Archive for Frugal Tips

How to Save More on Groceries: Jan 22-28th, 2016

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Last week I introduced my readers to a new weekly feature here on CommonCentsMom. With the dollar at a low, and some produce being in short supply we have to get creative and try and stretch our dollars further.

How am I able to do that?

1. I menu plan. Last week I shared a free printable to help you with your menu planning. Why menu plan? You end up spending less when you have a plan. Here is that free printable once again!

free menu planning printable

2. I make a list. These days I make that list on my Flipp app. Why shop with a list? You get everything you need and are less likely to impulse shop thus spending less.

3. I have made technology my friend and use apps regularly to help me find the best prices and deals. I love using apps like Flipp and Caddle especially.

So what is on my menu plan this week based on what’s on sale?

Mon-Sunday Menu Plan

(This gives me the weekend to shop)

Breakfasts:

1. scrambled eggs with veggies tossed in and a slice of toast

2. steel cut oats with maple sryup and clementine

3. greek yogurt with raspberries and Wheatbix

 

Lunch:

Monday: left overs from the steak on Sunday night, green salad, dressing

Tuesday: baked potato cauliflower soup

Wednesday: tuna salad with lettuce and tomatoes

Thursday: baked potato cauliflower soup

Friday: at event

Saturday: healthy pizza

Sunday: Brocolli mac n cheese

Chciken Enchilada Soup-0721

 

Dinner:

Monday- Lentil Tacos 

Tuesday- salmon, rice, broccoli

Wednesday- Chicken Enchilada Soup

Thursday- Turkey Chili (From the fixate cookbook)

Friday- leftovers

Sunday- Roast chicken, roast sweet potaotes, carrots

Shopping List:

Most of these are on sale this week:

Chicken Breasts (Prime): $10.00 (Superstore)

Eggs (Large Grade A): $2.49 (Shoppers Drug Market)

Brocolli: $1.98 (Superstore)- $.25 from Caddle App =$1.73

Cauliflower: $1.98 (Food Basics) -$.25 from Caddle App=$1.73

Greek Yogurt: $2.49 (Highland Farms)

Lettuce(frisee): $2.49 (Fortinos)

Spinach: $1.79 (Fortinos)

Roma Tomatoes: $.97 (No Frills)

Clementines: $3.97 (No Frills)

Rainbow Peppers: $2.97 (Walmart)

Turkey bacon $3.99 ( Sobeys)

Diced Tomatoes: $1.00 ( Sobeys)

Cilantro: (NO DEALS)

Cheese: $4.99 (Price Chopper)

Hummus :$3 (Sobeys)

Carrots: $1.67 (Walmart)

Beans: $1 (Sobeys)

Cucumber: $1.99 (Sobeys)

Rasberries; $1.97 (No Frills)

Milk: $3.97 (Shoppers Drug Mart)

Lentils: (NO DEALS)

The rest of what is needed is in the house and I always shop my pantry first.

All of this menu plan and grocery list are 21 day fix approved. Want to see how I am doing as I make this year about getting #focusedfitandfab and reach my #healthyme goals follow me on Instagram.

 

 

Grocery Prices Are Going Up, But Your Food Budget Is Not!

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It’s a new year and with that comes word of higher prices in our grocery stores. Canadians have been seeing headlines in the news of this that read: “Food Prices Continue to Rise” and “Grocery Bills To Get Bigger In 2016 Due To Increased Food Costs, Sinking Loonie”. Where does that put us as the consumer? What can we do to continue to keep ourselves within our budgets and keep money in our banks while still being able to put the same amount of food on the table as we did before the prices started climbing?

As a mom of three and a family of five, I am always extremely conscientious about my weekly budget and my meal planning to ensure I get the most out of my weekly grocery budget. However, with these increased prices I am finding that even I have to up my game and figure out where I can save more. To do this, I decided to take a walk through some of my local grocery stores not to shop necessarily but to really get a good insight into where else I can save other then my flyer deals. shopping apps, price matching, weekly in-store deals, and coupons. Below are my findings.

