How to Solve the Home Care Needs of Canadian Seniors: uCarenet and the Caremap app

The numbers are staggering and growing. The home care needs of our Canadian seniors are not being met.  My mom is one of these seniors. For the last ten years, she has needed both nursing care and personal home care. So how do we solve some of the issues for Canadian families and especially seniors who are grappling with this issue? Back in December, I came across uCarenet, a cool new matching platform that is matching Canadian seniors with caregivers,  in the Greater Toronto and Ottawa areas currently. If you have followed me for years, you know I love working with small Canadian companies doing cool things like Flipp and Caddle.

In December, I pitched the company and became their social media manager starting in January. So this post is not sponsored but I do work for the company. One of the reasons I wanted to be apart of this was I saw my mom struggle with your homecare aides. One of the things I loved about a matching platform, it gave families and caregivers alike more control. Now, this week to add to the platform, there is the new Caremap app, think of it is as Uber for Canadian seniors trying to find home care help. When I first learned about it, I was excited. We have been working on this for months. So why am I excited?

The Back Story of uCarenet

Look at the stats. A 2012 Statistics Canada study found that 5.4 million Canadians provided care to a senior family member or friend, and nine out of 10 who received care in the home relied on a family member. More than three million Ontarians are family caregivers, and 48% are caring for a parent or in-law. Some 850,000 provide more than 10 hours of care per week, including transportation, domestic tasks, scheduling appointments, managing finances and providing personal care. Publicly funded services are not enough to fill the needs of Canada’s ageing population, families are tasked with navigating the limited services available. uCarenet and the new Caremap app help fill a void in home care.

The Numbers Matter

Right now uCarenet has partnered with William Osler Health System and Baycrest. A  study is underway. We are looking at the efficacy of a technology-enhanced service to access affordable home care, and for the continuation of care from hospital to home. This should lead to less emergency room visits and a better quality of care.  Once the results are in, we will be publishing these numbers.

How does it work?

uCarenet is affordable home care made simple. You know I like tools that help Canadians save money. uCarenet sets out to do just that. This online platform bridges the gap between health providers and in-home caregiving families easier access to reliable, affordable, home care while supporting independence and quality of life for seniors.  Sounds great right? So we help Canadian families find top quality care.

On the other side of the coin, uCarenet was designed with the help of Canadian healthcare professionals to improve the home care experience for seniors and families. Healthcare professionals and caregivers can operate their own small business, they no longer need to go through a typical agency. They can earn more or supplement what they are already earning. It’s great for those who are looking for work as senior caregivers.

Now alongside the matching platform, the app will be able to be used to monitor a senior’s basic health and acts as a communication tool for caregivers and families. Things like mood, hydration and mobility all can be reported upon in the app. This information allows for clear communication between family members and caregiver.

Know a senior looking for care, have them download the new Caremap,  Know are caregiver looking for work have them download the app as well.

You can join this important conversation as well the first Tuesday of every month at 7 pm EST on Twitter, as we talk about different senior issues, our next chat on July 3rd we will discuss senior nutrition.  Follow uCarenet and Commoncentsmom and the #ucarenet hashtag to be part of the conversation.

 

Why Send Your Kids to Summer Camp at the Y

*This post is in partnership with the YMCA of Greater Toronto. All thoughts and memories shared are 100% ours. 

It is that time of year, parents are busy planning their summer calendars. I can remember when my daughter was younger this time of the year meant booking vacation time, registering my daughter for whatever events she would be attending and shopping for summer camps she would enjoy.  Summers for her were times for adventure, time to learn new skills and to have lots of fun. Have you thought of sending your child to a summer camp? My daughter who is now twenty speaks fondly still of every camp experience that she had.  From circus camp to a media camp, to learning how to swim and canoe at camp she loved them all.  So why send your child to camp?

As we look back, summer camp taught my daughter so much while allowing her to be in an environment that would help her grow.  My daughter was blessed not only did she go to camps right here in the city and in more rural environments but even attended one on the Toronto Islands.  With such variety, she was able to grow and learn. She attended one summer camp that included swimming lessons, giving her a skill most children should have. She attended another where she learned how to canoe, she attended sports camps where she worked on skills and learned teamwork, she attended art camps that allowed her creative side to bloom.

