The Common Cents Mystery Box Christmas Giveaway

 

It is that time of the year. We are six weeks away from Christmas Eve.  If you are a planner like me you are already getting ready. I have already started a list and have checked it more than twice. This year I will be hosting a few giveaways here on the blog but I wanted to start with a very special one.

Have you ever seen a mystery box unboxing on YouTube? My daughter is addicted to them. Really, she is.

 

I am giving away a Common Cents Mystery box. What is in it?

If you know me you know I have a few loves so does my teen. I will say the retail value of the box is over $150.00 retail Canadian.

Need more clues?

It includes brands we love.

Some of the things it may include:

Essential oils, tea, chocolate, puzzles, beauty items, toys. Does this get you thinking?

We promise no lint, no broken items.  All will be usable.

It includes things for kids and adults.

We will gladly send this mystery box anywhere in the United States or Canada. Our only ask is that you share the opening of the box on your own social channel.

 

  • Open to Canadian and US Residents over the age of 18.

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Let us Remember Our Vets Today and Everyday

Today is Veteran’s Day here in Canada. More and more,  Lest we forget, we stop and thank those who have gone before at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day. Many of us wear poppies today to remember the poppies that grow on Flanders Field. Each year I am proud to pick up my poppy and thank a veteran who has served.

Every year I am reminded of the stories that I know from personal family research. Lately, I have been using Ancestry.ca to learn even more about the heroes in my own family. This weekend if you want to research the military stories in your family you can do so for free.  In every generation,  I have had family members who have served here in Canada and who are serving in military services around the globe.

First, there was my great-grandfather. Charles Pollard who was a WW1 veteran. Not much is known about his service but that he did serve. He served as part of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Norman and Alice Pollard
Grandpa and Grandma Pollard just before my grandfather shipped off.

Then there was my granddad Norman Pollard and his brothers. He was one of 3 brothers who went and served. One did not come home: my Great Uncle Charlie was killed in action in 1942. He is buried in Germany. My grandfather was captured at Dieppe and transferred to a POW camp in Poland. In the final days of the war, with the world closing in, these men had to march for 86 days across 600 miles toward Berlin. My grandfather brought home with him unspeakable memories. He was hospitalized in England for 5 months after the war and then another 5 months at Sunnybrook Hospital before he could go home to his family. My grandfather’s story even made the local news as he was listed as missing in action and then when he was liberated.

Did you know when they would share news of those in the fight back then they would share what street they lived on? I live just a few blocks from where my grandmother sat and learned her husband was missing in action. The same home where she would receive a letter smuggled out of the POW camp telling her, he was alive. He was liberated not long after that letter reached her in May of 1945.

uncle_ron

My uncle Ron served as a diver with the Navy and did several peacekeeping missions. My uncle was even buried at sea.

My cousins Ronny and Tom have both served. Tom continues to serve.

My teen’s big brother, Seth serves in the American forces and has served in Afghanistan.

There was my grandfather Hilliard Kain who served in the Canadian Navy, as did my stepfather Alfred Smoat.

remember our vets- graduating class 1953

My mom was a member of the Canadian Airforce as well. This photo is of her graduating from basic training.

I am thankful to each and every family member who hearts were big, whose strength was real, whose courage was beyond measure. I am thankful for all we have as Canadians and know it is because of the valor of men and women just like my family members that I can even blog today. We owe huge debts of gratitude for each who have served.

As an action note, today if you are thankful for the service to this country of others, please support the vets in your community. Often they come home injured and get forgotten and let me put it this way, we don’t do enough at any level to offer the support or services so many need. Health care and home care right now are needed by so many vets who served so valiantly and funds are lacking, rehab care for our returning warriors is lacking as well in so many ways…so please add your voice to mine and write a letter saying that our VETS deserve the best treatment and access to funds we can possibly afford.

Today may we forget not the sacrifice and service of those who have served and those who wear a uniform every day so we can live here in Canada as we do.

Who today will you remember? For me it a long line of family members who have served in every major Canadian military action, from war to peacekeeping efforts every generation has given what they can to serve this great land I call home.

It’s Time to Start Talking Financial Literacy- It’s Financial Literacy Month in November #FLM2017

It’s my favourite time of the year. For the fourth year in a row, as November begins, Canadians are encouraged to talk about money during Financial Literacy Month. For 8 years I have hosted online money conversations. Financial education is important to me. When I started this blog my goal was to share my story and give Canadians access to the experts. Over the years I have been blessed to host some of the very best money experts on my #CDNmoney chats and been parts of hundreds of online money conversations.

