Saving Money

August 28

7 Awesome Ways To Upcycle Cribs

Posted by on August 28, 2014 at 8:00 PM

7 Awesome Ways To Upcycle Cribs

I love to find uses for older items and furniture around my house. I had two babies back to back, which means I needed two cribs at the same time because they were so close in age. What are you supposed to do with two cribs once you are done with them? I don’t plan on having another baby, and I know we won’t get much back if we were to just sell them online second hand, so I took to the internet with a mission to find some other uses for them.

I couldn’t believe how many awesome ideas I found online for old cribs, and almost all of them were fairly inexpensive. I chose seven of the best and inexpensive ideas to share with our Moosers who may have a baby crib in storage as well and just don’t know what to do with it.

1. Kid’s Desk

7 Awesome Ways To Upcycle Cribs

I just love this idea because the crib basically grows with your child. It stays in their room for a little desk or art center and it looks so cool and unique. I found this idea on www.babble.com. Just take off the one side of the crib, paint it, and add some hooks and a chair. Very simple and looks great!

2. Kid’s Sitting Area

7 Awesome Ways To Upcycle Cribs

How awesome is this idea to turn a crib into a kid’s bench and table for a fun corner sitting area for kids? You will find the step by step details posted on Myrepurposedlife.com.

3. Storage Bench

7 Awesome Ways To Upcycle Cribs

This idea was featured on the blog Beatriz13out@blogspot.com and I just love it.  You can use it for the entry way of your house to keep shoes and items hidden away.

4. Chalkboard Easel

7 Awesome Ways To Upcycle Cribs

This idea is probably one of the easiest ideas, and I would have never thought of it myself.  Take the ends of the crib, paint them with some chalkboard paint, add some wheels and a chain and voila- an easel! This idea from indulgy.com is perfect for any household with kids.

5. Jewellery and Hair Organizer

7 Awesome Ways To Upcycle Cribs

This is another idea I wouldn’t have thought of but I will be doing. It is so simple and easy to make a hanging jewellery or hair organizer for your bedroom or closet. You can even hold items like belts and scarves on it as well. All of the instructions are posted on Cottageinstincts.blogspot.ca.

6. Front Porch Swing

7 Awesome Ways To Upcycle Cribs

This is probably my favourite idea because I have always wanted a front porch swing, but they are just so expensive.  All of the details on how to make it can be found at www.decozilla.com.

7. Laundry Room Dryer

7 Awesome Ways To Upcycle Cribs

This idea uses just one side of the crib (or more if you want to hang more clothes I guess). It is very straightforward to set up, and so practical as well. This idea can be found on the website www.lifeinapinkhouse.com.

Moose Rating (5 votes)
August 27

Save Money On Your Child’s Extracurricular Activities

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

Save Money On Your Childs Extracurricular Activities

The New York Times states that the average family spends about $601 annually on summer activities for their child. This does not include the rest of the year. Now that summer is almost over and school is back in session, it is time to think about the extra-curricular activities to put your child in this year.

In Canada, the situation isn’t any brighter (especially with high cost of extracurricular activities such as hockey). According to Canadian Scholarship Trust Plan, a non-profit organization that helps families save for post-secondary education, the average Canadian family spends about $1500 on hockey related expenses and can spend upwards to $10,000 a year on hockey. This is more than the average a Canadian family saves for post-secondary education on an annual basis, which is $1455 a year.

Even more interesting is that The Canadian Scholarship Trust Plan also found that 38% of Canadians have (or have known someone who) borrowed money to put their child in extracurricular activities and even deferred their own retirement in order to put their child in extracurricular activities.

Obviously we all want the best for our children, but perhaps it should not be at the expense of our own retirements and post-secondary education savings (or post-secondary “something” whatever they want to do, perhaps it is a gap year studying abroad or traveling abroad). This is especially true since children often change their minds with certain activities and one thing they like this year might not be the same thing last year. Or even one thing they like this month might not be the same as last month (especially relevant if you spend the aforementioned $1500-$10,000 on hockey that year only to find out your child does not like it after two months).

In any case, here are some ways in which you can save money on your child’s extracurricular activities:

Limit Activities

Fox Business recommends picking and prioritizing extra curricular activities.  Find out what your child is interested in and pursue that, instead of trying to juggle three to four different activities at one time. They suggest that you discuss with your child and get them involved in the decision making process (especially if they are older) that you cannot pursue three to four different sports or activities for them at a high level due to cost. Getting your child involved in the decision making process helps them feel empowered and also helps your wallet feel empowered because they can choose what they really want.

