Tag Archives: cheap

The Cheap Summer Experiment

Well here we are again at that time of year, when you want to have some summer fun yet do it on the cheap! How am I going to do it? Well after a certain meeting two weeks ago my income level is uncertain as of August 1st so I plan on doing an experiment. First I took radical steps to cut my costs: got rid of the land line because we are never home especially during the summer. So we now have one cell on a decent plan…$45and all the minutes this mom needs.I got rid of the Internet as well and will be blogging for free from cafes and the library. So after rent and bills it leaves me with $450 to go everything with. So what are my plans?  How am I going to cut costs in Toronto this summer and even have money to go away with?

The Cheap Summer Experiment

1. Take advantage of the FREE stuff to do here in the city. From public pools, libraries, and free events there is plenty to do here in town.

 We will only TTC to one event per week, the others we  can walk or bike too. The first event we will hit is Luminato.It was so worth going to last year and we had a blast! It starts June 6thand is a great way to start off your summer with a bang.

2. Use the money jar approach to spending.

Our jars are $4o for groceries per week, $7.50 for laundry, and $12.50 for other–all clothes are bought so there is no need for new stuff.

3.When shopping utilize coupons, points collection(ie SDM), and flyer shopping to get the best prices you can find.

 UsuallyI can spend $40 on meat for a month ( we eat meals that include meat about 4 times a week). Usually2 big bags of chicken pieces and a big club size of lean ground beef that I can stretch with TVP does us.

4. Have a garage sale of all that stuff you don’t need- use this money as summer fun money or use it for something you need. Other great ways are to utilize Craigslist or Kijiji to make a sale.

We are doing this and Roo especially is clearing out stuff as she becomes a preteen on a mission of a new room design which is one of our other summer projects.

By doing this well will have enough money to do what we really want late in the summer and that is take our first family vacation ever. We are headed to Nova Scotia and PEI for a couple of weeks. Roo will get to spend time with her cousins and grandma. For our trip we are using  the train to get there, and have FREE places to stay so we should be okay going with $500.  We can’t wait and are getting excited about our first real chance to travel.

Summer Vacation Planning on the Cheap

Roo and I are busy planning our summer and it looks like it may be a busy one..So far I have registered her for 1 week of sleep away ( got this for $50 because I applied early). I will be registering for one week of day camp as well and that will cost me another $50. Besides these two weeks of camp for Roo we will hopefully taking advantage of Via’s Great Summer Rates….kids go FREE! So for me and Roo to travel to Nova Scotia will cost us $349.26! It will be our very first family vacation. Roo has never been away for more then a weekend of camping.

We will stay with family so no accomodation expenses, things that are must do’s on our list:

-jaunt over to Prince Edward Island on the ferry and head to the National Park to the land of Anne of Green Gables. In grade 4 this year Roo has written about L M Montgomery and the island for 2 different projects.( Cost $70 ferry & $21 park entrance).

-Pier 21($13.50 for us 2) where Roo can learn about Canadian immigration and Citadel Hill both in Halifax (Family$30)

-The Bay of Fundy is another must hit.(free)

So we are looking at about $500 plus our train and we get our first family vacation in 10 years…

How are we going to afford it?  GST ($150), First ontario childtax credit($50), garage sale ($75?), saving $20 a check between now and then ($240), which should get us there…. so come late July we should be there, and be there for Natal Day(a Nova Scotia Holiday)….

Now thinking of summer there are lots of great Canadian spots to see. In my days before Roo I had travelling feet so what are my favorite Canadian spots or events?

  • Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia—a great spot to see the Atlantic from.
  • The Saint Lawrence Seaway–take a trip down the locks, this is a family history site as family land was taken to create these.
  • Algonquin National Park–I love to canoe the lakes here.
  • Stanley Park in Vancouver BC–you can get lost in here forever…It was here I first looked to the west and beyond.
  • Banff and Jasper are equal in great places to see in Alberta.

As for events:

  • The Busker Fest in Halifax–I volunteered at this event in its founding days and it still is a great festival.
  • The Canadian National Ex in Toronto-a family favorite!
  • Luminatio in Toronto-a new event in Toronto that celebrates the arts and its FREE for lots of great family fun.

There are lots of great ways to vacation here in Canada on the cheap. So get and enjoy this great place.

Gardening on the Cheap

 With the weather finally getting warmer here in Toronto it is time to think of gardening. On the weekend my favorite daughter Roo decided she was going to do yard work. I am really impressed how clean our garden is. It looks good for mid April.

As we look at gardening this year we will be doing mostly vegetables and fruit. We will have a few flowers though, and will be doing some herbs as well.

What is planned to go into ours: Tomatoes(both full size and cherry), strawberries, lettuce, red peppers, pumpkin, green onions, and for herbs we will do cilantro, basil, and parsley. Really a very basic garden for Toronto. How do I do it and do it on the cheap?

1. First I start everything almost from seeds, that is of what I buy. The only exception is what I get from friends  and that will be started strawberries and tomatoes. Seeds are a cheap way to go and your children get to watch the whole growth cycle.

2. Water in the eveing or morning only, and water roots not leaves. First it is the roots that need the water, not the leaves, as well by watering in the early morning or on in the eveing it takes longer to absorb and is better for the soil and plant and you dont end up wasting water. It is also good to do it at this time to save on the pocket book.

3. I also keep my tools on the minimum and to be honest I got them all for free or from the Dollar store. There is no need for expensive tools.

4. NO chemicals…most of the things you need to fight pests,etc can either be done organically or by using your compostable stuff. For weed killer try PULLING them. Just think of it as a workout.

Well it is evening here and with the weather being so nice a perfect eveing for a walk. So here is hoping that some of you are getting your gardens ready just like me. 

 

 

 

 

 

Menu Monday–

We are having company in this week- got to practice hospitality right! So what are we having this week:

Monday- Slow Cooker Lasgna ( I use just regular Lasgna Noodles for this–and it is yummy!) and a salad

Tuesday-chicken nuggets, french fries and corn

Wednesday- Breakfast for Dinner- Eggs, Toast and Bacon, sliced tomato

Thursday- Turkey Tacos ( a good cheap meal)

Friday- leftovers

Saturday-Chicken/Broccoli Bake( makes enough for two days) and it comes from a Campbell’s Label

Recipe: 

Cubed chicken breasts ( we use pieces)
1 1/3 cup of water
1 can 98% fat free cream of chicken
3/4 uncooked rice
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 cups frozen broccoli florets (we use fresh broccoli sometimes, both are great)
1 cup low fat cheddar cheese

Mix water & soup . .add pepper & onion powder
Mix in rice, broccoli, and chicken.

Pour mixture into baking dish. Cover and bake at 375 for 45 minutes.

Add cheese after you remove from the oven.

This recipe is great because you can really play around with the ingredients.
Campells has tons of recipes that you can easily modify to fit a healthy diet. We love Campbells here in this house!

Sunday-leftover bake!

 Christmas Tip Number# 14–Okay folks we have less then a month to go, if your decorations arent out, and up this is the week to get going on that! Mine are up and we can feel the Christmas spirit here at home!

Today I am so very thankful for a returned wallet! I lost my wallet on the street yesterday and late last night a kind stranger returned it! Can you say honesty in Toronto is alive and real! Thank you Ali!

Now if you want to you can find more meny planning over at the one and only organizing junkies blog