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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter Party Details

 

Twitter Party Details

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

 

Twitter Party

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

About Tangerine Bank

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

 

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

 

Two Things You Can Do Today to Start Living Frugally

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

Learn to Prioritize

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

Set Realistic Goals

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

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

Here is an example:

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

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

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

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

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

 

Getting Your Back Yard Canada Day Ready

If you’ve visited your local home and garden store in the last couple of weeks, you likely noticed that the seasonal aisle is stocked full of BBQs, patio furniture, and oh-so-fabulous backyard lounge chairs. Everything is red and white and definitely Canada Day ready. It can definitely be tempting as it is to toss out the old stuff that’s been sitting in your garage all winter – or worse, taking a beating outdoors for the past few months – a few simple, budget-friendly tips and tricks will help to make everything old look new again. It’s easy to get your backyard Canada Day ready.

1.      Make old, new again. There’s nothing worse than removing your patio furniture cushions from storage and realizing they’re all stained. Before you think about tossing them, give them a clean. Mix OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover with water and let the cushion covers soak for 1 to 6 hours, depending on the severity of the stain. Wash as normal and your cushions should come out stain-free and look brand new. This is great to get those cushions Canada Day photo worthy. 

2.      Win the weeding war. Did you know that watering your weeds makes it easier to pull them out? If it hasn’t rained in a few days, water your weeds before yanking them. Fun fact: If the soil is moist, you are also less likely to disturb any plants nearby. With all the rain we have had in Toronto this shouldn’t be a concern but might be a great trick for other parts of Canada. 

3.      Save with a little scrubbing. There’s a simple solution for removing dirt, grime, and stains from patio furniture and even your deck. Mix OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover with water (following the instructions on the package) and apply the solution to almost anywhere. Let stand for a few minutes and scrub as needed. It will leave everything looking neat and clean again. There is nothing worse than dirt when you are throwing that family barbecue. 

4.      Wheel your way to wonderful. Re-arranging rather than replacing is also a good way to give new life to your backyard. Consider moving planters and patio furniture to different spots within your space to give it a wonderful new look and feel. Remember, you’re not alone when moving heavy items like lounge chairs… there are wheels to help! Wheeling your furniture around doesn’t eliminate all the hard work but will put less strain on your back.

5. Add Simple decor items.  Have red and white items in the house. Bring them out for your celebration. Did you know those white Christmas lights make for a great late night get together as you watch all the fireworks going off in your neighbourhood.

Be prepared that after a weekend of weeding and wheeling, your back, arms, legs – yes, your whole body – may be aching with pain. Make sure you leave yourself enough time on Sunday evening for a warm bath and a few hours curled up with a good book or movie. Before going to bed, rub and soothe your sore muscles (all of them!) with Rub A535 Extra Strength Heating Cream. The best things about this product is that it works fast and is non-greasy so you can put it on right before going to bed and it won’t stain your sheets.

Have you started prepping your yard for your Canada Day celebrations? What’s different this year?

*I am a #ChurchandDwight ambassador and have been compensated for this post, as always my opinions are my own. 

Mothers Day Gifts

Mother’s Day Gifts from Hallmark #LoveHallmarkCA

Becoming a mom is one of the best experiences a woman feel. I remember the first time I held my daughter, motherhood was something I always wanted. Even though motherhood did not come under perfect circumstances for me I have been blessed and changed by motherhood.  This Sunday is Mother’s Day, a day to celebrate all the moms we know.  We cherish all the times and special moments we have shared over the years. We talk, we share and we have bonded more over time and memories.  I won’t be able to spend the day with my mom since she lives far away, but I will give her a call and chat on Mother’s Day.

I recently received a box full of Mothers Day gifts.  It was a rainy day and I couldn’t wait to get outside and use my new umbrella. The Catalina Estrada Flourishing Blooms Scarf is one of my favourites. It is something that just adds style to just about any outfit I put on. It has been a great fashion accessory and has been spotted wearing it often.

Mothers Day Gifts

Mothers Day Gifts from Hallmark

Mothers Day Gifts

There are a variety of gifts that will be a sweet addition for anyone’s taste. Your mom will love any of these Hallmark items.

