Lower Your Stress: Build Reserves of Everything: Money, Food,

Every time I sit down to write another post, I struggle to limit myself to one topic.  And even when I do, I usually find myself adding sub-subjects!!! all through the article.

So today I’ll serve myself by talking about the importance of having reserves in many areas of our life.  I think I wrote in a previous post about being more of a squirrel – hiding nuts for the coming winter – In an emergency, my food pantry could feed a family for a couple of months.

Money Reserves – Emergency Fund

The first reserve I recommend is an Emergency Fund.  For this I’ll refer you to my previous post on that subject.  Having a reserve of cash will spare you getting into credit card debt should an emergency happen and it also spares you stress.  Knowing you have money ready to serve if and when you need it badly will help you sleep more soundly.

Food reserves

My habit of having reserves served me well recently when I contracted something like the Novovirus – gastric bug.  For two days straight all I could swallow was mint tea and ginger ale.  Fortunately, I had a few cans of the ale and had just dried a lot of mint.  Thankfully I did not need to get to the store nor did I need to ask someone to get some for me.

When I arrived to day 3, feeling somewhat better but not up to shopping, I wanted to start eating and you guessed it, I had broth, and pasta and some cooked turkey, so my first meal was super easy to put together.

While it may not look that important if you have never been too ill to get to the store, having reserves can make a big difference when you need them.  If you live anywhere in North America, you have most likely heard the Emergency Services’ advice to store gallons of bottle water as well as food items and a manual can opener) in case of disaster. Recent hurricanes, the Fort McMurray fire and other natural disasters are a stark reminder that we are vulnerable to Mother Nature’s temper.

Having a well stocked pantry is important in case of an emergency, natural disaster, but it also saves you time.  You don’t have to stop by the store as often, or worse, rush to the store just before dinner because you are out of pasta, or canned tomatoes to make dinner.

Top 10 food items to keep in reserve

  •  Gallons of water – One gallon per person, per day, for 3 days
  •  Canned fish – tuna and salmon  – and a manual can opener
  •  Peanut butter
  • Canned tomatoes, tomato juice (V-8)
  • Dried fruits
  • Nuts
  • Crackers
  • Canned soups (instant)
  • Cereals, quick cooking oats,
  • Honey, molasses
  • Pasta and rice
  • Chicken and beef broth cubes

    Most canned food and bottled water lasts a long time.  Do look at the “best before” dates on all your reserves and use them before the best date, remembering to replace each one, so that you are always well prepared.

    You might want to use a container to store your food reserves like this one, so you just have to grab it should you need to leave the house in a hurry.

Top 5 Tips To Make Your Rental Feel Like Home

(Inexpensive) ways to make your rental feel like home.

make your rental feel like home

I have been living in my apartment for a little over 10 years and I know I need to get ready to move, most likely next Summer.  I really like my place and wish I could stay but the landlord is no longer able to keep up maintenance which brings up a lot of stress (for me).

I love my place.  In fact I love it more than the last house I owned.   It’s a well lit duplex, with windows on four sides.  I have French doors in the living room leading to a small deck and a huge oak tree providing Summer shade.  The thought of moving is not fun and it makes me think how I would make sure I love my next place as much as I love this one and how I could make it feel like home.

Make sure you love at least one feature of the place you are about to rent.

This is so important.  Moving is expensive and tiring.  It can be the light, the fireplace, the location or the size of the rooms.  Just make sure you fall in love with at least one feature that is important for you before you sign the lease.  I fell in love with the gas fireplace and the French doors in this place and the location.  Oh, and access to a clothesline.

I made a terrible decision before I moved here.  I bought a house that just did not feel right.  And I paid dearly for it, in dollars and stress.  For me, location is very important.  I am a city woman and love being close to everything.  I know other people who would rather live in the country and don’t mind the driving.

The best way to put the odds in your favour is to visit the neighbourhood a few times during the day, on the weekend and in the evening.  It will give you a taste of what you can expect on your street.  This piece of advice definitely also applies when you decide to buy a house.


Treat your new place as if you owned it. Put your signature on it.

make your rental feel like home



Continue reading “Top 5 Tips To Make Your Rental Feel Like Home”

Boomerang Kids: Top Tips To Thrive When The Kid Moves Back Home

boomerang kids moving back home, kids returning to live at home, adult children moving back homeBoomerang Kids:   Why You Need to Clarify your Views (as well as my humble opinion on it all)



Boomerang Kids moving back home after university is a phenomenon that is not going away anytime soon.  In fact the number of adult children coming back to live at home has grown and is now reaching an ever time high of  over 30%. And it’s not just kids moving in temporarily after University. Some move back in after losing a job or after a divorce.  http://www.everythingzoomer.com/boomers-adult-children-living-at-home/


Many reasons account for that to happen: the economy, the rising cost of housing, high rise in student debt being the main ones.


