Saving Money

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 kayakhotwire.com, 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 (1 votes)
April 23

8 Marvelous Uses For Baking Soda

Posted by on April 23, 2015 at 8:00 PM

8 Marvelous Uses For Baking Soda

Have you ever tried to use this wonder product? Our grandparents sure knew about the power and versatility of baking soda, but somewhere between the cleaning and the grocery aisle I think we sometimes forget this powerful and frugal cleaner these days.

You can often find baking soda for a dollar or less per box, making it a very economical product to use. From cleaning to beauty, baking soda is versatile and gentle with no extra chemicals. Here are eight great ways you can use baking soda at home.

Teeth Whitener

8 Marvelous Uses For Baking Soda

Are you a teeth whitening strip addict? Those kits start at $40 bucks a pop! Slash that budget by using a mixture of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and peppermint oil instead. Get the full details over at One Good Thing By Jillee. If you are hesitant to use peroxide, though most commercial whiteners have many worse ingredients, brushing regularly with baking soda alone can help whiten your teeth also. You can use baking soda alone more frequently than a baking soda and hydrogen peroxide combination.

Removing Sticker Residue

8 Marvelous Uses For Baking Soda

There is a product called Goo Gone that is fantastic for removing sticker residue leftover from labels, price tags or tape. The problem with Goo Gone is it smells disgusting! Make your own version using baking soda and an oil such as coconut oil or vegetable oil. Check out the recipe on Mom 4 Real and make this residue remover with items probably already in your pantry.

Clean Coffee & Tea Mug Stains

8 Marvelous Uses For Baking Soda

This hack changed my life. Before this idea, my coffee mugs always had residue from my favourite hot beverages. Now when I start to notice stains, I sprinkle in a little baking soda. With a few drops of water and a quick wipe, my cups are now snow white again. The Kitchn has a quick explanation that will have both your mugs and carafes clean in no time.

Deep Clean Your Mattress

8 Marvelous Uses For Baking Soda

Throw open the windows for some fresh air, spring-cleaning is here. When was the last time you cleaned your mattress if ever? It might be time to freshen it up. Pour several cups all over your mattress and let it set for an hour, then vacuum. For the full process, check out this article from Pop Sugar. If you really want some motivation to clean check out the post at The LoopYour Mattress Is Disgusting And Here’s Why.” The dust mites in this post give me the creeps. I need to go clean my mattress now.

Homemade Fabric Refresher

8 Marvelous Uses For Baking Soda

While you are freshening up fabrics, you can freshen up your couch, chairs and any other fabric surfaces in your house. Create this homemade “Febreze” recipe using baking soda and fabric softener for about fifteen cents per bottle. Febreze runs you $3 bucks per bottle, this hack is worth it! Check out the recipe over at DIY Confessions.

Dishwasher Cleaning Bombs

8 Marvelous Uses For Baking Soda

You could scrub away at your dishwasher with chemicals, or even baking soda and a toothbrush. To be honest how often are you going to complete that routine without pulling out your hair? Make these awesome baking soda dishwasher bombs instead featured at Our Carlson Life. Place two cups of vinegar in a bowl on the top rack, and a dishwasher bomb on the bottom rack. One clean cycle later, your dishwasher will sparkle.

Foot Soak

8 Marvelous Uses For Baking Soda

I think I am going to skip the spa this time and try this DIY treatment over at eHow.com. With baking soda, milk and a few other items you probably have around the house you can give your tootsies the treatment they deserve. My toes are not ready for summer yet. They are almost too embarrassingly dry and cracked to take into a pedicure shop. Winter can be rough on your feet. This baking soda treatment will help me get my toes ready for summer sandals.

Shoe Deodorizer

8 Marvelous Uses For Baking Soda

Spring can mean wet and stinky shoes. Cut down on those odors by making your own deodorizing shoe inserts. Check out the tutorial over at Small Good Things. I have been putting loose baking soda in my shoes for years, but it never occurred to me to put it in old tights for an insert with less mess. These satchels last about three months, which should get you through most of summer.

If you are looking for more cleaning ideas on the cheap, check out Brooke’s post 8 Fabulous Frugal Uses for Vinegar.

Bargainmoosers, what do you use baking soda for?

(Image Credits: 19melissa68Chrissy Wainwright & Olivia)

Moose Rating (7 votes)
April 21

Save Money Planting A Fantastic Garden

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

Save Money Planting A Fantastic Garden

I have been eyeing my small backyard every day now that the snow has melted. Cultivating a green space in your backyard or on your patio can be both save you money and can have many health benefits as outlined on the blog Earth Easy. Some of the benefits include stress relief, reducing your risks for depression, brain health, and reducing your risks of stroke, heart attack and even various types of cancer. By planting vegetables, you can also cut into your grocery budget. The Globe and Mail estimates one tomato plant from a pack of $2 tomato seeds can save you $29.90 at the grocery store over the summer months. This means six tomato plants producing moderately from that same pack of seeds could save you $179.40 over the summer. Here is how to get started!

Start With Seeds

Seeds are usually the best bang for your buck. A pack of seeds, which costs $2 or $3 is cheaper than $3 to $10 per plant. Most seeds take 6-8 weeks inside before you can transplant the seedlings. Make sure to check when the last frost date for your area is before you transplant seedlings or plants into the ground over at USA Gardener, which lists dates for both Canada and the US.

When the last frost date passes, you can move seedlings outside during the day and back inside at night until the plants are strong enough to transplant. Some seeds such as lettuce and peas can be planted straight in the ground. These plants grow quickly and have enough time to grow during Canada’s short summer.

Another option is to buy plants. I like to find local plant sales in my community where the prices are often cheaper and you can often benefit from the advice of expert gardeners. A woman near me sells plants from her front yard every year to fund her garden. Not only do I like her prices, she also gives me great advice so the plants are successful.

