Archive for Frugal Tips

Simple Ways to Cut Costs on your Next Family Road Trip

roadtrip

There’s perhaps nothing that encapsulates summer quite like loading the kids in the car, packing a cooler, and driving off to the beach for a weekend! If you’re planning a longer holiday, however, it’s all too easy to underestimate the expense involved. Road tripping can be a great way to save money on travel, but there are a number of costs both obvious and hidden that can derail your budget. Keep the following tips in mind to leave more money in your wallet for souvenirs and ice cream.

roadtrip Simple Ways to Cut Costs on your Next Family Road Trip

 

Image Source: Nils Fretwurst/Wikimedia Commons

Travel in a crowd.

Team up with your friends and neighbours for your next road trip, and you could save a bundle. Carpooling can help you save money on fuel, while sharing the cost of accommodation allows you to gain access to a hotel room, large rental house or condo at a lower cost per person. When it comes to attractions and entertainment, you could also benefit from group entry discounts.

Download money-saving apps.

There are a number of smartphone apps specifically designed to help you save money while travelling, many of which are completely free to download! Try using apps like Gas Buddy to compare fuel prices, or read reviews of local dining establishments using apps like Yelp to find cost-effective and delicious options in your area.

Avoid rest stop treats.

Venturing off the beaten path is all part of the fun, but it can also leave you with few options when it comes to dining. In truly remote areas, you may be hard-pressed to find lunch outside of a rest stop vending machine. Bear in mind that these tend to carry steep prices and little nutritional value. As you start planning your journey, think ahead and locate larger supermarkets along the way where you can stock up on sandwich fixings and healthy snacks ahead of time.

Drive economically.

Fuel is one of the major expenses on a road trip. In addition to using apps to find cheaper fuel on your route, the type of car you drive and your driving style can reduce gas costs. Check out sites like Carsales to compare efficiency ratings before you choose a car for your journey, and maximize your efficiency by driving at a smooth, even pace whenever possible. Avoid slamming on the brakes and take your time on the motorway to get more bang for your buck.

Leave room in the budget for tolls and parking fees.

When you’re working out a budget for your next adventure, you’ll undoubtedly factor in costs like food, accommodation, and fuel. However, don’t forget the smaller costs that can really add up over the course of a few weeks. Bridge and road tolls are commonplace in many countries, and if you’re visiting big cities you’ll need to cough up money for secure parking garages while you go exploring. Many national parks and campgrounds also charge daily parking fees, so always try to have some spare change on hand.

By considering all of these costs ahead of time, you can work them into your budget and hit the road on a fun family adventure that won’t break the bank!

 

Getting the Backyard Ready for Summer

patio

Well it is that time of year finally, time to really get ready for summer and some backyard fun. The long weekend is quickly approaching and there is much to do to be ready. In our house we finished exams this week, so it really is the start of our summer but we have been lagging and the patio and backyard are not ready for all the use it will get this summer. Guess after the winter we had we simply did not want to believe that yes summer would come. If you are anything like us the patio furniture for the backyard may need a little work.

But after being stored since last summer the patio stuff is a little dirty.Now, OxiCleanTM Versatile Stain Remover Powder has over 101 uses on multiple surfaces like patio furniture, unfinished decks, carpet, upholstery, kitchen and bath surfaces, and even works outdoors on gutters.  If you are using it for metal surfaces, make sure to rinse well, immediately.

 Want a great cleaning recipe?

 

Grab a spray bottle, some gloves, your garden hose and get to cleaning!

 

June 8514 2 1024x676 Getting the Backyard Ready for Summer

  1. Mix 1/8 of a scoop of OxiCleanTM Versatile Stain Remover Powder with 2 cups of hot water into a spray bottle.
  2. Spray all over the furniture and let it sit for 10 – 30 minutes, if metal rinse immediately.
  3. Scrub that grime away with ease then give it a quick hose down.

patio 1024x682 Getting the Backyard Ready for Summer

 

The patio furniture for the backyard will be just like new and we will be ready to enjoy all this summer will bring whether it is reading a good book, or having a drink by the fire.

