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Thursday, December 31, 2020

DIY Painting Frugal Colorful Accent Walls -- My Successful Cheapskate Experiment


Where I live, apartments nearly always come painted a stark white. Wallpaper isn't really a thing here, nor is colored walls. You see, when you rent an apartment, you have to return it fully painted, and the standard is white, so most people don't bother painting their walls another color, especially since painting jobs aren't so cheap. However, coming from other countries where non-white walls are standard, people often want colored walls or at least something to bring a pop of color into the room instead of industrial standard white.

My friend and I were talking and she was looking for ways to inexpensively bring life and color into her house. She theoretically liked the idea of painting one wall in a room an accent color, but paint is expensive here and colored paint is even more expensive. I knew from experience locally that while colored paint wall paint is expensive, white paint is cheaper, and whitewash is even cheaper than that, by far. The cheapskates locally use whitewash to paint the walls, but whitewash can possibly come off onto you if you lean on the wall, so they recommend only using whitewash to paint ceilings. 

I had an idea to maybe mix whitewash with a bit of the type of paint used here in craft projects with kids. They call it gouache here, but it isn't the gouache you have in the states- it's more like tempera paints or acrylic paints, or maybe poster paint. I'm just going to call it tempera for this post though. I had no idea if it would work or not, but suggested it to her as an experiment. My friend didn't want to experiment with her walls, so I said that I'd try it out.

It took me a few months to actually try it.

But before I talk about that, I want to mention costs.

I know that whitewash is cheaper than acrylic paint locally. I'm having trouble finding exact cost comparisons on the internet though. So you'll have to actually check local pricing before being assured that this is indeed cheaper where you live. 
However, I found this recipe for making homemade whitewash. I have no idea if it will work as well as with the store-bought whitewash that I used, but again, it's worth an experiment.

When I painted my dad's apartment, I ended up with some leftover whitewash. So I didn't need to buy that for this experiment. I already had tempera paints as well for crafting with kids. I also had a paint roller, paintbrush, and paint rolling tray. So when one of my girls asked me when I can get a start on making their room more girly, I decided it was the perfect time for an experiment.

One of the walls in the kids' room and part of the ceiling was no longer white. Because years ago I was trying to do something with puffy paint and it wouldn't come out. I squeezed it harder and harder and finally it exploded, all over the wall and the ceiling. I tried cleaning up the paint but it just smeared the green onto the wall, so I smeared it purposefully, into the shape of palm trees. But it wasn't the most beautiful thing. And when we got a spare freezer we put it in that room, blocking part of the ad hoc trees.

I figured that the perfect place to experiment was behind the freezer, where it would be blocked anyhow, and if that worked, over the trees which looked bad anyhow. It definitely couldn't make things worse, even if it didn't work out.

We decided to go with the color pink. Ike who still shares a room with the girls isn't too thrilled about that, to be honest. But hopefully, soon we'll be able to make him his own room.

I knew that one of the biggest potential issues with making my own color is ensuring that it is uniform throughout. So I made sure to write down the "recipe" so that I could recreate it if it worked out.


For this recipe, I used 3 paper cups filled with whitewash, and one squirt of red tempera paint. It made a medium pink. If you'd want a paler pink, go with 4 or 5 cups of whitewash.

Mix it well. Very well. Very very well. The first time I did this I didn't mix the stuff well enough on the bottom and I got some red speckles that were hard to get rid of. 


Then roll it onto the wall. I started with a pretty uniform layer.

And then I let it dry.

I had no idea if it would dry ok. Would it crack? Would it peel? Would it look ok?

But fortunately, so far so good. 

Once I saw it worked ok I tried painting over the green. Whitewash is thin, and the green was dark, so it took 4 or 5 layers to cover the green, waiting in between each time for it to fully dry before applying another layer.

Mid painting. Still needed 2 more layers to cover up the green "tree".

It worked so well that we ended up expanding the area and going up to the ceiling and over the door frame to our stockpile/pantry and down an adjacent strip of wall. 

I didn't do a perfect job because the masking tape I had wasn't working properly (that's what I get for leaving it outside in the rain) so I'll have to paint over the pink that got onto the ceiling and wall with white, using the masking tape.

But overall, I'd say this experiment was a smashing success. I'm tempted to make a light grey to paint one of my living room walls now. For that I'd probably use a teaspoon of black tempera to 5 or 6 cups of whitewash. 

