Archive for Frugal Tips

5 Easy Last Minute Valentine Gifts to Save the Day

5 Easy Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts

5 Easy Last Minute Valentines Day Gifts 1024x1024 5 Easy Last Minute Valentine Gifts to Save the Day

So here it is Valentine’s Day, and you forgot, or you procrastinated so now it’s the last minute and you racking your brain thinking what can I do? Well I searched Pinterest and here are some last minute ideas that I found. All of them are pretty cheap and pretty easy, and guess what I have used a few over the years. Remember it is the sentiment that counts, and by the way shouldn’t we celebrate love every day.

love coupons 5 Easy Last Minute Valentine Gifts to Save the Day

 

This free printable from Iheartnaptime is adorable!

Another great free pintable for 12 months of preplanned dates can be found over at thinkingcloset.com. We love that they still date!

 

DateNightGift 34 5 Easy Last Minute Valentine Gifts to Save the Day

 

Have kids and want to do something fun for them we found these Lolly Leis that we loved and we think they would too.

lollyleis 5 Easy Last Minute Valentine Gifts to Save the Day

 

 

Okay so you want to be healthy Alpha mom designed these great lunchbox notes tags and stickers that you can add to fruit.

lunchbox notes e1282829840730 5 Easy Last Minute Valentine Gifts to Save the Day

 

 

Are you the woman and you forgot, well print off a gift certificate..and give him a gift that takes your time, like a massage, cleaning the garage, washing the car, etc. Think of a way you can serve your man, or maybe you could bake his favorite treat.

Hope these 5 quick and easy last minute Valentine’s Day gift ideas help save the day, if not head over to Pinterest for lots of inspiration.

 

 

 

Bunnies, Chocolate, Jelly Beans and Eggs: How to Celebrate Easter Without Ruining Your Carpet

easter egg decorating

easter egg decorating Bunnies, Chocolate, Jelly Beans and Eggs: How to Celebrate Easter Without Ruining Your Carpet

Easter is one of the highlights of spring, especially if you have kids, but everyone knows that Easter can be dangerous for your house. You paint eggs — and the paint may drip as you hide them, or the eggs get crushed. The kids eat chocolate — and sometimes get some on the floor with their sticky fingers. Maybe you even surprise the kids with a real pet rabbit — but the rabbit has a few accidents before it gets used to hopping around the house. Whether you’re hosting an Easter gathering or simply celebrating with the kids, file away some tips for keeping your carpet clean this Easter.

Call in the Professionals

Messes of any nature, especially big ones or ones that settle in because you don’t get to them quickly, don’t signal the end of a carpet’s life. Homeowners and landlords in the Denver area should contact COIT Denver for fast, thorough carpet cleaning service. If you’re planning on hosting a gathering of friends and family this Easter, call in the pros to clean your carpets and flooring beforehand so you have a home you’re proud to show off. Then call them again after the gathering to get rid of all that tracked-in dirt from shoes, sticky jelly bean and chocolate stains and other spills.

Litter-Train Your Rabbit

Don’t buy a rabbit on a whim. As The Huffington Post reports, people abandon 80 percent of rabbits they purchase on Easter. Rabbits take as much if not more care than cats and dogs, so you have to be sure your entire family is ready for the responsibility. If you are, then it shouldn’t be too much of a commitment to litter train your rabbit.

Although all pets have accidents from time to time, it helps when they’re trained to do their business away from your carpet. A spayed or neutered rabbit is more receptive to litter box training. The key is to carry your rabbit to its litter box whenever it pauses and lifts its tail — a sign it might be ready to go — until it goes on its own. You might also purchase a rabbit already litter-trained.

Throw Down Vinyl Mats

rabbit Bunnies, Chocolate, Jelly Beans and Eggs: How to Celebrate Easter Without Ruining Your Carpet

 

Work Fast to Tackle Small StainsBefore the celebration, and before you let your new rabbit run free, protect your carpet with vinyl mats. Messes are much easier to clean on a vinyl surface, and nothing can penetrate through the vinyl to your carpet below. You might not want the vinyl mats up all the time, but it helps to bring them out for a day when you’re expecting possible messes. If you keep the rabbit in a small area of your living room with a fence (when you take it out of its pen), keep vinyl mats in the rabbit’s area at all times.

