Author Archive

April 11

Four Ways to Save Money on Car Insurance

Posted by on April 11, 2015 at 8:00 PM

Four Ways to Save Money on Car Insurance

Out here on the West Coast, there are limited options for car insurance, however in other parts of Canada you have the opportunity to save more money on car insurance.  Car insurance is not cheap, especially if you drive a more expensive car, or a car that is found to be broken into more than other cars (for example, the Honda Civic is notorious, and even though it is a smaller car, the annual insurance premiums are quite high).

Seeing that car insurance is one of the major costs in car ownership after you own the car outright, it makes sense to figure out how to save money on car insurance while simultaneously making sure that you are covered if anything untoward were to happen to your car or yourself or others on the road.

Here are a few ways to save money on car insurance.

 Opt for a Higher Premium

Insurance is something that we hope we don’t need, so if you’re a careful driver, hopefully you won’t need to pay the deductible.  According to GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca (an initiative from Ontario through the Investor Education Fund), if you choose a higher premium, then you won’t have to pay so many fees upfront.

For example, let’s say your windshield damage deductible is $100.  If you raise it to $300 you will pay less of an insurance premium.  You’ll obviously have to pay more for the deductible if you damage your windshield, but if you’re okay when it happens (or IF it happens) it will work better for you in the long run.  Basically, the more risk you take on, the cheaper your insurance will be.

Drive Safe

Just like many things in life, the more years of experience  of safe driving you have, the better.  If you hit 10 years without being at fault in an accident, you are entitled to serious discounts for your insurance.  Therefore, make sure you have defensive driving, be alert, and follow the road rules (that means no texting while driving and no distracted driving).

Also, cheaper auto insurance is one of the rare reasons why getting older is a blessing, because your insurance premiums are not as high.  However, there comes a silver lining to this benefit, because when you reach your senior years, insurance premiums start to rise again, of course, because there are more accidents with seniors.

Compare, Compare, Compare

They say comparing yourself to others is a recipe for self loathing and insecurity.  In this case, comparing is a great idea because it will save you money.  LowestRates.ca allows you to compare your car insurance across the province (works across Canada) to see the difference.  In British Columbia, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, basic insurance is mandatory and governed by a crown corporation.

Bundle Your Insurance

Just like with your cable and home phone service, you will save money bundling and making sure your auto insurance needs are met with house insurance or other types of insurance.  In British Columbia, you can opt for private collision insurance for such things like Third Party Liability, Collision, and Comprehensive insurance (instead of going through the crown corporation).  One such auto insurance provider is Canadian Direct Insurancewhich is available in British Columbia and Alberta.  One of my acquaintances has been using Canadian Direct Insurance for years and has definitely save a lot of money compared to me, who is insured completely with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia.  A few hundred dollars a year, actually.

In fact, oftentimes private auto insurance companies deliver better service. In a collision a rental car was provided right away.  Also, in the collision, the vehicle was considered a write-off because of the damage.  The vehicle was a used Honda Civic from 2010 (I believe bought for around $15,000) and Canadian Direct Insurance gave $10,000 to purchase a new vehicle.  Pretty good if you ask, me, I’m sure the public insurance agency would probably dole out only half of that amount.

However, at the same time, many people feel that “you get what you pay for” and have had issues with private insurers such as Canadian Direct Insurance.  Reviews from Insureye for Canadian Direct Insurance are here.

Bargainmoosers, how do you like to save on auto insurance?

Photo credit: Chris Yarzab

Moose Rating (2 votes)
April 5

How to Save Money on Hawaii

Posted by on April 5, 2015 at 8:00 PM

How to Save Money on Hawaii

Undoubtedly, Hawaii is one of my favourite travel destinations.  What more can you ask for on a vacation? Safe, warm, easy to communicate (for example, you don’t have to spend precious minutes trying to ask someone where the bathroom is in a foreign language), sunny, relaxing, beautiful, and lots of different things to do for everyone.  The only downside to Hawaii is that it is not usually considered a frugal or cheap destination (we think of Mexico or Cuba as fitting that statement more so).

I have spent anywhere from five to twelve days in Hawaii, and of course, each time I feel like it is not enough!  On the last trip I was able to go to two different islands over twelve days and spent $1500 on the entire trip (including flight, accommodation, food, car rental, and activities).  Not too shabby considering that would be how much one would pay for a trip to Mexico for seven days, let alone an extra five days.

Here are some tips on how you can make your Hawaiian vacation a dream come true:

Get a Discounted Flight

Instead of paying $700-800 for a flight for a flight from the west coast of Canada to the Hawaiian islands, I was able to book during a seat sale.  When Air Canada has a seat sale, West Jet usually falls closely in pursuit… and vice versa.  Check out Bargainmoose’s website regularly for Air Canada promo and coupon codes and seat sales.  I was able to get 20% off my one way flight from YVR to Kauai on West Jet, and on the way back, I was able to book a one way flight from Honolulu to YVR with 20% off as well.  For both flights I paid a total of $540.  Of course, a trip to Hawaii from the East coast is not as economical as flying from the west coast, but you should check out Eva’s blog post about direct flights from Toronto to Hawaii.

Opt for Accommodation with a Kitchen

Instead of booking a $250/night hotel or condo, I scoured VRBO.com and Homeway.com for accommodation with a kitchenette.  This allowed us to save money on breakfast each day and save money on some lunches (a bagel, cream cheese and fruit was a great lunch for our hike) as we were able to buy something at the grocery store.

Save Money on your Car Rental

Book your car rental ahead of time.  If you have an eligible credit card (check the booklet that you received when you first obtained your credit card) you should be eligible for rental car insurance, in which case you can gracefully decline their offer of added protection via car rental insurance.  In addition, if you have a credit card with points, you can check to see if some of those points can be used for your car rental.  If you are staying in Waikiki, don’t rent a car for your entire stay, you only need the car a few times and try not to rent it on consecutive days (so that you don’t have to pay $20 a night for parking).

Look for Free or Frugal Things to Do in Hawaii

Of course, reading a book on the beach is free.  Walking around on the Waikiki strip is free (and fun to people watch).  If you’re stuck for fun and free things to do, check out About.com’s list of 101 free things to do in Hawaii.  If you are keen on going to do lots of activities (and have the energy) one way to save money while you are in Oahu is to get the Go Oahu card.  The only caveat is that you should plan ahead and book ahead to ensure that you maximize the card.  For a flat fee for the card you can get access to a ton of activities and attractions.  Another way to save money is to scour the “This Week in Oahu” (or whichever island) for coupons.  There are usually coupons for fun activities for cheap and even some coupons for meals (I got a plate of free gyoza when I sat down for some ramen) with a coupon book right outside the ramen shop!

