How to Cheer for Toronto Teams on a Budget

If there’s one thing the last year has shown us, it’s that Toronto teams are working hard to make their fans proud.

But team pride and coming together means a lot of bars and, you guessed it, high bar tabs. And when you have an entire city getting hammered with you in the name of team spirit, blowing money on drinks somehow seems justified.

But it really isn’t, and your bank does not offer city pride rebates. Being smart with your money while supporting Toronto teams doesn’t mean you have to sit at home with a meal of bread and water while you wait for updates on the radio. You can definitely feel the team spirit without forcing your wallet to feel it, too.

Read the Drink Specials and Spend Accordingly

Even if you are not a big sports fan, any bar when a Toronto team is in the playoffs is infectious. Some might say this is being a bandwagoner. I call it having a good time. But that doesn’t mean you have to order the most expensive items. Take a moment to read over the drink specials. Hell, you might find you like something different (and cheap!) And even if you insist on getting your usual, you can search for drink specials based on day and drink online. 

Sip Slowly – Your Drink Isn’t Going Anywhere

If you are somebody who feels anxious about the server coming over and asking you if you want another drink, sip slowly. They are busy, and they are about their tips. So long as your glass isn’t empty they have nothing to say to you aside from a routine quality check to “see how everything’s going”. Nurse your drink. That way you won’t feel tempted to order multiple rounds just to have something in front of you throughout the evening.

Order Appetizers and See If Anyone Else Just Wants Something To Nibble On

Do a quick survey of your friends to see if people are actually hungry. Most of the time people just want something to nibble on, but convince themselves they should order a full meal. If your appetite is not feeling up to a $15 burger, ask if anyone wants to split an appetizer. Apps are less expensive, and if you are splitting it with someone it will be even cheaper.

Pick a Few Evenings to Be a Teetotaler

You are a hard core “Toronto til the death of me” sports fan who needs to watch virtually every game in a bar surrounded by your people. It’s cool. So choose a few nights to be a temporary teetotaler. Pick a few games where you just don’t drink. Even if you grab some food, your bill will still be significantly lower than a bill that includes several rounds. Your liver thanks you.

Find That Friend With Cable and Parents Who Don’t Give a Damn

I don’t think anyone with their own apartment who is under the age of 25 has cable, but this is Toronto, people. That means a large number of your friends or classmates are from the city or the suburbs and are commuters. You know what this means: houses owned by old people (love you, parents!) with cable. Now, most of those people will have parents who do not want a bunch of rowdy sports fans tearing up their living room, but there is always one with parents cool about it – or at least a friend who is willing to risk a cussing from their parents.

Buy some stuff from the grocery store, make an LCBO run, and watch the game without paying restaurant premiums. Thank their mom on the way out. Don’t spill anything.

Order a Pitcher

Go out with people who like the same drinks as you, and then order a pitcher. If you’re gonna spend money drinking, might as well be in bulk.

AND REMEMBER: Don’t drive drunk. Better passed out on the TTC than dead or a murderer. Cheers xo

Why Students Should Eat The Same Lunch Every Day

By: Neya Abdi | @neyaabdi

Everyone loves lunch. It’s a teasing taste of the freedom that’s gonna come at the end of our shift or after a long day of lectures. But there’s something to be said for deciding to eat the same thing for lunch…every day.

It Makes Packing Lunches and Eating Healthier Easier

Once you’ve created a meal – with all the food groups! – that you like and enjoy eating regularly, packing lunches and eating healthy becomes easier. You gain an increased awareness of the foods you’re consuming since you’re throwing the bare ingredients together yourself. By knowing exactly what to grab from the grocery store each week and developing a quick and easy method for preparing your food either the night before or the morning of, the process will become as automatic as brushing your teeth or hopping into the shower. (Assuming you do those things…hopefully.)

Working Over Lunch Becomes Much More Efficient

If you have a go go go mentality and like to get readings done during your lunch, you will appreciate this reason. First of all, keeping yourself fed and energized is an important part of being productive, so skipping lunch to squeeze in an extra hour of studying is not a sustainable strategy. The most productive students know this and respect their body’s needs. That being said, you can still make your lunch hour as streamlined as possible by cutting down on the amount of time you spend thinking about what you’re going to eat.

Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest, told Lifehacker that she eats the same thing for lunch every single day (and breakfast too for that matter!)

