My savings

Feed a family for $13 – Simple Spaghetti

Some times in the world of cooking, less is more.  I love making different pasta dishes and experimenting with various flavours that work well together.  Over the years, I’ve discovered that sometimes the most delicious meals are the ones with the least amount of ingredients.  This is one of my favourite comfort foods and it’s simple and easy for those nights where time gets the best of us.

INGREDIENTS:

A container of cherry tomatoes- $2.00

A package of spaghetti- $ 1.50

2 cloves of garlic- .50

1/2 cup of olive oil- $2.00

Fresh parsley- $2.00

Grated parmesan cheese- $5.00

INSTRUCTIONS:

-Finely chop garlic and combine with oil and salt and pepper on medium heat

(cover with a lid to avoid a mess)

– Boil salted water and add in spaghetti, cook until al dente

-Once the garlic has browned, add in the whole cherry tomatoes and cover.  Stir occasionally and continue to heat until the tomatoes burst.

-Strain spaghetti (do not rinse)

-Add the spaghetti to the pan and toss with the tomato and garlic mixture.

-Chop fresh parsley and add it to the mixture and stir (the more the merrier)

-Portion and plate and top with grated parmesan, more fresh parsley and cracked black pepper (optional)

ENJOY!

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Energy saving tips

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Tips For Saving on Your Electric Bill

Switch to Energy Efficient Florescent Lightbulbs
This one was a somewhat tough one for me personally. I hated paying extra for the bulbs and I was not impressed with the lighting that is offered with Florescent Light bulbs. I will admit the bulbs have gotten much cheaper and the quality of lighting has improved.

Inspect your equipment regularly

Faulty equipment is a likely culprit when it comes to energy waste. Check out your heating and air conditioning systems on a regular basis to be sure they are running properly. It is also a good idea to have someone inspect them annually for to ensure maximum production.

Use power strips for items that suck energy

People usually are unaware that certain items will drain energy even if they are not in use. Locate those items throughout your home and plug them into power strips that can be turned on and off. When you use these items, plug them in and turn them off when you are not. Remember all those cell phone chargers and the like? Those are prime examples. We can now purchase energy saving power strips. Many are available online.

Make sure you change your filters regularly

Filters can cause your units to run horribly and that puts a drain on your electric bill. Change them out on a regular basis.

Put lights on a timer

Certain lights stay on all the time in your home whether you intend for them to or not. Put those lights on a timer to go off during the hours of the day that you are not home or asleep. That alone will help you to quell that electric bill.

Turn out lights when you leave the room

No timer can help you here. If you are at home, only you can keep your lights turned out. This simple habit learned by everyone in your home can have a huge impact on your electric bill. Learn it and enforce it.

Use that thermostat programming program

If you have a programmable thermostat, then learn how to use it properly. These things are awesome if you can manipulate them correctly. It is possible to literally heat and cool your home based on time of day, where you are in the home and even room by room. Take the time to learn about your equipment and it will pay off majorly.

Make sure you fill in the cracks

No matter how awesome your equipment might be, it is not going to be efficient if your insulation is horrible. Go around your home inside and out and make sure you have filled in any cracks or holes that are letting precious energy escape. If cold is getting in, then you can be sure heat is getting out. The opposite is true when it is hot outside. Fill in those gaps and check the insulation in your home attic and basement. This can make a huge difference as well.

Consider alternate energy sources

If you have alternate energy sources such as wind or solar power within your means, then you should truly look into it. It will save you a ton of cash over time and take away your dependence on electricity in the process. It also will help the Earth survive longer by saving on natural resources.

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Friday Beauty tip: Murray’s pomade

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Friday’s Beauty tip:
Ladies… This little orange tin is going to change your life.

We all hate those little broken hairs and fly aways that always seem to pop up when you’ve just finished taking the time to round brush or flat iron your hair.
I’ve tried the expensive salon products and I always resort back to this trusty tin.
At a cool $4.50 from any department or drug store, this will hold those little buggers down in a hurricane.

