Author Archive

June 27

4 Ways to Save Money on your Mortgage

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

4 Ways to Save Money on your Mortgage

The mortgage is singlehandedly the biggest investment and biggest fixed cost in our lifestyle (if you choose to have a mortgage instead of rent, that is).  Mortgage, rent, and shelter constitutes the largest part of the household budget for most people.  When we have a mortgage, we are bound to work to pay the mortgage, of course.  Most of the time, people pay their mortgage according to the bank’s schedule and think nothing more of it.  However, if you think about the tens of thousands of dollars that end up going to the bank as the form of mortgage interest, you might want to think about different ways to pay off your mortgage earlier so that you and your family can reach financial freedom faster.

Make Two Half Payments instead of a Monthly Payment

According to Bankrate, making two half payments instead of a monthly payment can shave as much as 6 years off of a 30 year mortgage loan.  The accelerated biweekly payment is a great way to pay off your mortgage and take off a few years from the total mortgage.  It works especially well with those who get biweekly paycheques from their employer.  With the two half payments, you’ll barely notice that you are paying more to pay off your mortgage.

Re-Finance your Mortgage

This might be an option for you depending on how much time you have left on your mortgage term.  If the mortgage savings outweighs the inevitable mortgage penalty for refinancing your mortgage, refinancing might not be a bad idea, especially in the absolute low-rate  environment that we have had for the  past couple of years (and more so recently).  The low mortgage interest rate environment is not going to last (however, that’s what the financial experts have been saying for the past couple of years).  Yahoo Finance estimates that on average, people have refinanced their homes twice since 2009.

The key aspect to refinancing your mortgage to the lower rate is to ensure that you are paying the same amount of monthly payment per month.  So with the lower cost of the mortgage, you should pay extra to knock down the principle and reduce the time you have to be paying the mortgage.

Make a Pre-payment

Pre-payments can take many different forms.  For example, you could make a lump sum payment, or you can pay up the total amount of your mortgage payment (check with your mortgage’s financial institution to see what your terms are).  On the Financial Consumer Agency website created by the government of Canada, they give an example of a man with a $150,000 principle mortgage at at 5.45% rate over a 25 year amortization.  With his pre-payment maximum, he was able to contribute up to 10% of his original mortgage loan, which is $15,000.  With that, he was able to reduce his total mortgage by $33,000.  One thing to be cognizant of is to make sure you don’t pay more than the lender allows, otherwise, you will be subject to fees and fines of course.

Put your Tax Refund into your Mortgage

Finally, if it is difficult to find money for a pre-payment, one option is to use your tax return money towards your mortgage.  Of course, most people like to treat themselves with the tax return proceeds, but if you divide it up into money for your ‘splurge’ and divide it up into money towards your home, that helps you use the money effectively for both ‘fun’ and ‘mortgage pay down’. Doing this on an annual basis will save you thousands of dollars over the course of your amortization.

Although it might not seem like much, paying any little bit towards your mortgage saves you lot of money on your mortgage. This is because mortgages work with an amortization- that means that even though the mortgage payment stays the same every time you pay a mortgage payment, you are actually paying more interest than paying down the principal.  That’s why when you pay down your principal, you are actually chipping away at the base of the iceberg, rather than attacking it from the top (which is obviously less effective).

Bargainmoosers, do you have any other ways in which you saved on your mortgage?

Photo credit: The Truth About

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June 21

How to Save Money on a Bathroom Remodel

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

How to Save Money on a Bathroom Remodel

They say that the best bang for your buck in terms of renovations and increasing the value of your home are to focus on updating the kitchen and the bathroom.  Personally when I first bought my apartment a few years ago, I decided that the motel-esque bathroom had to go and I re-modeled the bathroom with the help of a contractor.  I did this before I moved into the apartment and it didn’t take very long to renovate.

The average cost of a mid-range bathroom remodel (in the United States) is, according to Remodelling magazine’s 2005 cost vs value report (as mentioned by HGTV), approximately $10,500.  According to Porch.com it is even higher. In 2013, the average cost of a bathroom renovation was $16,000 (I suppose inflation had something to do with it).  I was able to remodel the bathroom for about $3000, however I do have a smallish bathroom.  I added a shower door, changed the sink and countertop, changed the light fixtures, changed the shower head, and added glass subway tiles in an aquamarine blue/ aqua blue (my favourite colour) instead of the square white ceramic tiles that were previously there.  I could have just spent less but I wanted my bathroom to have a spa-like feel with the glass tiles.  About two years later I still look at my glass tiles and smile because the colour makes me happy.

Here are some ways in which you can update your bathroom on a budget.

Don’t Gut It

Just like with a kitchen remodel (for tips on how to save money on a kitchen remodel, check out this Bargainmoose post here), the major costs are incurred when you decide to rewire or redo the plumbing to the room.  If you are able to keep the configuration of the bathroom (e.g., the sink where the sink currently is and the toilet where the toilet currently is) then it will save you a lot of money on your bathroom remodel.

Like I Said…Don’t Gut It

Going even further, if you are able to keep certain aspects of the bathroom, then you will save even more money.  For example, with my bathroom renovation, I keep the tiles on the floor, I kept the cabinetry for the bathroom vanity (it was made out of wood, not MDF so it was good quality) but just changed the countertop from a granite to a light coloured Corian countertop.  I even kept the bathtub.  The bathtub was slightly chipped in one spot (the black was showing through a bit) and instead of buying a new bathtub, I got my contractor to paint over it with a white paint so it covers up the chip that was previously there.

Furthermore, I could have saved more money on the bathroom remodel by using a glass tile accent instead of just having the entire bathtub area tiled with glass tile.  The glass tiles cost me about $1000 by itself, which is pretty price (not including the labor).  You can choose a focal point for the more expensive tile (e.g., a long horizontal line on a white subway tile background) to save money.

Be Lavish on the Accessories

U.S. News suggests that if you spend a little more on the accessories (e.g., things that can be updated without needing a wrench), then it will save you money to update your bathroom without spending too much.  For example, they mention getting a nice shower head (like a rain shower head) to update your bathroom.  Or gett nice bamboo towels.  Or change the bathroom hardware.  Updating to stainless steel from gold coloured and nickel coloured accessories do a lot for updating your home.  For your accessories, you can save money by going to places like Winners to look for nice bathroom accessories at a discounted price.

A Coat of Paint Does Wonders

Just like with the rest of the home, an updated coat of paint can do wonders for your bathroom renovation, according to Bankrate.  For around $50 for a can of paint and some do it yourself eagerness and elbow grease, you can also paint your bathroom and update the look easily.

