Take your summer holidays in September!

job-seekers-vacationEven though summer is coming to a close, it doesn’t mean that your vacation time has to. If you are not completely tied down to the school year schedule (really, what’s one week of school at the beginning?), making travel plans to tour in the early fall has a number of benefits. Read more…

Stay home! Make money!

Working-from-HomeAt the risk of sounding like an infomercial, there are a myriad of ways to generate an income from your own home.  Flexible scheduling, cost-savings for your commute, and the ability to have Casual Friday every day (I will not disclose the proportion of my work time actually spent in pajamas) are all reasons enough to consider work from home options. Whether you’re looking to earn a little extra cash, or make this your full-time gig, there are viable ways to generate income. Read more…

What lurks in your garage?

4645405438_b4abb2ca02_zOkay- show of hands. How many of you actually use your garage to park your car? Many folks use their garage as one big storage space/hoarding alley. However, if you deny yourself use of your garage, you’re effectively cutting down on the square footage of your home. Additionally, if you are ever planning on selling your home, having an organized usable space is a huge selling feature. Also- don’t forget the benefits of being organized in all areas of your life in as a means of seeking that elusive work-life balance. Read more…

Saving for school: Time to think about post-secondary education

RESPIf you are parents of a young child, take some advice from us (ahem) more experienced parents with older children. Time flies. Yes, it is a cliché — but in this case it is absolutely true. One minute they are boarding the school bus for the first time, the next they’re lining up for graduation.

If you’ve not started saving for your child’s post-secondary education, then there is no time like the present to get going! Read more…

Movin’ on up (and not into debt)

first-time home buyersIs there any more dreaded task than moving? And when you consider the costs that are associated with moving, it’s even more dreadful.

If you’re planning a move, here are some tips to simplify your life- and to leave some cash in your account for other things after you move. Read more…

Keeping your cool

air conditioning budgetWith the recent surge in temperatures, you may be finding that trying to keep cool is making you lose your cool- at least when it comes to your electricity bill.

Here are a few ideas on how to keep your energy costs down- especially when temperatures are extreme.  Read more…

Worried about paying for after-school sports?

youth-sportsHands down, one of the best parenting decisions I’ve ever made is to get my kids involved in organized sports. It’s not about grooming them for the NHL, Team Canada or university scholarships either (although that would be nice). It’s one of the best ways that I can think of to teach them several life lessons all at once: importance of physical fitness, fair play, hard work, commitment, respect, time management and responsibility- as well as the social part of giving and receiving support from teammates.  Read more…

Tips to Save Money Consignment Shopping

budget clothes shoppingWith back to school shopping for your kids in high gear, you are likely looking for ways to save a buck here and there. Beyond backpacks and books, one of the biggest cost centres you are going to be up against is back to school clothes.

Even if the thought of buying “used”clothing does not appeal to you, hear me out. The savings may be compelling enough reason to consider it. Like many things frugal though, successful consignment shopping does require a bit of strategy. Read more…

Back-to-school? Not yet. But soon!

Back to schoolAlthough summer has only just begun, back-to-school is not that far off. And there is no time like the present to get busy budgeting for all of those back-to-school expenses now- so that you can keep the plastic use to a minimum. Read more…

Cherry picking

CherriesAs you may already know, one great way to reduce your grocery bill is to take advantage of produce that it is in season- and right now it’s cherry season! Read more…

School’s out? Money lessons can still be learned

kid piggy bankAt the risk of stating the obvious, our basic job as parents is to provide our kids with the tools they’ll need to be happy, healthy, well-adjusted, successful grown-ups. While your definition of “successful” will vary, there is one tool that is invaluable- establishing a relationship with money. Kids have more time over the summer, so they might even be more open to your life lessons- ah the incredible power of boredom. Read more…

Are you part of the “HGTV Effect”?

renosAs the summer moves along, I find that my kids are watching more and more television. They usually love the outdoors, but the novelty of doing what you want, when you want, as only you can on summer vacation, is wearing a little thin.  Read more…

Remember September

Back to schoolYou’re a pro at back-to-school prep, right? You know just where to go to get the best deals, so that you can do more with less- staying right on budget.

Nothing can derail your careful budgetary planning like unexpected expenses though. Read more…

Interest rate shocker!

interest-rates-cutGenerally speaking, talk of interest rates is more snooze-inducing than warm milk and vacation slide shows, but last week, interest rates provided some drama.

As economic news goes, the Bank of Canada’s decision to lower interest rates again for the second time this year is a monster. Cue economic shockwaves.  Read more…

Coming to your bank account soon….

budgetWhat? Extra cash in the middle of the summer? Tell me more!

For those who are eligible, if you’ve not already, you should be getting a cash injection this week. On July 20, payments for the Enhanced Universal Child Care Benefit are being sent out. Read more…

When good people have bad credit

creditFact: good people often have bad credit. They are not mutually exclusive.

Maybe you didn’t fully understand some of the ramifications of some of your spending decisions. Maybe you’ve suffered through a bad relationship breakup, that has rendered unfortunately negative effects on your credit. Maybe you lost your job for a period of time, and wanted to pay your bills on time- but just couldn’t.

No judgement here. Read more…

Want fast cash?

Money-Bills-Roll-Cash-ElasticIt’s happened to all of us. Something out of the ordinary pops up- a concert, a mini-holiday or a need (well, really a want) to update your wardrobe.

If you’re on a budget, these kind of expenses are ones that are hard to justify. Still, splurging now and then, just for you would be nice- wouldn’t it? Read more…

The frugal outdoor cinema

outdoor movieOne of the greatest thrills of summertime is simply the experience of being outside. And when you can bring the things that you usually do indoors outside- bonus!

One inexpensive and supercool way to while away a summer evening is to set up an outdoor theatre in the backyard or neighbourhood park. Read more…

Budget BBQ

BBQOne of the greatest pleasures of summer (apart from the no snowsuits) is the ability to cook and eat outside.

Before you throw out your BBQ shingle and invite the whole neighbourhood over, realize that hosting a BBQ can be a costly endeavour.  Read more…

Should I consolidate?

04 - get out credit debtYou may have a budget that you stick to, as well as a decent income, yet you still find yourself stretched uncomfortably thin every month. You’d like to pay more towards reducing your debt load, but you find that you simply can’t.

Have you thought about debt consolidation? Read more…

I quit!

JobI’m lucky. I actually really love what I do. But for those that don’t, going to work can be a truly awful experience. Whether you’ve got an oppressive boss or a mind-numbing job, we’ve all had daydreams about marching into HR and handing in a resignation letter.  Read more…

Money tight? Change your budget

budgetAre your finances stretched too thinly month after month?  The problem may not be with your spending behaviour; it might be with how you’ve laid out your spending. Read more…

Team Canada

canada-day-flagEveryone loves a party- especially when the whole country is invited.

Canada Day means a whole lot of fun and festival-ing, much of which is free. The frugal party-goers favourite! Read more…

The pre-approval myth

Pre-ApprovedThere are few more pressing temptations to blow the budget other than when you’re shopping for a home.