The sooner you tackle a stain, the less likely it is to settle. If you have paint, chocolate, egg and pet waste stains to deal with on Easter, work fast to lift the worst of the stain:

  • Pull up the excess with paper towels
  • Spray the area with club soda
  • Use carpet cleaning solution as directed or make your own: put equal parts warm water and distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray liberally over the stain
  • Blot with an absorbent pad
  • Let dry
  • If any stains remain, sprinkle area with baking soda and use a scrub brush to work it in
  • Let sit for a few hours or overnight; vacuum away the baking soda

Always test new cleaning solutions in a corner of the carpet out of sight in case it does more harm than good. If the stain has sit too long and doesn’t seem to be loosening, schedule a professional carpet cleaning appointment as soon as possible.

One of the easiest ways to protect your carpet this Easter is to dial back on the celebration. Decorate eggs in the kitchen but don’t hide them. Allow chocolate treats only in the kitchen. Skip the pet rabbit you promised your kids. But is that really how people celebrate? Relax knowing you’ve taken a few precautions and your carpet will survive the holiday, and indulge in the festivities. If there’s any problem at all, you need only contact the professionals to restore your carpet to prime condition in a matter of hours.

 

Egg painting image by courosa from Flickr’s Creative Commons

Rabbit image by Jan & Peggy from Flickr’s Creative Commons

Fitting Style: Online Shoe Shopping Tips

Online shoe shopping tips

online shoe shopping tips Fitting Style: Online Shoe Shopping Tips

 

When shopping for shoes, trying them on is a must. The fit of shoes can vary from one brand to another or from one style to another. But trying shoes on before buying isn’t an option when shopping online and so finding the right shoes without wasting time or money can be hard.

 

Don’t fret! You can buy shoes online without going through a lot of trouble. Keep the tips below in mind when shopping online for shoes and you’ll save yourself from stress.

 

The most important tip for online shoe shopping is to know the return policy. Shoes can often look very different in a picture on your computer than they do in person and you don’t want to be stuck with shoes that you can’t wear. Maybe the colour isn’t right or you just don’t like the way they look on your feet. Or maybe the fit is all wrong–too small, too tight, or the heel is too tall for you to walk comfortably. Be sure to read the website’s return policy carefully to ensure that you can return anything you don’t like for any reason. Many stores won’t accept returns on shoes that have been worn, so keep this in mind before you decide to wear a pair of shoes that aren’t quite right.

 

One reason people love to shop online is that they can often find great deals, and this is true for shoes too. Many online stores offer final sale or clearance items that have deep discounts. The downside to these final sale deals is that many of them aren’t returnable. Pay close attention to whether there are any return limits on clearance if you plan to shop for major deals. If you’re willing to take the chance, or if you’ve had experience with a certain brand of shoes before, buying from these non-returnable final sale deals may be a great option.

 

Another thing to keep in mind when shopping for shoes online is the cost of shipping. Sometimes shipping rates can make a great deal into a bad one. Before ordering anything, be sure to check the shipping rate to your area. Also, remember to check whether the website offers free shipping on certain orders or to certain areas. Many sites now offer free shipping, but you must order a minimum purchase amount before you qualify. Is it worth it to you to order enough to qualify for free shipping, or is the shipping charge less than what you’ll need to add to your order? You can also search for coupon codes that may offer free shipping on an order or even money off your purchase.

 

You should also take note of how long the standard shipping time is. If you need shoes for a party the next day, waiting a week or more for your order to be delivered will not be acceptable. Decide if you need expedited shipping, which often adds a lot to your cost, or if you’re all right with waiting for your shoes to arrive. Always have a back up plan in case unexpected delays happen. Most of the time, your order will arrive within the estimated delivery time, but exceptions can happen.

 

The biggest advantage to shopping for shoes online? You have a much wider selection than your local shoe stores probably have. This is especially beneficial for people with hard to find shoe sizes. If you have smaller or larger feet than average, shopping online will offer you a bigger selection to choose from. Or maybe you find that most shoes fit a little too tight? You may need a wider shoe. Wide fit shoes are often harder to find or are offered in limited stock or sizes in stores, so shopping online can be a much better option.

