New or Used that is the Question

 

NewVsUsed

New vs Used that is the question? I have been thinking about this especially when it comes to how I shop.Do I buy new out of habit or brand allegiance could I change this and save money.  There are certain things that I buy that have to be a certain brand even if they cost more.  When it comes to these goods, I think it is because I am a smart or should I say, the wise consumer. Now most of what I buy is used.

When it comes to clothing, I buy used mostly. I love the feel of a pair of well-worn jeans. Now who likes to break in a new pair? I went shopping this week at Value Village and used one of the $35 GCs that I won last week at stocked up on a few wants: one was a beautiful silk red blouse($4.99) that will look great over my basic black dress( also a VV find for $7) for the holidays. I love like this and I cant tell you how many compliments I have gotten on my brown leather bag that I got for $3.99. Yes I know by buying clothes second hand you have to bring them home and wash immediately etc., and you don’t have the latest trendy items, but I am a classic vintage gal, so it works well for me.

When it comes to furniture, I buy used, and you can always find great deals either on Kijiji or Craigslist. There is not a new piece in my apartment. Now this means my apartment is a variety of looks but that again is ok with me, but I guess if you are trying to achieve a certain look then you might buy new. As for colors in my apartment, I use throws and pillows to bring things together.

When it comes to electronics unless it has been gifted to me( i.e., my current tv I buy new). My computer was a great deal when I bought it two years ago ( for $349). I got the last one Staples had when they were clearing out stock for me it has more then served me well. My MP3 player was a gift with a purchase I made.

For my music needs, I don’t buy CDs anymore if there is a song I like I can usually get it for free?  I enter and win enough downloads from contests through the year. I have not paid for music in over a year thanks to Rip to Win and the other contests that have netted me 56 downloads in the last six months. If you like music, don’t buy CDs download them it is so much cheaper!

Now if my location ever changed( living in the heart of Toronto allows me to be a walker and TTC user) and I had to buy a car, I would buy used. A car loses much of its value as you drive off the lot.

When it comes to groceries, this is where I skimp a lot without losing quality. Dominion here has the fresh or free policy which nets me about $30 a month in free quality groceries simply by checking expiry dates. I also coupon collect. Save.ca is great for coupons and then there are coupons that line the store aisles.  There are certain foods where the store brand simply will not do. We buy real Kraft dinner and Campbell’s soups only. They are the main stays of our lunches. For cookies, I bake or go to the factory outlet for them. I spend about $200 a month for the both of us and that includes cleaning and bathroom stuff too.

Now when it comes to toys here is where you have to be careful. Our kids come first right! I buy new mostly–mostly at Walmart or Toys R US when on sale. We have bought some toys second hand ( like Roo’s kitchen), a Barbie dollhouse, and the like. We have bought games second hand at garage sales after checking to ensure all the pieces are there. As for books we love second hand and make great use of the library.

So does my use of second hand make me cheaper then cheap? I think it makes me a great consumer and a money smart mom.

rainy day activities

Rainy Day Activities

rainy day activities

Today it is a wet yucky fall day here in Toronto, so what does a frugal mom do with her child on a day like today?

First off Roo loves her computer time. On the weekends, I let her have an hour. Her favorite websites are Webkinz ( Mom rates this a great site with a cheap cost), Champman’s Kids Club( you can even earn stuff they will send you for free), TVOkids and Link to Learning( a great site for educational learning put out by the province of Ontario).

Then there is craft time: I keep an ample supply of craft items on hand, and then we have our recycling bin of course. Roo often raids it for her latest creations. This week she used old bits and pieces to make a webkinz house for her stuffed ones and furniture too.

Another of our favorite activities when we just have to get out of the house is to go to the library to read together. Roo and I both like this as it gives us some nice time together.

Sometimes we go to the mall and go window shop. I am able to gleam as we go some great ideas for Christmas shopping.

Games are another favorite in this house. I have been able over the last to collect quite a few from second hand stores and garage sales ( just make sure you check that all the pieces are there).

We often do family movie time. We can rent from our local store a new release for $1.99 or we have about 50 dvds that we own. I put on the popcorn popper add some real butter and we are good to go. Who needs a movie theatre!

Baking is another way to chase away the rainy day blues and think they are learning important math skills too.

So many things to do, what are your favorite ways to chase away the rainy day blues on the cheap?

frugal Halloween costume

Frugal Halloween Costume Ideas

 

frugal Halloween costume  Roo and I have been so busy this fall and now  Halloween is less then a week away! Lucky for me I won $90 in Gift Certificates to Value Village. I went shopping there yesterday and it was a madhouse of people trying to get ready for that big night. They say 2/3 of all Canadians will do something to celebrate that night with the average family spending at least $60 to enable them to celebrate whether that be in getting the perfect costume, or stocking up on candy, or how bout those outdoor decorations.

