The original scent of Avon Skin So Soft has been said to repel mosquitos for a long time now. Avon has developed a Skin So Soft Bug Guard spray in more recent years, but you can make your own bug spray with the oil and a few other simple ingredients.
Here is a recipe for this week's deal on cauliflower!
We picked up 4 heads of cauliflower last night for $1.50 each. Here is one recipe I have made so far. We love cauliflower and this is just one way to prep it.
Frugal Living: 8 Ways To Save Money On Books
Buying books is something I am a little addicted to. I love to crack open a new book, love the look of a full book shelf, and just like the paper. In the past few years I have been trying to read more on my kobo and purchase less at the bookstore, but I feel our family are just plain book junkies! Slowly changing our habits.
My oldest son currently has two boxes of books in his room, that will be stored for when my younger son is ready. In the process of looking around at our book collection, I got to thinking about just how to reduce not only the cost, but the clutter of this many books. Here are my tips for how to save on books. Enjoy!
Buying Books does not need to be expensive, you just need to be a little more aware of where to find the deals.
Used books can be found in various locations. Take the time to really look around and I'm sure you'll find something you will enjoy.
Used Book Stores:
You might be surprised just how many used book stores there are in your area. Often you can find fabulous deals on books, and you can usually take in old books to get store credit towards books you want to buy!
Thrift Stores & Yard Sales:
Another amazingly affordable and often surprising place to find a great book is a thrift store or yard sale. I love stopping at yard sales and finding great books for $0.05 to $o.25.
Kijiji and other online buy/sell groups:
Search your local area on Kijiji or facebook for buy and sell groups. Lots of books available at affordable prices. These are usually a great spot to pick up a series of books. People tend to sell in groups of books online.
Watch for your local library to have book sales, some even have a sale section they maintain all year.
Borrowing books is the most frugal way to save money on books.
Use The Library:
Always check to see what is available at the library before dishing out cash for a book. I have always loved having full book shelves in my house, but you eventually realize that you will rarely, if ever go back and read them again. By borrowing the books at the library, you are saving money and creating less clutter in your home!
Check with your friends and family to see if anyone wants to swap books. Why not start a local book club, where you meet for coffee or tea once a month and swap books? You can each bring 2 or 3 books to swap. Label your books to ensure you get them back (if you want them back).
Community Lending Groups:
There may be groups locally that already have a lending library. Some children's playgroups, churches, charities, etc, will have lending libraries. If you are looking for books on specific topics, such as health issues, often times there are organizations specific to the topic and they will have a lending library as well.
Free Downloads on Amazon.ca:
On Amazon.ca, there is a selection of free downloadable books available all the time. Check them out and download to your electronic devices. You will need the Kindle app (free). CLICK HERE to view free book options!
There are also lots of resources for discounts and other sites for buying books at a lower cost. These are just my top tips on how to save the most on books.
Do you have a tip or resource to share? Comment below with your tips!
Menu Plan Feb 7th
As you may have noticed last time I shared, I do not assign a day to a meal when doing my menu plan. I find it easier to select and prep for meals, then decide on the day what we want for supper I simply cross off the meal as we have them. Some weeks I include more choices than others. If we have fresh items to use up I make as many meals with those first, then add what is in the freezer.
I will be posting some recipes on my blog at Everything Unscripted, and will link to them here. I have been trying harder to make everything from scratch lately. It is much easier than I thought, and as I add new weekly staples, I am finding we are enjoying our food more. By prepping food on Sunday's and have most meals ready or half prepped, I can spend less time feeling like I am running around and forgetting things each day!
It may not look pretty, but it works for me 🙂
If you want to see my Grocery Shopping for this week, CLICK HERE.
