The back to school madness is underway and we are all looking for ways to cut costs this time of year. Expectations run high, there are new book bags, sneakers, clothing, school supplies and lunch supplies. The list can be long and expensive. BUT, let's not worry about what others are doing or what the kids expect. In my books, it is better to teach frugality, and a reduced waste approach through re-using and recycling. Let's teach our children that they do not need NEW everything, there are so many items that can be re-used and recycled from previous years.
February is the shortest month of the year. Although it can be cold and snowy, the celebration of Valentine’s Day mid month perks us up and the promise of spring only a couple months away keeps our spirits up.
So what else can we do to keep the winter blues at bay? How about finding some amazing deals?? Here are 7 things to buy in February.
Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free & Other Specials
Here are some Canadian Restaurants that offer Kids Eat Free or special offers for kid's though out the week. If you know of other restaurants in your area that offer Kid's Eat Free, please comment below to let us know. We will be starting a "Local" section for non chain restaurants that will be sorted by town/city.
5 Reasons To Keep Your Receipts
Yes, I am telling you to hang onto those little crumpled up pieces of paper in your coat pocket, car cup holder or bottom of your purse!
It may seem annoying to keep track of all your receipts, but read on to understand why it may be a good idea.
Here are 5 reasons to keep your receipts for all purchases:
How To Save On Baby Expenses
Tips on How to Save on Baby Expenses
This is the outline for the interview that aired on CBC Information Morning 106.1 fm Moncton in February, 2013, just 6 weeks after I had our second child. What better to discuss than what was personally living at the moment, the impact of a baby on your budget!
These are my tips on how to save and budget for your new addition.
Having a new baby in the house is a wonderful happy experience, but may take a toll on the pocket book. New babies require Food, Diapers, Clothing and more...it can really bust your monthly budget if you are not careful.
1. When it comes to a new baby, what are some of the ways you can save to keep within your budget?
There are a few strategies I used when planning our new baby’s arrival.
If baby is not here yet, start allotting a portion of your monthly budget to stocking up on items you will need. I used $20-25 of my budget for about 4 months before my baby arrived. This allowed me to stock up on Diapers, Wipes and some toiletries.
Items such as clothing, blankets and toys were left until closer to baby’s arrival, as we received many as gifts.
Using coupons, sales, clearance, second hand, baby clubs and points programs, you can save a great deal!
2. Can you share some tips for how to save on specific items?
Disposable Diapers: The best way to save on Disposable Diapers is to use a coupon with a sale, and watch the clearance bins. I have been abe to purchase many packages for $0.10 per diaper. They have been brands such as Seventh Generation, Pampers and Huggies. You can often get them much cheaper than the store brand when shopping with coupons.
Calculate how many diapers you will use at each stage of development( CLICK HERE) with these guidelines.
Cloth diapers are another option, with a high upfront cost, but much lower once you have them. When considering the cost of Cloth Diapers, work in laundry detergent, energy costs and water fees if you live in areas that cost you extra. If you have a clothes line and are on a well, you will not need to worry about those costs.
Purchasing your cloth diapers second hand is a great way to save on the up front costs as well. If you know you are going to cloth diaper, then research the brands and find the best deals possible either from the company or through distributors.
CLICK HERE for a Calculator to help you figure out what works for you.
Breast Feeding is the cheapest, it`s free! If you can do it, this is the best money saver to start out. Not everyone can breast feed, but you also should understand that often the first month is the hardest and it DOES get easier as you and your baby figure it out together. If you are having a hard time with breast feeding, do not give up, please seek out help and refer to the links provided below for resources in your area.
You may want to invest in a pump ($100 - $200+) if you are looking to bottle feed some. This will also allow you to freeze and store milk for future use as well. I breast fed both my children and this was convenient and cost effective for us.
Formula:There are several companies who have clubs you can join to receive samples and coupons. The coupons and vouchers you can get are high value and worth signing up for. These companies usually make follow up formulas and food for babies. They continue to send coupons to you for the various stages of baby growth. Refer to the links at the bottom of this page for details.