Bargainmoosers, do you have any other tips on how to save money on a bathroom remodel?  How much was your budget for your bathroom renovation?

Photo credit: MWMS1916

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June 20

How to Save Money on Checked Luggage

Posted by on June 20, 2015 at 8:00 PM

How to Save Money on Checked Luggage

With summer holidays coming up, many people are taking to the skies and traveling up in the air.  Much of the time, when you book your flight, you have to pay extra for checked luggage, depending on the airline that you are flying with.

Before discount airlines (for example, Allegiant Air) were available, the idea of paying for checked luggage was not something I thought about regularly or routinely.  I remember the days of traveling that you could have two pieces of checked luggage.  These days, you’re lucky if you can get one piece of checked luggage.  Nowadays, with increasing fuel costs increasing the cost of flying, more and more airlines are charging for your first checked luggage, including Air Canada on domestic  flights.  The checked luggage costs (not to mention the additional ‘select-your-seat’ costs) really add up and tend to make that discounted ticket something that isn’t much of a steal of a deal anymore.

According to CBC, Air Canada has already begun to charge $25 for your first checked piece of luggage.  Obviously, this will naturally cause an increase in people wanting to stuff everything into their carry-on, but Air Canada is training officers to enforce the size restrictions and asking you to check your luggage if they deem necessary.  So far, this has only been  happening at the Toronto Pearson airport.  At present, there aren’t any limits asking for your carry-on weight but it might be something they enforce in the future.

Here are some ways on how to save money on checked luggage.

Know Your Baggage Rules

Each airline has different baggage rules and carry on allowances, depending on the size of their aircraft.  That means, the carry-on luggage that you bought at the department store might not meet the requirements of the airlines.  That’s why it is important to do your research on the carry on and check-in baggage rules before you fly and preferably, before you book your flight.  For example, Air Canada’s baggage information is listed on this page.  For Air Canada, you are allowed one standard and one personal article, each weighing up to 22 lbs, and there are specific size restrictions.  Nerd wallet has a great link to an online web tool that tells you the carry on luggage allowances for American airlines.

In addition, knowing your baggage rules also means reviewing what you can pack as carry on, and what you cannot.

Pack Light

Of course, one way to save on checked luggage fees is to only use carry on baggage and pack light.  Invest in a good carry on bag that will fit on the airlines that you most frequent and make sure you weigh the products you pack into your bag.  You’ll be surprised at how much you can bring as a carry on.  The Independent Traveler goes so far as to suggest investing in a luggage scale to check how much your luggage weighs in at.

Bulk Up What You Wear

Another way to save money on checked luggage is the wear your luggage on your sleeve!  Bulky down jackets, coats, and sweaters are probably not the most comfortable on the plane, but it drastically or significantly reduces the amount needed to put in the carry on luggage so the trade off can be worth it.  Therefore, wear that jacket on the plane if you can.

Get a Credit Card that Allows Free Checked Bags

Finally, if you have a credit card associated with an airline loyalty points program, it offers additional protection for airline fees such as baggage fees (depending on the airline and the credit card, for example).  With the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card, if you book your flight from an Aeroplan reward, you will get the first checked bag for free (only if you book your flight via them of course).  A lot of credit cards have baggage perks like this and it’s a good idea to spend a little time reviewing what your credit card can offer you!

Hopefully these tips will help you save a bit of money on your next flight with or without checked baggage fees!

Bargainmoosers, do you have any tips that you want to share on how to save money on checked luggage?

Photo credit: Reinis Traidas

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June 14

How to Save Money on Your Kitchen Remodel

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

How to Save Money on Your Kitchen Remodel

Many Canadians spend a lot of money renovating and updating their homes, especially the kitchen and bathroom, where most renovations usually give the most ‘bang for your buck’ in terms of updates and increasing property value.  Renovating and remodeling the kitchen can be very costly, I have a friend who spent well over $50,000 renovating her kitchen, however, it did involve knocking down a portion of a wall to open up the kitchen to the living room.

Keep the Cabinets

New cabinets and re-doing the cabinets are the reason why most kitchen renovations are so costly.  If you have a way to keep your current cabinets and just update the paint or change the cabinet doors, that will save you a ton of money in the long run.  According to Houzz (one of my favourite renovation websites for ideas), custom cabinets can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $60,000 and $250 to $2500 per linear foot.

Stainless Steel Stick On

Stainless steel adds a sense of contemporary charm to most kitchens and is probably the most preferred colour of appliance currently.  If your kitchen appliances work perfectly fine, this is a good option for you.  If you have black appliances and want the updated look of stainless steel, think about adding a stainless steel stick on! I would love to use this for my own kitchen because I love the look of stainless steel, but unfortunately I have white appliances.    You can find these stainless steel stick on sheets on Amazon.com for around $60.  It’s an actual soft metal stainless steel film, it is not simply a sticker.

Keep the Layout

One of the other highest expenses for kitchen remodels is if you want to change the layout of your kitchen.  Changing the plumbing and the wiring requires an extensive job and is much more costly as you will have to hire a plumber who specializes in renovations etc.  Therefore if at all possible, consider keeping the layout of your kitchen to save money on your kitchen renovation.

Update the Knobs

Another frugal way to update your kitchen without spending too much money is to just update the knobs.  If you have round knobs and want a more modern look, updating the knobs is something anyone can do (if I can do it, you can!) without hiring a contractor.  For example, on Amazon.com you can find a pack of 25 knobs for cabinets for around $10.  There is a hardware/ upscale discounted dollar store that sells modern looking knobs for cabinets for around $1.25 a piece which is still a steal in my opinion!

Remodel Slowly if Necessary

If you have the luxury of time, remodel slowly if necessary.  Houzz states that you can put your backsplash up any old time and it doesn’t need to be done when the cabinets or the countertop is put in.  You can sell your old appliances on Craigslist before you buy new appliances.  This way you won’t have to dip into your emergency savings fund or into your line of credit to remodel your kitchen. Getting into debt for a kitchen remodel is not the most ideal way to start off your kitchen remodel!

Buy Scratch and Dent Appliances

To save money on your appliances, look for scratch and dent appliances and look for places where you can buy a package deal (for example, the fridge, stove, and dishwasher can be bought together).  Make sure that the scratch and dents are only cosmetic (and preferably in a spot where you can’t really see it).  This will save you hundreds of dollars in appliances.  There are many scratch and dent appliance dealers that only sell scratch and dent appliances and nothing else.

