Frugally Food

Goals for Life

Jul
17

Sometimes the best way to save money is to set goals for what you want in life.

Goal setting is a rarely used skill yet has been shown to be very effective in helping people achieve what they want.

Here is how it works:

Suppose you want to go on a vacation.  You do your research and you figure out that with the best deals you can find, the trip will cost $500.

Now you don’t want to go into debt to take a vacation so you need to save the $500 beforehand.  Since the trip is in three months time, you will need to save $500 over 3 months = $167 / month or $42/ week or $6/day.

When you break it down into smaller bites like this, it becomes much more manageable.  It is much easier to think of ways to save $6/day and it gets the creative juices flowing for how to go about it.

This idea can also be applied to much larger goals.  Say you want to go back to school in two years.  Or you want to save up enough for a large down payment on a house in three years time.  By figuring out how much you need to save on a weekly or daily basis, you’ll be able to determine if your goals are achievable.  Perhaps to make it more do-able, you’ll only need to readjust the timeline somewhat.

So do you set goals for yourself?  What are your favourite ways to save money in order to meet your goals?  Do you set larger goals for yourself?

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Ten Dollars of Fun

Jul
13

Recently I was at a birthday party for a one year old child and he received an incredible quantity of birthday presents. One present was more grand than the next. By the end of it he was surrounded by hundreds of dollars worth of toys and the only thing that he was interested in was the helium balloon that kept going up and down. One helium balloon kept his attention for a good twenty minutes. The only other thing he was interested in was the chocolate cake.

However it is NOT necessary to spend a lot of money on presents.  Here is what you can get for $10 that a small child would really like.

The most popular present I ever got a one year old was a rubber ball that looked like an ordinary, run of the mill, rubber ball until you bounced it on the floor…at which point the centre of it would light up with a million different coloured lights. This thing looked like a disco ball from outer space. It was amazing! And do you know that one year old was the biggest hit at his day care with this incredible bouncing ball. All the other mothers wanted to know where he got it from. Total cost for a rubber ball that lights up like crazy and will make a one year old the most rad person in the whole world: $2.00!

In case you can’t find one of those insane bouncing balls (and they’re hard to find…believe me a lot of mothers were looking for them!), you can get a bubble kit that will make those really big bubbles that kids go crazy for, for only $1.50!

Really cute picture books for kids can be had for two to three dollars.

And a bag of jellybeans that the one year old will love (but his parents will not) only costs $1.00

Oh and finally, a helium balloon is all of $1.00!

So we are up to a whole lot of fun that will keep a one year old busy (and popular) for a long time and we still have only spent $8.50!

What about you?  What is your favourite low cost present that you got for a youngster that he or she just loved?

Build Your Dreams…Not Your Debt

Jul
08

Everyone has a dream in life.  Something they want more than anything.

Some want to travel the world.  Others want to be stay at home parents.  Some want to be full time writers or artists.

All very admirable dreams.

But when you are up to your neck in debt, it seems like it is impossible to get off the hamster wheel of work, eat, sleep, repeat.

Everything just seems so overwhelming.  And it is.  It’s impossible to keep track of everything all at once.

That’s why you need small, concrete steps you can do every week to get you headed in the right direction.  All you have to do is make one small change per week.  Just one.  If you do this, in a year you will have taken 52 steps closer to your dreams.

Here’s what you do:

Say for example you like to golf. I know people who golf three times a week or more.  I don’t know how much it costs to play golf but I recently saw an ad for $75 for a round of golf (including golf cart).  The  ad made it sound like it was a fantastic deal.  So let’s say you decide you will forgo one round of golf per week.  That works out to be a savings of $1800.00 in one year!!  And that’s if golf season last six months…you’ll save even more if the golf season is longer.

$1800.00!  From just one small change!

And with my example, you aren’t giving up golf.  You are still playing a lot of golf.  In fact, you are only playing golf one less time per week.

If you need help figuring out how to go about this, I have a free workbook that will demonstrate how to create these small concrete steps.  Just go to the FREE WORKBOOK tab at the top of the page and check it out.

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Minimalism and Frugality

Jun
26

Today I sent a guest post to Miss Minimalist about my journey to minimalism which was definitely an incremental process.  The biggest motivating factors were often moves from place to place and the unwillingness to pack yet another box full of stuff that I would never use.

Through this journey I discovered that minimalism and frugality naturally go hand in hand.  It is amazing how much money you can save when you don’t feel the need to buy anything.  And it is wonderful how that one-two punch of minimalism and frugality opens the door to so many more possibilities in your life.

If you want to write instead of working at a mind numbing, soul sucking job then it’s easier to save money to build up a fund.  And the money you save goes a lot further because your expenses are very low.

Some people pursue other dreams like being full time parents.  Others want to work on environmental causes or travel the world.

Whatever your dreams, they are easier to achieve through minimalism and frugality.  Luckily there are plenty of sources of inspiration and advice for that journey.  Miss Minimalist is one of them.  And of course you’ve already found me here at Frugally Food!

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Throwing Money at a Problem is a Bad Habit You can Break

Jun
22

So many people have fallen into ruts in their lives.  They come home from work.  Order in food or go out to a restaurant.  Flop in front of the tv or go to the shopping mall.  Drive around aimlessly burning gas, going nowhere.  Or haul a gas guzzling toy like a snow mobile or a high speed boat or an ATV somewhere then drive that around aimlessly burning gas, going nowhere.  Destroying the environment they are supposedly there to enjoy.

Meanwhile debt is piling on and piling on.  They just ignore it but when the collection agencies won’t stop calling it gets harder and harder to ignore.