In each store, I found little pockets of savings areas. Meat section 30-50% off meat, Pro-duce Reduced items, Bakery 50% off racks, as well as random shelves and bins in stores with reduced items. Each store had, at least, one or more of these areas, meat be-ing the most common but one, in particular, had all of these sweet little savings areas in one store, Loblaws (just to note here that I do not work for nor endorse Loblaws, they just had everything in one store). Although I don’t think Loblaws always has the best prices when items are regularly priced, I do feel that between their  PC Points program and their further savings of quick for sale reduced items I can really save my money when I shop there.

Items in these areas change daily but I guarantee that you will find some great deals and save money on your grocery bill, especially on the meat.

These are just some extra tips above and beyond what we can do to save money every-day other then our flyer deals, price matching, shopping apps, and coupons.

You can find out more about the writer behind this post Allison Rouble at https://about.me/alli-son_rouble or my blogs PandeMommium.com and GENdMOM.com and https://allisonrou-ble.wordpress.com/.

A Deal Is Not Always a Deal

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clearance prices

Deal, Sale, Reduced, Lowest, Clearance. I love all of those words and more that draw my attention to getting a good deal on anything that has to do with my household spending, but none more then when it reflects a price difference on my grocery bill. As a family of five it goes without saying we go through a lot of food during the week and living on a grocery budget is one of the key elements of successfully staying on task with our monthly financial plan.

 

So when is a deal NOT a deal. Yes it’s advertised in the flyer, it has all the bright colours around it, the lowered price is jumping off the page at you, your attention has been grabbed, your heart is racing from the rush that getting a great deal brings and you feel like you MUST go straight out and stock up on it before it is gone from the shelves.

 

I am a Mom who coupons and deal hunts. I watch out the window on Thursday’s waiting eagerly for my flyers to arrive and I ready my grocery apps on my phone to spend an entire day going from store to store price matching and looking for in store deals. However, I am here to tell you that a deal is not always a deal if you don’t need it and especially if its not on your list. Around here we go week to week with our grocery spending, and although I might see that soup is on sale for $1 a can and I feel like I need to buy 10-20 cans of it at such a great price, that takes away from $10-$20 of my weekly budget that I could spend on 4-7 other items I need.

 

It took me a long time to learn this. I would jump on the deal and spend where I did not need to. I would stock up and have a ton of soup, pasta sauce, frozen corn, whatever the deal was, but then I was short the money to buy what I did need for the week.  Don’t get me wrong, a good deal is still a good deal, it’s just not a deal you might need to splurge on ‘This Week’. Spend on the items you need to round out your weekly grocery list. I have learned that there is always going to be a good deal but that does not mean I need to spend on it.

 

You can find more out about Allison Rouble at https://about.me/allison_rouble

or my blogs PandeMommium.com and GENdMOM.com and https://allisonrouble.wordpress.com/

Give Thanks in Style this Thanksgiving with a #Giveaway

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Thanksgiving is the time of year for expressing thanks and spending quality time with our family and friends. This Thanksgiving fill your home great style and good cheer by adding in a few simple decor, prep and clean up tips from one of our favorite ladies, HGTV’s Sarah Baeumler:

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 A Giveaway

 

Our friends at OxiClean™ want to help make holiday hosting easier by giving away one OxiClean™ prize pack containing an assortment of products from Canada’s #1 stainfighter. Fight stains throughout your home and laundry with OxiClean™. For more information on these products go to www.oxiclean.ca

List of OxiClean products included in giveaway:

–          OxiClean™ Versatile Stain Remover 680 g

–          OxiClean™  White Revive 1.28kg/42 loads

–          OxiClean™ Liquid Laundry Detergent in Fresh Scent 1.42L/32wl

–          OxiClean™ Extreme Power Crystals™ Dishwasher Detergent 42 PAK (756 g) Tub

–          OxiClean™ Triple Action Dishwasher Booster 461ml

Approximate value = $40.00

To enter just fill out the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

5 Simple Ways to Do Thanksgiving on a Budget

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Here in Canada, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. For many homes this is the week to get ready for this wonderful holiday with family and friends. Who doesn’t love the smell of a turkey roasting or cranberries simmering on the stove. I know it is one of our favourite holidays. From decor to dessert we put time and attention into the little details and it is important for use to do thanksgiving on a budget. So how do we do thanksgiving on a budget?