For the last four years, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has helped lead the money conversation in Canada with the Financial Literacy Month. They work with organizations from the private, public and non-profit sectors to improve the financial literacy of all Canadians. They have even worked with bloggers like me. The theme for the conversation this year is:

“Take charge of your finances: It pays to know!”

Throughout the month, FCAC will feature weekly sub-themes that bring attention to the benefits of basic money management practices at different stages of life and encourage Canadians to reduce debt and save for the future. They are:

Week 1 (November 1-4) – Achieve financial well-being What does it mean to be financially fit? Are you struggling to be fit? This is a great place to start this conversation. Do you have a budget?

Week 2 (November 5-11) – Live within your means Did you know most Canadians spend more than they earn? Have you tried to live within your means? This week we will be talking about what it means to live within your means.

Week 3 (November 12-18) – Manage money for student life I have a teen daughter, she is a college kid. Teaching our youth, our teens while they are young sets them up for long-term success. Can’t wait for this conversation.

Week 4 (November 19-25) – Teach children about money I have talked about this topic for years. Did you know most Canadian kids don’t get taught financial literacy in school?  As parents, we must be teaching our kids.

Week 5 (November 26-30) – Know your financial rights and responsibilities  Do you know we have rights and responsibilities that go beyond taxes? We will talk about these are well.

To help celebrate and carry on the conversations, Tangerine is celebrating with 3 Twitter Parties

Twitter Party Details

 

Twitter Party Details

  • Theme: Live Within Your Means
  • Date: Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 7:00pm ET
  • Guest: Kelley Keehn @KelleyKeehn
  • Host: TangerineBank @TangerineBank
  • Hashtags: #TangerineFLM#FLM2017
  • Prizing: 4 X $100 MasterCard Gift Cards
  • Eligibility: Canada excluding Quebec

 

Twitter Party

  • Theme: Teach Children about Money
  • Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 at 7:00pm ET
  • Guest: Robin Taub @RobinTaub
  • Host: Tangerine Bank @TangerineBank
  • Hashtag: #TangerineFLM #FLM2017
  • Prizing: 4 X $100 MasterCard Gift Cards
  • Eligibility: Canada excluding Quebec

About Tangerine Bank

Tangerine is a direct bank that delivers simplified everyday banking to Canadians. With over 2 million Clients and close to $38 billion in total assets, we are Canada’s leading direct bank. Tangerine offers banking that is flexible and accessible, products and services that are innovative, fair fees, and award-winning Client service. From no-fee daily Chequing and high-interest Savings Accounts, Credit Card, GICs, RSPs, TFSAs, Mortgages and Investment Funds through its subsidiary, Tangerine Investment Funds Ltd., Tangerine has the everyday banking products Canadians need. With over 1,000 employees in Canada, our presence extends beyond our website and Mobile Banking app to our Café locations, Pop-Up locations, Kiosks and 24/7 Contact Centres. Tangerine was launched as ING DIRECT Canada in 1997. In 2012 it was acquired by Scotiabank, and operates independently as a wholly-owned subsidiary.

 

This is a sponsored Post. We were compensated to write this post, but as always opinions are our own.

 

safe hallowen

How to Have Happy Safe Halloween

It ‘s is that time of year again. Your house is brimming with excitement if it is anything like ours. Halloween is next week, Hard to believe there is less than a week to go until the ghosts and goblins roam the street in search of Halloween treats.  This is a busy fun time of the year. Often there are multiple Halloween activities. There are the class parties, the work event. the community event and then there is the night of trick or treating. We love it all! Amongst the busyness though we need to be safe. It is great to love Halloween but we need to think about safety as well. So how do you have a happy and safe Halloween?

Halloween

The Perfect Costume

When it comes to Halloween, let’s start with the basics, the costume. Make sure all costumes fit well and are labeled flame resistant. Over-sized costumes, capes, and even long tails can become hazards. When you think about what you or your child will be, think bright! It gets dark out there and you want to be seen. If you are wearing something dark, think of adding a reflective strip of wearing glow bracelets or necklaces to help you be seen.

We have a rule in our house, no masks. We use face paint or makeup. Even with face paint or makeup you want to do a patch test to ensure there are no allergies.

safe hallowen

Dangerless Decorating

I remember the first time my teen carved a pumpkin. She accidentally cut her hand. Accidents can happen. Let children paint or draw the design on pumpkins and leave the carving to a parent. You may choose not to carve a pumpkin. You may decide to decorate one instead. Pinterest has some amazing ideas.

