No Spend Month: October 2016

31 DAYS OF NO SPENDING  

Follow me on my journey and see if you are inspired to try it out.

First thing you need to do in order to start: have a plan!

1: Budget

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image courtesy of pinterest

  • I have my budget set up already and have been diligent about following it each month so if you are thinking of starting a no-spend month, start with creating a budget allocating your pay for the month to only the essential items.

2: Upcoming Events/Functions

  • Knowing what events/functions are taking place within the month you are challenging yourself to not spend is important.  Looking ahead and seeing what is coming allows you to budget accordingly and allocate your budget to include an ‘allowance’ for just those specific events/functions.  October is the month with Thanksgiving and Halloween.  I don’t have children and I live in a condo so I wont be buying any costumes, decorations or handing out candy (savings).  Thanksgiving, I have been invited to a friends place to celebrate therefore with my allowance allocated to me in my budget, I will pick up a nice hostess gift and bring a dish. Not hard, super easy and affordable.

3: Free/Cost Effective Activities

  • Make a list of free/cost effective activities or social engagements you could do or attend to satisfy your need to get of the house and not think about spending.  Going for long walks in a new neighborhood, bike rides, car rides to small towns, dinner a friends place, host a party where friends and family bring food and drinks.  You get the idea.  There are ways of still having fun while not spending any money or using your budgeted money towards those activities (ie gas for the car rides).

4: Write it Down/Notebook-it

  • This may be a hard one for some of you however I think it’s important to document your progress.  The challenges you’ve encountered, things you’ve discovered, the good/the bad, the unexpected items that you have to pay extra for.  Jotting your thoughts in your notebook holds you accountable and also you can keep a list of things you would change for the next time ie increase spending allowance or pre-purchase your thanksgiving fixings in September if you know you will be hosting the dinner for friends and family.  You can also keep a running list of things you have noticed you can live without, a new activity that is cost effective you would like to try out, a clothing item you realized you need to pick up as the temperature changes.  You get the idea.  A funny thing about jotting things down, it becomes fun and soon you just start jotting everything down and your ideas are growing and evolving.

So now that I have a plan in place, being October 1st, it’s time to consciously not spend over and above the necessities.  Wish me luck!

J.

10 Reasons Why You Should Be Drinking Lemon Water

I have recently started to drink more water daily using my 24 oz. bottle.  I take it with me everywhere, now.  Finding one that was easy to  carry and was in a fun bright colour also helped in forcing myself to bring it with me everywhere; grocery shopping, meeting up with a friend to the dog park and walks after work.

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image courtesy of joyoushealth.com 

I’ve never had the habit of drinking a lot of water on a daily basis, coffee was my go-to, so it was hard in the beginning to keep remembering to bring my water bottle with me, to break the habit.

I tried it slowly at first, one glass followed by my large cup of delicious coffee.  Then when I stopped, I started to miss it, miss the taste.

An email from the Huffington Post recently had an article about the 10 benefits of drinking lemon water.  This seemed too coincidental that I had recently just started to adopt this habit.  I had to read it.  Here is the article here.

What I found interesting in the article is how much water is recommended to drink daily.  My water bottle is 24 ounces and according to this article, I need to drink 4 full bottles.  sounds easy, and it’s getting easier as I add the lemons, it bumps the flavour and I actually find myself drinking 5 full bottles a day without a second thought.

While getting enough water is critical to health, many of us fail to drink enough and as a result we can become chronically dehydrated. Thirst is one obvious sign of dehydration, but if you’re also experiencing headaches, chapped lips and dry skin, or if your urine appears very concentrated, it might be time to start filling your glass.

Getting 6-8 glasses (2-2.5 liters) of water a day is the foundation to your health, and while coffee, tea, flavored water, and foods still count towards your hydration, clean and pure water will always dominate.

What did you think of the article?  Do you drink lemon water everyday?  Do you struggle like I do with breaking the coffee habit?

J.

 

 

Holiday Season Saving Ideas

It’s that time of year again… a little cliché?