  • Catalina Estrada Springtime Petals
  • Catalina Estrada Flourishing Blooms Scarf
  • Signature Gift Bags
  • Catalina Estrada Flourishing Blooms Cuff Bracelet
  • Blue Ceramic Tea Mug with built-in Infuser win a
  • Catalina Estrada Hummingbird Haven
  • Catalina Estrada Blue Rose Cosmetic Bag
  • Signature Greeting cards

Shower mom with love and make it a special day full of fun and memories to last a lifetime.

mothers day gifts

It’s time to enter and win a special gift or two for Mother’s Day. One lucky reader from Canada will win a Catalina Estrada Flourishing Blooms Scarf

and a Catalina Estrada Flourishing Blooms Cuff Bracelet.

.

 

Tax Tips for Canadian Freelancers

It is almost tax time for Canadian tax filers but did you know Canadians who are self-employed receive an extra six weeks to file within. Your documents are due June 25th, however, if you owe the tax man the interest on payments starts on May 1st this year. So what tax tips do I have for freelancers who may have just started living the gig lifestyle or just started working for themselves?

Keep Accurate Records

Can I confess something? The first few years I had my blog I kept no records, but that is ok because I earned no revenue from my blog. It was a passion project, a hobby. Once it became an income earning blog it was important to have accurate records of payments, gifts received and expenses.  It was and is important to keep accurate records for seven years.

Declare It

I know many freelancers who “forget” income. Did you get paid with a gift card my blogger friends? That counts as income? Did you receive product for writing a review, that is income? Are you earning money from a side hustle while working a full-time job? You have to declare that as well.

Expense It

When you start working for yourself, you quickly learn how many things you can now expense. Your home office becomes an expense, that laptop you just bought, your cell phone that you are using for your business is an expense, those new daycare toys, those new tools. The list goes on.

Some of my favourite write-offs include:

  • Transportation to and from gigs, conferences, or seeing clients.
  • Reasonable food, beverages, and entertainment expenses. (Food bloggers love this one.)
  • Learning( take a course, you can write it off if it relates to learning skills you need for what you do.)
  • The Home Office ( take the square footage of your office space divided by the total square footage of your home to calculate the part you can deduct)
  • Car Expenses( use your car for what you do, keep logs and repair receipts)

These are just a few of the things you can claim as a freelancer if you have the receipts, that is why it is so important to keep careful accurate files.

Save It

You should be saving some for the tax man. You definitely do not want to be left owing the tax man. I recommend saving at least 30% of your income for CPP and taxes.

File It Yourself

Even a busy small business owner can file their taxes themselves with the ease of the TurboTax Home & Business software. Your personal tax return and your business return are one and the same. Remember you do have to fill out a Statement of Business Activities.  One return will cover your entire life and that is a good thing!

If you would like more tax tips for the Canadian freelancer or small business owner, check out the TurboTax Canada blog

Win

Leave a blog post with your tax tip for freelancers and you can win a copy of TurboTax. There are 5 copies to win!

* Giveaway is open to Canadian tax filers and the giveaway closes April 25th at 12:00 am.

 

 

 

Why 2017 is the Year of the Rewards Credit Card in Canada

There is a war going on. It is a war for your loyalty and spending dollars. Credit card providers want your business and they are going to extremes to get you to become loyal to them.

Did you know that credit cards are the most common form of payment in Canada? Over 42% of Canadians turn to a credit card first. Kind of scary right? But with that simple fact, every time a consumer like you or me turns to our credit card, the credit card provider is earning money, and that’s why they want you to use their brand.

Credit card providers are working overtime to get our loyalty. Competing amongst themselves to offer lower interests rates is one arena for battle, but another is rewards programs. This year, more than ever before, credit card companies are offering bigger and better sign up bonuses with more generous rewards programs.

Incentives and perks are getting better and better for Canadians. Points are becoming easier and easier to collect, with payouts becoming more substantial. Cashback cards, for example, are starting to offer higher dividends, while travel options are also on the rise.

Lovers of travel can quickly earn points by regularly using a rewards card. Weekly groceries alone go a long way to building up your tally, but there are many ways to get clever to maximize your point payout.

