Category Archives: Blabberings

I can never quit youuu, blog


Well look who’s come crawling back once more!

At the end of the summer of 2015 my former tenant moved back in. Things weren’t going well at her new place and I kind of missed having her around. The rental income allowed me to pay more toward my mortgage as well as contribute regularly to an RRSP. I also made two big trips – to Australia (to visit my sister) and to Germany/Iceland. I visited my family in Germany, and on the way back IcelandAir allowed a free stopover so I spent 5 days in Iceland. (Nice scheme, guys! It works. ;))

Not long before Christmas I found out my tenant was moving out, which left me panicked about money. My accounts were still looking sad after my trips, and I was having trouble restocking my savings even with the rental income. I made a few lists to calm myself down. One was a list of benefits to living alone again, and another was a list of free or cheap things that make me happy.

A day or two later I woke up realizing I’m pretty smart with my money, and I knew having a tenant wouldn’t be permanent so I had allocated most of my rental income accordingly. Each month I was putting $200 extra toward my mortgage, $100 into an RRSP, $150 into a hard-to-dip-into savings account, and a bit into general savings. (In theory… that usually got eaten up.) I was also spending about $40 more on heat and electricity per month. That added up to $490 of the $590 I was getting in rent, so not so bad.

I scaled most of those back right away.  It’s not ideal and it’s also not meant to be long-term. I’m hoping to earn more side income through my photography (yeah yeah, I’ve been saying that for a while) and a potential side job supervising exams. With that income, I’ll to put the first $50 toward savings, the next $50 toward mortgage, the third $50 toward savings, the final $50 toward mortgage, and anything beyond that I can use however I feel like.

I also started automatically transferring part of my paycheque into two savings account. One is for yearly costs like insurance, property taxes and other predictable amounts. The other account is to set money aside for Teddy’s veterinary costs and car repair bills.

I’m also trying to be more disciplined about how I spend money. I was spending a whole lot on lunches and coffee at work and not using up my groceries. I’ve brought down my coffee and fast food budgets, and I’ve been bringing lunch almost every day and making my own coffee. I’m excited about cooking again and I feel like I have more control over my health.

Anyway, I’m determined to be thrifty again, and I’m enjoying it so far.



Saskatchewan-style tupperware


Cost: Free !
Success:  4.5/5

I call re-purposed plastic containers ‘Saskatchewan tupperware’ because it’s a family tradition that goes back at least as far as my Grandma. She owned a couple of the big round Tupperware containers from the 60s or 70s – the ugly ones that came in olive green, amber and burnt orange. The rest of her reusable containers were old cottage cheese, yoghurt and sour cream containers, and the 4L ice cream buckets from Co-op. The ones that are so big and heavy that they come with a handle.

My Grandparents had a farm near Strasbourg where my dad grew up.  He and his two siblings were born in the 40s. Farming must give people a certain appreciation of where their food comes from because they see just how much time and work it takes to grow. I used to be annoyed at how stingy my dad and my Grandma were. Now that I have a better understanding of the context, I think they were miles ahead of many modern environmentalists. They took reducing and reusing  very seriously because it was practical. They they couldn’t bear to throw out things that still had some use left.

I’m not quite as thrifty as them, but I enjoy how living on the cheap makes me evaluate every decision and make sure it’s practical.

Anyway, it’s handy to have some Saskatchewan tupperware around the house.

Sending food home with friends
When I give friends containers of food, I can almost count on not getting the container back. People forget, and my containers get mixed in with their collection of mixed containers and after a while peoples cupboards are filled with a colourful mosaic of containers that don’t belong to them.  When I give people food in Saskatchewan tupperware, I can keep my matching set of containers safe, and I’m not sad if I never see my container again.

Marinades n’ things
Since a lot of dairy containers are tall and narrow, they’re a good way to marinate meat with minimum marinade.  (Note that your containers will stink for a while afterwards.)

Freezing garden vegetables
My Mom and Grandma would always fill up several Saskatchewan tupperwares with tightly packed spinach, beans, beets, herbs and things from the garden, then stick them in the freezer. My Mom must fill at least 20 each year, so it makes sense to do it cheaply by reusing old containers. I would take the food out before putting it into a pot or the microwave, since there has been so much talk about the chemicals plastic releases when it’s heated.

Hardening fat
This one’s pretty gross. For fattier meats like ground beef, turkey or duck, the fat should never go down the drain. My Mom always pours it into a container, pops it out and throws it in the garbage when it becomes solid.

Keeping craft supplies
Sometimes I put craft supplies in my Saskatchewan tupperware. If you’re worried about plastic chemicals leaking into your food, this is a good alternative use.

I still have a matching set of the good containers because I let my Saskatchewan tupperware do the dirty work.



In November I bought a townhouse. It’s beautiful and freshly renovated and it even smells nice!  It also came with a big mortgage.

I’ve always been pretty careful with my money, but saving money has turned from a hobby to a necessity with all of the costs that come with home ownership. Since November, I’ve been challenging myself to do things more cheaply, and to evaluate where my money should really be going.

In this blog, I’m going to record my experiments in cheapness, and decide whether or not they really save money. Maybe I will even save some other people money (or time!)