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How to Eat Fresher and Cheaper on a Budget

How to Eat Fresher and Cheaper on a Budget

If one of your New Years’ resolutions is to cut your grocery costs while buying fresher groceries,  it can be done.  There are a number of strategies that you can use to save money every time you grocery shop.  I love heading to my local FRESHCO where I can definitely get fresher and cheaper on a budget.

 

Meal Plan

When you plan your meals before you head to the grocery store you know what you need.  You know what your meals will be for the week. You are not simply scanning the aisles for what looks good.

 

Make a List

Research has shown that if you can avoid impulse buying you can save at least 20% on your weekly grocery bill. Always shop with a list. I use an app to keep my list handy.

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Eat Your Veggies and Fruit too

You can save 25% by adding more fruits and vegetables to your cart. You can have a healthier and fresher grocery list simply by choosing fresh for snacks and the main event. Not only do you save money, but you are getting healthier as well! You have to love that!

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Shop Seasonal and Sales

If you know me, you know I love to shop seasonally and love a great deal.  Have a freezer? Stock up on meat when it is on sale. I love checking my local flyers on a flyer app. You can always find the FRESHCO weekly flyer here as well. It lets me know what sales I can find that week, as I meal plan I am often referring to this list.  Fruit and vegetables in season are always cheaper.  Choose fruit that is ripe and ready to eat and some that needs to ripen in a few days. That way there will be no waste.

 

When you stock up on staples like rice, beans, pasta you have them on hand to make great healthy meals. Watch for these when they are on sale as they do have a longer shelf life.

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Shop the Perimeter

 

I love shopping at my local FRESHCO. I walk into the produce section and from there I do 80 percent of my shopping around the perimeter. That is where I pick up my fruit, my vegetables, my meat, my eggs, my cheese, the basics for a healthy meal. When I shop the inside aisles I am looking for healthy staples like beans, nuts, and healthy whole grains. I am also looking for my spices.

Let me know, how you save at the grocery store.

 

*This post has been sponsored by FRESHCO, as always the opinions are my own.

 

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5 Tips to Help New Moms Cope #ChurchandDwight

Do you remember what being a new mom was like? Life was a bit overwhelming. I can remember when I brought my child home, there was much to learn. Between trying to bond, trying to get my child to take to the breast I was a mom simply trying to cope.  During this time of learning, growing, bonding and coping there are some simple things you can do.  There are also great products that will ease this time of transition. Here are five tips along with their products that will help you cope.

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Stop Worrying About Messes

Spills, stains and messes are status quo with a little one on your hands. The hardest part of tackling the laundry is finding a detergent that’s right for baby’s clothes.

The makers of OxiClean™ stain removers have developed a 100 per cent dye and chlorine-free Multi-Purpose Baby Stain Remover Powder and Spray to be gentle on your baby’s washables while being tough on your messiest baby stains. You can pre-treat stains with the Spray and use Powder in every load to make your baby’s cloth diapers, bedding, clothes and accessories cleaner, whiter and brighter.

Schedule Some Down Time

Every day, do your best to carve out some time that’s just for you. Between feeding, changing diapers and lulling your baby to sleep, you may find yourself emotionally and physically exhausted. When your baby is sleeping or enjoying time in the swing or bouncy seat, give yourself a face mask, read a magazine or paint your nails. Even just 10 minutes for yourself will make a huge difference.  I found that even 3 minutes for myself; but more often throughout the day, really helped.  I would take my 3 minutes (when my baby was safe), I’d close my eyes, and breathe.

Gassy Tummy? No Problem!

If your baby is fussy for no apparent reason, it may be a gassy tummy. It’s widely accepted that keeping a baby upright for feedings, burping them often or massaging their belly may help to relieve gas pains. When your child has an uncomfortable gas pain that you cannot seem to soothe, try giving them infant gas relief drops like Ovol® Drops. They provide gentle and fast relief of colic, bloating or gas by helping to break up gas bubbles to relieve discomfort caused by trapped gas – making it easier for a baby to pass gas and burp at feeding time. The pleasant mint-flavoured drops make them easy for parents to administer.

