Author Archive

July 19

Save Money Organizing For Back To School

Posted by on July 19, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Save Money Organizing For Back To School

Sometimes it takes me the entire month of September to get back on track to get organized and ready for back to school.  Sometimes it just takes me a week or two.  No matter the amount of time it takes for you to get you and your family organized for back to school,  organizing for it is a necessity for a productive and happy school year.  There are great ways to get organized, and most of these do not require that you spend a fortune to do so.

Here are some ideas and way to save money while you are organizing for back to school.  Many of these are do it yourself projects and do not require expensive supplies.  In fact, most of these supplies can be picked up at your local dollar store.

Magnetic Lunch Chart

Save Money Organizing For Back To School

This great idea from the Martha Stewart website is a fantastic way to get your children involved in their weekly meal planning.  This will likely reduce the chance that they will swap their lunch or not eat their lunch because they are the ones involved in decision making (well, one hopes, anyway!).  All you have to do is download the template and print it on magnetic paper.  Another added bonus is that it makes grocery shopping easier because you have the week planned out.

Set up a Craft Closet

Save Money Organizing For Back To School

Arts and crafts necessities such as pens, pencils, crayons, scissors, glue, felt markers, scrap paper and construction papers tend to adhere to Murphy’s Law and create a big mess in your home.  Laura’s Crafty Life has a great idea to use a clear shoe organizer to store the arts and craft supplies so that they are easy to spot and easy to access.   Shoe organizers are very cheap and are usually under $10, and $10 for peace of mind and organization is well worth it, in my opinion.  I am a big fan of shoe organizers behind the door, but mine is filled with shoes rather than arts and crafts for now.

Backpack Central

Save Money Organizing For Back To School

Another great idea is to create a back pack central area (much like the cubby holes and jacket and backpack area that your child has at school).  This idea from Pinterest incorporates your children’s names, a cork board, and a list of chores or homework that they need to do that evening.  It’s a great way to regroup and refocus once they return home from school.  It might also make mornings a little more manageable because things are organized and in the right spot!

Create a Command Central

Save Money Organizing For Back To School

Another great idea from the Martha Stewart website is to create a command central.  This is where all the schedules are, where the calendar is kept, and where the organization is at its finest.  A check list for each child is helpful and encourages your children to set goals for themselves, mark their checklist and feel like they accomplished something.  It is also a great way for them to develop skills to get organized.  Another reason this is a great project idea is that all the stationary essentials are easily accessible and visible, you’ll be replacing less things that get “lost” all the time.

Mason Jar Organization

Save Money Organizing For Back To School

Mason jars are beautiful and very reusable.  This great idea from the One Hundred Dollars a Month blog teaches you how to create cute mason jar holders labelled with chalkboard paint to keep your children’s pencils, crayons, and other stationary organized.  Not only are these jars functional, they are beautiful to look at and super easy to make.  All you need are mason jars, chalkboard paint, and some chalk.

Back to University Apps

For those of you who do not have children, but are going back to school, CBC has a great list of apps that are free but are great for back to school.  My personal favourite for organization is Dropbox.  It has saved me from a ton of clutter and it is free.  Here are five free cloud computing services to consider if you’re not a fan of Dropbox but are in need of some organization.

Bargainmoosers, do you have other DIY organizational tips for back to school?

(banner image credit: Lyn Lomasi)

Moose Rating (3 votes)
July 11

Save Money On Working Out

Posted by on July 11, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Save Money On Working Out

Since the beginning of this year, I have made a conscious effort to work out and to incorporate personal fitness and exercise into my weekly routine.  It all started with training for the half marathon that I did earlier this year.  I realized that incorporating exercise does not have to be expensive – you just have to have the will power and the motivation to do it.  Motivation is free (and simultaneously priceless).

I have never been one to join the gym (I prefer to be outdoors rather than cooped up indoors) so I never was suckered into buying $30 to $100 monthly gym memberships.  This is probably the key to saving money on working out.  I believe that if you are going to join a monthly membership you should join something that has a set schedule or set times that you need to make a commitment to.

The recommendations for a healthy fitness level is 30 to 60 minutes on most days of the week (four to seven days a week).

Here are some ways in which you can add some fitness to your weekly routine without breaking the bank:

Free or Frugal Fitness Ideas

  • Take up running:  There’s a reason why there are so many runners out there.  It is a relatively cheap workout that allows you to have high aerobic activity and a high amount of cardio.  The only costs are initial ones, as you have to pay for running shoes and running gear.  Run clubs are usually free to join and a great way to meet people.
  • Work out as part of your commute:  This is probably one of the best ways to incorporate fitness into your weekly routine without adding to the budget and without adding too much to your already busy schedule and US News agrees.  If you live within biking distance to work, biking is a great way to put in a workout.  Also if you live within running distance you can also run to work.  Check out if your office has showering facilities.
  • Workout at home:  Although this is probably difficult to stick to for most people, if you have the self-discipline, working out in the privacy of your own home is a great idea.  Pilates videos, yoga videos, even P90X videos are low cost and can continue to help you work out for years to come.  I have used the same yoga video for the past eight years and haven’t gotten sick of it yet.
  • Utilize your Amenities: If you live in a condominium or another facility with amenities such as a gym or a pool, make full use of it!
  • Check out your local community centre: When I needed to use the treadmill to get my run in during the cold icy winter, I often went to the local community centre gym.  To work out it only cost $2.50.  That’s pretty good if you don’t plan to go that often and you just need to use the gym facilities infrequently.  Oftentimes, pool access is also similarly priced and reasonable.
  • Check out daily deals sites: Fitsugar suggests that daily deals sites often have great workout or intro classes available.  I purchased a kayaking weekly session for half of the regular price (saving $50)  just by doing a quick google search.

Although frugal and free fitness suggestions are great, sometimes it can be hard to stick to these, which is why people often go for the expensive workouts and gym memberships – to get the motivation and external accountability. There are ways to increase your self-motivation and internal accountability; Huffington Post shares how to increase motivation and will-power:

  • Write it down. This announces to the universe your intentions and keeps you accountable.
  • List reasons why working out is important to you – list the benefits, list the importance of achieving these goals
  • Reward yourself when you reach sub-goals.
  • Predict sabotage thinking and think of ways to act on these thoughts – for example, making excuses for not to exercise.
  • Put reminders in your calendar. This works well for me because if I schedule it into my calendar, it increases the likelihood that I will complete the exercise task.

Bargainmoosers, do you have other frugal and fun fitness ideas that you use?  More importantly, how do you motivate yourself and keep yourself accountable?

