Monday, March 31, 2014

Living like Royalty

Growing up, my Mom always claimed that Prince Charles had a device in his bathroom that he used to squeeze out the last bit of toothpaste in the tube. She described it as something that looks like a pasta roller.

Why she thought Prince Charles was so particularly frugal is beyond me. I shall have to ask her. Anyway, she didn't like throwing away a nearly empty tube and more than once had cut open the end to find at least two brushings' worth of toothpaste in there.

Look what I found at the local supermarket. It's not worth $3.99 to me. I'm just very careful to roll and re-roll the end to get the rest out. Perhaps I'll start employing a pair of scissors as well.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


I thought only Jamaicans knew this trick.
Jackie Chan must be a Jamaican.

Growing up I never put my underwear into the laundry. It wasn't until I got to college that I lost that habit. This caused me to buy much more underwear. Hmmm...This is not a bad discipline to have as you will never be out of a clean pair of underwear and you don't have to own that many pairs. Plus, not putting them through the dryer means they will last a little bit longer.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

frugal fatigue

Whenever I feel a little down about money, and feel as if we are saving too much or have too many restrictions on our pocket money, I can count on one or two bloggers to give me a good reality check.

I've been feeling fatigued lately and when I feel that way it is just too easy to run out and buy something. Whether it is purchasing prepared food because I haven't cooked, or buying something silly and unnecessary because I feel like it, somehow, money seems to leave my pocket.

I've found one small antidote to that habit:
There are a few bloggers I read who make do with less whether by choice or by necessity. Whenever I check out a post, I realize I'm hardly trying!

Whether it is making things for oneself rather than buying them, or planning carefully so groceries are purchased infrequently, there's a lot out there to learn.

Then of course there are the people who make amazing works of art with bottle caps and bits of string; or the quiet unassuming person who leaves millions for their favorite charity While never having earned anything more than 30,000 a year. I think those people are an inspiration to us all.

Every dollar we come across is a choice. While we're alive, we'll have to look after our needs. But much of what we spend is negotiable.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Bastone French Toast

I took before pictures but we were too busy chowing down on the after to take a photo.
A little while back I bought a whole wheat bastone to serve with dinner. It was probably lentil soup or black bean soup. I like to do soup on a Friday. It’s easy after a long week.

Well, we didn’t eat very much of the bread that day or the next couple of days. I saw that in the cupboard it would probably go bad so I put it in the fridge and there it remained. Usually this bastone would have wound up in the trash because it got so hard you could probably use it to hammer a nail. But I found a great recipe that saved the bread and gave us something fun to do Sunday morning. French toast!

This French toast recipe was delicious and it tasted very accurate. The only advice I would offer is that you should probably be sure to slice as evenly as possible. Any crags or boulders on the slices will ensure that the slice doesn’t soak or cook evenly. So make sure you keep it smooth.

Since there were already two eggs in the recipe, we just added some turkey bacon. I wish I had put a bit of powdered sugar on the French toast, but then again it was sweet enough, and we added syrup on top anyway.

Next time I will just slice up the whole loaf while it is still soft in anticipation of a Sunday Morning French Toast Brunch!

Is this a frugal meal? Hmm… maybe not so frugal if eggs are pricey for you. Still, I like recipes that prevent me from throwing food away.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

the delicious apple

I'm not a fan of American apples because of these. But I try to buy and eat apples because they are hardy, deliver lots of fiber, and are grown in my state (which reduces the impact on the environment for them to travel to my supermarket).

The trick I've found with buying apples is to buy smaller ones. They are usually more bursting with flavor than larger ones. There is a scientific reason behind it. I forget the exact terminology but let's just say the smaller apples have the same number of flavor particles as the big ones but the size of the small apple concentrates more flavor in every bite!

So at the supermarket nowadays I look for smaller apples and take a good long smell to make sure they have a flavor I will enjoy eating.

Now, the apples are bought. How do I get the most out of them?

1. Here's a link about how to eat apples in a way that wastes less food:

2. And what if your apple is a bit wrinkly or just too soft for you to enjoy? Make banana apple bread!
Just grab any banana bread recipe and replace some of the banana with a peeled and diced apple. If they want a cup of banana make sure you have a cup of combined fruit. Then as you are mixing, if you find your recipe a tad too dry, just add a tablespoon of (almond) milk or apple juice.

It'll be delicious, I promise! I used this recipe over the weekend to use up some fruit and make a dessert instead of buying one.

No bananas? How about apple cake?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Taking a closer look

I've been busy throughout most of January up until yesterday. My attention was consumed with our hunt for new accommodation. We are interested in purchasing a home; preferably in the area where we live now. We've been looking casually for just under a year now.

In  early January we found out about a house just two blocks from where we live and went to look at it. After that things happened pretty quickly. Before we knew it we had a lawyer, a mortgage banker, and an engineer!

The home, by all appearances was perfect for us and we were delighted that our counter offer was accepted. Our lawyer gave us the names of two good engineers and we set up the date for the inspection. That is when things began to fall apart.

The Engineer's inspection can be a seller's worst nightmare. Perhaps a buyer's also. Maybe there are some things we didn't want to know about that house. However, it was in our best interest to find out. Some of the items the Engineer flagged were simply remedied. Things like a nonworking doorbell, or a loose bannister were things even I felt comfortable with doing after a short video tutorial. However, the big things were much too big for first-timers to take on. They involved hazardous materials that don't belong in any home. In addition there were some items that were not up to code.

The preceding paragraph may make this home sound like it was barely habitable but that is not true. It looked homey and inviting. It had beautiful hardwood floors. It only seemed to need updating in the bathroom and kitchen. It was a starter-home dream. But what lay beneath the surface killed the deal.

We spent about $350 for the initial consultation with our attorney. The insepction cost $440.
For $790 we spared ourselves heartache, pain, and debt. It was money well spent. I would recommend having an Engineer's inspection for anyone who has an accepted offer on a property. Don't do a deal without it!

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Orchard Beach 01-01-2014

The Mister and I welcomed the New Year at the beach (see photo). We didn't jump into the water. We didn't even see a single 'polar bear'. I guess it was too late in the day for that. But I'd love to do that next year. The idea had never occurred to me until recently, at out holiday lunch, my manager mentioned she planned to do it. I was thrilled by the thought. I also heard the water was warmer than the air! Look for me to be doing this in 2015.

I have made resolutions. I have even done them!
One, I got a head start on. . . I began on Monday because I knew it would be a hard one. Another, I have to play catch up with. I got distracted by my cousin's posts of fancy outfits on Facebook. Tomorrow I'll know better. My cousin and her outfits can wait.

Something I'm toying with, but that I'm not sure if I really want to do is to track my spending. Maybe for the month of January. That might be more than enough to keep me busy and give perspective. Perhaps I'll post weekly what the spending has been. Some things I can't track because the Mister and I give ourselves pocket money each week. Maybe I'll exclude that as it is a fixed amount.

2014 still has that shiny look, that new year smell. It's so full of possibility.