Jul 082014
 

Bonjour mes amis! Creative people are making tons of money by using the internet these days. And the best part is you don’t even need any marketable skills to do so. If you can make an ordinary potato salad, you can make money online!

One internet trend that has gained a lot of popularity in the last few years is crowdfunding. The idea is to collect a bunch of money from backers – the “crowd” – to fund a common initiative. It could be to raise money for non-profit purposes, charity, or to fund start-up companies or new products that can eventually be commercialized to benefit the public. For example you can make an interesting pitch about a new idea you want to try, along with a target amount you want to raise. If your idea sounds appealing to others they will gladly throw money your way.

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Many ideas, games, indie films, smartphone apps, and companies that are worth millions of dollars today got their start by raising money through crowdfunding sites such as kickstarter.com. The virtual reality headset Oculus Rift had almost 10,000 backers on Kickstarter. Over $2 million was raised, which was enough to create a real prototype of the product.

But there’s a campaign underway right now to fund a bowl of potato salad :| Yup, that’s all she wrote. Zack Brown from Columbus Ohio recently started a crowdfunding project to simply make potato salad.

 “Early this week someone asked if I’d ever made potato salad and I couldn’t say that I had. So I turned to Kickstarter to change that.” ~ Zack Brown

Continue reading »

Jun 112014
 

Long time readers will know that I like to share practical ways to save money that you won’t find on any other finance blog :) Well I hope you like frugal recipe ideas, because today I will show you how to make a Toast Sandwich. This classic recipe dates back to the Victorian era. Invented in the 19th century in the UK, the toast sandwich is known for being the cheapest lunchtime meal ever. In 2011 Britain’s scientists from the Royal Society of Chemistry cited the cost of each sandwich to be just 7.5 UK pence, which is about 13 cents US.  Jesus Crust that is cheap! 8-O It’s also ridiculously simple to prepare and find the ingredients for. So let’s get started!

Ingredients:
bread
butter
salt
Cooking Instructions:
1) Spread butter on a slice of bread
2) Add salt to taste and toast the bread
3) Place the toast between two other slices of bread

And that’s how you make a toast sandwich :D Below is a picture of one I just made. For a healthier twist, I used whole wheat instead of plain white bread. Total cost was about $0.25.

14-06-toastsandwich

This frugal recipe is a smashing success! It tastes surprisingly good for what it is :) The crunchiness of the toast combined with the soft texture of the bread actually works well together. The savoriness from the salt helps to bring out the flavors of the toast and melted butter. I would say it’s a bit on the dry side. But it’s more filling than a salad, so its got that goin’ for it, which is nice ;)  Overall I give this recipe 4 out of 5 :D You can’t really ask for a better dish for the price of literally a quarter!

Cent for cent this is the best value money can buy, which makes it an ideal recession food. This traditional recipe has been passed down by frugal British families for generations. And now you know it too! So the next time you feel a bit peckish but have run out of eggs and mayo there’s no knead to sulk and loaf around :P Just make yourself a toast sandwich! Om nom nom (゜∀゜)

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Random Useless Fact: 

According to recruiting company Simply Hired the average bread scientist makes $47,000 USD a year

14-06-bread-scientist toast sandwich

Jun 132013
 

A midtown Manhattan restaurant called Sushi Yasuda no longer accepts tips. They claim this gives the dining experience a more authentic and relaxed feeling to mimic restaurants in Japan. Customers can enjoy their food and don’t have to do math and calculations at the end of the their meal. Instead of gratuity, the co-owner explains that they have increased the price of the items on their menu by 15%, essentially building the cost into the food which allows them to pay their waitstaff a higher salary than other restaurants do. panda_restaurant_spoof_when_food_bill_comes_expensive_surprised, tips

When patrons receive their final bill, it reads near the bottom “Following the custom in Japan, Sushi Yasuda’s service staff are fully compensated by their salary. Therefore gratuities are not accepted.” The waitstaff gets paid a salary from day one and even receive a generous benefits package including vacation and paid sick days, which is apparently pretty rare in the food services industry :D Reducing the reliance on tips to provide the employees with a living wage is common practice not just in Japan, but in other parts of the world as well. However would restaurants lose business if they add a price premium to their food? The final amount that the customer pays shouldn’t change but maybe it’s a psychological thing. I’ve never worked in a restaurant before so if I were a waiter I’m not sure if I would prefer this compensation method or the traditional North American way of tipping. I’ve heard that in Europe they round up to the nearest Euro. I think every culture is different :)

Here are what some people on the internet had to say about the story:

“Concerning compensation in Japan, serving is considered respectable employment and deserving of fair compensation. The issue is not with the tipping, but with the social attitudes around the service industry in North America.” 

