Thursday, 30 March 2017

Home made laundry detergent powder

This was posted one year before.

It seems like I am getting views for this blog. That is a pleasant surprise!
Since I don't receive any comments, I was not looking on the statistics.  Thank you to my anonymous  readers. 
I was trying to make laundry detergent powder  and was talking about it here.
Since the ingredients were hard to get, I almost gave up the laundry detergent project.

It is funny, when you keep on looking, things come to you. I was at Cedarbrae mall No Frills, just checking the laundry isle. To my delight, they have the Borax and So Easy super washing soda.
I had 3 bars of ivory soap from Dollarama for $1.50. The recipe called for grated soap. I was concerned to use my box grater for this project. Make Your Zone has the solution to microwave soap. It really worked. My advice is to microwave it on a big platter and to may be put more than a minute. We have to experiment to find the correct timing. Make sure you don't touch the puffy ballooned soap until it is really cool. It may take a couple of seconds. Then I used my hands to crumble it. You can put it in an old zip-lock bag and crush it too. 

I used one bar of soap, 1 cup of washing soda and 1 cup of Borax. Mixed everything together and keep in an old  plastic container. It smells like ivory soap. So a bit worried about the dried laundry going to smell like that...

Yes, I used it to wash my bed sheets today. My soap was not really powdered. So, got a few crumbs when the load is washed. So, I had to put it back and run the rinse cycle again. After that it was fine. There was no smell of ivory soap.

With the added confidence I did second load of regular clothes. This time the powder was added first, let the washer filled(mine is top loader), then added the laundry. I just let it soak for about 15 minutes and then run. Not much problems this time. I used the measuring cup from my previous laundry detergent. Probably about two spoons for a medium load. There is still a lot of the small batch  left. I didn't see any soap bubbles when doing laundry. 

One problem with washing soda is it is like a ball in the box.  The ball was not that hard, but just annoying when trying to get the powder from the box. I had to cut open the top. I am going to try keeping a small pack of rice in the box to see how it works.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Bills Paid

Dear Visitor,
thanks for dropping by.
March is ending and the cold weather too. It will be nice to have longer days with more sun. It will be more pleasant than the layering up.

End of the month means time to pay bills. got the credit card bill, which also include the phone bills. They will get automatically get paid from the credit card. That way, I can reduce the number of transactions on my checking account. So, making the full payment at end of the month on credit card is all I have to do. If that can be done in time, I can save the interest charges (a whopping 20%) on the total expenses. 

I made a commitment to myself to do that each month.

When it is all paid off, that is a great relief. 
So, have you paid up all your bills for the month of March?

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Avoiding extra spending

Dear Visitor,
Thanks for dropping by. 
During the March break I was offered more hours of work. People with school going kids wanted to take off to spend time with kids. Since I don't have a kid at home right at that moment, I was ready to work and help. The end result was long days for me. After getting the bitter taste of  job loss in the family, my motto is to "work when there is work available". 

Long hours can trigger you to spend un necessarily. To avoid that, I was having some strategies.

 Main thing was to cook more food to keep in the fridge for the whole week. That way, there was enough things to pack for lunch. You know, hungry, tired and no packed lunch is a reason to shop for crappy fast food. There were more in the fridge to heat up as dinner. After working, who will have the energy to work in the kitchen?

So, we packed lunch and made breakfast in the morning. Then went our ways to work. 

There were enough clean pressed clothes for the entire work week. Happy to tell you all that the extra work didn't made me spending extra. Actually, now I can start saving to buy a new laptop for my daughter. The one she uses now is falling apart. Hope to have saved enough by the coming September.

How you avoid the extra spendings?

Saturday Evening to relax

Dear Visitor,
Thanks for dropping by. This week was not that much hectic. Most dental offices are open on Saturdays. At least in Toronto, I believe.
It was busy as usual. That is the fun of it too.

After work there was a bit of grocery shopping. Then for the fun of it, we bought Apple pie from the McDonalds. When it is slightly cooled the pie is nice. Better than eating it right away at the store.

There was this series on CBC, called Anne. I was watching for some time. It is really making me emotional. The girl who comes as Anne is acting very good. She makes me teary eyed.

I read the book several years before. What a captivating story!

I didn't watch the full episode. But, it is a really nice one.