Get Plenty of Rest

A shift in your sleeping pattern, or overall lack of sleep, can be one of the hardest parts of being a new mom. If your baby likes to nap in the morning, nap with them! House chores will always be there so stop using this time to try and get ahead. Even if you’re not actually sleeping, the downtime will give you a boost.  Before you know it you’ll have gone through this initial stage … cherish every moment (good and bad) because one day you’ll miss it.

Soothe Teething Gums

Crying, drooling and tears can make teething quite the ordeal for both moms and babies. Gently rubbing your baby’s gums can help to ease your baby’s discomfort as does a chilled washcloth or teething ring. If your baby is especially cranky, try using an homeopathic remedy like Baby Orajel™ Naturals Nighttime Teething Gel. With the soothing power of Chamomilla (commonly known as Chamomile) and passion flower, this product helps to relieve teething pain and discomfort and calm the restlessness that comes from teething so that your baby can get a good night’s rest.

Help Combat Dryness

Many women experience vaginal dryness after childbirth which can make intercourse uncomfortable for them. To help provide relief from vaginal dryness, try using Trojan™ H2O Water-Based Liquid Lubricants. These two water-based lubricants are made with hyaluronic moisturizer (which locks in up to 1000x more moisture and hydration), allowing you to enjoy comfortable intimate moments with your partner.

Some bonus tips:

To help make the transition easier, try:

  • enlisting helpers (friends, family) that can help around the house, go shopping, or even watch the baby while you nap
  • if you know your due date, perhaps make several crockpots of a variety of meals and freeze them so you can use during the first few weeks after bringing baby home
  • read, read, read …. read up on everything and anything you don’t know about baby
  • locate a new mother’s group to potentially attend … it’s the perfect way to keep social

 

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How to Find a Good Dentist in Toronto

I am going to admit something here until recently I had not been to a dentist in years. As I age, I realized my mouth needed care. I had put dental care for too long. I started to look for a dentist back in December after a conversation with friends.  It was time to find a good dentist here in Toronto.  So how do you find a good dentist in Toronto? How do you know when you have found one? I had several concerns. There were things I was looking for.

I made a list of my must haves and started researching dentists my area. My search ended with me finding a great dentist in Dr Natile Archer D.D.S. at the Runnymede Dental Centre which is part of Archer Dental Runnymede.  It is located inside the Runnymede Health Centre at 625 Runnymede Rd.How did I choose Dr. Archer?

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I had wanted a dentist and staff that were patient and answered every question I had. I also wanted clear explanations and options for treatment. I wanted a dentist that was affordable, and I wanted a local dentist with a great reputation. I found that at the Archer Dental.

So how can you find a great dentist in the city?

  • Get referrals from friends; this is exactly what I did
  • Read online reviews
  • Ask questions
  • Use the Ontario Dental Association Find a Dentist Service to find a dentist near where you live. Type in your postal code and they give you five local dentists. Archer Dental is close to home for me.

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After my first visit to Dr. Archer’s office, I knew I had found the right dentist for me. Archer Dental have two offices here in Toronto, one at Bloor and Sherbourne in Rosedale called Archer Dental Rosedale and the other inside the Runnymede Healthcare Centre on Runnymede. I love that we have such a great dentist office right here in the Junction. I walk to my Dr. Archer’s office.

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How do you know you found a great dentist? Look for quality care. When I visited Archer Dental for the first time, I was warmly greeted by staff that showed they cared. While I was in the chair,  my dental hygienist Krista saw my nerves and was amazing with me. I have never met a dental staff so ready to answer questions in an environment that calms you.

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Because I put off dental care for way too long, I now need multiple appointments to get the work done that is needed. Never put off dental care if you can help it! The one good thing I have found a great dentist and the staff at the office are amazing as well.  I have a compacted mouth so even cleaning my teeth is a chore which is why I am thankful I have Krista getting that job done. I will then need a few appointments with Dr. Archer for a couple of issues! I know I am in good hands.  I love how my mouth is changing, and starting to look better. I will be sharing my dental transformation in the weeks ahead here on my blog and on my social channels.

