Author Archive

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 (2 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, Walmart, or Lowes.  Check out this recent Bargainmoose deal from Walmart for $33!


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  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 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 and  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 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 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)
April 26

5 Ways to Save Money on Pet Food

Posted by on April 26, 2015 at 8:00 PM

5 Ways to Save Money on Pet Food

I have been through it all and have fed my dog who has eczema (he is allergic to different types of food and different allergens in the environment) all sorts of expensive pet foods. My dog was eating better than me at times (I think his meals cost $3-4 a day at one point) and he was eating raw ostrich meat, raw bison meat, etc. Because of the raw meat and basically 100% protein he was losing weight since he was not eating any carbs. I had to switch him back to a starchier dry food diet.

I advocate for feeding your dog well and not at the expense of trying to save money. When I first got my dog, I looked for coupons to save money on dry dog food. I switched from one brand of dry dog food to another relatively quickly. I learned my lesson, however it likely caused his predisposition to allergies. Buying generic dog food that had grains in it and different kinds of protein ended up making my dog allergic to quite a lot of foods.

Now, he eats wet food in the evening and dry food in the morning and his allergies have stabilized. Since spending $100-$150 a month on dog food was out of the question for me (not to mention his vet bills) here are some ways you can save money on pet food.

Buy in Bulk

Lifehack recommends that you buy in bulk.  I do this as well as much as possible.  It saves on packaging and saves on cost.  Even if I am trying a new dry dog food I buy in the larger size to save me time from having to go back to the pet food store (and spending more money buying extra treats to try or extra things I don’t necessarily need for my dog).

Check Your Store for a Loyalty Program

Many pet food stores have a “Buy 10 bags get one free” promotion with their pet food, depending on the manufacturer and whether they are participating.  At some stores you don’t need to collect stamps as they will automatically track how many bags you have bought, but some require that you keep the receipts.

With pet food stores, I find that it does pay to be loyal.  I have personally been going to Tisol for many years and have been pleased with their service.  The great thing about some pet food stores is that if your pet reacts to the food or cannot tolerate it, as long as you keep your receipt and as long as the bag does not look like it is over 30% finished (I am giving it a random percentage) or more, you can return the product if it is not working out for your pet and get a full refund or credit for another type of dog food.

Clip Coupons

It pays to get to know Google.  Sometimes I just Google for coupons and with a quick search you can see if there are printable coupons (or coupon codes if you shop online) for your pet food.  For example, Bargainmoose has some coupons for Global Pet Foods.

Email the Manufacturer, It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask

When my dog was eating a dry dog food brand named Natural Balance, I would email the manufacturer from their website and ask if there was a coupon.  They would mail me a coupon for a few dollars off my next bag of Natural Balance.  It was great for them to hear feedback on their product and for me to get rewarded for sharing my feedback.

Make Your Own

Finally, Popsugar suggests that you buckle down and make your own dog food if you have the time.  You’ll be able to limit the ingredients and know what you are giving to your dog without having to second guess what he is getting in his dog food. However the downside is that it is time consuming, not to mention labour intensive.

If you’re looking to save money on a new pet, here are some other great tips from Bargainmoose.

Bargainmoosers, how do you save money on dog food?

Photo credit: Will Marlowe

Moose Rating (3 votes)
April 25

How to Save Money on your Next Trip to Las Vegas

Posted by on April 25, 2015 at 8:00 PM

How to Save Money on your Next Trip to Las Vegas

Las Vegas is also known as Sin City, and for good reason.  I have been to Las Vegas a few times and each time I go, it strikes me as somewhat analogous to a Disneyland for grown ups.  I have had some trips where I spent very little (and even managed to win back the cost of my flight on BlackJack) and where I have spent more than I would have liked.  It is very easy to spend a lot of money (quickly) in Las Vegas, especially if you like to try your luck.

Here are some ways to save money on your next trip to Las Vegas, and hopefully Lady Luck will be on your side:

Stay for Cheap

One way to save money on accommodation in Las Vegas is to buy a package with a flight and accommodation.  However, if you prefer to book separately, make sure you check the usual suspects, such, and Priceline to get a good deal on a flight and vacation package.   I also find Westjet vacations to be another source of good vacation packages.

Go When No One Else is Going

According to Buzzfeed, the non-peak months to head to Vegas are July and August (makes sense because it is over 40 degrees outside, I can attest to that because I went during August) and mid-December.   I recall going to Las Vegas during the Christmas/ holiday season and hotel accommodation was quite reasonable at that time.  It also makes sense because most people are spending time with their family rather than partying it up.  In addition, when you choose to visit on a Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (typical slow days) you don’t have to pay as much in accommodation room costs.  When I mean as much, I mean usually double on the weekends!

Also, Yahoo recommends that you check out the Las Vegas Convention Centre to see if there is a convention going on. If there is, avoid this time because hotel costs are going to be expensive!

Fly Out from the United States if Possible

One way to save money is to fly from the United States.  If you live in a city near the border (like many cities in Canada) and if you leave from the United States, you can save upwards of $100-$200 on your flight to Las Vegas.  Some discount airlines, like Allegiant Air provide flight service for a steep discount.  However, just make sure that your carry-on baggage complies with the baggage rules.  Otherwise, you’ll have to pay extra per baggage, unfortunately.

Save Money on Entertainment

Another way to save money on something that is quintessential to Las Vegas (and everyone enjoys) is to check out a show or movie or two using TIX4TONIGHT.  They are usually in a yellow booth on the strip somewhere.  On average, the savings are about 50% of the regular price of the ticket.  The only caveat is that you have to be ready to watch the show that evening (hence the title Tickets 4 Tonight) and there’s usually a bit of a line up as well.

Of course, don’t forget the Bellagio fountain show.  That’s absolutely free and it’s beautiful to watch.

Don’t Buy any Drinks

Another way to save money while in Vegas is to avoid paying for drinks.  The great thing about Las Vegas is that when you sit down at a slot machine or when you’re at the Blackjack table, when they offer you free drinks, it is ACTUALLY free. So don’t buy any alcohol or drinks. The only thing you would have to do is to tip the server $1 to $2 per drink when they bring you your drink.  Much cheaper than the $14 I once paid for a drink by the Venetian pool.

There you have it, hopefully these tips will help you save some more money on your next trip to Las Vegas, so you get to spend the money on things that truly matter (like the delicious lunch buffets that Las Vegas has to offer, for example!).  Just remember to gamble safely, and only bring an amount to the gambling table what you are comfortable losing.

Bargainmoosers, what are your favourite ways to save money in Sin City?

Photo credit: Moyan Brenn

Moose Rating (5 votes)
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 (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. 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 (3 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 and 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’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 (6 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,, 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,, 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 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)