12 Tips to a No Waste Kitchen

Homes in general create a large amount of waste. However, I happen to think the kitchen is the biggest offender of all the rooms in the house. From rotten produce to packaging there’s almost an endless amount of waste coming from this one room! If you have been considering a zero waste kitchen there’s no better time than now and I’ve got some tips to help you get started.

Twelve tips to a no waste kitchen.

The first step to reducing kitchen waste is to reduce and reuse packaging. Be mindful when buying packaged items. Jars and containers can be reused for other reasons. Visit your local farmer’s market to buy fresh produce and bring a basket so you do not need to take plastic grocery bags. Not only are these foods better for you, they have a lower impact on the earth. I’ve also learned that Bulk Barn will be introducing a reusable container program at all Bulk Barn locations starting February 24!

Regrow produce from leftovers. Yes, it’s true! Several produce items can be regrown using the ends! From celery to pineapples to green onions and more, you are bound to find a favorite thing your family can regrow.

Put overripe fruit to use by making bread, muffins, and other fun treats. We are all familiar with treats like banana bread but you can do this with nearly any overripe fruit in your fridge.

A great way work towards a zero waste kitchen is to compost and boost your garden nutrients at the same time. Instead of throwing out what your family does not eat, use it to build up your garden and feed your family again. Banana peels and eggshells are great to toss right into your garden beds.

Invest in storage that makes food last longer. Produce can go bad fast but with the right storage, you can make it last longer than ever. Washing fruits in a bit of Apple Cider Vinegar will kill off mold spores that make them go bad faster. Storing carrots and celery in water can make them last weeks at a time.

Related: The large container in this set is great for storing produce!

Ditch the sponge for a washable dishcloth that lasts longer and cuts down on bacteria that can make your family sick.

Ditch the paper towels for a washable option like reusable towels or microfiber cloths. Reuse cans for draining things that cannot be washed down the drain, like bacon grease.

Make eggs last longer. When storing store bought eggs put them directly into a sealed container in the fridge. These eggs no longer have the protective coating the chicken leaves on the eggs so they can absorb odors, flavors, and bacteria from your fridge. If you have your own chickens don’t wash the eggs. Slightly dust off feathers and bedding that may be on them and store on the counter. Do not WASH until you go to use them.

Shop with reusable supplies like cloth grocery and produce bags. One trick you may enjoy is bringing laundry baskets or big storage containers when you go shopping. Have the cashiers toss everything into the baskets instead of bags. Move the basket to your car and from your car to your home. It cuts down on waste and makes getting everything in easier. You may want to separate refrigerated and pantry goods in these baskets to make putting everything away easy.

Don’t buy more than you need. So often we see a sale and buy more than our families can use before it goes bad. If you do not have a deep freezer, control the impulse to buy out that clearance meat. The same goes for buying produce, milk, eggs and even pantry goods that can go stale.

Go homemade.  To cut down on packaging waste for convenience items like cookies, granola bars, apple sauce cups or even frozen entrees, start making those items at home and storing in reusable containers or your baking ware.

I can’t write anything relating to food without mentioning the importance of menu planning. Menu planning is especially vital to reducing food waste and lowering your grocery bill. If you really struggle with menu planning, then try out $5 Meal Plan. It happens to be my favorite meal planning service. It’s just $5 a month (the first two weeks are free!), and you get menu plans sent straight to your email along with the exact shopping list you need in order to create the meals. Each meal costs around $2 per person or less. This service allows you to save time because you won’t have to meal plan anymore, and it will save you money as well! If you are interested in joining for free, click here.

Armed with these tips, you should be able to make little steps towards a no waste kitchen. Changing one thing at a time will enable you to keep more money in your pocket too!

I’d love to know how you reduce food and packaging waste in your home. Please share in the comments below!

Cheap Family Activities for Family Day

Since Family Day is today in BC and February 20 for the rest of Canada, I thought I’d share some ideas for cheap family fun!

  • Have a picnic inside
  • Have another family over for dinner – this is way cheaper then eating out!
  • Start your garden seeds inside – Use this as an opportunity to teach your children about patience, responsibility and how things grow!
  • Movie night – grab a movie off your shelf that you haven’t watched in a while and make some homemade microwave popcorn!
  • Have a theme night/day – Mexican, Italian, pirate…the list goes on. Plan dinners and activities around your theme!
  • Have a craft night – paint, sew (here are some simple felt sewing ideas), draw…etc!
  • Head to your local library – stock up on reading material or even sit in on story time!
  • Have a game night – pull out those board games and cards!
  • Unplug – Turn off the cell phone, TV, computer and just reconnect with your wonderful family!
  • Go bird watching – see how many different types of birds you can spot. Maybe bring along a bird book from the library.
  • Go ice skating – many ice rinks offer free skating on certain days
  • Build an indoor fort – camp out in it or have a picnic in it!
  • Check out this list on Grocery Alerts for free or cheap activities to do in BC for Family Day

I’m sure many of these ideas can be adapted to families or couples, summer or winter!