You may feel pressure, emotionally (and from the market, depending on where you live) to pay any price to secure that home of your dreams. Read more…

It’s strawberry season!

strawberryOne of the best strategies to keep your grocery budget on track is to take advantage of produce that is in season. During the in-season, the produce is question is more plentiful and more locally available. This works out into savings for you- the consumer. Oh- and it is usually higher quality as well.  Read more…

Talk to your kids about money without whining or eyerolls

kid piggy bankI have the benefit of experience (ha) on my side when it comes to kids and certain stages of their lives. I say this only because my kids are nestled into tween/teendom (which comes with its own sets of challenges). I’ve already completed those early years when sleep (and sanity) are scarce. I’ve also had my chance to make my share of mistakes. Read more…

In marriage, money talks

couple money issuesAs any couple will tell you, the key to harmony is good, open communication (and a sense of humour). This holds particularly true when it comes to money management. Read more…

Teacher gifts: what they want and don’t want

teacher appleI have endless respect for those who dedicate their lives to the development of our children. Not a job for the faint of heart (nor for those short on patience- an automatic out for me), teachers play an integral role in the intellectual and emotional development of your child.

That said, as the school year winds down, it is time to celebrate your teacher.

This is one of those expenses that is often not accounted for. It’s one of those ones too that you could end up spending way too much on something either not wanted or unnecessary, because you didn’t plan ahead.

The thought does count

I count a number of teachers among my close circle of friends. I assure you, their career choice was not based on the end-of-the-year loot.

This is about recognizing the place that your child’s teacher had in their life this year- and is an official way to express your thanks.

Get personal

What does your teacher like to do? Do they have any hobbies? Don’t let your gift end up in the pile with the others, most likely to go home and collect dust over the summer.

Get your child to do a little detective work at school. Does Mrs. So-and-so carry a mug in the class (possible coffee drinker)? Where does she go at lunchtime (out for powerwalks with the librarian)? Does she have children (does she look for fun activities to do with them, much like you do)? Does she have fancy colourful nails (manicure)?

If you can come up with a gift idea that stays within the budget and is useful- well A+ for you.

The group

There is a mom in my son’s class that I adore. Yes, she’s smart and funny- but that’s not the real reason I like her (it is a bonus though). It’s that for the last several years she has taken it upon herself to organize a group gift for a gift certificate from a local restaurant that she knows the teacher likes. All I have to do is send her the cash. It’s perfect.

This ends up costing you much less money in the long run- and you know it is a gift that teacher will want and use. Take charge this year and organize a group gift.

 

Wedding invite? How not to blow the budget

wedding invitationWe are at the entry of the prime-time wedding season. While weddings can be a lot of fun (tell me what club has such a cross-section of demographics on the dance floor. Worth it for people watching alone) they can also be super expensive.

As the invites begin to arrive in your mailbox, think about your budget.  Here are a few things to consider before you RSVP: Read more…

Prom: the big spend

prom-dresses-for-bidNow, I’m dating myself, but my prom was all about being big. Big dresses and big hair were cool-as were some big expenses around that day.

Fast forward (ahem) a few years, and the clothing and hair are smaller and significantly more tasteful, but the expenses around prom have absolutely skyrocketed. This is partly because of inflation- but mostly because of expectations. Read more…

Change your credit-tude

Paying with Debit CardWhen you’re young, and you imagine your life as a “grown-up”, you probably think about things like raising a family, buying a house and going on awesome summer vacations.

Chances are though that in your mind’s eye, you’re not dreaming up ways to pay for these. It’s more about having, rather than focusing on the method of getting. And this makes sense. Finances are not usually the fodder for daydreams. Read more…

Looking for a car? Look around

carLooking for new wheels? There are few markets (or products) that offer more variable pricing. A word to the wise: before you even hit the lot at the dealership or do your online search, set your budget and outline your plan of attack. Read more…

Five ways to save for a down payment for a house

home ownershipIs home ownership a goal of yours? Beyond scouring home décor magazines and memorizing the MLS listings, there are certain, more pragmatic steps that you have to take to get there. You’ve probably thought about how you’re going to make mortgage payments, but have you planned out how to accumulate a down payment?

As of June 1 2015, high-ratio borrowers (i.e. borrowers who have less than 20 percent down) are subject to a 15 percent increase in CMHC premiums. While this may not seem like a big deal, amortize that over the life of your mortgage, with accruing interest. That can be big bucks.

Even more reason now to accumulate a sizeable down payment. So- get busy house hunters! Read more…

My kids are cute, but expensive!

kids-and-sportsAhh kids. Your darling devils angels.

When you set out down that parenthood path, your focus is on the immediate moment- as in, “how am I going to survive on no sleep?” (you will); “how will I know what to do?” (again, you will).

Fast forward a few years, you’ve moved past those initial questions and you’ve realized exactly how expensive it is to raise kids at the various stages of their lives. The direction expenses will change as they grow, but they remain. Here are some basic tips on how to save a little cash when paying for daily life around your bundles of joy. Read more…

Go nuts!

nutsAs we’ve discussed before, one way to really slash your grocery budget is to seek out alternatives to meat. As meat is likely the biggest cost centre in your grocery spending, it stands to reason that making even a small change can go a long way to stretching your grocery dollars.

The problem is, when you are cutting back on your meat consumption, what do you swap in that can provide some similar nutrition benefits for a lower price?

There are a bevy of options, but one budget and nutrition friendly tweak for your budget? Go nuts. Read more…

Reach that goal!

Reaching-goalsWhether you are training to run a race, trying to break a bad habit (like chewing your nails or smoking), or trying to get yourself out of debt, much of the same strategy can be employed.

Getting out of debt, like these other things, is a commitment to change, with short, medium and long term milestones.

Here is a one-size fits all approach to making that change. Read more…

How to make your house bigger without a hammer

SpringCleanDo you love your home, but wish it was bigger? Probably. But unless you are flush with cash, a real estate tycoon or otherwise independently wealthy, your budget, and the housing market is going to dictate your move up the property ladder.

While you bide your time in your small space, there are solutions to increase your sense of space. Read more…

How to Get Free Stuff

Liz Corry with product samples.Smart shoppers unite! Who says there it’s too good to be true? Who says there is no such thing as a free lunch (or dinner, or appetizer)? There is actual, honest-to-goodness free stuff to be had out there. Here’s how: Read more…

When saving money is a bad idea

groceryshoppingWhile we applaud your frugal efforts to save money by shaving down on expenses and by sticking to your budget, there are certain areas in which you shouldn’t necessarily go for the cheaper option.

There are cases where saving a little money in the short term could potentially cost you more (a lot more) in the long run, or even potentially compromise your health and safety. Read more…

Ground beef: new ideas

shep pieGround beef is frequently on sale, and is a great budget-friendly meat option. However, the thought of serving up another pot of chili or making hamburgers may be losing its lustre.

Here are some new takes on old dishes to use up that ground beef in your freezer flavourfully Read more…

Save money, but don’t be cheap

scroogeWe all want to save money, but none of us want to be seen as being cheap. The good news is being frugal and “money-aware” does not make you cheap. Just so you know the difference, here is some decidedly cheap behaviour: Read more…

Expecting a baby? Expect the expenses

expecting parentsAre you expecting? Congratulations!

While you are pouring over baby name books and picking out décor for the nursery, you may want to take a reflective moment. Your life is about to change in a profound way (a profoundly good way). Read more…

Should I borrow money to renovate?

House Made of ToolsI’ve talked before about good debt and bad debt. Typically, good debt is associated with some sort of security or asset (like a house) or is another kind of investment (education).

Usually, home renovations fall under the “good debt” category. You may be asking yourself though, is it really worth borrowing money to renovate? Read more…

Five ways to make quick cash

babysittingMaybe you have your eye on something shiny? Maybe you crave a mini-vacation, or a new piece of furniture?