Many parents have not prepared for the kids returning to live at home.  Most assume that the University grad will find employment – ideally in town – find a nice little apartment alone or with a friend, not too close but not too far from the family home – and come by for a visit.  And for some, that’s reality.


For others life happens very differently.  The kid finishes college, moves back home and never leaves, or never plans to, leaving parents feeling uncertain about their own future.  Often, by the time parents speak up, it’s out of frustration and relationships suffer. Continue reading “Boomerang Kids: Top Tips To Thrive When The Kid Moves Back Home”

How To Enjoy A Staycation even when the money is tight

Why you need to take that vacation time off even if you can’t get out of town and (how to enjoy it)how to enjoy a staycation, holiday at home,


Half of American workers don’t take all their vacation days.  Incredible.  I actually could not believe it when I saw those statistics.  And it’s not because Americans have a lot of paid vacation time. Lucky ones get 2 weeks vacation a year, and many don’t get any.


Compare that to a minimum of 20 days and up to 30 days a year in the European Union and it’s a real mystery why Americans give back to 2 weeks salary to their employer every year.  Here is a good article on the subject.


If you have been guilty of this sin, because it’s a sin against yourself to not stop work and go out and play, I hope to make you change your ways this year and make the most of your vacation time even if you take a staycation instead of a trip around the world.


The biggest reason to take your vacation days is because it’s good for you.  Plain and simple.  In the olden days, people worked 6 and 7 days a week and vacation days were unheard of for many.  People also died quite young in those days and I suspect many did die from overwork.  (Still happens in Japan).  More on this here


Time away from work is good for both your physical and your mental health, even if it’s a staycation, or vacation in your backyard.

how to enjoy a staycation, vacation at home


Here are some benefits: Continue reading “How To Enjoy A Staycation even when the money is tight”

Financial Self-Care: The Rule Of 72: When It Applies To Debt

The rule of 72 is usually mentioned when we are talking about investments and savings.  Rarely is it used when talking about debt.rule of 72 and debt, pay down debt, be debt free, financial freedom

Interest rates have been incredibly low in the past few years.  This has acted as an incentive for more borrowing.  So much that almost half of the adult population is in deep financial trouble.  Almost half could not meet a $400 unexpected expense without borrowing or using credit.

While the interest rates have been low, credit card companies have enjoyed a “business as usual” with their rate of interest.  Many around 20%, (mine is 19.97%), with store credit cards hovering around 30%.

Contrary to some financial gurus, like Dave Ramsay who advise against having a credit card, I love mine.  It is convenient and it gives me points which I can exchange at the grocery store for food.  I cannot imagine not having one.  I buy online from Amazon, or I make airline and  AirBnB reservations.

I make it a point to not buy anything I cannot pay in full at the end of the month, and I religiously pay it before the due date.  It happened twice in the past 35 years that I missed a payment for a few days and I was not happy with myself when I saw the interests added to the next statement.


rule of 72 and debt, compound interest, paying down debt, high interest debt


Yes I am aware of credit card companies that offer lower interest rates, Continue reading “Financial Self-Care: The Rule Of 72: When It Applies To Debt”

Being frugal. What’s the point?

Why being frugal?  What’s the point of being frugal? It’s all about how you want to feel.

why being frugal, saving money, why save money?

What is the point of being frugal, living frugally, looking for sales, looking at flyers, buying secondhand sometimes, avoiding the shops, not buying that cute dress or those, oh those shoes?

Marguerite Tennier (makesenseoflife.com) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com and amazon.ca

First, let’s look at what being frugal is not.  It’s not to become like the Scrooge, although at the beginning of your frugal journey it may feel like it.


Becaue let’s be real.  If you have always spent money like someone else was going to pay the bills, changing your ways will take some adjusting.  But you can make the transition a lot easier for yourself if you change a few small things about your spending habits.

why being frugal, saving money, why save money, take care of your money

The first small, well not so small, thing to change is your mindset. Continue reading “Being frugal. What’s the point?”

