce and I use the same Blogger's recipe for Italian Meatballs. I still have another dozen meatballs in the freezer for our next spaghetti dinner. Oh, by the way, my recipe widget may disappear for a while. It's getting very long so I might make it more organized on a separate page. I hope no links are lost in the process!


I just wanted to share this photo because it looks so cool. :) We found a spot for all the trivia games. We do have another shelf right to the left of this for all the other games we have too.

Taking care of business: I spent over three hours yesterday making a more realistic and detailed budget for the next two years. I have a background in accounting so for me, it was a fun thing to do! :) Because I'm on disability, I can predict my income. We can more or less predict Alex's as well based on the last few years, so the revenues are usually pretty accurate. I put every little expense known to man in that budget...being the creature of habit that I am, I don't like surprises. I don't want to say in two years time that I over-dreamed and under-budgeted!!

Our expenses change from time to time, but we live a simple life so they are also easy to predict. I tried to put some emergency car and pet expenses in there too. But if all goes well we should be able to apply for a mortgage in the spring of 2019! For me that is amazing news. That's only two more years of renting, in fact, since we just renewed our lease for 2 years, we could possibly never have to sign another lease again! 

I've been on my own since I was 17 years old, and for me this will be the biggest accomplishment of my life. I'm challenging myself to stick to the budget come hell or high water. Alex is too.

But...as life goes, we also are prepared to rent one more year if we have a big financial emergency that would eat away at our savings. We are fortunate to be able to live anywhere since we don't work outside the home. That leaves the possibilities more extensive and also the prices much lower for what we want. I was having more fun looking through the realtor.ca and viewpoint.ca websites and saw a lot of properties for sale here in Quebec and some in the Maritimes.


They are both fixer-uppers but have most of our requirements. There are HUNDREDS if not thousands of properties like this in Eastern Canada. I'd like to have more acreage and really make sure there are no neighbours in site or sound, it's very hopeful! :) We don't want to be loaded down with a huge mortgage or property tax because we want to live way below our means, pay the mortgage off a.s.a.p.; and still save for our retirement (well, mine will come first!). I have a deep-seated fear of having to go back to work in my 60's and 70's just to pay for food and bills...really I do. I'm the type who faces my fears head on (after some trepidation!) and part of fighting this fear is having a realistic budget, sticking to it and also next week I'll be tackling the annoying task of calling the federal and provincial governments to find out what exactly is offered to Canadian Citizens upon retirement. And also when IS retirement? It used to be age 65, I know it was changed to 67 a few years back...I need to pay more attention to this stuff. 

These next few years will be an educational phase for us as we learn more about home ownership, maintenance and real estate law. I know nothing is written in stone, but as long as we have a plan and prepare, I think we'll manage to reach our dreams of home ownership and a self-sustaining life. 

Any and all tips and suggestions from those who've done it, please share them. :) 

It's still overcast, but the precipitation has stopped! The sun is teasing me a little, coming out now and then...Alex is under the weather, so I'm taking care of him today. We both need some comfort food (more so than usual lol) so tonight is gourmet pizza night! (meaning more fun ingredients than I usually use!). I'll probably make some more Crackerjacks too. 

20 comments:

kymber said...

Rain - you do what we do in regards to meals, eat the freshest produce first and then go for frozaen. jambaloney likes to only have to go the atlantic superstore once a month. whenever there is good, local produce, we stock up on it and freeze it or preserve it so there is always good frozen produce in the freezer.

your plan of budgeting and sticking to your budget is the way to go. if you have credit card debt - pay off the smallest first working your way up to your biggest.

the 2 houses look fantastic! keep looking - there's gajillions of them out there! knowing what your "must haves" are in a house/land is also good.

sending love. your friend,
kymber

kymber said...

Rain - i just left you a comment on your post "Sunshine, Sprouting and some Shifting Habits". xox

Rain said...

Hi Kymber :)) Our biggest hurdle is the debt. I mean, it's not as bad as some people have, but we did rack up some with buying a car in 2013, having outrageous car repairs in 2015 and moving twice. But all that repayment plan in budgeted out and feasible! :)

There really are so many inexpensive properties in the Maritimes...I've even seen nice two story in good condition homes with some land for under 30k. We have a long list of things we must have, will do without if needed etc...for our dream property!

Right now I'm doing groceries once a month, well, I was doing every 6 weeks, but I think that's a bit long between grocery visits, so I'm changing it back to once a month, with a trip to the market once in between for fresh produce - until my garden starts producing that is!!

Rain said...

Oh and thanks Kymber, I read and responded to your other comment! :)

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

Hi Rain,

You are an inspiration! From your fantastic meal planning to your head on approach to saving for your future. And that includes getting a house and building equity. I would give my ete teeth to move to the Maritimes but sadly our jobs are here. I just love Nova Scotia. Maybe one day if luck is on our side...you never know!

Tonight for us is BBQ hamburgers, fries and salad. Its about 18 degrees currently so this weather just screams BBQ!

Have a lovely evening,
Dianna

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i just love the area you live in and the prices for what you get...wow! it really is fun to look forward to getting your first place!

Mama Pea said...