*this post is sponsored by Church &Dwight, I am one of their Brand Ambassadors this year, as always the opinions are mine. 

Savory Gluten Free Breakfast Porridge

Savory Gluten Free Breakfast Porridge

Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day so as I try and get to the #healthyme I have been playing in the kitchen and love trying new recipes like this one for a great porridge that fills you up and helps you start the day right.

2014 05 31 1 04 21 PM Savory Gluten Free Breakfast Porridge

Savory Gluten Free Breakfast Porridge

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water or milk
  • 4 Tbsp cream of rice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • Dash of paprika
  • Crumbled goat cheese

Directions

In a small pan on the stove top, bring 1 cup of water or milk to a boil.

Stir in cream of rice and salt. Cook for a few minutes until it becomes thick.

Remove from the pan and place in a bowl.

Boil water again and poach an egg.

Add crumbled cheese to the top of the rice porridge and place the cooked, poached egg on top.

Sprinkle paprika on top.

How to Barbecue on a Budget

Barbecue on a Budget

2014 03 01 18.57.32 4 1024x576 How to Barbecue on a Budget

It’s that time of year, after a long winter many of us Canadians grilled this past weekend. Well it got me thinking about how much money we spend on our grilling. It is possible to barbecue on a budget.  You do not have to spend much to have a great healthy meal when you choose to use your barbecue. Barbecuing can deliver those sweet tangy tastes we all love while saving you some money if you follow these rules.

Spend a little on your grill

A good grill can last you up to 7 years, if you take care of it. So this is one place to invest a little of your hard earned dollar. A cheap grill will last you the season, so spend a little for something that will work for years. Read the reviews and research, spend a few hundred dollars and get something that will last.

Take care of your grill.

For it to last, you have to make it your baby. Clean it properly at the beginning of the season and at the end, but beyond that get rid of any ashes when they are cool, and make sure you oil the grates well before and after you use your grill. As well don’t forget to cover it when you are not using it. Last week I shared one tip about cleaning it. Did you know to use Baking soda to clean your grill?

Make your own sauces and rubs

Look at the cost of the sauces and rubs. Have you checked them out lately? Ouch. Well first you can make healthier ones by making your own ( Homemade ones have less sugar and salt and are better for you). Need some inspiration. Check out Pinterest.

Save money when buying Meat

I have two ways I save money when buying meat, one my butcher knows best. If I head over to visit him I get some really good deals and a dose of knowledge. I have also learned that game meat tastes wonderful barbecued. The other I use my money saving apps like Flipp to check for the best prices that week. I have been able to find get prices on chicken, steak, hot dogs and prepared hamburgers this way.

Remember Your Veggies

One of the things we often think about when barbecuing is the meat but think about adding vegetables to the grill. I love grilled vegetables and they and substance and nutrition to the meal.

Make Extras

One of the things I like about grilled anything, is often the next day it tastes better. You can make enough for 2 meals instead of just one, and have your main meal for the next day as well.

how to barbecue on a budget How to Barbecue on a Budget

These are just some of the ways I save when barbecuing. How do you save money when grilling at your house? Let us know in the comments or when you join the #cdnmoney chat on Tuesday May 20th at 7 pm EST on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 Simple Ways to Clean with Baking Soda and Giveaway

spring cleaning giveaway

We have been talking about Spring cleaning for much of the months of April and May on my blog because we had a very long and dreary winter. There has been lots to clean. One of the things I have used most when cleaning is one of the things my mom cleaned with when I was a young girl- baking soda. It seems I am always reaching for a box of Arm & Hammer baking soda. So I thought I would share some of my 15 simple ways of cleaning with baking soda.

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1. We all know to keep a box of baking soda in the fridge right? It helps to eliminate odors. Food definitely tastes fresher longer when you have a box that is fresh in the fridge. Make sure you change it out every 30 days to keep your food tasting fresh.