- Common Couponing Mistakes (beginners)
- How to Save with a New Baby
- What to watch for on sale in December (a season for everything) (12/06/12)
- Black Friday - No Need to Cross Border Shop (tips) (11/22/12)
- Pros and Cons of Online Coupons (Printables) (11/08/12)
- Discount and Loyalty Cards (10/25/12)
- Brand Loyalty and Stockpiles (10/11/12)
- Tips on how to Save & Eat Healthy (09/27/12)
- Getting into Couponing - August
- The Moncton Coupon Lady Returns (09/05/14)
- All about the Couponer's Convention (09/11/14)
- Tips for Grocery Shopping on a budget (09/26/14)
- Time & Money Saving Tips in the home (10/10/14)
- Online Shopping Tips (10/29/14)
- Bulk Shopping (11/05/14)
- Creating A Pricebook (11/12/14)
- Santa's Helpers Tips for Holiday Shopping (11/19/14)
- Christmas Savings Tips (12/03/14)
- Food Waste: Throwing Money Away! (12/10/14)
- Save Cash: Boxing Day Tips (12/17/14)
- Coupon Apps for Savings (03/04/15)
- Eating Healthy or Special Diet (04/07/15)
- Discounts and Freebies for Kids (04/21/15)
- How to get a Deal Online (04/28/15)
- Family Travel For Less (05/05/15)
- Early Holiday Shopping (10/21/15)
This is in interview format as it is based on the topic covered in my CBC Radio Column from Nov 3rd, 2015. I have added some additional info here that may not have been covered on air live that morning. Enjoy!
You have budgeted for Christmas gifts, decorating and the holiday meal, but you seem to always find yourself with an empty wallet come New Year’s? Here are some tips to help you plan ahead for some of the hidden costs of the Holiday Season.
What exactly do I mean by hidden costs for the holidays?
I would be referring to the things we often overlook. They are not necessarily “hidden”, they are simply things we tend to forget to account for. Things that we may usually buy month to month, but during the holidays we buy more. We will talk about what some of those things are and how to help cover those costs without having a huge impact on the December budget.
Besides gifts and food, you may be wondering what are some of the other things we may forget to budget for?
MY Top 6 Hidden Holiday Expenses would be:
This is an expense you will encounter if you are shopping by catalogue or online. Watch for deals on shipping, many retailers offer Free Shipping, but not all do. The key here is to add the shipping cost in to the total you have budgeted for that particular gift or person you are buying for. It may not seem like much, but if you are paying $10 or more on shipping and you shop at 4 or 5 online retailers, that is an additional $40 or $50 you are spending from your Holiday budget.
You may plan to have friends or family over for a pot luck, but remember, you have more cost than just food. Extra napkins, plates, extra loads in the dishwasher, etc. Drinks are also a big expense, especially if you are serving alcohol. Figure out a budget and stick to it, or ask people to bring what they plan to drink.
You have the gifts purchased, but you need to wrap them. The costs of paper, boxes and bags can add up. People spend an average of $45 or more on wrapping supplies each year during the holidays.
Cards and Stamps:
This is one that can be high and many people don’t think about the money until you are dishing it out. Tips below on how to save on stamps. If you haven’t picked up cards from last year’s sales, then be prepared to pay a good amount for cards last minute.
We all tend to drive more around the holidays. Between more trips to the shopping mall and visits to friends and family, you could be adding another couple hundred dollars to your gas budget in the month of December. This can be much higher depending on where you are travelling.
Interest on Credit Cards:
Credit cards can be a great tool to help this time of year, BUT you need a plan to pay it back off right away. If you use your credit card for online shopping, then gas, and maybe extra groceries, you need a plan to pay it off quickly. Or you may just increase your spending again by another 20% in interest.
How can you plan ahead for covering some of the additional costs without it dramatically affecting your monthly spending?
Starting in January is ideal, and will cause the least impact on your bank account in December each year!
Many people find it hard to put money aside each month. Here are a few ways to do it, that may make it a little easier.
Have a change jar that you seal the lid on (do not dig into it anytime during the year, leave it for December ONLY. At the end of the day, every day, empty your pockets and change purse into it. Simple, and it really adds up! Try the 52 Week Challenge Jar.