Hope you all having a great weekend.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Composting Dilemmas

Dear visitor, 
Thanks for dropping by.
I am thinking about having a container garden on my balcony this season. I love to plant some veggies, especially some peppers.
I want to use compost for the plants.  So, where to get compost? May be Walmart? The website don't show any. some other sources are very expensive.

It will be great, if I can make compost, right?
I did a search to see how city dwellers do composting. Turned out there are are some composting bins designed for apartments alone. 
Further research showed that it can bring in fruit flies. 

Amazon has many ideas: 
That one is really cute, isn't it? But the reviews were not great. So, I was reluctant to buy.
Finally, I am glad to tell you there is a very simple solution for my compost problem.
City is giving away free compost and I can get it from one of several locations from April to September, on Saturdays. 

So, I am not going to do composting. I am going to get the compost free. 

Are you planning to do gardening this year? What would you be planting? Have you tried composting? 

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Book Review: The Automatic Millionnaire

Dear visitor,

Recently, I got a chance to read The Automatic Millionaire written by David Bach. I had the Canadian edition from the library. So, it says about RRSP. Since it was actually written in 2003, there is no mention of the TFSA.

The key point is to pay yourself first. That is, moving a percentage of your paycheque immediately to the  RRSP account.

He explains with many stories how to get out of debt and how to save for retirement. The book is a good read.

Bach says to automate your savings and your debt paying. I think, by now most people knows about they can pay off the mortgage faster by choosing biweekly payments.

With the sky-high real estate prices, Canadians may not be able to have a primary residence and a rental property in the present time.

The main idea of the book is to automate your savings and spendings. Then of course, frugal living.

He also mentions about the Latte Factor. Most people interested in personal finance already knows that one. Funny thing is it is not actually about having a latte. It is about the small and regular un necessary purchases. It may be hard to tame that kind of habits. If you once check the calculations Mr.Bach explains in the book, I am sure, you want to try to avoid it.

Altogether, if you are interested in saving money and live within your means, you might already be on your way to riches.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I recommend you to read it. If you can get it from library, it is much better. You read it, you get the ideas. No need to own a copy. ( I think so)

What is your "Latte factor" if you have one? 

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Frugal Weekend

Dear visitor, 
Thanks for dropping by. It is already Tuesday. Still, I want to tell you about my frugal weekend. 

We did a bit of Costco shopping. Bought a set of glass containers, as hubby insisted on having it. I am not sure we really needed it. But, to him, it is not a waste. Our old set started having broken lids. So, it is justifiable. I need to remove some from home, before opening the new ones though. 

I think, I told you i have long hair. I didn't cut it for some time. So, got a haircut. That doesn't mean I went to the saloon to get done.  To cut the hair straight, you tube has many videos. 
Mine is not this much short. It is bit more longer. But the idea is same. 

Have you ever cut your own hair?

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Why you don't need a budget

Dear visitor,
Thanks for visiting.
Many people really like to budget the spending and stay within the budget. Many people cannot stand a budget. I am one of them.
I hate budgets.Tried many times and failed miserably.
Many personal finance bloggers stress about the use of budget to cut the spending. To me, it is time wasted on something you can't really do.
You may want to know, how I have some left over money in my savings.

My family automated some of the expenses though. Like the mortgage: it will be taken from the checking account biweekly. The phone bills are automatically paid by credit cards. The cable is also paid automatically.Then the energy bill, which is taken out at the beginning of the month. the condo fee is also automated. That way, I can avoid any late fees and interest on unpaid bills. 

I won't buy small stuff regularly. You might have heard of the Latte Factor: I don't have any spending like that. Guess, I already mentioned about my dislike to wait in line at coffee shop. My family always pack lunch to work. So, on a typical work day, we don't spend anything. There is no impulse shopping during the regular work week. Most of the time we eat home-cooked meals. Sometimes there will be store bought snacks. But they are not from the fast food restaurants, which are more expensive compared to grocery store variety. 

My savings are usually moved to RRSP in the beginning of the month, when I get paid, which is once a month. I save 20% of after tax money. Once it is moved to RRSP, you cannot take it out. Unlike TFSA, this money is difficult to take out, unless you are over 65. 

 Then the remaining has to be used to pay the bills and other fun spending. Fun for us is really watching a movie or two on the TV. Then reading books and watching YouTube.  Since there is not much space in the small condo, we cannot own many books. If a new book is going to come, then an old one has to go out. So, library is a great choice. Our library has a great selection on e-books and audio books too. 