When selecting a card, look for one with a sign up bonus. Some cards, for example, will come stocked with points valued at $150 or more. It’s also worth looking into the social profiles associated with each card because certain options offer bonus point events connected to retailers. These events earn bonus points when you use your card with an associated retailer, helping you eclipse the cost of a flight even faster.

But while it may seem obvious, don’t let the points blind you. Sometimes when you see your points building up to the point where you can get a free trip you will become inclined to spend more just for the points. As with any credit card, avoid carrying a balance and paying interest charges. A good points system does not equal low interest.

So where can you find the best cards right now? You can check in with your bank, but it’s easier to find a place to compare options from across the board. Check out the LowestRates.ca Find the Right Card comparison page. It’s a good place to see all the different options available.

As we look at the remainder of 2017, and into the years ahead, sit back and enjoy the credit card points wars unfold, as the ultimate spoils will fall to you.

Cut the Clutter: Cleaning Your Closets

Cuttheclutter

It’s time! From personal experience, I have learned I like stuff. It can accumulate quite fast. As a blogger, we often get sent stuff to review, swag and gifts. Then there is the fact I work for a toy company. Then there is the stuff I buy. It all adds up. Having lived in the same home now for five years, we have lots of stuff. I am living in clutter. It is time to cut the clutter and to live with the stuff I love, will use and need.

Join me this month as I cut the clutter and live with the stuff we love. I was at an event two weeks ago and one of the speakers mentioned, if you live in clutter, you do not get much done. I believe this to be true. So where do we start? I am starting with my closet.

How do closets get so overcrowded?  We start with just a few basic pieces, and then as we get older and head out into the work world, we seem to need more to wear.  And if we have a walk-in closet and not enough clothes to fill it . . . we need to buy more!

We even hold on to clothes that no longer fit because we’re hoping they will fit again one day.  Clothes that need repairs because at some point we’ll get them to the tailor.  Or clothes we don’t really like because we spent so much money on them.

It’s time get realistic about the clutter we have in our closets and start getting back to basics.  You only need ten essential pieces, yes ten!  Here’s how to start paring down and decluttering:

closet purge

Step No. 1: Confront your closet head-on. Do you even know what’s in there? First, empty your closet of everything. If you do not love it. If it does not serve a purpose, it will not go back in your closet. Start by grabbing everything you love. If you hesitate, for even a second, you don’t love it, and you need to ditch it.

Let’s start with the clothes. Place the clothes you love on your bed and arrange them by type: jeans, pants, sweaters, etc.

Step No. 2: Take a look at everything on the bed to see if a pattern emerges. Is everything black? Or maybe you chose clothes that only have comfortable fabrics. Did you select only your best-fitting jeans? Did you leave all the dresses in the closet?

By looking at the clothes you love all together, you will start to see a pattern. Maybe you like striped tops. Or only love pants and jeans. Next time you’re thinking about buying something new, think back to this moment and about how the new piece would fit in with your favorite items?

See that loved dress you haven’t worn in two years? Is it just taking up space? Can it find a new home?

Step No. 3: Put together outfits. How many different ways can you mix your key items to create different looks? Lay out as many outfits as possible.  Next, take photos of your outfits so when you don’t know what to wear, you can refer to the outfits you already put together.

Step No. 4: Edit. Are there some favorite pieces that you weren’t able to make outfits with? Take them out of the pile. Are there things that do not fit? Are you saving them for when you lose weight? Get rid of them. Clothes you have not worn at least once in the last year need to go.

Step No. 5: Pick and choose. Are there any essential pieces missing? What are your needs?

Step No. 6: Fix or donate. If an item doesn’t fit right or needs a replacement button, take it to the tailor.  If you don’t want to spend the money, get rid of the piece. Don’t let it stay around, taking up space if you can’t wear it.

Step No. 7: With everything out of your closet, store away non-seasonal items. Vacuum sealed bags work great for this. You want to create space.

Step No. 8: Think about where you are placing your loved items.  Which were the key pieces you used to create the most outfits? Put them back in your closet or on shelves where they are visible and accessible. Make it a joy to go into your closet.

organized closet

This is just the first step to a clutter free life. Let’s cut the clutter in our homes and lives this month. Join me on the journey and let’s see where this takes us.

