Sunday, January 6, 2019

12 More Sleeps!

Zihuatanejo Mexico (borrowed pic)
Only 12 more sleeps until we jet off to sunny warm Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo Mexico!  This time of year is windy, rainy and dreary here on Vancouver Island so this is a perfect time to take off for 8 nights of rest and relaxation. I've checked the weather and it is supposed to be a low at night of 23 and high of 32 degrees celcius the entire time we are gone.   I have started gathering items to pack so that I don't forget anything.  We pack much lighter than we used to but it still requires some planning.  We will check 1 piece of luggage between the two of us this trip for $30 each direction as have too many lotions/liquids to go carry on only.  We have decided however to not do advance seat selection.  Odds are the computer will assign us seats together (Westjet automatically assigns your seats 24 hours out if you have not paid for seat selection).  Absolute worst case scenario we will not be sitting together but since we both travel a lot and can occupy ourselves this is not the end of the world.  We are saving $120 by doing this - money much better spent on meals out in Mexico in my opinion.  I usually only ever pay for seat selection on those airlines that might overbook the aircraft (Air Canada is our least favorite airline for doing this).  Westjet does not overbook, has never done so since they started 20 years ago - that is one of their policies I love and count on. 


I still have terrible tendonitis on my right foot - for 3 weeks now.  I went to the Dr and he prescribed a topical anti-inflammatory so it is a little less painful but doesn't seem to be getting better even though I have limited my activity level.  I will not let it bother me in Mexico, we will try and do the best we can with it and take cabs instead of walking as much as we normally do.  A rum and coke or two might help as well!


Our generator arrived on Friday, I was very thankful it got here before hubby jets off tomorrow for a business trip.  It took 2 delivery guys to move it, weighs a ton.  We spent extra money on a wheel package.  Hubby unpacked it last night and found a spot for it in the garage.  Today he has to go get another gas can to put the right combo of oil and gas in and test it out.  We have had several more windstorms since Christmas - no power outages but now we have a form of insurance.

2019 will bring higher bills - just got our truck insurance bill that is $1330 for the year.  We also received our tax assessment on the house.  It went up in value by $100,000 in one year!  That is good news in one way and bad news in another.  While we are happy our house is a higher value this means our taxes will be higher - I've readjusted our budget for house taxes which we pay in full each June. 

We have a 2019 budget - It is annual and it is fluid.  When we hit limits throughout the year we adjust other categories to allow for overages.  Last year I was within $1000 on all of our bills (overage).  Our budget is based on 90% of our income, the rest going to extra savings so there is always wiggle room if we go over.  Most people don't have a household budget, they just wing it.  We don't do that as pay all of our big bills out of pocket incurring zero interest - pay every credit card off in full every month (usually in advance as we pay them about 3 x per month).  That requires us to know from year to year how much to expect to have in the account for house insurance, condo insurance, house tax, condo tax, and our vehicle insurances.  Mom lives in the condo we own.  One day when she can no longer do so we will sell that and those funds will go back into our retirement portfolio.  In the mean time that condo has gone up in value as well.  Our budget for travel this year is half what it was last year - after our trip to Mexico which we need to pay for hotels and meals we really have no trips planned.  I have penciled off a couple of weeks in the year to not book business but we will likely stay closer to home, maybe rent a house for a week or two on an island nearby and hang out with Buddy.  I think we are a little tired from all the touring and traveling we have done in the last 7 years.  We still love travel, I am sure we will be booking another trip in no time lol.  Even though we have no big plans I am putting several hundred dollars into the travel account each month so the money will be there when we decide what we are doing.  Future trips will definitely include Egypt (I've been but hubby hasn't), Germany and Thailand.  We both expect to not want to travel as much in about 10 years time so are spending/saving the money to do so now. 

In the saving money category this week I have a frugal win.  Buddy is super-fussy as to what food he likes.  He will only eat dry food in combo with wet food and we have gone through about 10 different ones to get to this one that he likes and that is good for him.  He's been on it for about 1 year now and I was previously told by the pet food store that they only made tiny 2.5 lb (1.14 kg) bags of it for $19.99.  Not cheap but I am not feeding my dog crap food.  Plus he doesn't eat very much so we can easily afford it.  This week I went to a different location of the same chain and found a 14 lb bag (6.36kg).  Based on the small bag being $22.39 including tax and the big bag $62.71 including tax I am paying $125.38 when I buy the small bags versus the big one - a savings of $62.67!  I will only go to the store that stocks the large bag now, it is a tiny bit further away but worth the extra drive.  I will transfer the kibble to an air tight container so it stays fresh - Buddy was keenly interested in the bag of food that is about the same size and weight of him.  This should last 4-6 months now.  I do feel sorry for those big dog owners that go through a bag of food this size every couple of weeks.