I try to automate all tasks that truly do not require energy. For instance, I basically eat the same breakfast and lunch every day (dinner is my fun meal). Why waste time on figuring out what I want to pick up for lunch? I know what I like, and I stick to it.

The 32 year old multimillionaire is a Harvard grad, entrepreneur, CEO, and New York Times Bestselling Author – you’d better believe she knows something about using your time wisely.

You Can Spend Less Time Thinking About What To Eat and Enjoy Your Lunch Break Instead

Remember when someone took that intense scene from The Notebook (where Noah repeatedly asks Allie, “What do you want?”) and captioned it, “Every time I ask my girl what she wants to eat…“? Whoever made that video was speaking the truth – for both girls and boys. Figuring out what you want to eat can take forever, especially when you are presented with a lot of options. And by the time you’re done making your selection (likely one of two meals you always get) and have made your way through the long line you’re only left with a little time to scarf down your food before getting back to your classes feeling like you only had a ten minute break. Spend less time staring at lunch specials and more time doing what you want with your break.

You Will Save A Lot of Money Eating The Same Thing Every Day

If you care nothing about productivity or even healthy eating, perhaps a plea from your wallet will have you seeing things differently. Instead of running to the cafeteria or going out for lunch in between classes, you can satisfy your hunger with the easy meal you put together. We spend A LOT of money eating out. A 2012 study by Visa found that Canadians who buy their lunch three times a week at an average cost of $8.80 per meal spend $1,500 a year.

That’s tuition for two classes, a round trip ticket to Europe, or at least a bad ass wardrobe. Pack a lunch.

Your Cooking Skills Will Improve

It sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? If you’re making the exact same thing for lunch every single day, shouldn’t your cooking skills get worse or plateau? On the contrary, witnessing the positive results of eating the same meal every day – on your finances, on your health, and on your productivity – will make you more curious about how you can make additions or alterations to your meal. The success you’ve already experienced provides more incentive to try.

Eating the same thing for lunch every day sounds like a bland way to live, but you’d be surprised at how much time we waste deciding to eat the same three things we always do. Your life is way more exciting than what you eat at 12 o’clock and the benefits of grabbing the same salad and chicken each day may leave you wondering why you didn’t try this sooner.

Featured Image courtesy of Unsplash

5 Strategies for Spending Less at Restaurants

The weekend is here, and of course your undomesticated self will probably be going out to eat. Unless you are an Instagram foodie with a bunch of exclusive free dinners, chances are your wallet is taking a hard hit from all those entrees. You won’t completely cut restaurants out of your social life, so let’s try a few strategies for saving money while you eat out, instead.

Pre-Eat

This is simple AF. I know you know what pre-drinking is. Now it’s time to pre-eat, my child. Everybody knows that the main allure of restaurants is:

1) convenience

2) the opportunity to Instagram something other than your face so your page looks like you go places

There’s no need to prepare anything fancy. In the same way you down cheap booze in an effort to spend as little as possible when you party, stuff yourself with something simple before you head out. When you get to the restaurant, you will order just enough to avoid being kicked out of the joint.

Order Appetizers

Appetizers are the best part of the menu and they are usually the yummiest. The best part? They’re the cheapest, and a lot of the time the serving sizes are more than enough to keep you happy. Take it one step further and commit to eating solely apps as a group. If you and your friends order several appetizers and commit to splitting the bill evenly, you will wind up with more variety for a fraction of the price. Bon appetit.

Do Some Chicken Math

I have a friend who worked with a girl who was relatively loaded. Anytime they went out her bill was the lowest in the group. If they were moving from one location to another, it could have been 11pm and this girl would walk rather than take a cab a few blocks, drunk as she may be. But perhaps my favourite anecdote about this co-worker was her astonishment at my friend’s purchase of a plate of chicken bites.

“You’re buying those chicken bites? They are $12. You are getting 6. Do you realize you are paying $2 for each chicken bite? This little thing? No.”

To this day, I refer to breaking down the cost of anything as chicken math. Forget unequal distribution of wealth. Chicken math is how the rich stay rich, people.

Fill Out Those Damn Receipt Surveys

You’ve finished your meal, the server hands you your debit receipt (grinning or glaring depending on the tip you left), and she tells you to visit the website on the bottom to fill out a survey for 15 percent off your next appetizer. What do you do? You smile, tell her you’ll totally do it, and then THROW THAT PIECE OF PAPER IN THE GARBAGE?