5 Ways Being Mindful Will Save You Money On Food, And A Bonus

Do you wonder “How can I save money on food and eat well too?  You know it’s good to be Thrifty?  It leaves money in your pocket for what really matters.  There are many ways to save money on food and eat well too.how can I save money on food and eat well

I have made big changes in my food shopping in the past 6 months or so.  I had never calculated how much I spent on groceries until the day I checked my credit card bill (I pay everyting with my card to get points) and saw I spent around $250 a month, quite consistently.  I thought this was a little high and I decided to see if I could find ways to save money on food.

Marguerite Tennier (makesenseoflife.com) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com and amazon.ca

5 ways to save money on food (while eating well)

Look at how much you normally spend and set a food budget 20% lower for the next month to save money on food.

  • For example if you normally spend $250. a month on food  – excluding cleaning products, toilet paper, etc., set your food budget at 80% of that, or $200. a month.  If you are already spending wisely you may not lower your food bill as much as I did.  On the other hand, you may find you can be a lot more thrifty and still eat really well.

Continue reading “5 Ways Being Mindful Will Save You Money On Food, And A Bonus”

Practice Self-Care: How To Have More Pleasure For The Sake Of Your Health

Pleasure = Self-Care:  It’s good for youhow to have more pleasure, pleasure, self-care, dare, risk, fun, adult play

Maybe you already practice self-care.  You do everything you know is good for your health.  And that’s good.  Do you wonder “How can I have more pleasure in my life?”

But if you are like many over 20, women out there, with a career, a main relationship, kids too, you don’t really make much time for pleasure and fun in your life.  Things to do just because they feel good and give you a feeling of enjoyment.  No time you say.  Too much to do.  Pleasures are often related to the senses, touch, smell, taste.

Marguerite Tennier (makesenseoflife.com) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com and amazon.ca

Maybe, just maybe, even your sex life is, well, not very exciting.  Your main relationship may also show signs of wear and tear.  You and your Significant Other pass by and are dutiful, but gone are the days of giggling and fun.

Well, I am here to help you change all that. Continue reading “Practice Self-Care: How To Have More Pleasure For The Sake Of Your Health”

5 Great Fun And Exciting Activities: Take Your Summer From Blah! to Ahhh!

what are fun summer sports, summer fun, what to do this summer, canoe, kayaking

Fun Summer sports just for you to try and enjoy.

How would you like to try some new activities to put some spring in your steps now that Summer is here.  If you already have plans for exciting days for the coming season, this post may not interest you.  Maybe you have a big holiday planned or you are going to the cottage for the Summer.

Marguerite Tennier (makesenseoflife.com) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com and amazon.ca

If on the other hand you have not yet done much thinking about how you will make this Summer memorable, I have some neat suggestions for you to try some Summer sports.. Most of them will cost you less than $100.

I am really excited to see warmer days because Summer is my favourite season. After a long freezing Winter in the North East, Summer is never long or warm enough for me and I literally organize my life around the weather.

How do you feel about this wonderful season? Are you just planning the same old routine you have done last year, and the year before? When was the last time you tried a new activity?  Have you tried different Summer sports?

Don’t let being alone stop you. You don’t need a partner to join any of the activities I suggest here. The benefit of joining alone is that it will easier to meet the other people in the classes and make new friends too.

You can have fun this Summer without breaking the bank.  Outside sports are also good for your physical and mental health.  Being in nature has a calming effect that counter balances the busy, noisy city life.

what are fun summer sports, summer fun, what to do this summer, sailing, sailing class, sailing boat

Continue reading “5 Great Fun And Exciting Activities: Take Your Summer From Blah! to Ahhh!”

8 Expenses to have a more frugal lifestyle, save money and time too

What, buy something when I encourage a more frugal lifestyle?  Stay with me, because yes, sometimes it pays to spend.  household purchases to help you save money, frugal lifestyle, save money, frugal living,

Marguerite Tennier (makesenseoflife.com) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com and amazon.ca

Yes, just like we often need to spend money to make money – think education, business training, etc., when it comes to living a more frugal lifestyle, you will find it easier if you have the right tools to help you.   A frugal lifestyle should not make you miserable.  Yes you want to save money for the future, but increasing your quality of life is also important so that you stay on course for the long term.

There are many ways some investment can save you money.  Today I will limit myself to 8.


My first gadget to live more frugally is a clothesline and some clothespin.  I did not have to install the clothesline myself but I invested in good, sturdy clothespins – pretty too.  They came in different colors and I sometimes try to use them to color match the clothes I hang out to dry.  That’s on days I don’t have much to do.


