What Works for Me Wedesday: Valentine’s Day For the Frugal Parent

Yesterday over at The Lucky Cannuck I wrote about Valentine’s day and being lucky in love even though I am a solo parent. Today for me a cheap frugal parent there are lots of ways to make tomorrow special for my daughter and me….I think this year I spent $5 for the day.

1. First shhh..but she will wake up to her favorite breakfast of waffles and at her spot in the table she will find a wee present from mom —I used a left over clay pot, filled it with jelly beans and heart shaped lollipops both bought at the dollar store..it looks like a plant! Also from the dollar store was the cutes lil heart purse so she is getting that too. I made her card.

2.For dinner we will actually be doing something different then I had planned on the menu. We are having one of OUR fav meals —Lasagna.

3. To take care of me and show me some love–after she goes to bed well it is ME time..a nice bubble bath, and a good read are in store.

There are lots of ways to celebrate the day and be frugal at the same time and include the kids. One of the themes we are doing all month so we can really see the love in this house is to document it on our LOVE WALL. When we catch each other being loving and kind we cut out a read heart and write a note sharing what we saw..we then put this up on our love wall( we have one wall dedicated to hearts).

So how are you celebrating tomorrow? Don’t forget that ecards are a great way to show lots of people a little love!  Now off to Dont Try This At Home to see what is working for everyone else today.

Key to Frugalness: Organization

Well this week it has been one of organization. I have been purging big time. I have  bags ready to go- 2 to Value Village and one to the local kids consignment store–so for all the work I will in the end get back a few dollars too. I am finding that the key to being cheap frugal is being organized. What helps me?

1. A Calendar– 4 times a year I do what I am doing this week, each day I am attacking one room of my apartment. This morning it was my under the stairs storage area. While I am cleaning and purging I am also noting what I already have on hand so I don’t dare splurge and buy more of something I don’t need. When I do my daughter’s bedroom I will inventory clothes on hand and what she might need for the up coming year that way as I am out I know what is on that list.( this list is in my purse- in my daily calendar in the back so I am not tempted).

2. Menu planning with flyer’s in hand- for me this works and saves me money. I spend about 30 minutes on Saturday morning looking through them and planning my menu for the week accordingly. If it is a real good buy I try and stock up( but I never by more then what can be used in 8 weeks) Why? Because I find that the sales cycle and will be on sale again within 6 to 8 weeks.

3. A budget- I only have a certain amount that I spend no mater what each week. For me a single mom that budget is no more then $50 for groceries ( and I use coupons when I shop).

By doing this I find I am able to stay on top of things and at the same time be frugal. For me this was one of the biggest challenges to cheapness.

Menu Monday- Cleaning Out What I Have

Okay sometimes you need to get rid of the food you have in your house before you spend another dollar- that is where I am at right now! So with that said for the rest of the month I will only be buying eggs, milk and fresh fruit and veggies. I am cleaning out my freezer and pantry so I can clean them in time for spring.

So with that in mind here is my menu

Monday- spaghetti with meat sauce, salad, dessert- lemon cake with vanilla icing ( had company in)

Tuesday-eggs, bagels and tomato slices

Wednesday-bbq chicken breast, rice, carrots

Thursday- Veggie Soup and Grilled Cheese

Friday- Hotdogs and french fries, mixed frozen veggies

Saturday-cheese pizza, salad

Sunday- Shepard’s pie or leftovers

Now off to Laura’s  to see what is on the menu everywhere else.

Works for Me Wednesday : Pigsback and Jewellery

wfmwsmall.jpg Okay we all know i am cheap right and I love a good deal well there is a shopping portal site for us Cannucks that I want to recommend and that is Pigsback. Not only is it a great portal to flowers, books, and almost everything Canadian that we would want but you can collect points and those points can be redeemed for gift cards. I got me FREE Timmie’s card yesterday in the mail and by the way it didn’t cost me a dime. I simply played a few games and did some quizzes.

Another thing I love is silver jewelery, well I found a site where you can get it FREE! You do pay for shipping though. The Silver Jewellery Club is a great place to get a birthday present for a girl friend or even pick up a piece or two for yourself.

Now I am off to one of my fav blogs to see where everyone else is shopping these days.

Greening the Grocery List

I think most of are trying to find ways that we can go green and be enviromentally friendly. I know I am! I am also looking for ways to be cheap (frugal). For me I really can do both.

1. The first thing I have done and am continuing to do is to do meatless meals in every week’s menu plan. I try and go meatless at least twice per week.

