With Thanksgiving fast approaching, many are looking forward to spending time with their friends and family, all while enjoying their favourite foods, drinks and desserts. The truth of the matter is, amidst all that wonderful gratitude, bonding and eating, hosting thanksgiving can put a real dent in your finances. Between the cost of decorations, dessert, the main and the sides and even the beverages, hosting Thanksgiving can leave your wallet feeling less than grateful.
Luckily, there are ways to host a frugal Thanksgiving dinner, all while keeping it memorable and delicious.
Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget
Make Your Own Decorations
Rather than going out and spending an inordinate amount of money on thanksgiving decorations, make your own. Thanksgiving decorations can consist of inexpensive items or things you can find around your house already. Things like fallen leaves, small gourds and even pie pumpkins work well as table décor. In fact, you can even hollow out the pie pumpkin to make dessert and place the empty pumpkin on the table with a lit candle inside.
Rather than going out and spending an inordinate amount of money on thanksgiving decorations, make your own. Thanksgiving decorations can consist of inexpensive items, or things you can find around your house already. Things like fallen leaves, small gourds and even pie pumpkins work well as table décor. In fact, you can even hollow out the pie pumpkin to make dessert and place the empty pumpkin on the table with a lit candle inside.
Make It a Potluck
Thanksgiving is traditionally a potluck like holiday to begin with, so it’s not uncommon to have your guests bring at least one dish to contribute. Rather than taking on all the work and expense yourself, a potluck thanksgiving saves you money, makes sure that every guest has a dish they love and lessens your work load. Just make sure to keep a running tally of what everyone is bringing and ensure there is a variety in the dishes. Otherwise, you could end up with an abundance of different variations of pumpkin pie and absolutely no side dishes.
Get Creative with Leftovers
A big Thanksgiving dinner can create enough leftovers for many meals to come, but you may find yourself getting sick of turkey sandwiches. Using the turkey carcass to create a delicious turkey stew or soup is a great way to repurpose some of your leftovers and they freeze well too for future meals. Stretching the meal out to serve future meals helps to save a lot of money.
Hosting a frugal Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, as long as you make your own decorations, shop creatively, make it a potluck and get creative with your leftovers, Thanksgiving will not only be delicious, but it will also be inexpensive. Get ready to gobble up your delicious and frugal Thanksgiving dinner and make even your wallet feel grateful
One of the least talked about things when it comes to running a small business are your insurance needs. There are several things that should be thought about and talked about with a professional.
Being a small business owner means that I have to think ahead and make sure my family and business are covered. Luckily my local State Farm Canada agent has lots of options that can help me make sure I’ve got the right insurance mix for my unique business needs. The conversation is an important one to have. State Farm Canada provided the below article:
Business insurance is there to protect you, your family and your business from unforeseen events that could impact the rest of your life.
As a business owner, you face tough challenges every day. Make sure your business has the right insurance protection to keep your business running. Talk to a professional agent to determine your specific needs.
Business Property Insurance
Business Property Insurance, protects your assets; buildings, equipment, stock, contents, from all risks of direct physical loss or damage, such as fire, theft and vandalism. A good policy will also cover you for those things you didn’t know about, like building by-laws impacting the cost of construction or repair of damaged buildings.
Your Business Property Insurance will also provide several Business Interruption options that covers the loss of business income and rental income that occurs as a result of direct physical loss or damage to your property.
Business Liability Insurance
Stuff happens. No matter how tight a ship you run. Random events are bound to occur.
Injuries can occur both inside and outside your business. What’s more, customer and visitor injuries on your property may result in lawsuits. Slips and falls are the most common hazard, resulting from inadequate lighting, missing handrails, uneven surfaces or debris on surfaces.
Liability Insurance protects your business in the event of a claim or action from a third party who has sustained bodily injury, property damage or personal or advertising injury as a result of your negligence from your premises, operations, or products and operations.
Business Auto Insurance
Many folks who use their own vehicles in their line of work, whether for deliveries, transporting gear, or sales calls, assume their personal policies will cover them. Unfortunately, this leaves them vulnerable to risks that could seriously impact their future financial wellbeing. When talking to your agent about your coverage, ensure you disclose that your vehicle is being used for business purposes. This will ensure that you have the coverage you need to get the job done.
Business Life and Continuation Insurance
As business owner you owe it to your business partners and family to ensure that you have considered a business continuity plan, so your business will continue without any undue burden.