What other free or cheap activities can you suggest?

10 Things to Stop Buying Today

We all need to save money these days. It feels like the value of a dollar gets smaller by the day! These everyday items you can stop buying and easily replace with less expensive options and even help out the planet in the long run.

Ten things to stop buying today:

Paper towels

While there may be a time and a place to put paper towel to use, most of the time old towels or old shirts can work just as well. I actually like using old rags better than paper towel for cleaning glass. They don’t leave little bits of paper on the mirrors! They’re also easy to toss in with your dish rags and towels to wash on laundry day.

Disposable Disinfectant Wipes

When it comes to common products that make life easier but are wasteful, disposable disinfectant wipes come to mind. Sadly these also have quite a high cost. You can easily make your own by filling a small container with a disinfectant solution and tossing in rags. This is a great way to reuse old t-shirts! Because you are using old t-shirts, you can toss it guilt free if the mess is too hard to get out of the cloth.

Glass Cleaner

Another thing that can be a waste of money is glass cleaner. At $3 or so for a bottle of cleaner you are basically throwing your money away. You can save a large amount of money by filling a bottle with half water and half vinegar or rubbing alcohol. It works just as well for just a fraction of the price.

Dryer Sheets

You can save big bucks by making your own Dryer sheets. You can find my recipe to make your own homemade dryer sheets right here. To make things even easier, you could simply add some white vinegar to the liquid fabric softener part of your washing machine.

Diaper wipes

If you are a mom, you know how handy diaper wipes can be, even for older kids! The good news is, you can make your own easily and save money. If disposable is a must try cutting a paper towel roll in half for this. If not baby wash cloths from the dollar store are perfect for a washable version. Mix a few drops of baby wash or castile soap into about a cup of water, then pour over top of the cloths or paper towel that are in an airtight container.

Lotion

Lotion can be made for a fraction of the cost without all of the chemicals that are bad for you. All you need is 1 part shea butter and 1 part coconut oil. Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to make it smell amazing!

Shaving cream

You can use nearly any oil, body butter, or even conditioner in place of shaving cream. This is a great one to stop buying for healthier skin too.

Foaming hand soap

Foaming hand soap can be made for next to nothing. Refilling your bottles saves you so much money! Simply fill your used foaming hand soap bottle with 1/2 water and 1/2 soap. Shake well.

Related: DIY Foaming Hand Soap

All purpose cleaner

It’s so easy to whip up a batch of homemade all purpose cleaner. Here’s my recipe that you might like to try. Or you could simply use some castile soap mixed with water.

Modge Podge

Every craft lover knows the wonders of Modge Podge. The good news is this expensive crafting staple can be made by mixing half school glue and half water together. Use the same as ready made for all of your crafting fun.

I’d love to know some items that you have stopped buying because you’ve found an alternative. Let me know in the comments!

How to Take Control of Your Finances

How to Take Control of Your Finances

Are you living paycheck to paycheck? Do you feel like you never have money? Are you terrified that unexpected expenses will come up? Here are some ideas for getting your finances under control and feeling more in charge of your money. You can do it!

#1. Evaluate Your Budget

If you don’t have a budget, make one! The best way to know where your money goes is to write it down and keep track. Always keep in mind that paying for your essentials (shelter, food, water, electric, etc.) should be first priority.

Related: The Budget Binder Kit

#2. Trim the Fat

Once you know where your money is going, look at each line item and ask yourself if it’s necessary. If it IS a necessity, is it possible to make the payment smaller? Do your research and call your providers, assess everything from your cable/satellite and cell phone, home, health and auto insurance. You can even look into refinancing your mortgage and call to ask for discounts or change your plan. Meal planning is a great way to start spending less on groceries. Changing cell phone providers can give you amazing savings. If you have student loans, check into student loan forgiveness programs or income based repayment programs.

#3. Have an Emergency Fund

If you don’t have a savings account, open one! It’s best to have at least $1,000 saved. If you are starting from scratch, start with a goal of $500 in savings. This will keep you from using credit cards and racking up more debt when emergencies pop up.