Plant High Yield Vegetables

Save Money Planting A Fantastic Garden

If you have a small garden or are planting a container garden, smaller plants with both a high tolerance and vegetable yield are your best pick. I have a pale green thumb and prefer to stick to these higher yield vegetables to ensure my garden produces more than I invest in it.

Here is a list of high-yield vegetables I plant in my garden:

  • Tomatoes: I find the smaller varieties are usually easier to grow and have an excellent return rate. If you love the bigger varieties, do a mix of small and big tomatoes for your best return.
  • Green Onions: This time of year, I look for green onions on sale in the grocery store for fifty cents. I cook with the green part and soak the white part and roots in a small cup of water. When the roots get long, I plant them outside in a planter. This tip provided me green onions off my plants for over four months last year.
  • Lettuce: Lettuce works great in planters, and I can usually plant at least two rounds of seed throughout the summer. You can also regrow romaine hearts by checking it out the technique in this post from Clare.
  • Green Beans: Buy the bush variety over the vine variety to save space. You can plant these in a deep planter, but they grow better in the ground
  • Potatoes: I have had great success growing potatoes in a tub, plus it saves space in my regular garden. Check out these instructions from The Greenery Nursery and Garden Shop. For more reasons why you should try to grow potatoes in tubs, check out this post from Backdoor Survival.
  • Zucchini: This vegetable keeps on giving. This plant needs a little more room but by mid to late summer, you will be swimming in zucchini. Check out this past Bargainmoose post from Heather for ideas of what to do with your zucchini haul.
  • Herbs: Oregano, basil, chives, rosemary: the list only continues. Fresh herbs are delicious and easy to grow. Over at Savvy Gardening, she calculated her herb yield and saved $102.89 compared to buying at the grocery store.

Placement can also affect how well your plants grow. Check out this handy visual guide at Savvy Housekeeping to help ensure your vegetables choices are friendly with each other. For more ideas of vegetables that are easy to grow in Canada, check out this blog post from Seasonal Ontario Food.

Plant Low Maintenance Flowers

Save Money Planting A Fantastic Garden

Last year in an attempt to be frugal, I had decided not to plant flowers. I was fortunate that my neighbor was splitting some of her flowers and gave me some of the cuttings or I think I would have regretted my decision. Flowers not only improve the look of your backyard and garden, but also invite bees and other pollinators to your backyard which improves your produce success. When placed in front of your house they can improve your curb appeal, and in turn the value of your house. Buying small plants will give your garden an instant facelift, for the price of one potted plant, you can fill your garden with a pack of two-dollar seeds.

Over at HGTV Gardens, they have created a list of flowers that are easy to grow. A similar list of annuals is found at Get Busy Gardening. I really like the second list, as they explain how to collect the seeds from your plants for next year! One of my favourites to include is Marigolds, both for their hardy nature and they help deter rabbits.

Bargainmoosers, what do you plant in your garden or container garden?

(Image Credit: Tico, Dwight Sipler & play4smee)

Moose Rating (3 votes)
April 16

How To Celebrate Your Child’s Birthday Frugally

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

How To Celebrate Your Child’s Birthday Frugally

Birthday celebrations for children are quickly becoming more and more expensive. Custom cakes, themed loot bags, entertainment, catered food, decorations; the list of “necessary” items is long. According to Yahoo Canada, on loot bags alone some Canadian parents are shelling out $15 to $20 per kid. According Slate magazine, seven out of ten parents are spending over $300 on their child’s birthday party in 2013. If you were to spend $300 per year from your child’s first birthday until your child’s 17th birthday, you will spend $5,100 over the course of their childhood. Add on if you have multiple kids, those expenses can add up even more quickly.

Consider The Location

If you choose to throw a party for your child, pricey packages at entertainment venues such as movie theatres, museums, trampoline parks and zoos are lots of fun, but they are costing parents big money. By carefully considering your location, you set the budget for your celebrations.

Low-cost options include your own home and parks if the weather is nice. Look for other alternative locations in your community that you may not have thought of. In my community, the city has a community chalet that is available for rent at a very low price. My young daughter is a member of a local playgroup in a church that rents space to members and has a bounce house they rent to members for a very low cost. The local YMCA in my community also rents out space to members for a lower rate. Check out some of the places you frequent. You may find you can have a space for very little money or even free if you already have a membership.

We went blueberry picking for one friend’s birthday. Everyone had an amazing time picking (and eating) their weight in blueberries, plus not many party snacks were necessary. We sat on a few picnic blankets and had homemade cupcakes in the grass after the berry picking. Check out this article from Parents.com for more creative location ideas.

Have a location, but not sure how to entertain the kids? Consider party games or even a simple craft activity before you book an entertainer. Check out some of the classic party games ideas on this website created by the University of Minnesota.

Who To Invite To Your Celebration

How To Celebrate Your Child’s Birthday Frugally

Consider your child more carefully when you decide how often to have a party. If your child is not a social butterfly, a small gathering of just a few close friends might be a better option. A day with only your child’s close friends can be even more fun. When I was a kid, I only had a bigger birthday party roughly every three years. A bigger party for me was a party in my home with several friends and my cousin.

One option would be to alternate one year with a friend birthday party and the next year with a party with family only. This can help to both reduce costs and to bring your family closer together with traditions. On the alternate years that you have a family only celebration, take the time to truly celebrate and make some memories as a family.

Birthday Traditions

Birthdays do not have to be all about the party. Little gestures can add up to big memories for both you and your kid. For my kid, we put birthday candles in at least one food item from every meal throughout the day. She picks her favourite dinner, and I cook it for her. We also currently let her pick out a helium balloon.