It is important to consider the impact a fatality (whether yours or a business partner’s) will have on your business. What happens to your business afterward? Will your family be on the hook for taxes? Capital gains? Probate fees and a bunch of other miscellanea? As a business owner, you may be able to use life insurance to help with an orderly and economical transition. This is one type of insurance many business owners often put off thinking about until later.
A surety bond is kind of like a money-back-guarantee for your customers. It’s a guarantee that your company, or you as an individual will deliver on a specific obligation. It gives your customers peace of mind that you will deliver on your commitments. In some cases, it may even be compulsory when working with certain levels of government or private companies.
There are other types of business insurance, some specific to your business. You should consider ensuring your business has the right and adequate coverage. A reputable, and established agent can customize a policy to properly suit your individual needs.
Full disclosure, this article was sponsored by State Farm® Canada. They have agents across Alberta, Ontario and New Brunswick. Like you, their agents are independent business owners who support their local community.
State Farm Canada is becoming Desjardins Insurance — the same great agents, now backed by Desjardins.
Desjardins Insurance refers to Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company, underwriter of automobile and property insurance or Desjardins Financial Security Life Assurance Company, underwriter of life insurance products. Desjardins Insurance and related trademarks are trademarks of the Fédération des caisses Desjardins du Québec, used under licence.
State Farm branded policies are underwritten by Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company. Life insurance products are manufactured and issued by Desjardins Financial Security Life Assurance Company. ®State Farm and related trademarks and logos are registered trademarks owned by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, used under licence by Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company and certain of its affiliates.
The information in this article is provided for informational purposes only. Neither State Farm nor Desjardins Insurance shall be liable for any damages arising from any reliance upon such information.
Did your grandparents, or perhaps your parents have a savings jar? Did or do you have a piggy bank? Quber is a new savings app for Canadians that draws on the idea of the old fashion savings jars with a modern twist. It gets Canadians mindful of their spending and saving habits. It is the newest personal finance app that actually helps you find ways to save. Have fun, learn and save money sounds good to me! In the end, you are saving for what matters for you.
How does Quber Work?
First, once you have opened your Quber account and linked your bank account( no worries, linking is safe and secure, saving in your savings jars on the app can begin. What would you have jars for? In the past, Rachel and I have had savings jars at home for everything from saving for a rainy day, our annual CNE trip (you need extra money to have fun in the shopping area), to saving for a trip to see family on the east coast. Now we have a bigger goal and it is our first jar. We both want to see Europe. It is on our bucket list. With Quber we can help make this dream a reality.
One of the things that makes Quber different is the app will give you recommendations on how you can change your spending habits so you can save more in your jars. No more graphs and charts, real information when you need it. Early users of the apps are also loving the challenges the app will give you as it helps them complete savings goals faster. It is all about being mindful of your spending.
One of the things you can use a savings jar for for example is Christmas. Have you ever overspent on this holiday? Ever put gifts and Christmas fun on a credit card to only have to pay it all back in the months after Christmas? With Quber you can save for Christmas and spend what you have.
One of the other great features of the Quber app is the vault. Have you ever bought on impulse? Your money gets locked away. Don’t worry though if you need it, it can be accessed within 2 business days. It helps you curb impulse purchasing.
Learn More, Party and Win
Want to learn more about Quber join us for the #SavewithQuber Twitter Party this Sunday, September 9th at 9 pm EST! There is $300 in prizing and you can win either a deposit into your Quber savings jar or a MasterCard.
Looking for more ways to win, Quber has lots of them starting on September the 10th for Quber users. With $5,000 in prizing many users will be filling their savings jars! You can check out the #SavetoWin contest here
Want to learn more about the Quber app. Check out all the info on the Quber site.
*this post is sponsored by Quber. My opinions are always my own and I love to bring my readers’ apps that will help them in their daily lives. I was paid for this post and to host the upcoming Twitter Party.
Want to know how to participate in a Twitter party read my post here.
Ever sit down at the end of the day and wonder how the day got away? Ever wonder if you will have the time to curl up with that book that is sitting on your end table? I was on Twitter recently and a I saw a scary stat while scrolling my feed. It said the average mom was basically putting in the hours of 2 full time jobs getting everything done. Are you one of those moms? For me as a blogger (small business owner), social media manager and as a fulltime employee to boot things do add up.
So what do we do?
