Monday, 16 September 2013

Take a Stay-cation

Welcome back!

Well it's been a crazy summer and now I guess it's "back to the grind". Which means, kicking back up the blog writing.

Although we did take a road trip vacation this summer, I got to thinking about how much there is to do within our own community. Especially in the summer, there are always events happening and things going down to keep all sorts of people entertained. It might actually surprise you what kinds of things may happen in your city. Instead of planning a big, expensive trip, why not check out what you can see locally?  Hikes, festivals, celebrations, exhibitions, anything!  Just go check it out.  Hop on Google and see what might be coming up. A lot of times, your city's web page might even highlight what is happening and all the details surrounding the events. Not only might you learn something about your own community, but you'll save a few bucks and probably have an awesome time, too!

Happy Savings!
- C

Friday, 7 June 2013

Drop the Hints

The key is to drop subtle hints without being that person that is blatantly flaunting or prying for deals.  For example, if you're going out to celebrate for whatever reason, let them know maybe what the occasion is when you call to book. A simple little "we're so excited to celebrate _______ this weekend at your resort/restaurant/facility. A lot of times organizations will treat you to a little bonus because it looks good on them, and then they're obviously going to get a good review out of you. So really, them helping you a little will help them a little in the long run. 

Try it out!  Have you ever gotten any great upgrades/bonuses by mentioning a special occasion?

Happy Saving!
- C

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Convenience is Costly

Busy schedules usually result in sacrifices. Sometimes it's time with friends, sometimes it's fitness regimes, but more often than not, laziness has a great influence on what we eat. You're both tired after a long day; frozen or take out pizza it is. When we're tired, exhausted, or even just plain lazy, we justify our need for convenience foods. This costs us in multiple ways. We don't eat the food we already have in our house (because that would require time and effort), we make unhealthy decisions because they're usually quicker to satisfy our needs, and we spend way more money on something that has already been mostly, if not completely prepared for us.

We've been way too guilty of this for the last few weeks. But, the best way we've seen to combat the high price of being lazy is to plan ahead. Figure out what nights you won't be home until late and plan accordingly. Take food out of the freezer to thaw or throw something in the crockpot to be ready for when you get home. You can balance out a little sluggishness with at least a sprinkle of proactive thinking.

I love my crockpot and really need to bust it out more often when we're on the go. What are your favorite tips and tricks to help fight the convenience trap?

Happy Saving!
- C

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Waste not, want not!

So I may have just pulled a Nonni. We always joke about how my husband's grandmother will microwave coffee, even if its a day or two old, because why waste it.

Well, I totally see where she's coming from and I may have just done the same thing! It's so hard to know how much to make, who is going to drink it, etc. And seeing as how I drink it with stuff in it anyways, you can't even tell. We probably normally dump out a few cups a week, so I thought I'd see how the day-old stuff tastes. Yep, still has my caffeine fix!

What will you decide not to waste this week?! With Earth Day just passing by yesterday, take an extra thought next time you are going to throw something away that you might be able to use up first.

Happy Saving!
- C

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Enter Contests!

It seems as though I have vanished.  Yet, it is just an illusion!  I am still here, I am just unable to post as frequently as when I did not have such a busy schedule.  It seems as though we are never home, and that is more truth than an exaggeration. 

This morning, eating my breakfast and catching up with the local morning news, it dawned on me that I had not yet included contests in my blogs!  What a great way to save money, by winning things!  Let someone else spend their money on you!

Now, I've entered my fair share of contests.  Little things from win a free chocolate bar to win a hot tub (which I was a finalist for and got dinner and a party out of the deal anyways!).  More often than not, I never ever hear anything back in regards to some life changing notification of my winnings.  However, now and then, I've cashed in on some pretty cool prizes.  I've won tickets from radio contests, a backyard BBQ party for me and 9 friends, hosted by a local steak house (mmmm!), a cookbook from my morning show, and so on.  Like I said, nothing extravagant, but all things that in the end, I didn't spend money on earning.  This morning I saw an ad (on said morning tv show) for a $15,000 backyard renovation package they're giving away.  All you have to do is upload a photo of your current backyard and tell them why you need a reno.  Well seeing as ours is unfinished, dirt, only half fenced, and full of construction garbage that blows in from down the road, I don't think much explanation is needed!  Yet, completing the entry is one step to saving us the money we're eventually going to need to spend anyways.

An upstairs view of our current backyard oasis!

So look around you at the local draws, contests, and giveaways!  The more you enter, the higher chance you have of cashing in on something! 

Happy Saving!
- C

Monday, 18 March 2013

Busy Saving!

