Frugally Food

Goals for Life


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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Build Your Dreams…Not Your Debt


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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Winter Brights


This week’s frugally fun is redecorating for next to nothing.  Earlier this year I decided to do some things to make the bedroom more cheerful and bright during the dark days of winter.

So I pulled out a lovely coral pink bedspread that I had in storage.  Cost: zero.

And I found a cute brightly coloured teacup and a large peony flower at the dollar store for on the side table.  Cost $3.

I brightened up a dark green chair by repurposing a white bedsheet into a slipcover and adding a beautiful floral pillow.  Cost $2.

And I spray painted an old lamp I had turning the base from a dark, sombre brown into a lovely bright Caribbean blue.  Cost $2.

So for $7 I completely changed the look in my bedroom.  Now it’s sunny and bright and cheerful.  And I’m dreaming of tropical vacations much more often.

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Shopping for Free


Stress is a major contributor to a lot of health problems and one of the biggest stressors these days is worrying about money.  So this website will be showing you ways to have fun without spending a lot (or any) money.

So today we are going shopping.  But we’re not going to the mall.  We are going to the closet.  That’s right you are going to shop through the clothes you already have.

Obviously you loved all your clothes at one point in time.  I’m sure you were beside yourself with joy that you were able to get A,B or C on sale for next to nothing.  So rekindle that love.

Spend ten minutes creating new outfits using the clothes and shoes you already own.  Lots of fun.  Zero money.


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Strengthen your Core


Core exercises are not something that usually happen a lot during a regular day especially if you lead a sedentary life going from sitting on a bus to sitting in your cubicle to sitting in front of the tv.

So it’s good to have some core exercises included in your workout routine.

Here’s a ten minute core workout I found on youtube:

This workout is for beginners so it is great for me.  I really like the way she does the sit ups,  I’ve never seen that before and it works really well.

(As usual I am not endorsing any products associated with this video and I am not getting anything from anyone by pointing it out to you.  It just looked like it might be useful for me and possibly for you too.)

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Frugally Fun: Film Festival


Well it looks like winter is settling in again for another year.  Heavy sigh.

This calls for another episode of Frugally Fun.  And nothing is better for a miserable, snowstorm filled weekend than a film festival.

These days libraries come well equipped with many different DVDs.  How about a Godfather weekend?  You could couple it with lots of Italian food all weekend.  Or a Star Wars weekend (although I don’t know what kind of food to eat with those movies).  No!  An Indianapolis Jones weekend!

Or you could combine a book and movie weekend.  Read a classic book then watch a movie version of it and see if they even came close.  There are so many versions of Jane Eyre around that would be a good one to try.  Mia Wasikowska does an amazing job as Jane Eyre in the 2011 version and with Michael Fassbender as Mr. Rochester, how can you go wrong?  I’m partial to the 1997 version starring Ciaran Hinds as Mr. Rochester (but then again I’ve liked everything that Ciaran Hinds has ever done).

Although I’ve noticed with all the different versions of Jane Eyre that none of them manage to capture the wonderful ending of the novel.  If you’ve never read the book, I highly recommend it, especially the part from when Jane returns to Mr. Rochester.  It is most wonderful and I’ve never seen it captured on film.

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Redo Fast Food Part 2


So after reading my last post you got to thinking that an extra $275 per year would be pretty darn nice.  Just by rethinking two lunches.  Pretty easy right?

Well how about if you could save $400 per year with the same two lunches?  Even nicer right?

All you have to do is the next time you go to the grocery store, you get a package of uncooked chicken.  I can get five drumsticks (or five thighs) for $5.  Bring them home, rinse them off, put in a baking dish, sprinkle with herbs and put in a 400F oven for an hour.  That is less than ten minutes of effort to make chicken for five meals.  One dollar of chicken per meal.

Then while you are at the grocery store, get a package of prewashed lettuce.  Just plain lettuce.  I can get a container of baby greens: lettuce, arugula, beet greens – very tasty and very good for a person – for $2.97.  And there are enough salad greens in the container for three meals.

So when you go to work bring the container of greens, a bottle of salad dressing from you fridge (you know you have several in there) and some of the roasted chicken.

Voila!  Lunch for $2.  Four dollars for two lunches means you save eight dollars per week.  Which adds up to $400 per year!