One of her favourite experiences was at a local YMCA camp. They have many of them in the city. She went and learned new skills, had fun making new friends and values that are important to us were encouraged. We loved that each camper could earn beads throughout the week by demonstrating values that are important like inclusiveness, respect, honesty, caring and health.  We often had great conversations about how she earned her beads.

Y Summer Camps

Have you considered the Y Summer camps? They have camps for everyone. Really, everyone! They have over 60 programs where kids can get excited about everything from creative arts, learning to swim, cooking,  exploring science to even having a rural camp experience. Did you know they even have a camp on the Toronto Island?

Kids that attend the Y Summer Day Camp have a great time building new skills, getting a sense of community and building lasting friendships ( my daughter is still friends with a girl she met at summer camp when she was 8 all while coming home each night full of stories of that day’s adventures.

What You Should Know About Y Day Camps:

  • There are 45 locations and over 60 different programs that run all summer long ensuring that the needs of families across the GTA can be met.
  • There is also busing and extended hours available as they know families are busy. There are over 200 bus stops across the GTA. Yes, that means there is one close to home.
  • There are financial aid programs available. The YMCA has always had financial aid available for families based on a sliding scale. It is based on your income and family size applying is easy
  • Use the YMCA Day Camp Guide to register your children. It’s easy to use and narrows your choices based on the needs of your family. Once you have chosen the camp, simply download  and complete the Camp & Club registration form and email it along with any documentation they may need to camps@ymcagta.org.
  • If you receive a government subsidy for daycare, you can apply your subsidy to summer camp. Simply fill out the registration form including the payment information and send via email to camps@ymcagta.org
  • Ready to register your child for a great camp experience? Use the code YSUMMERCAMP when booking to receive 10% off your day camp fees. This offer is valid until August 17th, 2018 and can not be used in conjunction with any other discount or promotional offer. This offer is not available for Government Fee Assistance, YMCA Financial Assistance and staff registrations. The discount cannot be applied to any previous registrations.

Want to follow the YMCA Summer Day Camp fun, follow their social media channels. You can find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

 

 

Last Minute Gift Ideas for Mothers Day from Hallmark Canada

Yes, this year is flying by and we are almost at Mother’s Day. For those of you who leave things to the last minute like me, breathe in and know you can still get a great gift for mom. I actually stopped by the Hallmark store last week while in Eaton Centre. There were so many great finds for mom and then Hallmark Canada sent me a box of goodies so I have to share some of what I found and some of what they sent me. So what can you find at Hallmark Canada for all those last minute Mothers Day gifts?

Have a mom like who loves books and journals?

Fierce Love, It’s a Mama Bear thing is perfect for moms like me. This was sent to us this year. A great little book that describes the love of a mom pretty perfectly.

We also love the selection of journals at the store and if you have a mom who loves to write it makes a great last minute gift.

Have a Mom who loves to garden?

We are loving the Marjolein Bastin Garden Bag. It is so big and roomy perfect for all her garden tools. This bag with it’s pretty print and roominess could also be a great go-to bag for all those summer outings. I love the two pockets on the end that are perfect for water bottles.

Have a mom who loves to be in the Kitchen?

We are loving the Marjolein Bastin Bird Tea Towels alongside the Marjolein Bastin bird napkin rings that were sent to us. They also have some beautiful mugs and teacup for the mom who loves her tea and coffee.

Have an active mom?

We loved the Glamour has no age limit Waterbottle that was sent to us. It is perfect for my trips to the gym and a metal bottle is great if you use essential oils in your water.

Have a mom that loves fashion?

Hallmark Canada sent me a beautiful colour block tote and a floral scarf. They have a great collection of bags and scarfs that you can check out.

Have a mom that needs a spa day?

We love the cute slippers and the Crafters and Co Comfort Wrap in a Gift Box.  The slippers are warm and soft and the comfort wrap smells of lavender which simply helps you relax!

Now, these are just some of the last minute gifts you can find at Hallmark stores today in Canada. Now, let’s talk about the one thing you don’t want to forget, the perfect card. We love the Signature Cards and they are my go-to cards for almost every occasion because they seem to get the sentiment just right. Want to do something a bit different for your Mother’s Day card this year, try the Wonderfold cards.

