From $100+/ week to $40/week.. How are we doing?

This is our second month doing our "Budget Diet" and we thought we had everything under control. BUT, BOY! We were both surprised!

When we decided last year to do this project, we knew it would be hard, but we expected that the greatest challenge, would not be eating out every weekend. We had it all figured out. What to do and what to say to each other when one of us wanted to give in to the temptation. But what surprised us is something we never expected.


It is that sweet and amazing substance in our pantry that, when we ran out, made my wife almost want to leave me for our neighbor whom she was pretty sure had TONS of it. Can you imagine the conversation in front of the judge if we filed for divorce? Reason for separation? Sugar. We both thought it was funny. I must admit it was pretty tough for me too, but I will never say that to my wife. One of us need to be strong when the other is weak :)

As I jump back to my spreadsheet to check for dates, I see that we ran out of sugar on Feb. 21st - 24th. To feel so miserable for only for a few days  was an eye openner, considering that we thought we were eating healthily. We now realize how much sugar means to us. We both thought that we suffered longer without it!

What good thing came out of this experience? We have lessened our sugar intake -- using it only for the desserts we bake. (Please check our spreadsheet on how often we eat desserts)

Another surprise? We spent less again this month. We have $24.26 left over this February from our budget of $200.00! (We budget $160.00 for groceries each month, plus $40.00 for dining out. If we do not eat out we can use the $40.00 for groceries. Any surplus we can carry over to the next month.) Our surplus for 2013 to date is $56.89.

My wife and I could not believe it too.

Thank you and see you all next month.

Click here to see our Grocery expenses

Click here to see our meals for February




We survived our first month!

  Well we survived our first month of sticking to our new food budget! Contrary to some of our friend’s belief, our diet did not consist of eating nothing but rice and beans. We have been enjoying a rich diet filled with lots of fruit, vegetables, healthy protein sources – fish, beans, and legumes – and whole wheat grains.

  One of the major changes we’ve noticed is the lack of junk food in our diets. We do not even eat potato chips! (Unless we get the urge to cook them ourselves.) Processed food is full of empty calories and they are quite expensive. Eating them is not only unhealthy, but they would completely blow our budget.      

  Another major change is that we did not eat out once this month. Usually, at the end of the week,  we would stop to pick up some take-out food. (Especially Greek or Chinese! Yum!) This was not only unhealthy, but a little hard on the old pocket book.

  Our results for the end of our first month were both encouraging and disappointing. The total amount we spent fell comfortably within our range of between $160 and $200. We were hoping to spend only $160, but our total expenditure came in at $167.37. [Please see last month's posting for the rules we agreed to follow.] Since we did not eat out this month, we have $32.63 that we can carry over to February. We have included a little spreadsheet of the different meals we ate this month.

  One thing that is hard to get over is our cravings (eg: Chinese food and chips or cookies) How did we get over that? It is a constant battle; however, keeping a wish list of favorite treats and checking online how to cook these dishes solves the problem. Our home cooked meals are even better than eating out. We both love to bake, so it is easy to bake treats ourselves. Also, packing a lunch and bringing something to munch on for a snack is a must for us as well.

  We will post again soon to share some of the strategies we have been using.

 Click here to see our grocery expenses for January

Click here to see our meals for January




2013 Challenge

This year my wife and I thought: why not make our blog more fun by attempting a challenge and sharing the experience with our readers.

After some thought, we chose to do a budgeting challenge. Why not try to eat well on a tight budget.

Here are the objectives and rules:


  • Spend only $160/month (approximately $40/week) on groceries.
  • Eat out only twice in one month ($20 each time) .
  • If we choose not to eat out we can put this money towards our groceries or save it for the following month. 


  • Post our grocery expense each month.
  • Post our meals for each month.
  • Eat healthy. The purpose of this challenge is to prove that you can eat well on a limited budget.
  • Post our successes and failures. This is an exercise in budgeting. You can learn just as much from your truimphs as you can from your mistakes.
  • Have fun doing it!