We are the dream chasers. We are the ones who get up at the crack of dawn to have a few moments to breathe. We are the ones who crawl into bed about midnight after trying to squeeze every moment into the day. I know for me as a mom with a full-time job and 2 side gigs things get lost in the shuffle. I get everything done for my 9-5 job (it’s not 9-5 but you know what I mean, its the one I work at for 40 hrs every week). I also manage the social media accounts of a start-up and offer freelance support to two agencies as well as try and write here. We dream big! We work hard.
So what should we always remember?
There are some things we as moms, as women, as those who are working hard to provide need to remember:
It is okay to stop and take time for you. This year I was off work for a bit and it was during this downtime that I took time to breathe and even had some fun. Even if you have to calendar it downtime is a must.
Find the shortcuts. We can’t do everything. I tried. It simply doesn’t work but when I found the shortcuts I get more done. For some, it might mean getting a box of preplanned meals dropped at your door, for others it might be hiring a cleaning lady and if you are a blogger you may open your blog to guest writers or you may want to hire our a few chores. There are ways to steal back time.
Be Present. Sometimes when you have several different roles it is easy to try and multi-task your day away. Ever done that? I know I have especially on those busy days. I have learned by blocking time for tasks and focusing on that one item, more gets done faster. Here is an example: I started today with a list a mile long from running errands to creating content to cleaning the house to time with family. By creating a plan and focusing I was able to get things done and be present for each part of my day. The best part is yet to come. Movie time with my girl.
Ask for help. Sometimes when we are in the act of doing we think we have to do it all ourselves. We don’t. It is okay to ask for and get a helping hand.
As I sit at my desk this afternoon I thought of all the moms I know who wear multiple hats, those who run business, those who have side hustles and those who are caregivers and we all manage to get it done. Are we tired at the end of the day? Yes. But the more important question is it worth it at the end of the day? Yes.
Wouldn’t it be great to escape the chaos and day-to-day responsibilities of our everyday lives for a week of fun and relaxation somewhere far away? But what if it’s not in the budget? Airfare, hotel rooms, rental car, dining out, and other travel expenses can make getting away very expensive. And even if money isn’t a factor, sometimes health issues or work obligations prevent us from going away anytime we feel like it. Downtime is great to take.
But that doesn’t mean when the kids are home from school for summer vacation or March Break that you can’t still have a great time! Why not plan to take a vacation right in your own backyard? A true Staycation is more than just time off at home, it’s an intentional time of fun and relaxation for your family. It may take a little effort to do it right, but ultimately, it can be just as fun as going out of town.
Set ground rules. The point of a Staycation is to make it feel as much like a real vacation as possible, without leaving home. To make sure the whole family is on the same page, it’s good to set some ground rules that everyone can agree on. These could include some or all of the following:
No computer or video games
Family time only—no independent activities
No cooking, cleaning or doing laundry
Spruce up your bedroom. Make sure you have cosy soft sheets and that they are freshly washed. Add some scented fabric softener to the laundry so they smell great. Unplug the alarm clock and hide it in the closet. Put fresh flowers on your nightstand along with a book you’ve been looking forward to reading. Fill a basket with your favourite snacks and some bottled water to keep in your room. Place scented candles around to encourage relaxation.
Be a tourist. Do you live in or near a city like we do where there are lots of tourist attractions? If you do, you’ve likely never been a tourist in your own hometown. This is the time to explore where you live. Visit local museums or monuments, try out a couple of the “hot spots” for dinner, go to the zoo, attend a sporting event or get theatre or concert tickets. Here in Toronto, there are lots to do, and lots of them are free.
Spend time in the great outdoors. Go on a nature walk at a nearby national park. With Rouge Park being a National Park it makes a great spot to get into the outdoors. The TTC even takes you close to the park entrance. Do you live within a couple hours’ drive from a beach? Take a day trip. If you’re not close to a beach or hiking area, go to a local park for a game of Frisbee, a long walk or some fishing. Go camping or watch movies in the backyard. Here in Toronto, you might want to head over to the Toronto Islands which are just a short ride away.
Enjoy a family night in. Play a board game together. Have a movie night complete with popcorn and hot fudge sundaes. Work on a puzzle or invent a new game. Build a fire to roast marshmallows and tell scary stories.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money, or even travel out of town to enjoy a fun and relaxing family vacation. I hope these ideas have inspired a few ideas of your own! We are looking forward to our next staycation right here at home.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
We will do book swaps with friends. It’s kind of like a clothing swap but for book lovers like me.
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.