#4. Become Debt Free

Examine your debt (student loans, credit cards, car payment, mortgage, etc.). Commit to paying off your loans starting with the highest interest rate. When creating your budget, think about throwing any extra money you have at your loans. If you can buckle down for a few years, you’ll be surprised how much money can be freed up by paying off debt. Your mortgage should be the last debt you pay off.

#5. Stick To It

This is the hardest part! Try using cash for a while, if you need a visual of your money leaving your hands. Talk to a trusted (financially capable) friend and have them hold you accountable to your budget.

If you’ve tried all these steps and still feel like you’re not in control, you may need to look into ways to earn more money (ask for a raise, look into part-time work or freelancing, etc.) or talk to a professional financial planner. Make sure you look into investing in your future, too (don’t forget about retirement!). Talk to people who are financially responsible and ask for advice. Taking control of your finances can be tough, but extremely rewarding.

If you’ve paid off debt, how did you do it? What was the one thing that really helped you to get it paid off? Let me know in the comments!

25 Ways to Save Money While Moving

25 Ways to Save Money While Moving

It’s official. We’re moving in month’s time. I just can’t believe it. While a month still seems so far away (I’m just so gosh darn excited!), I’m sure it will zip by!

Anyways, as we’ve discovered, moving can be an expensive adventure especially if you are moving to a new province, town, or even another country. However, there are ways you can save while moving. Check out these 25 ways to save money while moving!

  1. Sell anything and everything. If you haven’t used or worn something in the last 6 months, sell it.
  2. Utilize Facebook. Facebook is a great way to post your items you are trying to sell quickly without hosting a garage sale. Do a search on Facebook for local Buy & Sell groups.
  3. Avoid hiring movers. It is much more cost effective to slowly get your items packed and loaded than it is to hire movers.
  4. Don’t buy boxes. Retailers that get products shipped in, throw out and get rid of their boxes all the time. Head out to local stores asking when their shipments come in and if you can have their broken-down boxes. We’ve gotten all our boxes from some friends who own an auto body shop.
  5. Borrow a truck. If you can, borrow a truck or trailer from someone. When you rent a truck, you not only pay for renting, but you pay mileage and gas.
  6. Move slowly. If you aren’t moving far from your old house, move your belongings slowly, if possible.
  7. Shop around for new services. When you move, you can either transfer your old internet services, or you can shop around for a better deal.
  8. Use old newspapers. Instead of buying moving supplies to keep your glassware safe, use old newspapers to cushion your fragile items.
  9. Shop around for insurance. Whether you are moving into an apartment or a new house, it is always wise to shop around for insurance on your things.
  10. Use coupons. When you need something like a carpet cleaning service, for example, look online or in your newspapers for coupons that will save you money.
  11. Ask for discounts. It never hurts to ask! While we weren’t moving, just replacing our broken dishwasher, we asked for a discount on the floor model dishwasher that we liked, and they gave us one! Look every which way to find a discount.
  12. Don’t use credit. You may end up paying much more in the long run, putting things on credit than you would if you pay in cash. Avoid those late fees!
  13. Start saving ahead of time. If you know you are moving, start a savings account just for moving expenses. Not only will you earn interest, but you won’t have to put any expenses on credit.
  14. Pump gas when it’s cheap. If you get gas to move, look to fill up on the days its cheapest.
  15. Fix up before you move. Before you move into your new home, do all the repairs that need to be done before moving in.
  16. Use a notary instead of a lawyer. For the legal aspect of moving, looking into using a notary instead of a lawyer. You may save yourself a bundle!
  17. Get furniture second hand. If you need new furniture, buy furniture at second-hand shops or online.
  18. Go to the dollar store. For last minute items, cleaning supplies, and snacks, head to the dollar store to save some money.
  19. Talk to your neighbors. Your new neighbors will be the best resource in helping you find whatever you need inexpensively.
  20. Shop for deals. The internet is full of ways for you to save money. Look for online deals before purchasing anything.
  21. Have a garage sale. If you are really short on cash, a garage sale can help you get that extra money you need.
  22. Talk to the real estate agent. Some real estate agents will have moving trucks you can borrow.
  23. Don’t forget to check Craigslist. Craigslist has some really great deals on moving supplies.
  24. Borrow a dolly from a friend. Instead of renting or buying a dolly, you can borrow one to help move big items.
  25. Keep everything organized. Keeping everything organized and marked helps prevent things from getting broken or lost, costing you more money to replace it.

What other ways have you found to save money when you move? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below!