Skip the Recessed Lights

Recessed lights, or pot lights, look nice but they don’t really add that much to the look of your kitchen remodel, but they do add a lot of expense!  Each recessed light can cost around $150, and if you want two to four recessed lights, that really adds up.  This Old House recommends that you opt for track lighting or surface mounted ceiling light instead, which will save you the labour of someone cutting a hole in your ceiling and labour to make sure the electricity wiring works.

Bargainmoosers, do you have any other tips on how to save money on a kitchen remodel?

Photo credit: Sherwood CC

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June 13

How to Save Money Eating Gluten Free

Posted by on June 13, 2015 at 8:00 PM

How to Save Money Eating Gluten Free

For people who have celiac disease (gluten sensitivity) eating gluten free foods is a necessity.  For others, eating gluten free foods (foods without wheat flour in them, namely common foods such as pizza, cookies, bread, pancakes, pastas, and many cereals) is a choice that improves their health.  Eating wheat free has become not only a fad, but a very popular diet that encompasses avoiding wheat products such as pizza, cookies, bread, and things like pancakes.

Although I do not have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, since reading the book Wheat Belly, written by cardiologist Dr. William Davis, I have cut down on the amount of wheat that I eat in the day.  On days that I have wheat, like pasta or a pizza, I do find that I feel more bloated, more fatigued, and more lethargic.  Therefore, I try to avoid too much wheat, but I’m not super strict as I really enjoy the taste of pizza and pasta from time to time.

Just like going with the Paleo diet, eating gluten free can be more expensive than a typical North American diet full of convenience foods that make you full.  According to Yahoo Finance, the gluten free industry is set to be a $1.7 billion industry by the year 2017.  However, it doesn’t have to be.  Here are a few ways to save money when eating gluten free.

Don’t Forget the More Economical Grains

For many that avoid gluten, they opt for expensive alternatives to wheat, such as millet, quinoa, couscous, and buckwheat.  According to Today’s Dietician, many people forget about other alternatives to quinoa it is  good ol’ rice, corn, and gluten-free oats.  These are more economical than the more ‘ancient-grains’ type of carbohydrate.  I have oatmeal every morning for breakfast and make my own granola from the 100 days of real food granola recipe.

Be Friends with the Freezer

As with how to save money on the paleo diet, one of the best ways to save money on a gluten free diet is the plan ahead with your meals (remember, organization is key!) for the week and freeze them.  Instead of gravitating towards fast food after work, grab a meal out of your freezer so you have a weeknight meal ready to go.  Invest in a chest freezer if your freezer in your kitchen is tight on space.

Learn to Cook

According to Huffington Post, gluten free foods can cost anywhere from 76% higher to 518% higher than non glutenous foods.  The prepackaged gluten free food is what really adds up in terms of cost at the supermarket.  If you learn to cook a lot of the gluten free foods yourself you will save a lot of money.

There is a lot of gluten free junk food out there.  Just because it’s gluten free that doesn’t mean that it is healthy or good for you because essentially it is junk food disguised in a sheep’s clothing.  Pre-packaged gluten free foods are definitely more expensive.

Instead, if you want to have snack foods on hand, prepare them ahead of time:  kale chips, brussell sprout chips, and even homemade Larabars (see this homemade Larabar recipe from the hundred days of real food blog) are great ways to stave off the urge to buy packaged foods.

Look for Gluten Free Recipes

There are many places that you can find gluten free recipes that are practical and can easy to replicate.  For one, there are a few recipes posts in the Wheat Belly blog website and at the back of the book if you’re ready.  In addition simply googling for gluten free recipes is also effective and the search engine will find you some more gluten free recipes, of course!

Know Where to Shop

The places that offer a wide selection of gluten free foods with the best price is at Trader Joe’s.  I bought some brown rice pasta (gluten free) for really cheap and it tastes delicious (I think it was under $3 Canadian) and I think it is reasonable for the price and the effort it takes to get to a Trader Joe’s.  Also, Superstore has a health aisle/ gluten free organic section now for very reasonable prices.

Bargainmoosers, how do you and your family save on gluten free recipes and meals?

Photo credit: elana’s pantry

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May 31

Save Money and Time on Hair Removal

Posted by on May 31, 2015 at 8:00 PM

Save Money and Time on Hair Removal

This has been quite the topic for my friends and I lately, perhaps because two of my close friends decided to get laser hair removal and love it.  They tell me “If I were able to have a conversation with my 22 year old self, I would definitely tell her to get laser hair removal.”  I personally have not taken the plunge yet due to the cost and the permanent nature of it (perhaps I am somewhat of a commitment-phobe).  Hair removal is unfortunately a necessity for me, and I have tried waxing, shaving, epilating, and other hair removal modalities.

Here are a few options of hair removal and ways to save money and time while removing your unwanted hair.  The prices mentioned are estimations of cost based on my own experiences.

Shaving

The costs involved for shaving include having to buy disposable razors regularly or buying an electric razor.  You would also have to buy shaving cream ($3-10) to ensure you do not knick yourself when you shave.  A pack of disposable razors can cost anywhere from $7 to $23 (which will last you a few weeks) and an electric razor can cost at least $100.  When you factor in the time spent shaving (almost on a daily basis) and the risk for ‘stubbly’ legs when you don’t shave on a daily basis, it makes one wonder why we shave so regularly.  For me, I have been shaving for years, mainly because it is convenient (to just shave while I am in the shower on a daily basis) and also because I can’t be bothered to take out my Epilator to remove my unwanted hair.  It’s also pain-free which is an added bonus for  a lot of people.  This is probably the cheapest option about $100 on an annual basis, but it requires remembering to shave regularly!

Waxing

Waxing involves going to the salon regularly (on an every four to six week basis) to have your hair removed.  The cost can be high, especially after you factor in gratuity and tip to your aesthetician.  The lack of convenience involved is also a factor (having to make an appointment regularly).  Waxing can cost anywhere between $25 to $50 per area depending on the area you need waxed.  This can definitely add up over time.  Over a year, this can be $300-600 on an annual basis.

An alternative is to use a home waxing kit, however you’ll have to be comfortable with pulling the piece of fabric off to remove the hair yourself!

