Thursday, 31 January 2013

Being a Financially Responsible Member of Society

Being financially responsible can be a really hard thing. I’ve always considered myself to be good with money, and I still think I am, however I have debt, like most people. My goal this year is to pay off as much of my debt as I possibly can. I’ve just found a job and I started the second week of January. I am currently getting full-time hours, but I was hired as part-time. I’m living with my parents which helps keep my bills low and I do not have a car. So the question becomes, how can I help dig myself out of this world of debt?

First of all, I need to work as much as I can. As I said, I am working full-time hours right now, but I was only hired for part-time. That means that at any time they could cut my hours down and my income could be drastically reduced. I am accepting any shifts that are offered to me and when the chance to leave early is offered, I do not take it (while it may be tempting, I don’t want to lose that money.) My other option that I am still considering is to get a second job. Because I work early mornings at my main job, I can only work a second job in the afternoon as I’m in bed super early at night. Finding a job that is looking for someone available seven days a week between the hours of 1 and 7 will probably prove to be difficult, but I will give it a shot! Another way to boost my income is Bramley Designs. I have been trying to create new items to sell (and I’m using supplies I already own) and doing things such as having an open house. This is something I really enjoy doing, so it doesn’t really feel like “work”, but in reality, it IS work for me because it is a way for me to bring in more money.

Second, I need to be smart about the bills I do have. I am living at home with my parents and this drastically cuts down my rent cost. Of course I give my parents money for living at home (I would never expect them to house, feed, and share transportation with me for nothing), but the amount they charge me is much lower than if I lived on my own. I also give my parents money for car insurance and to help with the cats (food and litter.) Aside from this, the only other bill I have is my cell phone. I am not willing to give up my long distance or my data (we do not have the internet at home, so my data is the only internet access I have at home. When I post these blog posts I do it from the library.) I am willing to sacrifice things in order to have the cell phone plan I do, though. Keeping my bills low has been really helpful in paying more toward my debt.

Third, I have been doing some research, I bought a Money-Saving Tip of the Day calendar, and I’ve been coming up with my own ideas on how to save money. During my research, I have learned that saving money in a clear piggy-bank actually deters you from taking anything out of it because you can see that money growing. I do not have a clear piggy-bank, nor was I going to go out to buy one, so I am using a cleaned out apple cider bottle. Most of the cash I get goes in there (I’ve had to use some of it here and there, but I HATE taking money out of it.) I’ve managed to accumulate over $100 in there since the beginning of January. My money-saving calendar is a lot of fun. A lot of it doesn’t apply to me right now because I am living at home and not on my own, but every day I get excited to see what the next tip will be! Here are some examples:

*DON’T BE SCARED OF THE WORD ‘BUDGET.’ Make yourself a spending plan so that you are spending your money on important things that you ‘need’ vs. what you ‘want.’
*BORROW, DON’T BUY...CDs, DVDs. Set up a lending library with your friends or co-workers listing the music and movie discs you’re all happy to lend out.
*SQUEEZING $$ FROM TUBES. Cut open ‘empty’ tubes to get the last drops of toothpaste, face creams, ointments, sunscreens, etc. Often a week’s worth of product is still inside.
*POTLUCK WITH FRIENDS. Arrange a monthly potluck dinner with family members or different groups of friends. Everyone saves $, exchanges recipes, and has a great time.
*DON’T OVERLOOK YOUR LOCAL FLEA MARKET. Some merchants sell household supplies, cleaners, soaps and toothpaste at wholesale prices. Carefully inspect merchandise from flea markets before buying.
*CHEAPER NIGHTS OUT. Bars, dance clubs and restaurants can really strain one’s finances. Try less expensive alternatives like “Board Game Night” or “Cards Night” with your friends.
*FREE MAGAZINES SHELF. Start a shelf in the lunchroom where you and your co-workers can re-use/recycle reading materials, like magazines or books.
*SELL UNUSED STUFF ON EBAY OR CRAIGSLIST. One person’s “junk” might be another person’s treasure...and you’ll get some cash out of the deal.
*DRINK COFFEE AT HOME AND LIMIT YOUR INTAKE. Save big $, maybe $500 or more per year, by getting out of the habit of buying fancy high-priced coffee at trendy coffee shops.

