Wow, it’s been such a long time since I actually tried to cook a good meal. I had forgotten how much fun it is to actually cook again. About 2 weeks ago, I had some time on my hand and decided that I wanted to eat something different. I was getting tired of chicken and beef and pork. So that left me with seafood (which I love) but don’t really know how to cook.
Heck, if I want to eat seafood and not pay $$$$ for it at a restaurant, I should at least attempt to cook it at home. So off to Costco I went. Got some shrimp and scallops and pasta. Made a garlic shrimp and scallop fettuccine pasta. It was good but honestly, the pasta was dry. Next time, I will double the amount of sauce recommended on the recipe.
Since I still have shrimp and scallops left over, the next day I made a celery and seafood stir-fry. Yummy. I added some portobello mushrooms and green peppers. I had these veggies lying around in the fridge and felt the need to use them before they went bad. The dish turned out okay. I think I enjoyed it more than the wife. Still, I’m happy with the result.
Tomorrow I plan on making something with broccoli. Maybe broccoli and carrots with chicken. Sounds different, right? Looking forward to trying it. And the in the future, I’d like to make some fresh mussels in a wine sauce or something.
So my the sudden urge to do all this cooking? Saving money of course. I enjoy eating seafood but don’t like paying $25 for two pieces of shrimp and scallop. By learning how to cook at home, I’m saving a bundle.
And of course the wife appreciates the help in the kitchen. Happy wife, happy life! Not too bad. And let’s talk about it.
I take lunch to work but it’s more than a simple sandwich in a brown bag. It’s actually a pretty good lunch because the wife (mostly cooks) and I will cook enough dinner to bring for lunch the next day. It takes no extra effort – for example, it takes the same amount of time to cook for 2 people as it does for 6 people. So why not cook a little extra to bring for work?
I bring lunch to work because I want to save money. And another reason is that I don’t find value in the lunches that I buy. A simple burger combo costs $8.00 and I don’t even get full. The portions just get smaller for the same price!! The typical combo at Wendy’s Restaurant is now a “small” whereas before, it was “medium”. What a rip-off! I have to tack on another “value menu” item just to get full! That takes my meal to over $10!! Not to mention my calorie intake is also over the top!! (By making my own lunch, I control exactly the ingredients in my meals. This is generally a much healthier alternative than buying fast food.) This goes for other any other restaurant as well. Gone are the days when the “$3.99 value meals” at McDonald’s really had value. Sigh…
Bringing lunch to work saves me about $10 a day. I could potentially save $2,600 a year but since I do buy the occasion meal, it’s less savings than that. I have to treat myself once in awhile, right? Still that’s a significant amount of money saved.
Not too bad. And let’s talk about it.
Father’s day is amazing when you can spend time with your family AND not spend much money. That’s exactly how we spent Father’s Day last weekend.
My family and my wife’s siblings and their families decided to celebrate father’s day by having a picnic in the park. In honour of everyone’s dad and grand-dad, we wanted to go to a nice park. The location was Pinehy’s Point, a historic site and 88-acre estate located on the scenic shores of the Ottawa River.
Each family was responsible for bringing some food. We brought burgers and salad. The total cost was less than $25. Other families brought sausages, drinks, chips, veggies, etc.. By having a pot luck style event, we were able to keep the costs low for every family.
The park was essentially free (admission was by donation). The weather was great and we had an afternoon of fun. The kids played soccer, dipped their feet in the water and hung out in the play structure. And since this was a historic site, there was a historic museum on site. Once again, it was free admission to the museum! The kids (all aged 6 and younger) enjoyed doing a scavenger hunt throughout the museum. And once they found all the items, they each got a little prize! It was neat to see them try and finish the game.
Overall, it was a fantastic way to spend time with the family. The weather was sunny and warm and the breeze off the river made for a very comfortable afternoon.
Ways to keep costs down and enjoy family time:
1. Have a picnic with the whole family
2. Pack a lunch
3. Enjoy the free activities offered in your surroundings
This was a highly memorable Father’s Day and it was CHEAP. Not too bad. And let’s talk about it.
Two years ago my son started swimming lessons and this year we’re seeing him progress well. At first he was shy and timid, almost scared of the water. He wouldn’t put his head down past his nose and no matter how much convincing his instructor did, he wouldn’t do it. It took another year before he really embraced it. Now he’s a regular fish in water and I can’t get him out of the pool some times.
That brings us to summer activities. One of the more fun family activities we do is to visit water parks. Now that my son is loving the water, I can’t wait to go again this year. Last year we went to Canada’s Wonderland which has the SplashWorks water park. It was lots of fun, but very crowded and expensive. Admission to the park was $50 a person (cheaper if you bought online). The Toronto Zoo also has a splash pad which the kids loved. It was much cheaper, but because it wasn’t a water park, the water fun was limited.
In Ottawa a new water park opened up a couple years ago – Calypso Water Park. This was a fantastic park with over 35 rides and heated salt water. The only problem? High cost of admission. It was $35 per adult and $25 for kids and seniors. For a family of 4, you’re looking at over $100 easy. And as every parent with young kids know, you can’t enjoy the park if you have to supervise your children. So basically, you’re paying $35 just to accompany your children.
Then we discovered an older water park just outside of Ontario – Mont Cascade Water Park. It was a very affordable $10 a person! Wow, what a great deal. Although the rides aren’t new, they are still fun. Best of all besides the affordable price? It wasn’t crowded at all. Kids under 2 are free! So for a family of 4, it’d cost $40. This is my kind of fun! I can’t wait to go back this year.
So what are some of the things we can do to minimize costs?
1. If the parks allow you to bring food in, pack a picnic lunch. It’ll save you lots of money.
2. Buy your tickets online; it’s usually cheaper. Look for deals online.
3. Check if they have CAA or AAA discounts.
4. Many places offer a discount rate if you go later in the day (mid-day pricing).
Cheap water park? I like it. Not too bad. And let’s talk about it.
I’ve always wondered about the price of gas. Why does something like this fluctuate on a daily basis? Is it really the supply and demand that drives the prices up and down? Seems hard to believe. Still it’s worth writing about someday.
Anyway, for whatever reason, the price of gas has been relatively cheap last week and this week. Earlier this year, Ottawa has had it as high as $1.41 a litre for the regular gas. I remember last summer it was around $1.30/litre for a good part of the summer. It would always hurt when I needed to fill up and it would cost me $70! Ouch!
So, much to my surprise, the cost of gas was $1.19 yesterday. I thought, wow, I better take advantage of this before it goes up again. Saving a few bucks on a fill-up is certainly significant. So today, I decide to take the car for a fill-up and lo and behold, the cost of gas was even CHEAPER – $1.14! But that wasn’t the only deal. Since so many people were filling up, this particular gas station ran out of regular and mid-grade. So they were offering supreme gas for the cost of regular! Now that was a deal!
I know, my car’s engine doesn’t need the performance-grade gas. And I probably won’t feel any difference with this higher grade of gas. But still, it feels like it’s a GREAT bargain for the gas that I got. Which brings me to another point – if they can sell the supreme gas (usually $.10 more expensive) at the cost of the regular gas, what is the margin on this? It’s obviously not the low $.03 margin they claim it to be.
Cheap gas? Not too bad. And let’s talk about it.