Try it out!

My latest second-hand shopping finds

Wandering the isles of second-hand thrift shops is one of my favourite things to do on my days off.  I find it incredibly relaxing and I love the element of surprise, not knowing what I’m going to find.  Some second-hand stores can be a little overpriced so you have to be aware of that when searching for deals.  The best Value Village in the city is located a little north of the downtown core. The ones downtown are often ransacked and all of the good stuff is picked up by the avid second-hand shoppers.  I wouldn’t consider myself to be in that category. However, when I do make the trip to my favourite Value Village, I tend to set aside a couple of hours and sift through every area of interest.  Have a look below at my recent finds.

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Black leggings with leather detail- $6.00image-2

Knee length wool coat- $20.00
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Chain link necklace- $8.00image-4

Vest with leather front- $8.00image-5

Grey stretch/ skinny leg jeans- $10.00image-6

Long wool coat- $25.00 / Online price- $400.00
image-7 imageBlack leather pumps- $10.00

My favourite garbage finds from over the years.

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What’s better than finding something that is reasonably priced or even on sale?  Well, I have the perfect answer for you…Free garbage finds.

I know, I know, some of you are reading this and thinking… “Yeah right, like you’ll ever find me searching through trash to furnish my home… no way.”

I thought like that at one time as well.  That was until I started finding the most amazing things on my trips to the garbage room.  I will start by saying that this all happened by accident.  I wasn’t ever knee deep in garbage, or, “dumpster diving’ as some refer to it.  I’ve lived in Toronto for 8 years now, and most of the places that I’ve lived have had a garbage/recycle room where we have to bring our empty bottles and papers and plastics.  I’m a big fan of sorting and recycling… I mean… Who isn’t?  Did you read that Renee???

Anyways, It started when I found my first framed picture 8 years ago, that I still have hanging in my condo to this day.  It then progressed to furniture and much bigger items.  Wow, I just read that over and laughed out loud.  I know it sounds crazy, and yes, I do have the pieces cleaned professionally.  I am not a fan of bed bugs so taking the proper precautions is a necessity.  I’ve always found it funny when people ridicule my garbage finds and then they’re the ones who spend top dollar at “vintage stores.”  What exactly do you think you are sifting through in Kensington Market when you’re wearing your cool acid washed denim and sipping on an over priced latte from Moonbean. You don’t think twice to try on a hat from a cool vintage shop while “checking in” on Facebook, then tweeting out a photo.  For all we know, that hat could have been picked up curb side by the lucky shop owner, who is charging you a cool $24.00.

Have a look below at “The Garbage Room Diaries.”  The next time you bring your recycling out, have a look around!  All of my favourite things in our home have been found in the garbage… I know…. I’m crazy, but the amount of money I’ve saved over the years is astonishing.

I’m a garbage picker, everyone knows it and I’ll scream it from the top of a mountain!! 🙂

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 “Wicker corner patio chair with cushion”

photo-27“Ivory suede chaise lounge and red leather ottoman (found on separate occasions & professionally cleaned :)) “

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“Samsung DVD player in perfect working condition” (remote missing, ahh well)photo-30

“Two framed, vintage United Airlines Posters”
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“Vintage Electrohome fan in working condition”photo-32

“Crystal lamp with silk shade”
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“Custom hardwood shelving unit and tall glass vase with dogwood branches” (found on separate occasions)
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“Terracotta pot with flower detail”

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“Metal wire lantern and silver vase”photo-5

“Stainless steel serving tray”
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“Stainless steel copper bottom pan- retail price $130.00”
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“Wicker patio chair”
photo-38“Vintage knife block”

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“Canvas art above the bed and birch wood pieces in the corners.” (found on separate occasions)

Photo1“Metal framed art” (First garbage find! 8 years ago)