Now if you live in Rosedale or the Junction, I highly recommend a visit to Archer Dental. I can’t wait for my next appointment later in the week at the Runnymede location in the Junction.

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Decorating For Fall with Hallmark

It is another beautiful day here in Toronto. I am so thankful that we have been blessed with some warm days as Thanksgiving. It has given me the incentive to get ready for Thanksgiving. One of my traditions is changing out the decor accents every season. Do you do this? Thanks to thrifting and my love of Hallmark, I have items stored for every season. I decorate for Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Spring, Canada Day, and Summer. I may be a bit of a nut that way, but I can remember my mother doing the same. It made things seem ready for the season right at home.

Fall is my favourite season and it is so nice to bring in some of those fall colours. It is amazing to have the oranges, golds and reds in the house! With Thanksgiving happening this weekend I also love what Hallmark Canada sent the team this year to help us celebrate the holiday.  Just take a peek at a few of these quality items that I will be able to use year after year. That is the great thing about Hallmark!

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My daughters favourite piece is this large fabric pumpkin. Don’t you just love the herringbone fabric! Mine was this Medium Candle holder. Did you notice Hallmark’s wax-like votive candles. They are flameless, no flames to worry about.  I love it next to my fireplace.

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We were also sent a beautiful autumn oven mitt and these adorable  Thanksgiving inspired tea towels. I can not wait to use them for our Thanksgiving meal! Tell me do you change up the decor at your house.

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Here is how I change up the decor.

  1. I check out what I have stored away in the store room; I have fake flowers and decor for every season. I pull out my favourites.
  2. I add a piece or two each season that way it does not break the bank.

For us, doing these two things allow us to enjoy the beautiful decor of the season. Do change things up in your home each season? Let me know in the comments if you do. These little changes in our home are one of the things I am thankful for. What are you thankful right now?

 

 

 

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How to do Thanksgiving Dinner for Under $40

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For the last few years, I have been hosting Thanksgiving dinner here at home, and I love when there are lots of leftovers. It means I don’t have to cook for a few days. One of the things that have always concerned me is how much we spend on a holiday meal. Did you know you can do a nice Thanksgiving dinner for under $40.00 The meal can serve 4-6 people.

Here is how to do Thanksgiving dinner for under $40.00:

Check out your local flyers, your favorite recipe sites, and look at what coupons you may have on hand. I always check for coupons and deals on my Flipp app. If you are a regular reader of mine, I am sure this app is on your phone.

Decide on your menu and make your shopping list. I love that I can make my list right on my Flipp app. It allows me to carry my shopping list with me wherever I go so there are no mistakes made.

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Here is what I will be serving this Thanksgiving:

  • Roast turkey ( yes I do a whole Turkey). Did you know you can get a great price on turkey at Walmart Canada right now? Because of the price of the turkey there I decided I would do all my shopping there.
  • Honey Glazed Carrots. ( we love these)
  • Sweet potatoes and marshmallows
  • garden salad
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Stuffing ( I add a bit of cranberries to my Stove Top)
  • Pickles
  • Rolls
  • Apple Pie with Cool Whip
  • Apple Cider
  • Gravy

This allowed me to use coupons and price match as well check out any deals that Walmart had. One of the things I do, before I shop, is make my shopping list and checked it twice. I always check my cupboards before I leave the house, so I am not purchasing duplicates. This year there was no need to purchase things like flour, eggs, butter, spices, or pickles because I have them in the house. I also have salad fixings in the house always.

 Went to my local Walmart store with my list on my app and my clippings ready. There were several price matches I thought I might need but the majority of the time the price at Walmart was just right. I did manage to do a few price matches, though.

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When you make a menu with your favourite recipes, make a list and check it twice, then use my favourite shopping tool Flipp you can do even a holiday meal on a budget. No need for a huge expense on the pocket book. Check out everything I got for $36.00. The only thing missing is my apple cider.

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Now if you are a huge fan of Flipp like I am you will want to check out their Facebook page and Twitter account this week during the day. They are giving away some great prizes as they celebrate #FlippGivesThanks

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How to Save Money on Kids Clothes in Canada

Ever wonder how you can save money on kids clothes? With many of us parents shopping for back to school now, many of us look for ways to save. I know I do and this year I learned an extra trick or two that saw money left in this mom’s wallet.  I am discovering new ways to save and keep my budget in check.

