Day 47~Vinegar Works Wonders

I use vinegar to clean most of my house.  Not only is it cheap; It cleans AMAZINGLY, and is safe for my kids and pets…Well, most of my pets.

Unfortunately, my hermit crabs don’t like it so much.  In fact, my youngest daughter was caught today with the vinegar spritzer in hand, spraying the inside of the hermit crab tank.  Yeah, I don’t think they like that.

I immediately cleaned up the vinegar that I could get to, and am praying that there wasn’t much sprayed in.  There was a lot of vinegar around and under the tank, though.  And the tank is now super-shiny and clean.

Either way, as interesting as I find hermit crabs.  If they happen to ‘kick the bucket’, and go to crab heaven; I can’t see myself purchasing more.  As I’m on a ‘Spendingless Spree’ and Not Spending Money for a Year, it would go against my goals.  I would just sell the hermit crab paraphernalia and give the tank back to my brother.  One less thing in my cluttered house.

Did I happen to mention how much less clutter I have around the house now that I’m not spending money?  The correlation between spending and clutter in my life has become apparent.

Well, that’s it for today.  If my crabs live, I’ll let you know.  =D

Princess PW

Day 41~Turn the Damn Lights Off!! (LOL)

It’s funny AND it’s not.  People who don’t pay the bills are oblivious to the fact that using energy costs money.  And people who don’t know a lot about the environment and how energy use impacts it, are also oblivious.  It’s most likely not their fault (unless they’re totally ignorant).  People have to learn about these things somehow.

On any given day, I remind the people I live with many times, to turn off lights, water, appliances, and other resource-using items.  Often, it’s more for my environmental concern than the financial impact.

Relating my environmental reasoning to some of my tenants is extremely difficult; especially since they’re from across the world and are here to learn English.  It takes a lot or time and effort to explain things.  And I’m still not always sure that they understand what I’m saying.

The fact that water is in short supply is still unknown to many people around here.  It seems endless because when we turn on the taps, it just keeps pouring out.  We’ve got lakes, rivers, and creeks too; so people think it’s abound and plenty.  Locals, let alone my tenants from across the world, don’t understand that our facilities can’t clean the water fast enough to keep up with the demand.  Also, our water (from the Great Lakes) is being sold off to other countries (mainly the United States).

I have no problem with sharing resources, but in this case; it is very possible that we will end up running out of water.  Scary thought.  It is already happening in other countries.  And climate change is taking a major toll on the earth.  Water levels are changing all over the globe.

Many wars and political injustices are happening because the demand is outweighing the supply of our earth’s resources.  How can we get the message across?  It seems that people care one minute, and then quickly forget soon after.  We’re an adaptable species, but this is ridiculous.

I personally do a lot of volunteering for a local environmental organization.  But, sometimes I feel that if I can’t even get it into the heads of the people I live with; how much impact am I actually having through the organization??

Do the adults and kids I connect with, actually understand what I’m trying to relate?  Or do they have their own subconscious language?

All I know is that at home, for my international tenants; my message has now been dumbed down to: “Turn the lights off.  Turn off the water.  They cost money.”

When I talk about the environment, I feel like I’m ‘beating a dead horse’ (meaning ‘it’s pointless’).  When I relate it to money, people understand.  I get results.  In my house, right now; only the lights, appliances, and water being used now are on.  Everything else is off.

That’s the way I like it.  I save money, and am slowly educating people to be both energy and money conscious.  Two very important things to me.  : )

Talk Soon.

Princess PW

PS–Did you know that plastics can only be broken down and recycled approximately twice.  Think about that before buying bottled water.  Usually bottled water is not better than tap water (in most build up areas).  Cities test their water supply daily.  Bottled water does not have such strict standards.  Tap water also saves money.  😉

Day 37~The Cheapest Baby Shower Gift Ever

My cousin-in-law is throwing a baby shower for her sister-in-law.  And I’m invited.  It’s less than a week away and I just got the invitation today.  Here’s my first baby shower challenge.  How will I give a gift the mom-to-be will like without spending a dime?

The first thing I did was ask around for her phone number.  I let people know why I wanted to call her.  I also asked for suggestions.  And I got some good ones.  Here’s what people told me to do:

  • Clean, press, and box up some hand-me-down baby clothes.  I have everything to do that already, and apparently the mom will be ‘tickled pink’ even to have nice hand-me-downs.  Even if they were free for me.
  • Make a scrapbook or baby album that baby photos can be easily added by the parents.  This is more of my sister-in-law’s forte.  I have the materials, but kind of suck at making keepsakes people will like.
  • Frozen dinners (home made) for a week.  The week the baby is brought home is going to be a hectic one.  So, I can make some food for the soon-to-be sleep-deprived parents to have on hand.
  • Make a video of the baby-shower for the parents-to-be.  I’d create a card and envelope explaining why I’m there with a video camera.  : )
  • Make a paper mache piggy bank to get the child started off with savings.  This is cute in theory, but will have to take some extra work and special care to make sure it’s sturdy and not ugly.  I could probably make a really good, solid piggy bank; even an attractive one.

