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.
While at Lifefest recently I had the chance to sample Dove Chocolate and well feel in love with the Dusk flavor! Just last week I got an email telling me that Dove was looking for 300 Canadian women who are active on the net ie bloggers to give a mountain full of chocolate for them to share! Well today FedEx delivered a big box of yummy chocolate as well as a few freebies: a great size tote bag that will be great for trips to the library, a wine glass that I promptly filled with Dark and Milk Chocolate and gave it to my upstairs neighbour, a pedicure pamper kit, and oddles of chocolate! I receive 20 purse packs to share with friends, as well as 4 tablet bars and 3 cartons of the bite size chocolate. Tomorrow all of Roo’s teachers and EA’s are getting a chocolate care package. The rest will go to some of my girlfriends. Don’t you wish you lived close by? Now if you live in Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal they are still looking for women between the ages of 25-45 who want to sample and share. Follow this link to get the details!
Now if you want to try this yummy chocolate in a great recipe try this great mini cakes one:
Yield: Makes 8 4-ounce cakes
6 DOVE® Dark Chocolate 1.3 oz Singles Bars or 29 DOVE® Dark Chocolate Miniatures
8 ounces butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
5 eggs, room temperature (about 70 degrees)
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour, sifted
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Butter eight 4-ounce individual ramekins and set aside.
- Over a double boiler, melt the chocolate and the butter. Keep it hot.
- In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, add the eggs and sugar, and begin to whip the mixture on medium speed. Beat for 2 to 3 minutes, just until it turns lemony yellow (not pale or white).
- Meanwhile, whisk the all-purpose flour into the hot chocolate mixture.
- Add the hot chocolate mixture all at once to the mixing bowl containing the egg and sugar mixture, and whisk for 1 minute.
- Remove from the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Divide evenly among the containers filling up just to the top. Place on a baking pan.
- Bake for 5 minutes. Turn the pan one-half turn and continue baking for 3 to 4 minutes more. The cakes will be firm on the outside rim and erupting in the center. Lightly dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve immediately.
I have been thinking alot lately about the future I want and dream about for my daughter and I. I have decided that as she enters junior high and high school I don’t want her here in the city. It is very expensive to live here especially doing it on $1200 a month. So where do we go, I am investigating several possibilities.
While doing this I am trying to also make sure I am prepared for whatever the future might hold. I am doing my will, and learning all I can about fiances here in Canada. There is FREE help out there for us Cannucks. The Canadian Financial Security Program offers free downloadable books that can help us achieve our goals whatever they are. There is the Will Preparation Kit, Shopping for Life Insurance, Starting a Home Business and Investing Wisely. Why not take a read? For us cheapies out there knowledge equals power and the ability to do more while being prepared.
Ok I am cheap! well frugal, I am always on the look out for freebies. So how does this cannuck do it? and how do I work the freebies to benefit my pocket book?
First I keep my eyes open to the wide variety of FREE events that happen in a city the size of Toronto. At FREE events you often find lots of samples and other freebies, which gives you a chance to try a product that you might not of. Roo and I get to at least one FREE event a month and they are always lots of fun! Free entertainment plus free samples equals a good time out for mom and daughter.
To save money at the grocery store I coupon collect for the things we love and I know my prices, so say Royale goes on sale for $3.99 and I have a $1 off coupon I know I am getting a good deal, not quite a freebie with this example but sometimes my coupons get me things for FREE.
I also watch the forum on Frugal Shopper for sites that are offering samples. Samples can be a very good thing! Marcelle(makeup) offered up a great freebie recently fullsize lipstick and eyeshadow. It really was like an early Christmas present.
The other way to get freebies is to sign up for the companies email lists that you love: I often get emailed and snail mailed coupons to try products just released to market and this works for me.
All these ways help me stay in freebie heaven at least once a month. I love my mailbox! So this works for me. Now if you want to know what works for others go and visit at Shannon’s for all the latest of what works!