Here are some other ideas you could try that are almost free:

  • Make pancakes with sprinkles and candles.
  • Tape balloons to the door so they pop out when your child wakes up.
  • Sing “Happy Birthday” once for every year of your child’s age throughout the day.
  • Create a birthday banner, either a new paper version or a special banner you use every year.
  • Play a family game or watch a movie that is the birthday kid’s choice.
  • A friend of mine throws a whipped cream pie at the birthday person. They have this tradition for all family birthdays, including adults.

Over at Calgary’s Child, there is a list of eight birthday traditions to start. Half of the ideas listed would cost you absolutely no money.

Make Your Own Cake

How To Celebrate Your Child’s Birthday Frugally

Whether you choose a boxed cake or a cake from scratch, baking your own cake or birthday treat can save you a chunk of change. Birthday cakes start at around $40 and can easily go up to $100 if you are feeding a larger group.

For cupcakes that look more professional, try one of my favourite tricks detailed at A Baker’s House. Add icing to a plastic sandwich bag. Snip a very small corner off the bag, keeping the hole small. Use the bag to pipe a swirl on your cupcakes or even a full cake. Add a few sprinkles and any mistakes you did make virtually disappear.

This year my daughter wanted a butterfly themed birthday party. I was lucky enough to have a butterfly pan. If you do not have a shaped pan, I know my local Bulk Barn rents specialty pans for a very low rate. I had images of this perfectly piped cake, but I ended up letting my daughter have a blast with the sprinkles. She loved her cake, and so did her guests seeing how proud she was of the crazy decorations.

Check out the previous article written by Clare, 4 Frugal Dos and DO Nots for your Child’s Birthday Party. She has some additional ideas to keep your child’s birthday fun while being frugal.

Bargainmoosers, how do you celebrate birthdays without busting your budget?

Image Credits: Victor, gomagoti, simple up

Moose Rating (2 votes)
April 12

9 LEGO Hacks For Your Home You Need To Try

Posted by on April 12, 2015 at 8:00 PM

9 LEGO Hacks For Your Home You Need To Try

If you have a LEGO fan at all in your house, you may find you have a few extra LEGO bricks around. LEGO bricks and accessories can be used for endless fun kid projects, but you can also use them to make functional items for your home. These hacks are just the right amount of fun and function to give your space a twist on the cheap. Try some of these hacks and soon everything in your home will be awesome.

LEGO Minifigure Cord Holders

9 LEGO Hacks For Your Home You Need To Try

I just learned that the hand of a Minifigure is the perfect size to hold many different electronic cords including the Apple lightning cord. I got this idea from the blog Modernistic Design. Use a Minifigure to organize your cords and easily find your cell phone cord. It is so fun having those little guys waiting for you when you go to charge your phone. In addition, if you have more than one person’s cord into the same charger you can assign each person his or her own fun Minifigure and keep the cords organized.

LEGO Ping Pong Table

9 LEGO Hacks For Your Home You Need To Try

This is an awesome way to turn an old kitchen table or card table into a quick ping-pong table, as demonstrated over on Mod Frugal. Build your net using LEGO and there will be no question which side of the table the ball hit on. Whether you build this project for inside or outside, this will be the centre of your next casual party.  This hack is much cheaper than purchasing most ping pong sets. Buying a real ping pong table costs around $200 bucks and up, while a portable kit can cost anywhere from $25 to $50.  Two paddles and a few ping-pong balls should run you less than $15.

LEGO Key Holder

9 LEGO Hacks For Your Home You Need To Try

If you are always losing your keys, this is the hack for you from Man Made. With only a few simple LEGO pieces you can quickly create a key holder that will help you keep everyone’s keys in the house organized. I have seen several LEGO key holders around the web, but I like this one the best because the LEGO pieces you attach to your key ring are slim and does not weigh down your keys. Use this to keep other keys in check also such as your mail key or bicycle lock.

LEGO Lamp

9 LEGO Hacks For Your Home You Need To Try

This is a neat lamp from Recyclart that looks simple enough to make. This post does not have instructions but the pictures should give you plenty of inspiration. The shade is a simple box shape with some intentional holes to let light through. The most difficult part will be cutting a hole in the baseplate. I recommend using two smaller baseplates and cutting a half circle out of each of them using a hot wire. Once your hole is cut, you can glue the two plates together. Cutting the hole in two pieces should be simpler than attempting to cut a round hole out of the plastic baseplate.

LEGO Clock

9 LEGO Hacks For Your Home You Need To Try

Give your clock a makeover with this fun and inexpensive LEGO clock. This one is perfect from Our Nerd Home. You can easily change out the minifigures or LEGO bricks to match your mood. This project should be a quick to make, and will surely catch your eye. Clock kits run around $10 to $15, or you could try to use the parts from a thrifted clock for much less.

LEGO Bird Feeder

9 LEGO Hacks For Your Home You Need To Try

Over at Fun Craft Kids I love this awesome LEGO bird feeder. Build your own version and welcome all the migratory birds back. What a great way to connect a LEGO loving kid with nature. This project can be as simple or elaborate as you want, so start stacking those bricks.

LEGO Napkin Holder

9 LEGO Hacks For Your Home You Need To Try

Over on I Dig Pinterest they created a really neat napkin holder. This napkin holder was originally designed for a kids’ birthday party, but would look equally cool holding your napkins in your kitchen. Make it a race and see who in your family can build a napkin holder the fastest.

LEGO Hand Soap

9 LEGO Hacks For Your Home You Need To Try

Stop paying extra for hand soap in your bathroom or kitchen the looks fun and check out this LEGO hand soap from Rockin Boys. Grab a cheap bottle of clear soap at the dollar store and add LEGO for a bottle of soap that looks like you spent three times as much. Plus once the soap is gone, the LEGO could still be played with in this quick and easy hack.