Watch for Formula and Diapers in the Clearance bins. Formula is put on clearance for 50% off usually a good month or 2 before the expiry date. If purchasing formula on clearance, buy the concentrate or ready made, you will likely not get through the powdered kind in time.
Clothing: Babies grow out of clothes long before they wear out. Consider buying second hand...and sell the ones that you no longer need to make room for new ones. Another great idea is to start a clothing exchange with some friends who have children at varying stages.
**Tip: Treat stains immediately and you will be able to keep clothing in better condition for swapping, selling or trading in at consignment stores.
Larger items & toys: Second hand all the way for these items. You can shop online on kijiji, ebay or other buying groups, or check out the local thrift shops and yard sales. The younger the child is, the better your chances of finding something in great shape for a fabulous price.
**Please consider safety with purchasing older items second hand. There are expiry dates on some items such as Car Seats, and safety standards on others that have changed over the years. Do your research before buying.
3. These are all great tips, but is it possible to continue to maintain a budget close to what you had before once the baby is here?
Absolutely. I worked the baby essentials into my budget prior to his arrival and continue to have baby items in my “stock up” budget.
I have a set budget for groceries of $100, then an additional amount up to $25 for stocking up on items we use regularly. So my food is in the $100, where my baby, toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc are in my $25 stock up budget. This is my bi-weekly budget for my family of 3 and now with baby, family of 4. This will no doubt change as he gets older and eating more.
Everyone’s budget will be different, but this proves it does not need to change right away.
The things that will help you keep on budget are simple:·
- Coupons- often High Value for baby items
- Cash Back apps- watch apps and use for additional savings
- Clearance Bins - in store up to 50%
- Second Hand -many items 50-80% off
- Baby Clubs – Free sign up and send samples & coupons
- Rewards points (Optimum points, Airmiles, etc) I did not discuss this in the above sections, but many times you can get any of the items you are looking for free when redeeming point. Also, watch for bonus points being offered on baby items. If you are buying the item anyway, you should take advantage of any bonus offers!
Breast Feeding resources:
Formula Companies Offers:
- Join the Enfamil Family Beginnings club
- Join the Nestle Baby Program
- Join the Similac Club
- Pampers Gifts to Grow program
- Huggies Rewards
SOBEYS Pharmacy: offers Free Prenatal Vitamins the entire time you are pregnant and nursing (ask for a form to join up) there are also samples and coupons in a bag when you sign up.
JEAN COUTU: Ask to join their New Mommy club and get a bag of samples and coupons.
Mam club: newsletters, offers and freebies from time to time.
Looking for ways to save when you have kids?
Here are some money saving tips when you have children: Click here
2013 The MonctonCoupon Lady/ Everything Unscripted
In our busy lives we need to take advantage of time together and stop replacing quality time with giving each other "stuff".
Yes, jewellery, flowers and chocolates are all beautiful and appreciated, but planning something to do together is more meaningful and can be more unique.
Start by putting the phones away, out of sight, for the evening. (Or even an hour) Another tip is to plan the evening start to finish, on your own. Just let your partner know you have it all planned and you will let them know what you are doing on that day. This is huge, especially if they usually plan the "date nights".
Here are a few ideas:
- Eat in and go out for dessert or coffee.
- Cook together. Pick your favourite meals.
- If you have young kids, plan a special snack (cheese board or fondu) and/or drink for after they go to bed. Enjoy it while you take time to relax.
- Play a board game that you can play and talk.
- If you are BOTH into video games, play together.
- Go skating at an outdoor rink.
- Go sledding.
- If you are a book lover. Go to the bookstore together.
- Go for an evening walk
- Meet for coffee at lunch time or in the evening.
There are so many things you can do that cost very little money. The key is to do something together and enjoy your times together. Gifts are nice, but don't mean as much as time spent with each other.
- Go through flyers for best prices. Also check online for specials at local butchers, farmer's markets, bakeries and shops.
