WAIT! Don’t cancel your cards before you read this

PC Master CardI have been receiving emails from my credit card company that I find irritating. Not saying that this is the one, but I wanted you to see a card.

YES, I know I have to pay you, but some of them don’t tell me how much I owe. So, I have to log into see the balance…grrr.

I have 3 cards and well, I only need 2, one for business and one for personal. So, my PC MasterCard has to go. So, I called the company asking them what I had to do, but before she would close it, she said…”Did you know you had $190 accumulated in grocery money?”….Ahhhh, NO!???

It’s weird, I get emails regularly from them telling me my bill is do, but nothing about the points I accumulated and what I can use them for. She said that if I cancelled my card today that i would not be able to use the grocery points. So, what do you think I did? I said “I will gladly use them first and THEN, I will call you back and cancel the card”. Thank you.

So, before you cancel any of your credit cards or throw out your gift cards, check to see if you have any outstanding money or points owed to you, then…spend it, and then, close it.

Stay tuned next week to see what I bought with all that grocery money. One of the things will for sure be…desert, or maybe a bottle of wine, orrr lobster, even though its not in season:) Hey, it’s free money, so I get to splurge.
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Cheap CHEAP Gas in Ottawa and Gatineau

I don’t know about you, but I am finding the gas prices vary from place to place, and whats worse they are not the same prices for the same company i.e. Petro, Ultramar, etc. I paid $1.20 at Petro Canada on Friday, only to find out that another Petro had it at $1.18.  I don’t think that’s right. I know they are franchises, but…you don’t see Subway charging different prices for their sandwiches if you buy it downtown versus Barhaven.

If you want me to be loyal to you, then why are you not loyal and honest with me? 

If you’re looking to save a few bucks on gas and you’re not a loyal fan of a particular company, I found 2 websites that list the prices in town. They also have apps you can download your cell phone. One is for Ottawa and the other lists places in Gatineau.

I know for sure that I WON’T be going to the Petro Canada at Bank and Walkley anymore because…they are one of the most expensive. Grrrr!
Here’s to helping you save a bit of money.
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Are you looking for meal ideas with leftovers?

Me tooooo. That’s what I’m always doing because I have leftover something but, not usually meat. I have to tell ma man DON’T TOUCH…those are for lunch. he he. I know, its not nice, but I am trying to prep the most amount of meals in the least amount of days and this is the only way.

So, here’s my weekly menu from last week.

Click the link below to get the pdf version of it.

October Weekly meal plan and grocery list

Let me know if you have meal ideas for frozen strawberries, canned chick peas, almonds, and cuccombers. Now, I am hoping you’re not going to suggest I put those all together…One word…YACK!

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Weekly Meal Planning

Weekly meal planIf you don’t have a lot of time or money, then you’re going to like this article. Every week, I usually go and eat pho soup and while I’m there, I prepare my weekly meal ideas. However, I do it with the intention of trying to save money and make more than 2 meals each.  Well, there are some weeks that I do great and some that are not so great. It depends on what’s on sale and if I feel like cooking. It does happen that I eat out a lot, but I try not to because it’s very salty and, I prefer my cooking.

I put together a template that you can modify with meal ideas and what groceries you need. I also put some links to recipes from other people. Next months meal plan, I will be sure to put my own recipe links because most of mine involve using leftovers.

Weekly meal plan and grocery list

If you have other meal plans you wan to share, please add the link or send me the document so that I can post it.

Have a wonderful week.


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How NOT to Save Money on Business Cards

I am going to my very first Virtual Assistant Conference this weekend. I’m soooo excited. One of the things it said to bring was business cards, but the cards I have are not the ones I want to use. They are my marketing coaching ones, which I soooo don’t want to do anymore. I normally have my cards done by Vista.ca. but didn’t have time.

Has this ever happened to you? You’re working on a website to create new business cards. You normally go to Vistaprint.ca because they have the best prices, but they can’t deliver today. So, you go to Staples online. You’re having fun creating them, but now it’s time to send them to get printed, but when you go to checkout, there is no choice for Canada? What??? YA! That’s what happened to me this morning. I was on the staples.com and not staples.ca. I spent almost 2 hours designing it and now I can’t use it. So, I call the number on their site hoping they’ll tell me to just go in the store and they’ll be able to print it there, but nope! They are 2 separate companies and don’t have the same cards either☹

So, I print out what I made to try and replicate it. Lucky for me I’m a quick learner and can replicate things fairly quickly. All I needed was the image I wanted, but when I got there, that was a bit of a problem, because they normally want a USB stick. However, the girl was nice enough to let me log into my Gmail account and pull the pic and, I got my new business card set up in 10 minutes.