 

 

 

New Job First Job First Tax Return-What Does It Mean for Your Wallet #CDNmoney

In today’s world, all of us go through major life events more often. We are a fast paced world with change being part of the fabric of our every day. This past year, there were some major shifts in my life. I went from being a freelancer to having a full-time role with a great company. I love my new job. My teen is also facing change as she graduated from high school and well it is time for college and the work force. So what do all these changes mean come tax time? These are normal changes that almost every Canadian family will face at one time or another.

new_job

What Does a New Job mean?

First, let’s talk about the taxes. Whenever a Canadian gets a new job with a new employer, all of your employment insurance and Canadian pension plan are reset for the fiscal year. This means you may be due an overpayment come tax time. Check for this.

If you were paying into a retirement savings plan with your employer make sure you understand what this new job means for that old plan. Know your rights and obligations. Do the research.

Have Your First Job?

Having that first job is exciting. My teen’s first job was at her high school helping after school with a fellow student who needed supports in place at the end of her school day. Since every ; this receives a basic tax credit of $11,000, my teen was not required to fill out a tax form but here are the reasons she will.

Many first tax returns have to be submitted in paper. It allows the government to set the first time filer up on the CRA system, this also allows you to file online in the future if you qualify. The younger you do this first return as well sets the timeline for when your RRSP contributions begin.

Student-using-laptop-in-a-university-library

Starting college or university, or are you there and you haven’t filed your first return yet?

First, your tax return is used to determine if you are eligible for things like GST and the Ontario Trillium Benefit here in Ontario. Even if you have zero income, you can qualify for these payments.

As well to use your tuition, education and text book credit you have to submit them on your tax return in the year they occur even if you are not going to use the credit till the future.

There are several credits that you are intitled to as a student that you can save or transfer to a parent. The tuition amount can either be claimed by a student be transferred or carried over toward a future year.

With so many questions and because life can change on a dime, filing using TurboTax Canada makes sense. Every step of the way you are asked questions that enable you to get the best return. We love how fast and easy it is as well.

If you would like to win one of 5 copies of TurboTax Canada here on my blog, simply, leave a comment on this post, or you can join us for the #CDNmoney chat on Tuesday, March 28th at 7 pm ET as we talk about new parents and tax returns. There will be more chances to win that night as well.

Want more tax tips ready the TurboTax Canada blog and follow them on Twitter.

*Blog Giveaway ends March 27th at 11:59 pm and is only open to Canadian tax filers. This post has been sponsored by TurboTaxCanada, but as always my opinion is mine. 

 

 

How to Make a Profit at Thrift Store Shopping

 

 

Hello Common Cents Mom readers, from Sneaky Pete the Savvy Thrifter. I’m writing this guest post, reacting to the article on Torontonicity, Secrets of a Thrift Store Technology Picker, which I thought was pretty clever. But I also reckoned I might share with you some of my own tactics for Thrift Store picking and especially the game we call Pick-n-Flip.

Pick-n-Flip – Participants shop local and then sell items online. We play over an entire shopping season (three months). No I’ve never won. And I have a half dozen friends who play the game with me, and they’ve never won either (you have to end the season in profit). Its a tricky thing and unless you watch yourself you could become a ‘hoarder’ when your merchandise doesn’t ‘flip’.  The secret to being a successful picker is to have buyers waiting in the wings, or at the very least a physical store shelf to properly display items for resale. If you don’t have that you’ll probably destined to become a Hoarder.

Meyersberg Flea Market near Campbellford Ontario – 26 Feb 2017

Thrift stores and flea markets are poor places to prospect for bargains compared to estate auctions, yard sales and community rummage sales. The last three venues are essentially clearing houses, and this is where most pickers find impossible deals and maximum profits reselling rare merchandise.

But let’s remember, auctions and yard sales are special occasions; they are time-sensitive events. Finding and buying anything at one of these big sales usually requires traveling some distance and waiting in crowds before bidding in live auctions. Thrift stores by contrast are everywhere, and easily accessible. and you can buy whatever you find right on the spot.

