It lives!

The repair company came and though we had misdiagnosed the washer the problem was a fairly inexpensive fix.

ML and I had agreed to spend no more than $400 on washer repair it came in at about half of that. That’s definitely going in the win column!

We also got them to look at the stove. Turns out it’s the original stove so fixing the oven will cost about $700. We’re just going to leave that alone.

Learning this made me want to use our toaster oven. the problem is that I still haven’t purchased toaster oven pans for it.

Go back and read that sentence. Yep, still enough of a spendthrift to fall for the hype that I need special pans. Now that I’ve decided I want to use the thing I got down to business and wen through my current pans. I’ve got at least 4 that work in the toaster oven!

I’ve got a round cake tin, 2 loaf tins and a heart shaped cake pan. I’m ‘missing’ a cookie sheet and muffin tin. While I could definitely benefit from the cookie sheet I’m going to hold off purchasing anything and see how it goes.

So far I made one meal in the oven and I’m pretty pleased!

Do you have any recipes for toaster ovens or tips for baking in them?

Christmas is Coming

I’m always baffled and in awe of those folks who manage to send out Christmas cards never mind personalized ones. Having cards arrive at my home prior to December 25th generally means that I think you’ve got your stuff together.

Getting pictures taken, having them printed and still sending them out in early December means that I’m pretty certain you’re rocking life. So yesterday I pitched doing Bunny  Christmas cards to ML. His only question was, “Does Bunny have room in her fund?”

To which I responded,” She can find room!”

Bunny, though often willing to be model wasn’t feeling very co-operative last night. I’ve got a lot of photos of her knocking down Christmas cards or doing something impossibly cute with something not great in the background. In the end we got two usable shots.

I then spent some quality time on VistaPrint where I discovered a whole set of themes devoted to pets! We decided to do two types of cards and got a total of 20 cards for a little over $20.

Which of course had me wondering, “How can I claim frugality and spend this much mney on Christmas cards?” I’m the queen of boxes of cards for $5. In fact, I’m still working through a box from 2 Christmases ago. However, this blog is about Loving Life on a Budget and these cards are that.

Purchasing, and distributing, these cards help make me feel like I’ve got my act together. It functions as one of those little internal markers, like paying off debt, that lets me know that I’m becoming the type of adult that I admire.

On the frugal side: when I told ML that Bunny had room I wasn’t kidding, we made a wise food choice for her last month which means that she had a bit of space to afford the Christmas cards.

Savings Goals: Kitchen & Mortgage

I’ve been moaning about my kitchen since I began blogging. I’m not even going to link to those posts as no one needs that much negativity in one sitting. However, with all that complaining I haven’t made great strides in saving towards my goal.

Something like this would be fantastic!

I suspect this is because we have a Home Renovation fund that I’m putting those savings into. As you can imagine, there are loads of home projects that can be done for much less than $20,000. So my funds keep going to those low hanging, but important, fruit. Most recently it went to repairing our washer.

Clearly something has to change. My decision is to take the money that’s currently going towards ML’s debt and dump it into a Kitchen Renovation line once he’s all paid up.

My original plan had been to take a portion of that money and put it towards our mortgage. While admirable I feel mentally the money will be better spent on the kitchen. I doubt we’ll use all $20,000 and once this is done I can transform the Kitchen fund into a Goodbye Mortgage account.

Image result for mortgage free images

Kitchen photo from here.

Mortgage image from here. 


I’ve been stretched thin at work. Uncomfortablely consumed by my job and unfortunately this means that my mental health and relationships are the first to suffer. ML has taken the brunt of this as I vent to him and get upset if he’s not doing “enough.”

this is ridiculous as he works hard and often my complaints are minor but take on huge implications because I’m at the end of my patience.  Forgetting to make a side dish that is pure extra gets turned into a a case for martyrdom.

last week I had instituted gratitude lists as part of my morning routine. Thanks Fabulous Frugality for the reminder! I thought I saw a difference in my behaviour but it was confirmed this weekend. I didn’t do a gratitude list and somehow things got blown up in my mind.

my list is a quick mind map of everything I’m grateful for in these categories: Bunny, ML, family and friends, work, and me. It starts the day with the right attitude and tends to help me from flying off the handle  in moments of stress.

Hopefully our week is off to a great start!



World War Two Rations

Image result for world war 2 ration
World War 2 Weekly food ration

I’ve always been curious about food. I devour the pages in Agatha Christie where she details menus, I pretended to recreate pioneer meals from one of my books as a child, and dreamt of the meals that Enid Blyton’s characters feasted on. I even requested tongue sandwiches not realizing that this treat was really cow’s tongue. My mum didn’t go for the new menu addition.

It was through my reading historical fiction that I gained a better understanding of rationing. A lot of the books I read that are set in WW II  addressed this huge issue of the time in some form. So of course I got curious and soon found myself in the midst of researching how people cooked and ate with such strict limitations.

Every few years I attempt eating in this manner and I usually last less than a week. This is often due to our meat consumption and convenience foods. So imagine my surprise when I realized that, without trying, I have come close to eating in a manner that aligns with those rations this week.  We’ve been stretching our meat, eating home made snacks, and filling up on a lot of vegetables.

As you can guess, I’m once again curious about eating this way. I don’t intend to hold myself to the strict diet but I do see that using it as a basis can help me in many ways such as opting for a healthy diet and keeping me on the zero waste track.