Buy gift cards throughout the year to put towards your December spending. If you go to the grocery store 2X per month, add only a $5 gift card to your order each trip, by December that will be $110 in grocery gift cards you will have to cover additional costs. You can do the same every time you buy gas. If you or your kids have favourite stores to shop at, do the same at those stores (spreading out the cost of their gifts throughout the year as well). It is amazing how they add up!
Saving on stamps:
To help with the cost of shipping cards, do the same as above and purchase a few each month. Also, on occasion you will see stamps on sale for 15% off. Or buying them at Costco is also a little cheaper, if you want to buy a roll of 100 stamps. Watch CanadaPost.ca for specials as well. Old sets of “P” stamps go on sale often throughout the year. They are valid for whatever the current reg postage rate is.
Here are some more ideas and tips for planning ahead for Holiday Expenses.
Cut Back! Easier said than done, right?
I will be honest and say, I remember very few of the gifts I have received over the years, especially as a child. What I do remember are the family meals, hot chocolate in my parent’s kitchen after an afternoon building a snow fort with my dad, and the caroling party or sledding party I went to with my university friends (many years ago). We remember the memories of time we spent with others, not the “stuff” we received.
It is very hard to cut back on the gifts when you just want to give your kids everything, but I assure you, they will not notice. They want YOU more than anything. Just remember to keep it fun, exciting and enjoy every minute you have together. Most of us spend more time in the presence of family over the Holidays than any other time of year, so be there, enjoy and don’t worry about trying to impress those you love, that’s not why they love you!
Happy savings and if you can’t start budgeting right away, make a plan to start a holiday budget in the New Year for Christmas 2016.
*This is based on the script from my CBC column about Shopping during the holidays. The actual on air column may or may not have covered everything we had prepared. I am sharing this as part of our articles on the site as it was prepared with a few additions. It is in an interview format, myself being the person responding to the questions. Each column is prepared to allow for approximately 5-7min of air time. I may have added additional info on this page or links to further details.
TIP OF THE DAY: How to Save When Buying Meat
- PC Plus Offers: One option is to watch for deals on your PC points card at Superstore. For example, when you have 400 points for $1 on beef =40% off. Buy $10 worth of beef and you will earn 4000 points=$4.00
- Check your "My Offers" on your Air Miles acct with Sobeys. I often times have a 50% off offer on some kind of meat. Limited to one pkg most of the time (always read fine print)
- Watch for reduced meats at all stores - usually 30-50% off . A great time to stock up & freeze your meat. Right before a store closes for a holiday is a perfect time to find mark downs, as well as the day after a snowstorm.
- SHOP LOCAL: most butchers offer great pricing and deals. Customer service is usually better at a small shop and in store or customer specials can be well worth the extra stop in your grocery routine.
- Buy a cow! Well not really... If you have freezer space, contact a local farm and inquire about buying a side of beef or a turkey, etc. It will be a larger up front cost if purchasing a cow or pig, but can save you significant amount of money. You will also want to get creative when preparing cuts you may not normally purchase.
If I do not have enough for a batch of stock, I simply freeze and keep adding to my scrap bag until I have enough. As I peel veggies and cut up veggies, any waste goes in my freezer for stock as well.
Making vegetable stock each week will give you plenty of stock for soups and other recipes.
Slow Cooker Stock - I also like to put the water and veggies in my slow cooker at night and let it simmer on low all night. Let it cool and place in freezer containers to freeze.
When I cannot salvage, I compost it...Love our compost bin. This is the one we have (I only paid $69 as it was on a daily deal sale):
keep an eye on sales for compost bins in early Spring and again in the Fall.
Or make your own. Here are more tips on Composting.
~ Ruth Ann
Saving Time and Money when preparing food!
If you are busy, or you simply don't enjoy cooking every night for an hour or more, try some of these time saving tips.
Purchase in Bulk
Meat & Poultry
- Get to the meat department early in the morning, they usually have items marked down. Buy in larger quantities and freeze.