Items like these fall squarely into the “want” category, and not the “need” category, and generally don’t make it on the list when you are sticking to a budget. It’d still be nice to treat yourself once in a while though, wouldn’t it? Read more…

It’s tax time!

tax1Ok procrastinators. The deadline to file your taxes is fast approaching. While this seems like a daunting and/or unfun task, you could be leaving money on the table if you don’t hop to it.

People squander the opportunity to take advantage of all of the credits available to them. Don’t be one of them! Visit Revenue Canada’s site to fully investigate what you’re eligible for. Read more…

Go green and get green!

earth-dayDon’t you love it when you stumble upon a win-win situation? This is precisely what happens when you take steps to be environmentally conscious.

Not only are you doing good works for Mother Earth, you are also helping that other kind of green (your dollars) go further. Win-win all around! Read more…

Chicken out!

chicken_parmChicken is such a versatile and cost-effective source of protein.  And it’s easy to cook.  Got a 9×13 pan? Got  30-60 minutes? Got some chicken pieces? You’ve got supper. Let’s go! Read more…

Running/walking: the frugal exercise

runningI started running years ago, partly because the challenge appealed to me, and partly because I became increasingly frustrated with spending loads of money on gym fees when my willpower schedule prevented me from going- which is especially true when you have a family. Read more…

Frugal ideas for rainy April days

rainy dayWith the rainy days of April upon us, you may want to prep yourself for some potentially long, indoor days.

To save yourself from going batty, be proactive when it is sunny and make plans for what you’ll do with the kids when it is raining. Read more…

Maple syrup time!

Maple-SyrupIf you haven’t already, it’s time to hit your local sugar bush for some outdoor fun- and to stock up on that maple syrup. Not only is it a fun day out for the fam, you can stock up on this sticky gold during its season (which makes it a little less expensive, usually).

Maple goodies go far beyond your pancake breakfasts.  Here are some maple-good ideas. Read more…

Spring cleaning on the cheap

SpringCleanFor those who embrace this turning of the calendar for more than just the balmy temperatures and the ability to open the window, this is prime-time cleaning season. Before you head out and stock up on expensive (and potentially harsh and fume-y) cleaners, consider some of these less expensive natural wonders. Read more…

Menu planning 101

beef dishYou know the linchpin of frugal success is planning, right? This is especially true when it comes to feeding your family.

One of the biggest (and most variable) cost centres, grocery shopping is an area where a little planning can go a long way to stretch your dollars. The fine art of menu planning can not only help you balance your budget, it can keep mealtime interesting. Read more…

The Easter Bunny has a budget too!

easter_baskets_holiday_esl_students1If you are a celebrator of Easter, you are aware that this is one of those holidays that has a price tag attached.

While it is fun to see Easter baskets flowing with overabundance, it is probably best to show a little restraint (both for sugar high and budgetary considerations). Read more…

Brown bag makeovers

lunch-boxTrying to save money by brown bagging it at work? Getting to your breaking point where you don’t think you can look another sandwich in the face?

Don’t run to the food court in desperation! You’ve just got to re-tool the contents of your lunchbox. Read more…

Deal or no Deal?

groceryShopping can be a very euphoric experience, especially when you score a brag-worthy deal.  Not all “deals” are deals though. Smart shoppers take a step back and determine the deal-ness of a purchase. Read more…

Painting Problems

Woman using paint roller.If you’re not afraid of a little elbow grease, you can seriously save yourself some money by DIY. This holds particularly true when it comes to home improvements, like painting. Materials are pricey, but the real costs are in the labour. Read more…

Good Coupon Habits

CouponForming good habits leads to good results- and this is particularly true when it comes to successful money management.

Couponing is a great money-saving tool, but it is not one to be taken on by the faint of heart or the time pressed. Read more…

Should I get my Teen a credit card?

credit-cards5We’ve made some inroads in my house recently. With her first part-time job under her belt, my daughter has really nailed down (like fully embraced) the whole concept of earning her own money to buy her own things. Read more…

Tips for single parenting and money management

baby-surpriseParenting is hard, unpaid (although enormously rewarding) work. It’s hard enough when you have a partner- so hats off to those who hold down the parenting fort on their own.

In addition to the physical and emotional challenges of single parenting,there are financial challenges. Here are a few tips to help you best manage your money and keep your debts under control with one income. Read more…

Spring cleaning to make money

SpringCleanIt’s almost here! The snow is melting (a little) and the thermometer is creeping up (a little). I’m tempted (more than a little) to throw open the windows and let the breeze flow through.

Which makes me think about shaking out the winter dust…literally. Read more…

One-pot saviour

one pot mealIt is nothing short of domestic euphoria when you can you can kill multiple birds with a proverbial stone. When you translate this into saving money and time in the kitchen at the same time- jackpot!

Enter the one-pot dish. Efficient, quick- and also budget friendly (think less waste). Read more…

Spring Break Staycation!

staycationYou always know your level of winter cabin fever by this time of the winter. Mine has reached “packed suitcase by the door, just in case”(As in just in case the chance to head south appears).

Alas, freezing temps aside, for many, Spring Break is a stay-at-home holiday- either because of budget or inability to get the time off, or both. Not to worry- good times are still to be had!

It’s all about attitude, creativity and planning. Read more…

RRSP reminder!

rrspAs the end of RRSP season rapidly approaches (for the 2014 tax year, the deadline is March 2, 2015), you may feel like you’ve missed the boat.

But- you still have time, and you should really jump in feet first to your retirement savings if you haven’t yet. Like today. Right now. Read more…

Rent vs. Buy

buying a homeThere is a long-standing debate whether you are better off to buy a home or to rent.

Truthfully, there are pros and cons to both sides of this equation, and it comes down to asking yourself a few hard questions. Read more…

Eat healthy for less!

expensive-healthy-eating-400x400We all want to eat better. But do you feel like your healthy choices are sometimes at odds with your budget?

It doesn’t have to be one or the other! Read more…

The birthday party conundrum

birthday-party-manners-600Winter presents a set of challenges in many departments. Extra clothing. Extra time to get from point A to point B. Oh- and extra creativity when it comes to things like planning your child’s birthday party. Read more…

RRSP deadline is approaching!

rrspWhile you’ve not yet been deluged with commercials reminding you that the deadline for your 2014 RRSP contribution is near, in the interest of good financial planning, let’s not wait ‘til the absolute last minute. Read more…

Embrace your space

Woman using paint roller.I have two major daydreaming pastimes when the outdoor temps are so frigid: scouring the internet for lovely beach photos and locales and changing my house.  “Changing my house” can encompass a number of different possibilities- from looking for a new one to re-imagining the space that I do have. Read more…

Chilly Day Chili!

chili-recipesMmmm. Chili. The mother of all comfort foods. This one pot dish serves it all: convenience, flavour, nutrition- and is budget-friendly as well. Not to mention, you can let it simmer all day long, upping the delicious factor and filling your home with amazing aromas. This is a frugal super-food!

Like all of those fave dishes though, your family may be looking for something a little different. Here are some variations and new ideas on an old classic. Read more…

Family tax credits: What you need to know

childcareTaxes are, well, boring.

However, when you look at the tax credit part of the equation, they become a little more interesting.