LEGO Kitchen Counter

9 LEGO Hacks For Your Home You Need To Try

Over on the blog Geeky Gadgets there is an amazing IKEA counter featured that is covered from top to bottom with LEGO. This amazing design hack may not save you any money, unless you have a true LEGO fanatic in your house and have over 20.000 lego pieces laying around. This IKEA covered kitchen counter was just too cool not to include. Perhaps if you have a lot of LEGO, you could cover your end table with this same concept for a cheap but fun look.

Bargainmoosers, what would you make out of LEGO for your home?

Moose Rating (3 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 GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca (an initiative from Ontario through the Investor Education Fund), if you choose a higher premium, then you won’t have to pay so many fees upfront.

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

Drive Safe

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

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

Compare, Compare, Compare

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

Bundle Your Insurance

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

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

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

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

Photo credit: Chris Yarzab

Moose Rating (2 votes)
April 7

5 Things You Are Paying Too Much For

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

5 Things You Are Paying Too Much For

If you are looking at ways to trim your monthly budget, you may want to consider some of your regular habits that you may not think about very much, but are costing you money. The good news is the items I have noted below should fatten your wallet without tons of extra effort. Save yourself some cash by simply changing up your regular routine.

Bottled Water

Unless you live in a place with a tragically terrible water crisis, bottled water is an expense you can cut out of your budget. According to an article on CBC.ca, three out of ten Canadian households are paying for bottled water and contributing to the $170 billion dollar industry. The same article gives a comprehensive comparison between bottled water and tap water, and from most angles, tap water comes out as the clear winner for a frugal Mooser.

If you do not like the taste of your local city water, invest in a filtration pitcher such as a MAVEA filter pitcher or a Brita filter pitcher. There are many different styles and colours of pitchers to choose. Even with the cost of replacement filters, you will still pay pennies on the dollar when compared with daily bottled water consumption. I personally use a Brita filter system. Our city water occasionally gets rust in the water and I feel better knowing that a filter should take care of any rust particles if I did not catch the red colour right away. I also prefer the taste of crisp, filtered water.

Yard Work

5 Things You Are Paying Too Much For

I have no doubt that the lawn company can make my lawn lush and green, but that expense adds up. According to Home Advisor, nationally across Canada site users reported spending between $100 and $575, with an average of $300 per year on lawn maintenance. (Note that this figure does not include snow removal.) This number will vary of course depending on your location, but you could purchase a small television for that price.

I have a small lawn and last summer I picked up an electric mower off a used items site, from someone who was moving out of the area, for around $50. I spent about $20 on grass seed in-store from Costco to re-seed our dirt lawn.  I traded a jar of homemade jam with my neighbour for her excess fertilizer. After the initial spring cleanup, I spent about an hour a week trimming and maintaining. We had a beautiful backyard all spring and summer last year, plus it encouraged the kid and I both to spend more time in the sunshine.

Items You Did Not Purchase

Purchasing an item you did not intend to purchase happens all the time. It is a simple mistake when the cashier accidentally rings an item twice or accidentally charges you for something that slipped onto the register. A quick scan of your receipt at the register will save you paying for extra items. Checking your receipts routinely will also ensure you do not spoil a deal by paying full price for an item that should be on discount.

When online shopping, most reputable retailers give you the option to review your order before finalizing payment. Check carefully that you removed any extra items you did not want or need. This also applies to restaurants, which will sometimes add extra items.

Lastly be careful with online retailers that keep your credit card information on file, especially apps. Not all programs have the same level of security for ordering. For example, a friend of mine received a package in the mail only a few weeks ago. Her phone had somehow pocket ordered a robot vacuum from Groupon, a mistake that cost her over $300.

Cable Television

5 Things You Are Paying Too Much For

With the popularity of online streaming, many Canadians are considering cutting the cable cord. When I cut cable, I managed to save about $50 per month on my monthly bill and now only pay for a slightly bigger internet package. If you are interested in cutting the cord, you should check out this article written on the Best Buy Canada blog that outlines many of the current media options.

I know this one can be a tough one for some folks, but I think it is fear of the unknown. When we cut cable, my family found we had so many other new things to watch that we did not miss tuning in to live TV anymore. My husband convinced me to make the jump with this argument. “What is the worst that could happen? In a month or two, we call the cable company and turn it back on if it does not work?”. He has a good point, and we have been cable free ever since.

International Phone Calls

If you have family or friends in another country, you may find yourself paying for international phone calls. I think this program’s reputation precedes itself, but you can easily cut out those international phone calls through using a wee company called Skype. This program allows you to connect free via chat or voice call. Video chat is also available, and you can add in up to ten participants per video call from a computer completely free. You can also use inexpensive Skype credit and call cell phones directly or even set up a voicemail box. Skype credit currently runs $.007 cents per minute, and the lowest package increment is only $14. You can also download the free Skype app for tablets and mobile devices.

If you and your loved one both have Apple products, Facetime is also a great way to stay in touch and is pre-installed. I find Facetime quicker and simpler than Skype to use for video calls, and  is completely free. Facetime is so simple and user friendly that my great grandfather in Florida can call me on Facetime.

Bargainmoosers, what items do you need to stop paying for?

(Image Credit: Ferran Jordà, Robin Woltman, Paul Townsend)

Moose Rating (4 votes)
April 5

How to Save Money on Hawaii

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

How to Save Money on Hawaii

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

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

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

Get a Discounted Flight

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

Opt for Accommodation with a Kitchen

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

Save Money on your Car Rental

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

Look for Free or Frugal Things to Do in Hawaii

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

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

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

Photo credit: Justin De La Ornellas

Moose Rating (5 votes)
April 4

Moose Tutorial: Upcycling Furniture with Comic Books!