(banner image credit: Heather Dowd)

Moose Rating (4 votes)
July 4

Save Money & Time: Buy Your Groceries Online

Posted by on July 4, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Save Money & Time: Buy Your Groceries Online

As someone who works fifty hours a week (and sometimes more), I often have trouble making sure I am well stocked up on food for the week.  If it weren’t for the grocery stores close by, I don’t think I would be able to batch cook for the week like I am doing right now to save money on my food budget.  I often try to wait until it is a 20 times the points day at Shoppers Drug Mart before I make purchases like shampoo and conditioner, or even dish soap.  However, even when it is a 20 times the points day at Shoppers, sometimes I don’t have time to go there to shop.

That is why when my friend sent me a referral code to save $40 on my $75 purchase for something called Spud.ca, I was quite excited. Being able to browse from the comfort of your own home and have the food delivered to your door while you are at work is kind of amazing!

Spud

I had heard of Spud for a few years, but never used their services.  I know that they deliver your groceries in a Rubbermaid container and have a set delivery date.  I know that they have locally produced groceries and a lot of organic groceries selection.  Also, they are conscious of the carbon footprint and let you know how far your groceries traveled to get delivered to you.

Spud is available in:

  • Vancouver (lower mainland)
  • Victoria to Nanaimo
  • Edmonton
  • Calgary
  • and even Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles

Unfortunately, Spud is not available in Eastern Canada yet, but perhaps there is something similar to Spud in the east.

I signed up for Spud and bought my $75 worth of groceries and was only charged $45 after taxes because of the promotion.  Unfortunately the promotion is over, but they have an ongoing referral promotion that if you refer your friends to Spud you get a $20 credit for your groceries (and they get $20 off of a $75 purchase).

The process was easy and straight forward, and my groceries came packaged with great care, including some ice packs (that you can re-use or return to Spud!) to keep my yogurt and meat cool, and some dry ice packages to keep things extra cool.  It was a great feeling to come home from work and have my grocery shopping all done for me. I think this feeling is much akin to the feeling you get when you come home and dinner is already made with the slow cooker.

I was very happy with my Spud purchase; the prices (if the items are on sale) are very reasonable.  I don’t know if I would purchase the produce from Spud because I like to make sure I select my own produce.  However, my friends who used Spud were very happy with their produce purchases and say the produce is very fresh. The only downside is that in order to qualify for free grocery delivery, you need to spend $35.

Amazon.ca

For a few months now, Amazon.ca has launched a pilot project of grocery delivery.  Check out the Grocery section of the Amazon.ca store here.  However, the items available on Amazon.ca are non-refridgerated grocery products (that means no milk or yogurt unfortunately).  They even have an organic and natural section.

Personally, I am not a fan of having more boxed products and cardboard being delivered to my home. Because I live in an apartment it would be difficult to have UPS or Canada Post deliver groceries via Amazon.ca to me.  I would have to go to the local postbox holding company and pick up my parcel there.

Might as well go grocery shopping, if you ask me.  However, I can see this working well for people who live in houses where packages can be left on the doorstep.

There are also a bunch of local grocers who can do delivery, but you may have to pay a delivery charge or purchase a minimum amount of groceries.

Bargainmoosers, have you tried online grocery shopping?  What do you think?

(banner image credit: eddie welker)

Moose Rating (3 votes)
June 27

4 Ways To Save Money On Your Next Camping Trip

Posted by on June 27, 2014 at 8:00 PM

4 Ways To Save Money On Your Next Camping Trip

Summer is undoubtedly here, and so is the warm weather.  Summer is my absolute favourite time of the year because it is the best time for camping.

Camping can be relatively cheap, and camping can be expensive, depending on the type of camping that you do.  For example, if you take a trip to Mountain Equipment Co-Op, you will spend a pretty penny there, guaranteed.  The freeze dried meals are convenient because you can just add water, but at $7 to $9 for a package of two, it can really add up.  So if you aren’t too concerned about the weight of  your backpack (if you are going wilderness/ backpack camping instead of car camping) then you will definitely save some money with alternate food options.

Although camping is considered a frugal vacation in comparison to other trips like flying to Mexico or going to Europe, there are still ways to save money when you go camping. Here are four ways that you can save money on your next camping trip:

Buy Used

One of the best ways to save money when you go camping is to buy your gear used.  MSN Money also shares the same sentiment in this article.  The most expensive aspect of camping is often the gear.  The tent, the tarp, the stove, the sleeping bags, and the sleeping pad can all add up.

Search out Craigslist for some great deals, check out garage sales, and go to your local used sporting goods store.  There are some great deals to be had at sporting good stores where people place their items on consignment.  I bought an entire set of camping cooking gear through the local sporting goods consignment store and was very happy with it.

Borrow Gear if You Can

Of course, if you’re just trying out camping and you’re not sure if you should be invested in it (and if you should invest your family’s precious time in it) borrow some of the camping gear from your family or friends.  Most people barely use their camping paraphernalia regularly and are happy to share some of their gear to increase the use.  Just make sure you return it clean and in a timely manner.

Make your Own Ice Pack

A great tip form the One Hundred Dollars a Month blog is to save money by not having to buy the ice bags.  They get messy, water leaks all over the place, and your bacon in the cooler ends up getting soaked because of the ice bags leaking.  Instead, she suggests getting a milk jug, filling it with water to three quarters of the way up, and leave the caps off when freezing it.  This saves you from having to spend $6-$10 (money is still money!) buying ice in a plastic bag.  It also saves you from having to deal with the watery mess of bacon water that you’ll have to get rid from your cooler.  Why not reduce, re-use, and recycle where you can?

Meal Plan

Just like it is helpful to meal plan when you’re not camping and busy living the day-to-day grind, it is helpful to meal plan for your next camping trip.  Think about the meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and the snacks that you will need to plan for.  Things usually taste better when you’re camping because everyone is relaxed and just focused on camping and cooking and eating, so don’t worry about bringing expensive steaks for your camping trip (unless of course it’s a gourmet camping trip).

If you’re backpacking camping, save money by bringing meals like bagels and cheese or peanut butter.  These keep well for a few days.  For breakfast, the separately packaged oatmeal is a great idea and easy to make (just add water and some of your favourite trail mix).

In addition, book well ahead of time for the provincial and federal parks.  Most of these allow online bookings nowadays.  If you are going to the United States for camping and decide to go the private campground route, the KOA’s (which I personally call luxury camping because some KOA’s provide you with ready-made breakfast for a fee) offer discounts if you become a member or if you frequent the KOA’s often.