2. Since it is spring cleaning time I use baking soda when I am cleaning the silver. I have a beautiful silver tea pot and well I clean it with baking soda to keep it clean and shiny. Use 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water.

3.  Scrub your chopping boards to keep them clean and ready to use with baking soda.

4. Make a scrub by adding a wee bit of  coarse salt and dish soap for a very safe cleaner for cleaning tiles, sinks and I have even it to clean walls of scruff marks.

5. Clean your microwave with baking soda on a damp sponge to clean both the inside and outside. Make sure you rinse well.

6. Breaking out the BBQ and summer dishes?Scrub your grill with Baking soda and a brush for a fresh start to the season.

7. Soak pots and pans with a hot water and baking soda for 15 minutes to get rid of any baked on messes.

8. Have kids? Clean toys safely. Mix 4 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 quart of water. Make sure you rinse them well.

9. Use baking soda on your carpets to keep them smelling good. Sprinkle and wait 15 minutes then vacuum.

10. Cleaning the floors, to get rid of all the dirt and grime that built up on those tile floors use 1/2 cup of baking soda in a bucket of hot water. Mop and rinse.

11. Clean shower curtains by sprinkling a wee bit of baking soda to a damp sponge. Scrub the curtain, rinse and hang to dry.

12. Have sports gear? clean sports gear with a baking soda solution (4 tablespoons baking soda in 1 quart warm water) to clean and deodorize all that sports gear. Sprinkle baking soda into golf bags and gym bags to deodorize, clean golf irons (without scratching them!) with a baking soda paste (3 parts baking soda to 1 part water) and a brush. Don’t forget to rinse.

13. Cleaning your car after a long winter. Baking soda can even come in handy. Use it to clean your car lights, chrome, wiindows,tires, vinyl seats, and floor mats. Use a solution on 1/4 cup baking soda in 1 quart of water. Your car should sparkle.

14.Sprinkle a wee bit of baking soda in the bottom of trash cans to eliminate odors.

15. Have pet beds in the house? Sprinkle pet beds with baking soda, wait 15 minutes, then vacuum well.

Now from Church & Dwight A Spring Cleaning Prize Pack which will include:

spring cleaning 15 Simple Ways to Clean with Baking Soda and Giveaway

 

 

  • Arm & Hammer™ Baking Soda
  • Arm & Hammer™ Carpet & Room Odour Eliminator
  • OxiClean™ Versatile Stain Remover Powder
  • OxiClean™ 4X Concentrated Extreme Power Crystals Dishwasher Detergent
  • OxiClean™ Dishwashing 2in1 Booster + Rinse Agent
  • Scrub Free Bleach Mildew Remover
  • Arm & Hammer™ Coldwater Liquid Laundry Detergent Coupon

*Open to Canadians only. Please enter via the Rafflecopter and it ends on May 30th, 2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*photo credit-Gift Basket photo taken by Kim Logan of Tales of a Ranting Ginger.

* I am able to offer this giveaway as I am a brand ambassador for Church & Dwight. I have been compensated for this post by as always that does not change my opinion or the content.

 

 

 

 

 

A Recipe for Apple Cinnamon Bread

AppleCinnamonBread

Love those expensive specialty breads? We love bread in this house..we tried going gluten free but found for us we are not gluten intolerant, so while we have less in this house we are not gluten free and well sometimes even as I get healthy we like a treat. I have always loved apples and cinnamon, so why not an apple cinnamon bread. By making it at home you are also saving money.