The charity thrift store model essentially resells donations from the public, . These stores are not charities; they’re for-profit businesses which donate a portion of the proceeds to charity. Rural community thrift bazaars like the Meyersberg Flea Market pictured above are better places for finding bargains as locals really don’t know international prices or even the market prices set in neighbouring urban centers.

the iron mongery behind the counter of neighbourhood thrift store Homemade iron ‘broad axe’ for sale,, only $79 including the Hickory wood handle!

For example, when visiting the Meyersberg flea market be sure and visit the iron monger who sells handmade iron broad axes for what Sneaky Pete perceives as a mere fraction of their true market value. What cottager wouldn’t want a homemade iron implement like the one seen above on hand to split kindling and log wood for their fireplace? You just don’t see this stuff, or these prices here in Toronto.

Salvation Army and Value Village are two of the biggest chains here in the city, but there are many smaller shops, Like even Black Market Vintage on Queen, seen below. has deals that frugal moms might miss while knowledgeable Fashionistas can spot vintage North American classic clothes that are still cheap and plentiful here, but hard-to-find and expensive overseas.

Black Market Vintage on Queen – photo courtesy of BlogTO

When Picking for Profits in Toronto Area Thrift Stores…

Experienced shoppers who do set about ‘picking’ through Value Village and Salvation Thrift Store shelves might be tempted to peruse the clothing section looking for vintage leather jackets, flight suits, satin shirts, and handmade Alligator skin shoes.  Or they might wander the kitchenware aisle hunting collectible coffee mugs, Jadeite cups and saucers, and real silverware. While there, experienced pickers would be surely scour the bottom shelves looking for unusual shaped chocolate molds.

A quick search for rare books usually yields something in every store in Toronto. Sneaky Pete seeks out original graphic novels, and ‘official’ corporate colouring books and Big Little books.  Near the book section there’s generally two racks of paintings and commercial art; like this vintage Lucas film poster art which sold for $60 new and is available here in Value Village today for ten bucks. That’s a steal.

Star Wars storm trooper Lucas Film poster 1983 Star Wars storm trooper Lucas Film poster 1983 for sale in Value Village for $9.99

Finding such obvious bargains at these places often requires perfect timing because every picker worth her salt knows that Star Wars stuff sells – but what else is there? How else can you know what’s in demand before you buy the item in a thrift store?

Kijiji ‘Wanted’ Lists can become Daily (or Hourly) Shopping Lists

Why not take a minute and explore online the many ‘Wanted Lists’ published online everyday? The Toronto Wanted section of Kijiji,and on Craigslist and other smaller (less frequently updated) ‘swap and shop’ type sites – check the lists once or twice a day. Desperate people on these pages are always looking to replace proprietary phone chargers and battery backs and power adapters etc. Lori mentioned how Standard Telecom buys and sells office phone networks, and to keep a particular eye out for the Nortel 9417CW.

battery chargers for technology Value Village thrift store tech picker

And this brings Sneaky Pete to reflect on the tenacious Thrift Store price tags (also mentioned in Torontonicity’s Thrift Store picking article). How does one remove those pesky stickers off painted surfaces, and especially plastics.without damaging the finish?

Lorpon Labels, sticker adhesives, glue on labels strengths, Canada

The tiny square paper price tag labels on items for sale in Toronto area thrift stores are often welded right onto the objects with the objective of deterring label swapping and other fraudulent activities that happen in these stores. View the entire adhesives cheat sheet from the product label printing experts at Lorpon Labels to understand which combination of oils and soaps to use (Sneaky Pete uses peanut butter) to remove those pesky price tags off plastics and other smooth surfaces

computer chips - price tag

A2ZPC computer repair store in Toronto buys and sells used computer chips

There’s about eight bucks worth of rare earth metals (including gold) in a desktop computer, and even more in a laptop computer.

The good people at KPDI digital solutions agency in Toronto accept e-waste from thrift stores which scrap for charity and Sneaky Pete sometimes helps out in the fun.
Tech scrapper at KPDI com digutal solutions agencyTech scrapper at KPDI com digital solutions agency
Broken computers and laptops are not ‘junk’ until they have been stripped of the chips and capacitors. When stripping computers search for monolithic capacitors, rhodium and  Tantalum capacitors. Its common for these chips to have silver conductors, but more importantly the rare earth metals inside these cylindrical components are worth more than gold. Do not open them up to look, as they are toxic and worse the metal will oxidize quickly and be worth less money.