This year, I have decided to reduce my spending limit on family, friends and co-workers.  Not to be mean, but to be more thoughtful.

Remember the last time someone made you something from scratch; took the time to gather their supplies, make the gift, hand write the note.  And remember how it made you feel?  Now compare that to a store bought item.  Not the same feeling, is it?

I love homemade gifts from family and friends.  It shows me that they cared enough to take the time to think of something they knew I would like/appreciate.  So in turn, I like to do the same for them.

You’re Welcome!

If there is an avid baker/cook on your list, why not consider making them some homemade rubs and spreads, sauces and even preserves.  Here are some jams and spreads to try by Martha Stewart.

One batch can make gifts for several people.  Use mason jars to store them, label them and include a small spoon.  Wrap a piece of fabric over the top and secure it with bakers twine or regular twine/rope and you have a rustic gift.  Do a search in Pinterest to find many recipe ideas to try.

Yum!

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image courtesy of inspiredwomen.co.za

Homemade Christmas / Holiday cards are a nice touch as well.  Use punched decals to give the card some detail.  Write a heartfelt message or a poem and maybe a family photo.  Easy to mail as well 🙂

 

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image courtesy of imgkid.com/

Gift Wrap can be quite expensive only to be ripped to shreds on Christmas morning.  Unique ideas for wrapping gifts include:

  • Using fabric is a great way to stay green and environmentally friendly.  Your friend can re-use the fabric for an upcoming project.  Follow this tutorial here.
  • Re-using store paper bags, either by itself as is and topping with tissue paper or turning the bag inside out for a clean, fresh slate to jazz up with ribbons and bows even stamps to give it some detail.  White store bags with a gold polka-dot all over is simple and clean and takes not time at all.
  • Table cloths are also a unique way to wrap gifts or even a great design shower curtain.  They won’t fray, waterproof as well so if it’s being mailed or left on a front porch it won’t get ruined and really inexpensive and comes in large sizes that can be cut down to fit the gift.  They come in many designs and patterns as well.
  • My personal favourite is using brown kraft paper or brown paper.  I bought a large roll for $3 and it just seems to never end.  It gives a nice rustic appearance and it’s sturdy as well.  It’s a blank canvas which is great for holiday stamping / painting details or stickers or even layering ribbons.

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    image courtesy of stayglam.com

  • Lastly, purchasing ribbon, gift wrap and cards after the holidays when they are reduced by 50%-75% off is also ideal so you’re all ready for the following Christmas.

And lastly, the best gift giving idea of all is spending time with those you love.  One of my friends said to me, when asked what they wanted for Christmas, and they said;

nothing, I want to collect life experiences.

Wow.  What an idea.  So this got me thinking, instead of gifts, why not create new or keep with Holiday TraditionsSo simple, I love it and can be so affordable as well.  Take some pictures of the moment and share embarrassing moments together.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Go skating with the family, or skiing, tobogganing (a true Canadian past time);
  • All the gift ideas mentioned above, why not get your family and friends together and make them all in an evening paired with some hot chocolate and some holiday music, hello craft night;
  • Visit some free holiday displays throughout your community, city, such as art installations or decorated homes in your neighborhood;
  • Go see a holiday play or as a group, go caroling around your neighborhood;
  • Grab some board games and playing games (classics like Monopoly, Othello, Risk, Jenga, Battleship, Scrabble, etc. or playing card games like War, Uno, Euchre, etc.) and a have few rounds with the family.  Create a leader board to create mild competition;
  • Bring back a true classic and read a holiday story around the fire; or
  • Volunteer your time at a local charity, food drive, even gift wrapping services at your local shopping center.

So here’s a long list of great, inexpensive ideas.  What do you think?  Have you tried any?   Do you plan on trying any?  What are some inexpensive ideas you use over the holidays?

J.

5 Uses for Baking Soda

Part of being more money conscious, is finding multiple uses with arm and hammer baking sodaaffordable household items.  One of those items is Baking Soda.

I wanted to find out what else I could use it for, other than for baking.  Not only is it affordable, but it’s environmentally friendly as well.