You and Alex are going at it all so sensibly I don't know how you can fail. For one thing, you're willing to wait for what you want and aren't willing to go into unmanageable debt by being impatient.

Today when building from scratch (including necessities like a driveway, well, septic, bringing in power, etc.) is so outrageously expensive, I think you are smart to buy something already built even if it is a fixer-upper.

Tell Alex I hope he feels better soon.

Lisa said...

Good luck with your future house search! I envy those prices for a house on 1.5 acres :) Those same houses here in the US/Maryland, Delaware area would go for $200K and up. We are about 8 years away from having our home that we bought in '95 paid for. You are smart to be budgeting and preparing.

I'm hoping to retire (I'm 52) at the end of this year so really need to start honing the budget to prepare for 2018 when it will just be my hubby's income. I cut back from full time to 3-4 days a week about 2 years ago, so I've been slowly preparing :) It is going to be a tight squeeze but I am sooo ready to be done with the rat race and drama of working in a customer service type business. Prefer to putter around at home and spend time with family and my pets as I am a true introvert! I could continue to work and help pay down the mortgage and other debt faster, but the stress level isn't worth it on my mental health. I'm hoping to learn more cost saving tips and self sufficiency to help offset the reduction in my income.

Sunnybrook Farm said...

Wow, the snow must really melt there at some point, those houses are surrounded by grass!
Can't go wrong with spaghetti and meat balls.

Leigh said...

This is such an exciting place to come to. And you are planning so well! When we were looking we looked at both fixer-uppers and homes that didn't require so much. The fixer-uppers were cheaper, and that's what we ended up getting. For one thing we like that kind of work, but we also wanted the lower mortgage. We've paid cash for our repairs and upgrades and have been slowly able to chip away at the principle on the mortgage too. Sometimes we wish we were further along with things, but we both agree we made the right decision.

Nicole Thomas said...

The New Brunswick house looks beautiful.
I know how good u are at budgeting and I know it will all work out just fine. I can't wait to see where u end up :)

Kristina said...

We were sort of lucky. Our homestead was a rental that we ended up buying when the owners declared bankruptcy.

Rain said...

Thanks Dianna :)) I love the Maritimes, especially Nova Scotia. It still has mountains and lakes and it has the ocean AND the Fundy Bay! :) When I lived on P.E.I., I didn't enjoy it as much. I mean, the summers were great, but winters were when I really missed the mountains. I hope one day you find your dream property! I don't think we could afford to move west though. Ooooh, I hope your burgers were good! I can't wait to bbq! We got a little charcoal bbq last summer after we discoverd the feral cats used our gas one as a home/bathroom...shudder. It was awful and we were quite peeved that it went to waste. But we do love the charcoal taste much better! We're getting 17C tomorrow! (Monday) I'm spending today (12C) out on the porch and tomorrow too! :)) The dogs are outside being teased by a sneaky little brown squirrel baby. I love this weather! Enjoy your Sunday!!

Rain said...

Thanks Joyce :) We're very lucky with the prices, but that's really why we're moving more East. We could never afford to go west of Quebec.

Rain said...

Thanks Mama Pea :)) We are trying. Just 4 years ago when Alex and I met, I had my disability and he was working a managerial job at Bell. We were doing very well. We kind of spoiled ourselves and ate out a lot...I moved back to Montreal to live with him. But it wasn't working for us overall, because I missed the mountains and he longed to live in woods. It was a tough transition getting used to living with less, but we've finally got to a point where we can handle it, so now is the time to get serious! We've waited 4 years renting together so we're willing to wait a wee bit longer to get what we want. I can't wait to stop paying a crazy rent and Hydro bill, it makes it so tough to save money, there seems to never be anything left at the end of the month. We thought about land, and having a house built, but in the end, we really couldn't afford it. And you're right about the plumbing and power, we couldn't manage that financially, though our dream is to gradually switch to solar power by the time the mortgage is paid off - hopefully!

Rain said...

Hi Lisa :)) Well, if we were closer to the main cities, those prices would likely be quadrupled with hardly any land. We're lucky to be able to move to an area where we don't have to rely on jobs, unfortunately for a lot of the sellers, they need to move closer to a city for work, we don't need to, so we can be out in the middle of nowhere if we want.

Even though I hate what the burnout did to me, it helped me also by giving me the opportunity to live a simple life without having to rely on the rat race. When I lose my disability income, it'll be tight for us too, depending on how Alex's home business is doing, so we're going to be really smart about investing some money (low-risk!) as soon we we can. I'm a true introvert too! :) I hope you can retire this year and take some time to putter! I love to putter :))

Rain said...

Hi Gill :) Yes! Sun and melting snow! It's happening alright :)

Rain said...

Thanks Leigh :)) We don't mind a fixer upper, because we really want to make our home exactly how we like it. I mean, it needs to have good bones because we don't want to spend a fortune renovating either. We're also trying to be realistic knowing that I lose a big portion of my disability income at age 65.

Rain said...

Thanks Nik :)) I can't wait to see where we end up too! It's kind of exciting!

Rain said...

Hi Kristina! :) That is pretty lucky! It saves packing up and moving, which is going to be a challenge for us, we're definitely going to have to purge a lot before we move.