The house was entirely de-Christmasfied and decorations put away for another year on New Years Day, as is always our ritual.  Hubby even took down the outside lights as I was doing the inside.  We like to start the year off fresh and with a clean house.  As a reward for all that hard work we went to our revamped local movie theatre and watched Aquaman in 3D.  My stepson #2 gave us a GC for our local small town movie theatre which is such a great gift.  Less stuff - more experiences!  The movie was good but my favorite part of it was all the sea creatures in 3 D animation.  Worth it to see that part alone. 

Happy weekend everyone!

30 comments:

  1. I am so jealous of your trip! Hope you have a wonderful time.
    A taxi sounds like a good idea since your foot is bothering you.
    And great frugal wins. I count the generator as an extreme frugal win, for no reason other than to insure against freezer spoilage.

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    1. Yeah, I also want to be able to make a cup of tea lol. As long as I can plug in our electric grill and crock pot we can cook without the bbq even if there is a terrible storm a brewing

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  2. We won't be in Zihuatanejo area until the second week of February, so we'll miss you by a few days.

    We love when airlines overbook! That policy with Air Canada got us a pretty much free trip to Barbados last year. :-)

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    1. I was wondering if you would be in the area since you are in Mexico City right now - lol wouldn't that have been a coincidence! I guess I will love the overbooking policy better when our time is more flexible. I have also gotten a free ticket before (NW) when I didn't have to be anywhere and they overbooked but on our tight business schedule it is tough right now. You did well on those flights though!

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    2. Hoping we will bump into you guys somewhere down the road.

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  3. I know you will enjoy the warmth and the sun!! Look forward to your posts about your travels!

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    1. Thanks Linda, I will take lots of pictures, even some underwater ones!

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  4. Sound busy and happy traveling.
    Coffee is on

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  5. We also will never, ever fly with AC again after too many mess ups years ago. I hear it's not gotten better! We LOVE WJ and we never book our seats. They always put us together and we go on the site 24 hours before our flight. About half the time we choose new seats and the other half we like what they assigned us. There is no fee to do this and we've never had an issue. Have a great trip! Chy

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    1. I am with you, even as a travel agent 20 years ago I hated AC for all they did to my clients. A crappy flight can ruin a holiday (although I don't let that happen to me, I try and still have a good time). We have one client that has AC Corporate rewards and that has requested we book AC for that reason, hubby hates it but we do it. His last flight royally screwed up and he ended up in a middle seat on a different flight to Toronto, terribly uncomfortable when he is flying on business. We complained. 2 months later we got a coupon for 30% off any future flight for 2. We are unlikely to use it, except maybe for that client again. We do the same with WJ, look at the seats they assigned and move them if necessary. I do love that the computer assigns something in the mean time though, a good policy!

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  6. Congratulations on the generator. We have one and it's a comfort to know it's there if we need it. Also congrats on the increase in value to your house in only one year. That's simply incredible, but I'm sure the tax bill is substantially higher. Our dog is fussy about food too. We add a small taste of leftover meat from dinner (usually chicken) cut up small, or some cooked veggies or something to encourage her to eat and it usually works.

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    1. Our house increased by 4 percent each year in 2013,2014 and 2015 then 2016 went up by 17 percent and this year skyrocketed. Vancouver housing is stupidly priced like San Francisco or Seattle so a lot of people there are moving to Victoria and that is driving the price up there - those from Victoria are moving towards our area which is driving the price up here. We have no intention to sell until we are old and no longer want a house so we will just have to pay the higher taxes

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    2. Forgot to mention we have to use bribery food too - Buddy can go days without eating if he gets in the mood, drives us crazy. Apparently poodles are like that. He is so lean to begin with (some would say skinny but we try everything!) that I can't let that happen so we bribe the little bugger.

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  7. Sounds like a fabulous vacation, and the perfect time to take it! Nice score on the dog food pricing.

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    1. Yes, you know what the Northwest winters are like, definitely need some sunshine!

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  8. Oh, that trip sounds so good. I've only ever been to the border towns of Baja California... Temecula, Tijuana, Rosarito, etc. Sorry about the tendonitis. That sound awful. I've had it in my elbow (and bursitis in my hips and shoulders) but never in the foot. Uf!