Did you know that there were some changes made to available family tax credits in 2014, most of which will take effect in 2015? Make sure you are maximizing what is available to you. Read more…

The cost of the commute

traffic jamFor many of us, owning a car (or two) is considered a necessity (remind me to tell you the story of when my husband and I had to share a car for a week. The horror!). Read more…

Why you should pay attention to the headlines

InterestRates_640x360Every few months or so, there are a rash of headlines about rising interest rates. After a while, a little bit of the “boy that cried wolf” effect comes in to play. However, this time around, you should really pay attention.

Admittedly, interest rates are not the most interesting of subjects. But what should be of interest to you is the significant impact that a rise in interest rates could have on your life, and why it behooves you to plan ahead for such an event. Read more…

Money life lessons

kids-and-sportsParenting is not easy- that is not in dispute. But keeping in mind the fact that as parents, it’s our main job to set our children up to be successful adults one day, these are crucial lessons to teach. Read more…

Wedding bells ringing?

newly_wed_b_and_g_porcelainWere you asked any interesting questions over the holidays? Specifically, did you receive and accept a marriage proposal?

That engagement glow can quick fade to pale once you enter the planning stages of your wedding, and begin to consider the (gulp) costs. Read more…

Cheap(er) Convenience

chickenWe’re all guilty of it. In the mad dash to get supper ready- between hockey practices, late meetings and music lessons, eating is strictly a utilitarian task.

More often than not, we hit the drive thru or dial the phone in a last-ditch effort to feed ourselves, spending way more money than we should. Read more…

Holiday bill hangover?

New-years-eve-lake-garda-1We’ve all been there. Like any really, really good party, a key ingredient is that “it seemed like a good idea at the time.”

And as we all know, there is a price to pay the next day. Read more…

Skip meat, save money!

VEGGIESOne sure-fire way to shave money off your grocery bill is to adopt one meatless meal a week, if you are not already.

Don’t worry steak lovers. I’m not suggesting full-blown vegetarian lifestyle here- just a tweak that translates into bucks in your bank. Read more…

How to make a change stick

2011-year-resolution-400x400How’s it going so far with your New Year’s Resolutions? Have you fallen hard off the wagon of virtue (which can describe any habit at all that you are trying to break or bend)? I usually start the year running hastily in the direction of my desired change, and then about a week or two in, my enthusiasm wanes.

And I don’t think that I’m alone. Read more…

Frugality is fun!

getting-out-of-debtWhile frugality has a bit of an un-fun reputation (like the shopping spree’s boring cousin), frugality is fun. Reason being, is that living a frugal life will deliver you more directly towards your financial goals (be they a sweet new pair of shoes or a down payment for a house) and how fun is that! Read more…

New Year’s Resolutions: Moneywise!

saveThe New Year is upon us! It’s time to get down and dirty to formulate some money management resolutions for 2015! Is 2015 going to be the year in which you get financially fit? Read more…

How to stick to your shopping list

200559715-002Ok internet friends, I’d like some praise and acclaim for the shopping heroics I just accomplished.

My husband requested for his birthday dinner a specific cheesecake from a specific price club store (which I also refer to as the vacuum at the other end of my wallet). Read more…

Frugal Flying

Warm destinationI really have to stop with my daydreaming obsession about warm and sunny climates during the winter season.

I guess everyone has a guilty pleasure, and mine- most admittedly is to cruise travel sites looking for dreams, inspiration- and occasionally a deal. Read more…

What do I wear on New Year’s Eve?

New-years-eve-lake-garda-1The good news is that you’ve found a rockin’ party to attend and that you’ve booked a sitter. The bad news is that you’ve got nothing to wear and you’ve spent all you’ve got (and then some) on holiday shopping.

What’s a girl to do? Read more…

Five things to do Post-Holiday

christmas-aftermath-2008The holiday season is intense-both from a work intensive and budgetary point of view.

So, you’ve worked so hard- and now it is over. What to do? Dig yourself out from under that mound of shredded wrapping paper and dirty dishes and treat yourself for all that hard work- without spending money that you most likely don’t have. Read more…

Get on top of holiday debt. Today!

brokeSantaAlthough the tree still stands, and weary memories of Christmas morning are still very fresh in your mind, there is no time like the present to start making amends coming up with a plan to tackle any debt you may have taken on during holiday shopping. Read more…

Turkey dinner leftovers made over

leftoversTurkey dinners are a lot of work, right?

But many believe that the real magic of the turkey is the huge mileage you can get out of one bird (and their accompanying sides) to extend its dollar value- as well as reduce your time in the kitchen.

If the thought of having another turkey sandwich doesn’t appeal to your inner gourmand, here are some new twists on old leftover favourites. Read more…

Pull in that debt load!

Pay-Off-DebtI was reading the paper this morning and saw a rather concerning title: Canadian household debt  burden rises to record level.

What this story talks about are recent stats released by Stats Can that show a wide (very wide) gap between debt load (which in this case includes mortgages, consumer credit and non-mortgage loans) and disposable income. Currently, Canadians hold a 162.6 percent debt load against their disposable income.

What??? Read more…

What are you doing on New Year’s Eve?

NYEThe real problem with New Year’s Eve (no, not what to wear) is that it is right after Christmas. Chances are you are financially (not to mention socially) tapped out by the time the big night rolls around.

There is no reason not to celebrate though. Here are some low-effort, low-cost ideas to help you ring in the New Year. Read more…

Tick tock: Have you started saving for your child’s education?

RESPEvery parent has heard the same words when they welcome their tiny bundles of joy into their lives. It goes by fast.

Of all the parenting advice I have ever received, this by far is the most relevant and the most accurate. There are days early on, when you are sleep deprived and you feel like the clock is going backwards. But once you (they) reach a certain level of independence, it is like you blink your eyes and zoom- you’ve moved from toddler to teen in what feels like an instant.

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Yes it is cold. Go outside anyways

Whsnow heartsen the temperatures dip, you may feel like the walls close in around you and your beloved family a little bit.

Resist the urge to jump in the car and hit the mall just for something to do. Boredom is a sneaky catalyst towards impulse spending.

Read more…

Protect yourself from identity theft

 

I haidentity theftve really embraced the convenience of online shopping this season. I’ve found that many of the items that I’m after are cheaper online (amazon.ca has knocked everyone else out of the park this year for me). All this activity underscores an important point though. There is far more to smart shopping than finding a good deal.

Read more…

Pay it forward

gratitudeThis time of year is decidedly busy, with all the holiday preparations, shopping and social engagements.

In the midst of your full calendar though, there exists a rare, once-a-year, seasonal opportunity to teach your children about the value of money and material possessions. 

Read more…

You do have time for breakfast!

Ok moms. We are aBreakfastll crazy busy in the mornings, flying around getting kids out the door to school and daycare, while trying to organize ourselves for the workday ahead (side note: I always thought a soundtrack against morning chaos would bring some levity to the situation).

What happens often, even though you make sure that your kids are well-fed before they start their day, is that you fail to feed yourself properly. And you either end up completely starving by mid-morning, or else you pick up something on the way, which leads to extra, unnecessary spending.

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Holiday Party Planning

xmaspartyDo you dream of hosting a festive holiday party, replete with a stunning Christmas tree, adorned with shining lights and canapés and drinks straight from the Food Network?

This is great- but only if you have the budget to match.  You can still throw a suave fete, look like Martha Stewart, but keep your budget intact.

Read more…

Overindulged on Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

200559715-002Did you indulge in a little more spending than you should of on Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Don’t worry- there is still enough time to right those budgetary wrongs before the end of the holiday season.