This project is far from done, but it doesn't need to be done for me to share this cool idea with you.

In terms of texture, I did want to mention that the wall that I painted with my homemade pink paint is a bit rougher to the touch than our other walls in our house, but not noticeably, and the color doesn't come off onto my hands or clothing once dried.

Since I can't promise how this experiment will work for you with the equipment you have available, I'd suggest trying with paints you have available- poster paint, tempera paint, acrylic paint, etc... and the cheapest white paint you have, whether its homemade whitewash, milk paint, or white wall paint, and see how it works, experimenting on a little area first, and if that works, moving on to bigger areas.

Also, this reminds me that I still never got around to my post about what I learned painting my father's apartment- I'll try to write that post soon!

Are your walls in your home colorful? With paint or wallpaper? If you've redone walls in your home, did you paint them yourself or pay someone else to do it? Did you end up going with white because it is cheaper, or did you go with color? If you looked into the price difference, how much was the difference between white and colorful? What is the cheapest type of white paint you can get locally? What is the difference between whitewash and white paint where you live? Does this look like an experiment you'd try?

Choose The Perfect CBD Product For You

If you've decided you want to start using CBD products but aren't sure where to go from there, here's some tips from a reader.



Introduction 

You may have heard of CBD products like oils, capsules and tablets that are entering the market. CBD has been rising in popularity and use thanks to its calming properties and its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving abilities. And if you still don’t know — CBD refers to Cannabidiol, which is a key component in the Hemp plant, which is closely related to medical marijuana. Unlike Marijuana, CBD will not induce intoxication — it is purely medical aid instead of recreational purposes. Unless you invest in a CBD product with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), you won’t experience any forms of a “high” happening. THC is the component that induces the intoxications, so unless you want that in the ingredient list, be sure to avoid CBD products that may contact that.

A more common product on the market that many people use is CBD oil, but for more effective results, more digestible options have been manufactured. For example, you can now take CBD pills or capsules. However, there are many products that are designed to address different issues, so it may get intimidating and confusing to choose one. With proper research and consultation, you’ll be fine. In this article, we help you scour for the best CBD tablet that addresses your specific needs. Without further ado, let’s get started.

CBD Must-Knows

1. Cannabinoids
  • This refers to components that are derived directly from cannabis. For example, CBD and THC are also known as Cannabinoids.
2. Terpenes 
  • This refers to the smell produced by any type of plant. In cannabis, the terpenes are part of the reason why it is so effective.  
3. Full-spectrum 
  • This refers to products that contain all components in cannabis. So this is most likely to have THC and produce a distinct aroma. 
4. Broad-spectrum 
  • This refers to products that contain all the components in cannabis except for THC. 
5. CBD Isolate 
  • This refers to products that comprise purely CBD, no other cannabinoids or terpenes included.

How To Pick The Right CBD Product

Firstly, familiarise yourself with the above terms. These are the components you should always keep an eye out for in order to make the best-informed decision. Additionally, look out for other ingredients that the product may include. For example, CBD tablets designed to aid with sleep problems tend to be taken at night and may contain melatonin for maximum effects. These sleep-aid products may include calming scents like lavender — so you should look for if these CBD products contain the ingredient: Linalool. The more the better, as Linalool is a terpene found in the lavender and cannabis plant. This aids in calming the body down and preparing it for sleep or relaxation, which can help with sleeping problems or anxiety/stress relief. 


Many experienced CBD users have admitted to how confusing it can get to find a perfect CBD product, so don’t feel bad if you can’t find anything. That’s why we want to help you form a basic set of criteria to ensure you get the product you need. You have to check for the product’s CBD potency, for their testing practices, and for their ingredient list. Good quality products do certified third-party testing for heavy metals, molds, and pesticides. If the product lacks the certification, you should probably skip it. Usually, if the product is made from the U.S. Hemp plants, chances are they’re safe, as these are strictly regulated.

What to Avoid

Although CBD products are rising in popularity, there are some products on the market that you must avoid. It may have the flashiest packaging, but if these products have these red flags, be sure to steer clear of them. Firstly, if they over-promise on health benefits, that is a huge red flag. CBD is not a cure, but definitely a solution to improving your situation. For example, if the product says it can cure cancer, call its bluff, and walk away.