GIVE

First, we think of ways we can give back, after all we have much to be thankful for. Did you know many families are worried about what they will have on their tables, so one of our thanksgiving rituals is to find a way to give back. I have been blessed over the years to be apart of some very special Thanksgiving projects from feeding families to the feeding of 5000 on a beach in California. Can you think of a way you can give or give thanks for someone who is in your life?

DECOR

Every year since my teen was real little we have decorated while spending very little. We love decorating with leaves, pinecones and candles. We sometimes and a pumpkin and squash which will both be cooked with later. There are so many ways you can decorate on a budget for thanksgiving, can you think of a few?

SIMPLICITY

I have been to some thanksgiving meals over the years that look more like a grand feast with at least 10-15 dishes and at least 4 to 5 desserts. I love the look of some of these fancy recipes, but how about making 1 or 2 extra special sides that everyone loves so you can have time to enjoy the day and not break the bank.

POTLUCK

With our huge family, when we did the holidays at Grandma’s house, everyone had a role to play. If you have family or friends coming for Thanksgiving dinner it is more than okay to ask people to bring a dish, you can even assign them one. No one needs 3 green bean casseroles right? Have someone who is vegetarian or gluten free you want to make sure you remember them as well.

TECHNOLOGY

One of my biggest tips for sticking to a holiday budget is to make technology your friend. Have you downloaded the Flipp app yet? I have written about it several times over the last 2 years and it has just gotten better with Flipp 3.0. For the busy mom who is in charge of the menu and the meal planning this app saves you time and money. Did you know the average family is cutting at least 25% off their grocery bill by simply using the app.

Flipp collects more than 800 retail flyers from national chains as well as hundreds of local stores to help shoppers find the latest sales in their community through coupon matchups to local flyer deals. It’s a feature that is rolling out everywhere.

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Flipp has some great features that can help your family:

 

•    Coupons – Maximize savings using coupon match-ups

•    Shopping List – Plan ahead and stay organized while shopping by adding items to the in-app list; discover deals for each item on the list and check them off at the store

•    Search – Easily find a specific store, item or brand

•    Clippings – Tap an item in a flyer to clip it for price-matching

•    Item Details –  Find additional product information and reviews

•    Discount Slider – Find the best savings at a glance

•    Notifications – Receive reminders about expiring clippings as well as updates on offers at nearby retailers to ensure a deal is never missed

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You can download it. Start your grocery list on the app, enter an item, as you do it will bring up the deals in your local flyers. From there, I suggest you clip your deal. You can also check out the coupons that are on the app,if a deal and  and do not forget the discount slider. Did you know you can match up an item on sale with a coupon to save even more, just another way to stretch that thanksgiving budget.

Have you checked out the coupons that are local for your area on the app yet? or added your thanksgiving shopping list yet? It really is a great way to save yourself some time and money as you get ready for your holiday feast.

 

Can you think of other ways you can save on your holiday feast? I am always looking to learn more ways that can keep me on a budget. We would love to have you join us Tuesday night at 7pm EST to keep the conversation going during the #cdnmoney chat on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

Join the #FlippLaunch Twitter Party- Sept 24th at 8pm ET as we celebrate Flipp

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I am so excited, Thursday, September 24th is a big day in the life of the Flipp App, as Flipp is changing. There are new things coming but that is for you to experience on the 24th.