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    1. The border towns are so different than other parts of Mexico. This area is the state of Guerrero. Right now the USA says not to go due to drug crime - but Canada says it is ok to go to Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo. As a result there aren't as many tourists here like Puerto Vallarta and Cancun, I am looking foward to that part. I could easily live in Mexico, maybe one day (although we loved Spain, stunningly beautiful!)

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  9. Sorry about your foot pain but I know that you will push through it on the trip and have a wonderful vacation. There is no way I could sit in a middle seat so if on my own I book an aisle and if together on a 3 and 3 layout we get two aisles. However the cost is getting very high especially on Westjet, $25.00 from YLW to YEG OW.

    After our 6 week European vacation this spring we have nothing planned other that our annual four months here in the RV in Mazatlan. But I am thinking about Egypt for 2020. If you see a deal let me know.

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    1. Yeah I would have never paid the Comox Calgary part but the $120 was just the calgary ixtapa part return, really high but I guess they do what they need to to compete. Regarding Egypt things are still shaky there, they bombed a tourist bus near the pyramids so I am not sure when we will go, likely within the next 4-5 years. I would like to go see the Red Sea area, didn't get to that part last time either. Egypt was so bloody amazing though, it blew my mind

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    2. Meant to say I recommend going in April, cooler temperatures. I was there in June and it was 45 degrees but I was with a travel agent group so had no choice

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  10. Generator is a good idea - it seems that the Pacific coast is getting hit harder and more frequently lately. Better to have it and not use than need it and not have it! Sorry about your foot - yikes! Are you able to take Aleve with Naproxen? I recently sprained a finger during volleyball and a combination of compression, icing and 2 Aleve per day, then 1 per day really helped with the swelling and pain. Back to normal now thankfully. I've de-Christmasfied my house too - once Christmas is done I want to put it all away - I can barely make it to New Year's lol! I like being all back to normal again. Great steal on food for Buddy! One of my cats is quite finicky so have to buy top quality for her whereas the other will eat anything I give her!

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    1. Funny - I tried Naproxen (costco brand just like Aleve) last week. I didn't really have enough time to try it out though as the Dr prescribed that other medication and I am not allowed to take anything at all in terms of another anti-inflammatory while using it 3 x per day (I am however able to drink, super critical for our holiday lol) Glad your finger is better!

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  11. My husband gets tendonitis in his foot usually happens around Christmas when he helps at a special event requiring hours of standing. This time around the doc gave him steroids which worked like magic. Our house values are climbing like crazy over here too.

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    1. I was a little shocked at the increase in value, it was very steep compared to other years at 16 and 20 percent. Our condo went up 27 percent and is also higher than we thought too. Apparently single family bungalows increased the most here because they are highest in demand. I intend to stay here until we can no longer manage it (even if that means hiring people as hubby is 8 years older and I don't think I will be able to do it all in later years and neither will he) The topical the Dr gave me is 8x stronger than Voltaren, definitely works for a period of time to take away the pain. It seems a tiny bit better, I will just have to take it easy in Mexico

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  12. Happy New Year! This upcoming vacation sounds like fun! Last time I took a winter vacation in the sun was in 1997...we went to Barbados and we had a blast! After we had a diabetic cat and that cancelled a lot of trips for about 7 years....and So is allergic to sun...so no lounge and bake!
    I can understand that you want to travel yet stay closer because I feel the same way. Next vacation is plane free....

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    1. We don't really bake in the sun, tend to find an umbrella and enjoy the shade far more. Walks on the beach will be shorter this year though. We like to take Buddy on Vacation so that is part of the renting a pet-free home on a nearby island.

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  13. We are going on a cruise in a few days. It's mostly paid for by TBGs company. We are splurging on a booze package, which isn't what I'd choose, but the man who earns the cruise subsidy and money wants to have a good time.

    We don't budget per-se. TBG gets a large bonus each year and we bank it. Since we save for retirement too, we don't worry to much about building a surplus. The bonus is used for emergencies and months where we go over budget. There is a fixed amount I insist we start with each year. So far, that is working OK. I'll probably start going to a place that "pays for your time" when you "donate" platelets. They put it on a Visa card, which I will use to cover Teddy's steep monthly vet bills. Strange plan, huh?

    Enjoy your trip!

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  14. Well if the man that earned the cruise wants a booze package then he shall have lol. We can't sell blood in Canada but if they did I might do that too!....except I faint too easy and the last time I donated blood they asked me to not come back due to low blood pressure. It took me 4 hours to be able to leave their office

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