Another thing to avoid is if the product has vague descriptions of its ingredients, it may be a scam. Take note: a product containing hemp seeds, hemp seed oil, or cannabis Sativa seed oil only; does not contain any CBD. It definitely can be misleading, but unless it states Cannabidiol, Hemp extract, or CBD in its ingredient list, it could be a sham.

Lastly, trust the reviews. People’s experiences with the product you’re interested in can help you gauge if this product is true to its advertisement. Plus, do some digging on the company that manufactured the product — if they’ve experienced any recent brushes with the authorities, it may be best to not buy from them.

How To Use CBD

If you are new to using CBD, start small. Take smaller doses of CBD tablets with lower potency and then work your way up from there. CBD impacts different individuals differently, so don’t succumb to peer pressure and test the product out on your own in a safe space. When you ‘upgrade’, increase the dosage by 5mg at a time. Your safest bet? Consult a professional or your doctor before committing to the CBD life. This is especially if you are already on a regular routine of medication.

Potential Side Effects

While CBD intake has been researched to be safe for consumption, certain individuals may experience side effects such as diarrhea, lethargy, fluctuations in weight, and appetite. Research has shown that CBD has the potential of influencing the liver’s function of processing intake or breaking down toxins. This could severely impact the existing medication routines. Again, we highly advise consulting with a professional before investing in CBD tablets or products to avoid complications.


Conclusion

To conclude, CBD pills are generally safe to consume as long as you’ve put in the work to do research and consultations. You may have to experiment with dosage to find what works for you, and this could turn into an investment in the long run. As long as you exercise safety and precaution, you’ll be fine. Always remember: CBD products are not a medical cure for chronic pain or any type of illness. That being said, we hope this article has aided you in your research progress and that you reach a favorable decision.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

How I Made a Frugal Fancy Dinner

Cinnamon roll ups made from leftover bread

Sometimes I make frugal meals. And they look and taste fine, but they aren't anything to write home about. Sometimes I make fancy meals, and they are special but their cost isn't anything to write about. And sometimes I make a fancy meal and include a frugal dish or two that is fancy despite its frugality and that makes me smile. And then there was this meal. Nearly everything about it was either frugal or super frugal, involved making things from scratch, free things, repurposed leftovers, stretching things, etc... and I'm so proud of it that I wanted to make it into a post to share with you all. 

Green Doesn’t Have To Mean Expensive — Here’s What You Need To Know

If you want to be eco-conscious you might think you have to pay a "whole budget" to be able to afford those things. Sometimes that is true, sometimes not, but here are some ways from a reader that you can save money while living "green" at the same time.


Buying green is often just too expensive for the average consumer, with high price tags on “must-have” items like reusable straws and eco-friendly sneakers. While this can be discouraging to those who want to make an environmentally positive change but are on a budget, it’s heartening to realize that there are a number of ways that you can make eco-friendly changes without having to break the bank. From minimizing your costs in smart ways to making your own all-natural products at home, here are just a few tips on being green and saving a penny or two.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Lessons From Scratch and Dent Shopping or Bulk Shopping and My Latest Shop

Part of my newly organized stockpile.

I must admit, part of me is glad to go to scratch and dent stores so that I can share my shops with you, and sometimes I get more inspired to buy specific things specifically because I plan on sharing them with you.

Last time I was at the scratch and dent store, the first thing I saw as I walked in were these roasted chickpea snacks on sale. And then there were a few other things, all high quality, non "junky" foods, and I was looking forward to making a post with my "healthy" and high quality scratch and dent store purchases, because I know lots of people think its just a way for me to buy a lot of junk like cheese curls or Reese's pieces. And sometimes I do buy less healthy items at the scratch and dent store, but I do like showing off my healthy purchases.

How To Update Your Interior Designs While On A Budget

One thing that is important for me (and probably most people) is to make my home my haven. There are many ways to do that, but for me, a big part of it is making my home look a way that is pleasing to my eyes. This doesn't have to cost a lot, though if you aren't careful, it can. Here are some tips from a reader on how to transform your home on a budget. 


As they say, nothing beats a perfectly decorated home. Just imagine coming home after a tiring day at work, and you get to see your well-decorated home, making your hard work all worth it. But, looking at your house, the interior design might be too plain and simple for your liking. What you can do is to update your home's interior design to match your style and still make it homey. 