Don’t forget, you can satisfy your wanderlust and keep an eye out for some amazing travel deals on the Bargainmoose site.

Bargainmoosers, which is your favourite Hawaiian island to go to?  What are some ways you save money in Hawaii?

Photo credit: Justin De La Ornellas

Moose Rating (5 votes)
March 27

How to Save Money on Your Next Hotel Booking

Posted by on March 27, 2015 at 8:00 PM

How to Save Money on Your Next Hotel Booking

We all love to travel but with the higher cost of traveling and the higher US dollar, traveling is a lot more expensive than it used to be.  Additionally, over time, hotel prices have gone up (they call it hotel inflation).  This was especially noticeable on my last trip to Hawaii.  I was last there only a few years ago and prices for hotel rooms went up by 25% (from my observation and estimation) at least for the same time period of travel in the year (peak season).  Now this increase in hotel price didn’t make me want to jump and buy a time share or anything, but it did make me think twice about finding ways to save money on our accommodation.

Here are some ways in which you can save money on your next hotel booking:

It Pays to be Loyal

Signing up for hotel loyalty points is a great way to look for bargains or deals on a hotel room.  Sometimes when you sign up they give you a signing bonus (this is for credit cards usually) and you will then receive points on top of the points you spent staying there.  With these points you usually have enough points for at least one night.  Some card to look into are the SPG American Express (you get 20,000 SPG points when you sign up) and the Marriott Chase Visa.

Book Directly

The hotel that you’re planning to book through pays the flight aggregators (like Hotels.com, Booking.com), these websites takes a portion of the fee that you’re paying to the hotel when you book.  Instead of booking online, you can call the hotel and book directly.  All it takes is a phone call and an assertive, but not overbearing attitude and then voila, you will get a discount or some sort of incentive for your time.  This is because instead of paying the website, the hotels would rather give you discount and skip the middle man.

Apartments may be the Way to Go

Another way to save money especially if you are traveling with a group (for example, you need more than one bedroom) is to book a condo.  Airbnb, VRBO.com, Home Away… all of these are great condo options and most of them provide a small kitchen  for you to cook in to save even more money while traveling.  Definitely a win-win situation (cheaper rent for you and rental income for them)…that is, as long as you and the people you are traveling with get along.

It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask

Finally, it doesn’t hurt to ask.  Personally, I do this a lot whenever I check-in and it usually works most of the time (yes, I know, I’m shameless!).  Ask the front desk staff to see if they can offer you anything to upgrade your room.  Sometimes its just a room on a higher floor, other times, it can be an ocean view room (like in the case when I went to Hawaii!).  Sometimes if you say its a special occasion the front desk staff will be accommodating.  It surely doesn’t hurt to ask and the worst thing they can do is say no.  Most front desk staff don’t mind being asked… and frankly, I think they enjoy that power to that they wield to improve your vacation if they have the means to.

Book it Like You Mean Business

According to Lifehacker, one great way of saving money on your next hotel booking is to book hotels in the business district of a city you’re looking at during the weekend, and book hotels that are in the more “touristy” area during the weekday.

Basically if you go against the crowd, like most things in life, for example, even the stock market (buy when the people are fearful) you will save money.  Classic supply and demand scenario.  You can make that work for you in a good way.

There you go, hopefully these five strategies help you save money on the hotel portion of your next vacation out of the country.  Some of them are easier to implement than the others, hopefully they will help you save some money on your next hotel booking.

Bargainmoosers, do you have any tips and tricks that work well when you book your hotel for your vacation?

Photo credit: L’hotel di sale

Moose Rating (4 votes)
March 14

5 Ways to Save Money at the Movie Theatre

Posted by on March 14, 2015 at 8:00 PM

5 Ways to Save Money at the Movie Theatre

Nowadays, watching a movie is getting pricier and pricier.  What used to be under $10 admission to enjoy a cinema flick has now become $14.95 per person and that does not even include the high mark-up for popcorn, fountain drinks, and the Nibs candy treats that you would normally get when you treat your family to a movie.  Taking your family of four out to a movie can cost upwards of $100 that easily consumes the entertainment budget for a lot of families.

Here are some ways you can save money on your next trip to the movie theatre.

Avoid the Popcorn, Drinks, Snacks and other Overpriced Foods

Popsugar recommends that you avoid this temptation to buy popcorn, drinks, snacks, and other overpriced foods by eating beforehand.  By not going in hungry, you will find the allure of buttery popcorn and sweet soda drinks less attractive which is better for your wallet and also better for your waistline.

According to Yahoo research, the mark-up for soda is 500% and the mark-up for popcorn is over 800% when you look at what it costs to produce the product and what they are charging you to consume the product.  Astounding, isn’t it?

Sign Up for a Rewards Card

Scene is a movie rewards program powered by Scotiabank for Cineplex theatres.  You get 100 Scene rewards points for every movie you watch and when you get 1000 Scene points you get to watch a free movie.  You also get more Scene points by signing up for their debit card and even the Scotiabank Visa.  Personally, I’m not a big movie fan (I only watch a few movies in the theatre a year) so this wouldn’t suit me, but if you’re a big movie buff this might be worth it.

Buy Discounted Movie Tickets

Over the years I had some friends periodically email me to see if I wanted to buy bulk movie tickets in packages of 10 for under $9.  These are usually group discounts.  If you are a CAA member, you can get discounted movie tickets for $9 as well (which certainly beats paying full price!)- go to this CAA Alberta website for an example.  These are still eligible for Scene points so you can still collect your 100 points towards getting your free movie after 1000 Scene rewards points.  Because it is such a good deal, they often have to limit the number of people buying the group tickets so it’s a good idea to get them while they are hot.

Head to Costco to Buy Movie Packages

Costco.ca has some great movie packages that are a better deal than buying at the movie theatre.  These are also available to print at home so you get the deal right away instead of having to wait for a gift card in the mail.  They have packages for children and packages including food as well.

Go On Cheap Tuesday

I used to head to the movies only during matinees (as financially geared website Kiplinger suggests) and on cheap Tuesday.  I was sad to see cheap Tuesday go but recently discovered that it is back on last time I went to the movies.  Sometimes the cheap Tuesday price (at Cineplex anyway) is about the same or cheaper than the discounted pre-paid ticket price, so it’s definitely more worth it to go.  You will likely beat the crowds on the weekends and it makes for a more relaxing movie-going experience anyway.