- Check freezer, fridge, pantry and make as many meals as possible with these items and items on sale this week.
- Make menu and shopping list.
I usually use this format to plan. Not assigning a day to the meal, but rather having everything prepped to make whichever I feel like doing that day. Here is my plan for this week. Recipes will be added as well, as I get them photographed and posted.
Supper Time Planned Meals: February 5 to February 11
- Salmon and Hassleback Potatoes
- Salsa Chicken with Roasted Veggies
- Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Hamburgers & Veggie Sticks
- Pizza & Garlic Fingers (Sunday, Super Bowl)
- Homemade Chinese Food
Our lunches (hubby & I) are usually salad or wrap with some kind of protein (Chicken, Tuna, Egg, etc), or leftovers from supper.
School lunches are usually NOT sandwiches, as my oldest does not like them. So I get creative with what we have on hand. Meat chunks, grape tomatoes, cheese cubes, cut up veggies, etc...
We have options ready and available.
- Breakfast Burritos (In freezer, wI'll be making more next week)
- Banana Muffins (in freezer)
- Boiled Eggs
- Overnight Oatmeal
- yogurt, fruit, cereal always an option
- apples (with peanut butter)
- Sliced peppers, celery & carrots
- cereal bars / granola bars (kids)
- crackers & cheese
- boiled eggs
This week I didn't purchase much. Most of our meals were planned around what I had on hand in the freezer and pantry. We did buy store made thin crust pizza and garlic fingers for Super Bowl Sunday. Other than that, we had everything on hand for all the meals this week. I still bought milk and some bread at the bakery. Also Eggs at Shoppers.
- Eggs $1.88 x2 dozen
- 4 L Milk $3.41/2L
- Sugar free Bread $2.70 x2
- Carrots $1.49
- Tortilla Chips $1.99 x2
- Coffee Cream $2.99
- Store made pizza $5.99
- Store made Garlic Fingers $3.99
- TOTAL was just under $36
Items On Hand:
- Chinese food (rice, meatballs, Egg rolls & chicken)
- Coconut milk
- Pasta cooked in freezer
- Pasta sauce in freezer
Here is the list of what I did for prep on Sunday.
Saving Jars - a visual way to save
Have you heard of the 52 Week Money Challenge?
If you are like me, a visual person, saving money in a jar may be a great way to do it one little bit at a time. We have a direct transfer on our account for savings each payday, but I wanted to try to save some money this year for my contribution to family fun.
Starting January 1st, I put $20 per week into a jar. At the end of the 52 weeks (1 year) I will have $1,040 saved towards a family vacation. I looked at it as just a little more than a take out coffee at $2.86 each day. If you prefer to add money on a daily basis, you can make is simple and put in $2/ day, giving you savings of $730 for the year. Think about that, a toonie a day!! How easy would that be?
Below you will find a few printable charts to include on your jars to keep track of the money in the jar.
52 week $1 + $1 per week PRINT HERE
This challenge changes and goes up $1 per week (week 1: $1, week 2: $2 and so on up to $52), so on the last week you put in $52. I would suggest that you do some of the higher values earlier in the year, or when you are able to. Simply check the line off when you put it in. As long as you check off every line (in the chart available to print above), then yo will save a total of $1,378 in 52 weeks!
52 Week Reverse (start at $52 - $1 each week) PRINT HERE
52 week $20 per week PRINT HERE
With the $20 per week jar, you do just that. Place $20 per week in the jar for 52 weeks. Your total savings will be $1,040 at the end!
7 Tips for Shopping on Amazon.ca
It is safe to say that I am slightly, okay fully, addicted to shopping on Amazon.ca! I still comparison shop and make sure I can trust the sellers, but in general, I find the best deals on this site. Selection is amazing and products have always been of high value. This being said, there are a few things you need to consider when shopping, to ensure you have a good experience and get the best deal and service your money.
It is the individual sellers on Amazon you need to check on. Similar to shopping on Ebay, You need to pay attention to who is selling the item and read feedback on them.