Bargainmoosers, do you have any other ways where you save money while camping?

(banner image credit: Christopher Michel)

Moose Rating (4 votes)
June 20

4 Tips To Make Money At Your Next Garage Sale

Posted by on June 20, 2014 at 8:00 PM

4 Tips To Make Money At Your Next Garage Sale

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, right?

I have always wanted to throw a garage sale but never had enough “guts” to do so.  I was wary that people would not be interested in buying my items or would haggle me down to the bone and I would take it personally.  Recently, I bit the bullet and went ahead arranging a garage sale because I was taken under the wings of a friend who was experienced in garage sales.

Here are some of the tips I learned on how to make good money at your next garage sale.  We made about $800 between the two of us (with some volunteer help of course) over a period of seven hours, including set up and take down of equipment and items.

Advertise it Well

One of the most important tips is to advertise your garage sale well.  One of the more effective things we did was advertise on Craigslist.  We also put up over twenty signs near by at larger intersections indicating that there was a garage sale close by.  In addition, we advertised on Facebook.

Most people came by through the ad on Craigslist.  I posted about the garage sale about a week before the actual garage sale, and posted again the night before.  In addition, as I had pictures available, I updated the post with pictures, which helped it go up to the top of the Craigslist/ garage sale ads.

Enlist Help

A garage sale takes a lot of work!  Enlist the help of your family, friends, or neighbours to help you carry heavy items and set up.  Reward them for their efforts with a cut of the profits or with pizza lunch.  Most people are happy to help out and want to have a sense of community and giving.

In addition, if you have any friends who are desperate to get rid of their junk and don’t care about money back for them, ask them to donate their items so you have more items for your garage sale.

Price it Right

We found that the things that were priced “right” were the best sellers: $2 for books, $2 for DVD’s, and $10 for video games were some of the best sellers.  In addition, we sold clothing items for $3 (any type of clothing).

When you bundle the prices, for example, $3 per item of clothing or two items for $5, people are encouraged to buy more.  We found that bundling worked well and encouraged the items to go.

Also, some people are really interested in getting a good bargain.  For items that you might not sell so easily, consider just lowering the price so you can get a win-win situation.  Better than holding onto that item for another year, right?

For children, we gave some allowances and allowed them to take a stuffed animal for free.  It’s only $1-2 and you get to see a child smile! 4 Tips To Make Money At Your Next Garage Sale

Organize It Well

Another important tip is to ensure that your garage sale is well laid out.  No one likes clutter (even though you are trying to get rid of your clutter, understandably) and if you arrange the items at your garage sale well, people will be more encouraged to buy and stick around.  Having your garage sale organized cannot be overstated enough.

Here are some ideas on how you can lay out your garage sale in specific sections:

  • clothing (have a clothing rack so people can browse easily)
  • shoes (laid out on shoe rack)
  • electronics (laid out on a table)
  • kitchen stuff (e.g. dishes, wine glasses, mugs) (laid out on a table)
  • books, DVD’s, games (laid out in a specific area/ box)
  • furniture
  • art
  • $1 bin (for any knick knacks)
  • $2 bin (for more expensive knick knacks)

There we go, hopefully these tips are helpful for your next garage sale!  It seems daunting to arrange a garage sale but it’s actually very easy and rewarding.

If you want more tips, here are 9 ways to throw a successful garage sale from Canadian Living and more tips on how to throw a successful garage sale from MSN Money.

Good luck!

Bargainmoosers, do you have any garage sale success stories or lessons to share?

(banner image credit: Dan Daluca)

Moose Rating (3 votes)
June 13

Duty & Tax Free Groceries In The U.S.

Posted by on June 13, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Duty & Tax Free Groceries In The U.S.

On a recent trip to Trader Joe’s, I was really excited to realize that groceries are not subject to taxes, which makes my trip down to the United States with my Nexus card (save time and money when traveling to the United States with it) and back within a few hours completely guilt-free.  Before, I would feel anxious about whether or not I would get charged a high amount of duty and taxes on my groceries and same day purchases.

With a little more searching and researching, I discovered a few amazing things about groceries in the United States and bringing them back to Canada, and I thought that you might want to know about them.

If you already know about these restrictions and allowances, my apologies for duplication of information you already know about.  If you don’t know about this (just like I did), I hope this helps you on your next trip down to the states for groceries!

Groceries, Duty and Taxes

In case you didn’t know (I was vaguely aware of it but not 100% sure because I thought it was a rumour), basic groceries, for example, food that is edible by humans, are duty and tax free.  However, non-edible groceries like cleaning products, toiletries, paper products, pet foods, and household items are subject to taxes.

Yes, that means that the cheap run to Trader Joe’s in the states was well worth it because you don’t have to pay taxes or duties to bring that back.  Might explain why Pirate Joe’s did so well heading down to Trader Joe’s in his large van.

Restricted Groceries

There are some grocery categories that have restrictions, and if you go over these allowances, you will need to get a permit!

  • Turkey- you can only bring back one turkey.  That’s it.
  • Meat and Poultry- fresh, frozen (maximum of 20 kilos)
  • Meat and Poultry- processed, like sausages (maximum of 20 kilos)
  • Fish and seafood – not puffer fish and Chinese mitten crab (maximum of 20 kilos)
  • Milk products (cheese, butter, yogurt, ice cream)- a maximum of 20 kilos with a maximum allowance of $20 worth
  • Eggs- 24 eggs
  • Potatoes- you are allowed one bag of commercially packaged potatoes
  • Baked goods (maximum of 20 kilos of baked goods- which seems like a lot in my opinion!)

Groceries Not Allowed into Canada

  • Needless to say, anything with soil is not allowed into Canada (for example, that cute basil plant for $3.99 at Trader Joe’s is not allowed back to Canada unfortunately!)
  • Apples are not allowed (thank goodness someone stopped me at the counter from buying the apples)–> this is a specific restriction for British Columbia
  • Fruits that have pits/ stones in them (apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums)  –> This is a specific restriction for British Columbia
  • corn on the cob

If you want more information, check out the Canada Food Inspection Agency website.

Do Not Bring back Alcohol or Tobacco

Of course, do not bring back alcohol or tobacco if you have been gone for less than 48 hours unless you want to get in the bad books with the Canada Border Services Agency.  If you do bring back these items to Canada within a same day trip (a trip less than 24 hours) they are subject to taxes and duties.

If you need a refresher on personal exemptions allowed, check out this mini-guide from the Government of Canada travel site.