Use Your Points

If you have another points program, like Air Miles, you can redeem your points for a free gift card or package to the theatres.  However, some people like to save their hard earned Air Miles for something different instead of a night out at the movies.

Finally, if a night out watching movies at the theatre with these money saving ways is still a little too expensive on the entertainment budget, why not rent a movie at home instead?  Movies are coming out to video more quickly these days after hitting the theatres, so it may be a good idea to skip the theatres and wait for it to come out on the smaller screen.

Bargainmoosers, do you have any favourite ways to save money at the movie theatres?

Photo credit: Saire Elizabeth

Moose Rating (4 votes)
March 7

5 Tips to Save Money on Fine Dining

Posted by on March 7, 2015 at 8:00 PM

5 Tips to Save Money on Fine Dining

A wonderfully aesthetic and tasty appetizer, a delicious entree, and delectable desert.  A view, a romantic occasion to treat yourselves… these are just some of the reasons people like to dine out.

Personally I’m not a foodie but I do like to go to a nice restaurant once in a while for a special occasion like an anniversary or a birthday.  Some people I know like to go to a nice restaurant on a more frequent or monthly basis and they enjoy the experience of dining out.  There are some amazing restaurants here on the West Coast and I am very lucky to be able to taste some of these culinary delights.  For those that love to go out to a nice restaurant and try out different restaurants in their city, here are a few tips on how to save money on your next fancy meal out.

Find Restaurant Deals and Sign Up For Them

You can check out great updates from Bargainmoose’s Dining Out page for some excellent deals at your favourite restaurants across Canada.

Another website that I quite like is the Travelzoo website, just click on restaurants and look for your city (or the city in Canada that you want to dine at).  Some of the deals have been at some great restaurants in Vancouver and include deals such as a shared appetizer, dessert, and two entrees for two people for $49 (which would normally cost at least $75 to $100 for two people) at some of the very popular finer dining establishments in Vancouver.   Usually the entrees go for $25 to $35 per plate.  For most of these coupons you can also buy them for four people at a table (if you want to split it with your friends).

Choose Lunch Rather Than Dinner

According to Moneysense, lunch is usually less than one-third to one-half of the price of dinner, especially at fine dining restaurants (including those highly coveted and ranked Michelin star restaurants).  Therefore, it makes sense to go for lunch instead of dinner if you are keen on saving money and trying some culinary expertise at these fine dining establishments.

Avoid Alcohol

Five Ten Twenty club blog (a blog that helps you reach your financial goals at $5, $10, or $20 a day) recommends that you avoid buying alcohol.  As tempting as buying that glass (or half bottle) of wine may be, the mark-up at fine dining restaurants is astronomical.  The wealthy Donald Trump is well known for avoiding alcohol when he goes out to a restaurant for meals because he wants to avoid the mark-up.

Sign up for Newsletter or Email Updates from your Favourite Restaurant

If you have a favourite restaurant (or even chain of restaurants) take a few minutes to take a look at their website and sign up for their newsletter or email updates.  Although it might be annoying to receive yet another piece of junk email in your inbox, sometimes when you are in the mood to go to that restaurant and are looking for a deal, that deal will be there in your inbox when you conveniently need it.

In addition, if the restaurant is participating in giving out freebies on your birthday, signing up for their email (and giving a little bit of your demographic information) will allow you to get a freebie notification for your birthday treat, even if it is just a free appetizer.

Sign up for Open Table

Although the bang for your buck isn’t very much, according to LifeHacker, if you sign up for Open Table (an online reservations service that is free to sign up for and often used by restaurants), you will get 100 points for every reservations you make.  When you get 2000 points you will receive a $26 credit to use at your next restaurant dining experience.  Unfortunately that is a lot of reservations and a lot of dining out so this tip might not be worth the added expense of dining out so frequently!

I try to avoid dining out often in order to save money, but when I do dine out, I look for a deal to avoid the sting in the wallet.  It makes my dining out experience much better to know that I am getting more bang for my hard earned buck.

Bargainmoosers, do you have any tips to save money on dining out?

Photo credit: Yelp Inc.

Moose Rating (2 votes)
March 1

Spring Break on a Budget

Posted by on March 1, 2015 at 8:00 PM

Spring Break on a Budget

Spring Break.  It isn’t simply a time where college students party hardy in Mexico at all-inclusive resorts.  Spring break is a time for families to get away or to spend time together at home.  It can also be an expensive time for families, understandably.  Parents have to take time off work to spend time with the children, or they have to arrange for alternate care or day camps for the children to attend.  Either way, even though it is a great break from school so that children can get back at the books refreshed, it can be an expensive week on the family budget.

Here are some ways in which you and your young family can do spring break on a budget this March.  Don’t let this one week of the year break the bank.

Have a Staycation

Sometimes the hustle and bustle of work, school, prepping for lunches and dinners can feel like a never ending cycle of the daily grind.  Even with getaways it can take an insurmountable amount of energy to plan the getaway and the stress leading up to it can be too much to handle.  Having a staycation can be a great way to spend March Break.  Exploring your own city can be a great fun, adventurous, and economical way to spend March Break.  For example, heading to the local mountains, exploring the closest U.S. city on a day trip, or even heading to the local aquarium are all great ways to spend some of the days on March Break.  Canadian Family has some more staycation ideas that won’t break the bank.  These include providing days in which your child can explore his or her passions (such as being a mad scientist or an artist) throughout the week, or even saying hello to your local heroes, visiting the fire department just by giving your local dispatch unit a call.  As you can see, staying around for March Break doesn’t have to be something negative.  In fact, having your child gain insight into what they like to do and for their local heroes is a marvelous March break idea!

Subscribe to Travel Getaway Deal Sites

One of my favourite travel getaway deal sites is Travelzoo.  I recently signed up for a two night stay at a Vancouver Island resort for $85/night, 50% off what it would normally cost at that resort.  Most of the deals have good “window times” of use, and the fine print of when you can redeem the voucher is very clear.  I was able to book with no issues and it was a fun and frugal getaway.  Using Travelzoo Canada to plan your Spring Break getaway can make your March Break much more affordable if you plan ahead.  Of course, there are other sites such as looking for last minute deals on other travel websites too. Of course, Bargainmoose also has a great section for you to find travel deals as well!

