Tag Archives: How to

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.

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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. 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Do a 4 Day Weekend with Kids

Here in Toronto many of us parents are waking up to a 4 day weekend with our children.  Roo’s school has a Teacher Development Day today so she is off and on Monday we celebrate our new Satuatory holiday Family Day..So What do we do with the kids? Besides argue about computer time that…

Here in Toronto there are a number of things that are discounted especially on Mondaythat are great for kids, or even tweens like mine..

1. Casa Loma is letting kids in free with paying adult

2. If you are like me your child got a coupon for a free admit one child at the ROM. They have a really cool dinosaur display on right now.

3.At the Zoo Admission if half price.

4. There is a Family Day festival in the Beaches –It is scheduled to be outdoor fun but if it is COLD it will be moved indoor..

5. There is always the Bata Shoe Museum which is offering crafts for the kids..and admission is free.

6. Then there is one of our favorite places- Riverdale farm where the admission is free too.

Then there are the things that you can do closer to home….

7. How about going for a skate? All our local rinks have leisure skates and they are free.

8. We will be going tobogganing..with all the snow we have getting lately why not get out and have some fun it, just make sure you bundle up.

9. With this being reading month why not hit up you local library but not on Monday they are closed.

Now if you really don’t want to brave the outside world and want to stay home there is plenty to do inside..

10. You can bake something together–why not break out a recipe and bake together..Roo and I are making muffins.

11. Break out the craft supplies and see who can make the zaniest art piece

12. Make play-dough and create a sculpture of your family

13. Play board games

14. Have a movie marathon of family favorites( we are doing this tonight).

So there is lots to do even for us cheap frugal parents. So take time and enjoy your children this weekend. I know it is something you wont regret!

Key to Frugalness: Organization

Well this week it has been one of organization. I have been purging big time. I have  bags ready to go- 2 to Value Village and one to the local kids consignment store–so for all the work I will in the end get back a few dollars too. I am finding that the key to being cheap frugal is being organized. What helps me?

1. A Calendar– 4 times a year I do what I am doing this week, each day I am attacking one room of my apartment. This morning it was my under the stairs storage area. While I am cleaning and purging I am also noting what I already have on hand so I don’t dare splurge and buy more of something I don’t need. When I do my daughter’s bedroom I will inventory clothes on hand and what she might need for the up coming year that way as I am out I know what is on that list.( this list is in my purse- in my daily calendar in the back so I am not tempted).

2. Menu planning with flyer’s in hand- for me this works and saves me money. I spend about 30 minutes on Saturday morning looking through them and planning my menu for the week accordingly. If it is a real good buy I try and stock up( but I never by more then what can be used in 8 weeks) Why? Because I find that the sales cycle and will be on sale again within 6 to 8 weeks.

3. A budget- I only have a certain amount that I spend no mater what each week. For me a single mom that budget is no more then $50 for groceries ( and I use coupons when I shop).

By doing this I find I am able to stay on top of things and at the same time be frugal. For me this was one of the biggest challenges to cheapness.

Greening the Grocery List

I think most of are trying to find ways that we can go green and be enviromentally friendly. I know I am! I am also looking for ways to be cheap (frugal). For me I really can do both.

1. The first thing I have done and am continuing to do is to do meatless meals in every week’s menu plan. I try and go meatless at least twice per week.

2. Second I shop with reusable bags and NOT plastic bags.

3. Buy seasonal and local. This not only saves on the enviroment but saves on the pocket book as well.

4. I try to bulk buy as well so I can save on trips to the grocery store and cut costs at the same time.

5.Visit your local farmer markets when you can. Great way to shop local and meet some locals too! 

Planning for the Future

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.

What Works for Me: Volunteering

Yesterday I spent several hours doing something I love to do and that is volunteer. It started out in the morning with me at my local food bank.I was there because right now they have a special project. For those of you who are in Toronto, you may remember a building collapsed on the Danforth a few weeks ago leaving 24 homeless. Well most are still homeless and are in one of the city’s shelters. I was sorting and helping one of the families that stopped by pick out a few things that they so need. For all the families the Need is great, especially for housing in East York where all want to live again. If you have towels, bedding, clothing furniture or the like and want to donate it, email me and I will let you know where you can drop it off. It fills my spirit to have chance to give what I can and for me that is time.

Last night I was again out volunteering my time at my daughter’s school where I am vice chair of the council and we met to discuss matters that needed discussion for about 2 hours.

I spend about 75 hours a month doing work for and on the behalf of others and serving in my community because I believe if we give our time we can make this world a wee bit better place. For me volunteering helps not only others but me. It helps me as a mom who isnt out in the work world right now feel like I am contributing to the betterment of my community. It helps my spirit. It works for me..If you aren’t sure about volunteering-try it, you may find you get more out of it then you give..There are many groups that always need volunteers: food-banks, soup kitchens, senior centers, Meals to Wheels, etc..the list is long and they would be glad to have your time and service.   

Well I am off to my friend Shannon’s to find out what is working for others this week.