Sunday, 30 August 2015

Why Compost?

As a frugal person having a a garden no matter how small was basically inevitable. Once started the goal was how to produce the best quality and quantity of produce to off set our grocery bill.

One obvious step to take is starting to compost some kitchen scraps.

The Good

If you are considering a garden of any kind maybe you would want to take a look at the benefits of a compost. Here is a link to the US Composting Council fact sheet for your perusal.

Below I will list what I believe to be the top benefits of composting and some negative affects as well so you get the majority of the facts.

1. Improves Soil structure.

Compost will improve the drainage of clay soil, improves the water retention of sandy soil. Making all soils workable and fertile for plant roots.

2. Waste Management Reduction.

The less stuff that goes in your garbage the less ends up your garbage bag or Green bin means the less trucks on the road and the less waste making it to the waste management facility. This chart shows what the Edmonton waste facility deals with

3.  Free soil/fertilizer

I would be re-missed if I didn't some how have some type of frugal reason in this list. You could go to your garden centre and buy a bag of compost or triple mix for $3.99 or collect your yard and kitchen waste for a year and have 4 to 5 bags of compost for free! On top of of this I find I also get volunteer plants growing from the edges of the bin like this cherry tomato!

The Bad

Now for some of the negatives.

1. Pests

Compost piles can attract animals such as mice. If you put a small wire mesh under your bin you will stop the rodents but still allow worms to travel in and out of it.

2. Flies

Again a side affect will be a large amount of soldier and fruit flies living in the compost. This can be mitigated by always placing your dry material on top.

3. Smell

The compost depending on how much wet material vs dry material could have a rotting odour. This can be mitigated by having it away from your door if possible or keeping it covered with your dry material (carbon).

If you have a compost benefit that you would like to share please do!

Check out an apple a day or Bungalow to Duplex!

Friday, 28 August 2015

A coffee a day keeps retirement away!

What do you value?

Do you value your morning coffee?

How about your lunch?

Or that mid morning snack?

Every day I see the huge waste of money being spent on frivolous things. Small things that are going to have a huge impact on the bottom line or future date the someone will be financially independent. Thanks to David Bach of Finish Rich and Automatic Millionaire fame we know about "the latte factor". Myself as a bit of simple/basic person have never even had a latte so I 'll explain this using a Canadian Institution, Tim Horton's. Half of all my co-workers walk into work in the morning with some form of beverage, usually a Double-Double. What is the cost of that coffee? $1.50 - $1.75. Before you cry out about the loss of your morning coffee, I don't mean you need to give up coffee to be financially independent. It's just that there is a more efficient choice for your caffeine fix.

The True Cost

We can look at this inefficiency a little more in depth.

$1.50 X 22 work days = $33.00/month

or you could buy a 12 cup coffee maker for under $20.00 and a travel mug for under $10.00.

using these you can brew a good coffee at home for roughly $0.27 a cup according to this post on Coffee Detective.

$0.27 X 22 workdays = $5.94/month

Cost for month 1 $20.00 + $10.00 + $5.94 = $35.94 vs the $33.00 for Tim's
Month 1 savings is -$2.94 Actually more spent than before but now you have the coffee maker.
However ever month after that you would save $27.04
Do you think that is not a lot of money?
Over a year = $324.48
10 years = $3244.80
35 year career = $11356.88 Now this is some serious dough!

Now if you save the extra $27.04 and get just 5% interest you can turn that frivolous spending into $30847.94 according to the calculator site

You can break down almost all of your minor "frivolous" expenses like this and save oodles of cash.

Because it really is all about "Sweating the small stuff" when it comes to your finances.

Do you have a story you want to tell, leave me a comment, I would love to hear about it!

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Frugal means cheap! or does it?

I pride myself on being cheap. Not super cheap but cheap enough.

But what does being a cheap person mean? Here's a definition of cheap.

1. Relatively low in cost; inexpensive or comparatively inexpensive.
2. Charging low prices
3. Of poor quality; inferior
4. Stingy; miserly.

I hate spending money. Some people tell they get a rush while they are shopping but I on the other hand feel sick to my stomach. In the former case I believe it is the same rush as people get when they are gambling. Spending money to me is gambling because that is what I am doing with my future.
Obviously there are necessities and don't get me wrong I like to have the occasional gadgets around the house but I try not to pay full price. I think maybe that full price gets clarified as well. Not everything I buy is on sale but I usually only buy it after it has been around for a while and I have done my comparative homework on it.

Lucky for me, my wife is fully on board. One might even say that she is steering frugality ship!

What does it mean?

Let's go back and look at the definition of cheap and then my onion on what it really means:

Line #1 "Relatively low in cost;inexpensive or comparatively inexpensive".

Why would anybody pay more for the same product if they can find it cheaper somewhere else.

Line #2 "charging a low price"

Well this is a good ting isn't it. Isn't it foolish to pay more for the same product if you can find it cheaper. To me this is going out to your upscale restaurant when you can get the same steak for at least 1/2 the price if not in some cases 10% of the cost. As with nearly everything in life there are exceptions but should not be the norm

Line #3 "poor quality or inferior".

OK now here is where cheap and frugal take too different roads. different will find products just like in line 1 the people that are cheap will you will buy the cheaper products instead of the more expensive product that is actually better who by the inferior product instead of the superior product which is better no matter what my number for

Line #4 "being stingy or miserly".

Now this is putting yourself ahead of others. If you out for dinner and you have a coupon to save 20% of the meal that's good. That's being frugal, but if you go for dinner use your coupon and then only  tip the server based on the reduced price and not the original cost, that's being cheap or miserly. In what way is it fair that your server has to be negatively for their employer possibly a major corporation giving you a a big discount. This person is actually counting on your the tips from the table to possibly buy their kid a backpack for school or a Christmas gift, or whatever, anyway you get the point.

When it comes down to it I've had to learn #3 more than once. In an attempt to save money I have bought vehicles that were not exactly what I wanted or need but were cheap. In the end this vehicle ended up costing my family more in fuel, more in repairs, and more in dissatisfaction the the other vehicle would have. I have bought the bottom of the bin gadgets that had less than half the capabilities than the basic good model and had very little use out of them and ended up purchasing another that had all capabilities the capabilities I was looking for.

The take away

The moral of the story is that if you are frugal you will save money and be on the path to financial freedom but if you are cheap you will, more times than not, spend more money in the long run and be possibly cause financial harm to others.

Do you have a story you want to tell, leave me a comment, I would love to hear about it!