Let me know what you got you, mom, I love hearing how everyone celebrates their moms.

It’s Time to #GetYourColourON and Help Canada Conquer Cancer

If you have ever seen the hashtag #cancersucks. I can tell you first hand it does. As a survivor and as one who lost my dad, stepfather and grandmother to cancer along with watching my best girlfriend suffer from ovarian cancer I can say it sucks big time. From watching them suffer as well as my own treatment I know how important the work of the Princess Margaret Hospital is. The research work is important, which is why each May I support their fundraisers any way I can. This May is the inaugural Colour Your Hair to Conquer Cancer. It’s a new fundraising program that challenges Canadians to colour their hair and raise funds to help Canada Conquer Cancer In Our Lifetime. Are you up for the challenge? Have you ever wanted to try colour? The time is now.

There are many different ways to Get Your Colour On. Colour your hair with teammates or just do it solo. You can do what I did and colour a few streaks, or you can be like my daughter who will be colouring her whole head to raise funds–her friends get to decide her colour if they donate. You may even think an under colour is cool.If you have always wanted to go blonde, here’s your chance and it’s for a good cause too! Choose your colour and commit! Let me know what colour you would choose.

Now here is a harsh reality check.

Nearly 1 in 2 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer. It’s a sad fact.  In this inaugural year of Colour Your Hair to Conquer Cancer we are reminded why we take on bold, and in this case fun challenges, and fundraise to support cancer research at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. The funds you raise or the donation you make will be supporting The Princess Margaret, one of the top 5 cancer research centres in the world. We need their research.

My daughter is thinking of trying something like this.

 

There are some great temporary colour products you can pick up from Trade Secrets.

temporary hair colour

 

 

Find out more at the #GetYourColourOn Twitter Party

promo 2

#GetYourColourOn Twitter Party

May 8, 2018 | 8:00 p.m. ET
Host: @ShesConnected
Co-Hosts: @Colour2CC @thePMCF
Special Guest @TradeSecretsCA to answer all of your questions about colouring your hair.
No RSVP | $1,000 in Prizing

Please visit the Colour Your Hair to Conquer Cancer website: http://colour2cc.ca/

Follow them on Twitter: https://twitter.com/colour2cc/

Like them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Colour2cc/

Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/colour2cc/ 

This is a sponsored post and I am proud to partner with The Princess Margaret Charitable Foundation. As always, the opinions here are mine!

 

 

5 Habits You Can Use Now to Be Rich Tomorrow

Ever wonder how the rich got that rich? Do you think it was luck, being in the right place at the right time with the right idea? The more I study the wealthy- yes, I actually look deeply at what wealthy people do the more I see they developed habits. The glitz and glam of wealth looks amazing to most of us, I know it does to me but before the glitz and glam came they had to have good habits. It’s the same for anyone who wants any form of success you need to have habits that will get you to that goal.  Now, don’t expect to get wealthy literally tomorrow but over time if you follow these five you are well on your way.  What are five of the common habits I see daily in my wealthy friends and those I follow?

Gratitude

I am blessed to have some very wealthy friends. We don’t talk income levels but I know some lovely people who are very very wealthy and one of the things I have noticed amongst them they are thankful for what they have. They are thankful that hard work paid off, that patience paid off. Gratitude for what you have right now is something we can all do right now today. One practical way to bring more gratitude into your life is by keeping a journal of what you are thankful for.

Live Below Your Means

I can remember talking to a dear friend who is wealthy and asking her if she was attending a certain event (one that I know she would have loved) and one I attended. She replied no, it’s not in the budget. She always saved first. Events, fun, and expenses came after savings. I continue to learn from her example.

Here in Canada, many Canadians are worried about interest rates because of the debt loads they are carrying. If we lived below our means and were able to pay off our debt each month would we have to worry about interest rates? The wealthy know what they possess and know what they want long-term and that for them means living below their means.

Budgeting

How many of us live paycheque to paycheque without ever budgeting? How many of us are counting our coins the day before the next payday? Ever been there? I have. We turn a blind eye, we don’t want to count the costs. Let me tell you, a budget helps you control your future.  A budget lets you know where you are spending and allows you to allocate where money should go. A budget tells you about those little things that add up too, like the coffee runs, the dinners out, the impulse buys. A budget can be a wake-up call.

