Category Archives: household

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.



Broiling my troubles away


Cost: electricity
Success: 4.5/5

Does the broil function really get the love it deserves?

I still haven’t replaced my microwave, and I think I can hold off for a while. In the meantime I’m figuring out creative ways to warm stuff up.

One thing that’s been right under my nose the whole time is the broil function on my oven. I never really gave it a second thought until I realized it makes a pretty good replacement for a toaster oven. I’ve toasted some very tasty scones and crumpets with butter so far. So much tastier than the soggy versions that would have come out of the microwave.

Toilet paper the old-fashioned way


Cost: Free!
Success: 5/5

Toilet paper is kind of a waste if you think about it. With its bleached brightness and quilted layers of softness, it comes across as pretty pompous for the crappy* job it has. If toilet paper were a person, it would wear a sequined gown to the bottle depot, or a diamond-necklace to McDonalds. It only makes sense to kick toilet paper off of its high horse by using a more frugal alternative.

From what I have read, wiping one’s butt with catalogues used to be a luxury. And what’s good enough for my dad and grandparents on the farm in Saskatchewan is good enough for me!

I get four free papers a week, and that makes more toilet paper than I can possibly go through.

To make the rolls, I started ripping the newspapers sideways. As long as you rip with the grain, they should tear into neat strips. I used my toilet paper roll to measure the width.  I taped each new length of newspaper down so the roll wouldn’t unravel.

The result is something practical and also fun to read, in case you get bored.

*Hehe! Pun!

PS: April Fool’s!!

Vinegar, my bitter friend


Cost: cheap
Success: 5/5

Vinegar is a little weird, because everyone has some in their cupboard but not everyone is sure why.

One of my favourite uses for vinegar is as a glass cleaner. It’s ridiculously easy. I make a mix of  about 10% vinegar and 90% water, with some drops of lemon oil to mask the vinegar stink. I put it in a spray bottle, shake it up, and clean away!  Sometimes I put vinegar right on the cleaning cloth to get rid of grease and fingerprints.

It works because it’s acidic and it breaks up the grease. It’s water-based, so it evaporates. I like to keep my mixture in a little bottle from a soap supply store. Plant sprayers work well too. If you add a citrus essential oil, be sure to shake it each time to distribute the oil. The citrus oil actually lends some of its own cleaning and disinfecting powers. The citrus smell stays around a little while after the vinegar has evaporated.

Come on… give ‘er a try!  (You can practice on my windows if you’d like.)