These are just 5 of the money saving gift ideas for this shower.  I think I’ll do the first and test out the last.  Who knows?  If I can make a really good, free paper mache piggy bank; then that opens up a whole bunch of other free gift ideas I can do for other occasions!

I could even give kids paper mache kits.  I’d have newspaper pre-cut into strips, a bag of flour, a large yogurt container, plastic stirring spoon, etc.  I’m sure you get the picture.  And kids would love it.  Although, I’m not quite sure if the parents would.  lol

The more I do this, the easier it gets to come up with free gift ideas and fun things for the family to do.  We’ve spent a lot of time at the park lately.  It’s fun and free.  The best part is, I’m connecting with my family more and starting to feel like a kid again!

Princess PW

Day 37~Save on Gas

Ten tips to save you money on gas:

  1. Plan your errands and shopping trips.  Try to get everything done in one or two days.  Keeping an active list of what needs to be done will help make this easier.
  2. Invite people over instead of always going out to see them.
  3. Spend more time at home.  Take up a new hobby, learn some new things, play games.  Be creative!  You’ll find more and more things you’ll like to do both inside and outside of your home.
  4. Try different methods of transportation.  Walk, bike, rollerblade, skateboard, moped, scooter, bus, subway, train, etc.  Alternative modes of travel can save lots of money at the pumps.
  5. Get a more fuel efficient vehicle.
  6. If you have to travel to ‘meetings’ for work or other business; see about having phone or video conferencing instead.
  7. Stock up on food (especially when there’s a sale).  Even milk and cheese can be frozen, so you don’t have to go to the grocery store as much.
  8. Carpool.  Get together with other people and share the driving.  It saves a lot of money.
  9. Share errands with friends, family, or neighbours.  If you need some things done and they need other things done.  Maybe you can each help each other out so you don’t have to drive as far or as many places.
  10. Have your children (if you have any) picked up and dropped off for their activities, by other trustworthy parents.  You can also contribute to drive their kids some days too.

Princess PW

Day 29~ Carpooling: Save Money & Meet People!! Inspiring Article Attached.

There are so many benefits to carpooling. I keep finding more ways to save money and time! And, I’m having fun doing it too!

For example, I had a wonderful opportunity to carpool today. In addition to saving money, I met some incredible contacts! : ) I’ll most likely end up teaming up with some of the people I met today for future projects I manage. That may even save me more money too.

I prefer to contract jobs out to people who I have met personally, before looking at their resume. What good is an education if someone doesn’t possess the skills to fill the job description? And so many people get overlooked because they don’t have the formal education, but have exactly what is needed in terms of skill set and attitude.

Of course, I ask a lot of questions to find out about people’s passions, backgrounds, strengths and competencies first. Then it’s easy to match jobs to the ideal people. Everything works better when we pair up and work within our strengths.

It’s important to have someone competent and passionate about their job. Usually these people will provide quality work the first time and save any possible rework later. They also enjoy what they do, so they’re pleasant to be around.

You can meet some amazing people by carpooling. Check out Save some money, and meet some new friends too!

Toronto – Smart Commute, who operates, a ride-matching website, has designated February 1-5, 2010 as Carpool Week. During Carpool Week, Smart Commute is encouraging drivers to visit to see how much their daily commute costs in dollars and pollution and register for the service to find a carpool match. The website matches commuters with similar schedules and routes from home to work to share a ride. Almost 23,000 comm … Read More

via Smart Commute

Day 23~Official Rules for ‘No Spending For A Year Game’

I was out last night celebrating a birthday with some friends.  It was a lot of fun!  At the beginning of the night, I showed up to the house party with only a tiny amount of Vodka and some pop for mix.  It was BYOB.  And, it looks strange to some people to see someone show up with an almost empty bottle, so I felt obligated to explain.

I said, “I’m playing a ‘No Spending Money For A Year Game’ so this is virtually the last of my alcohol for the year.”  At first, people looked at me like I was retarded.  (I rarely drink anyways).  After an awkward pause, people started asking questions about the game.  They were sincerely interested.  They all had money concerns of some kind, regardless of whether they were financially secure or not.  They all wanted to know more about the game; how it worked, why I was playing it, and what my results to date have been.  It became clear to me that although I know the rules to this game; not everyone does.

One of the reasons I created this blog is to empower people to take control of their finances and choices, alongside me; while I change my own financial picture.  Overcoming debt AND creating a positive cash flow at the same time is easier than most people can imagine.  My other reason, is to put myself in the position of having to be accountable to others; to become comfortable discussing and reporting my financial life with people.