Roo and I were talking about how we could do a make do costume with what we have here in the house and that way we get away with a cheap Halloween. Well as we were planning my girlfriend  calls from a costume shop and tells me she is buying Roo’s Hallowen costume. So Roo was gifted a costume this year…so she will be a beautiful mermaid.

But as we planned and talked there were and are lots of ideas out there for a very frugal Halloween night.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • a bunch of grapes: An oversize dark-green shirt and green leggings are the base for a bunch of grapes. A bag of round green or purple( Roo wanted purple) balloons are inflated and pinned to the shirt. A brown hat is the stem.
  • A plain black large T-shirt is painted with “bones” to become a skeleton. Wear with black leggings
  • An artist can be made with a red beret and a paint smock, paintbrush and an artists palette can be made using cardboard and craft paint.
  • From the WIZ we thought of the the tin man using grey sweats and top, aluminum foil, and cardboard and for the hat a funnel covered in foil.
  • You could go as a tree. A large brown t-shirt and leggings becomes a tree trunk. From the dollar store, plastic vines and leaves, a stuffed squirrel, butterflies or apples could be added to the tree.
  • Last year Roo went as a pirate that we created here at home, with old jeans that we cut off, an old white shirt of mine that we cut up as well, and a bandanna and eye patch were gotten for $1 at the dollar store.

Well hope that gets you thinking about the great night ahead next week.  Are you going out? are your kids if so as what? and how are you making it cheaper then cheap?

How to Plan for a Garbageless Lunch

I am a frugal mom and at the beginning of the school year, I thought this year I want to go without buying juice boxes, without spending a mini fortune on baggies. I was tired on all the spending and waste I was creating. I came up with a plan this was going to be the year of the garbageless lunch.  I went out a got a thermos, a sandwich’s box( actually got four cause well they are a great size for many things), , travel and a refillable juice container.For me, this works and works well and think it is good for the environment too!

It seems everyone is getting on the going green band wagon, and with yesterday being Global Action Day there were lots of great ideas on many blogs. For me, I have been finding simple and cheap ways to reduce,  and recycle and even renew. We even had a garden this year.

Now even Roo’s school is going GREEN and this weekend we are hosting a Fall Festival that hopefully will be garbageless. We are having a skate swap, a book exchange, raffles, bake sale and games for the kids. All with no garbage.

There will be water-bottles; travel cups are encouraged, bake sales items are in paper bags with peek thru windows, even the donations will be in reusable baskets. There are no candy prizes. Instead, we encouraged the recycling of small toys for prizing. We are trying hard, even some of the items being won in the raffle encourage reusing like the $70 in Gift certificates for the local Value Village or the good reusable water bottles. Even our meetings are now mostly paperless.

There sure are plenty of ways to help the environment and still be cheap and for this mom that is a very good thing.

Frugal Blogs that I Love

 

blogs-i-followI have been a blogger for years now and have just moved to WordPress. I have found over the years there are times when I write lots and lots and other times well I read and learn, cry over some of the stories, yell at how could they say that and the like.

On my journey to becoming a frugal smart mom,  I found that there were blogs and bloggers that well I just want to go and read and then go back and read again. If you want to be cheap or as some like to call it frugal may I say go see and read these sites, may they bless you on your journey to cheapness:

  1. Dawn over at Frugal for Life  is a great blogger. She has wonderful interactions with her readers and even allows readers to write posts and there is always something to either learn about or remember. So go read Dawn!
  2. The Frugal Duchess aka Sharon has a wonderful blog. She is a pro writer though so I have certain expectations and she doesn’t fail. So go read Sharon and find out how to be frugal and live well.
  3. The Simple Momaka Deborah currently is cleaning off her bookshelves and getting rid of some of the books and programs she had laying around. Good for her. She is great for all kinds of great ideas.
  4. The Organizing Junkie, yes Laura is insanely organized but that is a good thing. She like me is purging parts of the household and like me has a pile ready to go to the thrift store. Like me as well she is a Cannuck!
  5. Over at Gluten Free Frugal ( another new find) I find a mom like me who is trying to live on the cheap while being gluten free. For those of you who are trying to do this you will know how hard it gets.
  6. Frugal guy gives a guys perspective and cause I am a single mom it is nice to see what the other gender thinks.
  7. The Festival of Frugality is a great way to find and read lots of blogs and articles on cheapness. We all want to save or nickels and dimes and this blog offers lots of us sharing the best we can.

So there you have it my top 7Frugal blogs to visit, go read, gets lots of tips and may they help you and me to live on the cheap.