2. Second I shop with reusable bags and NOT plastic bags.

3. Buy seasonal and local. This not only saves on the enviroment but saves on the pocket book as well.

4. I try to bulk buy as well so I can save on trips to the grocery store and cut costs at the same time.

5.Visit your local farmer markets when you can. Great way to shop local and meet some locals too! 

Planning for the Future

I have been thinking alot lately about the future I want and dream about for my daughter and I. I have decided that as she enters junior high and high school I don’t want her here in the city. It is very expensive to live here especially doing it on $1200 a month.  So where do we go, I am investigating several possibilities.

While doing this I am trying to also make sure I am prepared for whatever the future might hold. I am doing my will, and learning all I can about fiances here in Canada. There is FREE help out there for us Cannucks. The Canadian Financial Security Program offers free downloadable books that can help us achieve our goals whatever they are. There is the Will Preparation Kit, Shopping for Life Insurance, Starting a Home Business and Investing Wisely. Why not take a read? For us cheapies out there knowledge equals power and the ability to do more while being prepared.

What Works for Me: Volunteering

Yesterday I spent several hours doing something I love to do and that is volunteer. It started out in the morning with me at my local food bank.I was there because right now they have a special project. For those of you who are in Toronto, you may remember a building collapsed on the Danforth a few weeks ago leaving 24 homeless. Well most are still homeless and are in one of the city’s shelters. I was sorting and helping one of the families that stopped by pick out a few things that they so need. For all the families the Need is great, especially for housing in East York where all want to live again. If you have towels, bedding, clothing furniture or the like and want to donate it, email me and I will let you know where you can drop it off. It fills my spirit to have chance to give what I can and for me that is time.

Last night I was again out volunteering my time at my daughter’s school where I am vice chair of the council and we met to discuss matters that needed discussion for about 2 hours.

I spend about 75 hours a month doing work for and on the behalf of others and serving in my community because I believe if we give our time we can make this world a wee bit better place. For me volunteering helps not only others but me. It helps me as a mom who isnt out in the work world right now feel like I am contributing to the betterment of my community. It helps my spirit. It works for me..If you aren’t sure about volunteering-try it, you may find you get more out of it then you give..There are many groups that always need volunteers: food-banks, soup kitchens, senior centers, Meals to Wheels, etc..the list is long and they would be glad to have your time and service.   

Well I am off to my friend Shannon’s to find out what is working for others this week.

Menu Monday- What’s Cooking?

Sorry this is so late in the day but it has been rather busy here. I have been doing alot of volunteer work lately and it sure is keeping me busy…but we cant forget to plan can we!

Monday- chicken nuggets, rice, corn    dessert for the evening as we are having company chocolate mousse cake

 Tuesday- turkey( Yes I typed turkey–got on sale for $5), so we are having turkey, mashed potatoes, carrots and gravy

Wednesday-Turkey soup, and rolls

Thursday-Breakfast for dinner-pancakes and syrup, bacon

Friday-Hot Turkey Sandwich’s, potatoes, salad

Saturday-pizza( have a $20 gift certificate to use)

Sunday-pork roast, potatoes, corn   fruit salad( having company) 

Well time to go and explore and see what everyone else has on the menu this week! So if you like to plan so you can save visit at Laura’s for lots of ideas.

Reflecting on President Hinckley

 Last night the leader ( the prophet) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints passed away, Gordon B Hinckley died at the age of 97. I have many personal memories of this man.

When I first joined the church in 1997 he was the leadership already, actually he served in church leadership most of his life and his influence has been felt in every area of the church’s life and direction. Temple building under him brought temples closer to families. There was no longer the need to put off temple work.  Under him there were two proclamations that effected members and their daily lives: one on the Family and the other on the Living Christ. He was great with the media bringing the church more and more into the mainstream of religions today. He definitely was one who brought the church forward in his almost 12 years as leader.

Personally I want to write of two times that I was personally touched by him. First was almost 11 years ago to the day. A letter arrived at the home of my now Ex husband. It was from the office of the first presidency. It was signed by him giving me and my ex permission to go to the temple for our marriage. I remember touching the ink, and thinking wow he signed this note…well the marriage was short but I do have a dear daughter out of it. So thanks Pres Hinckley for her.

The other was Roo was a baby and we first came back to Canada and low and behold who was coming to speak at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton but Pres Hinckley with his wife. I was one of that HUGE crowd that went to hear him and take in the spirit that was there. It was a good day.

 The church will go forward I am sure but President Hinckley will be missed. As Thomas S Monson is sustained in the days and weeks ahead I wonder what is instore. There is a plan for each of us, and I am thankful that I learned that at least..so good night President  Hinckley.