Ever since the invention of LED candles, we do not use candles in our jack-o-lanterns. If you are using candles, never leave them unattended. Don’t have an LED candle? A small flashlight will work as well.

Make sure the outside of your home is well lit and clutter free.

Halloween candy

Trick or Treat Safely

There was once a time when it was okay to let kids go trick or treating with their friends. We no longer live in a time when that is a good idea. Make sure a parent goes with any child twelve and under. Ensure children only visit homes where lights are turned on and practice good road safety. Cross the street at corners and crosswalks. Last year, we witnessed a near accident as a child went running across the street between parked cars. Thankfully, the driver was paying attention.

When it comes to candy, eat none till you are home. Parents, check your child’s haul. If there are toys or novelty items ensure there are no choking hazards for any little ones that may reside at your house.

By following these tips you should have a safe and happy Halloween. Did I miss any tips that help your family have a safe Halloween? If so, let me know your tips.

 

Finding Fall and Winter Fashions with Flipp

The weather has been all over the place lately. One day it’s hot and the next few it’s cold and then hot again. While some days can be warm, the evenings are cooler and call for hoodies, long pants, and warm drinks. This week while flipping through the Flipp app, I found some warm and fuzzy deals for fall and winter fashions that will be the perfect attire for the season.

Fall and Winter Fashions

Mark’s – Valid October 18 – October 23, 2017

fall and Winter Fashions

This week there is a big sale happening at Mark’s with 40 – 50 % off on tops, pants and so much more.

Hudson’s Bay – Valid October 20 – October 26, 2017

Keep your feet in style with this selection and more.

Giant Tiger – Valid October 18 – October 24, 2017

Giant Tiger is one of my favourite stores to visit and has great styles and sizes to fit everyone’s needs.

 

If you are looking for more great deals, head on over to Flipp and swipe your way to some savings. Find some the best grocery deals this week at Frescho and PriceChoppers. Check out the coupons for more savings, there are plenty to print off.

Watch for next week’s look at last minute Halloween items. Sometimes it is better to wait for the better deals.

Downloaded the Flipp app and don’t miss out on savings and cash back. Download Flipp from Google Play or the App Store and start saving.

If you haven’t started using the coupons and rebates with the app, you can find some helpful information with Flipp’s Guide to Rebates. Print off your coupons to match them with deals. Trust me the app is something you will be thankful to have on your phone.

Don’t forget to add all your loyalty cards to Flipp so you always have them with you. Saving you even more and helping you earn the things you want.

How to Have a Happy Halloween on a Budget

It’s hard to believe it is the middle of October already, and if you are like me I start thinking about Halloween the day after Thanksgiving. Halloween though can cause a drain on the pocketbook. It’s one of those holidays where it is easy to spend and spend. We absolutely love Halloween in this house. My teen has already been down to Niagra area for a Haunted Hayride, corn mazes, and a bonfire this past weekend as she helped a friend celebrate their birthday. So how can we have a happy Halloween on a budget? Trust me, it is possible to do and you can it on a budget.  Here are my rules for a great Halloween:

Budget

Before you spend a single dollar on Halloween, plan your spending. Have a budget in place. Are you going to be buying costumes for yourself, the kids, pets? Planning on attending local Halloween events (what are the costs involved?)? Are you going to decorate your house? Are you handing out candy? Trust me, you can save on all of it, but first, you have to know your budget.

Get Inspired on Pinterest

We love Pinterest for inspiration. If you check my Pinterest boards you will see I have a Halloween board that is full of decor and costumes ideas and another board full of Halloween food ideas

Shop What You Have

We love holidays in this house. I have a Rubbermaid container for every season, every holiday. Over the years, I have collected favorite elements for my Halloween decor and possible costumes. What do have in your closet, attic, or garage that you can use? For me, I have been blessed to have been a Hallmark blogger so I have a collection of favourites that I use year after year. I also keep past costumes if I see a potential use for the pieces. Do you have a dress-up box? We had a tickle trunk for years. Everything my daughter wore for dress up was up for grabs when it came to Halloween costumes.

 

The Dollar Store

We love dollar stores, you know the ones where everything is one dollar or pretty close to that. For Halloween, we purchase things we need here most often. Need Halloween makeup you can find it? Need temporary hair colour, you will find it, Need a few decor items you can find that too. Here where I live I have two favourite dollar stores: Dollarama and Dollar Tree. Be careful at Dollarama though many items are more than a buck! Look for value.