Oh my goodness how busy it has been! My apologies for no posts for the last few weeks, I can't even believe it has been so long since the last post. Time has completely flown by this month, but here's an update!

A while back I mentioned I was going to be starting with Pampered Chef, and man I feel I've started with a BANG! So far I've had three shows submitted and have earned over $650 in commission, and $200 Pampered Chef dollars to spend on whatever products or supplies my little heart desires. And I am having a blast! I get to cook, drink, and socialize with so many different groups of people, and then I get perks of commission and bonuses out of that. Cooking, drinking, and socializing, hardly things I'm any good at! I love that I can squeeze parties into an evening or afternoon and then earn some extra savings on the side. So great!

So how has all the saving been going? Amazing! We're so proud of how far we've come in 5 months of strict budgeting and deliberate saving, and we're feeling the rewards. We've also switched to an accelerated biweekly mortgage payment schedule, which may not necessarily be a direct saving, but it gets us in one extra payment a year and will, in the big picture, help us pay off the mortgage quicker. Oh yes!

Here's to your savings and your adventures as well. Keep up the good work, it's so rewarding when you see it paying off! I can see blinds in this house by the end of the summer!!!

Happy Saving!

Thursday, 28 February 2013


Now, as excited as I am about this one, they don't offer any Groupons for Lethbridge! Aw man!

Groupon is a discount-coupon website, where you can search the city you're looking to purchase something in, and they offer coupons for discounted services for different companies. The usual format is you pay $x.xx for $xx.xx worth of services. So for example, you buy the coupon for $15.00 for a restaurant, and then when you go, it has a $30.00 value. It's easy to save money on things you were looking to do anyways, but careful! It is also really easy to start buying things because they're a good deal, but then you may never end up using them before they expire. I saw a Facebook friend's status the other day that he'd purchased an oil change for like $20. A year later it was about to expire and he had to drive to an outlying community on the south end of a big city to redeem it at the small shop. A perfect example of how a good deal might not really set you ahead in the end, if its going to cost you in other ways to redeem where you saved.

Nonetheless, I sent a few to my mom to redeem, as they're exactly what she needs right now. She's selling her last car, and there was a Groupon for each auto detailing and windshield replacement! As well, a restaurant she has recently discovered that she really enjoys has one of the $15 for $30 worth of food Groupons. Score!

Fingers crossed the same sort of thing expands to smaller city centers, or the old site that used to have deals called get back up and running! I miss the deals :(

How have you found Groupon in your city, or does it not extend to your region as well? What about deals?! Share your great Groupon redemptions in a comment!

Happy Saving!
- C

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Juicing = Saving?

Now this one will be an adventure! My husband is a teacher, and they have this week off for reading week. While at home catching up on his Netflix, he decided to watch a documentary about healthy eating. Which is awesome! In his rekindled desire to be better with eating our fruits and veggies, he mentioned starting juicing. Now I know that this is going to up our grocery costs, but perhaps the health benefits will pay off in the long run. We found a juicer on our local Swap and Buy Facebook group for a pretty good deal. Used once by an older lady and she just has no need for it.

So it begins! Currently looking up some tasty juicing recipes to try out, and we'll let you know what happens, with both our physical and financial healths!

Happy Saving!
- C

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Survey Dollars Update

So part of my goal of the blog was to update everyone with my frugal adventures along the way.  A few months back, I believe the beginning of November or so, I joined an online survey forum that rewards you for sharing your opinions.  Seems easy enough!  Well here's the update!

This website, Angus Reid Forum, asks you the most random questions and has you complete very random surveys.  Each month you fill out a Monthly Mosaic that helps to paint the picture of who you are, what you do, and what your interested in.  I have been asked everything from what types of radio advertising I am familiar with/enjoy, to my knowledge of different oil companies and pipeline products.  Obviously, there are some financial supports behind each, and I'm sure it's one of the few major companies that is supporting the survey each time, but I don't mind sharing and I don't mind getting paid to do it. 

Yes, paid is in italics.  Although you do get financially reimbursed for your time and opinions, you only get paid out every $50 Survey Dollars.  Well, in almost four months, I've earned $9, and a few entries into the monthly draws each month.  So, it's a slow process!  I usually try and fill out every survey they email me, but it is definitely going to take a while before I actually see any of the cash!  Do I still think it's worth it?!  ABSOLUTELY!  The surveys usually only take me a few minutes, and I can do them from my phone.  So they can be done waiting in line, while watching a TV episode, or even while waiting on your significant other to hurry up so you can leave the house.  It's just not a reward that will pay off as quickly as some of the other ones we've ventured into.