Now after all the excitement of the morning launch has happened, you will want to join the conversation and fun at the #FlippLanch Twitter Party that night.

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Learn about the new features and win great prizes! 

Date: Thursday Sept 24th at 8pm EST

Time: 8 pm Eastern / 7 pm Central / 5 pm Pacific

Hashtag:  #FlippLaunch

Sponsor to follow:
@GetFlipp

Special Guest to follow:
@CouponDivaDes

Moderators to follow:
@brettbmartin 

@simplystacienet

@pennywisemana

Prizes:

Two winners each will win a $100 Visa™ gift card.

Open to US (excluding Florida) and Canada (excluding Quebec). See the detailed Flipp™ Twitter Party Rules here.

No RSVP Required

There’s no RSVP required for this event. Simply join the conversation with #FlippLaunch hashtag for a chance to win.

But we’d love to know if you’re coming to the party… and we’ll be sure to follow you. Send us a tweet or leave a comment on this post.

More About Flipp

Flipp is a circular aggregator app that brings all your flyers to your mobile device. Using the shopping list, search and the discount finder means you find the best deals. It really does save you time and money.

If you have not downloaded the app you can do so here: flipp.com

I am so excited for Thursday and you will want to come and visit my blog on Thursday as I share how Flipp will be helping you save even more.  Remember to let me know with a tweet or in the comments if you will be joining the party!

* I am the brand ambassador for Flipp and can’t wait for this Twitter party. 

 

Back to School Clothes Shopping on a Budget

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Buying school supplies may feel easy on the wallet once you start clothes shopping. It can get expensive – fast, especially when older children are involved. Young children often have very little concern about what they are wearing or where it came from allowing you to save money by shopping discount stores or inheriting hand me downs. Older children are usually not as open to the idea. Don’t let back to school shopping destroy your budget! Set boundaries especially if you have teens!

The first thing you must do is go through all of your child’s clothing. Set aside any items that are unwearable. If they no longer fit, donate them or try to resell them. If they are ripped or stained discard them or find another purpose for them. Once you have sorted out what clothing they have make an inventory. You’ll see what items they truly need instead of just what you think they need.

With older children set aside a budget that is just for them to do with as they choose. You can agree to purchase certain basic things for them but “their” money is for them to use for items they really want. If they decide to buy one expensive pair of jeans it’s their decision to make but be sure they understand there’s no additional funds once it’s gone. Not only will they learn about budgeting but also decision making and the concept of wants vs. needs.

Off Season Shopping

At the end of every season the previous styles go on sale to make room for the new supply. Take advantage of these sales to prepare for the next season. Many things never go out of style such as tank tops, tshirts, athletic wear and basic jeans or shorts. Buy winter clothes for next year at the end of winter. You’ll need to estimate how much your child will grow but if you keep the tags on, many retailers will give you at least a store credit if you return the item later. This is helpful especially if when the new year rolls around the item is too small for your child.

Outlet and Discount Stores

Outlet stores like Winners or TJ Maxx in the states or the outlet version of mainstream stores are a great way to get name brand clothing at a fraction of the price. Be sure to check out the clearance racks first and then move to the main supply. You’ll want to try everything on as often times clothing ends up in these shops because it’s sized incorrectly or may have a slight defect. However, the majority of clothing is simply overstock that hasn’t been sold or perhaps was purchased from another retailer that went out of business.

Here in Toronto, we have the outlet stores as well at the CNE, which can make for some interesting back to school shopping.

Discount or second-hand shops usually carry a good variety of clothing. In many instances you may discover clothing on the racks that still have on their original tags. It is possible to find amazing deals by shopping in these stores first.

 

If you’re really stretched thin there are still some ways to make sure your child is ready for the new year. Don’t shy away from accepting hand-me-downs from other family members who have children around the same age as yours. Often family would rather gift them that throw them away or donate them. If you have nieces or nephews that have outgrown clothing, consider asking their parents if you could have the clothing or sharing a bit about your situation if you’re too shy to ask outright.