So, when I go to pay, she shows me it’s $29.99 for 100 cards! What??? That’s double the price of Vista Print and you only get ¼ of what they offer.

Well, no sense crying over spilled milk, like someone use to say.

Here’s what my new card looks like. It’s a bit blurry (sorry about that). I’m satisfied with it, but I liked the other ones much better.

So, here’s the lessons I’ve learned for today:

  1. Don’t wait to the last minute to do business cards, or you’ll pay more and get LOT LESS
  2. Be sure to check which website you’re working on so that you don’t waste time and also, get emails from a company you can’t deal with because they don’t deliver here.
  3. And lastly, don,t spend so much time making a business card. Have a plan first of what you want and then pick out the best choice instead of redesigning the whole card.

If you’re going to be making new cards soon, Vistaprint.ca is offering 40% with promo code SALE40 off cards and other promotional stuff. But hurry. It’s ends May 16, 2017. I just put in a new order for 500 cards for $7.99. Talk about crazy savings.

Here’s to your business and saving your dollars, seeings the pennies no longer exist.


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What to do with leftover cilantro or mint?

My Man made a wonderful lamb last Tuesday and it was amazing!!! I know I said he doesn’t cook, but he does…sometimes😉. There was a little bit of it left over the next day and I was going to make a salad with it, but….he ate it when we got home from work. Oh well, on to the next idea. We had lots of leftover cilantro or coriander, and mint from the lamb and I wasn’t sure what I could I do with all those herbs. So, what do I do? Google ideas and poof. I found a recipe I LOVE. Vietnamese food. I LOVE Pho soup, spring rolls, salad rolls, vermicelli salad. OMG, I could eat this every day, but I would be a bit broke and overweight because of all the rice noodles.

After going through my pantry and the fridge, I saw that I had the leftover ingredients from previous recipes and could make shrimp rolls or vermicelli salad. I decided on both, but only wrote how to do the rolls. However, i added a link at the bottom for a good recipe.

Here’s what I had for leftovers :

  • 10 small shrimp
  • 1 piece of roasted chicken
  • 30 rice wraps
  • Hot sauce
  • Shredded carrots
  • Lots of Mint
  • Lots of cilantro
  • ½ seedless cucumber (I hate seeds in them)
  • 1 left over roast chicken meat

And here’s what I came up with shrimp rolls and vermicelli chicken salad.



Shrimp rolls

3 small shrimps

1 Rice rap stuff

1 Mint twig

2 Cilantro twigs

¼ piece of Lettuce

Small amount of Vermicelli (optional)

4 pieces of shredded carrots


1 ingredient Dipping sauce

  • Hoisin sauce and that’s it. Dip away.

If you like the peanut butter one, here’s one you could make with leftovers too.

Peanut Dipping Sauce

  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
  • 1/3 cup water



  • Cut up all the veggies and meat to be in slices so that it will fit lengthwise
  • Rice paper rolls – get a large enough bowl to fit the papers in, and poor very warm water in it. Dip 1 rice paper at a time into the water for 15-20 seconds. I hold it down and swirell them around. Make sure not to make them too soft, but slightly firm so you can roll them. Immediately remove from the water and place flat onto a cutting board.
  • Time to fill the rolls – Place a few pieces of shrimp, lettuce, carrot, cucumber, and if you want a small amount of noodles and a bit of cilantro and mint. Do not over stuff the roll!
  • Roll everything up tightly by gently pulling at the bottom of the roll and roll in the filling. Try to tuck the filling in as you go. I say try because those little suckers don’t want to stay in, but you’ll get it…after 3 tries😊
  • Place on plate or what I did I put 3 in my mouth and the other 3 I saved for work the next day. NOTE: they will stick to the bags, so add a bit of water to the storage bag, or do like someone else said and wrap each one in siran rap. Ah, for me, that was way too much work.
  • For the Dip – – just put the hoisin in small dipping bowl and voila. And for lunch, buy those salad dressing containers and put it in there.


Here’s another recipe I found online for the vermicelli salad that looked amazing, but had stuff in it I couldn’t eat like cabbage or hot peppers. WOW, talk about running to the bathroom for me😊.

Enjoy and if you have other recipe ideas for left overs, please share in the comments below.