Happy Saving!
- C

Friday, 8 February 2013

A New Adventure

So so sorry it has been so long since I last posted. It has been a very busy few weeks, and is now developing into a cold! It seems to be on its way out, but needless to say, I have struggled finding the time to blog this past week or so and I apologize.

So my next adventure in savings of course is going to come with a new 'job'. I put it in quotation marks, as it is going to be more fun than work for me. I have signed up to become a Pampered Chef consultant, and will start hosting and representing the company in a few weeks. I have always liked the products, and I love love love to cook and host friends, so it seemed like a great opportunity. I can't wait to host my Open For Business party in a few weeks, and if anyone needs to purchase any items, please let me know! We can either host a party if you have other who you think would be interested in attending, or you could just order directly through me for the desired items. They ship right to your house, so you don't even need to be that geographically close to me! Score for me and for you!

Happy Saving!
- C

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Leftover Makeover

Today's is a quick post, as I am busy running errands and session planning!

How many of you sit and stare at leftovers in the fridge, wondering why you'd want to eat the same thing for the fourth day in a row? Well you probably don't want that much repetition, and I can totally relate! When I first moved out to go to school, I would make things that were a big bang for my buck. However, that usually meant eating it for a week straight! Casseroles, lasagna, soups and stews. However, why not give your leftovers a makeover? Give them a new life and make them into something else. For example, the first attempt at this in my first or second year of university was chili. I added some cheese and lasagna noodles and turned it into a Mexican style lasagna! Or what about that giant container of cooked rice or quinoa? Stir fried rice and veggies for all! Really, let your imagination do the work. Open your fridge and pantry and try to repurpose that drab looking container of leftovers.

Any suggestions on what you've repurposed out of your fridge?!

Happy Saving!
- C

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Pinterest :)

Well I'm sure you knew this post was coming sooner or later! Yes, this addiction to an online pin board is not only a way to waste your entire day off or cause you to go to sleep way later than you'd planned, but it also can help you save money.

There are so many great ideas on Pinterest of ways you an up cycle old treasures into new treats, lots of DIY projects and concepts, and even recipes to help you cut down on that always growing grocery bill. If you haven't already succumb to Pinterest, I highly suggest you check it out. It is all things lovely, especially if it saves a little here and there.

Happy Saving!
- C

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Four Magic Words

Like any 26 year old newlywed, I was bummed to get a financial planning book for Christmas. WRONG! I got a little giddy about it, in fact! With trying to do all we can to save and be as smart as we can about our hard earned dollars, I was very excited to have another tool to help us out.

Within the first few chapters, I'm reading one concept over and over that I have been hearing a lot from others providing us with their advice and suggestions. A few months back, actually when I started the blog, I received an email from a great-uncle. It was the words in the email that really seemed to hit me. The message, summed up, said to never be afraid or embarrassed to say that you can't afford it. Be proud that you're saving, and it will get you further in the long run. Now, reading this book, he talks about the four magic words, "I can't afford it". The author describes how the phrase can become liberating, and I truly feel that it has done that for us. We don't feel like we have to do everything, and it makes us really think about what it is we need to spend our money on. One day, we will be able to afford more than we can now, but not without those sacrifices!

Living within your means is something that we have been taught by many of those around us. Never try to keep up with the Joneses. It will just get you in trouble. Take what you have and really appreciate how you've earned it. Step back and look at your world. Compared to a very very high percentage of the world, we do live in luxury. Don't forget to be grateful for what you have. By living within your means, learn to gain a new respect for your life, and watch your savings and your happiness grow.

Happy Saving!
- C

P.S. I'm reading The Wealthy Barber Returns by David Chilton. He is hilarious and it is a great read so far; I am really enjoying it. Thanks Louie!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Play Trade-sies

In trying to find alternative, read cheaper, ways to decorate that the fancy decorating stores will offer, I was given an offer by a good friend that was too good to be true.  She had a bunch of old decor from her house that she was no longer using and just wanted someone to take it off her hands.  Score!  She gave me a bunch of little pieces that I am totally going to use to help in the decorating of the house, and best yet, she didn't want any money for them!  In exchange, I watched her kids for about half an hour so that she could run some errands, but otherwise they were friendly donations.  My favorite kind!

There are swap and buy pages and a websites such as Kijiji that people will try to get rid of their old treasures to those looking for 'new-to-them' items.  However, what a neat idea to switch up with your friends.  Why not switch a piece with someone else to add a new twist to your decor.  Maybe even just for one season and then swap it back at a later date.  There will be an extra sense of ownership and care that will be attached to that item, as you want to return it in the same condition you received it in.  I haven't done this before, but maybe it might be a cool idea to try?! Thoughts?