Do What Other Parents Do

Yummy Mummy Club has some great input from moms all across Canada on great ideas for March Break that will not break the family budget.  One great idea is to go to the local dollar store and have your children pick three or four items that they can use during spring break to keep them occupied.

Switch it Up

Kate from Huffington Post Canada has a great suggestion on joining forces with other parents you know in the idea of switching up some days so that you can do activities for their children and your children one day, and they can take care of the activities for another day.  This will allow you to get the alone time you need to rest and rejuvenate or it will allow you to keep another vacation day at work from being used up.  Definitely a win-win situation.

If Cabin Fever is Getting to You…

Globe and Mail has nine March break getaway destinations for all shapes and sizes of budget for your family.  The prices are based on a family of four.  Although the prices listed are from 2012, they are helpful to give you ideas on what to do depending on if you live on the West Coast, Central Canada, or on the East Coast.

Bargainmoosers, what is your favourite way to spend your March Break on a Budget?

Photo credit: Jeremy Hiebert

Moose Rating (2 votes)
February 28

How to Save Money Juicing or Making Smoothies

Posted by on February 28, 2015 at 8:00 PM

How to Save Money Juicing or Making Smoothies

The juicing and smoothie craze has taken North America by storm in recent years.  Many people tout the benefits of juicing and smoothies, benefits such as convenience (getting your meal in a drink is a pretty convenient way to go if you’re busy on the go), not to mention the nutritional benefits.  The nutritional benefits of drinking juice or smoothies include getting nutrients at the source (making it easily digestible for your body to absorb instead of working to break it down).

However, with all the benefits, juicing or smoothies can be expensive.  For example, a Vitamix (a very high powered blender) costs about $400 CAD and is considered to be every smoothie lover’s best friend.  Some people also feel that buying all those fruits and vegetables and blending it down to one drink, although nutritious, can be expensive (especially if you have to do that all the time for each drink you make!).

Despite the potential high costs of juicing or making smoothies, here are some ways in which you can save money on this nutritional diet change.

To Juice or Blend, That is the Question

First off, it would be prudent to decide whether to juice or blend smoothies.  They require different appliances.  To make juice, fiber is removed from the fruit or vegetable and often it is discarded.  To make smoothies, you drink whatever you throw in the blender (including protein powder, soy milk, peanut butter, etc.).

This great MoneyCrashers article can help you decide whether you want to juice or blend.   There are pros and cons to both.  I would personally lean more towards blending myself.

Buy the Right Machine

Although the Vitamix is $400 and is considered a fantastic blender for making smoothies (and soups, etc.) not everyone needs a industrial kitchen-grade blender.  The magic bullet (under $50) is great, however it does not grind ice down very well and does not grind seeds very well.  The switch to the Nutri-Ninja  ($100 at Canadian Tire or Walmart) was great and makes perfect smoothies.  Also, the Nutri-Bullet is similarly priced and works similarly well.

According to Fit Juice, the best juicers under $100 are the Breville 700W compact juice fountain and the Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juice Extractor.

Save Money on What You Put In

There are several ways to save money on juicing or blending.

  • Buy your fruits and vegetables on sale
  • Only buy organic if you need to, for example, check out the list of the dirty dozen and the clean fifteen (for example, some of the dirty dozen fruits and vegetables include apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, imported nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and potatoes- these are fruits and vegetables that you would want to buy organic if you can)
  • Freeze your fruits and vegetables if you can, especially berries, blueberries freeze well and taste fantastic in smoothies
  • Raid your fridge, use leftovers that you have in your fridge for what you are going to throw into your juicer or smoothie
  • Throw in frozen kale and spinach before they wilt, which is a great way to avoid food wastage!  Make your greens and freeze them in cubes beforehand, so that you can just throw them in your smoothie when you’re ready to make it

Save Money on What you Take Out of the Juicer or the Blender

Many people discard the pulp after juicing, but using the pulp in recipes or using it in soup is a good idea to keep from adding to food waste.

If you have leftover smoothie, Whole Foods Market recommends that you can pour whatever is leftover to make a delicious smoothie ice-pop for a treat later.

Save Money By Making It Yourself

Of course, it goes without saying that you will save more money if you make smoothies and make your own juices.  Booster Juice, Jamba Juice all are delicious but you are paying $5 a smoothie or a juice.  I once went to a juice making shop and paid $8 for a 335mL amount of cold-pressed juice.  It was delicious but I definitely wouldn’t be able to drink that every day.

Bargainmoosers, do you juice or make smoothies?  Do you have any money saving tips to share?

Photo Credit: Bert Holf

Moose Rating (5 votes)
February 21

Save Money by Preventing Food Spoilage

Posted by on February 21, 2015 at 8:00 PM

Save Money by Preventing Food Spoilage

According to the blog Ready for Zero, the average American wastes about 40% of their grocery budget on food waste.  I have a feeling that Canadians aren’t far off.  I try to avoid food waste but inevitably I have to throw away food because it has spoiled in my fridge, especially for vegetables that I don’t usually use on a regular basis or for meats that I keep in the freezer and they end up getting freezer burn or just smell “off’.

The American numbers are sobering, the NRDC (National Resources Defence Council) estimates that if we reduce a mere 15% of our food waste, we could feed 25 million people.

So to prevent throwing away 40% of your grocery budget through food spoilage, here are some ways in which you can save money on your grocery budget by preventing food spoilage.

Separate your Fruits

Contrary to the aesthetic appeal of how elegant a fruit bowl looks, you might want to think about separating your fruits.  When fruits are clustered together, they release ethyelene gas which speeds up ripening your fruits.  This includes separating your banana bunch into individual bananas because there is ethylene gas released in the banana stem.  Here’s a video as proof if you’re interested.

Resuscitate your Vegetables

Ready for Zero also says that if you soak your limp lettuce, celery, or broccoli in a cold water bath for 15 minutes, it gets rid of the limpness and helps resuscitate it.  Of course you should use it immediately after the cold water bath to avoid further food spoilage.

Keep It in the Bag

Certain fruits and vegetables are better left off in the bag.  Carrots, peppers, and apples are best kept in the bag that it came in from the supermarket as it will last longer.  Plastic wrapped cucumbers (you know, those long English cucumbers) last three times longer when kept in the plastic wrap, according to Love Food Hate Waste.

Know Your Fridge

Labelling your freezer items would help and furthermore, if you know your fridge inside and out like the back of your hand, you’ll be less likely to waste food.  Sometimes in the recesses of my refrigerator I see something that I forgot I had in there and get excited because I caught it in time before it went bad and can use it.

