Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Drinking only water saves money

Water is cheap. Yes, I am living in that part of the world where tap water is safe to drink. Some places, people are not that lucky. They have to buy bottled water.
Are we using this water carefully? Some people still get bottled water to drink. Comparing to other options like juices and soft drinks, it is still cheaper.
Water is flavourless. So it won't affect the taste of the food we are eating.  That is good if you don't like to have sugar to change the real taste os your food. 

Sometimes I get soft drinks along with a combo, when I eat out. The food and the drink together will be too much calories for sure. Usually, I keep the can of pop and take it home. The carbonated drink can cure my cravings for eating out a later day.

The soft drinks have a lot of sugar, just like juices. Both can cause acid erosion to teeth. Erosion of teeth will give severe sensitivity to teeth, especially the anterior ones. Fixing that will cost money. Think about the other health problems like diabetics. 

But think about just water. It is plane, simple and boring. I might add a lemon wedge to it some time to get some taste. 

Think of not buying combo at fast food restaurants. Instead of a big Mac combo, we can order just the sand witch. May be add a small fry to it. But skip the drink. That is still cheaper than buying the combo.  Drinking just water will reduce the calorie intake too. 

Drinking water before and during the meals will makes us feel fuller, and there by reducing the food intake. You may experience some weight loss.

When we go for long trips during summer, I like to freeze my water bottles overnight. Some cold water to use in the beginning of the trip and the frozen bottles are to keep the food cooler. When the day heats us, the water melts and still be cold enough to drink. 

You will find that you are not spending money on soft drinks any more. May be a water bottle and tap water will help to keep few bucks in the pocket. Then think of the added advantage of having better teeth and better health. 

So, do you agree that drinking only water is frugal?

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Quick and Easy DIY body wash

In the previous post I was talking about the making my own body wash out of necessity. 
As promised, here is the update:
I placed one bar of Ivory soap (3.1 once) in 3 times water(ie. 12 ounce).
since it was just not melted completely on the second day either, I took out the soap and cut into small chunks. Then returned it to the same water in the ziplock bag. I squished the ziplock bag with my hands many times during the day. By Friday, it was fully dissolved and thick.

The dissolved soap is enough to fill an empty body wash container. The container says 400ml on the outside. So I guess, I made 400 ml of body wash from one bar of soap. It is very thick, so a little more water will not do any harm. 
Good thing about the project is I am using up what I have. The added advantage is no new spending on body wash till this one finishes. 

By the way, I placed an order for castile soap on Amazon. I want to try making some cleaning products at home.

Do you make your own cleaning products? Which websites you visit to get recipes?

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

One new frugal project

It is an amazing week! Glad that I have work, and still have time to read and write.

I was not particularly looking for a new frugal project. But, sometimes, necessity can be the mother of invention, right?

Thing is I am going to run out of my body wash soon. Yes, really going to run out! 
I found some DIY body wash recipes online. Everything calls for Castille soap. I found it on But, hubby says to go to the shop and buy. Think, I saw it in the Bulk Barn. 

Since the shopping day is Saturday, and this is the middle of the week, I don't wan't to think of going to store.

Then, there are ideas about turning Dove beauty soap into body wash. I don't have Dove soap at home. But, I happened to have two bars of Ivory soap bought for my laundry detergent project.

I am going to try dissolving in some water. Right now, the 3.1 ounce bar is resting in 12 ounces of water. It is getting dissolved slowly. I am going to fill a container and to see how it works. 

I will buy castille shop in near future though. 

Monday, 18 April 2016

Why I like to keep working

When I started reading personal finance blogs, I stumbled over some of the early retirement blogs too. Many personal finance bloggers have a financial background. 

The early retirement blogs like Mr.MoneyMoustache and Early Retirement Extreme are very interesting to read. Mr. Moustache is still working on projects he like to do. He is basically an engineer, which he is not doing now. Jacob of Early Retirement Extreme has a Phd. They love to have money in the bank and spending their time on their passions. 

