Monday, 23 April 2012

Add flavour

Want to eat healthier, find good ways to add flavour.

I have 5 different hot sauces, and a few jars of ground/chopped stuff like horseradish, garlic and ginger.

When I cook, I try to use one of those to add flavour, they're not too bad in sodium, fat or calories, unlike most other stuff.

Today I had a grilled chicken breast with avocado and horseradish. Lots of flavour, no added salt, fat or sugar.

My favourite hot sauce is Sirrachi Sauce (aka rooster sauce). The chili-garlic mix is great flavour.

If you've got hints on healthier ways to season food, lemme know.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Shop Once

I try to shop at one grocery store.
Right now I go to Freshco which sits mid market, maybe biased to the discount side, but still good.
They're not the cheapest, but they have a decent selection of good quality produce and they offer price matching (actually they beat by $0.01).

I save a lot of time by only making 1 major shopping trip to a single store once a week. I know the store well, I tend to go off times and can typically do all my shopping in <45 minutes, including the drive.

I do do a second mid week "fresh" run for perishables, but unless I want to go without, there is no way around that.

Automated soap dispenser

Lysol sells a small battery powered soap dispenser. They're $15 or so, but I find they go on clearance for about $7.
I have 2, I like them, so does my young son. The thing is the refills are expensive.

Fortunately you can just pop off the top and fill with normal liquid soap. Saves a lot of money, and  you don't have to use their scented soaps, some of them are quite strong.


I've found that super cheap junk just is often worth the trouble. You end up having to replace it too quickly, or upgrade to the next quality level quickly, or you might just have an unsatisfactory experience.
High end stuff tends to be only slightly better, but cost way more.
In general I recommend getting "decent" quality stuff in between.

Of course there are exceptions but this is somewhat of a personal decision. I buy high end running shoes, and name brand ketkchup. I buy lots from the dollar store, but not food products, or much that I don't consider "single use".

You've really got to decide where you want your money spent.

Yeah, this post is a bit rambly, maybe when my writing gets better, I'll fix it up.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Don't buy a truck

I have a car, but on a regular basis I could use a truck. To take something to the dump, to pick up a large item, whatever.

But I wouldn't buy a truck, I just call a guy I found on Kijiji and have him run the errand for me. It's cheaper than a truck payment, if it's a heavy item I have someone to help me unload and position it, and sometimes I don't even have to do the work.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

How to save warranties

Most of the time warranties are not used, and even when applicable, you might not find the receipt.

When you get a product with a warranty, write the expiration date on the receipt and put in a file dated with the year of expiry. Shorter 30 & 60 day files could also be created, but for most things I don't even bother.

You can now easily dispose of expired warranties with little to no thought, which is good because this is the most common case.
If you need to use the warranty, just look through them, there likely won't be that many.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Get rid of stuff

You likely have too much stuff. Get rid of some.

Throw it out, or sell it on kijiji or craigslist or whatever.

If you haven't used it, and don't play to and it is cheap and/or easy to replace get rid of it. You'll end up with more free space, and less clutter.
If you need the same thing on a regular basis, find one reliable guy to provide it, and stick with them.

I buy almost all my clothes off one salesman at one store. He knows me by sight, knows my size, style shopping personality, etc. Unfortunately I moved recently so I haven't found my barber, mechanic, beer advisor, "guy with truck", or running shoe guys yet.

It's a real stress saver to know you can quickly and easily find competent people to help you.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Don't check your mail

Not much important stuff comes by mail anymore.
So don't check it every day.

I have a "superbox", so I can leave it locked up. But you could just grab it and throw it in an in house inbox that you only review every few days.

Identify the Roadblock

My kitchen turns into a mess really fast.
I finally figured out why, it's the clean dishwasher.

If I have a clean dishwasher, I start piling dirty dishes on the counter, this results in a cascade of chaos leading to a messy kitchen.
The dishes I need are dirty, the sinks fill with dishes that are "soaking", and I have no counter space.