I noticed every wealthy person I know has a budget that they check regularly. It lets them see if they are on track. If you are looking for help with budgeting there are many great resources.

Multiple Income Sources

As I really looked at the lives of my wealthy friends, especially those that worked for themselves, I have noticed not one of them has a job as their only source of income. They all have multiple sources and are the masters of the side hustle. From being a landlord to driving for Uber to running an e-commerce site all are working on multiple things often while being employed in a full-time gig. To save more, they want to earn more. Have you ever considered having a side hustle?

 

Grey small house with porch and white railings with summer landscape.

 

Modest Big Purchases

When I look at where my rich friends live, they are in modest homes and yes sometimes they have kids that share rooms. They have cars that are well maintained and kept for the long haul. They aren’t driving Hummers or Range Rovers they are buying sensible vehicles for what they need. My one friend recently bought a Mercedes Benz but it was gently used. They don’t need the bling or the huge home. They get what works and set a budget. Wealth doesn’t come from the fast car or the big place.

What other habits do you see in your wealthier friends? What are ones that you could adopt and use?

There are many habits that the rich have that we can use today to have that better tomorrow.

The Book The Year of Less is a Must Read + Giveaway

A few years back a fellow personal finance blogger began a journey that I watched closely. I read her posts and updates and even had conversations with her as we would see each other on occasion at events throughout Toronto. It was quite the journey to watch. She documented much of it on her blog. She went on a spending fast, had rules and began to live a life well I was envious of in many ways. I still have a way to go on my own personal journey. So when I learned Cait Flanders was writing a book, I didn’t ask for a copy, I went to Indigo and bought one. That is right I paid for the book. Now, this post is sponsored as there is an upcoming Twitter party but I wanted to share that I have been a fan and follower of Cait’s for years now. Her book The Year of Less is a must read.

The Year of Less takes you on a journey. It’s the journey that Cait took. It’s the story of failure and success, the story of lessons learned and how her mindset changed along the way. Cait was typical of the average Canadian, in debt and shopping quite often. Does that sound like anyone you know? I know more than a few just like that.

Have you ever thought about being more mindful of what you buy? Have you ever thought of doing your own shopping ban? Cait wasn’t the first person I know who did a shopping ban. In the last ten years, I have been blogging I have seen more a number of friends take them on, some for a month, some for a few months and some truly adopted the minimalist lifestyle and worked into their lives. It can be done.

This Thursday night Cait Flanders, Blogger and Author have partnered up with Tangerine Bank for a Twitter Party that I think will be a great conversation about mindful spending, about how we shop and so much more.

Do join us for that great conversation and in the meantime here on my blog, I am giving away a copy of her book.

Entry is simple and is open to Canadian residents.

Leave a comment and let me know what do you think of mindful spending? Would you ever consider a shopping ban?

*Giveaway ends on Sunday, April 15th at 8 pm EST.

* I have been given a copy of her book to give away. I will also be participating in the #MindfulSpending Twitter Chat.

Ten Years of Common Sense Blogging

It’s hard to believe Common Cents Mom is ten!

I started this blog ten years ago. I wanted it to be an inspiration and a way for me to share the knowledge I was gaining.  It has been quite a rollercoaster ride and my community has shared it all with me!

 

So what are some of the highlights:

  • Over 1000 posts written ( that averages to 2 posts a week)
  • Started the first Personal Finance Chat in Canada even before the banks were talking about money online!
  • Wrote a tweet to Oprah that ended up in New York Times
  • Having this blog and one post featured on every news site in Toronto leading to the raising of thousands of dollars for fire victims.
  • Having Common Cents Mom featured on multiple lists as a blog to follow and read. I have been on the top lists more than 20 times.
  • Speaking at multiple Blogging Conferences and the University of Toronto as a Guest Speaker twice.
  • Being one of 4 bloggers invited by VIA Rail to take the Ocean train as part of its 110 birthday.
  • Having met many of my current friends via this blog.
  • Helping  2 apps that were created here in Ontario launch. One now has millions of downloads and the other was wanted by 4 Dragons on Dragons Den.
  • Over 5 billion social media impressions for brands that have partnered with Common Cents Mom
  • Over 200 Twitter Parties or Chats hosted or moderated for brands.

