Upcycling Coffee Creamer Bottles

If you are an avid coffee drinker like me, you might take some creamer with your coffee. Next thing you know, you find yourself tossing these plastic containers into the recycling bin every few weeks. Then I got to thinking……can I use them for something around the apt?


Nice and clean and waiting for your creativity.


I started by cutting the tops off (recycling those) and keeping the bottoms for small planters. Do remember to drill a few holes at the bottom for drainage.


Then I started using them as storage. I saw some articles around using them to store food but I’m wary to do so. I’m not sure if these bottles have BPA so I prefer to store my food stuff (sugar, etc) in mason jars instead. As for cleaning supplies, this is a great way for me to have some handy while storing the bigger sizes elsewhere.

Did this spark an idea in you? 🙂


Decluttering the closet

Now if you are like me, you have way too many clothes that you need. In fact, most people only utilize 20% of their wardrobe. You open your wardrobe and think that you have nothing to wear. This is despite having a closet that’s bursting at the seams! So what do you do? You go back to wearing what you usually do.

There are plenty of websites out there that help you with paring down your wardrobe. Below are just some insights I got from decluttering 90% of my wardrobe. Yes……. I got rid of 90% of my wardrobe.

Here it goes 🙂

1) Designate 3 boxes/bags. Donate, Fix and Undecided. I don’t have a Keep box as keepers go back into the wardrobe.

2) Donate pile gets kept in the apt for 2-4 weeks and off to Salvation Army it goes. Or donate to another organization. In fact, there are plenty of shelters that will take your used clothing. When you are weary of decluttering, think about how your clothes will go on to bless people who need it more than you do! And practice common sense, please donate clothes in conditions that you, yourself will wear. If it’s too ratty, cut it up for rags to use around the house/apt.

3) As for the fix pile, this pile tends to be small for me because a lot of the items are not worth the additional money/effort/time to fix it.

4) Undecided pile. Most advocate putting your undecided pile into a box, date it. And after 6 months, if you don’t miss what’s in it (or you can’t even remember what’s in it!), just take the box to donate. Do not open, do not pass go, head straight to the donation center! 🙂 Now this method doesn’t work for me. What I do instead is to get an opinion of someone I trust. Put on a fashion show and trust your friend/significant other’s opinion!

5) Start with one category. For example, I started with jeans, then I went onto dresses, etc. This way I can see at an instant that I actually have 10 black shirts that look almost the same!

6) Trust your initial reaction when you see yourself wearing the item. I wore the item in question in front of a full length mirror (you can get a cheap version $5-$6). Then I made a quick snap decision. Often times, your first thought is the instinctive reaction you have to the item. In fact, go ahead and set aside a donation space. There will be days when you wear an item and you instinctively want to take it off immediately. Dump that item into the box and shut it.

7) Get a personal color analysis done. Remember a time when people told you,”Oh you’re a summer!”, etc? Well, personal color analysis has come a long way. I got mine done and it was the best money I had ever spent! If you are interested in learning more, check out my analyst’s page here

8) If you have expensive stuff or want to do it, you can try to get money for your clothes! Try ebay, Craiglist or consignment shops in your area.

9) Understand that this will be a work in progress. I said I got rid of 90% of my wardrobe. BUT that was done over the course of 3 years. And I am still working on it. In fact, I set aside another 10 shirts this weekend for the donation pile.

That’s it for now. Good luck in your decluttering journey!

Just pick up the phone and call your credit card company!

As you might know, I am slowly getting my finances into order. I am slowly trimming the fat (canceled Netflix, Starlooks) and am looking to cut my credit card annual fee. Yes. I pay $19 (used to be $29 I think) per year to Wells Fargo in order to have cash back on my credit card purchases. Every bit counts so I called Wells Fargo with the intention of cancelling my rewards program.

Be nice! Remember, you catch bees with honey and not vinegar.

After 20 mins of phone wait, tag time, etc…… guess what? The Wells Fargo representative was able to transfer me to a FREE rewards program while keeping my current points.

Since I am on the phone, I asked for a lowering of my APR (currently at 12.65 which is pretty good). Unfortunately, the rep was unable to lower my APR. But she offered me 0% APR on purchases made in the next 6 months. Now I don’t know how often I will take advantage of that since I will be on Dave Ramsey’s cash system. But the point is…… YOU DON’T GET IF YOU DON’T ASK!

And if you don’t get anything, don’t be discouraged. Just pick up and call again. The next rep might be willing to go the mile for you. Again remember to be nice! The reps are humans doing their jobs just like you and me 🙂

* Just my experience

What is your monthly grocery bill? USDA Food Costs and how do you compare?