However, as much as you want to update your interior design, it can cost a lot, especially if you're looking into significant renovations. But, fret-not! You can update your interior design while on a budget! Listed below are the ways you can design your home according to your liking:

Monday, December 21, 2020

Sweet and Sticky Garlicky Green Beans Recipe -- Gluten Free, Paleo, Vegan



I love green beans. I generally make them very simply because they are good any way you make them, and why not just do something easy. But recently I decided that I wanted sweet and sticky green beans even though I'd never had them before. I knew though it would be delicious and was craving them, and I was sure I'd be able to figure out how to make them. 

I posted on my Facebook page that I was going to make sweet and sticky green beans and not to ask me for a recipe since I was making it up on the spot, and what do you know, everyone wanted to know the recipe (irony, right?). So extra pressure to get it right!

Well, I have to say it was everything I wanted and more. Was it as sticky as I wanted it? Na, it could have been stickier, but the taste was the bomb and it fit all the criteria I was looking for. And it took some playing around to get it sticky (especially since frozen green beans start out wet). But definitely make these. I based the idea on sweet and sticky chicken recipes I've seen and I want to experiment with this sauce on other foods (sweet and sticky tofu, I'm looking at you!).

The recipe as written (providing you choose the right ingredient option) is both Paleo and vegan, not to mention gluten free. But eat it no matter what diet you follow (or don't follow) as long as you like sweet, Asian style, and green beans. (Being a garlic lover definitely is a help.)

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Sweet and Sticky Garlicky Green Beans Recipe -- Gluten Free, Paleo, Vegan

How to Keep Healthy and Save Money Doing it

Sometimes in order to pursue health we need to spend a lot of money. And that is fine. Pursuit of health is a worthy goal. But fortunately there are also some cost saving ways to also pursue health. Here's some tips from a reader how.


Nowadays, we rely a lot on healthcare and prescription drugs. We look for quick fixes to help with long term conditions. But we must question ourselves on whether we are spending an unnecessary fortune and think about the vast range of alternatives out there. 

Thursday, December 17, 2020

DIY COVID Friendly Mall Photo Scavenger Hunt Idea and List -- Pandemic Safe Frugal Fun For the Whole Family


My kids currently are on winter break and I wanted to make it memorable for them, to give them pleasant holiday memories, especially as a single mom. There are just a lot of strikes against us right now, because so many things aren't doable, because of Corona safety rules and shut downs, not to mention the weather. Once you add in an attempt to keep things on a budget, it's definitely hard to come up with ideas of fun and exciting things to do. 

However, currently, anyhow, malls are still open. There are very strict rules in the malls, like required mask wearing, temperature checks before entering, limited amounts of people allowed in each store depending on their size, social distancing required, no eating or drinking inside the mall, and no trying on clothes. But they are open. 

I thought of making a scavenger hunt with my kids at a nice mall because that seemed like the perfect free activity indoors, and got some great ideas of things to include on our list of things to find. However, many of the things I found on various lists are not doable because of the pandemic (things like trying stuff on, food related things, etc...) but Corona does give some more cute ideas of things to include on your scavenger hunt.

So I decided to share my list of Covid friendly scavenger hunt list ideas, some which we did on our scavenger hunt yesterday, and some that I got the idea for them mid scavenger hunt once I saw the state of things at the mall.

As for safety, well, that's up to you. Are you leaving the house at all? A mall that follows corona rules, as our local ones do, are relatively safe. I mean schools are currently open here; going to a mall following social distancing rules can't be less safe than that.

DIY COVID Friendly Mall Photo Scavenger Hunt Idea and List -- Pandemic Safe Frugal Fun For the Whole Family

Master Working from Home with a Toddler

As someone who has worked from home for as long as she's been a parent, I can tell you it's not an easy thing. Here are some suggestions from a reader on how to make this gargantuan task, that you might not have chosen otherwise, just a little bit easier.


Work will never be the same again. Due to the pandemic, the year 2020 has seen a massive shift in flexibility and in work-life balance. 

With many parents forced into remote work from home situations, the opportunity to be productive and yet parent at the same time has given rise to many turning this into a permanent transition.

But navigating working from home and being a parent, especially to a toddler, comes with its own set of difficulties. Unlike an infant, your toddler is mobile and needs constant attention.

Follow these great tips on how to parent like a pro to a toddler and be productive at the same time.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Diagnoses Are Wonderful- Why I'm Not Scared of Labels


Recently a close friend of mine got her youngest child diagnosed with ADHD. Not long after that, her oldest child, who already had mental health and behavioral diagnoses got diagnosed with Tourettes syndrome on top of everything else. And her middle child already had been diagnosed with ADHD. When her youngest was diagnosed, she felt like crying. "Can I not have even one kid without problems?" And then when her oldest got his latest diagnosis, it felt like a punch in the gut on top of everything else. 