Posted by on April 4, 2015 at 8:00 PM

Moose Tutorial: Upcycling Furniture with Comic Books!

I love a bit of DIY and since I bought my first home a few years ago, I’ve been trying my hand at various tasks and activities round the house. Last week, I attempted to upcycle some furniture – namely my daughter’s beside cabinet. It was a plain and boring piece of furniture, as you can see from the below “before” image. I cannot even remember where we got this – maybe it used to belong to my mother, but I cannot even recall.

Moose Tutorial: Upcycling Furniture with Comic Books!

I decided to upcycle the cabinet to a comic-book styled piece, using paint and decoupage together to create an interesting finish. Here’s how to decoupage your furniture!

1. Plan your colour scheme and decoupage areas – before you start working on your piece, plan out what you are going to do. In my example, I didn’t want the whole cabinet covered in the comic book decoupage, just select surfaces. I think that completely covering it in the comic would have been too much, so I offset the colourful comics with some other plain surfaces of white and baby blue.

2. Take off all handles and hinges – before you start working on your item of furniture, remove all the accessories that you can, such as handles and hinges. Make sure you keep and store them in a safe place, somewhere that little screws cannot get lost. I actually stored mine in a Ziploc bag for safekeeping.

3. Clean and prepare your surfaces – give your furniture a good clean before you start, to make sure that you’d not getting dust mixed in with your painted areas. Depending on what type of surface you’re working on, you may want to sand some areas to help the decoupage adhere better to the furniture.

Moose Tutorial: Upcycling Furniture with Comic Books!

4. Paint the areas you want – on the faces you wish to show your paint, get painting! If you plan on using a light coloured paint and your furniture is of a dark finish, consider using a base primer coat of paint. When you’re working on the areas adjacent to the surfaces you want to decoupage, also consider painting on to the edge of these. For example, I used my white paint and painted the edge of the surfaces that were due to be decoupaged, about a centimetre around their edges. This way, when decoupaging on top, you don’t have to be as careful about making sure the paper goes right to the very edge, you have a few millimetres that you can work with.

For this project, I actually used some paints that were in my garage. The baby blue was a tester post from a few years back, and I also used a tin of white gloss which I already had. I had done 3 coats of the white gloss, but noticed that a little corner had easily chipped… so whatever type of paint you use will affect the final look on this project.

5. Cut and prepare your comics – when I started the gluing, because I was so excited to get started, I was cutting out a piece then gluing it on right away, without really planning ahead. However, as I went on, I found it much better to cut out the pieces and plan the whole face before starting to paste it on.

6. Get gluing – you can use whatever glue product you happen to have at home, be it modge-podge or PVC glue. You’re going to want to paste the back of each comic, and then paste more over the top once the paper is stuck to the surface.

Moose Tutorial: Upcycling Furniture with Comic Books!

7. Smooth out the creases – as the paper is drying, you may want to try and smooth out some of the creases and air bubbles which appear. I did this with an old Ikea card that I had lying round. The larger the original pieces of material that you are gluing, the harder it is to push out those creases. Keep this is mind when you are choosing what to stick on, and how large to make the pieces.

8. Add more decourapage layers – if you’re going to add more and more decoupage rather than just one layer, make sure you let each layer dry before adding more. I’d recommend 24 hours between layers. Here’s my little girl studying the comic during the construction process! Moose Tutorial: Upcycling Furniture with Comic Books!

Moose Tutorial: Upcycling Furniture with Comic Books!

9. Add more glue/varnish layers – once your piece is dried, you may want to consider adding a few more coats of glue, leaving drying time in between each one. For me, I added a couple of coats of clear varnish on the top, to really try and give this furniture a longer lifespan from all the kicks and knocks of life in a young child’s bedroom.

There we have it! What do you think of my finished product in the image at the top of this post? I was very pleased with myself. Moose Tutorial: Upcycling Furniture with Comic Books! And my daughter LOVES it.

Moose Rating (6 votes)
April 2

9 Fun Ways to Repurpose Wine Corks

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

9 Fun Ways to Repurpose Wine Corks

Red or white? No matter what you choose, you may find yourself left with a few extra corks laying around. No need to throw those corks in the recycling bin, there are many fabulous things you can make out of them. An added bonus, if you craft with the winery label showing you will have also have a record of all of your favourite wine brands. Here are nine amazing projects you can make at home out of wine corks.

Bunny Decoration

9 Fun Ways to Repurpose Wine Corks

Adventures in DIY created this super easy bunny rabbit. Throw your own together just in time for Easter with some hot glue and patience. You could also pick any shape and easily do the same concept.

Cork Drawer Knobs

9 Fun Ways to Repurpose Wine Corks

Dollar Store Crafts had the bright idea to replace drawer handles with champagne corks. You could also use regular wine corks, though I do like the shape the champagne corks give. If I was making this out of regular wine corks, I would turn them so they were longest left and right instead of drilling into the end.

Cork Board

9 Fun Ways to Repurpose Wine Corks

One of the projects most often made of wine corks is a cork board. Check out the version on A Beautiful Mess for a modern, chic and easy to make design. I love the pops of colour she added.

Wine Cork Boat

9 Fun Ways to Repurpose Wine Corks

Mama Pappa Bubba turned wine corks into both science and art with these wine cork boats. These would be fun to play with in the bathtub. I bet my daughter’s Fisher Price little people could stand on these boats. Save rubber bands from fresh produce like broccoli and this project is practically free.

Bath Mat

9 Fun Ways to Repurpose Wine Corks

This bath mat from Crafty Nest is lovely and so Zen. I picture this in a bathroom with white towels, lots of natural light and an extremely leafy green plant. Maybe I will light a candle, sink into the tub and have a glass of wine in this bathroom.