Epilating

I have an old Epilator from years ago that still works perfectly fine.  An Epilator is like multiple broad based tweezers that remove hair simultaneously.  You don’t need shaving cream but you just need a plug to plug in your appliance.  Using the Epilator, you will have hair free moments for at least 4-6 weeks without having to maintain it.  The hair will grow back thin as well because the Epilator removes the hair at the root. You can get one for example, from Wal-mart for around $100.  Some people find the pain of an Epilator too much to bear, however after a few hair removal episodes, the pain isn’t as bad for sure.  The cost of an Epilator is anywhere from $50 to $100, which will last a while of course depending on the quality of your Epilator.

Lasering

Finally, laser hair removal might be an option for you if you have darker hair that you want to remove on a lighter skin tone (my friends who went through laser hair removal state that if you have this complexion you are more likely to see successful results).  The cost can vary dramatically and the quality of the laser hair removal can vary dramatically too.  My friend was able to get her underarms lasered for $400 (normal price $800 at that laser hair removal salon) when she used a Groupon and she has been more than pleased with the results.  They have not seen any hair regrowth and she has been to only half of the sessions.   The main thing is to ask for recommendations and look for a reputable laser hair removal salon.  Many places offer you a free patch test as a consultation.

Instead of going for laser hair removal, you could also buy a home-laser kit, for example, Tria, which there are discounts on the Bargainmoose coupon page.

If you think of $400 over the course of many years, laser hair removal definitely beats paying for waxing regularly.  One thing to be aware of is that apparently hormones during pregnancy cause the hair to regrow necessitating further laser hair removal after birth.  Laser hair removal definitely sounds like a good option, however, at this point I am going to stick to my Epilator for now.  For further information on laser hair removal, you can check out this informative post by twenty something living.  Also, if you prefer to DIY at home, check out this Beyond Talk post on how to get rid of unwanted hair in the comfort of your own home.

Bargainmoosers, what have you tried and what have you found was the most money and time-saving choice for hard removal?

Photo credit: Kate Sumbler

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May 30

5 Ways to Upcycle Pill Bottles

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

5 Ways to Upcycle Pill Bottles

After the antibiotics are all taken from the pill bottle for your child’s ear infection, what’s there left to do with the empty prescription pill bottle?  Of course you can recycle the pill bottle (though if there are any pills remaining- which there shouldn’t be- then you should return them to your pharmacist so that they can be safely disposed of).  Another option with the pill bottle instead of recycling it is to repurpose it!

Of course, there is one thing to ensure that you do before your recycle or repurpose your prescription pill bottles.  You should make sure that you remove any personal or identifying information on it and clean it thoroughly before you upcycle or repurpose your prescription pill bottle.

Here are five ways to upcycle or repurpose that pill bottle that you don’t know what to do with, other than to put it in the recycling bin:

Toothfairy’s Tooth Saver

This is a perfect way to upcycle the pill bottle for your child who is first starting to lose their teeth (meant for children four and up).  This cute craft idea comes from the ever-crafty About Home.  Your children can store their tooth safely in the tooth saver bottle if their tooth falls out at school, or they can store it nicely under the pillow for the tooth fairy when she comes to visit.  Not only is this a great idea to plan for the tooth fairy, this is a great craft that you and your child can work on together too!

Make Up Brush/ Make Up Holder

5 Ways to Upcycle Pill Bottles

This idea is so neat because it looks great and is so simple to make.  The idea comes from the Laura Thoughts blog and she shows you step by step instructions on how to make your own make up brush holder with an empty pill bottle.  In addition, she was also able to craft up a magnetic make up board for eye shadow palettes so that they are easy to access.  The black empty pill bottle looks sleek and chic- it will house your  make up brushes really well.

Mini First Aid Kit

5 Ways to Upcycle Pill Bottles

This comes from the blog One Good Thing by Jillee.  The mini first aid kit can be kept in your purse or in your glove compartment.  Stock it with some band-aids, alcohol swabs, Q-tips, even some Tylenol or Tums.  Decorate it with washi tape to make it look nicer and make it look less plain orange.  For a more thorough and well stocked Mini First Aid Kit, check out the the step-by-step guide by the Instructables Blog.  Their version of the  mini first aid kit is formal and well thought-out!

Purse Trash Can

5 Ways to Upcycle Pill Bottles

I think this is a great idea but of course it would probably work better with a larger pill bottle (e.g. the ones that store Tylenol extra strength) rather than a prescription pill bottle.  Receipts, candy or gum wrappers, and anything that would normally collect at the bottom of  your bag will make great candidates to be put inside this purse trash can.  This great idea on upcycling your pill bottle comes from Modge Podge Rocks.

Mini Ice Packs

Finally, according to Huffington Post, empty prescription pill bottles make excellent ice packs (who knew?). These will be perfect for last minute picnics or lunch packs that can’t fit a regular sized ice pack.  All you have to do is to fill the prescription bottles with water and freeze them.  Of course it’s a good idea to keep the cap on, but the mini ice packs are a perfect solution to an ice pack, if you don’t have a regular sized ice pack to put into the bag.

There you have it, here are five great repurposed ideas for your pill container.  As you can see, repurposing your prescription pill bottle is extremely easy to do and it doesn’t require too many skills in order to complete the pill bottle craft.  Hopefully you won’t need to make more prescription pills for the rest of the year because that will mean you and your family are in good health!

Bargainmoosers, do you routinely recycle or upcycle your prescription pill bottles?  If not, what do you usually do with them?

Photo credit: The Javorac

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May 28

4 Tips to Save Money on Alcohol

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

4 Tips to Save Money on Alcohol

Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not talking about saving money on alcohol when one is drinking on a regular basis, or at-risk drinking, or problem drinking where addiction might be a concern.  I’m talking about saving money on alcohol when you are spending time chatting over drinks with friends, or saving money when you are out for dinner with your friends, saving money when you are headed out for a night on the town at the local hip bar, or even saving money on the bottle of wine you share at the dinner party you host.

Here are a few tips on how to save money on alcohol:

Have People Over at Your Place Instead

According to Huffington Post, drinking alcohol is something we all waste money on mindlessly.  The average person spends $75 a week on alcohol, which equates to over $3500 a year.  Huffington Post suggests that there are ways to save, including having people over at your place and sharing a bottle of wine.

Instead of paying $10-12 for a glass of wine or $40-60 for a bottle of wine, grab a nice bottle of wine for $25 and share it at home with your friends.  The fact of the matter is, when you drink alcohol in a restaurant, you are paying at least 2-3.5 times the cost of the wine.  To put it into perspective, a nice bottle of white wine would cost $25, but at a restaurant, you will be paying $50 to $85 for the same bottle of wine.  Globe and Mail states that the mark-up in the wine covers the beautiful linen on the table, the cost to the restaurant to store the wine, and the cost of the server to serve the wine, of course.  Nevertheless, the markup is very very high on something you can enjoy for much less.