I work as a dental assistant. I an immigrant to Canada. In the beginning of my work life, I didn't like the work at all. Mainly because of the attitude of dentists towards dental assistants. Now, looking back I think, it was the learning curve. 

Now I don't regret about being a dental assistant. To tell you frankly, I found enjoyment in the work. I see many people. Some dentists like the assistants talking to patients. Some don't. It is great to observe people and how they react to being in the office. It is also interesting to view the dentist's reaction to each patient. I can predict the mood of my boss by looking on the face, which is usually covered by mask.

I can see that people are scared of getting a cleaning done. I observe how the dentists tackle the challenging situations. Sometimes, people just open up to the assistant. I like to be the ear for their concerns. 

I am not sure the patients are going to remember me after the treatment. But, I feel glad that I was able to help the dentist deliver the treatment faster. 

Another pleasant thing is giving post op instructions. I love to give oral hygiene instructions. Some dentists don't let the assistant do it. They wanted to take their own X-rays and have the control of everything. Then there are fun with the co-workers, about silly things went wrong and the boss or patients reacted to it. 

I love the work and it is a pleasure to be competing with myself to do things fast and efficiently. So, early retirement is not what I am looking forward to. 

Hating your work is easy I think. Finding enjoyment in your work takes an effort. We need to look deeper in the work and its effect on other people. In a nut shell, when we see the bigger picture, the life will be happier.
Do you agree? What you think?

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Doing laundry frugally

Everybody in North America has washer and dryer, I assume. In Toronto, it was illegal to have laundry line outside. Few years back, I came to know that we are allowed to dry laundry on a line outside. The law got amended. 

So, you may think, I can line dry my laundry. But I can't. We live in a condo. The condo rules clearly says no clotheslines on the balcony. It is Canada anyway, and you can do line drying only for few months. But, I got around it.

We have a drying rack, bought from Costco several years before, when we were living in an apartment. When we bought the condo, I was using the dryer all the time. Reading all the frugal tips and Green blogs, I wanted to change my habit. 

As an experiment, I hang clothes on the rack, in the living room at night. It was in the middle of the winter, and our heating was on. In the morning, all the items were dry. That was an Aahaa moment. After that, my dryer is used only to dry the towels and bed sheets. 

Line drying makes the clothes last longer. That is a great advantage for those of us trying to reduce spending. 
Obviously, line drying means not buying fryer sheets. With my DIY laundry detergent,the cost of laundry can be reduced more. 

One of my friends told me she just put the line dried clothes in the dryer for 5 minutes, and fold them right away. That eliminates the need for pressing clothes. 

Any other tips for saving doing laundry? 

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

May be a awkward

There are so many blogs out there written by frugal people. So, I thought being frugal is awesome. 

When I stumbled on this article, I thought, people I know don't think me as awkward.  Now, I am getting worried that I might be a bit awkward in their eyes. 

I don't do my nails. Dental assistants are not supposed to have long coloured nails anyway. So, my nails are really short and trimmed all the times. That is a professional excuse????? Anyway, no one told me right on my face the hands are ugly.

Then, the eyebrows... I pluck them when I feel they are very untamed. Still, just DIY, not a proper way. Most of my fellow dental assistants have eyebrows done at the saloon and they look nice. I cannot be bothered to go and get it done. Guess, it is just being lazy to make an appointment and go there in time.  Might be awkward, right?

Then, the hair.... The long layers on the hair is done myself. There are helpful youtube videos about cutting your own hair. Easy one is layers and blunt cut. Love both styles. One time told people I did it myself and they were amazed at how... Most people find great recipes on you tube, but never looked for hair ideas, it seems. 

Then the grocery shopping: seems like they have a menu, then make a list and shop. I buy things according to my budget and make the food with what is available. 

I am not great in finding coupons. Most coupons are for things and brands I don't buy usually. Stores give sale on processed foods which we don't usually buy. 

I buy frozen vegetables and many people think it is not good. I might be awkward, but I love to get frozen veggies on sale. 