Garden Markers

9 Fun Ways to Repurpose Wine Corks

Shine Your Light will teach you how to make these super simple garden markers. This project is super fast so you can spend more time prepping your plants. I like her curly cursive handwriting.

Unique Bar Table Top

9 Fun Ways to Repurpose Wine Corks

You would have to drink a lot of wine for this project, but I think I am up to the challenge. Take a look at Decorating Obsessed and their fab new bar from an upcycled dresser and wine corks. Can you believe this whole project only cost her $20? Liquor prices not included.

Fridge Magnets

9 Fun Ways to Repurpose Wine Corks

These cute fridge magnets from Miss Mel and Miss Heather will add some instant character to your fridge. This idea looks really quick to make also. These could make a lovely hostess gift paired with a bottle of wine.

Snake Toy

9 Fun Ways to Repurpose Wine Corks

Here is some cute inspiration from Domestic Candy. This sweet snake could be a toy or decoration. Though this link does not have directions, it looks simple enough to make.

Bargainmoosers, what would you make out of leftover wine corks?

Image Credit: Jeric Santiago

Moose Rating (4 votes)
March 31

5 Ideas To Celebrate Easter Frugally

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

5 Ideas To Celebrate Easter Frugally

Easter is a great time to celebrate spring. After a long winter it is easy to get caught up in the festivities and spend more than you intended. I try to spend time with people I care about on Easter rather than spending lots of money on fuzzy bunnies and plastic chicks. We do celebrate the arrival of the Easter Bunny in our house, and with a little frugal planning we can have a frugal Easter morning full of plenty of fun and love.

Consider Treats Without Sugar

Do you end up buying a whole slew of toys and outside items for springtime? Easter is the perfect time to gift some of the small items that can be used all spring and summer. Instead of filling your basket with lots of candy, consider purchasing some of those items you might have bought eventually anyways for summer time play. Here is a list of items for $5 or less that you can put in an Easter basket.

  • Seeds to plant and kids garden tools
  • Sand toys
  • Chalk
  • Bubble bath
  • Matchbox cars
  • Frisbee
  • Jump rope
  • Bubbles
  • Mini playdough or make your own
  • Markers or crayons

Do you need more ideas for family fun? Check out these past posts for 5 Frugal Easter Kids Crafts or Frugal Ways to Get Your Kids Excited for Easter.

Make Homemade Treats

5 Ideas To Celebrate Easter Frugally

Every time I go to the store to buy candy for a holiday, I am reminded just how incredibly expensive themed chocolate can be. According to Canadian Connection over two billion dollars globally is spent on Easter candy each year with 70% of it being chocolate. That is a lot of cash being spent on sweets and treats. Easter themed treats are generally anywhere from $3 to $15 depending on the quality of candy.

One idea is to make some of your treats. A quick scan of the web and I found this easy looking recipe for homemade Cadbury Crème Eggs from Miss Candiquik.  If you love jellybeans, these homemade gumdrops from The Stay At Home Chef look quick, festive and yummy. She suggests using a candy mold but you could also grease a bread loaf pan, and slice your candy into cubes or cut with a mini cookie cutter.  These chocolate covered peep pops from Gimme Some Oven look fun and delicious. They would look so cute in cellophane bags in your Easter basket, or would make great gifts for teachers and school friends.

Save On Your Basket

Most inexpensive baskets will run from $5-$15 if empty. If pre-filled with Easter treats, baskets generally start at $30 and only go up in price. If you purchase a basket every year, that money can add up. A friend of mine has a lovely brown wicker basket she used as a child and now has passed the tradition on to her children. If you have a wicker basket at home, consider using it year after year and decorating it with some ribbon and tissue paper.

You could also make a DIY basket. East Coast Mommy created an adorable basket out of an empty tissue box. DIY & Crafts has a great roundup of 25 Easter baskets you can make.

A trick for young children is to put everything in a sand bucket. The bucket is then can be used at the beach or park and most likely you were going to purchase it for your child anyways for summer. Sand toys tend to break throughout the summer, so a fresh bucket is a great start for spring. We used our sand toys all winter in the snow also.

Pick Frugal Flowers

5 Ideas To Celebrate Easter Frugally

Spring flowers are beautiful, but stems such as daffodils and tulips often do not last long when you buy them for your table. When it comes to choosing blooms, there are a couple places you could buy. If you go into a florist, expect to walk out paying $30-$60 for a basic bouquet. These bouquets will be carefully prepared for maximum freshness, and I personally find bouquets from the florist always last longer. If you can pick up a budget version, chances are your bouquet will last a little longer than the grocery option.

Bouquets in the grocery store start a little cheaper at around $20, but I generally expect the blooms not to last as long. When picking your blooms, choose carefully and pick blooms that are closed. They may look ugly in the moment, but those ugly flowers will bloom shortly and you will be able to enjoy the blooms much longer.

Gerber daisies are an inexpensive spring bloom to choose. Pair with some filler greenery or put a few stems in a mason jar for a chic and simple spring look. A potted plant is another way to be a little more frugal and have your blooms last longer. Once the ground thaws, you can take your flowers from table to your garden. Take a look at The Garden Helper for more specifics on different types of common potted Easter flowers.

Host Easter Brunch Instead Of Easter Dinner

A quick survey though Open Table in Toronto tells me that the price for Easter brunch or dinner out starts at $30 and ranges up to $70 per person. Multiple that by ten people and you spend $300 to $700 before taxes, tip, wine or any other extras.

Hosting a full traditional Easter dinner can be time consuming and heavy on your wallet also. Make your event a little more casual, skip the ham and host Easter brunch. If you need some recipe ideas, check out this delicious looking recipe round up from Two Peas and Their Pod.  If you have guests, suggest a potluck so you spread the cooking around. For more tips, check out our previous post on How to Plan a Frugal Easter Dinner.