I could go on and on with these lol. Each day is a great tip, whether it is big or small, and it’s fun to see how else you can save money. Ideas I have come up with myself for saving money include not buying books and challenging myself to not spend money for a designated amount of time. We all know I’m a huge reader. I don’t buy all of the books that I read, I do try my best to take advantage of libraries and friends bookshelves, however there are books that I DO buy (if they are new and I buy them in paperback I will borrow the hardcover from the library and then buy the paperback when it is released. That in itself saves me a minimum of $20.) At this very moment, I own 189 books that have NOT BEEN READ. Crazy, right? A bunch of those I will probably end up getting rid of and selling them either on Kijiji or at a used bookstore (I’m only keeping books I really love and ones I can see myself re-reading.) Last year I challenged myself not to buy any books for June, July and August. I succeeded in this challenge, except for one book I picked up in August. Since I felt so good about the first time, I am trying it again. Right now I am not buying any books for the winter season. This challenge started on December 21st and I have not purchased ANY books for myself since! I purchased one book for my mom for her birthday, but that does not count toward my challenge as it was not for myself. I find that the longer you go without something, the easier it is. I can’t live without books, but that doesn’t mean I need to buy everything. Not working at a bookstore certainly helps with not buying books! My latest challenge is to designate a specific period of time in which I will not spend money on ANYTHING. There are certain times at which I have to spend money (to make debt payments, pay a bill, etc.) so I will not choose a time in which I get paid. Starting February 2nd, I am challenging myself not to spend $0.01 on a thing for 7 days. I know it will be tough, but it’s definitely possible. For me, this includes not using gift cards either. Another thing I am trying to do is shop around. I am not willing to go out of my way to save $0.10 (you end up spending more in gas), but out of the few places I am near on a regular basis, I am going to make a list of the prices of the things I buy so I can find out where is the cheapest.

I hope you have enjoyed my personal post for this week. Talking about money can be a very tough thing and it’s hard to admit when you are in debt. I hope to be debt free in the very near future and I am going to do everything I can to make this a reality. You do not have to be like me and put this on a blog post, but if you have debt, you should talk about it with someone. It makes it real, makes you take it more seriously, and other people can give you great ideas on how to go about making your debt disappear. Best of luck!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The Society of S by Susan Hubbard

"If you ever want to hide from the world, live in a small city, where everyone seems anonymous."

That''s the advice of twelve-year-old Ariella Montero, who lives with her father in Saratoga Springs, New York, in a house haunted more by secrets than by memories. The Society of S traces her journey south, to Asheville and Savannah, and on to Florida, as she learns that everything she knows about her family is a lie.
When she finds her mother, she learns the truth: Ariella is a fledgling member of the Society of S.
S stands for Sanguinists: a sect of environmentalists concerned with ethics and human rights -- although they happen to be vampires. S also stands for synesthete: a person able to see words and letters in colors. The letter S is lucky for Sara, Ariella''s mother, who gravitates to cities such as Savannah and Sarasota. But will it be lucky for Ariella?" (


When I started reading this book, I got sucked in almost immediately. I did not know much of anything about it before I started reading it, except that it was about vampires, and I’m glad I went in with little knowledge. I feel it was a smartly written book. It is serious, yet fun, and the reader learns things as the main character does. I like being in the dark along with the main character, that to me is a lot of fun and you are never sure what to expect next! Ari is a fantastic character to follow. I feel there is a depth to her that is apparent to the reader, but she is still growing up and is only 12 years old. This is a coming of age story that is fantastically written. She goes on a very important journey that will help shape who she is as a person, the path her life will take, and the things she is interested in. This is a story of a girl who discovers her life has not been what she thought and a story about vampire ethics (believe it or not lol.) I think it is a really great book and one that I see myself re-reading in the future. Give it a shot and hopefully you will love it as much as I do. If you enjoy it, you can read the other books in the Ethical Vampire series, The Year of Disappearances and The Season of Risks. If you know someone who is interested in vampires, coming of age stories, or literary novels, tell them to give it a shot! Let me know what you think of it if you do!!!!

Happy Reading!

Next Review: Scrapbook of Secrets by Mollie Cox Bryan

Friday, 25 January 2013

Stolen by Kelley Armstrong

Even though she''s the world''s only female werewolf, Elena Michaels is just a regular girl at heart -- with larger than normal appetites. She sticks to three feasts a day, loves long runs in the moonlight, and has a lover who is unbelievable frustrating yet all the more sexy for his dark side. Like every regular girl, she certainly doesn''t believe in witches. Then again, when two small, ridiculously feminine women manage to hurl her against a wall, and then save her from the hunters on her tail, Elena realizes that maybe there are more things in heaven and earth than she''s dreamt of.