It’s a little like trying to get your body back on track after an all-you-can eat buffet weekend. Especially if you’ve got the office Christmas party coming up, along with your glam little black dress.

Read more…

Holiday budget tight? How to explain this to your kids

giftsandkidsThe holiday season is fun and frenetic, as we engage in old traditions, lots of social engagements and general merriment.

Of course, with all this activity, comes more spending- and then there is the extra financial strain of buying gifts. What if the last year has been a challenge? Maybe you’ve experienced a job loss, separation or other change that may have caused your finances to get stretched.

Read more…

Thought about retirement?

retirementnextexitCongratulations on your laser-beam focus on whittling down your debt.  But have you considered saving for your retirement simultaneously?

Retirement? I’m too young!

While undoubtedly that is true, saving for your retirement is a long-term proposition. With the likelihood of government support scaling back over the years to come (especially for my Gen-X comrades on the heels of the Baby Boomers) the truth is retirement savings are going to be a need, as opposed to a want.

Read more…

Frugal food-i-tude

groceryshoppingIt’s always a challenge to save money at the grocery store.  Saving money on your family’s food needs has as much about your attitude as it does about getting lower prices through coupons and sales.

Food is fuel

A self-professed foodie, I get caught in this trap routinely. While taste is an important component of your eating, it is not the only one. Nutrition is well.

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Trying to find a gift for a teen or tween?

giftsgaloreFor all of you parents of teenagers and tweens, I am about to provide you with valuable information. It’s a public service, really.

As if you weren’t lame enough already, we are heading into holiday shopping season—and what in the world are you supposed to get your teenager/tween that won’t enhance your lame-ness? Add to that the confines of a budget- and well- it is a challenge.

Read more…

Got beef?

beef dishYou’re a conscientious shopper. You pay attention to sales- and stock up (while stocking your freezer). This is especially true with that versatile staple, ground beef.

However, do you find that you end up with loads in the freezer? And the only thing you can think of doing with it is the same old (loved, but worn) spaghetti sauces or chilis?

Read more…

Is your home ready for Winter?

winter sweaterWith the chilly temps settling in, you may be noticing your energy bills beginning to creep up. Here are a few tips to help you get your home ready for winter- with an eye towards energy savings.

Get out your favourite sweater

Turning that thermostat down even a few degrees can mean big savings in terms of your energy bill. As the snow flies, snuggle in with your favourite sweater and blankie.

Infinitely more cozy than a huge energy bill.

Read more…

Budget-friendly Holiday Tips

budgetgiftIt’s the thought that counts, right? This old adage is especially true if the thoughts surrounding your holiday gift shopping list are full of angst about the money that you’ll likely spend.

Truthfully, you don’t necessarily have to visit your mall and shell out big bucks to get giftie goodies for your friends and family. Here are some cool gift ideas that are budget-friendly and cool/useful (or both).

Read more…

Are you Cyber-Mondaying?

online shoppingAs though the freezing temps weren’t enough, the thought of battling crowds for Black Friday deals may be enough to make you want to park it inside in your winter woollies.

Ah- but then there is the lure of the deal.

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Dreaming of warmer destinations?

Warm destinationNot to keep harping on the weather, but I’ve always had a longstanding disagreement with dark, dreary November (as I imagine everyone else does too).

Literally the minute I have to get snow boots out (I’m a flip flop girl until the frost comes- and I resent having to put them away), I start spending a possibly inappropriate amount of time dreaming of being somewhere warm- and planning our next vacation.

Read more…

Need quick cash for the holidays?

cash holidaysThe calendar is slowly meandering its way towards Christmas, but it is a well-known fact that the closer it gets to the holiday, the more quickly the time evaporates.

You may have made your shopping list- but have you fully decided how you are going to pay for all these shiny new things? While your intentions may be great, your funding may be a little short.

Read more…

Savvy about your Mortgage?

Novembmortgageer is Financial Literacy month, which means that there is no time like the present to brush up on your financial terms.

It may not always make for the most interesting reading, but when it comes to staying on top of your finances, knowledge is directly linked control (which is also linked to success). Last week we explored some basics around RRSPs. This time we’ll check out the other side of the balance sheet with mortgages.

Read more…

Money and marriage

marriageMost of the arguments in my home centre around the remote control, and whether or not I can stand yet another episode of Storage Wars. But, sadly, there are many a household that are plagued with stress and conflict in the marriage with money (and money mismanagement) at the source of the trouble.

Read more…

Money games: Play and learn with your kids

monopolyIsn’t cool when you can spend time with your kids and teach them valuable insights at the same time? Even better when they aren’t aware that you are filling their little minds with information because they think they are simply playing.

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Shop smart on Black Friday

Black FridayWhile Black Friday has traditionally been a U.S. event, Canadian retailers have been trying to jump in on the action to keep Canadian shoppers (and their retail dollars) at home.

You don’t have to cross the border to score some sweet deals, but be aware: Black Friday can mean super deals, but could also spell disaster for your budget if you don’t plan ahead. Can you say impulse shopping?

Read more…

What do you know about RRSPs?

RRSP EggHow much do you know about your finances? Looking at the savings side of your balance sheet, do you know what an RRSP is and its many uses for your current and future financial picture?

Read more…

Get Saucy

soup2We’ve all been there. It’s dinner time. You’ve just cruised in the door from a day of back-to-back meetings and you are exhausted. The kids are either fighting with each other or with you instead of doing their homework.

Read more…

Can’t afford a new outfit? Accessorize!

accessorizeLonging for a new outfit but can’t justify the extra spending? Get creative with accessories and re-invent what you already have.

It’s all about shifting the focal point in an outfit to make it seem different, and that is what well-placed accessories can accomplish

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Make your small space bigger

There comes a time where yhomeou might feel that your home is too small, but moving somewhere larger is not in the budget. Or perhaps you’ve just moved into your own (small) apartment or condo.

Read more…

Pay your mortgage faster!

mortgageIn generations past, there seemed to be more of a focus on paying down your mortgage as quickly as possible. In my generation, between the cost of real estate (which has absolutely ballooned in some centres, like Vancouver and Toronto) and super-low interest rates, being mortgage free is a lofty idea that resides in the distant future.

Read more…

Can you afford a car?

carI often say that I couldn’t live without my car (really, without two cars in this family. I don’t share well). What I really mean is, I couldn’t live without the convenience that having a car provides me.

But, when you really do the math, owning a car is a huge cost centre. Is it one that you could do without?

Read more…

Teaching Teens about money

My daughter was packing teenandmoneyher laptop for school the other day in her bag alongside a rather leaky water bottle.

When I pointed this out, and the potential damage to her computer, she seemed to think that if her current system was damaged, we’d just get her another one (partly because it is a must-have for her courses, but still). When I set her straight on that tidbit, it made me think. She’s certainly not alone. In fact, that is a common point of view in her age group. Read more…

Three tips to save on groceries without coupons

Whilegrocery undeniably useful, coupons are not always the best available tool to save money. The reason for this lies partly at the feet of the shopper themselves (it takes an extra level of planning and commitment which is not always feasible). You are also dependant on the availability of coupons for certain products-which is a variable to introduce into your shopping.

Not to worry- and you can cast that frugal guilt aside. There are numerous ways to still shop smart and leave the coupons at home. Read more…

No such thing as a free lunch? Think again!

If you are a savvy consumFree Stuffzer, there are loads of freebies to be had out there. You just have to know where to look.