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Student Discounts

Student discounts have been utilized this year in our home. If you have a high school, college or university student in the family make sure they pay for their clothes ( yes give them a budget and let them know how to save). When students pay, they can often grab student discounts either with the SPC card, or some retailers have their student discounts:

  • H&M offers students 15% off their purchases
  • Roots offer 20% off regular priced items, 10% off sale items.
  • The Banana Republic offers 15% on your full-priced in store purchases.
  • Levi’s offers 15% off for students. Register online to get your 15% off.

There are other retailers as well if you are traveling in the US. It never hurts to ask if they offer a discount. Some are good only for college and university students, but it never hurts to ask. By the way that SPC card we got 2 weeks ago has already saved us $40.00!

Price Matching

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Hate having to visit several stores to get all your shopping done? Save time and money by price matching. As many of my readers know my favourite app for price matching is Flipp. Many retailers with match and even sometimes beat their competitor’s prices. Make sure you know your favourite retailer’s policy. The products do have to be identical, so you do have to be careful. Many retailers these days allow you to price match straight from the app which is a huge blessing as you don’t have to carry a flyer or a screen grab of an online deal.  Retailers that I love to price match at for kids clothes are Walmart, Sears, Hudsons Bay, Sports Check and Giant Tiger. Giant Tiger even goes one step further and lets you get the item for one cent less.

My teen really wanted a pair of Converse sneakers so she typed Converse into the app and found them on sale at Hudsons Bay. She took a special trip there as she wanted a certain design. One of the great deals we found was at Sears. Many of the

How do you use the Flipp app to price match? It is easy. Enter the item you are looking to purchase in the search bar on the app; the Flipp app will automatically bring up all your local flyers with deals on the item, then all you do is clip the item to the app. It will be added to your shopping list. At the retailer where you shop simply show them the app and the clipping. It is that easy. Do check your store’s policy to see if they allow you to price match straight from the app.

Price Adjustments

One of the biggest lessons I have learned is to hang on to my receipts. One too many times I have seen the item I bought last week on sale this week. Lots of retailers will do a price adjustment. You simple have to check their price adjustment policy. For many stores, this is seven days but for some, it can be up to 30 days. Stores in Canada that will price adjust include Walmart, Hudsons Bay, The Childrens Place, Sport Check and Carters/OshKosh

Warranties

Do you have a kid that is rough on their clothes? I had a daughter who was very rough on her clothes. My daughter, when she was younger would chew her shirts. I am grateful for retailers who had great warranties and clothes that stood the test of time. I was also thankful for retailer warranties. I have used them a few times.

  • Walmart’s warranty states their clothes won’t wear out before your kids out grow them. The guarantee is for children’s clothing size zero to 16 and shoes size toddler zero to boys youth size six and girls youth size six.
  • Have a large family? You will love the Sears Lifetime Wear Out Warranty.  They repair or replace the item in the same size as long as any kid in the family is wearing that size. If the item is no longer in stock, they replace it with a similar item of equal value.  The warranty covers up to size 18 in the youth section and shoes up to senior kids size six.
  • You will love that Giant Tiger satisfaction guarantee policy has no time limit so you can always return kids clothing if you are not happy with the wear and get your money back.

There are many ways to save on kids clothing just remember to save your receipts. In our house, I have a clothing receipts folder, and it sure has come in handy. You will need those receipts if you want to use the warranty or get a price adjustment. Let me know if you have found other ways to save on kids clothing.

 

 

 

 

 

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6 Money Rules for Teens and University Students in 2016

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When I was a teen I wished someone had sat me down and taught me some basic money rules. I went to university got my first credit card and by the end of my first year I was in debt. Not good!  With this being the last year my teen is taking high school courses I want her to know how to me money smart. So what rules would I want for my daughter? For any teen getting ready for the next stage in life? Here are my money rules:

Keep a Money Journal

By writing it down and keeping a money journal you can see where you are spending your cash. By doing so, you see your money habits and where you might want to change things. Get a small notebook you can toss in your bag. Yes, you could use an app to do this. There are several now available.