Opt for Happy Hour

If you would like to spend some rest and relaxation time with your friends over drinks (and are okay with the high markup for alcohol), there are a whole list of of options available.  Instead of meeting after dinner, why not meet before dinner?  Fabulously Frugal has a great list of happy hour meals before 6pm in Vancouver.  I’m sure if you google “happy hour + your city” you should be able to see a list of happy hour establishments that were recently confirmed.  The list is also great to narrow the eating choices available when you as a group can’t decide where to go.

Pick a More Wallet Friendly Wine

Brokepedia suggests there are certain wine regions where the wine is not as expensive compared to other regions. She found this out from a food blogger who asked the opinion of 14 sommeliers.  These budget friendly regions are the following:

  • Greece
  • Southwest France
  • New Zealand
  • Loire Valley, France
  • Austria
  • Portugal

Personally I am a big fan of Malbec wines and I find wine from Mendoza, Argentina to be very rewarding for my wallet.  However, I’m by no means a wine expert!

Stock Up in the States

According to the Canada Border Services Agency, you are allowed to bring back 1.5L of wine (which is 2 bottles of wine) when you are out of Canada for 48 hours or more (anywhere from 48 hours to 7 days, or more if even!).  Every time I come back from a trip or if I’ve gone to the United States I make it a habit to bring back the maximum allowed alcohol with me.  Wine is much more economical in the United States because of the high taxes in Canada.

Even better, Popsugar recommends that you stock up in Costco (Costco in the States of course) because the wine is decent and it is very decently priced as well.  Trader Joe’s wine is also very reasonable and personally and I like it (yes, the Two Buck Chuck)!

Just a friendly reminder that no matter where you enjoying alcohol, please remember to drink responsibly!

Bargainmoosers, how do you save money on alcohol when hosting or dining out?  

Photo credit: Tim RT

Moose Rating (1 votes)
May 22

How to Save Money Cleaning your Home

Posted by on May 22, 2015 at 8:00 PM

How to Save Money Cleaning your Home

There are certain aspects of cleaning my home that I like, and there are some that I really dislike (like cleaning the bathroom and kitchen for example).  I must admit that I am guilty of buying different cleaners for different areas of my home.  I have an arsenal of cleaning supplies from CLR cleaner spray that I just bought, to Scrubbing Bubbles, to VIM to clean my stove.  I have even contemplated hiring a cleaner to help clean my home for me just because I feel like I can’t get it to be as clean as I would like it myself, however, thankfully it has not come to this stage yet because that would be serious lifestyle inflation.

Even though most of us probably do not enjoy cleaning our homes, it is something that just has to be done.  So it makes sense to save money doing it because it’s a need not a want!  Here are some ways to save money cleaning your home.

When Cleaning Your Home, Stick to the Basics

Like I mentioned above, I am guilty of buying new-fangled cleaning supplies in hopes that it cleans better than the rest (when usually that is not the case).  Vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice can get you through most of your cleaning. Check out the post on three household must haves that will save you money.  Not only will it be better for the environment (less packaging, less toxic chemicals in our water system) but it will be better for your pocketbook.  Vinegar (less than $2 for a container) sure beats buying $7.99 CLR spray that is on sale!

Here are 8 more frugal and fabulous uses for vinegar if you’re interested.  In addition, if you are interested in being a frugal and organic cleaner, check out this post.

Clean Out the Stuff that You Tend to Ignore

Sometimes it’s hard to remember regular maintenance on certain things.  However, neglecting to do these regular checks can cause your energy bill to be higher than is necessary.  For example, Wisebread recommends that you clean the dust off the refrigerator coils on the back of your refrigerator.  If you let the dust accumulate, it acts as an insulator and causes your fridge to work harder than is necessary (meaning your energy bills will be higher than is necessary).  All it takes is for you to unplug your refrigerator, move it so you have access to the coils, and dust the coils off.  If your fridge is in an area where it is hard to accumulate dust, even better… but it wouldn’t hurt to check it out once in a while.

Declutter Your Home

AARP highly recommends that you declutter your home and get rid of junk.  The less stuff you have the less you’ll need to clean.  For me, that may mean decluttering my desk.  I have a lot of things that I am too lazy to move off the shelf and dust, so one idea might be to remove all those things and get rid of them so I won’t have to move them to dust the shelf!  The best part is that you can sell these things at a garage sale.  Here’s a post on 4 tips to make money at your next garage sale to get you started.  At the last garage sale I was at, we made over $800.  I’ll definitely be trying to arrange a garage sale again this year.

Prevent Those Water Spots from Building Up

MoneyNing recommends that you wipe down your faucets and fixtures with WD40 and then polish the faucets and shower doors with wax paper to repel water longer.  Personally I use a squeegee after I shower to prevent those water spots from sticking around and it has worked wonders for me.  It saves me from having to clean the bathroom shower doors.

Don’t Buy Brand Name

Instead of buying a Swiffer container of wet Swiffer wipes for $20 (or however much it costs), I go to Dollarama to stock up on my cleaning supplies.  I buy a package of wet wipes for their “Swiffer” for $1.25, bought their Swiffer type broom stick ($2 for the stick and $1-2 for the actual piece that touches the floor) and use that instead of an actual Swiffer to clean my apartment.

Bargainmoosers, are there other ways you  like to save money on cleaning your home?

Photo credit: Jaymie Koroluk

Moose Rating (3 votes)
May 17

3 Kitchen Appliances that Will Save You Time and Money

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

3 Kitchen Appliances that Will Save You Time and Money

My kitchen is so small I’m not the type of person to have every kitchen appliance under the sun, although that would be nice, because the Aqua Sky Kitchen Aid mixer has always had my eye.  There are a few kitchen appliances that I am a huge fan of that I already have, and there are a few kitchen appliances that I am thinking for a future purchase of adding to my kitchen appliance collection.  Most of these aren’t very pricey and really give a good bang for your buck.

There are a few ways to evaluate whether a kitchen appliance is worth it.  I remember my family had an apple peeler (it cored the apple and peeled it in a spiral fashion, it was fun to watch actually) but it unfortunately just collected dust and was never taken out of its box except for a handful of times.  LifeHack has a great post explaining which kitchen appliances people on a budget should have.  Learnvest also has a great post entitled “Are These Kitchen Appliances Worth It?” detailing the number of times you need to use the appliance before it is “worth it” in terms of the price you paid.  Obviously the more times you need to use it to ‘break even’ the worse the purchase that kitchen appliance is to add to your kitchen arsenal.