Many items available on the Amazon website are sold by Amazon or the companies /brands that make them. Those are usually safe to order from and will provide consistently better customer service.
Know your pricing. Just because an Amazon seller (or any retailers for that matter) posts a "mark down", doesn't mean that it is a deal.
Compare the prices to other retailers before buying.
3. Free Shipping:
Many purchases made through Amazon offer Free Shipping when you spend $35.
"You receive free shipping if your order includes $35 of eligible items. Any item with "FREE Shipping" messaging on the product detail page, that is fulfilled and shipped by Amazon, is eligible and contributes to your free shipping order minimum excluding taxes, gift-wrap, Gift Cards, oversize, and heavy items." See more details here
4. Prime Members:
Want Free 2 day shipping, extra discounts, unlimited photo storage and early access to daily deals?
If you do a high volume of shopping on Amazon, I would recommend the prime account. Free 2 day shipping on no minimum order value. Look for the deals marked with the Prime logo.
Get a 30 day free trial of Prime! After your free trial, Amazon Prime is just CDN$ 79.00/year (plus any applicable taxes). Cancel anytime. *Quebec residents receive an initial 13-month membership for CDN $79.00, instead of a free trial.
Check out all the details here.
Amazon Family members get 20% off Diaper subscriptions plus additional family-centric discounts and recommendations, compliments of Amazon Family. Amazon Family is free for all Prime members. Simply create a child profile during signup to begin.
Students receive 6 months Free Prime service, referral credits and special student deals.
After your free trial, your membership will upgrade to Amazon Prime for 50% off. Cancel anytime. Quebec residents get an 18-month membership for CDN $39 instead of a free trial.
5. Price Matching & Price Guarantee On TVs
Amazon offers price matching on TVs only. Here are the details.
Also, if you purchase a TV from Amazon and see it is cheaper at any of the listed retailers, within 30 Day, they will refund the difference.
TV Low Price Guarantee Retailers are:
6. Shop Amazon Warehouse
Amazon’s warehouse offers a large variety of open-box and returned items that fall under Amazon’s simple, money-back return policy. Pricing is dramatically reduced and you can find some pretty amazing deals there.
7. Amazon Coupons
Yes, Amazon has a Coupon section and offers discounts you can apply to items at checkout. Check out the coupons here.
More tips for online shopping:
You could win FREE GAS for a year #StateFarmFreeGas
You have likely heard me say this in the past, get quotes & call around. Each year it is a good idea to ask for a deal on services you use. For example, calling your internet, phone or cable provider yearly to negotiate your monthly rates.
This applies to Insurance as well. You pay a yearly rate, likely in monthly installments and just let it keep renewing each year. Sound about right?
Have you added anything to your life that may need additional insurance? Perhaps a recreational vehicle, renovations to improve your home or your children are hitting the age that will put them behind the wheel. Even if nothing has changed, it really is smart to get a new quote.
Why not see if you can get a better deal? Who wants to spend more money than they have to? NOT ME!
State Farm is not only going to work with you to get the best coverage and rates, they are also offering you a chance to win Free Gas for a year.
Get a quote for your chance to win free gas for a year – it’s that simple!
State Farm Canada offers insurance coverage for the things that matter most.
Get a quote now and see how you can save money on your home, auto and life insurance — you could win free gas for a whole year!
The Contest is open to all legal residents of Ontario, New Brunswick and Alberta.
How To Enter:
- To register for the Contest, visit www.statefarmfreegas.ca
- Fill out the Contest Registration form by entering your first and last name, email address, and postal code.
- Submit your Contest Registration form online through the Contest Website.
- Go to the State Farm Canada Get a Quote page https://www.statefarm.ca/insurance/quotes and enter your postal code to receive a quote for Auto, Homeowners, Condo or Tenants Insurance.
Access to the Internet and a Facebook Account are required to submit a Contest Registration. No purchase necessary. Limit one Contest Registration per person, per email address, or Facebook account.
~ Brought to you by State Farm. All opinions are my own.~