One way to “know your fridge” is to ensure you keep things that you opened (e.g., a package of deli meat for lunch) in the front and perhaps scope out your fridge on a weekly basis just to make sure you’re optimizing whatever is in there.

Look Up your Fruit or Vegetable

Whole Foods Market has a great list of all the fruits and vegetables that you can think of (including mangoes and grapefruits and gooseberries) and details how to select the fruit, how to store the fruit, and how to best use the fruit.  The food guide also says how long you can keep the fruit in the fridge (or even if you can keep it in the freezer) before it goes bad.  A little research goes a long way in preserving your fruit of vegetable that you bring home, especially if it’s from a more upscale grocer like Whole Foods!

Also, if you like charts and want something handy that you can hang in front of your fridge (you know, put those fridge magnets to good use), this great visual chart by Lifehacker shows you how long fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meat lasts if you leave it on the counter/pantry, or if you leave it in the fridge, or if you freeze it.  For example, I knew I could freeze bread (it’s fantastic, life changer for me) but I did not know that bread would last happily in the freezer for 2-3 months.

Bargainmoosers, do you have any tips to reduce food waste and prevent food spoilage and save money at the same time?

Photo Credit: Nic Taylor

Moose Rating (3 votes)
February 19

5 Dollar Store Hacks That Will Help You Make Life Easier

Posted by on February 19, 2015 at 8:00 PM

5 Dollar Store Hacks That Will Help You Make Life Easier

After the holiday season everyone’s wallets are hurting but you may still have the itch of wanting to shop and buy things.  What better way to relieve that itch by going to the dollar store? Though don’t go too much because going frequently can really add up!

I am a huge fan of the dollar store because nowadays you can get just about anything you need there.  I make regular trips to my favourite dollar store, Dollarama on a monthly or every two monthly basis, just to get things that I need, like kitchen essentials or wine gift bags.

The next time you go into your dollar store, look out for items that can be hacked to make your life a bit easier.  Things that are great on the wallet and great on organization too!

Here are five dollar store hacks that will help you save money and make your life a little easier…and a little more organized!

Paint Palette as a Jewelry Holder

5 Dollar Store Hacks That Will Help You Make Life Easier

No more tangled jewelry or struggling to find the matching earring for the one you managed to find.  This cute idea comes from the Architectural Designs blog.  Just look for a cheap dollar store paint palette and paint it to whatever colour you want.  It’s small enough to hide in a drawer and pretty enough to keep out on display.

Dollar Store Shower Cap… For the Kitchen

5 Dollar Store Hacks That Will Help You Make Life Easier

This doesn’t take any tweaking or painting or crafting.  The dollar store shower cap works great for oddly sized items in your kitchen (like for example the kitchen colander in this photo), and also great for wrapping up leftovers when your usual saran wrap won’t stick to the glass container.  This brilliant idea comes from The Kitchen blog.

Ribbon Basket Storage

5 Dollar Store Hacks That Will Help You Make Life Easier

This comes as a timely post after Christmas when you go to the dollar store to buy discounted 50% off Christmas wrapping and decorating, such as ribbon!  So of course you’ll need a place to store all that ribbon without making it look like a mess.  And of course you’ll want to be able to easily access your ribbon without having to hurt your eyes looking for the end of the ribbon or getting frustrated and wasting your ribbon by having your ribbon all tangled up.  This dollar store hack Do It Yourself ribbon basket storage comes from the Minimoz blog, it looks super easy to do and a great way to organize your ribbon!

Picture Frame Key Organizer

5 Dollar Store Hacks That Will Help You Make Life Easier

Long gone will be the days of hunting for your keys and getting annoyed and panicky because you are late for work and cannot find those car keys.  Here is a great dollar store hack to turn a picture frame into a handy key organizer.  It is #23 on Buzzfeed’s 23 brilliant dollar store hacks post.  The instructions are from Redfly creations.  You and your family will be able to find your keys in dollar store hack style.  This is super easy, all you need to do is find the perfect picture frame, not to big not to small and some screws.  And use some white spray paint (that you can find at Michaels, though spray paint does not usually cost a dollar, unfortunately).

Zoo Animal Bookends

5 Dollar Store Hacks That Will Help You Make Life Easier

What better way to organize your books then have funky hipster-esque zoo animals looking after your treasured books?  This would be a great dollar store hack for your children’s books too of course.  For this dollar store hack, all you will need are those dollar store plastic zoo animals, some wooden blocks (small and not too thick) and some primer and spray paint to whichever colour you want to make the zoo animals.  Teal looks nice, and I think a metallic gold would look nice too and add a bit of razzle dazzle to your bookcase.  This brilliant idea comes from Love Grows Wild and the step by step do it yourself instructions are super easy to follow.

There you have it, some great dollar store hacks to get your life a little more organized, one to two dollars at a time!

Bargainmoosers, do you have any other dollar store hacks that you would like to share?  What is your favourite thing to buy at the dollar store?

Photo credit: Shooteyeout

Moose Rating (3 votes)
February 6

Fun and Free Family Day Ideas

Posted by on February 6, 2015 at 8:00 PM

Fun and Free Family Day Ideas

Family Day helps us Canadians from getting depressed in the cold, long winters, but there isn’t a federally declared Family Day.  According to Wikipedia, Family Day is called Louis Riel Day in Manitoba and Islander Day for the folks on Prince Edward Island.  British Columbia finally joined the bandwagon in 2012 and Family Day in British Columbia is celebrated on the second Monday of February.  Elsewhere in the country, it is celebrated on the third Monday in February.

Family Day allows you to focus on your family instead of working Monday to Friday for the daily grind and getting depressed.  Studies show that family time can boost children’s self esteem, enhance relationship bonds, and improve social skills.  However, for many, it is another reason to spend a lot of money, especially if you are already busy paying off the aftermath of the expensive holiday season still.

Family Day doesn’t have to be another reason to spend a lot of money though.  Here are some fun and free Family Day ideas that won’t break the bank.

Explore and Go Geocaching

Geocaching is a great fun family thing to do that inspires curiosity in your children and also in yourself!  What is Geocaching?  Geocaching is live outdoor treasure hunting.  To geocache, you are given coordinates and you attempt to hunt these coordinates down through your GPS to find a small container with the treasure inside.  All you need is a GPS or a GPS-enabled mobile phone (e.g. Google Maps or the Maps on your iPhone) and a Geocaching membership.  Also, you would probably need access to a vehicle too as I think geocaching might be difficult using public transportation.  It is free to register and you can do it through this link.