Here are three kitchen appliances that, in my humble opinion, are worth the money and the kitchen counter space (or cupboard space) because they will save you money and time (time is priceless, isn’t it?):

Slow Cooker or Crock Pot

I am a huge huge fan of the slow cooker and honestly, that feeling you get when you finish the 6 to 10 hours of waiting for the food to cook, when you smell the intoxicating smell of the slow cooker meal, and when you open the lid is to peer in at what you threw into the pot without much effort… is priceless!  Slow cookers or Crock Pots (kind of like the tissue paper and Kleenex analogy) are very economically priced, you can get a decent one for about $50 and they last for a long time.  You can make all sorts of things with a slow cooker.  When choosing one, look for fancier options like one that automatically switches to ‘warm’ when it is finished cooking, or one that can extend the cook time to 16 hours or longer (for those who are interested in making the new health craze, bone broth, this is a great option).  The slow cooker is perfect for busy people who don’t have time to cook at the end of the day, or perfect for batch cooking and freezer cooking.  Personally I make something in my crockpot on the Sunday and have leftovers throughout the week.

Here are a few great easy and cheap slow cooker recipes to get you started.  Also, Bargainmoose often posts some great deals for slow cookers through Amazon.ca, Walmart, or Lowes.  Check out this recent Bargainmoose deal from Walmart for $33!

Dehydrator

I personally haven’t purchased this yet but have been doing some research.  The costs are anywhere from $75 to $200 and it definitely takes up a large portion of your cupboard space (I personally would not want something like that sitting on my counter).  Here is an example from Canadian Tire and one from Amazon.ca.  If you are someone who camps often, this is definitely an investment worth making.  Dehydrating your food instead of buying the $9 per two servings of dehydrated food at your local camping/ outdoor equipment store will save you money.  Also, beef jerky is expensive so why not make your own?  In addition, my dog likes sweet potato chews (he has lots of allergies) and these chews cost $20 for a about 18 slices.  A dehydrator would shave a lot of money off that regular expense.

A French Press or a Nespresso

For all you coffee drinkers, a home brewed coffee costs much less than $1 a cup compared to a $3.95 + tax latte.  Over the course of a year, that daily latte right before work adds up to $1000.  Personally I would rather go on an all inclusive trip to Mexico or Cuba for that annual cost, but to each their own!  Here’s a post from TheKitchn on how to make a latte without an espresso machine.  A Nespresso machine is pricey, but there is a $100 rebate to offset some of the cost currently.  A Bodum French Press costs anywhere from $25 to $50.

Bargainmoosers, do you have a kitchen appliance that you are a fan of?   Do you recommend buying a dehydrator?

Photo credit: Mario Spann

Moose Rating (3 votes)
May 16

6 Ways to Save Money at Starbucks

Posted by on May 16, 2015 at 8:00 PM

6 Ways to Save Money at Starbucks

For many, a trip to Starbucks in the morning is an essential aspect to the start the work day off right.  For others, it is a treat once a week, and for others, it is a way to connect with friends and acquaintances during coffee breaks or on the weekends.  Basically, Starbucks is a large part of our lives.

Starbucks coffee is great, however, the prices obviously aren’t if you drink a latte daily.  A cup of coffee is $2 a day and a latte or a specialty coffee can be at least $3.50 to $4 a day.  $500 to $1000 a year on coffee isn’t my cup of tea (no pun intended) personally, but I do understand the importance of Starbucks coffee to start the day.

If you love Starbucks but you don’t love the prices at Starbucks (and your wallet doesn’t like the prices at Starbucks), here are six ways to save money on your next hit of coffee or tea when you head to Starbucks.

Sign up for a Starbucks Rewards/ Gift Card

According to Popsugar, there are numerous benefits to signing up and registering for a Starbucks rewards card.  Depending on how often you use the card, you get benefits including special email offers, a free drink or reward after 12 purchases, and if you use it 30 times in 12 months (which is very easy to do, I’m sure) you can get a personalized gold card.  If you don’t like to have so many cards in your wallet, you can have it attached to your phone (they can scan your the “rewards card” on your phone and you’re good to go).

Go to Starbucks on Your Birthday

Another added perk for signing up for a Starbucks Rewards card (it’s free to register) is that you can get a free drink on your birthday.  You just have to redeem the free gift within 30 days of your birthday.

Order a Hacked Specialty Drink

For the iced latte lovers out there, one way to save big on your favourite drink is to ask for a double espresso on ice (in Starbucks lingo it is called a “doppio”), and then head to the station to add the milk.  This on average saves over $1.50 if you’re getting the grand doppio with milk (aka grand iced latte).  If you want to save money on a hot Starbucks latte, ask for a cafe misto instead of a hot latte and you’ll save almost a dollar with each drink.  A misto is just regular coffee with steamed milk and a hot latte is two espresso shots with milk.  Tastes similar but the cost is different.  For some more fantastic Starbucks specialty drinks hacks including a chai tea latte hack and an iced tea hack, head to the post on 5 Ways to Save Money at Starbucks from Yahoo Finance.

Bring Your Own Re-usable Cup

If you bring your own re-usable cup when you visit Starbucks, you get $0.10 off your Starbucks order.  Not only will you be saving money you’ll also be sparing the environment from added garbage accumulating in the landfill.  Sure, $0.10 isn’t a lot but it does add up over time.  Over a year it is just $24 in savings but priceless savings for the environment.

Get a Short Instead of a Tall

Unbeknownst to many, there is a drink size/ cup that is even smaller than the tall.  The short costs less than the tall Starbucks drinks (obviously).  The great caveat is that you still get the same amount of caffeine as you would if you order the tall if you order an espresso drink (one shot of espresso).  Check out the Foodnetwork.ca post on how to save money at Starbucks for more detail.

Look for Coupons in the Mail

Periodically (I think once to twice a year) I get some cute little coupons in the mail (they are small card sized and don’t look like your typical coupon) for discounts on Starbucks drinks.  You can get a hot or iced beverage for $3 or a breakfast sandwich and a grande sized hot or iced brewed coffee for $4.  A pretty decent deal if you ask me!

Don’t forget to watch Bargainmoose for all the latest deals at Starbucks!

Bargainmoosers, have you tried these?  Do you have any other tried-and-tested ways to save money at Starbucks?

