Red Rose Tea – my favourite.
It didn’t start with tea but tea is the frugal measure in this house.
My favourite tea is Red Rose but as money dwindled and income stagnated and I finally got it through my widower head in real terms that I am a single parent I switched to Tetley. Tetley is a fine tea but it became apparent that it too was too expensive.
Tetley is a good alternative
The switch to Tea India came about quite some time ago and it was a good switch. It is a good, strong tea.
Tea India a good, strong tea.
The strength of the tea is important because along with switching to less expensive tea I also changed the way I make tea. I still make it bachelor style in a mug and still sweeten with honey but there are multiple uses of the same bag.
The first use is a single bag. That bag can be used again for a second cup then put to one side to dry. Another bag is pressed into service for two more cups then come the time of the fifth cup both bags are used to make a cup. Five cups of tea from two bags. I haven’t tried for a sixth but it might be doable. I’m not there yet but will be soon.
The false economy of shopping at Wal-Mart was brought home recently by the twin failure of both kettle and microwave. Despite drinking a lot of tea when the kettle broke I did not replace it. We have a stove and pots and water will boil in anything to which enough heat is applied. The microwave still sits on the counter mocking me by continuing to show the correct time but refusing to heat anything. It is probably a fuse but could be the magnetron or a capacitor but it is probably best that it be repaired by someone who knows what they are doing.
We’ve gone from just doing things to being careful, to being cautious, to buying what is needed to cutting down on what is needed. It may seem weird but I do look at replacing the roof and getting a new furnace as having spent money foolishly even though both have saved me money. We switched the phone service from Bell to Videotron, we cancelled our cable so only get two channels on the television which are interrupted every time a plane goes overhead (we live next to an airport so you can see why we don’t watch television anymore).
One of the biggest mysteries in my life has been: how so other people do it?
What kind of money do they earn that they can put a new car on the driveway every four or five years? How are they doing their groceries different from me? Is there a yellow label brand that is cheaper? After cutting out fresh produce and meat are there cheaper ways to prepare meals? How do they manage taking time off, and not just sit in the house trying not to spend money in the interim? Time off is more stressful than working.
I know I do things which are foolish. I should not have sent our daughter on the school ski trip. I did it because there is so little I can do and, strange as it may sound, I feel guilty that her mother is not here to see her graduate. That is unreasonable but it doesn’t make the feeling any less true. Financially it was foolish, emotionally it was good for her even as it takes its toll on me. The same can be said for many other things we have done building memories and I have emotional defenses for those too but none financial.
Yesterday I discovered that Koodo Mobile has been charging for data use on our daughter’s phone since November. Apparently they sent her a text at some point and she answered it and they turned on data. Yep. That is after years of not having data and expressly telling Koodo when we got the phone that no data was wanted or needed. So add another $254.00 to the phone bill. For a mobile phone company to ask a teenager by text if they want to use the Internet is akin to asking me if I would like another piece of chocolate when I am stressed out. There is only one possible answer. The fact that Koodo texted our sixteen year old instead of asking me, the one who pays the bills, if they should activate data is something which I have yet to wrap my mind around. It doesn’t surprise me anymore than the TD Bank being willing to lose a customer of 30 years over a $3.50 Visa charge. Companies do very well at pretending to care for people whether it is with heartwarming viral videos of them giving things away or the well crafted look/feel commercials but when it comes right down to it, it is you or the buck and we all know which way that breaks.
Time to get busy on Kijiji or Craigslist and see if I can sell some of the tons of stuff we don’t need. I wonder if anyone still buys books.
UPDATE: Koodo and I came to terms with most of the data use charges have been reversed. It’s not everything but most of it and I guess I do have to take some responsibility for the charges. At least I don’t have to change phone companies like I did banks.