Tag Archives: money

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.

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WWFMW: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Save Money

Many  of you may know that going as green (envirment friendly) has been one of my major tasks for the last two years..

This year I stepped it up a bit. I got cloth bags that i picked up for $.99 each at my local  grocery store. No more $.05  a bag each time I shop and I help the enviroment too.

I bought reusable containers at the dollar store for Roo’s lunch, so no more plastic baggies or juicebox garbage.

By doing little things like these I find that going green and being cheap go hand in hand.

Now off to read what is working for everyone else this week over at Rocks in My Dryer .

Is Being Cheap or Frugal Costing You Money?

I read this interesting article on Yahoo today and wanted to share my thoughts on how being cheap frugal need not cost us money.

First I never want my cheapness to cost me money over the long haul! That means I do NOT buy on credit. I love Dave Ramsey’s money envelopes..and follow a budget. I would never think to buy a car, or furniture no matter how needed on credit. For me this is a major no no. Why? Because of the interest attached, every company wants your credit purchases it means money in the bank for them, but for you it means paying more unless you pay off your credit card every month- lets be real how many people pay off their balance each month? Very few.

Right now there are 3 what I consider large purchases that I want to make this year- a laptop, a new sofa bed, a trip to Nova Scotia for Christmas…all are being SAVED for, and will not be bought till cash is on hand. Then I will look for deals and compare prices and sometimes I can even go into a store and ask for a cash discount and get it. As for the trip I am saving money each month so that I can buy my tickets in the early fall, I hope to take my Roo by train to finally see the ocean.

I do shop sale flyers and coupon collect but I don’t buy what I don’t need or can not use in rotation, and because our household is just the two of us well buying in bulk does not make sense except for buying packages of meat. This I take home and break down into smaller packages and it works this way I never spend more then $40 a month on meat. I only ever buy enough for 2 months at a max because I know sales rotate and come back.

As for buying the newest and latest well that just isn’t me…I can wait. Do I really need a plasma screen? does Roo need that latest video game? The answer is NO..do we lose out because we don’t have the latest find? I don’t think so.

As for clothes there is no reason for anyone to ever buy these on credit not with the many garage sales, discount stores,  etc offering great buys. I have 3 leather purses all bought for less the$10 and they all get wonderful compliments. I buy GAP, ROOTS, and the like all at Value Village for my daughter and most are hardly worn, which is good for me and the pocket book.  I don’t buy the latest trends and wear mostly classics found at Value Village, other consignment stores or Winners.

There are many ways to that being frugal ie stocking up at sales, could cost us money if we are not careful, but if you are careful use a budget, pay cash, and plan for larger purchases then it need not cost you a penny in-fact you could end up saving many more and isn’t that what being frugal is all about.

Living on Less

Some of my regular readers know that I live on really what is very little in Canada’s largest urban center. This is what has forced me to be cheaper later maybe I can then be Cheap and after that maybe I can graduate to frugal. This week here in Toronto a study came out about poverty in Canada and more specifically here in To and the number of children. Did you know that 1 in 8 children live in hoseholds that are well below the poverty line, and that gap is growing rapidly here in the city..

I am going to give you some facts:

A single mom who is forced onto welfare( and many are because of unfair IE rules here in Canada) who has one child receives $874.00

She will then receive $ 266.00 for Child tax on the 20th

If she is volunteering she will receive another $100 for a bus pass.

So a mom with one child lives off of $1240 at the most…this is the amount that I receive.

How does that get spent here in the big city?

Here is my budget:

Rent $700 ( for a small basement 1 bedroom that is actually an illegal apt)

Phone and Internet ( the net is my only luxury but it is also a tool for job hunting and school work for Roo) $74.10

Food-$200 ( tomorrow I will write about how I make $200 stretch)

Busfare- $75

Laundry-$40

Personal Grooming and Cleaning Supplies -$15

After School Program for Roo-$10

School Expenses(field trips, pizza lunch, scholastic etc) -$20

 Clothing $25

which leaves me with just over $100 for anything else that may come up like the dentist which is not covered properly here in To for poor adults.

In 10 years Roo has never been on a vacation – she doesn’t know what they are. She has never spent a holiday with my family who live in Nova Scotia. These are the realities. Does this bug me? No it is my reality for now..

I am job hunting and luckily I have been given the tools that most months I can squeak by. I will admit with things like Christmas and 2 birthdays around the corner I do worry. I have never wanted Roo to know how poor we are so I don’t talk money with her. I try and teach her that some times mom can say yes to a request and some times the answer is a no. I am trying to teach contentment with what we have.

With that said and done I am really trying hard to live with less. I do this most months by shopping well and entering lots of contests which have given Roo and I some fun times in the city, however we would love that trip to Whistler to play in the snow, or one of the computers , which are only a couple of the contests I am entering all the time right now.

So any ideas for living on less but living well?