Budget Friendly Tea

If you regularly read my weekly spending reports, you would see I buy milk every week. Its not for drinking straight or putting in cereal. Its for tea.

Instead of buying a hot caffeinated beverage everyday, I simply buy tea bags in bulk, use the hot water machine at work and add some (raw) sugar and milk.

Here’s why its good for my budget:

  • 72 teabags on sale for $2.99 = $0.04 per serving
  • Raw sugar 500 grams for $4.99 (apparently 4 grams is one serving, 500/4=125 servings!) = $0.04 per serving
  • Milk 10 servings for $1.00 = $0.10 per serving

Total per serving: $0.18 and I usually have 2 servings per day = $0.36

Thirty-six cents per day for 2 large cups of tea = winning 🙂 Also that makes $1.80 per week, that’s about the price of ONE XL tea/coffee at Timmies or Starbucks

Granted, I do on occasion drink fancier stuff, I love Tetley’s Earl Grey Vanilla and Chocolate Chai for example. I have been gifted some David’s and Teavana tea but I just can’t thoil buying for myself when Tetley will do. Drinking regular tea is better for my budget 🙂

All my family members are huge tea drinkers, I think its been ingrained in me to love tea. They’ve also showed that drinking tea has some awesome health benefits. There’s so many flavours and varieties which is a bonus. I also like the fact that I don’t feel the need to add cream like I do with coffee so it makes tea a healthier drink for me (gotta watch the cholesterol). Sure there’s lattes but they are expensive. In the end, I’m just a tea person.

And I leave you with this fun article about Tea People vs Coffee People

How about you? Do you drink tea or coffee? Do you make it yourself to help with your budget or do you regularly indulge with Timmies/Starbucks, etc?

TTFN,
Morgaine

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Foodie Gift Pack

I’m finding Pinterest to be a great resource for gift ideas.

Here’s 2 awesome recipes I found:

Flavoured butter: http://www.yourhomebasedmom.com/flavored-butters/

Basil Infused Olive Oil: http://www.shutterbean.com/2012/basil-infused-oil/

I did up a garlic and herb flavoured butter and the basil infused olive oil. I threw them in a basket with some toast points and brie. Add a bottle of nice white wine, and it was a very nice gift to my friend that cost me less than $25 🙂

Are you on pinterest? Have you made anything that you’ve found (craft or recipe)?

TTFN,
Morgaine

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Weekly Spending: Feb 25 – Mar 3

2/25 – $9.03 (debit – shampoo)
2/26 – $2.77 (cash – breakfast)
2/27 – $8.46 (cash – lunch)
2/28 – $32.00 (email transfer to T to pay him back for $5.00 borrowed and pizza ordered last week)
3/1 – $10.15 (debit – snack at movie theatre)
3/2 – No Spend!
3/3 – $9.75 (cash – breakfast for me and hubby) + $62.25 (debit Wal-Mart) + (-0.03) (cash to change jar) = $72.00

Total: $134.41

Wal-Mart breakdown: $23.94 (+tax) home + $4.00 (no tax) groceries + $9.91 (+tax) pet +$20 cash back. The home stuff was 2 plastic bins 1 for the bunny’s food (if I leave it out in the plastic bag she chews on it and dragging it in and out of her room was getting to me) and 1 for other things that I can’t leave lying around in that room because she would chew on them (mostly related to jewellery items). I also bought a refill for our febreeze scent thingy by the garbage can (stinky!), some large compost bags, and some olive oil (gonna try my hand at homemade pesto!) The pet stuff was food, so she should be good for at least 2 months, I hope.

Well, I have to admit that these weren’t all planned purchases but its sometimes easier to just get things at Wal-Mart while you’re there than go to the pet store separately. The olive oil was on sale.

I have to admit, its been harder not shopping for random stuff than for clothes. I really thought that would be my biggest challenge. And although my spending was low for the beginning of the week, I bought something everyday except Friday. I need to work on that. Wait, that’s my challenge for March 😉

How did your week go?

TTFN,
Morgaine

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February Goals Recap and March Goals

February Goals

Financial:

1) Shopping ban – Pass – bought some stuff at the dollar store but still no clothes 🙂
2) Savings goals – Check – put $5,550 into my RSP this month – Its now over $20K 🙂
3) Debt goals – Check – I paid $1,149.99 onto debt this month
4) Increase my Net Worth – Check – up $6,601.38 this month and $9,504.46 from beginning of year (goal = $10,000/12 = $833 per month)
5) Track spending and post budgets – Check

Lifestyle:

1) Lose weight – Pass – didn’t lose or gain weight, but I lost 1 inch off my chest and 2 inches from my waist, so I’m considering those to be wins 🙂
2) Do something physical at least 4x a week – Pass– First week 3x, then second week 2x because I fell, but I’ve been 4xs the last 2 weeks 🙂
3) Eat better – Pass – there were a few cheat days but better than last month 🙂
4) Read more books – Pass– reading “The Kingmaker’s Daughter” by Philippa Gregory but I haven’t finished it yet. Its funny, I started reading this early last month and then they find the remains of King Richard III who is a main character in this book (the protagonist’s husband). Kinda ironic 😉
5) Make more things – Fail – with going to the gym and that taking up a lot of my free time and making me really tired afterwards, I just didn’t get around to it.
6) Sell/donate more – Pass – Still no actual buyers. Argh! I’m going to try GirlMeetsDebt’s idea of setting up a website for my items.