I want to make it easy for others to duplicate the things in my blog that I use to make money, save money and pay off debts.  Of course, I am not a financial planner.  Financial decisions are only up to the individuals involved and people should always seek professional advice before making financial decisions.  I have sought lots of credible, professional financial advice and education.  This blog gives me a platform to test the money concepts I’ve learned so far. : )

As for the ‘No Spending Money Game,’ I want to make it as easy as possible for people to duplicate and tailor to their individual needs.  Here are the ‘Official Game Rules’.  Your lifestyle and goals may be different than mine.  So, your financial game must be tailored to reflect your goals.  It must be set up in a way that will help make your goals more attainable.  A number of situations (like number of kids, houses, liabilities, etc) will affect how your money game is structured, but the basic rule is that once you create the game, STICK TO IT.  A few kinks may have to be worked out in the first week or two as you notice what works and what doesn’t.

Have fun with it!!       “No Spending Money For A Year Game~~Official Rules”

  1. I will only purchase regular grocery items and household supplies.
  2. I will still pay for medical and dental items if needed.
  3. I will have an allowance of $8/month spending money for gifts.  That will cover any extra supplies needed to make, or obtain the gifts.  I’m sure I’ll be on Kijiji a lot!
  4. I will have $25/month allowance to spend per child for school related purchases/books/fundraisers, etc.
  5. If I take on a liability (such as a car or something), I must find and maintain an asset to pay for it.  (An asset is something that puts money in your pocket.  A liability is something that takes money from your pocket).
  6. Money that is ‘unexpected’ (like from babysitting the extra child), can be used on anything I’d like (as long as I NEVER use the money from my regular income for anything extra).
  7. Household bills or utilities (fixed living expenses) will still be paid for.
  8. I can pay off debt whenever I deem reasonable.
  9. I can purchase investments, as long as they are expected to provide me with at least 10% cash on cash return.
  10. I can pay for education in small amounts (as long as my cash flow is still positive).
  11. I must track my progress online (What’s happening with my money, learning, etc; not the dollar amounts).
  12. All decisions based around money will be based on logic, and not emotion.

I took a few days to prepare for this game.  I didn’t go on a shopping spree or anything like that.  I talked to friends and family to let them know what I am planning to do; both to give them a heads up that their gifts may be cheap this year, and to prepare myself mentally for any negative feedback I might get for doing this.  It turned out people were more supportive than I expected.  That makes it a lot easier to stick to my guns.  =D

If you get a chance to play your own ‘No Spending Money Game’, I’d highly recommend it.  I’ve already noticed a big difference in my bank account!  And I don’t have to deal with as much garbage and recycling too!

Remember, tailor the game to you.  If you’re new to financial transitions, take baby steps.  Make a goal of not spending for a few weeks.  Then increase it.  Just make sure you don’t go wild and spend because you’ve done such a great job at not spending.  That will throw all of your hard work out the window.  If for some reason you do go on a spending spree; don’t feel bad about it.  Just acknowledge that you did it, and move on.  Commit to learning and personal growth.

Practice Makes Perfect!

Princess PW

Day 21~Discover Your Inner Hippy (A great read!)

I’ve been called a ‘Modern Day Hippie’ many times. =D When I read this article, it made me smile because it connected the dots between my environmental self and my money-conscious self. We’re really one and the same.

It costs so little to make a huge positive environmental impact. In fact, it can save you an enormous amount of money. For example, whenever I go grocery shopping, I don’t buy items that are over packaged, or have packaging that is not recyclable in our area. I also will buy local food items over imported. Usually, they’re cheaper anyway; but not always.

When I am shopping for non-grocery items, I often talk myself out of buying the items because of the packaging more than the cost. In turn it saves a lot of hard earned money.

However, right now I’m playing a financial game called, “The No Spending Money For A Year Game.” So, I’m not buying things lately. I started this game strictly to change my finances; but in turn, it’s saving the environment too.

They’re both connected. Think about everything you buy. Think about the amount of garbage and recycling that goes through your household. And then imagine how much less waste there would be if you weren’t buying it. And think about the amount of money you’d have if you didn’t spend it on these items. It’s mind-boggling when you really think about it. You’d probably have a very tidy, functional house, and lots of money!

I always ask myself these questions when buying anything:

1. Do I really need it? Or do I just want it?
2. Is it a lot of extra packaging? (If it is, I don’t buy)
3. Where will I put it?
4. When will I have time to use it?
5. How long will it last? (If it’s something I won’t get a lot of use out of, I won’t buy)
6. How do I dispose of it, after it’s life-cycle? Is it recyclable?

If you ask yourself these questions when making purchases and determine whether to buy based on their answers, you’ll also be making a positive difference in our environment. =D
Preserve our world, and your wallets!

Until tomorrow, Enjoy this post!!

Princess PW

Tree hugger, nature freak, eco geek and the ever popular hippy are names you may have heard for people who want to conserve the earth’s resources.  During the 1980s and 1990s when the economy was booming in America, being a hippy went out of style.  But like many things, being a hippy is cool again.  Conserving the earth’s resources is good for the environment and promotes better health in humans. Relate to your inner hippy and find ways around y … Read More

via boyonabudget

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