Photo credit: Rudolph Schuba

Moose Rating (3 votes)
May 10

3 Ways to Save More Money When Shopping Online

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

3 Ways to Save More Money When Shopping Online

Canadians love online shopping.  In 2012, Canadians spent over $18.9 billion in online shopping (source: CBC).  That’s a lot of money.  Canadians love online shopping obviously.  I personally am a huge fan of online shopping.  I don’t tend to buy clothes or shoes online because I don’t like the hassle of going to the store and returning things, but I do purchase books. I like to shop on Chapters Indigo and I like to shop on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.  There are probably many reasons why Canadians like to shop online.  Namely avoiding commissioned heavy-pressuring salespeople, the convenience of shopping from home any time you like (you know, when 1:00am is the only time you get to yourself in the day!), saving time from not having to drive in traffic and finding a parking spot, and being able to comparison shop online to research the average prices from different retailers.  Furthermore, being able to use a coupon without having to whip out the coupon physically and having a salesperson scan it in into the till is attractive for some, I’m sure!

Here are a few ways to save even more money online shopping.

Trick Dynamic Pricing

Do you ever search for flights on Kayak.com doing multiple searches and then find that the pricing goes up a few days later?  You then panic and press the “buy” button?  Well, that may have been the byproduct of dynamic pricing.  Dynamic pricing is used by marketing professionals to analyze your browsing patterns and searches and it changes the price of what you are planning to buy online depending on your browsing patterns.  To outsmart dynamic pricing, Lifehacker recommends that not only do you clear your cookies and your history, but you log out of Gmail and Google Plus, Facebook or anything else that can track your browsing patterns.  They even recommend downloading an anonymous browser like Tor Browser to save money.

Use Coupons or Promo Codes

I am a huge fan of using coupons or promo codes.  Before I buy anything online, I do a quick search for coupons or promo codes.  Sometimes I do this by just Googling the retailer or online website I am purchasing and “promo code” or “coupon code”. Reader’s Digest agrees that using coupons or promo codes are where its at.  Of course, let’s not forget that the Bargainmoose website has tons and tons of coupons to over 1000 Canadian retailers on the coupon page. These coupons are checked on a regular basis to ensure only the latest working coupons are on the site. If I really love a certain store, I can just pop my email into the subscribe box on that store’s coupon page, so I always know when the newest coupons are available.

Add to Cart…Then Walk Away

According to Forbes, one way to save money online shopping that would be dependent on the retailer is to add the item you think you will be purchasing to the cart, and then leave it for a few days.  The retailer may send you an email or give you a discount.  I personally have not had this happen to me here in Canada (at least not for Amazon anyway) but this works in the United States.

Hopefully these three tips to save even more money when shopping online help you make your online shopping experience even better.  Remember to shop safely by using a credit card with a smaller limit to protect you from fraud.

Bargainmoosers, do you have other tips on how to save money online shopping?

Photo credit: Tim Reckmann

Moose Rating (3 votes)
May 8

How to Save Money on TV by Using Chromecast

Posted by on May 8, 2015 at 8:00 PM

How to Save Money on TV by Using Chromecast

I am a big advocate of skipping cable television to save on your monthly expenses.  I don’t have cable television but I do have Netflix.  It works for me because I rarely watch shows – definitely not on a daily basis, maybe a few times a week.  So for $7.99 a month I get to watch my favourite shows (I finished the How I Met Your Mother Series, am watching the Mindy Project now, just started watching “24”) and movies without having to pay astronomical costs for cable television.  For me, paying $50-70 or even $100 a month is not worth it for something that I don’t use regularly.

Some alternatives to cable include getting an Apple TV (again, another $100 that I didn’t want to spend), Netflix, a DVD player with wifi capability, a Smart TV… the list goes on.  There are many alternatives to cable television.

When I first got Netflix, I had to buy a DVD player with wifi built in and Bluetooth capability, which cost around $50 to $70.  Despite me having Internet access through my Sony DVD Bluray wifi enabled player, I find it difficult to toggle/ use the remote control to look for things on the Internet so really I only use it for Netflix and watching DVDs.  I am not technologically savvy enough to know how to use an HDMI cable to connect my laptop to my television. I know it’s probably really easy and probably just involves plugging things in, but I’m too lazy to bring my laptop out from my office to the living room area and also don’t want my laptop to drop on the floor while transporting it because I’m so clumsy.  Besides, my television sits above my electric fireplace so I don’t want wires hanging about everywhere.  Sometimes I am watching You Tube videos or videos on my iPad or iPhone and occasionally it picks up on my television (the Bluetooth capability kicking in from my DVD player) but it doesn’t happen all the time.

Finally, I heard about Chromecast.  Chromecast is a game changer- especially for those who do not have a DVD player with Bluetooth capability and built-in wifi or one of those fancy televisions with Internet built in… they’re called Smart TVs right (I can’t keep up with technology lol)?

What is Chromecast

Chromecast is a doohickey that you plug into the HDMI port of your television.  Chromecast allows you to stream whatever is on your computer or iPhone or Android device onto your television.  It’s a little larger than the size of your thumb and is created by the geniuses at Google.  It works with Google Chrome the best.  It is for sale for about $35 USD or $39 CAD.  You can buy it online at Amazon for $39 and free shipping or at the local electronic retailers, like Best Buy (since Future Shop unfortunately is recently closed) and it is located beside the cashiers.  You can also get it on Best Buy’s website and it ships for free for $39 as well.

The beauty of Chromecast is that anyone near your television with the Chromecast plugged in can use their devices to stream whatever is on their screen onto your television.  That means that if your friend who was visiting wanted to show you a funny video from his or her Android cell phone on your television, they can.

How Chromecast will Save You Money

The beauty about Chromecast is that it allows you to “cast” whatever is on your Macbook computer, or your iPhone, or iPad, or Android device, or Microsoft computer onto the television screen.

So that means, instead of watching all your shows on the small screen of your computer or laptop, your eyes can take a little rest and you can watch it on the television, without having to buy HDMI cables or measuring how many feet you want your HDMI cable to be.

I’m a big fan.  Here’s a review from Save Outside the Box about her experience with Google Chromecast.

How to Use Chromecast

It’s really quite easy to set up (you know, if I can do it you can) but if you want to see a step by step instructions on how to set up Chromecast, check out this CNET article on how to set up a Chromecast.

Bargainmoosers, do you have a Chromecast?  What would you rate it?