 

Online shoe shopping can be convenient and allow you access to a much wider selection than you can find locally, but shopping for shoes online can also be tricky. The secret to successful shoe shopping online is know the return policy, the shipping charge, and the shipping time. Knowing these things before you order will make buying shoes online just as fun as buying them in stores.

 

Guest post by- Victoria Fleming is an online fashionista. She often blogs about the tricks to successful style shopping on the web.

 

Smoking Can Make Cents

VIP-battery-cart-res

VIP battery cart res  Smoking Can Make Cents

As a smoker, you are hit with nothing but negative ads. Everyone hates what you do. Strangers are happy to tell you how you are killing them. The feeling of being a criminal does stop there. You go to the store and you are greeted by secret cabinets, special language and the highest taxes paid for a little bit of pleasure or just to feed an addiction. The world is stacked against you and you are paying dearly too.

Everyone tells you to quit. Patches, gum and sprays just don’t cut it. There is something about inhaling that can’t be replaced by a patch on the arm or a spray to the back of the throat. Holding the cigarette is an important part of smoking.

What if you can have inhaling and save a bunch of cash at the same time? Yes you would. This is where an electronic cigarette may be for you. Check out VIP Electronic Cigarettes as a great example what e-cigarettes can do for your wallet. Similar ritual but not actually smoking.

Nothing is burning with these gadgets. Nicotine and flavour is vaporized and gives the rush and taste. No ash, tobacco, butt or second hand smoke to offend. With no tobacco, your habit, pleasure or addiction is not taxed the same are cigarettes. That is where the wallet starts to become happy again.

Whether you are quitting and need to move through a nicotine reduction or just trying to save some money e-cigarettes is something to consider. The ritual of holding and inhaling stays the same. Coffee in the morning still has your companion between you fingers. The sense of missing something that comes with other replacements doesn’t affect you. Caffeine and nicotine still do their thing. With the money saved you can step up the quality of your coffee now.

You are not a criminal. You shouldn’t be paying a fine every time you need or want a little rush of nicotine.

How to Save Money When Booking Family Holidays

Save Money when Booking Holiday Travel1

Many people are ready to book their family holidays in January when Christmas is over and the winter weather leaves them looking forward to relaxing, sunny days on holiday with the children. You can certainly find bargains in January and the golden rule is to book either early or late.

 

There will be plenty of choice if you book early and you should be able to take advantage of free child places on many holidays that can save quite a lot of money. The advantage of last minute bookings is that you can sometimes find real bargains and pay much less for high quality holidays that have failed to sell earlier in the season, but families are often safer booking early to ensure they get the facilities they need.

 

Save Money when Booking Holiday Travel1 How to Save Money When Booking Family Holidays

 

Choose your holiday

 

Package holidays can often work out cheaper than booking your flights and hotel separately, particularly if you are planning a week or two weeks in one of the popular resorts. Remember, very few prices are fixed absolutely and you can often haggle with your travel agent to reduce the price.

 

Villas can work out better value for cheap holidays 2014 than hotels, especially if you are a large group. If you holiday with friends you can make massive vacation savings on a large villa compared to hotel accommodation of the equivalent standard. Self-catering holidays can work out cheaper in destinations such as Portugal or Slovenia, where the cost of living is low, especially for families.

 

If you do not want a self-catering holiday it can really pay dividends to opt for an all-inclusive deal. This way you will not have to constantly be forking out for ice creams and drinks for your children. Children’s clubs are also often included which can give you a well-earned break.

 

Save Money when Booking Holiday Travel2 How to Save Money When Booking Family Holidays

 

Don’t forget

 

Sort out your travel insurance as soon as you have booked your holiday, but shop around. You can usually find much cheaper insurance than that offered by your holiday company. If you have more than two breaks in a year it will probably be worth taking out an annual travel insurance policy.

 

If you will need a car while you are away it makes sense to book it early as it is often much more expensive close to the time of your holiday or when you have arrived. Remember if you need to arrange car parking near the airport this will also be less expensive the earlier you book it, but it may be cost effective to take a taxi to and from the airport.