What surprises me every month is that new people visit and become followers and for each and every one of them I am grateful and blessed. I am floored that so many are now friends. I am thankful for conversations and how this community has grown together. I am thankful for the mentors who stepped in and taught me so much about personal finance and blogging. In the area of personal finance, I am thankful for Preet Banerjee who gave me my first paid writing gig. I wrote about my bankruptcy for his blog. I am thankful for Gail Vaz Oxlade who is the original Common Sense personal finance writer. These two I learned much from. In the area of authentic connection, I am thankful for names we who work in the world of Social Media know well.  I am grateful or Liz Strauss and Chris Brogan who along with Scott Stratten taught me much that I use every day. It is all about connecting in ways that matter, ways that help and make you think.

Eight years ago, my life changed when I became unemployed and ended up six days later being employed by Connected Multi-Media. Little did I know, all my paid work since has been in the world of social media. From blogging to a freelancer working alongside some great brands and agencies I have had so many great experiences. Dove Chocolates was my very first partner some 8 years ago and I have worked alongside over 100 brands and companies since.

As I look to the next 10 years, I look forward to Common Cents Mom being a resource for those that want to learn about money in ways that make sense, ways that save you time and money. I promise I will always be looking for ways and tools that will help my readers.

Here is living frugally so we can live well!

THANK YOU all for reading and visiting my blog. I appreciate every click and every moment you spend here.

 

Have a Side Hustle? Important Things to Remember Come Tax Time

Do you work full-time and have a gig on the side to earn a little extra money?  I do. In 2015, nearly one million Canadians filed taxes indicating that they worked a secondary job in addition to their full-time income – and that doesn’t include all the people who string together multiple part-time jobs to make ends meet or earn a little income on the side. If you have a side hustle, whether it’s driving an Uber, being part of a direct sales company, or even pet sitting for cash, I’ve got some great tips for you this tax season.

Earlier this year, I attended a TurboTax Self-Employed Breakfast Club and came away with a few important tips and tricks that can come in handy at tax time.

First of all – you must report all income – I put it in bold because it’s very important. You may think you’re not earning enough to have to file a tax return, but even if you don’t earn any income after your expenses are accounted for, you are still a business owner when it comes to tax time. That means when you are just starting out, you need to claim this income.

But here’s the good news – when you own your own business, there are a lot of deductions you can use that you can’t access as a regular employee.  If you’re not sure about your employment status, check your documents – if you receive a T4 you’re an employee, a T4A is for self-employed individuals or freelancers. If you drive to get to your clients you can deduct mileage, you can deduct some office supplies, insurance, mobile phone bills, and even some of your housing costs if your business operates out of your house.

Track all of your expenses. The best way to do so for me has been with the QuickBooks Self Employed app. It is really easy to use for things like mileage, expenses, HST tracking and even invoicing. Users find an average of $4,340 in tax savings each year. Every penny matters. It really does help you track and makes tax time so much easier.

It’s so important to save for taxes. One big thing to remember if you have a side hustle that you run yourself – any earnings from your side hustle have not been taxed yet. Especially if your day job is a regular 9-5, it’s easy to forget that you need to pay the same tax rate on your side hustle earnings as you do your regular income. You should plan ahead and avoid a nasty surprise at tax-time by putting a portion of each of your sales aside for tax purposes. If you don’t think you have the discipline to set aside money after every sale, you can use Form TD1 and have extra tax deducted from your regular job so that you don’t have the temptation not to save. I have seen far too many that owe come tax time.

Remember, any taxes owed are due on April 30th even if you don’t file until June 15th.

Ask for help when you need it. One of the new ways TurboTax helps us DIYers is by giving us easy access to the experts. You can have whatever level of support you need.  You can use the SmartLook feature to speak with and even share your screen with an expert to ensure you are maximizing your return.  You simply access the help panel and you can get online live product support or schedule a callback from a tax expert or product specialist. This way you can get help when it’s convenient for your schedule. The screen sharing capability of SmartLook allows the tax expert to circle boxes or numbers on your screen to guide you in entering your information. It can’t be easier than that.  You have whatever level of support you need.