Save for a Rainy Day

You never know when you may experience an emergency, and no an emergency is not the purchase of a want like the newest tech toy. Try and save at least 10% of what you bring in till you have enough to cover at least three months of expenses. This is your emergency fund. My teen has become an expert in savings, and I am proud of her efforts in this area. She saves 25% of her monthly income.

Spend Less than what You Earn

When you spend less than you earn now, you are caring about your future. Does your future matter to you? Then you want to take care of it by watching what you spend now.

Watch Out for Credit Card Debt

Your need to be very careful in how you use your credit card. Think does that night out warrant it going on your card? Do you need that interest adding up? Are you able to pay the balance at the end of the month?

A Sale is Not Always a Good Deal

People often think that a sale means a great deal. What if you do not need that new pair of shoes? That new tech toy? You need to learn to shop with a list. What do you really need? Buy with a purpose and a plan. As well if you are putting that sale item on a credit card that you do not pay off every month, you lose the savings.

Set Money Goals

What do you really want? What are your plans? Do you want to travel? Graduate debt free? Have money for the future? Set your goals, then put a plan in place to help you get there but remembering these rules you are well on your way to achieving them.

Let me know what money rules would you want your kids to know.

 

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Getting Her College Room Ready with Canadian Tire

This summer has flown by. It seems like yesterday my daughter was finishing up her high school career. This year she is doing a Gap year. Have you ever had one of yours take one? She will be splitting her time between high school and college. Back to school is just over a week away.  She needs a few more science courses to take the college program she is most interested in. She will be taking those and at the same time taking a digital animation course at George Brown. She has a busy year ahead. To get her ready, we are giving her room a makeover and getting her college ready. Think of it like a dorm room at home.

She has had most of the current stuff in her room since we got here six years ago. Most of what we got back then were hand me downs or items I picked up second hand. She deserves and needs an upgrade. She is an eighteen-year-old young woman who needs a space to do the things she loves. She also needs to be organized because for the first time she will have actual homework.  How did she get through high school with no homework? She did it all at school.

We have been looking for a new desk, dresser and bookcase for her room. We have also been looking at computer chairs, lamps, and rugs. She was on the Flipp app recently and was flipping through the sales flyers when she noticed that Canadian Tire had some things that would look great in her room. She loved that she could finally have pieces that match. No more hand me downs.

Getting Her College Room Ready

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My daughter fell in love with the Sauder Oak 5-Shelf Bookcase. She loved how grown up it looked. The fixed and adjustable shelves are great for her. You should see her collection of books and art supplies. This bookcase will be perfect for storing them all.

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She also fell in love with the Sauder Salter oak desk. She loves the two small drawers to keep all little things in. This will give her lots of space for writing those essays and reviewing lab notes.

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To complete everything she wants the Sauder Salted Oak 4-drawer dresser.  After all, what young woman doesn’t an elegant and contemporary place for all her clothes? This one will have ample storage space for her.

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Her room here is small, and I can imagine her dorm room will be just as small, so she loves Arden shag rug in linen. She loves the feel of shag and doesn’t want to wake up to cold feet.

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Every student needs a good lamp, and she wanted a swing arm desk lamp.  She will have enough light for those late night study sessions.

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While checking out what she needs now for her new room, she was also thinking ahead to next year when she will have to buy small kitchen things like a mini fridge, microwave, toaster oven and kettle so she even checked those out and a few were placed on her Christmas list. She was excited when we found much of what she needs for her college room.

So tell me how did you have to get your teen ready for university or college? Were you shopping for the dorm room? Buying a few new things for home to help them adjust?

Make sure you enter to win a $400 Canadian Tire Card here:

Get Ready for Back to School with Canadian Tire

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Tips to Deal with the Back to School Drawbacks

Can you believe it? Summer vacation for the kids is almost done. The freedom and fun of summer will soon be over, and it is time for back to school. With the lazy of summer behind us, there are a few “drawbacks” to getting back into the school routine.