 

Images by Juan Antonio Capó Alonso and daspunkt used under creative commons license.

Affording a Family Christmas

Christmas tree

2013 11 17 11.38.09 764x1024 Affording a Family Christmas

Christmas has got to be one of the most stressful times of the year. Sure it’s filled with holly and jolly and can be the best time of the year but it’s also a time when many families stretch their budgets to the limit…and beyond.

 

Enjoying Christmas doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are some tips to help you, and your family, make the most of the festive season without pinching your wallet too much.

1.   Use credit wisely. Sometimes it’s just convenient to use a credit card; just make sure you choose, and use, smartly. One option is to compare credit cards and find one that best fits your use pattern. Whether you value travel points, or cash rewards, look for one that offers the lowest rates and fees. Paying it off every month is the smartest option – this gives the benefit of convenience and costs you the least. Win-win!

2. Remember that Christmas is about family. Of course it’s nice to be able to find that perfect gift for someone but what Christmas all boils down to is the time you spend, not the money you spend. Keep this forefront in your mind and this will be the best Christmas ever.

3.  Save up for Christmas spending. Don’t just use your December budget for holiday shopping; put a little away every week or month so that you’ll have a little pool of money to dip into once you start your Christmas shopping.

4.  Sell what you don’t need. You probably have a basement or garage filled with old toys, clothes, equipment, stuff, and things that you don’t need or use any longer. Sell it!! Whether you use Craigslist, Kijiji, or a local Facebook group; list your junk and fill your own trunk! You could also buy your Christmas gifts this way! If you’re selling really nice stuff that you just don’t need/want any more then other people are too! You’ll find some great bargains out there!

How do you make it an affordable Christmas at your house?

Shopping Etiquette for #BlackFridayCA #MyKindofHoliday

Target Canada Red Card

Target Canada 1024x1024 Shopping Etiquette for #BlackFridayCA #MyKindofHolidayToday I headed to Target here in Canada, on a scouting trip as Black Friday is later in the week, and I have been eyeing a few things, and wanted to check out a few things and make my list. Black Friday in one of those must do events for me. But as I prepare there are many things I do. There are rules we follow every Black Friday.

 

Make a List and Budget

My Black Friday list starts right here at home. I look at flyers, and the apps like and make a shopping list and budget. For me it is important to stay in budget, that is why a list comes in handy.

 

We have a Family Meeting Place

If we get separated we have one place to meet, at our local mall it is right by the Toy Mountain bin, having teens that like to go off on their own, this is an important part of Black Friday shopping in my house.

 

Eat Breakfast and Stay Fueled

We have a rule that we must have food in us before we go shopping and we also take a water bottle with us each.

 

Wear Comfy shoes or Boots

I noticed today when I was out shopping I covered a lot of ground, Comfy shoes are a must especially if you are going to be up early and in lines. While I was at Target today I saw so many pairs that could definitely come in handy for Black Friday shopping.

2013 11 23 15.32.13 1024x764 Shopping Etiquette for #BlackFridayCA #MyKindofHoliday

 

Know the Mall/Store Hours

Each mall and store have different hours. I do know each Target is opening at 7 am as are several other major retailers. I also know that Eaton Centre here in Toronto opens at 6 am.

Bring Your Own Reusable Bags

By bringing your own bags are you not only saving the environment, you have a durable bag so those new purchases actually make it home.

2013 11 23 15.38.58 1024x764 Shopping Etiquette for #BlackFridayCA #MyKindofHoliday

Shopping at Target, Use Your Red Card.

By using your Red Card, you can save 5% more every day, now isn’t that a great deal.

2013 11 23 16.22.23 1024x764 Shopping Etiquette for #BlackFridayCA #MyKindofHoliday

Now after a day of scouting and shopping it was time for a refreshing break, so I hit Starbucks (which was conventially located in Target) for a holiday drink. My favorite drink is only available this time of the year, so it was great to stop and have a peppermint hot chocolate.

2013 11 23 16.24.55 2 1024x1024 Shopping Etiquette for #BlackFridayCA #MyKindofHoliday

 

Now there are so many tips that can help you with your Black Friday shopping and to celebrate and share them all Target Canada is having a great Twitter Party on Monday Nov 26th from 9-10 pm EST. There are even lots of great prizes (49 in all plus 10 instant prizes up for grabs).