Find those chokepoints in your life, and keep on top of them.

For my dishwasher it takes only a little bit of work, but promptly emptying it when it is clean gives a great payback.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Grocery List App

The killer app for my ridiculously expensive smartphone is the synced grocery list.

It's simple, we have 1 grocery list, it is automatically synced between my phone and my wifes phone.

There are a number of apps out there, but lately we've been using Google Keep.
I can bookmark the list on my phone, and easily edit it from my computer.
Great timesaver

Spend time with kids

Few people ever say "I spent to much time with kids". If there is a child in your life, spend some time with them.

You don't have to spend money or take them anywhere, just take an interest in what they're doing. Don't be too intrusive, just watch them, and try to play along beside them. Maybe ask an appropriate question, or just smile.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Buy Rice cooker

I'm a pretty good cook, but like many others I have just a bit of trouble with rice.

Well a few years ago my roomate showed me his rice cooker, I was hooked.

They're dirt cheap $10-20, and provide nearly perfect rice. No watching, no worry, the worst that happens is sometimes the bottom sticks and gets a bit burnt. Just rinse the rice, add water and wait.

The rice cooker makes rice so easy, I have it more often, which is nice on the budget too.

Right now I'm on a Basmati rice kick, before I was on wild rice. 

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Do Something

At first I thought it would be easy to come up with little tips that make things run smoothly for me, and I have many...

But then idea option paralysis came in.
This is a great idea, but then I should mention this, and this, I should likely start with this first as an intro, maybe a few lead up to it.
In the end I just spent almost the entire time of my 5k run planning "simple ideas", which isn't that simple.

So I got home and thought I should post, and decided I should "Just do it". This isn't a book, it isn't an article for a major blog, I don't even have readers (yet?). I can always come back and edit and make it better later anyway.

Sometimes to get something done you just have to do it, or at least get started. But to get anywhere at all, you need to act, and that delaying and thinking is one thing that tends to keep us from acting. So if you've got something you want to do, and the penalty for doing it not quite perfect isn't too high, why not just do it.


I don't like cleaning, there I said it. I actually do know people who love to clean, they find it relaxing and calming to put things in order, even if they're sweating and end up sore afterwards.
I am not one of those people.

However if I do clean I want it done fast.
So for household cleaning I use
Microfiber clothes, buy a 10 pack, they're a buck or so each, they clean much better and they're reusable. I have about 20 and throw them in a bin, wash it every 3-4 days so they don't mold and get nasty.

The bin is an old plastic litterbox container, about a cubic foot, with a nice tight lid.
Every few weeks I'll rinse it out with a bit of Hydrogen Peroxide.

As far as cleaners I'm a fan of Lysol All purpose and the Greenworks Spray which seems to be a bit better on grease and oil.

The thing about this method is microfibers clean faster and better than paper towels. Plus being reusable I don't have to worry about my paper towel supply.


Well here it is, I decided a while ago that I wanted to share thoughts on "stuff", but I never could think of a niche that made sense.
I've got such wide ranging interests, and my focus changes so often I don't think it would be very compelling. Who wants to read my thoughts on politics one day, Atmel vs Microchip the next, Heinlein vs Card, or how my running progress is going. I don't even get hits on Facebook for those things. But hey if you want email me and maybe I'll comment.

But I did realize there was something that I do have, ideas. Simple little ideas that make things just a little bit better. There are lots of people with advice on all sorts of things, and blogs of interest, detailed and expensive change programs.
Now that isn't to say that big changes to your life, and improvements aren't good or don't work. They can work for lots of people. But I think many people don't want to totally shift their life focuse, quit jobs, change cities or careers or completely change how they do everyday things. Neither do I!

What I want to do is suggest those little things that make things better, now I'm not saying I have perfect solutions, just little starter steps to make things Just a Little Bit Better.
If you've got a better idea go ahead and tell me, I'm always open for new or better ideas on how to do things.