Know how to operate a sewing machine? Make your children’s clothing. Fabric can be found inexpensively if you look around and you can let your children choose their own designs. This is also a helpful skill to make clothing you have go further. Hem up a pair of hand me down pants that are too long, patch holes, or cut pants or long skirts to make shorts or a shorter skirt. You might also consider hiring out your services this time of year to earn a little extra money from other parents looking to make use of clothing that needs a little tailoring.

A final option is to buy a little at a time. Don’t think you have to buy everything at once. Get the items they’re truly in need of immediately and then slowly add to their wardrobe as time goes on and you are able to find good deals.

 

3 Simple Ways To Save at the Canadian National Exhibition

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Princes Gate is ready

This week marks the start of the Canadian National Exhibition, for us it is a tell tale sign summer is almost at a close here in Toronto.  Opening Day is Friday August 21st this year. That is just a few sleeps away as my daughter reminded me.

For us the most important day at the CNE is Warriors Day, which is always the first Saturday, but we have gone on many days taking in the rides, the food, the free entertainment and simply exploring all the ex has to offer.

So how can get the most out of the CNE and not break the bank?

1.Take Advantage of Advance Purchase Options

 

You can still buy tickets early from retail partners, or at any Go Station, did you know you can save at least 36% this way? You can can also order online to save in advance of August 21st.

If you order online there are some bonuses, like

  • Buy your tickets online and receive coupon offers for 9 different Food Building vendors: Pizza Nova, Coffee Time, Harvey’s, Philthy Philly’s, Pita Pit, Pizza Pizza, Swiss Chalet, Subway, Bouchard’s Poutinery

2.Reedem Your Airmiles to Get Tickets

 

 You can redeem Airmiles as well for General Admittance or Ride all Day passes. You can get a Admission pass for 2 for 300 airmiles. Remember this does not include your rides.

a view of the CNE

 

 3.Attend on Kids or Youth Day

There are some ways to save even if you forget to get your tickets before the 21st.  Go opening day for $8, or go after 5 pm Monday to Thursday for $6,  Kids Toonies Mondays is also back, and on Sept 1st young people under 19 can get in for free till 3 pm. Your can find out more here.

There are also lots of free entertainment options at the Ex. Explore some of the acts. After a two year hiatus, the aerial acrobatics and ice skating show returns to the CNE this year in a spectacular new show. Canadian Ice Dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir return to the CNE and will perform every day of the fair and there are so many other acts to check out as well.

Kids World is wonderful and we love the Kidzone Interactive Area, an area that is free.

The Farm is another feature that has always been a family favorite. Visiting the animals and watching the sheep shearing was one of the things my daughter loved when she was younger.

The Horse and Air Shows have also been family favorites over the years.

When it comes to food set a budget, bring a water bottle and refill it. There are lots of food deals to be found. Take a walk around the food building before you buy, you are sure to find something to fit that budget. We love the 99 cent pasta that can still be found, but we always try something new as well.

The Ex has always been the family favorite way to end the summer!

Are you planning on on going this year? What do you look forward to at the Ex the most?

Expect the Unexpected

my first home

 

my first home

my first home

Do you expect the unexpected? It happens. It is not just something that happens on tv. For me as a young woman I had a plan. I even had 5 year and 10 year plans, but then life threw me some curve balls and things well they started designing a plan of their own. Life events came and went not exactly as planned. Yes I finished school, got a job, got married, bought a house, well actually four, got pregnant and then things got interesting and before I knew it I was back at home rebuilding.

For many Canadians, the traditional sequence of life events – finish school, get married, buy a house and have kids – does not always happen as it typically did for previous generations. Even for my generation things for some did get topsy turvey.  A recent TD survey found nearly six in 10 (58 per cent) Canadians have completed or are on track to complete their life’s milestones in a different order than they originally expected. I know I sure have. More specifically, Gen X Canadians are more likely to complete or be on track to complete them in a different order (64 per cent) than Millennials (52 per cent).