Twitter Party Details

DATE: Monday November 25, 2013

TIME: 8:45pm − 9:00pm EST (Pre−Event with Special Guest Sonia Kashuk)

9:00pm − 10:00pm EST

LOCATION: Twitter following hashtags #BlackFridayCA #MyKindOfHoliday

PLATFORM: Join the party on TWUBS

HOSTS: @TargetCanada @ShesConnected

MODERATORS: @Bloggerwomen

#TWUBS MODERATOR: @Lifestyle_Chick

PRIZING: @shoppingwoman

Sonia Kashuk  will be the special guest right before the party starts at 8:45.  I know I can’t wait to tweet with her!

So don’t forget to RSVP! Here

*This is a sponsored post and I will receive compensation for it, however the rules are good, and my opinion. 

We are Talking coupons for the #Cdnmoney Chat

cdnmoney-twitter-chat-november-19-2013-with-christa-clips-and-common-cents-mom

cdnmoney twitter chat november 19 2013 with christa clips and common cents mom We are Talking coupons for the #Cdnmoney ChatOver the years I have written many posts on Couponing in Canada, and once again it is time to talk about it, as so many are looking for ways to save a few dollars or even hundreds a month here in Canada, by shopping smart and using coupons.

Tomorrow night for the #cdnmoney chat at 7 pm EST @christaclips will be joining me to talk about coupons and together we will be there to answer any of the burning questions you might have.

You can RSVP for prizing over on her blog.

Now here on CommonCentsMom I have covered coupons with several posts. Here are some links to some resources that may assist you.

1. Extreme Couponing Canadian Style

2. The Essential Etiquette of Coupon Use

3. Coupons in Canada: Where and How to Save

So have a question about how to use coupons, where to find them, come and join the conversation.

Hope that you can join us for the #cdnmoney chat on Tuesday, and please don’t forget to RSVP. (Canadian residents only can win the prizing).

 

 

Simplify Your Life Organize Your Finances

Simplify Your Life Organize Your Mone

organizing money Simplify Your Life Organize Your Finances

So do you know where all your financial papers are or are they scattered all over your house? Before I organized my financial life my money life was a huge mess. I had several accounts open that I didn’t use, I didn’t read my statements, and where was the paperwork in a pile somewhere. Lots of fun come tax time. Lets just say when I got my act together and finally organized my finances things got simpler and easier.

So what are some of the things you can do to simplify your finances.

1. Have a file system. Do you keep your bills in one place? Even if you get online statements you can print them off and file them. For me having a file keeps everything I need at my finger tips.

2. Read your statements each and every month. Errors can be made, interest rates can change, it is important to stay on top of these things, so it is best to make sure you read your statements every month.

3. Get tools that help you take care of your money. There are several great computer programs from Mint and Yodlee to Quicken and others that can all help you keep track of your money. There are even knew ones coming up like Legacy Tracker to keep an eye out for. If you don’t like a cloud based system then excel spreadsheets and.  Gail Vazoxlade’s budget sheets work well too.

4. Automate your savings. Pay yourself first, and automate it soon it will seem like just another payroll deduction.

These are just a few ways to get started simplifying and organizing your finances so you no longer have a mess on your hands. Would you say you have an organized financial housase?

Last night we talked about all of these on the #cdnmoney chat and more join us next week as we talk about teaching Financial Literacy. Tuesdays 7-8pm EST on Twitter. Just follow the #hashtag

Tips on Looking for an Affordable Tablet

Tips for Looking for an Affordable Tablet

Tips for Looking for an Affordable Tablet 1024x699 Tips on Looking for an Affordable Tablet I was at an event recently where Mitch Joel was talking about the one screen. Whatever screen was in front of you was the most important screen, which got me thinking about the revolution in the tablet and phone industry in the last few years. The original Apple iPad started a revolution when it was released in April, 2010. Pre-iPad tablets were clunky, slow, and difficult to use. The iPad, on the other hand, was elegant, responsive, and intuitive. Steve Jobs, the then CEO of Apple, said that tablets would eventually replace PCs, and he was right. PC sales keep sloping downwards each year, while tablet sales are constantly on the rise. Since 2010 we have had 3 tablets in our home.