There you have it, folks.  Because cheese is so ridiculously cheap and economically priced in the United States and at Trader Joe’s, I’ll be sure to make regular (perhaps every two months) trips down to the United States to stock up on some cheese and other goodies.

If you want to get more trivia about Trader Joe’s, check out this interesting Buzzfeed article on 18 incredible things you didn’t know about Trader Joe’s! I had no idea that you could ask a sales person to open anything and they will let you try it.  Or that managers at Trader Joe’s stores can make over six figures!

Or you could alternately check out this Buzzfeed article on 23 Reasons why Trader Joe’s is the Best.

Bargainmoosers, do you buy your groceries in the states? Have you ever been taxed or gotten into trouble with the CBSA?

(banner image credit: Spiro Bolos)

Moose Rating (4 votes)
June 6

Save Money On Your Next New Car

Posted by on June 6, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Save Money On Your Next New Car

I had been looking for a new car for a few months.  There is a specific colour and make that I am looking for.  I had gone to the auto show, sat in a number of different cars, and for the price and the convenience and fuel economy, I was still set on that one particular car.  I also went to test drive a number of cars.

I had wanted to buy a used car, ideally, because that’s the best way to save money since the car basically depreciates when you drive it off the lot, but there were not any used cars in the colour and make that I wanted, and many of the used cars had a lot of mileage on them, with some having at least half of the mileage of my current car.  Some used cars were a good deal but some were rebuilt, meaning they were write offs and were rebuilt to try and salvage them (except the insurance company did not want to salvage them).  This means that they must have had some pretty bad damage.

Now, I am not the most knowledgeable with cars and am by no means a car fanatic, but looking for a new car is tough work!

I Timed It Right

Even though I consulted my own post about how to save money on buying a new car through making sure I got the timing right and purchased at the end of the month (which the sales person admitted to me because he said they needed to make their quota before the month-end and were willing to negotiate even better prices – they were willing to knock a few hundred dollars off just to fit their target), I still found it difficult to know whether I was getting a good deal or not.

I am a pretty good negotiator but even with car salespeople it can be hard, because it is so high pressure.

I Did My Research

I also did my research, asking the sales person to price out the cost of the car for me with the bottom line (after the hefty taxes you pay).  Unfortunately here in B.C. (not sure if this is the case in other provinces and territories) we have to pay the full 12% tax on new and used car purchases, so when I did my research, a new car and an old car (used car) had a price difference of only about $500.  I also looked at the Kelly Blue Book which to my knowledge, is American based, but there is a Canadian Black Book version that is free (Kelley Blue Book is also free) but is based in Canada.  The only caveat is that you have to put in your name and contact information details (which I used a junk email address for) in order to obtain the quote of the used car price/reasonable value.  I also scoured Craigslist regularly and Autotrader.ca for cars but was unable to find anything that I wanted.  In addition, I called a few car dealerships and emailed some for quotes.

I Ended up Going with an Auto Broker

I was telling my friend that I was interested in buying a car and she gave me the contact information of an auto broker that her friend used who was able to save him at least $3000 to $4000 off the purchase price of his last car.  She explained that an auto broker acts much like a mortgage broker, and deals with managers directly so that the commission for the sales person was cut out.  I called him, he was prompt, offered me a bottom line price.  When I checked with what I had negotiated with the sales person after a test drive, I informed the auto broker that the price was similar.  Then the auto broker made another phone call and got a deal that I could not refuse, another $500 worth of goods that I would not personally pay for.  Money Sense also advocates for auto brokers too. The discount you can get depends on how valuable the car is and how popular it is.

All I did was call the auto broker, ask for the style, colour, year that I wanted and he went and did some searching.  It really skipped the uncomfortable feeling of having to deal with car sales people, especially the one that was not knowledgeable at all about the car (he was unable to answer a lot of my questions and got a lot of information wrong, that was written plainly in the brochure).

Bargainmoosers, have you ever used an auto broker?

(banner image credit: Axion23)

Moose Rating (2 votes)
May 30

4 Frugal Gift Ideas For Father’s Day

Posted by on May 30, 2014 at 8:00 PM

4 Frugal Gift Ideas For Fathers Day

Father’s Day is creeping around the corner and it is hard to believe that June is almost here, and half of the year is already finished!

Father’s Day was inaugurated in 1910 in Spokane, Washington, of all places (as per Wikipedia) and was created in conjunction with Mother’s Day to celebrate parenthood. It is important to celebrate because fathers are often the unsung heroes of the family. Don’t get me wrong, mothers are of extreme importance in the family unit, but fathers are too!  Growing up, I think my father felt left out of our family sometimes just because we were closer to our mother, but now we make sure to include him and he is much more involved in our lives.

Here are some frugal gift ideas to get you and your children started for Father’s Day:

Quality Time

By far the best way to spend Father’s Day is to spend it with quality time in mind.  Playing a round of checkers or chess, going out for a round of golf, or spending time outdoors playing a round of basketball (provided he is able to, without medical conditions) is a perfect way to spend time with your father.  Of course, you can partake in the stereotypical Father-and-child quality time activity, fishing! For example, Groupon often has fishing trips that are 50% off in the Vancouver area for sturgeon fishing.

According to Investopedia, a day trip is a great Father’s Day gift idea with fantastic return on investment.

Gift Cards

According to Suddenly Frugal, gift cards are one of the top gifts that are given for Father’s Day.  Gift cards to his favourite store, an electronics store like Best Buy or Future Shop, or even to a specialty store like Golf Town will be much appreciated by him.  For example, although you might not be able to afford that 55″ or 60″ television that he has his eyes set on, you will be able to take away a portion of the cost with gift cards.

If you’re looking to find discounted gift cards to a particular store, or are looking to swap your unwanted gift cards for a Father’s Day related card, check out card swap.

Father’s Day Candy Card 

This is a super cute idea on Pinterest, although not so great if your father has diabetes. A Father’s Day Candy Card is a great Father’s Day gift. You just need to buy a few chocolate and candy bars and get a poster board and a marker, and you’re set!  Check out the candy card here on the Saving Money Living Smart blog.

A Father’s Day Candy Card is a very creative and fun idea.

Coupon Booklet

One of the best presents your childrens’ father would ever want would be a coupon booklet for chores rendered.  This would definitely be a great gift idea for a family with young children.  Yahoo agrees this is a great way to save money on Father’s Day without looking cheap or miserly.