Photo credit: Yannig Van de Wouwer

Moose Rating (5 votes)
May 3

Save Money on Last Minute Mother’s Day Ideas

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

Save Money on Last Minute Mothers Day Ideas

Mother’s Day is one event where we know we are off the hook for having to spend a lot of money to show that we care or that we appreciate or that we love our mom.  Oftentimes, parents are grateful you are taking the time to be thoughtful and to spend time with them.  It is not like Valentine’s Day, where there is a plethora of high expectations and unfortunately, disappointment in a lot of cases due to the commercialization of it.

Mothers do so much for us, they believe in you, they took you to your soccer and hockey and dance classes with endless positivity.  They stay up late to help you study for the math exam and help you with your English homework.  They take you to countless library visits to borrow library books for you to inspire your love of reading.  They are there to provide you with wisdom and their life experience advice, which you don’t listen to and they watch patiently as you learn from your own experience.  They are there to support you, to encourage you, and to love you.

Mothers are wonderful and their love and presence is a beautiful gift that should be appreciated!

I remember as a child I would get together with my siblings to make breakfast in bed for our mom.  Now as an adult, things are slightly more complicated but I am pretty sure my mom would just appreciate anything that we do for her, even if it is taking her out for lunch and getting her some flowers.

Here are some ways in which you can save on some last minute Mother’s Day ideas:

Plan a Day Out with Family

One of the best and most memorable events, especially if you do not spend time with your family or mom very much, is to plan an entire day out with your mom and your family.  Think about all the things that your mom loves doing.  For example, you could start off with breakfast in bed, then move on to a walk with her furry friend to the local dog park, and a picnic lunch.  If she likes to watch movies or DVDs, have her come to your place for a marathon movie session of her favourite movies.  When was the last time you did these things with your mom?  I believe that planning a day spent with your mom will be really appreciated no matter what the gesture.

Create a Memory Book

One Mother’s Day gift in which I have been meaning to give to my mother is a photobook.  Lets face it, many mothers (especially those in the baby boomer generation), are not technologically savvy and would jump at the opportunity to have their photos and memories properly shared in a photo album instead of on the computer where it is difficult to access.

I know one day that I will get my act together and send my mom a photobook, but I know that if she saw it, she would be utmost excited.  There are many photo books creators out there.  Check out this Bargainmoose link for some ideas, who knows you might find a great coupon code in there.

The only caveat about this option is that you have to allow a month to have the book delivered.  Although I missed the boat this year, I am hoping I to arrange something like this for next year.

Make a Handmade Gift

TipJunkie has a ton of Mother’s Day gift ideas that will fit your smaller budget and won’t break the bank.  For example, buy a trifle bowl at your local dollar store and fill it out rounded stones and yellow tulips.  This makes a beautiful gift to give to your mother to show her your appreciation.  A lot of these handmade gifts from Tip Junkie won’t break the bank and they also appear high quality and are good for the wallet too.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone. Hope everyone has a great time spent with family and your mother.

Bargainmoosers, how else do you save money on your Mothers Day gifts?  Was there one Mother’s Day as a child that you will  never forget about?

Photo credit: Sylvia Wrigley

Moose Rating (3 votes)
May 2

How to Save Money on Investing

Posted by on May 2, 2015 at 8:00 PM

How to Save Money on Investing

It’s already hard enough saving money and budgeting for a rainy day and for retirement – we also need to start thinking about saving money on investing.  Isn’t investing itself good enough?

Well, not all investments are made equal, actually.

I used to pay very high mutual fund fees and got knocked down even more and lost even more money with the 2008 financial market crash.  I learned the hard way that even though you are investing, the rate of return and the cost to invest matters because it definitely erodes your future nest egg over time.

Unfortunately the problem is that the first encounter with investing is usually with our bank that we bank with.  The mutual fund advisors at the bank get paid for selling you mutual funds (especially the bank’s mutual funds).

Mutual Funds Can Have Invisible Costs

This helpful article by Investopedia shows you how mutual fund fees are broken down.  Mostly, not only are you charged a fee when you purchase the mutual fund, you are also charged an annual fee which of course, eats into your investment returns and makes the average return seem less dazzling.

This helpful infographic from visual.ly helps you see that even with a small difference in mutual fund costs and fees, such as 0.09% for a very low fee index fund and 2.25% for a higher fee index fund (which is still not that high compared to some usual funds that charge about 3.5% in annual fees), that if you opted for the lower fee mutual fund- by the time you get to retirement, you will have $123,000+ more to play around with.  The remarkable thing about that is that it is only a little over 2% difference.  Imagine what a 3% difference will make!

Change Is Ahead

Very soon, according to The Globe and Mail, just like with the credit card disclosure statement that breaks your credit card debt down to how long it will take you (e.g., 14 years) to pay off that $400 credit card bill if you pay the bare minimum of $10 monthly, you will soon see a breakdown of how much your mutual fund is costing you.

This is going to be a game changer because more and more people will likely opt for lower cost investing, after they see how much their high fees are costing them.

The Solution: Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) or Index Funds

Exchange Traded Funds “ETFs” are quickly becoming more and more popular.  These are passively managed funds (meaning no one actively tries to time the market and buy and sell funds within the fund).  Here’s a link to a Globe and Mail article explaining the difference between mutual funds and exchange traded funds if you are curious.

Check out Canadian Couch Potato, it provides couch potato investing by Dan Bortolotti for more information on exchange traded funds and how to choose a portfolio (and a low cost portfolio at that) that fits you best.

Alternately, you could look into the TD e-series funds or Tangerine Bank’s Investment Funds (formerly ING Direct), which all have a low Management Expense Ratio of 1.07% as of writing.  Some of the funds within the TD e-series funds have management expense ratios as low as 0.33% (which they claim are one of the lowest in the industry).

The benefit to choosing a TD e-series funds or a something like Tangerine Bank’s investment funds is that you can contribute regularly (for example, on a monthly basis) without having to pay commission fees.  For some brokerages you have to pay a fee to purchase exchange traded funds.

Personally I am a big fan of funds where I can just contribute on a monthly basis without having to think too much.  This way you contribute regularly to the fund and so whether the market does bad or does good, it doesn’t matter as much because you will be buying high and also buying low.

Hopefully these tips will help you start thinking about how to save money on your investing.  After all, it is our hard earned dollars that we have saved up and of course you want to make sure it isn’t wasted on fees.   No one cares more about your hard earned money than you do!

Bargainmoosers, how do you save money on investing?

Photo credit: Jim Makos

Moose Rating (2 votes)