Try before you buy

Companies are more than willing to share free samples to convince you to buy. It can be a good way to amass things like household items, cosmetics and toiletries, but is also a good move as a consumer. It gives you a chance to investigate your purchases and the quality of product without money leaving your wallet. Read more…

Crock Pot Rescue

Slow CookerThe lack of whitespace on my calendar from dawn to dusk this week has been downright scary. Add to that the sheer volume of activity over supper hour (in opposite ends of town, with both children at the same time) the thought of preparing supper is a daunting task, to say the least. Read more…

Save money on Halloween costumes!

making-halloween-costumeRemember when Halloween meant going through your dress-up box, or throwing a sheet over your head and yelling “Boo” at your neighbours made you the scariest thing this side of Elm St?(Ok, maybe that was just eight-year-old me). Read more…

Frugally Fit: You don’t need the gym

runningYou already know the facts. Exercise is a necessary part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Problem is that exercising can be costly- especially if you associate exercise with expensive gym memberships or equipment. Read more…

The dish on daily deals

mom_shopTrue confession time. I am completely hooked on the adrenaline of scoring a good deal- which is why I subscribe to numerous daily deal sites and offers (second only to my real guilty pleasure-silent auctions, but that is another story).

Truthfully though, those daily deals are more often temptation than cost-saving, with big savings (but more spending) delivered into your inbox  daily. Read more…

You are what you eat: financially and otherwise

Grocery cartHow many times have you left the grocery store with a small number of bags, but a big dent in your wallet?

No doubt that most of your monthly spending is directed towards feeding your family and probably represents your biggest challenge in terms of trying to get more mileage out of the dollars that you do have. Read more…

Need Extra Cash?

308223-001Despite your best efforts to cut your spending, do you find that your dollars just don’t stretch far enough to cover your expenses every month?

Maybe the answer to balancing your budget is not in the cost-cutting. Maybe you need to boost the income side of things. Read more…

Coming up on Maternity Leave/Paternity Leave?

Maternity leaveIf so, you might as well know that  like with all things parenting, there is sacrifice involved. Unless you are fortunate enough to work for a company that tops up your income while you are off, you can expect to have to do more with less, while your income is temporarily scaled back. Read more…

BFFs- Your Secret Budget Tool

friends-fingersI’m so guilty of this, as I think many of us are. With the few hours we have in a day to march through work, errands and family obligations, we tend to neglect our friendships. Read more…

Got Turkey Leftovers?

leftoversAs you slide into your well-deserved post-Turkey dinner sleepy state, earned by a combination of hard work, gravy, and wine, you may find yourself jolted awake by the rather daunting prospect of what to do with those turkey leftovers, again. Read more…

How to Squash your Debt

getting-out-of-debtDo you feel like you are spinning your debt wheels? Despite your best efforts, you just can’t make a dent in that debt?

Barring getting a higher-paying job, here are some ideas on how to eliminate that debt more effectively. Read more…

Don’t be a brown bag martyr

brown bagYou’re so virtuous, brown bagging it every day to work to save money- even though the aromas emanating from the jazzy bistro in your office tower/strip mall etc. are incredibly alluring (and will-power testing). Read more…

Maxed out!

maxingoutcc-featuredAwesome! The bank has approved you for a credit card beyond the limit you needed, so it’s shopping time, right? Not so fast. Maxing out those cards is not a good idea- and here is why. Read more…

My budget is beautiful!

skincare-beauty-1050x700Fortunately for me, my pre-teen daughter has yet to discover makeup and beauty products. I say fortunately in part because of the implementation of a new battle ground (you can’t go out like that!) that comes with new stages of parenting- but also because of the budgetary battles that could ensue. Read more…

Got Apples? Four Delicious Dishes

apple crispBeen apple picking lately? Maybe you were lured in by the displays at your grocery store, with stacks of shiny apples. Regardless, these plump, juicy babies are in season- which means they are most plentiful, cheap and tasty right now.

If you find yourself with a surplus, or if you are just trying to decide what to do with the seasonal gems, here are some ideas. Read more…

Before your Balance your Chequebook, Balance your Life

PoiseYou focus a lot of your energy on balancing your chequebook. You should also devote some time to trying to achieve work/life balance.

Although work/life balance is a “nice idea” at times- it is attainable. And you’d be surprised at what other kinds of harmony (financial and otherwise) you can get closer to, by paying attention to this primary (and important goal) Read more…

How to Power-Save

bankThere is a tendency to ignore the asset side of your budget balance sheet, especially if the short term focus is paying down debt.

You want to build up some savings for the long term- or for an emergency fund- but what if something arises that you’d love to do, don’t have the cash on hand for- and can’t justify in good conscience whip out the plastic to fund? Read more…

Good Debt vs Bad Debt

good-debt-bad-debtBorrowing is bad, right? As a rule of thumb, one should always try to pay cash when you can.

However, there are instances (sometime with major purchases) you may not have that kind of cash on hand.  There is such a thing as good debt and bad debt- and it would behoove all budget-friendly types to know the difference. Read more…

Game On!

kids-and-sportsI shudder to think (and that’s not just from the cold in the rink) what I have actually spent over the years to fund my children’s illustrious hockey careers (notice the tongue firmly in cheek). Between equipment, ice time and tourneys, participating in such a sport is admittedly out of reach for many people. Read more…

Birthday Party Invitation in the Backpack?

birthday-party-manners-600September is a great but expensive month. There’s the recovery from the back-to-school shopping. Then there’s the flurry of cheques you write in the first weeks for school activity fees, milk programs, extracurricular activities and the like.

There are other slightly more sneaky expenses that start sliding in- like children’s birthday parties- to which invitations multiply quickly once school is back in session. Read more…

Frugal Fall Fun

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image16722753I wish I had more trees around my home. Not just because of the aesthetics or practical reasons (noise reduction and cleaner air) but because when fall rolls around, there is little that is more fun (or more free) than raking leaves only to have the kids (ok, and their parents too) jump in them. Read more…

How not to Waste Food

cleanplateThere are few things in this world that really, really get under my skin- but one of them undeniably is wasting food. Read more…

Budget Not Working?

budgetDo you find that sticking to your budget has fallen into the category of “lofty goal” (alongside learning Karate or driving a stick shift) rather than a matter of daily habit?

Here are some tried and true ways to turn your budget from theory to practice. Read more…

Rethink Your Pasta Plate!

woman-cooking-pastaPasta is a staple in my house (as I am sure it is in yours). However, numerous plates of spaghetti topped with your freezer-stocked spaghetti sauce can get a little tedious- to say the least. Read more…

Do you have a Rainy Day Fund?

rainydayfundDo you have money socked away in case of emergencies? Too often, when we are battling debt, we tend to focus on the debt side of our asset sheet almost blindly. Read more…

Get Crackin’

Optimized-cracked_eggDollar for dollar, there are few foods that pack a bigger nutritional punch than the good, old-fashioned egg. Read more…

Are you Credit Savvy?

credit-cards5Your relationship with credit may be transactional- as in your passage towards buy-now, pay later. But how much do you really know about how it works? Read more…

Double-Duty Cleaners

Optimized-NaturalCleaningProducts_1There’s no need to stock up at the store on expensive cleaners. You may very well have what you need in your cupboards already- although you may have stocked them for food rather than cleaning purposes! Read more…

Stop Wasting Money!