See how easy it is to save money!

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Redo Fast Food


How many times a week do you go out for fast food at lunch time?  Twice a week?  More?  Let’s say it’s twice a week.

In the big city where I am a fast food lunch of sub and soda would go for around $6.  So for two meals that is $12.  And let’s face it sub and soda are not the healthiest foods on the planet.

But you’re busy!  I know.  I hear you.

So how about I show you how to get two much healthier lunches that won’t take any time at all ( and will cost less).

The next time you go grocery shopping, go to the deli section and look for pre-cooked chicken.  The big grocery store near me sells precooked BBQ chicken that has been cut up into pieces.  I can get two legs with thighs attached for around $3.50.  Or two chicken breasts for slightly more.  So pick up one package that will be enough for two lunches.

Then head for the produce section and get yourself a bag of prewashed lettuce.  Having just come back from the grocery store, I am happy to report that there are available ceasar kits that come with the prewashed lettuce, the dressing, some parmesan and croutons…enough for two lunches for the price of ….wait for it….$2.97!  So get one of those and you’re all set.  Two lunches of chicken and ceasar salad for $6.50.

And your lunch is already packed and ready to go.  Just leave it in the grocery bag and put it in the fridge when you get home.  Then when you arrive at work, just put the grocery bag in the fridge at work.  Easy peasy.  And it took no more time than your regular grocery shopping.

Now instead of standing in line at the fast food place for your lunch you can go for a walk.  Or take care of other errands that need looking after.

And you save $5.50 per week.  If you save that every week, you’ll have $275 by the end of the year!  And that’s not nothing!

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The fall is the time of the year to practise the fine art of gleaning, otherwise known as harvesting wild foods from public land or from the yards of willing neighbours.

Usually in any neighbourhood there are more than enough crabapples to keep all the gleaners and any resident deer happy.  There are so many varieties of crabapple around that it is impossible to know from one tree to the next which will be the best.  A little trial and error is in order and definitely worth it.  Some of the best applesauce I’ve ever had came from lovely pink fleshed, thin skinned crabapples.

Saskatoons are another great gleaning find but much more rare since the location of any saskatoon bushes are usually a closely guarded family secret.  You of course need to know what you are doing.  Don’t eat anything unless you are 100% sure of what it is.

Nowadays the age old art of gleaning has gone high tech and there are organizations in a lot of cities that connect people who want free produce with people who have fruit bearing trees on their property with no intention of using the fruit.  A little labour on the part of the gleaner and voila everyone is happy.   I’ve just finished a breakfast of oatmeal and gleaned fruit from a pear tree and boy did it taste good.

And not much is better in the middle of a snowstorm than opening the freezer and heating up some homemade applesauce.  Makes you feel like summer is not too far away.


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Consequences of Meat


While reading “Forks over Knives” by Colin Campbell and Caldwell Esselstyn I was reminded about the environmental consequences of eating meat.

Raising animals for food consumes a huge amount of the earth’s freshwater resources.  According to this book 80% of US freshwater resources are used for agriculture.  To further illustrate this it says that one pound of processed beef requires 2500 gallons of water while one pound of soy requires 250 gallons and one pound of wheat requires 25 gallons.

Another thing to consider is the huge quantities of grain that farm animals consume would be put to better use if it was just used to feed people directly.  Worldwide farm animals consume 756 million tons of grain.  That amount of grain could provide 3 pounds of grain per day to 1.4 billion people.

Now I’ve never eaten a lot of meat largely because meat is one of the most expensive items on the food budget but reading this book has made me cut back even more.  To give you food for thought, if everyone in the US ate a plant based diet for just one day the following resources could be conserved:

  • 100 billion gallons of drinking water
  • 1.5 billion pounds of crops
  • 70 million gallons of gasoline
  • 33 tons of antibiotics! (yikes that’s scary!)

So in case you want to get started right away, here is a tasty and easy to make recipe from the book to try:

The Quickest Black Bean Salad

2 cans black beans rinsed well and drained
1 large tomato

1 package frozen corn

1/2 onion, chopped

1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained and rinsed

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 lime, juice and zest

3 Tbsps balsamic vinegar

Add all the ingredients into a bowl and mix together thoroughly.  This recipe serves 4.  Enjoy!

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