Some home made coupon booklet ideas include:

  • Chores for one day or one week
  • Breakfast in bed
  • Yardwork help
  • Children making dinner
  • Walking the dog
  • Stay on the same channel for one day – no questions asked
  • One nap without being woken up

Of course, other Father’s Day gift ideas that won’t fail to impress are personalized mugs, calendars, and keychains.  These can be made at online photobook shops such as Picaboo or Shutterfly.  They are a bit more conventional but a really thoughtful gift that will be treasured for years to come.  You can click on the aforementioned links for deals and coupons that Bargainmoose recommends.

As you can see, there are many ways in which you can save money for Father’s Day without appearing too frugal.  As with most holidays and celebrations, they are reminders for us to slow down, smell the roses, and realize what’s important isn’t the day to day grind and achieving success, it is spending time with people we love, including all the fathers in our lives.

Have a great Father’s Day!

Bargainmoosers, what are some other ways in which you saved money on Father’s Day?

(banner image credit: Sean Freese)

Moose Rating (2 votes)
May 24

4 Tips To Save Money At Trader Joe’s

Posted by on May 24, 2014 at 8:00 PM

4 Tips To Save Money At Trader Joes

I was first introduced to Trader Joe’s about a year ago and boy, have I been missing out.  I had heard so many things about it, this elusive Trader Joe’s and I finally made the trek out (about an hour drive from Vancouver to the closest one in the United States) to this grocery store and was amazed at the quality, selection, and the prices.

Thankfully, I have my Nexus card now so I can make relatively quick trips to the closest Trader Joe’s to stock up.  It really makes the previous 30 to 60 minute wait turn into a zero to five minute wait through the border and is the best $50 I have ever spent.  Anyway, back to Trader Joe’s.

Trader Joe’s is so popular that there is a small boutique store here in Vancouver that sells products from Trader Joe’s at a marked up price… and they are called Pirate Joe’s. Trader Joe’s tried to sue Pirate Joe’s for well.. pirating their products, but they were unsuccessful.  The owner would drive in an unmarked van across to border to stock up on Trader Joe’s goods (e.g. spend $4000-$5000 worth) and it became so incessant that he was banned from a number of Trader Joe’s stores in Washington state!  Check out the wikipedia story here on Pirate Joe’s if you’re interested.  He marks up the prices by $2 to $3, and people still buy it because they like it that much!

Here are four tips to save money at Trader Joe’s:

Stick to the Good Deals

For me, the best prices (that I found noticeably different) were for things like:

  • cheese- the selection of cheeses at Trader Joe’s is amazing, most of these cheeses (for sizeable amounts) are under $3.50, even.  I usually buy $20 worth of cheese whenever I go down there, my favourite is the Toscano black pepper cheese.  I find their brie cheese really good too.
  • Deli meats- The deli meats are very well priced.  I would say they are about half of what you would pay at a place like Safeway.  I got a nice asiago and pancetta package that lasted me for one week of lunches, for $2.99.
  • Pasta- their organic pastas are very reasonably priced, priced at the same price as non organic pasta; for the pastas that aren’t organic, they are imported directly from Italy.
  • Snacks- The snacks are all very reasonably priced, the chips, crackers, cookies, chocolates… the great thing about Trader Joe’s are their specialty products.  For example, the freeze dried edemame (or are they baked?) are delicious!

Avoid the Produce

Apparently because Trader Joe’s is so averse to using anything that will affect the quality of the produce (they don’t use any rinses or sprays), the produce does not last very long.  Things like bananas are fine, but they are $0.19 a piece, not a pound! (Don’t make the same mistake I did when I was having Trader Joe’s goggles.)

Buy the Buck a Chuck at your Own Risk

According to CBS News, the Buck a Chuck (super cheap wine that only costs $1.99 or $2.99) is really meant to cost that amount because it does not taste very good.  I personally have not tried it yet because I usually only make day trips down and I am not allowed to bring back alcohol when you are leaving Canada for less than 48 hours, but I would be interested to try it should I ever get the chance.  I am no wine connoisseur but wine under $5 is certainly very tempting.

Avoid Impulse Purchases

Although I mentioned that their snacks are very reasonably priced and a good idea to purchase, it is a good idea to avoid impulse purchases if possible.  Stick to your list and make sure you don’t go over any of the customs allowances that we are allotted.  A lot of the times, we end up buying things like the frozen foods that are convenient but will easily add up your grocery bill unnecessarily.  The last trip I made I don’t think I did a very good job of sticking to my list and spent about $150 in groceries at Trader Joe’s.

Bargainmoosers, have you been to Trader Joe’s? How far is it from where you live and do you think it’s worth the trip?

(banner image credit: Mike Mozart)

Moose Rating (3 votes)
May 18

5 Ways To Save Money On Groceries Without Couponing

Posted by on May 18, 2014 at 8:00 PM

5 Ways To Save Money On Groceries Without Couponing

After watching a show or two of Extreme Couponing a few years ago, I was instantly enthralled with the idea of paying so little (or next to nothing) for groceries.  For about a year, I diligently collected coupons and browsed the flyers regularly to see if my coupons would match up and if I would be able to score a deal.  I did feel a sense of satisfaction and excitement every time I went through the register with my coupon, and I was very satisfied whenever I was able to save a considerable amount of money with my coupon.

However, I must admit, couponing was time consuming. Although it was a fun hobby, I had other things that I needed to do and continually having coupons expire on me was kind of a let down for me.  Although couponing can give you the excitement that you are saving money, it takes up a lot of time, and grocery items that there are coupons for tend not to be the healthiest.

For example, Ol Del Paso Taco kits or Lunchables are things that are processed, not very fresh and have multiple unpronounceable ingredients.

Here are five fresh ways in which you can save money on groceries without having to bust out the coupons:

Avoid the Centre Aisles… Like the Plague

I find that when I avoid the snack food and the junk food, my grocery bill is very very reasonable.  The minute I add a bag or two of Kettle Chips, my bill increases dramatically in cost.  The centre aisles of grocery stores are where all the snack food, junk food, and processed foods are kept.  Shop the perimeter for dairy, fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, and grains.  These should be your staples, not Lays potato chips or Oreo cookies.

Avoiding the centre aisle is good for your budget, your health, and also your waistline.

Freeze Your Fresh Fruits, Vegetables and Meals

Fresh fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, mangoes and vegetables such as broccoli, corn, peas and the like freeze really well.  Buy them in season and then freeze them to use throughout the year.  Batch cooking through meal planning is another helpful and economical way to save money on groceries without having to buy groceries.  Cooking larger portions of food and freezing them saves me time and money and more importantly, effort.  Many days after work or before bed I am too tired to prepare lunch the next day or sometimes even prepare dinner.  Although the initial investment of buying a chest freezer is high, it does pay off when you portion your meat into smaller zip lock bags and use them as needed, without having to go to the store each time to buy meat that is not on sale.

