Major Changes Ahead for Ontario Works

Okay some of my readers know I receive sociall assistance ( aka welfare or Ontario Works). Not that I dont want to work I do but solo parenting a special needs child with a lack of support makes the typical job not in the cards right now.

Well today I met with my worker who presented documentation to me that will change my benefits to a huge degree come August 1, 2008!

Here is what is happening:

No longer will Ontario Work recipients who are parents receive:

BASIC needs allowance for children — a loss of $211 dollars to this parent of one child per month

No Clothing Allowances— loss of $180 per year

total losses equal $2712.00 for this mom!

What do we get to replace this?

The Ontario Child tax Credit $50

and the end of the claw back the National Child Tax Supplement  $121.76 for this parent

so a gain back of only $171.76 per month

Total gainback per annum $2055.00

Total overall losses per annum $657 overall for this mom

So basically as of August 1st instead of having a $50 positive cash flow from the introduction of the Ontario Child Tax Credit there will be a $50 per month loss with the expectation that we stretch it     further to include back to school and winter clothing expenses. As one who already lives as cheaply as I can this is going to hurt. It means getting mean and leaner then lean and I thought I was already pushing the limits of creativity but this will push me to do better.

This means that us “poorer” parents in Ontario will in no means benefit by the creation of the the Ontario Child Tax Credit.

Mother’s Day — Lets think of FREE Ways to Show We Care

Well Mom’s Day is around the corner and well Im cheap and a mom who has a mom so of course I want to show my mom I care but I want to be frugal about it!

So what are some options for me?

1. Write your mom a poem perhaps a haiku about what she means to you.

2. Make a card( or ecard ) There are lots of sites for help with this one.

3. Get a canvas and paint her a picture

4.Decorate a small glass vase or perhaps a cup..you can fill it with flowers you pick.

5. Clean the house

6. Invite her to do one of her favorite activities whether it is a game of Scrabble, doing a puzzle, playing a card game, going for a walk.

7. Give your mom a manicure (great for tween girls to do).

Now what am I really doing well…. for my mom she is getting  a framed pic of me and Roo and the frame was decorated by Roo.

I wonder what Roo is going to do? Well I hope you all have a great day on Sunday and dont forget your Mom’s.

Devasting Fire hits Salvation Army

Some of my readers know this fact about me: I volunteer at the Salvation Army Food Bank twice a week. Yesterday the main depot that maintains our supply of food had a huge fire. Four million in food, clothing and toys are gone! These supplies would of been to help families in need in the GTA. There is an immediate need of FOOD…but where should you take it too. Your local depot is in need this week especially. You can find the one closest to you by checking out 211Toronto. Follow the links under foodbanks. If you are one of my far away readers and you are moved to help you can donate through the main Salvation Army site. Right now the need is for getting food to the local depots.

Menu Monday–Being Frugal and Healthy

Well here it is Monday again and time for me to plan my menu but wait..what has changed from last week. I have decided that I am tired of being the fat cheap momma. I am now the frugal healthy melting momma. I am using the Isagenixprogram to help me melt. So two of my meals a day are meal replaced with yummy chocolate shakes. Yes they do taste good! With that said I am replacing breakfast and lunch with them and having a healthy dinner with Roo while still watching my budget…after all my cheap, um frugal habits arent going anywhere. Roo is taking the Isakids multi Vitamin and getting a well balanced diet after all she is ten.

So avaiblabe for Roo for breakfast

Cereal( Rice Krispes, MultiGrain Cherrios or Corn Flakes), eggs, wholewheat toast, orange juice and maybe whole grain pancakes on Saturday. Fresh fruit: mango, strawberries, apples, and grapes are in the house.

For lunch ( she eats at school)- bagels, wholewheat rolls, cooked ham, turkey meat,chicken, cheese, yogurt tubes, salad fixings, and serving size pudding or fruit cups are in the house. As well chicken noodle soup or pasta are available too.