Polaroid camera for sale in Thrift Store, image courtesy of Torontonicity Polaroid camera for sale in Thrift Store, image courtesy of Torontonicity
Old Polaroid cameras are almost always worth the asking price if they still work. See here this definitive article on buying selling Polaroid cameras by Dan Finnen shows this camera and how to appraise its value with links to the (his) Polaroid camera section on eBay.

Lastly – Ask to see what’s not on display, or behind the counter

Sometimes the managers of donation based thrift stores have problem pieces which they don’t know how to display or price properly. They may be convinced to sell these difficult objects to you for whatever price you divine assuming you can prove some market price index using eBay or another online catalog. Even more fruitful is to find items with problems you can solve at home – repairs, missing components, and TLC.  What”s hidden behind the counter, and not on display is sure to be more interesting than the rest of the rummage.

10 Uses for Baking Soda in Your Home

Bakingdoda1

You may find baking soda listed in the ingredients of many of your favorite recipes, but did you know that it also has some great household uses? We love using our Arm & Hammer Baking soda every day here at home. There are so many uses for it!  Here are 10 great ways you can use it save time and energy when cleaning around the home.

Microwave Cleaner:

If you’ve got a grungy microwave, clean it quickly and easily by adding a couple of teaspoons of baking soda to a bowl of water and place in microwave on high for 3-5 minutes, depending how dirty it is. When the microwave stops, keep the door closed to give the steam from the heated bowl of water a few minutes to work. Remove the bowl and take a moist, warm cloth and wipe the inside of the microwave. The grime should wipe off easily.

Grease Buildup On Range Hood:

If you have grease buildup inside the hood, you can easily clean it with baking soda. First, make a thick paste with baking soda and water. Take a cloth and wet it with hot, soapy water; then scrub the grease with the paste in a circular motion. Wipe off as much of the grease as possible then rinse the cloth in a bucket of hot, soapy water. Reapply the paste and repeat until most of the grease is removed. Once the majority of the buildup is gone, wash the hood with hot, soapy water to remove any traces of the paste.

Dirty Stovetop:

Sprinkle baking soda around the stovetop generously then spray hot water (boiling if possible) over top, enough to dissolve the baking soda without making it run all over. Let it soak for about 30 minutes then scrub it clean.

Smelly Dishwasher:

Freshen your dishwasher up by sprinkling a layer of baking soda on the bottom. Close it and let it sit overnight. The next day use a damp sponge to scrub the baking soda into the inside walls and door of the dishwasher. Remove most of the powder then run a full cycle on empty to remove any last traces.

Mattress Freshener:

When stripping the beds down to wash the sheets; freshen up the mattress by sprinkling a thin layer of baking soda on top of it. Let it sit for a few hours then vacuum the powder up.

Trash Can Deodorizer:

Mix 4 teaspoons Eucalyptus oil with 4 cups of baking soda. Store it in an airtight plastic container. After cleaning the trash can, sprinkle a handful of the mixture inside the dry can.

Blood Stain Remover (Laundry):

Blood stains, if fresh, can be removed by washing in cold water. If the stains are hard and dry, soak for a few hours in cold water with a pinch of baking soda. Wash the clothes in cold water. Never wash blood stains in hot water.

Slippery Sidewalks:

Generously sprinkle baking soda on icy patches on walkways. It’s friendly to your sidewalk than salt and makes a slip free zone.

Curling Iron Cleaner:

Clean the gunk off of your curling iron by scrubbing it with a paste made from baking soda and water, then wiping clean with a damp cloth. Be sure the curling iron is turned off and unplugged first.

Crayon On Walls:

Remove crayon scribbles from walls with a paste of baking soda and water then use it to gently scrub the marks. You could also just sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge and rub clean.

*I am a brand ambassador with Church and Dwight, however, we have used baking soda in our house for many years. I was taught most of these tricks by my mom and grandmother. As always my thoughts are my own.