Bulk Up or Stock Up on Staple Items 

Kiplinger suggests that you buy in bulk on things that are staples that will last a long time, and will also increase with inflation.  For example, toilet paper, tissue paper, paper towels, rice, and laundry detergent last a long time and it doesn’t make sense to buy these items when they are not on sale.  To me, it would make sense to use coupons for these items because they tend to be on sale often and when paired up with a coupon, significant savings do often arise.

Make a List and Check it Twice

…Which ties into the next way to save money without coupons.  Making sure you have a list and you check it twice.  The list applies to going to the grocery store and sticking to what you are planning to buy.  The list also applies to organizing your week with meal planning so that you know what you need to stick to when you visit the grocery store.  This not only helps you prevent food waste, but it also helps you from not spending unnecessary amounts of money on foods that you will not use.

Finally, the most helpful list would be a list of the inventory of your pantry staples.  Sometimes when I can’t find an item such as table salt, I run out, then I buy it, only to find the original item in the first place.  Keeping inventory of what you have and when you might need more is very helpful and will prevent you from buying something you don’t need.

Use Up the Food That You Have

I can’t say enough how important this is.  There have been so many times where I felt I had no food in my pantry or in my fridge, have the urge to go grocery shopping, and realize later that I should have used the smoked oysters or the pasta I had already.  Doing this regularly prevents food waste and saves you money on your grocery bill.

Bargainmoosers, do you have other ways you save money without couponing?

(banner image credit: Sodanie Chea)

Moose Rating (4 votes)
May 15

3 Vegetable Patio Garden Ideas To Save You Grocery Money

Posted by on May 15, 2014 at 8:00 PM

3 Vegetable Patio Garden Ideas To Save You Grocery Money

I love the idea of growing your own vegetables for a few reasons.  Pride of growing your own vegetables and being self-sustainable (well, as much as we can be, living in the city), knowing what you’re eating and knowing that there are no pesticides in what you are eating, and access to yummy vegetables and herbs right away (just need to go out and pick it) instead of having to head to the store.  However, most people, especially as we become more urbanized, don’t have the luxury of having land to grow vegetables in.  Therefore, creativity on how to make your patio vegetable garden work helps keep those vegetables growing!

Here are some great inspirational ideas that will help you make that vegetable patio garden a reality.  In addition, there are some vegetables and herbs that will surprise you as to how easy they are to grow, and hopefully you will have to buy these less often at the grocery store.

#1. Regrow Your Romaine Lettuce Hearts

3 Vegetable Patio Garden Ideas To Save You Grocery Money

I had no idea this was possible and this ridiculously easy.  This idea comes from the Alternative Gardening blog.  All you need to do is to cut the romaine lettuce heart, put them in water, and watch them regrow in days.  If you want it to be cuter, put them in a nicer tray.  Baby romaine lettuce, all the way!  Just like the green onions that you will never have to buy again (which I have yet to start doing, by the way), this is an easy way to have fresh lettuce in your home all the time!

#2. Grow Garlic Indoors

I had no idea that garlic was so easy to grow.  It makes sense not to keep buying the packages of garlic made in China (who knows what they spray on there) if you can help it. Wikihow has great step by step instructions on how to grow garlic indoors in a pot, complete with 3D graphics.  I personally would not be growing a crop of garlic like that, just a few garlic buds will do, but to each their own.

Okay, now onto some super cute patio garden ideas:

#3. Vertical Vegetable Gardens

I am absolutely in love with the idea of a vertical vegetable patio garden for of a few reasons:  a) more vegetables and more use of space b) more sunlight utilized.  Many patios at the bottom don’t get a lot of sun, so having a vertical garden is a fabulous idea.

Juneau Empire has a really cute garden, because it utilizes the idea of gutters to create it.  The only caveat is that this only works well with vegetables that have short roots, like lettuce.  Lettuce, swiss chard, radish all work well with this garden idea.  I like how sleek it looks.

LLH design blog courtesy of Apartment Therapy has a cute idea to use old wine crates as patio garden containers.  Very chic looking might I add.  The platform to hold the crates might be a little more work than I’m able to commit to, but nice idea nonetheless.

3 Vegetable Patio Garden Ideas To Save You Grocery Money

You can also grow vertical gardens indoors too, if you’re really into the green thumb (and crafty) aspect of this.  These ones from Apartment Therapy are so gorgeous and inspirational looking, not to mention interior design drool-worthy. It would definitely be a centre piece of attention when you have friends over, and they will be amazed at how delicious your food is too! Apartment Therapy gives a few tips on how to create your own vertical garden indoors.

As you can see, growing vegetables and herbs indoors or on your patio is totally doable.  All you need are some ideas!  If you need a bit more inspiration in order to stimulate your green thumb into action, Organic Gardens Network has a great post on 66 edible things you can grow in containers. One “take home message” is that any herb can be grown indoors, but you might want to do some research as to which herbs co-habitate nicely with each other in soil and which don’t.

Bargainmoosers, what has been your personal favourite edible thing to grow in a container?

(banner image credit: Michael Stange)

Moose Rating (4 votes)
May 9

Save Money By Creating A Neighbourhood Co-op

Posted by on May 9, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Save Money By Creating A Neighbourhood Co op

Owning a home is expensive.  It doesn’t stop at paying for the mortgage.  Things like having to pay for equipment from the Home Depot or Rona can really put a dent in your budget. By sharing these big expenses with neighbours, it can lessen the cost of stocking your garage or garden, and help you get to know your neighbours better.

Gardening Equipment, Household Equipment, and Ladders…

As a new homeowner, there were many expenses for outdoor house-type things that I didn’t really want to spend money on.  Namely such things like a lawnmower, a ladder, power tools, and a power washer.  Our neighbours, who have been living in their homes for longer than us, also didn’t have a lawnmower.

Getting to know your neighbours brings you many more benefits than just having someone keep an eye on your home for any suspicious activity.  When we moved in, I made cookies for our immediate neighbours.  It doesn’t hurt that they have cute children who were very receptive to cookies!

Over the past year and a half, we got to know them better and borrowed various things from each other.  It has really helped because equipment like ladders and power washers don’t come cheap.