Bargainmoosers, how do you save money on your Easter celebrations?

Moose Rating (2 votes)
March 31

10 Spring & Easter Free Printables

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

10 Spring & Easter Free Printables

As the late Robin Williams once said: Spring is nature’s way of saying let’s party! Goodbye snowmen and fuzzy hats, we will see you next year. Welcome back to the colourful flowers, fuzzy bunnies, birds and spring babies. My home could also use a few simple refreshes for spring. With just a few minutes, a printer,  and some paper or cardstock you can create these amazing projects that will help you welcome spring with open arms. The best part is these projects will cost you very little for a lot of spring cheer. Most of these projects are single sheet images that you could frame in a photo frame, use as the front of a greeting card or make into a quick gift tag. Printables are perfect for both home decoration or parties!

Easter Egg Hunt Party Pack

10 Spring & Easter Free Printables

This party pack from Yellow Bliss Road would be adorable to use for an Easter Egg hunt with family and friends. Print off this party pack that includes a banner, sign and decorative food tags. Cut, glue, and tah dah. Cute decorations faster than you could make it to the dollar store and back.

Bicycle Adventure

10 Spring & Easter Free Printables

Over at The 36th Avenue they created a sweet bicycle print that says Love The Journey. This would be nice in a little kid’s room or playroom. I love the pops of colour on this image, especially on the black chalkboard version

Nest

10 Spring & Easter Free Printables

This printable from Darling Doodles would be so sweet to include framed with a wedding gift, or would look equally cute hanging in your front hallway. This cozy nest will make your house feel warm and light.

With My Peeps

10 Spring & Easter Free Printables

Spunky Junky gets it right with these fun Meet My Peeps and Hippity Hop printables. I love the tongue-in-cheek design. Her bunny pennant also featured in this post is made of free paint chips and is equally adorable.

Here Comes Peter Cottontail

10 Spring & Easter Free Printables

Tatertots and Jello has created a darling set of printables in turquoise, grey and white. Included are several bunny silhouettes, and pretty text quotes that say Happy Spring and Here Comes Peter Cottontail. I like how this blogger filled a slimmer entryway wall space with several of these prints.

Spring Owls

10 Spring & Easter Free Printables

I love the owl trend and these prints with a cartoon feel are no exception. Over at Glued to My Crafts she created two modern springtime owl printables, a third which is welcoming May showers, and a fourth hello spring print. If this is your style, you now have four options that coordinate for your wall or projects.

Antique School Chart- Egg Edition

10 Spring & Easter Free Printables

This is a fun project from Knick of Time. She created a vintage looking bird egg identification chart that looks expensive. When you find that first broken bird egg in your backyard, I bet you will be consulting this chart. Both my girly side and my nerdy side love this print.

Hello Spring

10 Spring & Easter Free Printables

Sandy Toes and Popsicles is greeting spring with joy with her Hello Spring printable. I want to hide this one in places my husband would not expect it to make him smile, I may hide a copy of this print in the freezer. This would also look sweet framed in the hallway.

Flying Bird       

10 Spring & Easter Free Printables                                           

If you are a fan of an antique style check out this beautiful bird printable from Laughter and Grace. I love the inspirational quote: She went out on a limb and learned she could fly. This print is motivational without looking like you bought a stock motivational poster.

April Showers Mobile

10 Spring & Easter Free Printables

Craftaholics Anonymous created this sweet April showers mobile that is so very sweet. This one looks quick to make, and would be fun to make with kids. I would hang this one in my window next to my sun catcher.

Need a little more inspiration to get started? Check our Eva’s past post 7 Unique DIY To Refresh Your Home For Spring.

Bargainmoosers, what how do you like to change up your home’s look for spring?

(Image Credit: Pank Seelen)

Moose Rating (3 votes)
March 28

8 Fabulous Frugal Uses for Vinegar

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

8 Fabulous Frugal Uses for Vinegar

Spring is here. With Spring comes mud, Spring cleaning, and plenty of other reasons to get to know how to use vinegar with a frugal mind. Vinegar is a great ingredient to make your own cleaner, odour remover, sanitizer, and even a remedy for some health and beauty issues. Vinegar is not only inexpensive, but it contains no harsh chemicals or allergy irritating fragrances. So whether you’re looking to remove some tough stains or cure a sunburn, you might want to read about these 8 fabulous frugal uses for vinegar. Vinegar has never let me down, here’s how to use it:

Cleaning

8 Fabulous Frugal Uses for Vinegar

1. Stain Remover

First, get yourself an empty spray bottle. If it previously contained another cleaner, don’t use it. Just grab a cheap spray bottle from the dollar store. Fill the spray container with 1 part vinegar, 3 parts water and a dash of dish soap. To remove the stain, spray the stain with your solution. Call it “Mom’s Kick Butt Cleaner” or something along those lines, because after just a few sprays – you can wipe the area clean no problem. This is great for my suede furniture as suede can be so delicate.

2. Stinky Garbage Can?

You are going to think I am crazy for this one. I frequently dispose of diapers and kitty litter, so my garbage can doesn’t exactly smell like roses. When garbage night comes around and I get the chance to leave the trash can empty, I soak a piece of bread in vinegar and place it on a paper towel. I then take that paper towel and piece of bread and put it right on the bottom of my trash can overnight. By the morning, the horrendous stench is gone.

8 Fabulous Frugal Uses for Vinegar

3. Odour Remover or Air Freshener

This is a real simple way to remove pesky odours from gym bags, litter boxes, and more. Just fill your handy dandy spray bottle with pure white vinegar and give a few sprays to whatever area doesn’t exactly smell appealing to you. Vinegar neutralizes bad odours, and fast. Once the vinegar is dry, the smell will be gone. The vinegar smell will vanish once the vinegar is dry as well.