Quoi?! Listen, chances are you will probably be at that restaurant again. Tuck that receipt in your wallet and commit to completing that survey. The next time you go out and cringe at your grand total, you’ll be thankful for that 15 percent discount.

Stay Home and Cook

Lol. K.

Good food and even better people at Scaddabush

I’ve had plenty of foods with artichokes in them, but I’ve never actually met an artichoke. You know what I mean? I wish I could say there were more sophisticated thoughts going through my mind while eating the spinach and artichoke dip at Scaddabush, but that was about it. Well that and “damn, this is some good dip…”

Located at Yonge and Gerrard, Scaddabush is a rustic and cozy restaurant with an unpretentious take on Italian cuisine. But unpretentious doesn’t mean unprofessional. Each time I’ve gone to Scaddabush the service has been unbelievable thanks to servers who manage to take care of you and keep tabs on you without hovering. The food takes a bit longer than expected to come out, but the wait is easily forgiven once you take a bite of your meal. The ingredients are fresh and there are rarely issues with your order.

When you first take a seat, the ambiance is misleading in its seeming impracticality. The restaurant is quite dark, with a few overhead lights and a candle per table for lighting; at first it’s almost tempting to turn on your cell phone’s flashlight to read the menu. But you quickly adjust and realize that the owners know what they’re doing – it works. I’m curious though about whether the many mirrors hanging on the exposed brick walls are a mixture of interior design and inside joke considering it’s almost impossible to actually check your reflection in the dimly lit restaurant.

For first time visitors, the fresh mozzarella is a must. The Naked, which comes with extra virgin olive oil, focaccia crostini, and a dollop of tomato jam, is a great appetizer to share as a starter, but it will definitely go quickly. Keeping in line with the restaurant’s rustic, but controlled decor, the components are neatly presented right on a wood cheese board, and the first sight of it will instantly perk your table up. Made fresh in-house each day, the mozzarella is creamy, supple, and – forgive the cliché – will quite literally melt in your mouth. An alternative appetizer is the spinach and artichoke dip I mentioned earlier served with unlimited crostini. It’s a tasty version of the easy potluck dish, but it is heavy and if you are someone who gets full easily not a good idea if you’re planning to order an entrée.

When it comes to the entrées, do not shy away from the sandwiches and pizzas. People are often hesitant to order these items because it feels like a cop out. Why order something you can get in a fast food restaurant? This is definitely not a fast food restaurant, and Scaddabush’s pizzas and sandwiches are certainly worth a try. The Diavolo, a spicy chicken pizza served with caramelized onions, grape tomatoes, and a variety of cheeses, is a highly recommended choice and nicely presented on its cutting board. The pizza scissors mean you’ll have to get your hands a little extra dirty, but that way you can say you played a part in preparing your food. For vegetarians, the grilled vegetable sandwich served on focaccia is jam packed with goodies and seasoned with an olive tapenade. I’m of the opinion that the vegetarian options are the best-kept secret of a lot of restaurants, since the lack of meat leaves the dishes with so much more to prove. While I did not try the pasta – seems a bit remiss considering Scaddabush is an Italian restaurant – I have it on good authority that the pesto pollo is “lit”.

While a reservation is always the classy way to go – don’t be the party of sixteen that shows up unexpectedly on a busy night – for a small party, it isn’t really necessary. I’ve always been able to get a table even on a Friday or Saturday evening and have yet to wait.

I cannot end this review without shouting out a very important person from my last visit. This past weekend, I uncharacteristically forgot my phone (and all my ID, debit, and credit cards in the case) on the table. Someone that I am assuming is the bus boy ran outside and down the street to call us down and return the phone. He was not our server, and we didn’t interact with him once that night, so the fact that he could identify us was remarkable on its own. He could have easily got away with leaving it at the bar and hoping we return but instead chased us down and started running back before I could finish thanking him.

“What’s your name?” I shouted down the street.

“Nathan!” he called back.

Now I understand that moment in superhero movies where the rescued person demands to know the name of their hero. I’m a little worried I’m calling him by the wrong name and that his name is actually David, but my friend assures me he said Nathan. So to Nathan at Scaddabush on Yonge and Gerrard, thank you for saving me from an incredibly crappy and stressful night. You the real MVP, babe.

Featured image from Scaddabush