And it would be one thing if all this consumption was making people happy.  But it isn’t even doing that.  People are swimming in debt in order to “have a good life” and they aren’t even happy!

That is messed up!

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have fun.

People get into the bad habit of throwing money at a problem and think it will make life better.

For example: the kids are bored so you drive them to the movies which after tickets and popcorn and soda adds up to be a very expensive evening (and it isn’t even a whole evening, it’s a couple hours or so).  Instead, you can read them a book from the library and it will cost you nothing.  Or you can throw a frisbee around in the park.  Lots more fun.  Costs a couple bucks for a frisbee.  And everyone gets some exercise.

There are many solutions to most every problem.  People just fall into the bad habit of trying to solve every problem with money.  Break those habits today.

(Soon I’m coming out with a book that will help you have fun without spending money – look for it soon and watch for future posts here on Frugally Food where I’ll share some of the ideas from the book.)

 

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How to Save Money While Having Fun

Jun
20

newcover2

Coming soon to Frugally Food and to an ebook store near you, a new book entitled “How to Save Money While Having Fun” by Pamela Kenney.

A book like this is definitely needed in today’s day and age what with a huge percentage of the population struggling with debt.

I see so many people spending a TON of money on things and experiences that are supposed to be fun.  Exotic trips overseas, high end motorized vehicles like ATVs and muscle cars, hockey…even the costs for having kids in baseball are through the roof!

Speaking for myself, there is no way I could relax and enjoy my life if I knew I was going into debt to have fun or would end up paying double the price just in interest charges.

Especially when there are countless low cost and no cost ways to have fun.

This book will bring a lot of them together in one place.  Before you know it, you’ll be having a much more relaxing and enjoyable social life and it won’t be costing you a dime!

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Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

Feb
20

I recently enjoyed a documentary entitled “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” about the efforts of an Australian man to significantly reduce his weight using juices made from fresh fruits and vegetables.   At the beginning of the film the man was severely overweight and had been ill for years with a rare disease that was linked to his obesity.

So in an attempt to improve his health, he embarked on a 60 day liquid diet consisting of juices, which when made from fresh fruits and vegetables are loaded with micronutrients.  I’ve never tried these type of juices before, my concern was always about the possibility of being hungry all the time.

However as it showed in the film, he would be taking a entire plate full of fresh fruits and vegetables and juicing them, then drinking it.   He said it was very filling and he never felt hungry, which makes sense when you see how many veggies he was actually consuming.

By the end of the film he had lost a LOT of weight and had almost completely eliminated the drugs required to treat his illness.

So if that isn’t good news enough, during the course of the 60 days, he ran across another man who suffered from the same rare illness as himself.  This man was morbidly obese with even more severe health problems who also decided to do this liquid diet for 60 days.  Well the change in his health and weight was incredible!  He literally looked like a completely different person after 60 days!  If I remember correctly I believe he said he lost six bowling balls worth of weight in 60 days!

I definitely recommend investing one and a half hours to watch this documentary and see if there are ideas in this film for you to improve your health and wellness.

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Bacon in a Vegan Recipe Book?

Feb
14

I recently got a vegan/vegetarian recipe book from the library because I want to incorporate more plant based whole foods into my diet (watch the documentary “Forks over Knives” or read this post of mine or this post of mine if you want to find out why).

Anyway the first thing that struck me about this recipe book is that it has a lot of recipes that call for tempeh bacon.  I’ve never tried tempeh bacon before so cannot comment about it one way or the other.

I just don’t understand why non-meat products are made to look, and chemicalized to taste, like a meat product.  I assume vegetarians don’t want to eat meat so why would they want to eat something that tastes like meat?  Why not have food taste like what it actually is?

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Overpopulation

Feb
14

I recently read that 200,000 more people are added to the earth’s population EVERY DAY!  That is 200,000 more births every day than deaths!

I used to live in a city of 200,000 and the infrastructure and land and resources that were required to support that many people was immense.  It’s staggering to think that a city that size is being added to the population every day.

Just the societal problems alone in that city and that was when everything was working efficiently and there was no disruption in the food supply.

One short term natural disaster that took just a week (flood) and affected one tiny part of the city wreaked havoc on the waste water treatment and the electrical distribution system.  The money and time required to fix it took forever and cost a ton of money and that is in a peaceful society where most everyone is working together for the common good.

200,000 more people per day and they all want to live like the effing Kardashians.  
That kind of growth cannot end well.

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Sprouts

Jun
27

I watched a documentary lately and it said that an alarming number of Americans go hungry every day.  It said there are “food deserts” where people do not have access to a grocery store and basically have to buy their groceries at a convenience store with all the poor food options that are available there including zero access to fresh fruit and vegetables.

It profiled families from many different parts of the country, even some from rural areas and what I found strange is that none of the families, not even the ones in the farming communities, were growing their own food.  Gardening skills were not even being taught in the classroom where some of the children were so hungry they couldn’t concentrate on their schoolwork.

If you or someone you know lives in a food desert, you should know:

There are vegetables that can be grown indoors, that do not need soil or sunlight, that are ready to eat in three to six days.  Not only are they incredibly easy to grow, they are amoung the highest in vitamin content per serving of any food obtainable.  You can order the seeds through the mail and they will be sent directly to you.

A small amount of seeds will grow a large amount of sprouts and the seeds do not cost very much.  For example $3.49 of mung beans will keep you in bean sprouts for a long time.

I have grown sprouts in the past with great success but I think I will start growing them again because it is definitely a good skill to have.

An excellent website to check out to find out how to grow sprouts is linked below:

http://sprouting.com/sprouting_basics.html

It is also a place where you can order seeds.

 

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