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UPDATE to Tax preparation – I had to change software

In a previous post called http://lafemmeottawa.com/how-to-prepare-your-own-taxes-for-your-small-business/, I wrote that I had completed my taxes using Studio Press, and I did, but I didn’t send them in. I was waiting for Ma Man’s taxes. So, we started to do them together and…well, lets just say that we don’t see eye to eye on completing them. He has different forms than I do, and investments that I know nothing about. The software would just put up forms and you were to enter information, but you didn’t know what it was. So I suggested to him he hire a professional. When I went to complete the details in Studio tax for just myself, the information that uploaded was not the correct info I added for his salary and I couldn’t figure out how to change it. Nor would it let me remove his details.

All in all it was not an easy to use software. So, the next thing I did was send out a Facebook request to Ladies Who Lunch group asking for a tax expert and got responses, but I wanted them done that day and I know it’s not fair to have some drop everything for me, but I just wanted them off my To-Do-List. So, I decided I would try one more software. The next one listed on the CRA website was Simple Tax, and truth be told, it was..simple that is. It asked you easy questions and then let you select which forms you needed to add.

The only issue I had was trying to find how to add my business income and expenses for my part-time business, but I finally found it. It’s called “Business, Professional, and Commission Income”.

So, good news….I get a refund from CRA. Bad news is…they say 2 weeks, but we shall see.

While I appreciated doing it myself, I think next year I might pay someone again to do it simply because they know what they are doing and well, I was just trying to save money.

Lesson here..Cheaper is NOT always better. You could end up spending more time, which is dollars as well.

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How to prepare your own taxes for your small business

Taxes!!! Are you procrastinating like I am?

I am getting ready do my own taxes this year because I feel that the accountants I have used haven’t really been so amazing at saving me money and I hated having to meet them at their convenience i.e. he sometime shows up late to his own office.

So, it’s mid-April already and I haven’t done my taxes yet. I usually have everything ready end of March, but for some reason, I have found soooo many other things or excuses to do that felt way more important, or fun, like…

  • write this blog post
  • prep dinner
  • schedule in when to have a girls night
  • review Amazon
  • see what’s for sale on Kijiji

COME ON Tina!!! I know, but I just can’t seem to get into it. However, it’s crunch time. I finally sat down on Friday April 14th and read and listened to videos for a few hours on trying to figure out which software to use. I finally decided on Studio Tax. It’s not bad and they have videos to help you, which is very good, but if you’re partly self-employed, they don’t really have anything on that. So, I called a friend who use to work for them and she told me to use the Commission form as it has the income and expenses on it.

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Goal #7 Declutter – purging…starting with my closets

February is purging month, OK maybe March too because I have soooo much stuff.  The reason I started this goal was because of the book I’m reading called “The Happiness Project” by Grethchen Rubin. If you haven’t read it, you really need to get it. She’s got some great advice for each month. She talks about each project using herself and her family as the examples. I am loving it. In her book, January is the energy boosting month and one of the ways to do that is to declutter your space. If you want to buy it for cheaper, go to Amazon.ca and buy it used. After all, it’s not something you’re going to treasure forever. So, save your money and get it used.

Do you know what purging means?  For some, it may mean puking up what you just ate, but that’s not what I am talking about. I’m referring to getting rid of things you either no longer use, or are holding on to because it might come back, or because you spent money on it. That’s totally me! Holding on to it because I paid money, but the problem with that is it’s taking up space and making me angry because it’s just sitting there.

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Trip to Cozumel for $233

Are you sick of winter yet? I know I am! Even though I was born in January, I am NOT a fan of winter. I try to stay active, but mostly indoors. We just got 28 centimeters of snow, and to top it off, my car died. So, I’m stuck at home and will have to bring it to the shop to get new battery. In the meantime, I am working on February being declutter month, when I found a month old email from my Man showing me a trip to Cozumel for $233. Say whaaaaat?

We have already booked our vacation for end of February, but if you haven’t and need to get away, there are great deals going on. The one I mentioned above is from Yowdeals, but I have listed all the trip suppliers I have used and would recommend.

Here are my top 5 preferred booking places:

  1. Tripcentral (I like this one because they include the taxes, but I believe they all do now)
  2. Voyagearabais (They offer extra gifts like gift cards to St-Hubert or points to get things from their website)
  3. Selloffvacations
  4. Redtag
  5. Yowdeals (haven’t tried it, but will be for sure when we book our cruise for next Decemer)

What other ones do you use that works to save on travel expenses? Please share because I know we all love to save money.

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