AppleCinnamonBread A Recipe for Apple Cinnamon Bread

Apple Cinnamon Bread

Ingredients
• 3 cups flour
• ¾ cup sugar
• 3 tsp baking powder
• 2 Tbsp yeast
• 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
• 1 1/2c buttermilk
• ½ cup plain yogurt
• 1 Tbsp molasses
• 2 eggs
• Pinch of salt
• 1 cup diced apples
Streusel Topping
• 1/4c brown sugar
• 2 tsp flour
• 1 Tbsp cinnamon
• 3 Tbsp butter

Apple Bread Before Baking A Recipe for Apple Cinnamon Bread

 

 

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 375F.
In a large mixing bowl add flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
In a small bowl mix yeast with ¼ c warm water and a pinch of sugar, allow to sit until it begins to foam.
Add eggs, yogurt, buttermilk, yeast, and molasses to flour mixture and mix with a spatula until everything is combined. Taking care not to over mix.
Fold in chopped apples.
To make the streusel topping place brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter in a bowl. Use your fingers to break apart the butter and create a grainy texture.
Grease two bread pans or line with parchment paper and add half of the bread dough to each one. Sprinkle half of the streusel topping on each loaf.
Bake for 45-60 minutes until a knife comes out of the center clean.

Let me know if you want to see more frugal recipes on CommonCentsMom.

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas on a Dime

cdnmoney-twitter-chat-Mothers-Day-Gifts-on-a-Dime

It’s that time of the year again, a day to celebrate our mothers. Celebrations are a wonderful thing and as much as we might love to spoil our mothers on Mother’s Day with great gifts we have to stick to a budget. So what are some Mother’s Day gift ideas that won’t break the bank, ones full of love and meaning?

cdnmoney twitter chat Mothers Day Gifts on a Dime Mothers Day Gift Ideas on a Dime

Well this is going to be the topic we talk about this Tuesday night for the #cdnmoney chat from 7-8pm EST. Join @ChristaClips and myself as we talk about meaningful gifts on a budget. We are asking that you RSVP this week as we have a special giveaway.

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One gift idea is to give a gift that not only your mom will enjoy wearing but helps Maasi Mamas with health care visits. I wrote a post about this special project on Friday. To make this chat more special Christa and I will be giving away one bracelet ( that we order–non sponsored) to one who is on the chat with us Tuesday night.

Now what are some other ideas for those on a budget how can we celebrate our moms and for those gifts to have some meaning?

1. I am a sentimentalist. I still love the homemade gift made with love. I know this year I am getting a Rachel creation, and I take joy in that as I know she has been working on it in art class this past month. Simple homemade gifts can show you care. Over on my Pinterest boards I have some ideas you may like.

MothersDayonaBudget 1024x547 Mothers Day Gift Ideas on a Dime

 

2. How about the gift of time. So often we are in a hurry and our time with mom is short. So why not spend some time this mother’s day with your mom doing something she loves. Maybe it is a favorite card game, or board game, maybe you garden together, our moms deserve our time.

3. Live far away from your mother, why not send her an old fashioned letter? Moms love to get mail.

4. Give to her favorite charity in her name. Moms often have enough stuff, and this says you care about the things that are important to her.

5. Give mom time off, let her sleep in, clean her house for her, do the chores she hates or maybe she has some yard work that needs to be done.

6. You could create a digital photo album using a Facebook app like Pixily to curate all the family photos she loves. Include her favorite quotes or sayings for added effect.

There are many ways to help your mother celebrate Mother’s day on a budget. So how are you going to be celebrating Mother’s Day on a dime?

To RSVP for the chance to win the beautiful Neno Mom bracelet from the Maasi Moms please fill out the linky below.

 

 

 

Arm & Hammer™ Has Your Back For Spring Cleaning

Arm&Hammer

ArmHammer Arm & Hammer™ Has Your Back For Spring Cleaning 

Spring is finally here!  It’s been a long winter and as we move into spring it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with tasks to get our families and our homes ready for the warmer weather.  The makers of Arm & Hammer™  would like to help make the whole process easier on you with these tips for getting everything from your kitchen, to your laundry, to your patio sparkling clean, all while saving you money!

Make a list – Start by listing out every room of your house, without forgetting places like the utility room, laundry room, garage and closets. Then, think about cleaning tasks for each room. It’s satisfying to cross things off your list as you complete them.

Work from the top down, inside to outside, to make sure you don’t get what you just cleaned dirty again.