Here are 5 other uses I have found for it:

  1. A great deodorizer
    place half a cup (or more depending on the area), into a container of your choosing and place it in a smelly area and the baking soda will absorb the odor.  I have placed a small tupperware container in the fridge to remove smells.  I have also sprinkled it into my shoes to remove the odors as well.  Works like a charm!
  2. Washing your hair
    mix a tablespoon of baking soda with your favourite shampoo in your palm.  Rub into your hair, then rinse well.  This will remove product buildup.
  3. Bath time
    add half a cup to a full tub of warm water when bathing for silky smooth skin.
  4. Fruit residue
    sprinkle on wet fruit and veggies to remove their waxy coating.  Scrub then rinse.
  5. Rust on baking sheets
    take 1/4 cup of baking soda and place it in a bowl with a squirt of hydrogen peroxide (3%) until it makes a paste.  Rub it on the rusted area of your baking sheet (or grease/stained area).  You can use your fingers or a small sponge.  Rinse and dry and voila, rust is gone and the baking sheet looks like new.

So next time you’re out grocery shopping, stock up on some boxes of Baking Soda and see how far it can go and the many uses that come from that little box.

What other uses have you tried and tested to be true for Baking Soda?

J.

Simple DIY – Coffee Tin Planter

When a huge gust of wind knocked my money tree plant to the floor and smashed into tiny pieces leaving soil all over the floor, I scrambled to clean it up before the cat got into it.  While I hurried to sweep it up I was also left with the dilemma of what was I going to put the plant into, I don’t have another planter lying around the condo.

After searching around, I was inspired by The Crafted Sparrow’s Coffee Tin Planter and her adorable colour choices.

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I followed her instructions {minus the gold spray paint} and came up with my own colour combo with the colours I had on hand along with a silver and black Sharpie.

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I’m pleased with how it turned out.  This quick and cost-effective project was fun and what’s even better is I made it from just using items from around the house.  I’ll work on the base saucer tomorrow so it coordinates.

Maybe I do have a green thumb after all!

J.

Simple DIY – Resealing An Undermount Sink

I have never been one to shy away from a project.  I’m a tryer first and foremost.  I like to see if I can figure out how something can be done/fixed before spending the money on professional tradesman.  This also allows me to research the project, learn all I can about it and if I have any follow up questions, off to Home Depot I go with a wealth of knowledge to talk shop with the sales associates.

Over a year ago, I had my kitchen renovated with an undermount sink installed.  It’s past it’s warranty and I noticed the clear caulking that seals between the quartz countertops and the stainless steel sink was wearing away.

Off to Home Depot I went and picked up GE 100% Clear Silicone Caulking for $1.27.  I already had the caulking gun from previous projects.

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First I used a pair of scissors to cut the tip of the clear silicone tube on a 45 degree angle.  This allows you to better direct the silicone in a neat and tidy slim line.

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Use either the long metal wire on the caulking gun to insert it into the tip of the caulking tube to puncture through the protective seal inside.  I used a wire hanger and that worked well.

Line up the end of the tube to the area you want to seal and pull the trigger on the caulking gun.  This will push the sealant towards the tip.  It will take a few pulls of the trigger until it starts to work so don’t worry if it doesn’t start working right away.

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Grab some paper towels or some rags on hand to use for any excess.  Go slow while you make your way around the area, don’t worry if there is more in some areas and less in others.  Once you’ve covered the whole area, release the trigger on the caulking gun to stop the pressure of the sealant from coming out the end.  Place the sealant and the gun on some rags in case some excess comes out.

With a rag or paper towel in one hand, use your finger and push the sealant into the area.  Don’t press too firmly but move smoothly around the whole sink.  Removing excess onto the rag or paper towels.  Keep doing this until all excess sealant is removed and a thin seal is covering the whole area.

When you are satisfied, follow the drying instructions on the tube.  Minimum 30 minutes of dry time with a full cure of 24 hours before using with water.

I used some painters tape to wrap the end of the tube to preserve it for future use.

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And there you have it.  A cost effective way to Reseal an undermount sink.

J.