Do You Cross-Border Shop for Food?

I’m currently looking for information on Canadians’ thoughts on US food prices. If you live in a border town do you cross to the States to buy your groceries? Not liquor or specialty items – flavours and products that aren’t available on either side of the border – but staple groceries. I’m especially interested if you know of the price difference between the exact same product, especially ones that are manufactured in Canada. Please comment if you’d like to share your stories or opinions on food price differences.

How I Made a Drying Rack into a Garden Trellis

How I Made a Drying Rack into a Garden Trellis


It’s so fun to be able to change one item into another. You get to use what you have around the house, and avoid spending money on a new item. If you are interested in the Financial Integrity Program, this would be part of Step 6 – minimizing spending.

I started with this folding clothes-drying rack I bought about ten years ago:

small metal clothes drying rack

I create a trellis for my cucumbers by dissembling and rearranging the pieces.

 folded drying rack outside

I used an 18 gauge wire to attach the pieces to my fence. I don’t have pets or kids so I’m not concerned about the wires sticking out. But you could use garden twine or even yarn.

rack attached to the fence

I’m a total klutz about home improvement stuff. My ideas are much greater than my abilities, but even I could tackle this project.

As you can see, my plant isn’t quite ready to climb yet. If I decide the bars of the trellis should be closer together I will add some twine or yarn.

 rack with cucumber plant in front

One of the best parts about this project is that it doesn’t ruin the drying rack. If you need the rack for indoor use during the winter you can easily remove it, clean it off, and put it back to work drying clothes.

Before I had this yard I also used this rack on my balcony that only had vertical rails. It worked great for that too.

Drying rack used for a cucumber trellis on a balcony.

All the horizontal bars are from the drying rack.

Other ideas I had for easy, small trellises were old fridge shelves, closet shelves, and animal cages. And if you get really crafty you can always use wood and twine. But right now I don’t have good enough tools for that project. I’m trying to avoid purchasing tools for a single project — a problem I’ve had in the past.

How about you? What gardening or other repurposing have you done lately? Let’s share ideas.


Analysis of My 2013 Spending and 2014 Goals – Personal

I have the most control of this section. These are all my individual purchases that don’t affect my husband at all. Here is where I want to match my spending to my priorities.

Work Food – Chocolate and other snacks that I buy specifically to enjoy during my office job.

Eating Out/Coffee – This is for non-work food that I buy just for my own enjoyment. This is a priority to me and I want to stop chastising myself for spending money in this area. This is a line item where I want to spend at least up to $20, rather than under $20.

Hobbies – This is books, music, computer games.

Entertainment – I want to increase this area as well, as I want to start going to the occasional play or musical.

Health – Includes things like glasses, physiotherapy. Hopefully this year will be less expensive than last year; I never want to go to physio. But I budgeted high because it’s unpredictable.

Clothes/Shoes – I bought a few items last year and don’t anticipate needing anything more this year so hopefully will be under budget.

Bank Fees – I have to get my chequing account back up to the amount where my fees are waived and then this expense will go away.

Charity – I have reduced this for this year. I was making automatic monthly contributions, but I decided to stop that so I’d have more money for the occasional cause that comes my way. I’ll increase my donation amount when I feel I’m making enough money again.

Animals – I had a one-time expense last year of buying a rat cage. Ongoing it should only be rat food and supplies and I should be able to sell the cage eventually.

Travel Alone – I plan to fly out to Edmonton once this year by myself so need to budget for that.

Business – I may need more money than this but will take some out of savings. I’ve spent more than my budgeted amount in the first three months of the year but a lot of this is once a year things like hosting and domain registration, so it should even out.

And here is the summary of all my spending, not including taxes.


To view the other sections of this series click below:

Housing and Utilities
Other Joint Expenses