- Buy Local! If you are lucky enough to have a farm close by, contact them about purchasing in bulk, they will be happy to provide you with their prices.
- If you have a local meat market, check out what deals they offer when you buy in bulk. Some will offer freezer boxes where you get a discount for buying a large quantity of a variety of meats. It may be alot out of pocket in one shot, but will save you money in the long run.
Fruit & Veggies
- Check the discount section in your produce department. There are usually Bananas, Peppers, Apples, etc...these are great items to take home, slice up and freeze. Use them in baking & smoothies or casseroles & soups.
- Only purchase what you will use, but remember there are ways to freeze produce for later use.
- Plant a garden! Fresh in season veggies that won't cost more than a few pennies, and a little love and labor on your part! You will have lots and need to have plans for using/preparing the fruits of your labor when they are ripened.
- Yogurt is great to freeze. If your child likes yogurt tubes, freeze them for longer storage (you can stock up on a good sale!) and then put one in their lunch for school. It will thaw out in time for Lunch!
- Lots of snack foods come pre-packaged for school/individual servings. To save on money - Why not buy the box of crackers and make up your own snack bags. You can reuse your bags for crackers, cookies and other non oily foods. Just rinse them out and let dry.
- Buy pudding mix or make it from scratch (makes a larger quantity for le$$). Use resealable containers to send to school with your child.
Partially Prepare In Advance
- For Salads: If you are like me, you hate cutting up veggies every day to make a salad...so do it all at once. I come home from grocery shopping and cut ALL my veggies and store in plastic containers. Even my lettuce is cut up and stored (I have a Tupperware container that keeps it from wilting, it's awesome and well worth the money). Cut up Tomatoes, cucumber, string beans, peppers, broccoli, etc...then, when you want a salad, just grab a little of this, and a little of that, and your salad is divine!
- Soups, Stir Fry and Casseroles: I always try to make things in bulk when I get home from shopping, but sometimes there is just not the chance to cook up everything. I love to cut up the veggies I cannot use right away, and freeze them. Again, try to portion them in freezer bags so it is easier to just take out 1 or 2 bags to add to a recipe. You can even brown/carmalize onions and once it cools, put in bags to freeze and use later.
Meat and Poultry
- Poultry: We eat a large quantity of chicken. When I buy chicken, most of it gets cooked when I get home. Some I baste with salad dressing, or top with an herb mixture, and some is plain (just brushed with a little olive oil). I cook them, and slice it up to freeze. When I want Chicken on a salad, I grab a bag from the freezer, thaw it in the microwave and toss it on my salad. I also use it in recipes that call for cooked chicken (casseroles mainly). We use it in our pitas, sandwiches and wraps as well. HUGE time saver!!!
- Ground Meat: Almost EVERY recipe containing ground meet asks you to brown it...so why not buy in bulk, brown it all up, and put in containers for later use. Store it by the pound, so you know what you need when you go to use it in a recipe.
- Shredded cheese:Buy block cheese and shred it yourself. It's cheaper and you will have it on hand when you need it. Buy one block to shred, and slice the other one for use on sandwiches, crackers, snacks, etc... (Parmesan cheese is pricey to buy, but if you purchase the block and shred it yourself, it is way more affordable, and it lasts for a long time)
Stock your Freezer with meals!
For Soups: I LOVE to use fresh veggies when I make soups, so I get the not so perfect ones on the discount rack. They are often a little overripe, which actually means they are teaming with flavour. Make a big pot of soup and freeze in portion size containers. We are a family of 3, so I have containers that hold what we would eat at a meal, as well as some single serving ones to have for lunches.
Sauces: Make pasta sauces and Chilli in bulk and freeze. It is so nice to come home and toss your pasta under some hot water to thaw, and grab the Spaghetti sauce out of the freezer to thaw in the microwave...toss together and in 10 minutes you have dinner made, and alot less mess to clean up!