Today I read in a parenting group that I'm in that a mother feels like her world is coming to an end because her sweet, adorable, loving kid is getting diagnosed with autism.

A friend of mine who has a son that is clearly autistic didn't want to get him diagnosed because she "doesn't want to cause problems for him in the future".

I get it. I really do. When we first suspected my second child was on the spectrum, I was in denial. There were people I knew that were austistic that were abusive individuals and I didn't want my kid to turn out to be abusive. I didn't want an autistic kid. I gave rationalizations about all these things that other people who knew autism pointed out seemed like autism, because I was in denial.

Keeping Your Flowers Fresher for Longer: Here's How

Flowers are a type of self care for me. In the past, I'd asked my husband to buy me flowers, but at some point I decided that I don't need to ask someone else to get them for me, I am allowed to buy my own things to cheer myself up. And fresh flowers certainly do bring cheer into the home. But although I don't mind spending money on this little luxury, I'd like my flowers to last as long as possible to get the most bang for my buck. Here's some tips from a reader on how to do that.


Few things have the potential to brighten your day more than a bouquet of beautiful, fresh flowers on your dining room table or nightstand. But it can certainly be a downer when they start to wilt. However, while eventual wilting is inevitable, there are plenty of things you can do to keep your flowers fresh and happy for longer!

Whether someone you love has thoughtfully gifted you a bouquet of roses after a big date, your birth month flower to celebrate a milestone birthday, or just a handful of fresh blooms on a Sunday, you’ll want to keep them alive as long as possible. Here’s how:

How I Made My Son a Harry Potter Gift He Absolutely Loved

My oldest son, Lee, doesn't enjoy reading. I've tried to interest him, but no matter what books I get him, he doesn't find it enjoyable. So it was very exciting when my second son, Ike, started reading for enjoyment and became a true bookworm. He not only enjoys reading, he gets so into his books that he obsesses with them. (That's part of the fun parts of autism!) 

Imagine my delight when my son started obsessing over one of my favorite childhood books, Harry Potter! I loved being able to discuss these books with him, talking fan theories with him, and introduce him to fanfictions I enjoyed. I'm in a Facebook group where people fangirl with each other over different books, movies, and shows, and I saw that something people do for their Harry Potter loving kids is sending their kids a "Hogwarts acceptance letter" after their 11th birthday. Since Ike was turning 11 in September, I wanted to do that for his birthday this year, but I looked high and low but couldn't find a stuffed own to "deliver" the letter for him on any of the websites in my country, so I had to let that idea go. But I really still wanted to do that for him, but his 11th birthday passed and I figured it was the end of it.

But then someone in my local frugal shopping group posted that my favorite scratch and dent store was selling Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, a treat from the Harry Potter universe, for very cheaply. And the next day, when I was looking for a stuffed animal to replace one my daughter slept with and lost, I saw the store that was selling her stuffed animals on sale also had an owl stuffed animal. So I knew I'd be doing something Harry Potter style for Ike, as a delayed birthday present combined with Holiday gift.

This project wasn't entirely from scratch, but I put it together and I am very proud of what I did and my ideas and how I pulled it off. I knew how much Ike loved Harry Potter and was sure he'd love this gift, and to be honest, I loved making it probably nearly as much as he enjoyed getting it. Lets just say his reaction was priceless, he got all tearful and hugged me and thanked me a million times and told me that he'd save it for his grandchildren, that's how much he loved it.

Why You Might Want To Improve Your Home This Year

With the pandemic, everyone is spending more time at home than ever before. What previously might have been a space that seemed perfect now might make you want to have some change. I am still trying to get an addition started but haven't been able to get it off the ground yet. Here's some ideas from a reader why 20201 might be the year where you'll be making a home improvement.


This year has definitely been different. It’s safe to say that none of us could ever have predicted what has happened. We all may have had plans for the year and actually, we’ve had to slow down and start all over again. We’ve had to put things on hold, miss out on seeing loved ones – and losing them too. Yet, it does appear that things are starting to change. And it’s safe to say that, over the next twelve months, things will start to change. Because of that, it’s definitely nice to start thinking about the things that we want to do. If you’re someone that had hoped to work on their home this year, but didn’t due to the pandemic, maybe you can pick that dream up again for 2021? Here’s five reasons why. 