Thrift Stores

The third place I hit is thrift stores. I have shopped a Value Village in the past for Halloween but they are now getting almost as expensive as Walmart and other retailers when it comes to Halloween costumes.  My current favourite places to thrift shop for Halloween in Toronto right now happens to be the Salvation Army thrift stores. We have found some great costumes and dress up clothes at thrift stores by keeping our eyes peeled.

Save Money on Candy Shopping

Do you have hundreds of kids hitting your house? You can save on Halloween candy as well. We found a couple of bags of candy that we know kids love at Dollarama for three dollars a bag but to save on things like chips, chocolate bars, and Twizzlers check your sales flyers the two weeks before Halloween.  With your Flipp app, simply enter the word Halloween or candy in the search bar and watch all the adds appear. Simply clip your favourite or the best buy and remember you can price match at stores like Walmart and the Superstore.

Thes are my tips for a budget-friendly happy Halloween. How do you celebrate Halloween without breaking the bank?

 

Flipp for Holiday Decor

It is the season to pull out the holiday decor and get ready for Halloween and then Christmas, it will be here sooner than you think. Many love this time of year and try to make a spooktacular scene in their yards and windows. During this time of year, it is such a beautiful sight to see as you walk around the different neighbourhoods.

Whether it is for Halloween or Christmas, start flipping and find the right holiday decor for you.

Since there are still a few weeks until October 31st, Flipp will help you find the best deals and coupons and maybe a nice rebate for your December shopping.

Holiday Decor

Walmart – Valid October 12 – October 18, 2017

holiday decor

Michael’s – Valid October 13 – October 19, 2017

Halloween

Make it Spooky with 50% off.

Michael’s is a favourite store where the become inspired. There are so many different ideas, completed decor and ones that you create yourself.

Christmas

I was the store a few weeks back and it got me in a creative mood. So many ideas sprung to mind on creating snowmen, one of my favourite winter collectibles.

Hudsons’s Bay -Valid October 13 – October 19, 2017

Add to your collection of ornaments with 25 % off.

Downloaded the Flipp app and don’t miss out on savings and cash back. Download Flipp from Google Play or the App Store and start saving.

If you haven’t started using the coupons and rebates with the app, you can find some helpful information with Flipp’s Guide to Rebates. Print off your coupons to match them with deals. Trust me the app is something you will be thankful to have on your phone.

Don’t forget to add all your loyalty cards to Flipp so you always have them with you. Saving you even more and helping you earn the things you want.

Do you decorate your yard? Is it scary?

Two Things You Can Do Today to Start Living Frugally

Ever feel overwhelmed at the thought of living frugally. Sometimes we are living on tight budgets, paycheck to paycheck and things can seem daunting. Sometimes we say we are too busy, we don’t have enough cash flow to make any changes. Ever talked yourself out of making a change? If you ever wished you were more frugal, today is the day to start. There are two things you can do to start this journey today.

Learn to Prioritize

It’s great that you want to save money. Really, it is but it does take effort. If you want to start living frugally you must be committed to a lifestyle shift.  Please realize I do not spend oodles of time each day thinking of ways to save money every day. After a while, it does become automatic but first, you have to learn to say no, you have to learn how to prioritize. Yes, you will need to cut some things. When I cut the cable, it seemed like I would have nothing to watch but I have found ways to watch great shows while maintaining my budget. You will learn you need to cut the fluff to make room for things that are actually important like planning for the long term, thinking of family vacations, that major purchase you have dreamed of making, retirement and the like.

Set Realistic Goals

Have you made the commitment to live a more frugal life? That is great! Let’s build on that commitment, by setting realistic goals. Let’s get cozy. Sit down with your spouse or family and have a real talk about what is important to you as a family. What are the things you love? What is important to you? Knowing what is really important to you as a family moving forward will help you set realistic goals. You will know your why.  Pick two or three.

Start with two or three long-term goals, if you choose more you may get overwhelmed. For instance, if you set the goal of being debt free, taking a trip, planning for retirement, planning for an emergency fund all at once you may feel overwhelmed. It is okay to take baby steps but you have to get started and the best way to do that is by making two or three realistic goals. Once you have those goals in place, you can chunk it down it to smaller goals.

Here is an example:

You want a new car and you plan on saving so you can pay cash for that car. Your car budget is $10,000 and you would like to purchase that car in the next two years.

You have to save $5,000 a year or 416.00 per month or 96.00 every week.