Optimized-o-CANADA-MONEY-facebook (1)Ripping money up and throwing it away would be silly, right? You may be engaging in habits and practices that are tantamount to the same thing though. Here are a few points: Read more…

Stock your Freezer!

freezerWhen I open my freezer on a hectic night, I actually smile- and silently congratulate myself on the moment of foresight I engaged in to stock it up with yummy, reheatable meals. Read more…

Money Keeping you up at Night?

sleep-make-me-happy-3We’ve all been there- tossing and turning through sleepless nights. No doubt there is any number of things that could be keeping us awake. But what happens when it is financial stress that is keeping you up?

If you are reading this at 3am, scroll down and then go back to bed. Tomorrow is going to be different because you have a plan. Read more…

Budget Tight? You Can Still Redecorate

Redecorating-Your-HomeAre you fed up with your kitchen/bedroom/basement (fill in room here) and would love to gut the space top to bottom, with a complete do-over?

Is your budget at odds with your décor dreams? Read more…

Indulge Yourself. You Deserve it!

a bathC’mon parents. You know the bliss you feel when that school bus rounds the corner for the first time after a joyful, memory filled long summer with the kids at home.

If you listen closely, you can hear the collective cheer echoing through communities everywhere. Given the celebratory sense of the occasion, you may feel like giving yourself a treat- but what if it’s not in the budget? Read more…

Moving Out? Set up Your First Apartment on the Cheap

furniture-old-buy-sell-used-49342There is something uniquely thrilling (and terrifying) about moving out into your own apartment. Finally, after years of sharing and compromising, you have your very own space (hooray!) but you also have the responsibilities, financial and otherwise that come with the territory. Read more…

Happy Birthday to Me!

happy-birthday-letter-15Isn’t it time to give yourself a present for your birthday?

With a little research and foresight, you can really leverage the anniversary of your birthday to score some sweet free stuff! Read more…

Student Life: Full on Fun, Slim on Budget

all-nighter-main_fullThere is no cheerier time in my mind’s eye than those compact years I spent attending university. Between residence living, football games, goofy themed parties, collective all-nighters writing term papers, and general congeniality that comes with the age and stage of life- they were good times. Read more…

Read Your Receipt!

ReceiptsI’m very guilty of this. After making a purchase, I rarely look at the receipt, unless I am returning something.

That said, there are a few good reasons why you should make it a frugal practice to regularly scan your receipt. Read more…

Re-think the Lunchbox

lunch-boxTo me, one of the greatest stressors of the back-to-school season, is not the flurry of preparation and the change in routine- but the rather daunting organizational challenge of packing lunches for the kids every day. Read more…

Teach Value through Volunteerism

volunteer2One of the greatest life lessons to give your child is to teach them their place in the world. A geographic sense of their global spot can be accomplished through travel.

A more significant and less literal lesson- to really understand the value of what they have in relation to others is to embrace the value of volunteerism as a family. Read more…

Save Money on School Supplies

kids-back-to-school-is-coolAugust is one of those bittersweet months. The summer is fast flying by- and the onset of cooler temperatures and the long winter is approaching more quickly.

But with the end of August comes back-to-school (cue celebratory music)!

There is a great deal of shopping to be done pre-September, but let’s look specifically today at school supplies, and how to keep those kinds of costs in check. Read more…

Frugality is About Attitude

frugal-living-how-to-live-frugally-1She’s been gone for many, many years, but I’ve recently been thinking about how my maternal grandmother was awesome. Not just because she was hilarious and cool (and she thought I could do no wrong as a child ever- which is a tremendously powerful ally to have as a kid) but because she had this great attitude towards household and spending, as many who weathered  World Wars and the Great Depression  did. Read more…

How to Haggle

haggleI love the thrill of getting a bargain (and then sharing tales of my spoils with my friends).

I have also learned along the way, that simply because a price tag is attached to an item does not mean that it is set in stone. Read more…

Money Talks: How to Talk to Each other About Money

newly_wed_b_and_g_porcelainWhile it has been a good decade since my husband and I walked down the aisle, I still remember the early days quite clearly. The excitement of getting married, and the prospects of what lay ahead- which were both simultaneously thrilling and terrifying. Read more…

Pay off Your Credit Cards Faster

Notices_when_paying_Vietnam_visa_approval_fee_by_credit_cardDo your financial goals include crushing your credit card debt as quickly as possible?

Credit Card debt can be tricky, and very high in interest (department store cards are usually the biggest culprit)- which can completely derail even the best planned budget.  Here are some hints to help you expedite the process, and to take steps towards eliminating it altogether. Read more…

Five Must-Haves for Your Food Pantry

Residential-pantryAs I fly from work meeting to activity to other obligation, it’s all I can do to avoid turning into the drive-thru, simply for the sake of time.

I have found though, that if I can think ahead, and make sure that my cupboards are strategically stocked with a little proactive shopping, I whip something up at home in no time. This saves money and is way (like way more) more nutritious. Read more…

How to Save Money on Flights

18482Planning on winging your way this summer, or perhaps in the fall when temperatures turn? Take heed, flights are a major centre of your vacation costs. That said, with a little research, flexibility and foresight, you can shave a major amount off of your air fare. Read more…

Go-To Healthy Snacks

DSCF5029Snack time in my house looks a lot like a stampede of two, racing down to the kitchen, throwing open the cupboard and saying “There’s nothing to eat!!!” (when in fact, there most certainly is). Read more…

Wise Warehouse Shopping

0719-costco_full_600I’m guilty of it, and I know you are too.

You’re going shopping at your local warehouse club and plan your shopping list to the minute detail. Read more…

Road Trip Sanity Survival

roadtrip“Are we there yet?” are some of the most dreaded words in the parent, child relationship. It often seems that these words are uttered before you’ve even left the driveway (although the same dynamic could apply to air or train travel as well). Read more…

Get a Job!

JobSearchNewspaperWhile school may be out, the learning continues, especially when it comes to family finances. The summer presents a unique opportunity to teach your kids about the value of money- by letting them earn some of their own through summer jobs. Read more…

Save on Gas!

gasIf you own a car, a large portion of your income likely goes towards gas. With gas prices high- and climbing even higher, the amount you need to shell out to get from point A to point B can punch a serious hole into your budget.

There are ways to shave down on that gas budget though- to keep both your wallet and your tank full. Read more…

Get the Points?

keep-calm-and-earn-pointsIn need of a gift? Thinking of a family outing to a nearby theme park, but find the prices prohibitive? Contemplating a weekend getaway, but can’t afford costly hotels or rental cars?

You need look no further than to the plastic in your wallet. Not the credit card kind- or even the debit card. No, your passage to merchandise, services and travel lays in your rewards cards. Read more…

Staycation: Have Fun, Relax and Save Money

staycation1Vacation plans this summer? Perhaps you are planning on hitting the open road with the family? Or maybe travelling for your vacation this year is not in the budget (and with the cost of gas these days, more and more people are opting to stay put). Read more…

Create your Own Outdoor Cinema

MillerOutdoorTheatreRemember the old days, when drive-in movie theatres populated many highways and an evening out with the family was a major event, complete with snacks, your favourite movies and fresh summer breeze all around you? They still exist, but are harder to track down. Read more…

What are you doing on Canada Day?

canada-day-flagCanada’s birthday is just around the corner. How do you plan to celebrate? For the frugal reveller, Canada Day means free (or nearly free) celebrations from dawn to dusk. Read more…

You vs. Debt: How to Win the Battle

76.81231ef05305be579d55a28905666933You’ve been trying your level best, but just can’t seem to stay ahead of your debt.  You’re meeting your debt obligations, but barely, and you feel like every financial move you make is not taking you in the direction that you’d like.