Then, I do have RRSP. Some people think it is awkward that I will not get government benefits when I really retire. 

I use my clothes few years before throwing them. Things in my closet are really getting used. There is nothing with tag on. One time I mentioned that I got an expensive item and it costs $40, the listener asked me where I got that cheap... Awkward???????

But, I can assure you that no one ever asked me if I needed financial help. That is really awesome!!!!! 

So, what you think? My life is awesome or awkward????

Monday, 11 April 2016

Little pleasures of life

It was snowing yesterday night. Hey, it is April. Still...
Then it was raining when I woke up. All the snow is gone. There is no bright sun. It is a dull, cold grey and depressing day.

Every awaken moment forces me to stay home. It will be comforting to stay home... 

But, the responsibilities of life says to go to work. Some of the little pleasures in the life I don't want to give up yet. So, the work is important. 

Do you know dental assistants don't get paid if they take off? (I also don't get paid when my boss takes a day off)

I can live without going to get my nails done: Can live without getting facials: No nail polish is not a big deal. But, the moisturizing cream, a must for life.  I can cut my own hair with the help of youtube videos. But need to colour my hair once a month to hide my greys.

Many people can live without paper towels. I am doing that too. Still not ready to use handkerchief when I have a cold. I feel it yuck to place a mucus socked handkerchief in the washer with other clothes. 

On the frugal forums women were suggesting to use cloth instead of the feminine hygiene products. I am not ready to use a diva cup or reusable things for that either. Call me not a green person... not frugal enough... or just lazy...I like having money to spend on that.

I like to have one coffee with sugar and coffee-mate, made at home using instant coffee. Love to get that big tin of coffee whitener from Costco. That is my little indulgence.

So, what are your little pleasures of life, that you don't want to give up?

Sunday, 10 April 2016

March Recap

Yesterday, I was at "shepicksuppennies" blog. Then went to see the comments and got to Half-Banked. Des was saying she was able to save half of her pay check. I am not trying to save that much. Reasons: a).My income is less than average( Less than $18/hour, even though ODAA says average wage per hour is $22) and no benefits 
b). My hubby is on EI. 

So our family goal is pay the mortgage without defaulting and pay all bills in time. In a nutshell, we are trying hard to avoid making any debt. 

Just looking on March spending, I am happy we, two people spent less than $180 on food. The big expense was property tax, which I opted to pay in three instalments, instead of 12. 

The total expense is not over the income we made. That is one happy news!!!!  Anything left over is a great bonus. Since hubby is still on job search, we are very concerned about debt.

Survived March without adding any debt and paying all credit cards in full. Woohooo!!!! Good for us.

How was your March? Were you able to achieve your goals?

Friday, 8 April 2016

Tracking the spending is...

Ever since I started this blog, me and husband wanted to write down the spending.
You may be doing it already. 
It seems easy , because, we do grocery shopping once a week. The bills are paid online. Only have to track the grocery and other credit card or cash purchases.
We created a spread sheet and enter the total spending of items like food, gas etc after each event occurred.
Last week, after the grocery shopping hubby forgot where he placed the bill. So, we kind of procrastinated to enter it. Aftercouple of days, it got forgotten.
Now it is Friday again and both can't remember how much was last weeks expense.  Oops...
This week we are trying to look on the bill and to text each other how much it is. 
What you are doing to track your spending? Any idea will be very useful.
Thanks for visiting. 

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

The Cable Story

We have the same company for cable, phone and internet for the last 5 years. We love to have high speed internet. Then, there is a land phone and cable. 
Yes, of all the things, we still have a land phone. I kept it because, hubby's cell phone was paid by his employer when he was working. Now, he is out of work, we can't have that. Since the number is same for over a decade, this is our main number for family and friends. Now, hubbs bought a new phone. But, I still need to keep the phone for some more time.

Yes, back to cable. The company gives us some discount for keeping three products. We have the basic channels. Nothing fancy. Reading the Early Retirement Extreme and Mr.Money Mustache, I got convinced it is better to cut cable. 