For our dinner menu-

Monday-Grilled chicken breast salad–making this with spinach leaves, chicken breast( sale item), tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, a 1/2 cup of croutons and a low fat dressing….lucky for me Roo loves salad!

Tuesday-Turkey Sausage(again sale item), wholegrain brown rice, broccoli

Wednesday-  Easy Veggie Chili with TVP, roll

Thursday- Chesse Omelettes, tomato slices

Friday-Homemade Cheese Pizza and a garden salad

Saturday- we have been invited out

Sunday- TVP taco salad

Now if you want to follow my journey as I melt you can read me over at Life and Times of a Melting momma. I will be blogging my journey to that healthier me.  For now I am off to fellow blogger, Canuck, and great giveaway host Laura’s to read what everyone is cooking this week.Thanks again for  the task manager Laura!

Strike Over- Thank Goodness

Okay this cheap mom is glad that the province stepped in and ended the TTC strike here in Toronto. With the strike hitting on a weekend it really wasn’t the commuters who were effected most but those that rely on the system as there only viable means of transportation: the working poor who could not afford the taxi fare, car rental or purchase of a bike. They  were the ones left with difficult choices. I want to say Thank God for decent weather while all this was playing out. That was the one silver lining.

This afternoon I am venturing out and this cheap mom will be hoofing it. I am walking over to a friends for dinner and conversation. Roo will ride her bike. My friend Amber and I are getting together to talk Isagenix. More and more as I think of the future I think about my health and the fact I need to lose weight. Is Isagenix  the way to go? I  am not sure but after trying out the shake and mineral supplement I am doing well with a 10 pound weight loss in a week. My only problem with this is its price.

Transit Strike

Well here in Toronto our Transit system the TTC went on strike at midnight with less then one hours notice to the city, it’s drivers, and most importantly us riders. As one who was out last night. Roo and I were out at a fundraiser till 10:30 this could of really caught us off guard if we had been out one hour later.To give this kind of notice after telling us we would have 48 hours notice of a strike  well lets put it this way : it is unethical!

As one who relies on transit to get around as I do not own a car( really living in East York) there isnt the necessity for one. Who does this strike effect most? The working poor, those on disability. and those on welfare..others can quickly come up with contingency plans and even buy a bike, take a taxi etc where as two days before end of the month cheques most will be left at home or hoofing it. For me I will be walking with Roo everywhere we go till this is over. I have no choice, taxis and such are out for this mom on a strict budget. There are many of us hurting over this strike dear workers who did turn down a decent deal. As is on a North American basis our drivers are rather well paid, have a decent package overall, and a union that  works for them not too shabby.

This mom this summer is going to buy a bike for me to  get rid of my reliance on the TTC, so guess they just lost a fare…on most of my trips except long ones or ones from Jan- mar.

 As for the short time line to this strike I think there are some higher ups who are going to have to start answering a bunch of questions because drivers, subway operators and us riders were all left in unsafe places at midnight.

Now for those who do have to get around :

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Carpool- Facebook, Craigslist, and Smart Commute are all good sources to use.

2. Bike- if you have the cash to buy one, you can get an adult one for less then $200 new or the Community bicyle network has some for about $75.

3. Go Train–now they are NOT putting on any extra service so be mindful of this and be prepared to wait.

4. As for the taxis in town they will be very busy so no appointments or prebooking allowed so call at least 30 minutes before you need it.

Menu Monday- More Cheap Cooking

With me really trying to tighten my budget with goals in mind.  Here is my Menu for the week.

Breakfasts-

oatmeal, Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Waffles, orange juice

Lunches-

cooked ham, PB and J, chicken noodle soup, salald, lentil soup, bagel pizza

Monday-Veggie Noodle Chili, and biscuts

Tuesday-spaghetti pie and salad 

Wednesday-eggs, bagels, tomato

Thursday-leftovers

Friday-BBQ (hotdogs) and potato chips

Saturday- TVP  tacos

Sunday- Tuna casserolle, and salad

Now I am off to here to see what is cooking for everyone else this week.