Snowshoe the Winter Blues Away

Snowshoeing is a great activity for both younger children and older children alike.  Although if you do not have snow shoes you will need to rent a pair (or even better, borrow a pair), which will set you back about $10 for a day rental.  There are many trails that are public access and do not require a snow shoe trail pass.  In fact, you can also try snowshoeing in your neighbourhood, if you are lucky enough to have a big blast of snow.

For some inspiration, you can check out Snow Shoe Mag for more ideas on how to get started with snowshoeing.

Camp in Your Living Room

For a warm and toasty indoor activity (or if it is raining cats and dogs outside) and if the space in your living room permits, set up your tent and roast some marshmallows over the stove and make some s’mores.  The main idea is to just avoid having a camp fire in your living room Fun and Free Family Day Ideas The  Campfire chic  blog has a great post on how to host your own indoor camp out to beat the dreaded cabin fever.  My Kids Adventure blog also has another how-to on creating a fantastic family time night in your living room.

Granted you won’t be able to camp in your living room all weekend long (that would seriously create a bad case of cabin fever), spending one night in a tent is still fun!

Go for a Ride

Some of the fondest memories I have as a child  are from road tripping in my dad’s Dodge Caravan.  There was nothing quite like sitting in the car, driving to a new adventure.  I remember playing games and counting how many things are the colour blue or the colour red.  Playing another game and thinking of countries that start with the letter C (e.g. Canada) and then taking the last letter of that country and thinking of another country (Antarctica)… and the game goes on until everyone is mentally exhausted.

Also, if you are interested in some frugal Family Day activities that might not necessarily be free (but still frugal, and almost free), Today’s Parent has a great list of fun family activities and things to do on Family Day across the country.

Have a great Family Day, and most importantly, enjoy the new memories that you will create with your family!

Bargainmoosers, how do you like to spend your Family Day?

Photo credit: Jonathan

Moose Rating (2 votes)
January 30

4 DIY Gifts That Everyone Will Love

Posted by on January 30, 2015 at 8:00 PM

4 DIY Gifts That Everyone Will Love

Every year my good girlfriends and I make Do It Yourself Christmas gifts for each other.  It sure beats spending $20 each on a present.  You can’t get very much with $20 these days except for a gift card.  Each year we are surprised at the creativity and ingenuity at the gifts we create for each other.

These Do It Yourself gifts are great for all year round, not just Christmas, so I thought it would be nice to share more DIY gifts that are surprisingly easy.

Hidden Book to Store your Valuables

4 DIY Gifts That Everyone Will Love

These are very expensive when you buy them at craft stores.  They usually sell for $20 to $25.  I bought one online a few years ago for the same price and it was a bit less “discrete” than this Do It Yourself one.  It was obviously not a “real” book because it did not have a title on the spine of the book.

This was made by going to Value Village and Salvation Army to buy some used books.  Look for pretty colours or catchy titles  and also look depending on the size of the book- the wider the spine, the more things you can put in the book (but also more work to cut the pages too!)

You will need:

  • A book
  • X-acto knife
  • Modge Podge glue
  • Lots of time (about 1 hour per book)

Cut the pages of the book with the X-acto knife (this requires quite a bit of effort because you can’t just cut the entire book in one go, it takes a few pages at a time).

Then seal it with Modge Podge glue and let it dry.

Cost:

Depending on whether you already have Modge Podge and an X-acto knife handy, it may only cost you $1-3 to make this great gift!

All Natural All Purpose Citrus Cleaner 

4 DIY Gifts That Everyone Will Love

Homemade cleaner is super easy to make and is natural without added harsh ingredients and unpronounceable toxic ingredients.  Not to mention it is super economical to make and a great way to recycle your orange peels.

You will need:

  • Vinegar
  • Orange rind
  • A spray bottle
  • A small wipe (you can get these at the dollar store)

Dry your orange peels and soak them in vinegar.

The only downside is that there can be a strong vinegar odour when you use it but it disappears quickly once you clean.  You could try adding a few drops of essential oil to decrease the smell.

Cost to make:

Under $4 (even cheaper if you have vinegar and a spray bottle handy)

Picture Frame Jewelry Holder

4 DIY Gifts That Everyone Will Love

This was surprisingly easy to make and it was an instant hit.  A lot of friends were saying they always wanted one but were too lazy to make one.  Although the downside is that this one is a bit more expensive than the others, especially if you don’t have the supplies handy.

You will need:

  • A picture frame (can be bought at Value Village or Salvation Army for $5 or less)
  • Spray paint (with primer preferably) $10 a can
  • Burlap ($10 for a meter at Fabric store)
  • A staple gun ($15 for a cheap one at Michael’s)

All you need to do is take out the picture and glass from the picture frame.  Sand it down if you can.  Then spray the frame with spray paint.  Staple the burlap with the staple gun.  I found some wire at a dollar store and stapled that as well, it’s handy to put bracelets or necklaces that otherwise wouldn’t be able to hang properly on the picture frame.

Cost:

It cost about under $8 for each picture frame jewelry holder to be made, which included having to buy a staple gun and spray paint.

Ring Holder

4 DIY Gifts That Everyone Will Love

This ring holder involves using a mason jar and clay and some paint.  It is a variation of the clay jewelry dish holder instructions here by Hello Natural.

You will need:

  • A mason jar to shape up the clay
  • Clay
  • Paints

Cost:

The most expensive supplies are the clay and the paints, however this still cost less than $10 to make, the more you gift, the cheaper each jewelry holder will be!

Bargainmoosers, do you have any fun DIY ideas that are easy to make and a great gift to give or receive?

Photo credit: Debbie R

Moose Rating (2 votes)
January 17

How to Save on GPS When Traveling in the United States

Posted by on January 17, 2015 at 8:00 PM

How to Save on GPS When Traveling in the United States

On a recent weekend get-away road trip down to the United States, I decided last minute to sign up for a few days with Roam Mobility so I could access cellular data while I was in the United States of America to avoid the high data charges from my cellular account with Telus.

I thought it would be a good idea so that if I needed directions to get somewhere it would be easier.  It was probably the best $4 that I have spent in the past year.  It was only $2 a day, instead of the $10+ a day it would cost to rent an actual GPS from a car rental company or buy a GPS device (I personally don’t know how to operate them) for hundreds of dollars.

Here’s how you do it.