After starting the blog, and liking the minimalism ideas, our life become more simpler. There is not much stress about money as well. As a result, i can see my savings is growing little by little.

Basically, if you have decided on how much is going to the savings, and take care of it when you get paid, there is no need for budgeting. To live within the balance of the available fund, we need to choose some strategies on spending. The less you spend on unnecessary things, the better. Then you will find enough money to spend on the things that make you happy. 

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

A semolina recipe

Dear visitor,
Thanks for dropping by.
Got this idea of savoury item from a co-worker. It is made of semolina. Wikipedia says semolina is made from durum wheat.
I tried few times before and it was liked very much at home. So, I tried adding things to it to make better.
Here is my version of semolina savoury recipe.

2 cups of semolina
4 cups of water
1 onion
some frozen spinach
Some cooked chicpea
1 green chilly
1 small piece of onion
1 tsp black mustard seeds
Curry leaves if you have them
1tsp oil

Heat the oil. Put the mustard seeds. cover the pan, to prevent mustards splattering on you. Once the splattering stops, add chopped onion, de-seeded chopped green chillies and chopped ginger . Stir fry till onion starting to turn brownish.  Add the thawed spinach. You can add cooked left over spinach too. Once the spinach is heated through, add the chick peas. Stir for 3-4 minutes and remove from the pan.

Put the semolina in the pan. Place it on heat and stir it for about 5 minutes. When it all heated through. remove from heat. Boil the water. Add enough salt. Put the spinach mix in the boiling water. Mix well. Now reduce the heat and add the semolina. Careful: it can bubble. Mix everything nicely and cover it. Turn the heat off. My stove has glass ceramic top. So it will continue giving heat. So, I like to leave it on the stove top for about 10 minutes while the lid is closed.
I like to eat it as it is.

Till next post
With love

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Frugal weekend

Dear Visitor,
Thanks for visiting.

The week fly fast. The weekend is also over. We had a lovely trip to visit our daughter at the university. We had a good couple of hours and had lunch with her in the mall. I always carry some warm water/green tea in a flask while travelling in winter. That way we can avoid the coffee shops. It is a good way not to add calories unnecessary. If we buy coffee, we love to have the double double. With water or green tea, there is no calories. There are no paper cups. Frugal and green at the same time. The eating out was a treat for her. So, that was actually planned.

I did one load of laundry and used the drier to dry it. But, the load had bed sheets in it. So, it is justified. 
The visitors got home made coffee and store bought pie. We had great conversation and lot of laughs. That is the real thing matters. The love of friendship and fun. 

I managed to finish reading the book "unshakable" by Tony Robins this week. It is a nice read. Mr. Robins tells how to invest wisely so that you will not be affected by the ups and downs of the market. Yes, he talks about index investing. He talks about buying and holding and not to panic when market goes down. He also tells to count your blessings and to stay happy, instead of worrying. He gives one meditation technique in the book, which I would love to try often. It is a really interesting book. I got it from the Toronto public library in ebook format. (You know, I am frugal, right?)

Since this week is going to be March break, and I have no school going kids, I agreed to do work for some friends. Let us see how the week is going to be. 
How you doing? What is up for March break?

Till next post,
With love

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Nothing to write

Dear Visitor,
Thanks for dropping by.
When I was staring on the blank page, I felt like there is nothing to write. Started typing anyway.
to solve the dish soap problem, we did a run to Walmart after work.  I bought the Dawn brand. I never tried that brand. It says #X grease fighting. We are trying to use less oil in cooking. There is no deep frying now a days. Just trying to be healthy, you know?
So there is actually no need to buy that soap. But, you know, I love to stretch my things.
Remember the Dawn ads? Little goes a long way.

I am going to water down the dish soap and use my spray bottle too. Right now, it is about 25% soap and 75% water. It still smells like dawn original and soapy too. Dishes are getting clean. So I am happy with the solution.

Let us see how long it will last.
Some frugal blogs suggest using Dawn brand dish soap for the laundry. I am happy to try it on shirt collar to remove dark stains.

Hahaha1 That is it for a day for the feeling of nothing to write.
As it is Thursday, cleaning chores to be done.