Monday, December 14, 2020

Homemade Sesame Mock Shrimp Toast Dim Sum Recipe -- Hatosi -- Gluten Free, Egg Free, Fish Based, Frugal


I run a local frugal cooking Facebook group, and one of my friends, Alison, often shares some great frugal recipes in it. The other day she shared a recipe for sesame chicken toast that she said was really cheap, and just like the appetizers in the Chinese restaurants, and that it used up an old roll of bread. I honestly had no idea what she was talking about- never heard of sesame chicken toast, and looking at the picture I couldn't make heads or tails of what the dish actually was. 

Turns out that this is a fish free version of another dish I never heard of- shrimp or prawn toast. This dim dum dish is of Cantonese origin, known as hatosi (shrimp toast in Cantonese) but has spread to be part of Japanese, Vietnamese, and Thai cuisine as well. A variant in some western countries has sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

To make this dish, you grind up shrimp into a paste with seasonings, spread it on bread thinly, dip it in sesame seeds and then either fry or bake. Since I don't eat shellfish, I decided to make a version that I could eat. The internet has many chicken based variations of this dish, but I decided to make it with fish, something I didn't find anywhere when searching the internet. I would guess that this dish could be called yu-tosi based on what I looked up on how to say fish in Cantonese, but I could be wrong.

As with most dim sum, hatosi are generally eaten with a dipping sauce. I've tried soy sauce and sweet chili sauce with my mock shrimp toast, but definitely want to try this with spicy mayonnaise, nuoc cham (Vietnamese fish sauce based dipping sauce) or hoisin sauce. 

What is really cool about this recipe is that it uses up leftover bread, even stale bread. I made some gluten free bread that didn't come out spectacularly once it was no longer fresh from the oven, but it was amazing repurposed here. While I used gluten free bread for mine, of course you can use gluten bread as well, store bought or homemade, just then it won't be gluten free.

Also, in addition to revamping leftovers, this, while using fish, is quite frugal because the amount of fish used is quite minimal. I used 2 fillets of St Peter's fish, approximately 200 grams, and it was enough for many many pieces of dim sum, enough to have them as the base of a meal for 3 people. You spread the fish layer very thin and it goes very far.

The hardest work for this dish literally is washing the food processor after. Yea, that's how easy it is. Oh, or maybe cutting the bread. 

Homemade Sesame Mock Shrimp Toast Dim Sum Recipe -- Hatosi -- Fish Based, Gluten Free, Egg Free, Frugal

Friday, December 11, 2020

Easy Artichoke Soup Recipe- Paleo, Vegan, Allergy Friendly


I know this isn't the prettiest of soups. What can I say- I blended some vegetables that ended up making a light brown soup, that's what you get when mixing light green with orange. But the taste is divine, don't let its color fool you.

This recipe came aboug when I was trying to think of a soup to make when I felt that I didn't have so many "soup vegetables" and I didn't want to use a meat based broth. I remembered having a package of frozen artichokes in the freezer, and recalled making artichoke soup in the past, however, that time was dairy and I wanted to make a version that was completely dairy free. This was the result and it is quite wonderful. 

It is vegan, gluten free, paleo, and allergy friendly, while still remaining quite flavorful. It's also quite easy to make. I'd highly recommend it.

Easy Artichoke Soup Recipe- Paleo, Vegan, Allergy Friendly

Is Now The Right Time To Buy Your First Home?

Buying a house is a big life decision. It can be a great one financially or it can be a devastating one financially. Here's some thoughts from a reader on things to consider before you decide to buy a house or not. These are definitely important considerations, for example, regarding the right time in your life- I bought a house together with my husband when my marriage was on very rocky grounds; waiting for a better time in my life could have made my divorce much less complicated, to be honest.

Pixabay CCO License

Buying a house isn’t a decision that you should rush into. Unfortunately, a lot of people assume that it’s best to buy a home as soon as they possibly can and they don’t stop to think about whether it is the right time. But if you buy a house at the wrong time, you could end up spending more than you need to, and you risk putting yourself in a difficult financial position. 