For clothes, do your washing in cold water. Using a detergent specially formulated for use in cold water like ARM & HAMMER™ Coldwater Laundry Detergent, not only gets out dirt and odours in low temperatures, but saves you money on your energy bill at the same time, compared to using hot water. At busy times like this when you’re likely doing multiple loads, it can make a big difference.

Clean one room, or even one area of one room, at a time to avoid unfinished jobs. The satisfaction of seeing one room sparkle will make the hard work feel like it’s worth the effort.

One of the most powerful and effective kitchen cleaners available today can already be found in most Canadian households.  Did you know that baking soda has more than 101 uses around the home and is inexpensive and can be used safely around the whole family? Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

o   Keep your fridge smelling fresh all season long with odour-eliminating products such as ARM & HAMMER™ Fridge Fresh™.  For best results, replace every three months. Helpful hint: change with the change of the seasons – like right now for spring! Baking Soda helps eliminate strong odours in both the fridge and freezer to help foods taste fresher longer.

o   Instead of harsh chemical cleaners, use baking soda as natural and food-safe surface cleanser on your kitchen counters. Sprinkle it onto a damp sponge or cloth to wipe surfaces clean.

o   To restore the shine in your sterling and silver plate serving pieces, make a baking soda paste with 3 parts ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda to 1 part water.  Rub onto the silver with a clean cloth or sponge till tarnish disappears.  Rinse thoroughly and dry for a sparkling clean shine.

o   Before you pull out your patio furniture for the season, give it a thorough cleaning with baking soda. You can also keep your outdoor furniture fresh by sprinkling a little baking soda underneath cushions or inside the storage bag.

Last but not least, start early! When it’s cold and dreary outside, it’s the perfect time to get those spring cleaning chores done. Then, when the sun beckons from outside, you’ll be ready to jump right into spring, guilt-free!

Do you have any tried and tested spring cleaning tricks?  Tell us!

 

Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

TipsForEatingHealthy

TipsForEatingHealthy 1024x680 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

If you’re like most people today, a good portion of your monthly budget goes towards purchasing food. There’s no shortage of options; from creating meals from scratch, purchasing ready-made meals from the market, eating out at restaurants, or hitting the drive thru window there are associated costs, both physical and financial involved. If you’re looking to eat better while still keeping your budget on a diet here are five ways to do both. I have been definitely trying to get healthy on a budget.

1)      Meal Plan.

How can you be sure you’re staying on track with your eating and your budget? By making a plan! Everyone can use a road map to help them be successful. Meal planning is a must for anyone who wants to eat better and watch their spending. Some people choose to only plan dinners, while others map out each meal and snack. Find a system that works for you and stick with it. You’ll be sure to purchase only the food you need – or to plan your meals better based on the budget you have available. When I am meal planning I use my Flipp app to make my list. 

2)      Get in Your Kitchen!

You’ve heard it before, but one of the best ways to save money while eating healthy is to get in the kitchen and make the food you’ll be eating. Don’t rely on processed foods for your family meals. This allows you to control the ingredients that are being used and whole ingredients are less expensive than purchasing meals. The trade-off is that it will take some of your time – but probably not as much as you think. Keep your meal options simple, use fresh whole ingredients.

3)      Eat in Season.

The price of strawberries in December is staggering. Today, thanks to a global marketplace, we’re fortunate to have access to almost all fruits and vegetables year round. The further your food has to travel the more expensive it will be. If you consciously make an effort to choose produce selections that are in season you will see a major cost savings.

4)      Cut Back on Meat.

Meat is expensive to purchase, and if you want to buy free range or organic products you’ll see an even higher price tag. You don’t have to completely turn away from meat but cutting back on the amount used in recipes or swapping for a less expensive option can save you money while still enjoying the taste and health benefits found in meat. A swap example would be to choose a locally caught lake fish instead of an imported ocean fish. Just like produce, meat and fish also have seasons. Take some time to learn when your favorites are in season and stock up. Freezing meat for later is a great way to take advantage of sales.