Blogging:

1) Post my weekly spending and monthly budgets. – Check
2) Post at least one other post a week other than #1 – Check
3) Comment on other blogs and become more of the community – Check – I even wrote a guest post! Read it here … Getting Out of Debt … With a Plan
4) Use twitter more (@morgainemoney) – Check – and it landed me my guest post opportunity 🙂
5) Post updates on my progress with the Shopping Ban and these goals. – Check
6) I will update my blog and sidebars with these goals (other than the Closing Costs since this is mostly T). And if I’m on pace or not. – Check

March Goals

All of the above plus spend less money eating out! Specifically, no breakfast, lunch, coffee, or snacks during the work week 🙂

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Monthly Budget Update – February 2013

This month was strange with a lot of money coming in and out of my account for putting extra money into my RSP and another thing that I’m not going to tell you guys about yet.

I thought it would be best for the purposes of my blog (and for general budgeting purposes) just to look at my fixed and variable expenses. Again, I’m not budgeting until I have at least 3 months of spending data just so I know what I spend on average before trying to come up with a budget. That said, I am still making sure that I’m not spending more money than I make 🙂

It seems that February was an improvement on January’s numbers in restaurant/fast food ($62.83), home ($18.98), entertainment ($35.49), gifts ($9.68), and medical/dental ($109.59) – hooray for not having to go to the dentist!. I spent more on groceries ($25.59) – which makes sense when you spend less on going out 🙂 – personal care ($39.49) – stupid me losing shampoo at the gym 😦 plus a few other items – and pet ($90.93) – we bought Caramel a new cage. But I still spent less overall $632.37 ($64.86). With the bunny taken care of and no medical/dental expenses this month, I should spend a lot less. There’s just a couple of birthdays this month.

I’m also challenging myself to not buy breakfast, lunch, coffee, or snacks during the workweek in March. I want to see if I can get the restaurant total even lower 🙂

So, that was my money in February, how did yours go?
TTFN,
Morgaine

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Payday

First off, check out my first EVER guest post! Its on Michelle’s awesome blog SenseofCents … http://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2013/02/getting-out-of-debt-with-a-plan.html

Today’s payday and its not a full one due to Family Day :`(

But I did make to over $20K in my RSP 🙂

I have to admit that this is kinda boring payday report, not much to say, its the usual money gone before the day is even over kinda paycheque. But there are some exciting things coming up in March.

  1. Celebrating 2 friends birthdays, one was technically in Feb (happy belated B!) and one is in March, but they are planning a joint get-together, so I hear.
  2. St. Patrick’s Day – I’m Irish so its my day 😉 I typically have some friends over for some Irish food and drink, and some fun 🙂

I’m still working on getting February’s numbers together (and hey, the month’s not over yet!) but it looks like I spent a bit less on eating out in Feb than I did in Jan but there’s still HUGE room for improvement. So, I’m planning not to eat out for breakfast or lunch, nor grab coffee during the week for all of March. I would add in dinner but I know its not going to happen, we’ve just been too busy lately with gym and activities plus we are planning on eating out with some friends before a movie tomorrow and the friends bday celebration as above. But this should still help, I just need to plan out some of my lunches a bit better to make sure I have enough to cover at least 5 days and possibly have some back up options.

I should be able to post the numbers tomorrow and how I did on my goals this month.

How did your February go?
TTFN,
Morgaine

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How to Make Your Clothes Last Longer

As I am on a Shopping Ban this year, I’m thinking about ways to make the clothes I currently own last as long as possible. Here are some of the ways I’m doing this.

I call it cycling, it may have other names. Basically when I do laundry and I put my clothes away, I put those clothes underneath the clothes in my drawers (or hang behind in closet). This way I’m not wearing the same 7 pairs of underwear every week ;P

Cycling also allows you to utilize more of your wardrobe. Since it puts the clothes you haven’t worn recently towards the front you are more inclined to wear them, rather than some clothes hiding in the back of the closet. It should also give you an idea of what you wear more often. If something stays at the front frequently and you never wear it, you should just get rid of it for a piece you wear more often.

Here’s a great tip I learned a while back. When you switch your wardrobe over for the season (i.e. in the fall and spring) put all the clothes in the closet with the hangers facing backwards of what you normally use. This way at the end of the season you see very clearly which clothes you haven’t worn in a long time and then you can make the decision of wearing it to replace something more worn out in your closet or selling/donating the item.

I stain my clothes a lot, I can’t tell you how many times I bought new clothes just because what I spilt something on what I was wearing! I now carry a tide-to-go (or equivalent) with me at all times in my purse. I also make sure I use spray and wash immediately when I get home and soak the item as well. So far, this has reduced the number of clothing items that I’ve had to get rid of by a great deal 🙂

Another thing that will help make your clothes last longer is to make small repairs. I sew missing buttons on myself. I don’t currently own a sewing machine otherwise I’d also hem my own pants. You can also get clothes taken in or out at a tailor.

I currently rent a house that came with a top loading agitator washing machine. I make sure I use the delicate cycle (all the time!) to avoid rips, pulling, and piling (those little fluff balls). I use cold water and only enough detergent as recommended. I try not to overdry my clothes as this can lead to shrinkage. I put all of my delicates in a laundry bag or hand wash them.

I don’t really have clothes that necessitate dry cleaning, but I imagine it would help prolong the life of clothes since they wouldn’t be in my washer with that damn agitator! If I moved into a more corporate environment and had suits to worry about, I might be more inclined to do this.

So, those are my tips. So far I haven’t had to buy or replace any articles of clothing this year.

What are some of your tips for making your clothes last longer?

TTFN,
Morgaine

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