With this in mind, I am aiming to:

  • Continue shopping for local produce
  • Limit our meat consumption
  • Increase the number of filling vegetarian dishes we make
  • Make our own snacks

If you’re interested in recipes and learning from someone who is incorporating it into their lives Carolyn at The 1940’s Experiment is a great resource.

Photo from here

Garbage Audit

Garbage bags
Photo courtesy of khunaspix via

One of the things that the challenge group suggested was that you audit your garbage. As I’ve been good at composting I wasn’t concerned about looking into what I was throwing away. So here’s the result of my audit:

  • Foil wrapping from cream cheese
  • disposable makeup remover wipes
  • plastic ham wrapping
  • plastic crab wrap
  • fast food foil wrapping
  • toothpaste tube
  • plastic toy
  • vacuumed dust
  • Bunny’s litter

the last two went in the same bag and should have been composted but I’m still a bit wary as I’ve been burned by the compost program before when they didn’t pick up Bunny’s litter. I downloaded My Waste, an app, that allows you to see what can be recycled or composted in your area. It’s been quite educational!

I’m finding this process eye opening as I realize how much garbage we produce. Our switch to a frugal lifestyle has definitely helped in the sense that we buy less packaged foods but when we do indulge we tend to do it in a big way. There are four packages of fries in my freezer and pizza. All those are wrapped in plastic.

Some of the suggestions for zero waste are in direct opposition to my current  budget. I can’t justify purchasing special toothbrushes, replacing all my Tupperware with glass, and purchasing special grocery bags. This is where I have to remind myself that it’s all about baby steps.

Step one is awareness and I’m working on that. This weekend when grocery shopping, I scrutinized every purchase to ensure it met the budget and assessed its packaging. In the end the only packaged food I purchased was meat.

I’m hoping that slowly I’ll incorporate some of the more “expensive” items that are good for the environment. The plan is to do it slowly so my budget doesn’t take a hit but I achieve my goal of being good to the environment.

Do you find being frugal impacts your garbage output?


Fun With Meals

This weekend has been filled with family and food! It’s been fantastic for many reasons, one of which is that I kept to my grocery budget. I was even able to include alcohol in that budget line!

As we’ve got so much food and I’m determined not to waste ML and I sat down and mapped out our meals for the week. We’ve both got after work commitments that will provide us with dinner a few times so we’ve planned accordingly.

I’m so glad we did! Originally I had created this list:




I’m so glad we chatted since the actual menu looks very different :

image.jpgThat’s a huge difference!

Some of the items in my first list will go into informing next week’s  menu but some of the ingredients will be frozen. The savoury pumpkin pie is only on the list as I had opened a tin of pumpkin purée. As it won’t get eaten this week I’ve packaged the purée and frozen it in 1 cup portions for the next time I need it.

How is your meal planning coming?

Emergency Savings Win

As you know having a sizeable emergency fund in case of job loss is important to me. It wasn’t so long ago that I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was using the previous paycheque to fund my current fortnight. I have left the money alone as I’m really not sure how I managed to save it. While letting that magic growth happen, I’ve also been actively putting a bit of money into an emergency fund. Today I realized that the money in my emergency fund is the exact amount as one of my paycheques and I realized that my chequing account has a bit more than a paycheque in it.

In order to really allocate all this to my emergency fund. I transferred the amount that would be a full paycheque from my checking account into my higher interest emergency savings account.

This means that I’ve got one month of pay saved!

excited boy meets world freaking out cory matthews shawn hunter

My aim is to have a six month buffer in place over time that will give ML and I the freedom to not be completely stressed if one of us loses our job. I feel comfortable slowly working to this buffer as if I was let go I would have a host of options availalbe to me.


Garbage Day

I only began attempting to cut my garbage down at the end of last week so I’m pleased with my progress. I was really exhausted last night so by the time I got home I didn’t even do the garbage. Rather ML took care of all the garbage, recycling and composting.

I do know that we only put out 2 grocery store bags of garbage. This is a huge deal though as we usually put out 2 full sized garbage bags. The big culprits were styrofoam in the form of a takeout container and a meat tray.

This week I’m making a trash plan. These are the items I expect to be tossing:

  • Bunny’s litter
  • plastic wrap from ham
  • plastic wrap from crab
  • Shattered jar (one of my frozen broth jars broke)
  • Misc. food wrappers i.e. granola bar, pasta bag

Having this mason jar goal is really helping me keep an eye on my trash. If my anticipated trash is accurate I’ll be able to cut it down to one bag next week.

As the compost bin was emptied properly I’ll take a look at my budget and see if it can handle compostable bags for Bunny’s litter.

Im really excited to be making great strides in this goal!

What’s the point?

Do you have days that you deny yourself little things and wonder if it was worth it?

Right now I’m walking to collect my car rather than taking a cab home as I don’t want to put out the cab fare. The cab takes credit while the bus only takes cash and I’m $0.50 short.

As I’ve worked a long day I’m trying to tell myself that the excercise  I’m getting helps offset the fast food lunch I had.

Though i was good and cooked this weekend, I can’t eat any of the soup. It’s way too spicy for me! Yesterday, when i discovered this, I ended up buying lunch. Then today, when work went long I bought dinner. Two expenses I hadn’t budgeted in from both a financial and health perspective.

So now I walk. To be fair the cost of the cab would probably equal the cost of those two meals and the exercise I’m getting will help offset the garbage I’ve ingested.

While it’s late and I’m a bit cranky that I’ve put myself in this position, the point is balance.

I opted to spend money on junk and in choosing to stick to a budget I’m giving myself real world consequences.