For example, a ladder is usually $150+ upwards, power washers (depending on the quality) can be even more than that.  On a tight homeowner budget, sometimes this is not very feasible, especially when you only use it once a year to clean the gutters.  When you can share the burden of owning this equipment, it reduces clutter and gives you more space.  Three houses don’t need three ladders, especially when the ladder is sitting underneath the deck most of the time.

This neighbourhood co-op idea doesn’t have to be limited to the confines of your neighbourhood block.  For example, in Vancouver, they created a Vancouver Tool Library.  It is a cooperative tool lending library in Vancouver and they have tools for home maintenance, gardening, bicycle repair.  You can even buy tools or just pay a small fee to borrow them.  A brilliant idea, in my opinion.  It is good for the environment, good for the community, and good for your wallet.

Think you might be interested in starting one up in your community?

The Mother Earth website has a great article on how to create your own tool sharing program.  When you pool your resources with your neighbours, this allows for more tools for everyone to use.  A win-win situation.

Other Co-Op Ideas

There are many other different co-op ideas.  Helping each other meet their common needs can really strengthen the community and help develop your relationships with your neighbours.  Howcast has a neat video on other co-op ideas.

For example, some other co-op ideas include a dinner co-op (though this is probably a better idea once you really get to know your neighbours because it would likely involve regular communication on a weekly or even monthly basis).  A dinner co-op involves preparing meals in sufficient quantities to share with your neighbours. This would be a great way to build community and also relieve you of the cooking duties once in a while.

Another more common idea is the idea of a produce or garden co-op.  Most people have at least small herb gardens or other gardens in their home.  When you have enough produce (who needs eight bunches of broccoli anyway?) you can share it with your neighbour.  Develop a plan on who grows what and pick a date to harvest your foods or share them.  The American based Community Gardening website has a great strategic plan to help you create a community co-op garden in your neighbourhood.  However, this involves having a garden in one designated location, instead of gardens amongst your neighbours.

Sometimes in our fast-paced, hectic world, I feel that we lose sight of what is really important in our lives.  What really is important isn’t the fancy 20 foot ladder you have, nor is it the latest electronic gadget you have.  What is important is relationships.  I think that the idea of household tool sharing and garden produce sharing is really neat and gives the perfect excuse to get to know your neighbours better.  Life is short, money is sometimes tight and we don’t always want to buy a 20 foot ladder to use just once a year.  So why not lean on each other and work together towards a common goal?   That is, unless your neighbours are really mean people!  Hopefully they are not.

(banner image credit: Andy Roberts)

Moose Rating (2 votes)
May 7

5 Free or Cheap Date Ideas in Vancouver

Posted by on May 7, 2014 at 8:00 PM

5 Free or Cheap Date Ideas in Vancouver

It is without a doubt that Vancouver is an expensive place to live in.  Trying to date in Vancouver is another expensive venture, especially since everyone is house/condo poor and can’t afford to go on expensive dates on a weekly basis.  Even though you can eat reasonably well for under $30 for two people on a regular basis, there is more to dating than eating and coffee (though some people may beg to differ of course!).

Here are some fun date ideas in Vancouver that are free or almost free- of course these “date ideas” are great ideas for free things to do if you are visiting Vancouver too!  These ideas take you from Vancouver proper, to an island off of Vancouver, to Richmond, and to North Vancouver.

One of the great things about Vancouver is its walkability, and these ideas certainly take advantage of that!

Take a Stroll Anywhere

Well, more specifically, take a stroll at Lighthouse Park in Vancouver (you can check out this review from Vancouver Trails for more information), where you see a beautiful view of Vancouver, or take a walk around Stanley Park which takes about 2-3 hours to walk the 10km of beautiful scenery, or even walk up to the top of Queen Elizabeth Park, where you have another beautiful view of Vancouver.

The list could go on… window shopping on Main street or Robson street… you get the idea! 5 Free or Cheap Date Ideas in Vancouver

Walk on a Ferry and go to Bowen Island

Another fun activity to do is to hop onto a ferry and go to Bowen Island.  It is only a 20 minute ferry ride and can be accessed from Horseshoe Bay (through BC Ferries) or even Granville Island or English Bay (it costs $35 return to hop on the water taxi from English Bay, which avoids having to use a car to drive to Horseshoe Bay).  I recently went to Bowen Island after so many years.  From the ferry terminal, you can walk to the shops along the main street, or even head over on a hike around Killarney Lake, a beautiful circumferential lake hike that takes about 3-4 hours.  From Bowen Island, you can see West Vancouver and the buildings that mark University of British Columbia.

Go to Steveston for a Picnic

Steveston is quite a drive from Vancouver, but it is well worth it.  It is often labeled as the “Kitsilano” of Richmond (beach-y area where all the young, hip people like to live).  Steveston is a small fishing village (source: Tourism Richmond).  You can have ice cream here, grab some fish and chips at the famous Pajo’s Fish and Chips, or just walk around and admire the sights. The nearby park, Garry Point, has a great area for picnics or just sitting on the beach.

Snowshoe at Seymour Park

If you already have showshoes, this date idea will cost you nothing but if you don’t have showshoes, you will have to go to Mountain Equipment Co-Op or Cheapskates to rent them, which will set you back about $10 per pair.  Going to Seymour Mountain at night or even during the day is a great idea because normally snowshoe passes cost about $40 at Cypress Mountain or Seymour Mountain.  There is an area on Seymour that is part of the provincial park and hence, it is free.  Just remember to bring a headlamp and a flask of hot chocolate (or maybe even hot chocolate with Bailey’s if you are inclined) if you are heading there at night.

Sign up for Notifications on Events

Van City Buzz (they have a Facebook page and Twitter account too, if you’re into social media) has regular posts on the “what’s what” of Vancouver.  They post fun things to do around Vancouver such as free ice skating at Robson square, New Year’s Eve at the Jack Poole plaza, or other fun and free events around town.  They also post fee- events as well, so if you’re inclined to spend money on things to do then this might not be the best website to subscribe to!  They also post the latest news in Vancouver as well so you can keep up to date with current events.

Bargainmoosers, have you seen any of these things in Vancouver?  Do you have any other fun and free things you like to do in Vancouver?

Photo credit: abaransk

Moose Rating (1 votes)
May 2

How to Save Money on your next 10km Run & Half Marathon

Posted by on May 2, 2014 at 8:00 PM

How to Save Money on your next 10km Run & Half Marathon

Either I am noticing that people all around me (including myself) are getting involved in running, or people are just getting involved in running, period.  Running races is a great way to feel a sense of accomplishment and to achieve your goals especially if your New Year’s Resolution was to run a half marathon or a 10km run.  However, whoever said running is a relatively frugal fitness activity isn’t entirely accurate.  I think that running can get very expensive especially with gear (such as shoes, rain gear especially if you live on the west coast, running hats, running paraphernalia, running magazines, running clubs, etc., the list can go on).