Sign Up for Roam Mobility

Roam Mobility allows you to talk, text, and use data in the United States without paying the expensive roaming charges through Telus, Bell, or Rogers.  All you have to do is buy a Roam Mobility SIM card (Regular price is $19.99 but often you an get two SIM cards for $15 or a discount on the $19.99 price tag).  With the SIM card you will need to make sure your Telus, Rogers or Bell (or whatever phone you have) is unlocked.   Alternately, if you do not want to unlock your cell phone you could buy a Roam Mobility cell phone instead of a SIM card, that way you have a designated phone.  Bargainmoose also has some great promo codes and deals on Roam Mobility SIM cards.

Sign up for Roam Mobility through their website and then choose how many days you want (you can even prebook it).  The options are talk, text, and data, or just text and data etc.  With the SIM card you will have your own “United States” phone number that you can use (it is yours for a whole year but you lose it after a year of inactivity with the SIM card).  I opted for the text and data plan.  You will be charged (after you give your credit card information) and you won’t have to pay any overage fees after that.  What you pay is what you pay! (Isn’t that a great feeling?)

Using the data (it is 2G data, so it was slow so when you are looking up actual websites, it is slower than molasses) was great because I always use Google Maps even when I’m NOT traveling and just driving around the city.  It was great for whatsapp and texting, as well.

Other Ways to Save on GPS Without Having to Buy a GPS

Another way to save without having to buy a GPS (or rent a GPS if you are using a rental car) is if you input your destination in Google Maps while you have free wifi (in your hotel or accommodation or whatever) you can use these tips by iPhonehacks to input “OK maps” in order to have the map saved offline.  Wired magazine also confirms that this is probably one of the best kept secrets.  It’s not the same as navigation but better than no map at all!  Google Maps directions should also work even if you don’t have data as long as you had data/ wifi when you inputted the original directions.  This is of course if difficult when you have multiple destinations you want to go to and when you’re on the go, which is why signing up for Roam Mobility makes so much sense, especially if you head to the United States often.

Here are some more tips on how to save money by not buying a GPS from HowtoGeek’s blog.

Personally I don’t know how I would have been able to handle driving on those highways without the navigation system (remember the days when we used to have maps on paper format?).  There would have been many wrong turns, I’m sure, which is part of the allure and adventure of road trips, but sometimes you just want to get from A to B without any added adventure, right?

Bargainmoosers, have you tried using Roam Mobility?  What do you use for your GPS navigation system when you are road-tripping in the United States?

Photo credit: Graeme Law

Moose Rating (4 votes)
January 10

3 Household Must-Haves That Will Save you Money

Posted by on January 10, 2015 at 8:00 PM

3 Household Must Haves That Will Save you Money

There are a few things around my home that have revolutionized my way of living and made it much easier.  Things that are so simple, yet so effective and important around the home.  Things that you wouldn’t normally think of being that great, but they are really that great.

Here are some household must-haves that will save you money (and of course time):

Dryer Balls (If you use a dryer of course)

My drying machine takes hours and hours (maybe two hours) to dry.  It’s too wet out in the winter to air dry my clothes and I really do enjoy that warm dry laundry feeling when you pull fresh laundry out of the dryer.  Even when I put the dryer setting on permanent press and add fabric softener, it comes out pretty wrinkled.  The bane of my existence is the weekly ironing sessions to iron out all the wrinkles in my work pants and shirts.

Then recently, I bought some merino wool dryer balls from Amazon.  I put about three dryer balls in and my clothes are fluffy, soft, they even SMELL better (more like laundry and more fresh) and the drying time has been reduced.

The dryer balls work by increasing air circulation, absorbing moisture, and rotating the clothes within the dryer.  The David Suzuki Foundation blog also confirms that dryer balls do work.  They are about $3 a piece, but they are the best three dollars I have spent in a while.  They are shown to reduce drying time by 30-50% and best of all (especially for me, since I hate ironing) they reduce wrinkles!

If you are interested in learning how to make your own wool dryer balls, head to Creative Bug!

What better way to help the environment and yourself by not having to iron as much. Alternately, if you want to REALLY save money, apparently Buzzfeed states that you can make your own dryer balls by throwing balls of bunched up aluminum into the dryer.  I have not tried this myself.

Crock Pot

A crock pot is probably one of the most inexpensive but yet practical tools/ pieces of kitchen equipment available.  For less than $50 for a decent crock pot you can save up to a thousand dollars a year in grocery bills.  According to US News, the crock pot or slow cooker provides leftovers for lunch, takes very little time and effort to prepare meals, and saves you from having to eat out.

Since I am busy working full-time and I pull long hours at work, at the end of the day I barely have enough energy to cook dinner.  The solution is that I batch cook on Sundays and then I have enough meals for the week.  It takes minimal effort and always produces delicious food.  I have made Cuban pot roast, slow cooker chicken, and short ribs, plus other delicious meals that I enjoy throughout the week.  I often freeze meals as well.

Here are a few slow cooker recipes to get you started:

 A Year of Slow Cooking- yes, you guessed correctly!  365 recipes to get you started! (Won’t be short of ideas, that’s for sure!)

New Leaf Wellness- 8 slow cooker freezer ready meals in under 75 minutes (and this includes clean up time!)

Vinegar, Baking Soda, and Lemon

When life gives you lemon, you don’t have to make lemonade, you can just clean.  According to Curbly.com, the must-haves for your household are vinegar, baking soda, and lemon.  With these free cleaning powerhouses, it will eliminate the need to purchase expensive household cleaners.  You can disinfect and clean your cutting boards by running half of a lemon over the cutting board surface.  You can make household cleaner with just vinegar and an orange rind.  You can use baking soda to polish silver, or you can use it as a scrub to scrub off stains and difficult to remove kitchen stains.  Same goes for a bathroom scrub, too.  Baking soda also works great as a deodorizer.  Finally, when your trash can smells funky, just add some baking soda and everything smells fresh again.

There you have it, the three essential must-haves for a happy household!

Bargainmoosers, what are some household must-haves that are life changing for you (or at least household-changing)?