We all will take different paths in life and we need to be prepared so that when they do happen we are ready.

One of the things I am teaching my daughter is that financial flexibility is important. Have a plan but have a back up plan as life will throw you curve balls. It’s best to be  ready for life’s big moments by planning and saving, and regardless of your age, it’s never too early to build a financial plan and set goals for your future. We are starting this here with my daughter as she heads to college this year.

As well it is so important to ask the right questions as life events happen or are about to happen, it is always wise to think ahead. If you have a financial plan in place here are just a few questions to ask yourself as these events are occurring:

  • How do I handle multiple milestones occurring at the same time?
  • Is it smarter to plan a wedding or buy a home first?
  • What costs should I factor in when contemplating buying a home?
  • How much do I need to save to comfortably enjoy a parental leave?
  • How do I know if I’m on track to save enough for retirement?

Many Canadians who have already completed these milestones like me also reported having experienced unexpected costs, according to the TD survey.

When it comes to being financially prepared for life’s milestones, the TD survey found:

  • Only four in 10 Canadians say they have properly budgeted or are properly budgeting for having their first child (39 per cent) and for retirement (41 per cent);
  • Millennials (28 per cent) are less likely than Gen X Canadians (42 per cent) to say they have properly budgeted or are properly budgeting for having their first child;
  • Only one-quarter (24 per cent) of Millennials and one-third (33 per cent) of Gen X Canadians say they have properly budgeted or are properly budgeting for retirement.

Now is the time to start thinking about these things, it is a lesson I am teaching my daughter, it’s important to factor in the unexpected. While the order of life’s milestones may vary, thinking ahead about your own goals and putting a financial plan in place can help manage the financial impact of these significant life moments, whenever they occur.

Now the TD Bank has put together this infographic that shows everything clearly.

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Time for Back to Campus #StudentLife with a Contest and a Twitter Party!

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I remember well getting ready for university my first year, I lived at home while I explored a new city, Halifax and attended Dalhousie University. By the time I hit second year however it was time for me to spread my wings and I was on my way to the University of Manitoba. While there I lived in a small apartment off campus and in the dorm. As I prepared for each year and each location there was always shopping that had to be done, as well as forging through friends and family to get what I needed.

I can remember well trying to make a strict budget, some of the favorite things I bought we my comfy duvet comforter that I got a deal on, my kettle for making tea and hot chocolate and milk crates they stored plenty of my items while I was in university.

As my daughter Rachel starts both college and her last year of high school this year she will be living at home but we are giving her bedroom a bit of a makeover and she will be doing so much studying well she will need the space.

Now many of my friends kids are getting ready for their first apartments and dorm rooms. I can remember it was a chore to get everything I needed for a small working kitchen. Think about it, what essentials would you put in the perfect student kitchen?

 

My friends at Canadian Tire have put together a pretty good list of the essentials for a great student kitchen:

 

 

Back-to-Campus

 

Now my friends at Canadian Tire have some great tips on their site as well as the:

 

 #StudentLife Hack Contest

 

On the site they offer some great suggestions like making use of every day items in frugal and creative ways. One great suggestion is to use removable Command hooks and twine along with some clothes pins to hang photos which I think is a great tip. Make sure you check out all their tips!

Back-to-Campus

 

Make sure you check out Canadian Tire’s Back to Campus page for more #StudentLIfe Hacks!

If you have a #StudentLife hack, you can win a daily prize of a $100 Canadian Tire gift card, and a grand prize of a $1000 gift card.

All you have to do is share a photo or video of your #StudentLife hack on Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube, tag @CanadianTire and use #StudentLife.

The contest is on from now until September 4th

For more information please read the Contest Rules.

As well join us for the #StudentLife Twitter Party on Wednesday August 19th

 

Back-to-Campus

 

I look forward to seeing you all at the Twitter Party and I hope you enter to win!