We were closely watching our TV viewing habits for a month. We check thelocal channel and ABC in the morning, when we make breakfast. Then in the evening may about an hour, will watch something like TVO or news channel.

Since TV is not giving a lot of fun, it is a good idea to get rid of the cable and saving $39/month. At least that is what I thought. But the service provider don't think that way.

When I called, they told me, they cannot give me the same amount of data if I cut the cable. Then they offered me a savings of $20, if I keep the cable(Total $135 and before it was $$155). If I get rid off cable I will be paying $7 more for internet and phone together(Total $142). They don't tell me why. 

My bargaining powers may be not enough. In the end, I am having the cable service and $20/month savings. 

What you think of this? Do you have any similar experience? 

Monday, 4 April 2016

Using What You Have and the 100 thing challenge

We all have a lot of stuff. When we feel like the income is stable, and see things at the shop, we will buy to use them. Most women like to buy cleaning stuff, cooking items, plates etc. I am not an exception.

Last week I stumbled on the book, "The 100 Things Challenge" by Dave Bruno at the Toronto Public Library. He was living with only 100 things for an year. The book motivates me to start looking at how many things I have.
  There,in my den, these products...Swiffer dusters, Swiffer dry mop refills, a bottle of Lysol etc.  I have an extra set of 6 plates. I thought the sugar was finished and bought a pack last week. But, there is 2 kg of sugar still in the pantry. I feel lucky not to have that many stuff like Mr.Bruno mentioned in the book. But, we still have a lot of stuff.

So from April 1st onward, I started dusting as a morning ritual. It just take about five minutes just to dust of the cupboards in living room and bedroom along with the back of the furnitures. 
Then, I found a spray bottle full of granite cleaner. So, it will take another two minutes to just wipe the kitchen counters using a reusable kitchen towel. 
When these things are finished, I am not planning to buy more. Might have one product to clean everything or will do some DIY to make my own. 

Once I started the simple cleaning ritual, my home looks more welcoming. I feel happy. So I am planning to add more to the cleaning rituals slowly. 

The next in to-do list is to start getting rid of the unwanted stuff. 

Have you read the book "The 100 things challenge"? Will you be using up your stuff you already have?
What do you think of using up what you have not buying them anymore?

Friday, 1 April 2016

I really got Fooled

I have to admit, I was being careful not to get fooled today. Shame on me... I got fooled by my favourite blogger, by his post about not being frugal any more. 

I was reading with great surprise... and thinking, he is going to stop his blogging soon. 

Then there it is.. April Fool!!!

He is still frugal and going to continue with blogging for sure. Yes, Mr.MoneyMustache is going to keep his mustache. His blog gives him a lot of money, according to him. 
Big number of people are reading and commenting on MMM blog. It is really amazing to read. Many people get encouraged by MMM to be frugal and to retire early. 

Are you a fan of Mr.Money Mustache?

Did you get fooled today?

Less spending

The spending less to survive is on the 4th month.  Have you ever tried "no buying day" ? It can be hard some time, especially at the beginning. There will be some essential things to buy. Then for the sake of not buying, it is just fine to postpone it for next day.

Not buying anything other than essentials for a month? I tried that. First month was fine. The second month bit more difficult. Third month, I felt like deprived. Then by the beginning of forth month, I am just fine. 

The big purchase was for a cell phone for hubby. Just got it done yesterday. It is an LG phone from Wind Mobile. He want to have data. They were having a sale till yesterday. I am not that sure how it is going to work out. But, it is going to be an extra $40 expense per month. Many people says Wind gets a lot of dropped calls and all. But, we are in the city. It might be just fine. I will update about the phone in coming posts. 

Hopefully, there will not be other major expenses tis year. Ooops... Dear daughter is asking for a new phone. Her phone is really a mess now. I told her last year to have a new phone this year. So, that has to be done before the end of summer.

Have you ever tried to cut back on spending? Was it out of necessity or just for fun? How that went?