Photo credit: J D

Moose Rating (7 votes)
January 6

How to Save Money on Concert and Event Tickets

Posted by on January 6, 2015 at 8:00 PM

How to Save Money on Concert and Event Tickets

We all know that concert and event tickets can be pricey.  Ranging anywhere from $30 to upwards of over $300 a ticket, we sacrifice a lot of money to see our favourite band or favourite sports team play.  Personally, I am not a big concert-goer or event-goer.  Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy them, watching Usher and Bruno Mars live was amazing but perhaps I am not as die-hard fan as I previously thought I was.  When my friends want to go watch an Opera, I suggest a matinee.  When I went to the Squamish Music Festival (which was pretty amazing because Arcade Fire, Nas, Bruno Mars, and The Roots were playing), the tickets were expensive (not to mention the camping in Squamish was expensive), however, we saved money by camping in a friends backyard and just took a taxi into the festival grounds.  There are definitely ways where you can have your cake and eat it too when it comes to event tickets!

Here are a few ways that you can save on your next concert, sports event, or other event ticket:

 Instead of Tickemaster.ca…Try Bidding

Scorebig allows you to score tickets at 60% less than the typical face value for a ticket.  I find Scorebig is somewhat analogous to Priceline (where you can bid for a hotel stay).  The other commonality is that it is only applicable for tickets in the United States, unfortunately, and not Canada.  Scorebig has tickets for all sports events such as the NHL, NBA, and even has tickets for Broadway and city attractions.

Volunteer

Volunteering is an altruistic win-win situation.  Not only do you feel good about yourself by contributing to society and your community, you will also score free event tickets.  Kiplinger suggests volunteering as an usher because it will allow you to watch free events, concerts, and sports.  My friend previously volunteered for the Vancouver International Film Festival.  Because of this, she was able to watch all the movies and films to her heart’s (and time’s) content for free!  Tickets normally cost at least $15 per film from what I recall.  Another friend of mine works for Rogers Centre in Vancouver as an extra part-time side job and gets to watch all of the great concerts for free or for a big discount.

Buy Direct

Lifehacker suggests that you buy direct from the Box Office to avoid service fees (you know, the one charged by our friends at Ticketmaster).  This also works if the event is sold out, it doesn’t hurt to try at the box office to see if there are any tickets laying around.  In Vancouver, there is another “Box Office” that is called Tickets Tonight, where you can get half-price tickets however you have to pick up the tickets in downtown Vancouver and the tickets are bought the day of.  The ticket prices are half off, so that can be a great deal for some shows!

Try an Aggregator

Just like looking for flight deals on Kayak.com or hotel deals on Trivago.com, which are known as aggregators (the search engine that looks for flights or hotels on multiple websites in order to find you the best deal), there are some aggregators for concert, event, and sports tickets.  According to Seatgeek, you can search for millions of concerts and events in one place.  Another concert and event and sports event aggregator is Seathound, however this appears to target sports events slightly more.  These are established ticket marketplaces and a trustworthy place to buy your tickets (after all, if you’re spending so much money don’t you want to make sure you’re not getting a fake ticket a la Craigslist?).

Nosebleed Seats Aren’t so Bad?

 Benzinga suggests that you don’t be a seat snob.  Sometimes nose bleed seats are better than no seats at all!  Personally I would not pay hundreds of dollars more to see someone closer up, but that’s just my preference.  Why not go in frugal style, grab your zoom camera lens and your binoculars and make friends with people that are sharing the nose bleed seats with you?  It’s all part of the experience, right?

Bargainmoosers, what are some other ways that you save on concert tickets, sports event tickets, or other event tickets?

Photo credit: Jenny Baxter

Moose Rating (3 votes)
January 3

Easy Ways To Save Money Around The House

Posted by on January 3, 2015 at 8:00 PM

Easy Ways To Save Money Around The House

January is already a depressing time of year because of the “December hangover” and the large credit card bill most of us have to deal with.  In addition, with winter in full swing we are spending more times indoors and at home.  With the added time at home warming up, utility bills can add up quick!

Here are some easy ways to save money around the house and to reduce those utility bills to cut the sting out of January and February bills.

Get a Programmable Thermostat

According to Huffington Post Canada, about 40% of Canadian households have a programmable thermostat- however, only about 10% of programmable thermostat owners actually have them programmed.  Most other people just use the thermostat manually (which of course defeats the purpose).  Programmable thermostats can help you decrease your room temperature during the day when you are at work and at night when you are sleeping.  The savings can be very large, considering every degree you reduce the heat by, you will be saving money.  If used properly, a programmable thermostat can save you at least 6.5% on your heating bill.  On a $200 heating bill every month, that’s almost $25 a month in savings.

Watch for Phantom Electricity Usage

Even if you remember to turn out the lights when you leave the room or your home, other powers that be (pardon the pun) can still use electricity.  Phantom power usage is everywhere, from your television set to your laptop, to the cord that you plug your phone into the wall with to charge it.  The Globe and Mail estimates that it can comprise of up to 10% of your total electricity bill.  If left plugged in, a typical home theatre system can cost $125 per year- which doesn’t include the period of time when you are actually using the home theatre system.  A good solution to avoid this useless usage is to get power bars that can be turned off easily.

Get Rid of Cable Television

As mentioned in a previous Bargainmoose saving money post on cutting cable television by yours truly, skipping cable television can save you a ton of money. Considering that the average cost saving of not having cable television is $71 per month, the decision to cut the cord makes some sense.  There are plenty of alternatives to cable television including Netflix, Apple TV, and Roku to name a few.

I have recently subscribed to Netflix and have my hands full already with enough entertainment to last me for an entire year were I to be stranded on a desert island with Internet access.  It is no wonder that Netflix has become wildly popular and its stock has increased at least 3 times its original value earlier this year.

Cable television will end up being like the home telephone.  Available but not always useful or used in our current times- especially when you can avoid boring and time consuming commercials in between programming on “regular” television with Netflix.

Check for Leaks and Drafts

One of the biggest causes of increased utility and electricity bills is unsealed leaks and drafts because you are basically analogous to trying to fill air into a leaking balloon.  Finding them can be tricky as it can be something simple such as a window or something difficult to treat such as the wall.  Popular Mechanics has a great article on 7 ways to save money on leaks and drafts, and they recommend looking at anywhere from your attic, fireplace, wall, and to your windows and doors.

Use a Space Heater Instead

Space heaters are an efficient way of heating up a small space in a small amount of time.  You get the heat where you want it and when you want it.  Instead of heating up the entire room, space heaters can heat up the area where you are hanging out, which is the main idea of course.  For a great article on how to find the perfect space heater to save money and energy and stay warm, check out this article by Life Hacker.

There you have it, five simple ways for you to start the process of saving money around the house.

Bargainmoosers, do you have other easy ways you save around the house?

(banner image credit: James Thompson)

Moose Rating (4 votes)