4. Unclog The Drain

Not again. The kitchen sink is clogged and that gross water just will not drain. No problem! Throw some baking soda down the drain, generously. Then pour vinegar down the drain as well. This will create a foaming action that will lift any debris that may be causing the drain to be clogged. Once the foam settles, pour some more vinegar until the baking soda is gone. This will also ensure a fresh smelling drain. Also make sure you run hot water down the drain before you use it after using this solution.

Laundry

8 Fabulous Frugal Uses for Vinegar

1. Laundry Stain Remover

Vinegar is also a fabulous agent you can use to remove tough stains on your clothing. If you had fun at the BBQ and didn’t notice that pesky ketchup stain on your capris until you get home, don’t fret. Simply saturate the stained area in pure vinegar and allow it to soak in well. Then throw the stained clothing in the wash like normal, and voila.

2. Vinegar Fabric Softener

Oops, you ran out of fabric softener half way through laundry day. No problem. Just add a cup of white vinegar to your washing machine during the rinse cycle. Your clothing will come out soft, odour free and it won’t even cling to you from static. Vinegar is also an excellent way to remove soap residue from your clothing, or make your towels a little more absorbent without adding chemicals to your laundry.

Vinegar Remedies

8 Fabulous Frugal Uses for Vinegar

1. Good-bye Athlete’s Foot

Spring is here, and flip flop season  is just around the corner. If you are trying to get rid of that burning, irritating athlete’s foot – keep reading. Grab your vinegar and your baking soda to master this cure. Make a solution of equal parts white or apple cider vinegar and water. Then, soak your feet for 15 minutes, twice a day. Be sure to make a new solution each time, and dry your feet well afterwards. Also make sure you place your shoes out in the sun with some baking soda inside as to kill any left over fungus. Baking Soda will dry up any of the moisture. Without moisture, the fungus can’t live.

2. Cure That Sunburn

As a fair skin toned lady, I get sun burnt quite often. Why not cure the burn with some vinegar? You’ll need white or apple cider vinegar and a spray bottle for this miracle treatment too. Fill your spray bottle with vinegar, and spray the sunburned areas on your body. If your face is sun burnt too, then I would suggest applying the vinegar with a cloth.

Hey Bargainmoosers, what other good uses for vinegar do you have?

Moose Rating (7 votes)
March 27

How to Save Money on Your Next Hotel Booking

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

How to Save Money on Your Next Hotel Booking

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

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

It Pays to be Loyal

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

Book Directly

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

Apartments may be the Way to Go

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

It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask

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

Book it Like You Mean Business

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

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

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

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

Photo credit: L’hotel di sale

Moose Rating (4 votes)
March 26

7 Clever Ways To Repurpose Magazine Holders

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

7 Clever Ways To Repurpose Magazine Holders

Spring cleaning has started at my house already. While I like to be organized, I could spend a small fortune in small bins and containers. Magazine holders are a storage container that can be made of cardboard, metal, plastic or sometimes even wood. These inexpensive containers usually cost only a few dollars at the dollar store. You can spend an extra buck or two more and find many stylish options at IKEA. Depending on the project, you can also make your own magazine holders out of cereal boxes following this tutorial from Crafty Journal after you raid the recycling bin. Make your containers even cuter by covering them with fabric, pretty paper or comics.

Create A Mail Storage System

7 Clever Ways To Repurpose Magazine Holders

Check out this mail rack on Lifehacker from user kazmataz. Using only a simple shelf, a few wooden IKEA KNUFF mail organizers and some wood stain, she created an awesome fixture to stash mail and other small items by the door.

Store Your Potatoes and Onions

7 Clever Ways To Repurpose Magazine Holders

I used to have a special wood box that kept my potatoes and onions organized, but it broke. I think I spent $40 on that box. Check out this idea from Mimi’s Crafty World to store your produce in metal mesh magazine holders. With a see thru container, you are less likely to end up with wrinkly potatoes you forgot about.

Hide Your Eyesore Modem

7 Clever Ways To Repurpose Magazine Holders

Your modem is a necessity, but they sure can be ugly on a shelf. Use a magazine holder to hide the eyesore just like they did at Design O.C.D. with very little effort. The box is open on one side and it should allow airflow to keep your router cool while looking chic.

Store Your Craft Supplies

7 Clever Ways To Repurpose Magazine Holders

If you like to DIY, it is very likely you have some spare craft supplies around. Storage containers geared at crafters can be pricey. I love this storage idea for yarn from Laughing Purple Goldfish using magazine holders. Even better, this could work for paper or scraps of fabric.

Organize Canned Goods In Your Pantry

7 Clever Ways To Repurpose Magazine Holders

If you are like me, you dig through the pantry looking for tomatoes and end up with a can of beans instead. Check out this perfect storage idea from PB&J Stories. Use magazine holders to organize your canned goods so you can locate them quickly and effortlessly. You can match your kitchen’s personality by recovering the outside in a pretty pattern.

Store Tea In A Corner Shelf

7 Clever Ways To Repurpose Magazine Holders

This tea and herb shelf using the Ikea wooden KNUF is a great idea. Check it out on Ikea Hackers. You could use this corner shelf idea for K-cups, spices, or any other small item storage.

Storage Inside A Cabinet

7 Clever Ways To Repurpose Magazine Holders

The Simple Life and Home mounted these containers on the inside of their cabinets to store long boxes such as aluminum foil and plastic wrap. You could use screws or even use command hooks for a removable option. This would work equally as well mounted in your bathroom cabinet to hold your curling iron or flat iron.

Bargainmoosers, what else besides magazines would you store in a magazine holder?

(Image Credit: The Shopping Sherpa)

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