When we started this challenge we had a few things in our pantry, but we figured that when one starts a "budget diet" there will be a few essentials to begin with.

Wish us Luck! We hope you join us with this challenge. Feel free to post any comments.


Ten ways to protect yourself from fraud

It’s a new year and let’s try to make it a year where none of us become victims of a fraud or a scam. I came across an article, at the Simple Dollar, that lists ten ways to easily detect if someone is trying to pull a scam on you. I’ve provided a summary of the article for you to read:

Ten ways to tell if you are being scammed:

  •  Unsolicited phone calls Ignore all calls from people that you do not know. Just politely ask to be removed from their call list and hang up the phone.
  •  Unsolicited emails Mark all unsolicited email as junk and delete them from your in box. Don’t even bother opening them as many also contain viruses along with fraudulent claims for easy riches.
  •  Unsolicited mail Buy a small shredder and shred and recycle all of your junk mail offering to sell you an easy way to win or make money. All of these types of offers are false and not worth wasting your valuable time on. 
  •  Pressure to make a sale If anyone tries to pressure you into a sale by playing on your  emotions, simply walk away. No deal is worth being made to feel guilty or embarrassed and if a salesman has to resort to these tactics, then it’s probably not that great a deal.
  •  Requests for personal information Never give out your personal information to any unsolicited requests over the telephone or the internet. You are just asking to become a victim of identity theft. The only time you should give your information to a business is after you have initiated contact with them for the first time. Anytime someone contacts you for an update of your personal information, do not give it, but call the business itself and find out if the request is legitimate.
  •  Refusal to provide documentation If a charity comes to your door and refuses to provide you with proper identification, just close the door. Do the same for anyone who phones trying to sell you something and refuses to send you any information about the product or charity. Any legitimate business would be happy to do this for you. If a salesman does not want to do this, it’s a good warning that the product the are selling is not legitimate.
  •  Refusal to provide contact information A salesman refusing to provide you with contact information for his company is also a good warning that you are dealing with a business that is not legitimate.  Any honest salesman would be more than happy to provide you with contact information so you could contact his company and ask any questions you might have about it.
  •  Refusal to accept trackable forms of payment It’s true that cash is king, but when you are making a purchase for the first time from a company you have never dealt with before, you should use a form of payment, such as a cheque or credit card, that is easy to track and trace. If a salesman insists on being paid only in cash, walk away. You are probably dealing with someone who just wants to take your money and run.
  •  Refusal to provide credentials or proof of their statements If a company selling you a service refuses to provide you with references or proof that they or their product is capable of doing what they claim it can do, then just close the door. Always ask for appropriate licenses and references before hiring someone to do a job for you.
  •  Promises of simple ways to earn or win money There are no free lunches in life and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. If anyone tries to sell you an easy way to make or win money just walk away. 





Young at Heart...

 My wife and I started the New Year by watching a truly moving documentary called "Young at Heart". This film followed the rehearsals and performances of a truly unique chorus group of senior citizens. The youngest member of this group was in his 70s. For two hours we sat mesmerized as these singers proved that life doesn't end when you enter your golden years. We laughed as the oldest member, in her 90s, flirted outrageously with the camera crew. We cringed a little as we watched one 80 year old world war two fighter pilot religiously drive his two friends to practice everyday. We cried again when another wonderful old man came to practice a few days before he died and wept as another extraordinary man was finally defeated from his battle with Cancer. We watched in awe as their performance brought a group of prisoners to tears. We were impressed by their dedication to perfect their craft and giving their audiences - they always performed to sold out crowds - the performance of their lives. It's rare that I watch a film and wish that it would never end, but this was one of those times. I also loved the little music videos of their numbers. Much more creative and moving than the ones you see on MTV. These were all ordinary people who chose to live the final part of their lives in an extraordinary manner. They are not doing anything special other than finding a way to have fun and make the world a little better by using the skills they were born with. We go through life with this fear of growing old, but what we don't realise is that as we age, the adventures of life won't stop as long as we are willing to go out and embrace them. I'd encourage everyone to watch this film and just try and not be moved.