Vampires, demons, shamans, witches -- in Stolen they all exist, and they''re all under attack. An obsessed tycoon with a sick curiosity is well on his way to amassing a private collection of supernaturals, and plans to harness their powers for himself -- even if it means killing them. For Elena, kidnapped and imprisoned deep underground, separated from her Pack, unable to tell her friends from her enemies, choosing the right allies is a matter of life and death (Chapters)


If you have not read Kelley Armstrong, YOU REALLY MUST! First of all, she’s CANADIAN! We need to support our Canadian authors! Secondly, she is an amazing writer! This is the second book in her adult series and it was so great! It had all the elements you could want in a book: romance, fantasy, humour, mystery. It is chalk-full of so many excellent characters (we are introduced to more in this second book) and it is hard not to feel exactly the way the author intended for you to feel while following them! There are characters I hate in this story, ones that I feel sorry for, ones that make me smile.
This story really keeps you guessing as to what is going to happen. There were so many surprises, you get to know the characters from the first book, Bitten, even better, and at times it is emotionally intense! I had a really really hard time putting this book down once I started reading it. I am so excited to read the next book in the series, Dime Store Magic, and hopefully I can read it in the somewhat-near future (I have so many books to read and I want to read them all NOW! Lol)
I strongly urge you to read Kelley Armstrong. She is phenomenal and I really think that you would love her! I give this book a 5/5!!!!!

Happy Reading!

Next Review: The Society of S by Susan Hubbard

Thursday, 24 January 2013

If you like...

This week I decided to share some of my book wisdom. This post is for those who are looking for books similar to authors they previously have or are currently reading. I know it can be hard to find similar authors/stories so hopefully this will help! I’ve tried to do a variety of authors and genres.

Jodi Picoult: (general fiction)
The Violets of March/The Bungalow/Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
Still Alice by Lisa Genova

 John Grisham: (mystery/suspense)
Kill the Messenger by Tami Hoag
The Brick Layer by Noah Boyd

Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games): (post apocalyptic)
The Maze Runner series by James Dashner
Possession by Elana Johnson
Wind on Fire trilogy by William Nicholson

Dewey the Library Cat by Vicki Myron: (nature/pet stories)
The Daily Coyote by Shreve Stockton
The Rescue of Belle and Sundance by Birgit Stutz
Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love by Larry Levin

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling: (9-12 series)
The Rangers Apprentice by John Flanagan
Vampirates by Justin Somper
Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

Those are just a few of hundreds of thousands of authors! I tried to pick some more popular ones in the hopes that more people might find something they would be interested in. One of these weeks I will write a post about some of my favourite books that most people haven’t heard about. I love finding those books as they are usually the best reads!!!! I will also do some more “If you like...” books in the future. This is just a taste of what is to come! BRING ON THE BOOKS!!!!!
Thank you so much for reading and I hope you have a fabulous day! Happy reading everyone!!!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Home for a Spell by Madelyn Alt

Back to work at her antique shop, Enchantments, Maggie''s broken leg makes helping customers a lame proposition-but that doesn''t mean the rest of her life is slowing down. While her boyfriend, the magically- inclined Marcus, has some unfinished business to attend to and her best friend is getting ready to tie the knot and move away, Maggie decides it''s time to find her own change of scenery. And she''ll start by finally getting a new apartment.
But Maggie''s new dream home turns into a nightmare when the apartment manager is found dead before she can even sign the lease. And Maggie finds herself not only searching for a new home-but for a frightfully clever killer...


These books are my guilty pleasure. They are not the best written or the best stories, but I really enjoy reading them. Home for a Spell is the seventh book in the Bewitching Mystery series. Maggie has yet again found a dead body and is caught in the thick of things. This seems to happen a lot to Maggie and it really is just being in the wrong place at the wrong time lol. I like these books because the main character is likeable, all of the characters are actually likeable, there is magic in them, murder, mayhem. They’re great! A light, easy read, it is nice to curl up with this series by Madelyn Alt and lose yourself in them. Alt also adds in some humour and makes great references to some things from the 80s and 90s. I think if you enjoy a light read, if you are looking for something to take on vacation, or like cozy mysteries as much as I do you should read this series. Make sure you read them in order because the personal lives of the characters develop as you go along! I give this book a 4/5.

Happy Reading!

Next Review: Stolen by Kelley Armstrong