5)      Look at grocery store alternatives.

One stop shopping is attractive for the convenience however it might not save you money. Seek out other sources for the items you enjoy. Some gas stations sell produce like onions, potatoes and bananas for a fraction of their grocery store competitors. Investing in a Good Food Box ( here in Toronto)  is another way to try out great, local produce. People pay a flat fee up front  then weekly or bi-weekly get a box of produce that has been harvested mostly locally. If the cost and amount of produce is too much for your family you can pair up with a friend to split a subscription. Have you checked out a local farmer’s market lately? 

These are just a few ways you can save money and eat better. What other tips do you have? Do you do any of these things already?  Join us on TuesdayApril 29th for the #cdnmoney chat from 7-8 pm EST. 

9 Tips for Organizing Your Fridge

Fridge_Organizing

Fridge Organizing Text1 9 Tips  for Organizing Your Fridge

With me trying to get healthy this year I have been learning how important being organized is.

One of the most often used areas in the kitchen is the refrigerator.  So, it makes sense to organize this space just like you would your pantry and cupboards. In this post, I’ll share 9 tips to better organize your refrigerator to best utilize the space you have.

Basic Arrangement

Start by grouping similar things together, such as lunch items, snack items, fruits, vegetables, dinner items, leftovers, and condiments. Put all of your cheese together, vegetables and fruits in crisper drawers and so on.

Use Adjustable Shelving

If your refrigerator has adjustable shelving, use this to your advantage and organize your refrigerator to your individual needs.  If you end up with one tall section and only a couple items in it, use stacking bins to take up the rest of the room so the full height and width of the shelf is utilized.

Lower Shelves

Often people use the bottom drawers for fruit and vegetables. These are typically the coldest part of the refrigerator, making them perfect for storing raw meat.  The drawer will catch any possible drips making cleanup easy. By lining the bottom of the drawer with paper towels, you can easily mop up any leakage and dispose of it.

Use the Door

Take full advantage of the shelves on the door.  Condiments usually fit great on the door, and if wide enough juice containers or juice boxes can fit neatly. You’ll want to take care not to make the items on the door shelves too heavy, or risk the shelf giving way and sending all your bottles to the floor.

Roll Out Caddy

It seems inevitable that you end up with lots of little things pushed deep to the back of the fridge. Instead consider a roll out caddy. This makes it easy to see what you have and makes everything easier to reach.  You can find inexpensive caddies that are made for cabinets but will work just as well in your refrigerator.

See Through Plastic Bins

Rather than unloading everything out onto the kitchen floor to find that packet of taco sauce or piece of cheese, keep small items grouped together in clear ‘see-thru’ bins. This will help you save time as you’ll be able to see what’s there at a glance.

Built In Egg Holder

Most refrigerators come with some sort of built in egg holder, whether it is a permanent part of the door or a tray that fits in the door shelf.  Put your eggs in the holder! This saves space (the egg carton you purchased your eggs in won’t be taking up space) and helps prevent broken eggs.

The Not-So-Lazy Susan

If you still have small items that won’t fit in your see through bins and are too small for the shelf, a turntable or lazy Susan might do the trick. Put a ‘Lazy Susan’ in an open space in the refrigerator and set the small bottles or jars on it. Now with one spin you can see everything without digging around.  You’ve also freed up that door space for taller, bulkier items.

Leftovers Storage Area

The dreaded box of leftovers wedged in the back corner with a layer of unidentifiable fuzz on top – we’ve all been there. Instead, designate one shelf or part of a shelf just for leftovers. Alternately consider freezing leftovers for a meal later on when you don’t want to cook. Use containers and you’ll easily see everything you have to eat.  The key to using leftovers is keeping them handy and visible.

Organizing your refrigerator will take some work to begin with. However, once it’s set up you’ll only need to spend a little time keeping things in order. Make sure you check your leftover bin every few days and review what you have on hand.