The tablet market has matured greatly since the first iPad was released. Initially, iPads were the only choice. Competing tablets were awful, at best. Today, things couldn’t be more different. A lot of efficient and high-quality tablets are available in the market. In our house we have had a iOS based, Windows based, and Android based tablet.

This article will provide three tips to help you find the best tablet for your needs. It’ll examine whether you’d be better off with an Android or iOS-powered gadget, and it’ll explain which features are useful and which are not. As consumers we’re spoiled for choice, with dozens of excellent tablets available to purchase. The choices really are endless.


#1 – Choose a tablet with the right operating system for your needs

Different tablets run different operating systems. Arguably the three most popular are iOS, which runs on iPads; Android, which runs on a variety of different tablets from different manufacturers; and Windows which comes in two flavors, Windows RT and Windows 8.1 Pro, each operating system has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages.

iOS is the easiest of the three to use, with a very simple and intuitive interface that takes seconds to understand. iOS also has the best app store, with more apps than both the Windows and Android app stores combined. Tablets running iOS, however, normally cost more than Windows and Android tablets. I was able to get my Ipad mini which I love and use daily now which while it is not a full sized IPad has been very useful.

Android, while not as easy to use as iOS, is still a remarkably polished operating system with a very easy learning curve. Also, while its app store is not as impressive as the iOS app store, the Android app store is improving with dozens of new tablet apps being released every day. My daughter has loved playing on the Android we have for her.

Windows tablets feature the same interface as the Windows used on laptops and desktop PCs. If you’ve used Windows before, you won’t have any troubles adjusting to a Windows tablet. However, if you haven’t used Windows in the past, Windows tablets might be difficult to use, at first. Unfortunately, the main issue with Windows tablets is the lack of apps. The Windows app store is currently lacking when compared to the Android and iOS app stores. Also, while Windows tablets can run existing Windows apps designed for desktops and laptops, these apps are normally difficult to use on tablets. We have a Windows tablet, and it now gets used for business.

Make sure to try all three of these operating systems when shopping for a tablet.

#2 – Choose the right sized tablet

Steve Jobs said that the first iPad, with a 9.7” screen, was the perfect size for a tablet. He was wrong.

Nowadays, 7-8” tablets are the right size for most users. Tablets with this screen size are perfect for web browsing, reading a book, checking emails, doing some light work, browsing Youtube, and playing a few games. I love the size of my IPad mini, and right now I am carrying it everywhere.

The bigger tablets, however, are still useful, particularly for watching video, playing games, and doing work.

If you’re a light user, a smaller tablet will probably be a better fit for your needs. As an added bonus, these smaller tablets are usually cheaper.

If you’ll be using your tablet to do work, you might want to consider purchasing a bigger tablet.

#3 – Choose a tablet with the right specs

Tablets come in different flavors with different specifications.

Some come with 3g/4g antennas inside, allowing for internet on the go, while others only have wifi connections, meaning they can only access the internet while connected to a wifi hotspot.

Most tablets come with differing amounts of storage space, too. Some come with as little as 16gb of space, while others have as much as 128gb.

When buying tablets ask yourself first if you need to pay more for the extra specifications or not, do you need a 3g/4g antenna in your tablet? Or will wifi be ok? Do you really need 128gb of space? Or will 16gb be enough?

Most people will get by with the bare minimum on this front. Unless you’re storing a lot of video and music on your tablet, you won’t need any more than 16gb of space, and if you have easy to access to wifi hotspots, a 3g/4g connected tablet might be a waste of cash. I have found that since I am using cloud based programs often for work, the 16 gb is more then enough for me.

However, if you do think a 3g/4g connection might be useful, and you do expect to store a lot of music and movies on your tablet, then it might be worth splashing out a bit extra to get a better specked tablet.

Summing Up

Buying a tablet can be difficult. The amount of choice available can be overwhelming. Make sure to follow the tips above to ensure that you get the right tablet for your needs. If you have a tablet, let me know which one, and why you chose it. Are any on your shopping list for the Christmas season?