Appliances that cost you the most to use are those that produce heat – stove, oven, dishwasher, baseboards, as well as your air conditioners.   Your clothes dryer comes up at the top of that list.


Some people argue that it takes a long time to hang clothes to dry.  I agree that it takes a little bit of time.  A full load probably can be hung in 10,  15 minutes max, plus the 10 minutes it will take to bring it back inside once the sun and the wind have done their job.


Others will say it’s wasted time.  I suggest you use that time to disconnect from your work, or Facebook, etc. an use it as meditation time.  Just enjoying the sun and the wind, and possibly the green space and flowers around you.  Those 10 minutes outside breathing fresh air will re-energize you and make you more productive for the next few hours.


My second favourite  gadget is my cappuccino-espresso maker.  It sits in my kitchen and lets me make cappuccino on demand for a fraction of the cost I would pay at the corner café. (One cappuccino a week, for 5 years =$3.50 X 250 weeks) =$875.  If you have 2 a week, then it $1750. in coffee.  And I know some of you have it everyday. Then we are talking about over $4,000.  Yes, I love my fairly inexpensive Breville but you if you save more you may want to invest in a pricier machine.


I bought mine when it was on sale and calculated that it would take less than one cappuccino a week for less than a year to get my money’s worth   Meaning that for the next 5 or so years, I  will enjoy cappuccino for free (plus the cost of coffee itself).  All in all a pretty good deal.


Side benefit is I can have a cappuccino anytime I want, I can have it in my pj’s, on my balcony or in my backyard or looking outside on a rainy or snowy day.  It saves me the time to get dressed, walk to the café and wait in line.  And no need for tipping either.


My third purchase that saves me time and money is my clothes washer.  If you have a home that’s probably a given that you have your washing machine.  When you rent an apartment however, that convenience is usually not included.  I paid good price for my Maytag portable washer, about $600 10 years or so ago.  Maybe you need to walk or drive to a Laundromat nearby, at a cost of both time and money, or use the coin-operated one in your building.  This portable beauty could solve that problem, and pay for itself within a short time


But it has paid off in time, and money, because time is money.  I could use the washer and dryer included in my rent but this involved getting outside to access it next door, and sharing with 4 other tenants.  My washer is probably good for another 10 years.  $30. a year for a great convenience, again, at my fingertip 24 hours a day, in my pj’s.


I also invested in 3 fans, tower type.  Elegant, noiseless and portable.  Total cost: about $200.  While I do have a window air conditioner, I seldom use it, unless I have guests who cannot tolerate the heat. You may also like this one


I personally love the warm days of Summer, maybe because they are so few where I live.  If you want to save money to keep cool in Summer, I highly recommend getting some of those and remembering the cold days of winter and how much you longed for Summer.


I am lucky to also have ceiling fans: bedroom, kitchen and living room.  They too are great to provide relief from the heat.  I like to imagine I am in Africa (seen those in movies).  It’s a great excuse to make a cool lemonade and sit with my feet up and a good book.


Some people don’t like ceiling fans because give too much wind.  I suggest you use the slowest setting for the one in the bedroom and living room.  The kitchen one is great on high when you are slaving over a hot stove.


A dishwasher is also great to save money and time.  Many studies show that washing dishes in the dishwasher uses less water than if you wash by hand.  To make sure you also use less hydro, turn the dishwasher on when the hydro rates are lower (for me it’s after 7 p.m. and anytime on weekends).  Refrain from rinsing your dishes.  And fill up the dishwasher before turning it on. I love my portable dishwasher because I hate washing dishes.   Even a countertop dishwasher can help your frugal lifestyle and it saves me time. This one looks good too

Lined drapes and or sun proof window shades.  Those will do double duty.  Keep the sun out in Summer and keep the cold out in Winter nights.  You can even make some for patio doors to hang outside, before the heat hits the window.  I did some for my living room.  They attach with Velcro, and can be put on or removed in under 30 seconds.  Great for morning when the temperature hits 30C (86F), like today.  They are also inexpensive to make.


Finally I bought a portable BBQ, correction, it was a gift– it’s on the balcony and is great to cook on hot days.  Cheaper than hydro to use and the house remains cooler when you cook outside, so you save on cooling costs. Cooking outside is another way to relax and recharge.

If you found this post useful, please let me know and share with your network and on social media.  Thanks.