Whether it’s driving for Uber, renting out your basement with Airbnb, re-selling items you get online or at thrift stores, selling cookies or cakes or things you make at a farmer’s market, selling items through a direct sales company, babysitting, pet sitting, or tutoring the neighbour’s kid, there are many options for earning some money on the side. With TurboTax solutions for Self-Employed , reporting that income at tax time has never been easier.

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of TurboTax. The opinions and text are all mine.


 

How to Save on Book Purchases

Are you like me, an avid reader? Do you have a pile of books on your night table? I have something to admit: I read every day. I go to bed with a book in my hand and am transported to the most amazing worlds. From fiction to kids books to self-development and business books, I read them all. My daughter is an avid reader as well, so we have shelves of books in our home. Because we love the feel of books and love to own books, we are always looking for ways to save on books.

So how do we save on books?

  1. We will do book swaps with friends. It’s kind of like a clothing swap but for book lovers like me.

  2. We look for the best deals on books.

We shop online for books. Often times, we will check out books in person at a local bookstore, but then check online to find the best price.  Most often we end up buying from BookOutlet.ca.  Why?

We love that we can find books for 50-90% off the retail pricing. We also love that when you spend more than $45 your purchase is shipped for free. It’s best to stock up when you order.

What are some great current deals?

Anyone who knows me, knows I love Tony Robbins. I have read every book written by him. You can get his most current book, “Unshakeable” for 65% off retail. That is a great deal!

Recently, in the morning I have been reading personal development books as a way to start my day. One author and speaker a friend introduced me to this year was John C Maxwell. If you are into entrepreneurship, leadership and growth you want to read his books. You can find many of his titles for 60% or better.

I am also trying to get healthier so another of my recent reads is “The Mind Gut Connection.” Did you know the the mind and gut are connected? They are and you can read about it for 59% off retail.

At bedtime, I read more fiction. There are some great reads to be found on BookOutlet.ca no matter who you like. Do you love romance? Thrillers? You can find them all at a great discount.

There’s even plenty of books for young children and tweens. I love that the Book Outlet has so many classics like Alice in Wonderland, one of my daughter’s favourite books. They also have a great selection of Disney books for a great deal.

If you’re stocking up on books, have a look at the site and and save on purchases and shipping.

Let me know what you are reading this month.

 

Join Us at the Inspired to Action Conference this International Women’s Day

Have you ever experienced a moment, met a person, read a quote that propelled you out of a rut or dark space and made you see possibilities that you couldn’t previously conceive?  Ever sat in a room of like-minded women and think yes, I can do this and my idea will work. Inspiration is a very powerful thing. It often needs to action. I have been so blessed in my life that as I thought of launching different projects and ideas inspiration has come just when I have needed it most.  Do you have an idea germinating in your head? Have you ever thought of taking a huge leap and leaving the corporate world to do something that means something to you? This International Women’s Day take the day for yourself. Gather with like-minded women and let’s get inspired together at the Inspired to Action Conference at Joey in downtown Toronto. 

Inspired to Action

Inspiration is the seed that is planted in our hearts and souls and we need it to fuel the fire under our butts when we hesitate to take a chance or make a change.  Ever needed that slight push, that encouraging word? I know I have. When I have needed in inspiration that can lead to action I surround myself with a tribe that will get me there. I go and seek inspiration.

In early February I attended such an event. I was able to not only get inspiration but practical advice. I came away with a network of new friends who can help me along the path.  This is what happens when you take the first step and attend events like Inspired to Action.

This March 8th, I would love for you to join me at Inspired to Action.  You can purchase your ticket and get a 20% discount code to attend, which includes access to the entire event and buffet lunch. Simply use the code HollieVIP.

Want to attend the event with me for free? I am giving away one ticket. Leave a comment on this post. I will pick a winner next Friday at 6 pm EST.  Not only will you attend the event for free but I have a special little something for you as well. Just let me know why you want to attend in the comments.

For more information on the conference be sure to check out these social profiles:

Instagram Handle: https://www.instagram.com/i2aconference/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/I2AConference/

Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1124244907678231/