I have signed up to run my first half marathon and so far my costs have roughly been manageable.

  • Waterproof Running Jacket $160
  • Running Cap $10
  • Long sleeve running shirt $25
  • Running pants $55
  • Running Shoes $130
  • Registration for Race $100

The total cost is just under $500 for about 4 months of training, which is approximately $120 a month.  A bit expensive compared to at home yoga or the gym in your neighbourhood!  However most of these purchases you can use again in the future, should you continue to run (even just for fun!).  However, the average lifespan of running shoes isn’t very long (should be replaced every 500km or so), so that’s another cost to upkeep if you decide to continue running.

Here are some ways in which you can save on your training for your next 10km race and half marathon.

The Early Bird Gets the Worm

For most races, the earlier you register, the more economical your race entry is.  Therefore, the early bird gets the worm.  Many people cannot commit to the idea of running a half marathon (I know I was hesitant at first) but if you put in your training, you will get up to the amount of running you need for the race.  So just take the plunge and register.  Also, make sure you do a quick search for some coupon codes for your race registry too, you never know!

One thing to be cognizant of is to prevent injury, because that will definitely affect your ability to run in the race!

There’s an App for That

There are many free apps that you can download to help you train for your race.  One of my favourites was the Nike Run app.  It tells you how fast you are going, how many kilometres you have run, you can play music while the app is on, and the most helpful (in my opinion) aspect of the Nike Run app is the voice of Sonia Richards Ross who encourages you to keep on going, who compliments you for running more this week than last, and who congratulates you on your a run.

I also found a great half marathon training chart that I took a screenshot of on my iPhone so that I could put it into my day planner the number of kilometres I need to run that day.

Sign up for Free Running Clinics

There are free run clubs or running clinics in major cities- you just have to ask around.  For example, Running Room has a free weekly clinic on Sundays for training for your race.  It’s a nice way to meet new people too.  Another alternative is joining your local running club Meetup.com group.  A lot of like-minded goal-oriented race-oriented people are also training for their races and it is a nice opportunity to meet other people.  A good running buddy can take your mind off of thinking “Oh my goodness, how much longer do I have left for this training run?  I am so tired!” which is often, priceless.

Some of the places that offer free clinics also offered paid Marathon or Half marathon training packages, and this can be upwards of $100, they offer things like meal training, what to eat, how to mentally prepare for your race.  A lot of the information can also be found on the Internet and of course, friends and family who have completed marathons, half marathons, and 10km races already.  Here are more tips on how to save money on running from About.com.

 Don’t Succumb to the Temptation of Fancy Running Snacks

It is very tempting to spend $3 on flavoured electrolyte replacement gels and other fancy running snacks and running gear, but I didn’t start this trend for myself and found that I did fine without these.

Bargainmoosers, how did you save money on your 10km and half marathon race?

Photo credit: Joe

Moose Rating (1 votes)
April 30

4 Ways To Save Money On Your Next Plane Ticket

Posted by on April 30, 2014 at 8:00 PM

4 Ways To Save Money On Your Next Plane Ticket

Plane tickets can be expensive and unpredictable.  Sometimes you may feel like you are never getting the best price or the best deal on your flight.  Sometimes you may not be sure what the usual cost is for that flight route.  Adding fuel surcharges and airport taxes into the airline ticket doesn’t help things any, either!

Here are a four ways to help you save money on your next plane ticket, if you haven’t considered them already.

Avoid Booking Fees

Be cautious about booking fees, especially if you prefer to book your flights in person or over the phone.  They may charge you a $20 to $40 booking fee just for speaking to a real-live person instead of clicking a button or two on the Internet.  At Flight Centre, they charge booking fees, but if you have a credit through booking with them from previous trips (they give a $25 credit for every $500 you spend through them, I believe), they can omit the booking fees.  Instead of booking over the phone with an airline directly or visiting a travel agent, for the past few years I have booked through Kayak.com for my flights.  Kayak.com is a flight aggregator and can find the flights available for your destinations, allowing you to take all the time you want to research without the pressure of a live person.  Just make sure you clear your cookies on your computer because the flight prices may increase if they figure out you are constantly looking at that flight option.

Try Google Flights

Google Flights is a new interface and flight search option recently introduced to me by friends. I am surprised that Google has not done more advertising for this, because it is pretty amazing.  Although you can’t directly book on Google Flights, you will be redirected to book on, let’s say West Jet for example, when you choose the flight itinerary offered by Google.  It is exceptionally, ridiculously fast and super efficient.  The best thing about Google Flights is that there is a visual bar graph chart where you can see how the price differs between the days that you indicate.  I use it as a great second opinion search engine to Kayak.com. PC magazine recently did a review on Google Flights and also concurs to using it as this option.

Flight Hub for Multi-leg Trips

I recently discovered this tool after talking to my friends who were able to find a great flight from Alberta to Hawaii and then to Vancouver Island and back to Alberta, for their December holiday trip.  They saved a considerable amount of money booking through Flight Hub and found the process fine, as long as you don’t change any of your flights and are able to accommodate to the flights offered.  Although they had to go through three different airline carriers (Air Canada, West Jet, and Alaska Airlines) they were able to save at least 30% off the flight.  According to the Flight Hub website, they promise to save you up to 80% off your flight.

Flight Hub is great for multiple leg option trips, where you are open to using different airlines to get to your destination.  If you are not adverse to connecting flights (which there may very well be with so many options on your trip itinerary), Consumer Reports recommends that if you opt for a connecting flight instead of a direct flight, you can also save money. If you want some more information on Flight Hub, the TripAdvisor forum has a great thread about them.

Think about Change Fees

Huffington Post recommends that if you are not 100% sure of your flight schedule, it may be best to do some research on the airline carriers that charge the least penalty or are the most flexible if you were to change your mind.  A refundable ticket may be more expensive, but may be the more economical option in the long run if you are not completely sure about your travel itinerary.

For my next trip, I will definitely be using my usual Kayak.com search engine strategy and will also add Google Flights and Flight Hub in my search.  Nothing beats knowing that you are getting a great deal on your flight, especially if you don’t have enough airline points for your trip!

Bargainmoosers, do you have other cheap airfare tips you want to share?

(banner image credit: Dan4th Nicholas)

Moose Rating (2 votes)