Happy Saving!
- C

p.s. I will post pictures when I have assembled the new decor in the house

Monday, 14 January 2013

Phone a Friend

Financial decisions regarding maintenance of "the big things" in your life can make or break your bank. Things like who to help/hire for work around the house, what plumber to call when $h*t may literally hit the fan, or what mechanic you should take your precious ride to are all ones that a few phone calls may save you a few bucks. Use your phone a friend lifeline! Ask your friends either who they would recommend or who they would advise you steer clear away from. Word of mouth is the best advertisement and referral for companies those who do an outstanding job. A few years ago my sister in law had asked her boss who they take their vehicles to for maintenance work. They named one guy and said they'd never trust anyone else! Needless to say, we've been using this mechanic ever since. Just this morning I had to take my car in for some mechanical issues. In 10 minutes, he hooks it up, scopes out the issue(s), fills you in, and doesn't charge you for checking it all out! He lets you know the whole situation and doesn't try to sell you on unnecessary treatment for things. He's straight up, which is awesome. He doesn't charge, which isn't making money immediately, but anyone who has ever asked, I have highly recommended and even given his phone number to because he is so good! So the referrals send more clients to him, paying it forward for his good deeds.

So pick up the phone, call a friend or two in your area, and don't be scared to ask! People usually want to pass on the info about services, whether they were good or bad. Either way, it'll help save you a few more pennies!

Happy Saving!
- C

Work the System!

So I love love love Lush cosmetics. They make all natural, handmade soaps, bath treats, as well as skin and haircare products. But like all great things, they come at a cost. And it is sometimes tough to justify the price that comes with this specific brand's lovely goodies. This company is an international one, and I'd heard that you can order from "other countries". You know when you're on a website, you select which country you are from?! Well, all of their country's sites will ship internationally. So, abandoning the visits to their stores, I decided to order from one of the international sites and pay for the shipping. Why? Because even with the shipping and conversion to CAD $, it was cheaper!!! Even better, I had asked a few other friends who love the Lush just like me if they needed any of theirs favorites. So then we split the shipping three ways, making it even cheaper again :)

Now the one downfall here is that you obviously have to wait for your product to arrive, which when shipping internationally, takes a little longer. However, the closest store to me is over 2 hours away by car so I can't freely get it anyways! If you plan ahead and don't wait until you're completely out of a product, then you can save and still get the same great products!

Has anyone else found a cheaper solution to their faves by ordering internationally with another company?

Happy Saving!
- C

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Hello Netflix, Goodbye Cable...for now!

Well, we cut the cord! We cancelled our cable and re-signed up for Netflix. We decided we could sacrifice cable for a few months to put a little more cash back into our pockets. It turns out we'll be saving $100 a month by canceling it! And with our busy schedules, now we can devote more to being productive with our work and getting other more important things done, with each other and around the house. It seems like a big sacrifice, and it is, but for now, we would rather be putting money towards paying down the credit card and our other payments, as well as into savings, then be couch potatoes. So, we're going to try it out.

In other news, anyone have any Netflix Canada suggestions?! I'd really like to watch Modern Family, but it doesn't seem to be on here yet :(.

Happy Saving!
- C

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Price is As Marked!

So the hubby and I went out to find some decor for our house. We had a leftover gift card for Pier 1, as well as $40 for monthly house expenditures. Well we found an adorable tall vase and played around with it for about 15 minutes finding exactly what we wanted. We fell in love with the piece and headed to the register. The sale tag on the large vase (like 4' tall!) said $37.99. Yet, it rang through the till at $54.99, saying it was on sale from $70.00. We pointed out to them that the other vase the same as this was also marked at the $37.99. They said "well, it rings through at $54.99". I was ready to just say forget about it when my hubby said "well if that's what both tags say, then that's what we should pay for it". They said, "you're right, we'll over ride the system". Yippie!! So, I guess the moral of this escapade it to stand your ground. If the sticker isn't for something else, it's double tagged, or you just claim you got an un-tagged item under a sale sign, then they should honour it. At least question them, heck it save us almost $20! So I decided to share our gorgeous find below in the photo :)

Happy Saving!
- C

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

DIY Decor

In keeping with the savings plan, we hosted a New Year's Eve party last night, and stayed in to save a few bucks. We invited some great close friend, and everyone made a few food items. All in all it was a really great night!

I just wanted to show off my DIY Decor, in which I used a little leftover tissue paper with a little new stuff (dollar store), some purchased balloons (also from the dollar store, obviously!), and some items from around the house. A little inspiration and I came up with the items below :).

Hope 2013 brings everyone good health, happiness, and excellent savings!

Happy Saving!
- C