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Laundry: Summer comes with its fair share of stains, but soon gym clothes and uniforms will take over – big time. If your kids wear a uniform to school, you know the importance of keeping these in good condition. There’s nothing worse than having to replace something mid-year. Then there are the extra-curricular activities…hello, hockey jerseys and ballet leotards! These items are pricey, and it’s important to care for them properly. What are the odds these items will make it through the school year? Step 1: beg and plead with your kids to treat these items with care (good luck!). Step 2: Equip yourself with a killer laundry arsenal that’s always at your fingertips. For example, stock up on OxiClean™ Colour Shield Liquid Laundry Stain Remover, it keeps colours looking their brightest. And OxiClean™ White Revive™ Stain Remover Powder has your whites covered as it’s specially formulated to maintain whites – without chlorine bleach! For inevitable stains, turn to OxiClean™ Laundry Stain Remover Spray and OxiClean™ Max Force™ Gel Stick to pre-treat in advance of your next laundry day.

Aches and pains: Real life will ramp up again quickly for you too. Whether you’re back at the office and adjusting to sitting at a desk all day or you’re just trying to keep up with your kids, topical pain relievers such as RUB·A535™ Extra Strength Heating Cream are essential to have on hand for those muscle aches and pains. It delivers fast-acting, warm, penetrating relief of muscle, joint, back and arthritic pain.

Cavities: Before you know it, Halloween will be approaching and then the Holidays are not far behind. For you, this means an extra-long to-do list. For your kids, it’s the start of a regular diet of candy and chocolate so brushing their teeth will be key! When brushing is fun, your kids will want to brush their teeth! They’ll love the novelty of the moving brush head on Arm & Hammer™ Spinbrush™ Kids Battery Toothbrush and designs such as My Little Pony™ and Paw Patrol™ will get them even more excited.

When we think about it some more, heading back to school isn’t so bad! That being said, what are you not looking forward to the most? I bet I have a tip to help!

  • I am a Church & Dwight Ambassador and as such I get to bring you posts each month about products that we use here at home. 
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How to Save Money on Getting Your Dorm Room Ready

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Are you ready sending your high school graduate off to college or university? Are they going to be living in a dorm room? Perhaps you are feeling overwhelmed like the parents of several my daughter’s friends.  It can be scary thinking about them leaving home and venturing off especially if this is your first child leaving home. It can also be scary looking at the list of things they need to be dorm room ready.

How to Save Money on Getting Your Dorm Ready

 

Make a List

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A few of my friends are getting their kids ready. One of my first suggestions to them, make a list. Everyone needs a checklist and with setting up a dorm room or first apartment, you don’t want to forget a thing. I made this free printable that you can use. You can thank me later! You can download my free printable here. Dorm-Room-Shopping-List

See What You Can Find for Free

Have your list? The next thing to do is check and see what you already have on your list. If memory serves me correct, many of the things I needed when I lived in the dorm during my university years, I was able to take from home. Check around your house and see what can be checked off your list.

Now that you have your list and have checked around the house for what can be used in that new dorm room ask friends and check online groups for items that you can pick up for free. It happens that many items can be found for free

Find the Best Deals

You have already checked several items off your list. Now, it is time to go shopping. How do you find the best deals?  The Flipp app is the perfect solution to knowing where the best deals are in your new locale.  It is easy to use.  Enter your zip or postal code in the app and all your local flyers are at your fingertips.

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Since you now have a list of what you are shopping for transfer that list to the Flipp app. After all who needs to carry paper when they shop. Having your shopping list at your fingertips makes things easy. You can also do quick price comparisons by using the search feature.

When you add an item to your shopping list, the Flipp app automatically shows you the best deals that week. You can then shop the store with the best deals. If the retailer you are shopping at allows for price matching, you can sometimes get all your shopping done in one stop. Several retailers even allow you to price match straight from the app. Check with your local store and see if they do.

By using Flipp to find the best deals, shopping what you have and asking friends you can save a bundle on all those dorm room needs. Getting a dorm room ready doesn’t have to be expensive, you just have to be smart about how you get everything ready. Let me know in the comments any other ways you save on getting a dorm room ready as that will be me next year.