Don’t lose heart. There is always hope, and there is always help. Read more…

The Frugal Diner

dining-out-frugallyAre you a foodie who relishes the experience of eating out and trying new things? Do you frequently meet with friends and co-workers in restaurants? Read more…

Five Reasons to Tweak Your Budget

euros_growthOne of the staples of a good budget is to commit to revisiting it on a regular basis (quarterly is generally a good interval).

Reason being, is that while you are working on the business of paying down your debt and/or bulking up your savings,  you are carrying on the business of living your life. Your budget may or may not be working well, according to what is going on around you. Read more…

Camping

Budget-Camping-11Depending on the age and stage of your child, with the summer months approaching, you may be facing a bit of a child care dilemma. Read more…

Budget BBQ

4ddacb91d6237.imageAs we open our doors and head outside in comfort, so begins the outdoor dining season.

Perhaps you’ve been stuck indoors over this rather arduous winter, and are longing to have family and friends congregate in your backyard for a little BBQ feast? The problem is, hosting an event can be quite expensive and may not fit entirely in your budget. Read more…

Cut Costs? You Can Trim More!

reduce-costWe all want to save money. You may have set a budget and, despite following it, feeling like you are not getting as much mileage as you might like to out of your money. Read more…

Do I Have What it Takes to Sell my Own Home?

Home for saleWhen it comes to being frugal, a general rule to save money is to DIY wherever you can. But are all tasks translatable, or are there some things that are more effectively (and more profitably) handled by a professional? Read more…

Being Frugal is Different than being Cheap

village-of-frugalityThere is a difference between being cheap and being frugal. A big difference.

Being “cheap” has negative connotations, and conjures images of being inflexible and unwilling to part with money, regardless of amount. It’s a perception. Read more…

Should Frugal Folks Tip?

tipping_blog_gamemaki_com1You’ve made changes and committed to a frugal lifestyle. After going through your spending with a fine-toothed comb, you sliced and diced, sacrificing extras in the sake of keeping your budget intact.

So how do you justify spending when it comes to tipping? Read more…

Teacher Gifts: Thoughtful and Frugal

colorful-crayon-letter-craft-photo-420-FF0611OUT_W01The home stretch is in sight for the school year, and with it comes another round of expenses, including gifts and end-of-year celebrations.

Another item to include in your budgeting is tokens and tributes for your child’s teachers. However, it is worthwhile to take a few minutes to plan these purchases out. They are truly about meaning and message, and not about spending. Read more…

Car Shopping? How to Get the Best Deal

couple-car-shoppingHas your current car driven its last kilometer? Does your lifestyle require that you change the type of automobile? Perhaps you are transferring from a pedestrian lifestyle towards a commuter lifestyle? Read more…

Don’t Let Prom Drain Your Wallet

prom_datesAs school winds down for the year, plans for celebrations of all kinds begin. For you (or for someone you know) does this end-of-school season include a prom or graduation party? Read more…

The Frugal Vacationer

job-seekers-vacationSummer is just around the corner. Have you given much thought about your vacation? While often in the extra-spending category, family vacations can be a centre for memories to treasure- especially if you incorporate traditions.

You too can go on vacation- without breaking the bank- and without loading up your plastic! Read more…

How Does Your Garden Grow? Frugally!

6566035As we inch closer to the end of May, the frost is likely gone (hopefully!) and it’s time to start thinking about greenifying your yard or outdoor space.

Beware though. It is really easy to get caught up when planting your garden (although in all honesty, you deserve loads of plants and flowers after that harsh winter!). Expenses can rack up quickly, so plan ahead and employ a little ingenuity. Read more…

Congratulations Graduate! Now it is Time to Learn About your Finances

sad-grad_new_largeAre you a recent graduate or gearing up to graduate this spring? While finishing your education is a huge accomplishment, and you are no doubt proud of the accomplishment, you may be feeling slightly daunted at the prospect of transitioning from student to employee- and some of the financial responsibilities that will soon be coming your way.

So how to proceed, once you’ve removed your cap and gown? Read more…

Stage your House on a Dime

Family-room-fireplace1Spring is the busy season in real estate, so if you are planning on selling your home, you avail yourself of more buyers. The problem though- is that there are generally more sellers as well.  How can you get top dollar for your home and make it stand out from the competition? Read more…

The Real Reason the Customer is Always Right

buyer_bewareYou’ve done everything right. Set your budget- and stuck to it. But- what if you spent money and didn’t get what you wanted or expected in return?

The customer is always right, right? Beyond that, the customer has support should something go awry in their purchase of a product or service. Read more…

Five Frugal Ways to While Away a Rainy Afternoon

dragonflies-rainy-day-fairies-896310As we wait for these showers (which seem to have moved directly from March to April) to bring spring flowers, you may feel like the walls are closing in around you on yet another rainy afternoon, as your children get louder, and the hours get longer. Read more…

Don’t Forget Your Own Mom on Mother’s Day

Happy-Mothers-DayWith Mother’s Day just around the corner (May 11, to be precise) there is no time like the present to start thinking about how you are going to celebrate mom.

Chances are, you are a mom yourself- so you are looking ahead to how your family will celebrate you. But what about your mom? Read more…

Cutting Costs Can be Dangerous and Expensive. Beware

cutting_cost_450While cutting costs is always commendable when trying to maintain a frugal lifestyle, there are certain areas where you should never cut corners. As a rule, if it is going to compromise your safety, cause you discomfort or cost you more money in the long run, it is worth spending a little more in the moment.

There are times that a deal is no deal at all. Read more…

Expecting a Tax Refund?

taxrefunddoneYou’ve likely often played out the scenario in your head. What would you do with extra cash? This daydream often involves huge cash windfalls, like winning the lottery, or receiving a sizeable inheritance from a long-lost relative. Read more…

Get Organized to Save Money

professional-organizers-in-san-diego2You want to have more money every month, right? You’d like to save more on your expenses, right? Why is it that, come month’s end, sometimes it is a bit of a scramble (or at least your balance sheet does not look as rosy as you’d like)?

Your barrier to financial success may be as simple as a lack of organization in your home. Read more…

Five Cheap but Nutritious Foods

expensive-healthy-eating-400x400Okay. So you’ve had it with the tally that rings up at the cash register every week at the grocery store. You try your best to use coupons and buy items on sale, but find that they maybe are not making as much of an impact as you’d like. Read more…

How to Save Money as a Bridesmaid

BridesmaidsAre you always the bridesmaid? No doubt you are delighted for your BFF(s) and their impending nuptials, but the cost of participating in a wedding party can be enormous. Read more…

Spring is Here! Get out and Enjoy!

KiteNow that spring has finally sprung, it’s time to get out of the house and free yourself from hibernation (which this year was particularly long and harsh).

As this winter was so oppressive, the inclination is to race out and take advantage of every opportunity right now. Urgency begets extra spending- so here are some frugal ideas to say goodbye to winter and usher in spring! Hooray! Read more…

Getting Married? Cut Costs for Your Big Day

wedding-budget-savingsPrime wedding season is almost upon us, and if you are getting married this year, you are likely in full planning mode.

Weddings are notoriously expensive and it is easy to get carried away with extras (that add up quickly). It is essential to set a budget and to stick to it very closely. Here are some hints on how to do that: Read more…