The Best Things to Buy in February

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

February is pretty dreary, cold, snowy and miserable, so not ideal for bargain shopping. However, there are some bargains to be had during the shortest month of the year!

Here are the Best Things to Buy in February:

Electronics

Electronics such as digital cameras, TV’s and Home Theaters are great items to pick up in February. TV’s and home theaters because the pre-Superbowl sales are worth checking out. (Especially if you missed out on the Black Friday or Boxing Day deals) Cameras, because stores are trying to clear out the old models before the new models come in.

Winter Clothing

The farther you get into winter, the cheaper winter clothing gets. Including outerwear, boots and sweaters. If you can wait until the end of the season you can find some nice discounts.

Furniture

New furniture designs come out in the spring, so stores are clearing out old styles to make room. February is a great time to search showrooms for “as is” floor models in good condition offered at deep discounts.

Valentine’s Day items

While Valentine’s day items will be on sale at the beginning of February, the best time to find a great deal is after Valentine’s day. You’ll find prices on Valentine themed candy, chocolates, decorations, toys and more drastically slashed.

Tax Software

The dreaded tax season is commencing.  If you do your own taxes, look for sales on tax software such as Quicken and TurboTax.

Because retailers follow a yearly sale cycle, you can count on finding the same general products on sale at the same time each year.

52 Ways To Save: Get Organized

6 Ways being Organized Will Save you Money

The more I think about it, I really think that being organized is the key to saving money.  Not only does my sanity thrive when things are organized in my home, I find our bank account is happier too. 🙂

Here are 6 ways being organized helps to save me money:

Know what I already own

Having a spot for everything will help ensure that you know what you have on hand at all times. No need to buy the beans that are on sale because you know that you already have plenty in the pantry! Being organized (or more organized because we can’t be perfect!) stops you from spending money to replace items you can’t find.

I’ll avoid late fees

When you have an organized system in place for paying bills and returning borrowed items on time, you’ll certainly avoid the ugly late fees. Avoid paying late fees by implementing a system that will work for you. I have to tell you a story about the one time I had a late fee on the Visa bill. My bill paying “system” is not how my husband would do it and he suggested I try it his way.  His way was to pay off an amount as soon as there was a balance. My way is to pay it once a month on the due date, the balance of the statement in full. As soon as I receive the statement in the mail, I log into our online banking and schedule the payment to be made on the due date. Sure, it may be a larger amount doing it my way, but I’m never late in paying it! My husband has learned to just let me do my thing in that regard. 😉

Have time to plan a menu

When you’re organized, you’ll have time to set aside to plan the menu for the week. I’m a firm believer that having a menu plan in place will save you unnecessary trips to the grocery store and your sanity.  In our case, it saves us a ton because we’re avoiding the drive thru and actually eating what we buy from the grocery store.

Have time to cut and use coupons

If you’re a coupon user, being organized means you most likely have some time set aside for printing and organizing your coupons. Which also means you are probably organized to use the coupons at the store to pay rock bottom prices!

Know what projects you have on the go

Let’s pretend that I don’t know all about incomplete projects. (you know, those unfinished sewing and knitting projects that I found…) Every once in a while I get an urge to do something creative. But when I take the opportunity to have an organizing session, I usually discover a few unfinished projects.

Most recently, as I was going through my fabric stash, I found two unfinished projects.  A purse, which only needs to have the handles sewn on, and material for a sweatshirt I’ve cut out for my husband.   I now have two projects to finish to satisfy my creative urge without spending any more money!

Buy gifts well in advance

When you’re on the ball with upcoming special occasions, you can buy ahead when you find a great deal online or in the store. Helping you to avoid paying full price for something near your deadline.

How does being organized save you money? In what ways would you like to be more organized so you can save more?

Get the Conquer Your Clutter Super Bundle for just $47! This bundle comes with 38 different resources to help you get your home and life in order. I’m currently going through these and have found so many helpful ideas!

If you bought each one of these 38 resources separately, they would cost you a whopping $658.53. Even if you’re not crazy about every single item in the bundle, but there are 10 to 20 ebooks or courses that you’d love to read, that makes each ebook or ecourse only $2.35 to $4.70 each — which is a great price!

If you go through even a few of these resources and they help you get your life more in order so you can start saving more money, you’ll have earned back the money you invested in this bundle in no time at all!

So what are you waiting for? Go grab your Conquer Your Clutter Super Bundle here!

See the other articles in this series, here.