Till next post
With love

There is no dish soap

Dear Visitor,
Thanks for dropping by.
I have to confess again: I thought I have one full bottle of dish washing liquid at home. That why we didn't get a bottle (on sale) at Costco last last time.
Big Mistake!!!
When I was looking to refill the dish sopa in my spray bottle, I sw the one with a few drops left in it. There was no full bottle I was thinking I have it.
Checked all over the places, but there is no other dish soap. I spent a lot of time looking for it, because I misplace lot of things.
Emptied the jar and used that up. Since there is still dishwasher tablets, I did made my dishwasher run more times this week. Yes, we managed to have clean dishes. But, now, I can't trust my memory. That is a big problem: Am I getting too old to remember things?

Did you ever run out of things like dish soap for couple of days? How you managed? Do you worried about your memory?
Till next post
With love

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Mistakes on Money

Dear Visitor,
Thanks for dropping by.
This is just another day, when there is nothing much to write about.  
There are some frugal mistakes I did though. 
The rate for electricity is lower before 7 am in morning. But, I woke up late and did all the cooking after 7am. Not just one day, two days in a row. 
I was supposed to iron clothes on Sunday evening. Even though there was nothing much to do on last Sunday, i really was lazy and end up ironing on Tuesday morning. Yes, right after 7 am. 

Guess, occasional mistakes are making up human beings.  So I am forgiving myself. 
As a side note, going to put an alarm on cell phone for 6am for tomorrow.

Hopefully, things will be on track for the rest of the week. 

Till next post
With love

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Little things I Do to save money

Dear visitor
Thanks for dropping by.

I decided to live below the means and to save money about  a year before. That doesn't mean life was drowning in debt.  But, now, it is like a very mindful way of simple living/frugal living and investing more for the future retirement.I love to include the minimalism principles in life and not buying more stuff to fill the home.Here are some of the little unconventional things I do to keep the spending lower.

Most of the time, I do hang my clothes to dry. We have a cloth stand from Costco. It is a foldable one , so that it won't take much space when not in use. I do place the cloth stand inside the condo while drying clothes. The law of condo corporation do not allow hanging clothes on balcony.

Most of the meals are cooked at home. I am lazy to go out to eat. Breakfast and dinner are cooked at home. The lunches are made and packed while working all day. Since I don't like to line up at coffee shop, I  make my coffee at home or at work. Like instant coffee without sugar. Even for the free coffee at McDonalds, I am reluctant to go.

At the rare occasions of eating out, we buy water or just one large drink and share with hubs. 

Alcohol is very limited. Once in a blue moon, love to have some wine. But, make sure it is local brand or less than $10 for a bottle. It really is a treat. 
I do use frozen veggies. sometimes, we freeze produce bought from the shop. I buy frozen fruits too. Make jam from frozen fruits. 

I make my own fermented carrots and cabbage

There is a bread machine and I use white flour to bake bread. 
Paper towels are not used very often. I make wipes from old clothes and re-use them.

This small family don't buy softdrinks and juices, unless we are expecting company. Same goes for chocolates. 

I keep long hair and cut it by myself. Keeping long hair is really very frugal. You can make a hair bun or put a ponytail. The hair bands are very inexpensive. Cutting long hair is easier than shorter styles, I think.I also dye my hair using store bought hair dye. 

We have only one car. I take bus most of the time or just walk. (Walking in the winter is not fun though.)

I do pay the credit card bill in full when the bill comes every month. We have only 2 credit cards. 

I use the public library a lot. Love to read ebooks on Overdrive. Toronto public library has a lot of ebook, audio books and even music. They have digital magazines as well. So, I don't buy books or magazines usually. 

What about you? Are you passionate about simple living ? What is frugal living means to you?

Till next post,
With love

February passive income

Dear visitor

Thanks for dropping by.
February is over. March has started. Here we are just looking for the spring. Time to have a look back on February, right?
Yes, time to look for the passive income too. Together me and hubs made $197.93 in passive income. That is the money we got from dividends. 
I am also glad to tell you I made a wopping 83 cents on the blog. That is just the Adsense money. It is really interesting. That is going to stay with google since the minimum amount to take out must be $100. I have a long road ahead to reach there. 

Do any of you make any real income from blogger blogs? 
that will be interesting to know. I read about blogs making big amounts from Google Adsense. In my experience, it is just one or two cents a time. 

If you look on the Blog List on the side bar, you can see two new blogs are added: Sam, coffee, Money and Thyme and Tales From Tanya. Those are the two new blogs I am reading regulary along with the other ones on the list. 

How was your February? What new interesting stuff you found?
Till next post
With love