Archive for Frugal Tips

Prepping for Back to School for All Ages

Vitamins

Vitamins 1024x905 Prepping for Back to School for All Ages

 

We are half when through summer and well back to school is just around the corner.Want to feel prepared? No problem, follow some of these great tips and you’ll be sure to receive an A+ in no time.

Prepare lunches

Buying and preparing a nutritious lunch is a job in itself. Not sure your kids are eating everything you’re packing? Consider giving them a top-up with a tasty gummy multivitamin like L’il Critters™ Gummy Vites. Made with naturally sourced flavours and packed with essential nutrients, they’ll be prepared for a full day of playing and learning.

Back-to-school shopping

Sit down as a family and make a list of the items your kids will need for the year ahead. Making a list of school supplies and being prepared before setting out to shop will ensure you only purchase items your children need to complete their daily assignments and have a little fun in the classroom too!

Create a schedule

Parents and kids both fall victim to summer sleep schedules; late nights and junk food are the name of the game. Get your whole family prepared by getting your kids back on schedule.  Provide them with a daily routine one or two weeks before the first day back and they’ll be ready and energized for the beginning of school.

Get organized

Back to school is hectic enough with your little ones, but sending your teen back to university or college is a whole different story. Prepare them for the year ahead by sending along some Arm & Hammer™ Coldwater™ Laundry Detergent.  It gets out dirt and odours while saving money on hydro bills (versus washing in hot or warm water). For the 5 – 6 weekly loads you may find yourself doing with back-to-school activities, Arm & Hammer Laundry detergent will be your new best friend, giving clothes a clean and fresh boost with the power of baking soda.

Stay healthy

Saying goodbye to your kids as they head off to university is one of those bittersweet moments of parenthood. Late classes, hectic schedules and long nights of studying might leave you worrying about their health, especially with ‘student budgets’. Why not send them off with a supply of Vitafusion™ MultiVites gummy vitamins to help maintain their health*? Filled with key vitamins and delicious to bat – forgetting to take them won’t be an issue.

What are some of your tips on making the back-to-school transition easier?

* Vitamins are considered supplements only and should not replace meal

* I am a Church & Dwight ambassador and as such have received compensation for this post, but as always my opinions are mine.

Put Some Clothes on that Kid

baby clothes Put Some Clothes on that Kid

Kids! Love them but they test the wallet. Teenagers will empty a fridge as soon as you fill it. Little ones seem to grow out of their clothes every time you do laundry. Keeping them fed and clothed is part of the job of raising them. There isn’t much to do to contain the appetite of a teenager. Clothes on the other hand presents some options.

Hand-me-downs have been a favourite way for centuries to get as much wear out of clothes as possible and stretch the pennies. Making your own is no longer common nor do most people have time for it. Swapping with friends can work too if there is gaps between children or the boys don’t want to wear their big sister’s dresses. It is also a good way to fill a trunk of dress up clothes for those aspiring actors and actresses.

It is a little more difficult for babies. They may not fit clothes for very long but they do seem to be capable of making a mess of them quickly and often. With three or more changes on a good day all of those clothes get a good workout in the wash in a very short period. Good news, for baby clothes Canada has many retailers and they are sales tax exempt.

Reusing clothes is great but it has to start somewhere. Someone must kick things off and buy something new. Getting to know which stores have sales, check out the flyers or flyer apps like Flipp. Cheap prices can lead to very cheap quality and the clothes won’t last more than one wearing from an active kid in the playground, so buy quality when you can get it for a deal.

Most of the bigger retailers in Canada got into kids clothes even when clothes have been their core business. This helps because they are not labelled with big brand names with the accompanying big price. Store brands no longer look the same as putting a burlap sack on your kid. They can be quite fashionable and for the little fashionistas, while being able to be passed on.

Buying an Air Conditioner, Things to Consider

apt_windows

apt windows 1024x768 Buying an Air Conditioner, Things to Consider

It is summer time again, and well we have been lucky so far here in Toronto with no heat advisories yet this summer I can feel one coming. It seems every summer I need help to cool off, and as I look at moving to a new apartment one of the things I am thinking lots about is air conditioning. I don’t like to be too hot, and I really hate waking up feeling all sticky and damp.

So as I was thinking about what were the things that are important to me in a new air conditioner, these are on my list, you can tell me what would be on your list. For me, I need portability, I need efficiency and I need the cost to be just right.

For me as an apartment dweller I need a portable air conditioner. I move every few years it seems and I want a portable air conditioner so I can take it with me and take it out during the cold winter months.

I also want something that is energy efficient. Many people buy an air conditioner that is too large, thinking it will provide better cooling. However, an over sized air conditioner is actually less effective — and wastes energy at the same time. So as I am out shopping for a new air conditioner this is something to keep in mind.

For me another consideration is cost, buying the cheapest one on the market may not save me long term, so it’s important to do my research. I need to get bang for my dollar. So I have been doing my research as this is one purchase I will be making along side my upcoming move.

 

 

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.

2014 05 09 10.24.50 e1399646247850 576x1024 15 Simple Ways to Clean with Baking Soda and Giveaway

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.

Neno Mom Bracelet 300 dpi 682x1024 Mothers Day Gift Ideas on a Dime

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.