Saturday, July 4, 2009

Outdoor toys

All of the outdoor toys for the kids are bought from garage sales, junk sales or even taken from someone else's garbage pile (we found a wagon that someone tossed..and replaced the wheels for $ looks like new after a bit of scrubbing!)

These are plastic toys that get abused, scratched up, rained on, snowed on, dirtied, faded over time....why pay lots of money for it when you can get it for free or for a small fraction of what the original owner paid. We salvage it and rescue it from ending up in the landfill where it will never biodegrade. We think if it as giving the toys a new lease on life.

Speaking of which, anyone looking to get rid of a sandbox with a cover? :)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Your trash measures your consumption

Thought of the day: the amount of trash that you output directly reflects the amount of consumption that you or your family have.

If you eat processed foods, you will have lot of containers. If you use a lot of boxed items, pre-made food or packaged goods then you will have a lot of trash.

If you buy stuff that you don't need, you will have the boxes/packaging that everything came with.

I'm proud that our family puts out ONE trash container every TWO weeks - we have two kids under 3. We recycle everything that we can, we compost all our organic matter and we save up our bottles and cans to return for their deposit.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Angel food cake.

I recently discovered the boxed Angel food cake mix. It's great! It's costs less than $2 and you only add water! I was amazed at how easy it was to make (literally, add water, mix and bake) and how good it tastes.

Gone are the times when you have to beat a while dozen of egg whites (and with the price of eggs these days so high...) and fold your flour in gently.....

It tastes heavenly with unsweetened whipped cream and fresh strawberries....mmm.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dish/Laundry detergent

We noticed that manufacturers are packaging a lot of detergents in prepackaged "doses", ie dishwasher detergent tablets.

This forces you to use a set amount (which you can actually decrease depending on how soiled your dishes are).

Try to buy the powder or liquid form of detergent that you can measure out yourself. You'll be able to squeeze in quite a few more loads than the label suggests, they tend to be a little cheaper and it's better for the environment!

Credit cards with good rebates...

I never ever want to recommend credit cards to anyone who is frugal - it's much too easy to spend spend spend money away. Even if you are frugal, a credit card can start the downward spiral into consumer debt. Not good.

Nonetheless, if you pay off your card balance in full every month, and if you are disciplined, you can make use of a credit card to earn points, dollars, or whatever else.

The best card we have gotten so far, hands down, is the MBNA Smart Cash card. It's a platinum card, so your rental car insurance is covered. As far as the card, for the first 6 months, you get 5% back on groceries and gas. All other purchases are 1% back. After the first 6 months, you get 3% back on groceries and gas, as well as 1% back on everything else. The rebate comes in the form of a cheque every month.

If you're like us, and you just get groceries and gas most of the time, then this is for you. There are no fees as well.

We've ditched our PC Mastercard, as it only gets you 1% back on everything, and it ties you down to having to buy at Superstore.

Happy Canada Day!