“As a former server I applaud this. If the service sector were uniformly unionized, all servers would have this kind of stability.”

“What if the service sucks? I like having the choice to pay more for attentive waiters and less for a poor service.”

“This is how every restaurant in NZ is…I love it! It frees up waiters to attend to ANY table – not just the ones in their section”

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Random Useless Fact: According to some studies, boys on average are more expensive to raise than girls.

neglectful_parents

 

Apr 082013
 

With the cost of food going up each year it’s becoming harder these days to eat healthy on a budget. Well here’s something nutritious and easy to make that can serve a small group of friends and doesn’t cost a lot of money :0) A guacamole dip can be eaten any time and is vegetarian friendly :) All you need are some onions, tomato, and of course avocado. You’ll also need something to dip with. In my case I’ll be using a regular baked bun. You can also bake your own rolls, or use whatever kind of chips you like.

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There’s no specific formula or need for a measuring cup. I’m using 1 avo and 1 tomato. But some people like to use 2 avos to a tomato, it’s up to your personal taste.

Instructions:
1) Slice and toast the bread in the oven for 5 to 10 min
2) Meanwhile, pit and peel the avocado and chop up everything else
3) Mash all the dip ingredients together with a fork, eh Voila, bon appétit (^◇^)

13_04_guacalome2

A simple healthy snack that only costs a couple dollars if you know where to shop for the ingredients and can be prepared in under 10 minutes. Just add salt and pepper to taste and serve :)

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Random Useless Fact: There are more monkeys living in India (50 million) than people living in Canada (35 million)

Feb 032013
 

One of my personal resolutions for this year is to eat healthier. Not only is it better for the body, but a healthier diet is also more affordable. Last year I posted how to save money by just shopping at ethnic grocery stores instead of big supermarkets. You can buy a bag of groceries for under $6 if you know where to look. Furthermore I find that I can cut my grocery bill by 25% or more by limiting the amount of processed or refined foods when I do my shopping. Not to mention pre-packaged or prepared foods are full of empty calories. One thing I like to do at least once a week is make a smoothie.

13_02_smoothieprep, smoothie

They’re simple to prepare, extremely nutritious, and very wallet friendly. There’s literally hundreds of recipes on the internet you can find for smoothies, so I’ll just show one I made the other day as an example. I used some raspberries for their anti-oxidant properties plus they’re full of vitamins and minerals. Next I used some blueberries because they contain vitamin K, manganese, potassium, dissolves bad cholesterol, and apparently even help to reduce belly fat. The yogurt is optional, but I like it for the dairy, protein, and fiber content. And finally half a cup of juice (or water) to keep the consistency nice and smooth.

 

 

13_02_smoothieglass, smoothie in a glass

Blend everything together et voila :D  Each serving is less than a dollar. Drink some in the morning and you won’t even need to make breakfast. You can use ingredients that’s local and cheap. For example there’s a blueberry farm literally not even 30 minutes drive from my home. You can go pick them in the field yourself in the summer for cheaper than retail prices, then freeze them and make blueberry smoothies all year round :0) Food is one of our biggest expenses next to housing. By keeping our cost for groceries down, we can very easily save a lot more money than trying to scrimp on other things like hydro, transportation, or internet. The more savings we have the more we can invest and get closer to financial freedom (^_^) Depending on where you live you can set your own budget, but in Vancouver, I eat quite comfortably on a $100 monthly grocery budget :D

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Random Useless Fact: Near a West Vancouver elementary school a picture of a young girl chasing a ball is painted on the road. The optical illusion is being used to have drivers slow down near schools.

13_02_girlballdriving, pink ball is same color as my smoothie