When you lay out your goals, know where the money is coming from, if you have cut from one area you can move that money to your savings. Are you going to also sell things to help get you there? Are you going to look for extra work? Part of realistic goal setting is knowing how it can be achieved. Make a plan, the work the plan.

Yes, making goals takes time but it is time well spent. Once you have started working on your goals, you will want to track your progress as this will keep you motivated.

By learning to prioritize and making goals you are starting to take baby steps to a frugal rewarding life. If you were just starting on a frugal lifestyle what tips or tricks have worked for you?

 

Cat Adoption: Things to Think About #ChurchandDwight #ad

When my daughter was little we were cat people. Fact is we would have a cat right now if our landlord allowed pets (there is a no pet rule as someone has an allergy). We had two beautiful cats, Tiger and Bandit. Tiger, we got as a kitten but Bandit was an older cat when we adopted him. We have experience with both kittens and older senior cats.

There are many things that get better with age, and a feline friend is one of them! If you’re thinking about adopting a kitten or know someone who is, ask that they consider a senior cat instead. Sure, kittens are cute, but adult cats have a great deal going for them. Read and share this list of why adopting a senior cat might be right for you!

  • Senior cats are some of the hardest to find homes for — so when you adopt a senior cat you’re literally saving a life! This is a great life lesson to instill in your little ones.
  • A senior cat’s personality has already developed, so you’ll know right away from your first encounter if he or she is a good fit for your family.
  • A senior cat won’t grow any larger, so you’ll know exactly what you’re signing up for. Plus, you won’t have to upgrade to a larger cat house or litter box as they continue to grow.
  • A senior cat may be house-trained with basic etiquette and not attack feet, bite hands or use the couch or carpet as a scratching post.
  • Senior cats are often already litter trained and are less likely to “forget” where the box is. To help keep cats happy about their litter box, no matter what their age, use a quality cat litter like Arm & Hammer Slide. It traps odours for 7 days, and is dust-free with a soft texture that’s easy on paws. What’s best is the patented EZ Clean technology means the used litter slides right out! No more scrubbing or scraping the bottom of the box!
  • Senior cats are often content to just relax in your company, unlike younger cats, who may get into mischief because they’re bored. Bandit loved to snuggle with my daughter.

Did you Know? With Friday, the 13th approaching, it’s important to remember that senior cats aren’t the only ones that tend to be forgotten – black cats are too. The superstitions that surround black cats have a real impact on them finding a forever home. Remember, the idea that black cats bring bad luck is nothing but a myth so don’t let that stand in your way of welcoming a deserving cat into your family.

Have you adopted a senior or black cat? I’d love to hear about your experience.

To adopt a senior or black cat or learn more about cat adoption, visit your local SPCA or go online.

*this post is sponsored by Church and Dwight. As always my opinions are my own.

Simple Things You Can Do to Improve Your Mental Health

Today is World Mental Health Day. Here on my blog, I have talked about mental health some as like many Canadian families we have struggled with mental health issues and there is a real struggle going on. It has been five years since my teenage daughter had a major mental health episode. It has been five years of recovery. Working on our mental health is something we take as important as our physical health.  So how can you improve your mental health?

Give Yourself a Break

Often we are our own worst enemies.  We need to treat ourselves with the kindness we would give to others. Avoid self-criticism and show yourself love and respect. Make time for the things that matter to you. Make the things you enjoy a priority.  If you love bubble baths like me, take one. Love to take photos, take great shots. Love to read, immerse yourself in a great read.

Look after You

One of the things I have not been great at is looking after myself. The physical me that is. If you want to be healthy mentally, you need to take care of your body. You need to eat healthily. Water intake is also important as is getting enough sleep and exercise. I have also started taking supplements.  Sometimes going for a walk is the perfect medicine.

Quiet Your Mind

I am not sure if you are like me but my mind can be going a mile a minute. For me, prayer helps me focus and turn things over to a higher power. For others meditation works. For me, prayer time has become an important daily ritual.

Find Your Tribe

The people you allow in your life become your tribe. Find a support network. If you are feeling friendless, alone, reach out. My teen was feeling this way recently especially right after her graduation. She started attending events that she enjoyed and met some cool new friends. She is now hanging out with them on a weekly basis. They have become a support network for her.

Volunteer

When you give to others, you can not help but feel good. It is also a great way to meet like-minded people. I have met some incredible people when I have volunteered even celebrities so you never know.

Seek Help

When things seem to be spirally out of control, we often isolate ourselves. I know I did but this is the time when we need to be seeking help.

Let me know what do you do to work on your mental health?