No Spend Challenge: Free Family Activities

Family fun doesn’t always have to cost money.  There are plenty of activities you can try together that are just as fun, or even more fun, then activities that require cash.

Here are some free family activity ideas that are sure to please! Pick a couple to try this weekend!

  • Have a picnic, inside or outside depending on the weather
  • Have another family over for dinner – this is way cheaper then eating out!
  • Movie night – grab a movie off the shelf that you haven’t watched in a while and make some homemade microwave popcorn!
  • Have a theme night/day – Mexican, Italian, pirate…the list goes on. Plan dinners and activities around your theme!
  • Have a craft night – paint, sew (here are some simple felt sewing ideas), draw…etc!
  • Head to your local library – stock up on reading material or even sit in on story time!
  • Have a game night – pull out those board games and cards!
  • Unplug – Turn off the cell phone, TV, computer and just reconnect with your wonderful family!
  • Go bird watching – see how many different types of birds you can spot. Maybe bring along a bird book from the library.
  • Build an indoor fort – camp out in it or have a picnic in it!
  • Check out the free community events offered in your area
  • Make a list of activities you want to do during the Summer
  • Go for a walk
  • Have a yard sale and set up a lemonade stand that the kids can man.
  • Clip and organize coupons.  Make it a game for the kids.
  • Help an elderly neighbour or friend
  • Visit a playground and actually play together

Many of these ideas can be adapted to every season, but the important thing is that you get out there and have fun together as a family!  Enjoy each other!

What other free or cheap activities can you suggest?

Free Date Night Ideas

free date night ideas

Date night can be hard enough to find time for, and it can also be expensive.  It’s important to remember that being romantic doesn’t have to mean spending all your cash.  Here are some free date night (or date day) ideas, that you can try today!

  • Self-guided tours of your city
  • Lunch or dinner in a park
  • Go for a hike
  • Check out a movie from the library
  • Have a date-night at home
  • Check with local universities for visiting speakers or musical performances
  • Read your local newspaper or check online for free community events
  • Go for a drive and listen to your favourite music
  • People watch in a crowded area
  • Cook together at home
  • Play Games
  • Stargaze
  • Volunteer together
  • Tour a local winery

How often do you go on dates?  I’d love to hear your free or cheap date ideas!

 

 

No Spend Challenge: Beauty On a Budget

This week, we’re going to touch on some of the items that can take up a lot of our budget if we let them: entertainment and beauty (Makeup, hair, spa). I happen to think that both of these things are important factors in a balanced life, but they don’t have to cost a lot!

So for today, don’t you think it’s time to spoil ourselves? I think so! I guess this one is mostly for the ladies, but here are some tips for beauty on a budget:

Make your own body scrubs

Take a cup of olive oil and about 3 tablespoons of sugar and mix the two together. You can also use coarse salt if you want something a bit more rough. Then apply to your body in circular motions for 2 minutes and rinse off. Your skin will be so smooth! You can also add a few drops of your favourite essential oil if you like! Here are some more of my favorite scrubs:

Make your own cream blush

Grab an almost empty lipstick tube, dig out the remaining lipstick and put it on a plate. Next, put it in the microwave and warm it at 30 second intervals (don’t exceed 2 minutes!) until it’s slightly runny and then mix a few drops of moisturizer into the lipstick on the plate. (you may want to use a paper plate) Play around with the mixture to find the right consistency. Add more moisturizer for a more sheer shade. Quickly pour your new creation into a container that you have lying around or find one at the dollar store.

Turn Lipstick into Lip Gloss

Again with a nearly empty lipstick tube, squeeze a small amount of Vaseline into a ziplock bag and close the bag. Mash the two together and throw it into the microwave and warm for 30 second intervals, don’t exceed 2 minutes! When it’s slightly runny cut a small hole in the corner of the zip lock bag and squeeze the new lip gloss into a small makeup container.

Make you own Hot Oil Treatment

Click here for a great tutorial!

Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Brighten your Hair

An apple-cider vinegar rinse works like a clarifying shampoo and leaves your hair with great shine. Add a small amount to your hand then spread through your hair. Rinse.

Go For a Walk

It’ll make you feel wonderful and bring a nice glow to your cheeks!

Give Yourself a Pedicure

Here’s a great link on how to do one at home!

Use Epsom Salt

Pour a cup of Epsom salts into your bath full of hot water. Soak in it to relax your muscles and remove toxins.

For more great ideas, click here for a big list of homemade beauty recipes!

What are your favourite homemade beauty treatments? Do you regularly do it at home or do you splurge and have your beauty treatments professionally done?