About a week ago, I was agonizing about my budget for groceries. I cook from scratch and my family’s philosophy is that you don’t scrimp on food. Afterall, it’s always going to be cheaper than eating out!

While the latter is true, I intend to trim my food expenses until my finances are in good shape. So I looked over my expenses for the last 5 months and set what I thought was appropriate and doable.

Then I came across this article today and thought it might help you in planning your food budget for July! 😀

USDA Food Cost for May 2013

If you’re interested to see previous year’s numbers, you can access the link here.

Previous USDA Food Costs

I went back and looked at the year so far and this was how it was:

Jan: Liberal

Feb: Liberal

Mar: Under low cost

Apr: Under thrifty

May: Liberal

Looks like for the most part, I am on the liberal side for groceries. And I planned for a number that is fairly close to the low cost plan for July prior to seeing this data. We’ll see how it goes 🙂

Have you budgeted for July? If yes, how will seeing this change your figures?

If you haven’t budget for July, here are some of my thoughts.

– Don’t set yourself up for failure. Set a number that is realistic and yet stretch your restraint.

– Consider the envelope system for your grocery money and keep to a figure per week.

– Meal planning. The hardest part is starting. Once you have a system going, it will get easier.

Good luck!

Square foot gardening – First year and initial thoughts

After my huge success with growing my own basil last year, I decided to garden again this year. But a lot more seriously. In fact, I put down the money and effort to build my own raised beds and attempt square foot gardening. In case you haven’t heard, square foot gardening is a method revolutionized by Mel Bartholomew. It basically is a way of growing a lot of crops in a small space.


As you can see, I don’t have alot of gardening space. This is pretty much what you get when you live in the city. My raised beds are also not as high as I would like them to be. However due to financial constraints, this is as best as I can do for this year. Hopefully I can eventually build something higher. 🙂

I went ahead and started planting before buying the book (updated version here) so I am not optimizing my space. Hey there is always another year 🙂

So why square foot gardening?


– Lots of crops in a small space (as opposed to row gardening)

– Able to do crop rotation in same space (spring & fall crops)

– Easy weeding (Mel’s mix which is the ‘soil’ for the raised beds is so light that you can easily pick out the weeds. In addition, anything growing that is not in the space that you know that you have planted is automatically a weed! That’s awesome for a newbie gardener who still cannot distinguish how the baby plants look like)

– Neat. LOL You gotta admit, it looks much neater than row gardening.

– A great way if your soil sucks. Afterall, you are making your own ‘soil’ so the current soil doesn’t really matter.


– Expensive. The first year is expensive for me with buying the various components to make Mel’s mix. Add to that the costs of building the bed, seeds, plants, etc, it all adds up pretty fast.

– Mel’s mix requires 5 different types of compost. Why? As this is an intensive way to garden, you want to provide a very nutrient rich environment. Unfortunately I was only able to procure 2 types of compost (mushroom and cow manure).


I love square foot gardening! You can see in the picture that 2 of my beds were not in the square foot format and I think they are not as productive. Next year, I’m converting them all to grid form. If you are on the fence regarding this, make a small 4 ft by 4 ft box and try it for a year. 🙂 Perhaps you will get hooked like I did!

Note: I made a modification of not having a screen at the bottom of the raised bed. I wanted the deeper root plants to be able to go deeper as my beds are only 6 inches high.

* Not affiliated to Mel Bartholomew and all opinions are my own.

Dave Ramsey – Have you started your budget for July?

If you are in total control of your money and am in an excellent financial situation, please go on and skip this post. Otherwise, read on! 🙂


Like many people, I dread the B word. Yes, budget. To me, it’s all about restraint and a life of lack. I went on my merry way and like so many others, am now in debt. Having heard of Dave Ramsey, I decided to order his book (second hand off ebay) and start reading. I got so inspired that I made a budget for July!


You can access a free pdf on how to get started here! It’s only 23 pages and it’s worth reading. In addition, you can get free budget and cash flow forms here.


Here is my budget on a clip board at the fridge 🙂

We have a few more days till July and I urge you to create your July budget today! 🙂


This will be my cash envelope for July. As you can see, I made my budget and set aside money for various categories (Groceries, Household, Eating out, Entertainment, Personal, Clothing and Gas). You can categorize however way you want 🙂 For example, although my tab says gas, parking comes from that envelope too. As for personal, I decided to loop beauty and toiletries as well as books in there.


There comes a time when you have read all that is to know about a subject and it’s time to just do it. Plunge in. I’ll be there beside you!


* Found the last picture on the internet. Please let me know who it belongs to so I can credit it.

* My personal views.