Archive for the 'frugal' Category

July Goal

I started off the month by riding my bike to work and then decided that I can do this and not buy a bus pass. So my goal for the month will be to ride my bike at least 3 times a week.  If I do this I will have saved about $40 on bus fare and gotten some good exercise!

My main challenges with riding my bike to work are being scared off by a forecast of rain and trying to figure out what can be office appropriate but still work on the bike. Thankfully Fridays are casual days so that will help a bit.

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Comparing credit card rewards

On the week-end I used up the last of my scene rewards points to go see the movie 21 with some friends. Now I’m sad that I don’t have any more free movie tickets. So I started thinking about signing up for the Scene credit card. Based on my spending last month, I would have gotten another free movie ticket! Plus I’d get another 2 just for signing up.

I decided to compare the rewards I’m getting to see if it would be worth it.

My main card right now is a CIBC Dividends card for which I get 1% in cash back. My second card is the Capital One Rewards card which I don’t really use much, the rewards can range from about 1%-0.4% back in travel, 0.075% back in cash, or 0.6% or less in gift cards. The Scene card would give back about 1.25% in movie tickets according to my calculation.

So that’s something to consider… Although I guess the really frugal thing to do would be to not go to the movies at all!

Mmmm breakfast!

imgp5523.jpgBeing frugal is often about being resourceful, and this morning I’m pretty pleased with myself at how resourceful I was when it came time to figuring out what to have for breakfast (I even took a picture of it there on the left).

So, I’ve been trying to not spend any money and in order to do that I’ve been staying out of grocery stores. Unfortunately, when I woke up this morning and started thinking about what I was going to have for breakfast I realized that I didn’t have any breakfast foods at all. Usually I have toast for breakfast, but I was out of bread.

That’s when I remembered that a month or two ago, I’d picked up a bag of rice at Superstore, only to get home and look at it more closely and realize that it was called “Sweet Rice” which sure didn’t sound like regular long grain rice one eats for dinner. So I shoved it in the back of a cupboard until I could figure out what to do with it. Enter this morning where I’m racking my brain on what to make with what I’ve got on hand and I do a quick google search which enlightens me on the fact that sweet rice is actually what one would use to make Champorado ( a Filipino chocolate rice porridge I love but always forget about because I could never remember to buy the special rice you need for it).

And so I was in business. I found a couple of recipes online to get a general idea on how to make it and then just went ahead and made my own version with the ingredients I had on hand. This is what I ended up doing:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of sweet rice
  • 1 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of cocoa power
  • 3 tpsp brown sugar
  • a dollop of vanilla almond milk

Directions: Wash and rinse the rice. Add the rice and water to a small pot, bring to a boil stirring regularly. When the rice is just about cooked (I taste a couple of grains to see), turn the heat down to medium-low and add the cocoa powder and brown sugar. Keep stirring until well combined. Once ready, pour into a bowl. Add almond milk to taste, stir, and enjoy! Makes one large serving.

So there we go, I now know how to make Champurado. Although next time I think I could get away with just 1 tbsp of cocoa powder and 1 tbsp of brown sugar as I found it a bit sweet. Actually, the way my mom made it for us when we were kids was that she would just put in the cocoa powder and then we’d add sugar and milk in our own bowls to taste. Another thing I would try doing in the future is using stevia instead of sugar.

Budget Wedding Planning books

I went to the library yesterday on a mission to find out more about this business of having a wedding and not spending the average of $30,000 on it. Found the wedding planning section and grabbed every book that seemed like it might be useful. Ended up with these:

  • Fell’s Budget Weddings by Di Kivi
  • Budget Brides by Di Kivi
  • The Frugal Bride by Cynthia Clumeck Muchnick
  • Wedding Chic by Nina Willdorf
  • The Everything Weddings on a Budget Book by Barbara Cameron
  • Anti-Bride Etiquette Guide by Carolyn Gerin and Kathleen Hughes
  • The Budget Wedding Sourcebook by Madeline Barillo

And took them over to a table to take a closer look. Just by quickly flipping through them I was able to put aside the lame ones lacking in good information but full of general common sense tips like “If your guest list is getting out of control, stop inviting more people” like gee thanks, couldn’t have come to that conclusion on my own, or to find an affordable wedding venue “Think outside the box” yes ok I get that, but please where are the specific suggestions and ideas? So I narrowed things down to just the four and will be reading them and posting my reviews on them.

Free locations for wedding ceremonies.

I found a list of places in Vancouver where one can hold an outdoor wedding ceremony for free on a first-come first serve basis (scroll down to the part where it says ‘Or Choose a Less Formal Setting’). If you did that and didn’t have a reception, the whole shebang should cost around $200. Although, I’m figuring in a bit extra to buy a big golf umbrella in case it’s raining. Oh and plus the cost of the rings. But that’s a whole other topic for another day.

Funny, I totally didn’t plan this but just realized my wedding post falls on Valentines day. Way to be on theme!

Eating out is expensive.

Ok, I know the subject of this post is common knowledge, but yesterday just really reminded me of that. I was lazy and didn’t pack a lunch for work (even though I’m usually really good about that) but I knew that since I’d be working downtown there would be decent options a plenty for food. I ended up spending about $6.50 on sushi, which I thought was reasonable for a filling lunch.

On my way home from work I stopped at the grocery store to pick up some produce for meals this week and when the cashier told me my total was $4.50, I was surprised at how little it was! I wasn’t buying much, but definitely enough to cover at least 3 meals, and all for less than the price I paid for my lunch! A definite reminder to be making my lunches and not eating out. Although eating out is a nice excuse to get out of the office, and unfortunately the office where I’m working now has a really sorry and depressing and generally unpleasant lunch room. So if I bring a lunch, I’ll probably end up eating it at my desk and that’s not much of a break. This experience is definitely making me appreciate companies that make the effort of providing their employees with a nice lunch room.

Comparing digital photo prints

The other thing I have not had any time to do since I got here and started working right away is to personalize and decorate my room a little. Since I’m obviously not going to go all out and spend a bunch of money decorating my room, I was thinking of sprucing up the bare walls with some prints of photos I’ve taken over the years. I decided to do some price comparisons of different digital printing services and found some surprises.

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I threw in Shutterfly and Snapfish, some online printing places, just to compare them to brick and mortar shops. The disadvantage with going with an online site is that you have to pay for shipping to Canada. The other places allow you to have your photos shipped to a nearby store location for free pick-up. What really surprised me though was that getting a bunch of 12×18 prints would almost make a Costco membership pay for itself! For 8x10s Shopper’s is surprisingly competitive, but otherwise, FutureShop seems to be a good deal. I’ve used Black’s, Future Shop, and London Drugs for digital printing in the past and been happy with the quality.

Anyone know of any digital printing places I’ve missed?