There are a lot of factors that affect you when buying a house and you need to consider all of them before making your decision. In some cases, it’s best to buy a house right away, but there are a lot of circumstances where it’s best to hold off for a while instead. If you are thinking about buying a house, here’s how to decide whether it is the right time or not.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

My Thoughts on Coaching, or Why You Have to be Very, Very Careful When Using a Coach

When I wrote my post on multilevel marketing scheme and why I abhor them my friend Anara messaged me afterwards and said "Ok, Penny, now when will you take on coaching?" I asked her what she meant, and she said "You wrote about the problem with MLMs, now its time to write something about the problem with coaching." And I thought about it. I thought about why she said that. And I thought about whether or not there were any comparisons between the two. I definitely do not abhor coaching the way I do MLMs, but I definitely have some strong things to say on the topic, and would love to share my thoughts with you.

Bottom line is- coaches have a use. But it is limited. And there are many pitfalls when it comes to coaching that people need to be aware of.

Ok, so I talk about therapy a lot and why it is important and I think it is wonderful and life changing and encourage people to go to therapy. So you'd think I would therefore also support people going to coaches, no? Isn't getting help a good thing? Why wouldn't I encourage it?

How to Make Money from Your Own Home

Are you short on cash lately? Here's some ways you can make some extra cash, all from the comfort of your own home. Sent in by a reader.


Everything seems like it is getting tougher all the time. Inflation rises, prices of everyday goods and food keeps increasing and unemployment grows. In 2020 the world saw the global pandemic from Covid-19 that destroyed business, put millions out of work and vastly reduced household incomes.

Being a single unemployed person is hard enough but being a single parent or a couple with a family is especially tough during these uncertain times. As new restrictions emerge due to surges in virus infections and non essential businesses continue to be closed or heavily restricted can mean many people have lost some of their main source of income or are completely unemployed.

Before Covid came people often dreamt about working from home and choosing their own hours and now many people really are stuck at home and finding making money is not so easy. Is there anything you can do to improve your situation? Is there really a viable way to make money from home and make life a little more comfortable? Here are some options you may be able to look at.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Cheater Chili Cheese Fries Recipe -- Vegetarian, Frugal, and Super Easy


Being perpetually exhausted has made me more creative in the kitchen, to an extent. While I love cooking, if I have no energy I need to figure out things that I can make to nourish my body and still taste good, without taking too much prep work if at all (like my French fry tuna casserole). Most quick to prepare foods aren't gluten free or require lots of prepared ingredients, but this one is gluten free, vegetarian, and is relatively "from scratch".

Today I put together this "chili cheese fries" but I call it cheater since it is too easy to actually call it chili. It's more or less "from scratch", using canned beans and ready made French fries. It takes about 2 minutes of prep (depending on how good/fast you are with a knife) and 30 minutes total time start to finish. It gets one bowl dirty, plus a knife and a cutting board. 

While I wouldn't say it is as amazing as my Paleo chili cheese fries, its definitely pretty good for something so quick and easy to make. This makes enough for a large serving for a big eater. If you are smaller eaters, this will be enough for 2 or more.

Cheater Chili Cheese Fries Recipe -- Vegetarian, Frugal, and Super Easy


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

How To Make a Pandemic Party Special, or How to have a Fun and Safe Covid Birthday Celebration


There's so many hard things about today's current situation, and one of the biggest ones is that keeping safe can make it feel like a birthday is really sad and depressing, because you can't have the types of celebrations that you've had in the past. However, that doesn't mean that you can't celebrate! Yes, it takes some creativity, and your birthdays won't look the same as they have in past years, but you can still have a great time!

Here's a few suggestions on how to celebrate birthdays in a special way while keeping Covid safe. 

Building Finances: Things to Consider When Starting a New Business

For many, this period of time is one full of financial hardships. Many have lost jobs, many have lost clients. Some people, because of this, have decided to open a new business that can better serve people during these times, with the hopes that this can be a good source of income for them and their family. If you are starting a new business, here's some things from a reader that you should definitely consider.


There are two distinctly opposite approaches taken when starting something – anything – new. One is that someone will just begin, get straight to it. They will do the new thing and accept the mistakes, fumbling around, until it begins to make sense and a clearer solution and process is discovered or presents itself. The other is to commit to mastering the activity before it’s even begun. It’s achieved via reading books and articles of other people’s experiences and technical knowledge. The middle ground between the two is the ideal. This article cannot start the business for you. What it can do is provide knowledge about the things to consider about the financial-side of starting a new business. So, it’ll meet you halfway.

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