Buy Used or Rent

The Centsible Life recommends that if you are putting your child into music lessons or music classes, look at buying used musical instruments or renting.  The same goes for sports equipment, buy used or rent if possible.  When I was a child, my mother rented my musical instrument and I was always very cognizant of that and appreciated it. I later on ended up buying it (it was a rent-to-buy program) and was happy that it was a used instrument instead of a perfect new instrument.  It gave the instrument more character.

Check Out your Local Community Centre

Additionally, Money Crashers also suggests that you say no to expensive activities and set a limit. The local community centre is a great choice because it allows your child to try an activity for three months or less (sometimes even just eight weeks) in order to ascertain if there is enough interest to commit to a year of the same activity. Even better is that the local community centre is usually close to home, which means less commuting and driving to and from activities, which is another source of expenses. I took swimming lessons at my local pool and took ice skating lessons at my local community centre.

Sign Up for Free Activities

If there are free activities available at school, sign up for these. Lots of places offer introductory classes (such as karate) for free. It is a great way to get your child exposed to different activities and to see if your child has any interest.

Extra curricular activities are an essential part of being a well rounded individual and part of a healthy childhood; however, they shouldn’t cost your retirement!

 Bargainmoosers, how do you save money on your family’s extracurricular activities?

(banner image credit: USAG-Humphreys)

Moose Rating (1 votes)
August 24

Avoid Spending A Fortune At Your Next Visit To Ikea

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

Avoid Spending A Fortune At Your Next Visit To Ikea

There’s a reason why Ikea is so popular.  Ever since I was a child, I used to be obsessed with looking at the Ikea catalogues. I’m still amazed at the beautiful layout and design ideas that the catalogue pages depict.  From the marketing design to the free children’s playroom (which I loved as a kid, by the way) and very economically priced hot dog and soft serve ice cream, the trip to Ikea is designed for you to invest your time and money. I think that most people agree: it can be very hard to get out of Ikea without spending any money.

Here are some ways in which you can save money during and after your next trip to Ikea:

Go With a Plan (and a List)

One of the easiest ways to spend money is through the slow meander through the display area in Ikea.  According to the Globe and Mail, the average shopper spends about two hours wandering through Ikea.  This is not surprising since the average size of Ikea is akin to roughly six football fields. The strategically placed items are meant to make you buy on impulse (all those cute things near the cashier are meant to make you impulse buy).  I found it very interesting that on average, 50% of customers who shop through Ikea purchase something, which is much higher than the average women’s wear boutique, per the Globe and Mail article.

If you head to Ikea and plan your purchases beforehand, you could head through those six football fields with less temptation and more direction. You will head straight to the warehouse section, find your aisle and get out of there without buying a lamp, a terrycloth stuffed animal, or some kitchen utensil that you probably do not need.  This article from The Consumerist concurs that the Ikea business thrives on add-on sales.

Take Advantage of Sales

If you sign up for their mailing list, you will get to know firsthand when the bedroom collection or bathroom collection goes for 30% off.  Unfortunately it’s a little bit of spam, but considering Ikea stuff rarely goes on sale, this might not be a bad idea.

In addition, Ikea has Wacky Wednesday sales where they have an item that goes on sale for a very reasonable price. It does mean making a trip out to Ikea during a weekday, and sometimes the items are not necessary (meaning it would also be an impulse purchase if you bought it).

Finally, head to the As-Is section of Ikea.  The mark downs tend to be very generous and very reasonable.  Best yet, the As-Is section is full of items that are already assembled for you (that Allen Key is the bane of a lot of people’s existence, I’m sure). One person’s dislike is another person’s treasure, isn’t it!

If You Live in the States…

In the American Ikea stores, you can sign up for a $25 coupon if you spend more than $250 and are planning to move. In addition, if you sign up for the Ikea Friends and Family Program you can get a free cup of coffee and get information on the special discounts just for members. It is free to join. I don’t think we have any great deals like this in our Canadian Ikea stores, but hopefully in the future there will be.

After Your Visit

After your visit to Ikea comes the dreaded task of assembling the furniture with the aforementioned Allen Key.  I found that it was useful to pay someone (I found someone on Craigslist) to do it because it saved me time and frustration. For me, I could spend my time being more productive as opposed to spending hours trying to assemble something properly.

However, asking your friends to help out (handy friends, might I add) is a great solution too!

Get Some Ikea Hack Ideas

If you are bored with your Ikea furniture and want to make it a bit more unique, especially since everyone is buying the same furniture, head to this great website called Ikea Hackers.  It is filled with creative and easy ideas to make your Ikea furniture a bit more unique.

Bargainmoosers, how do you save money at Ikea?

(banner image credit: kaktuslampan)

Moose Rating (2 votes)
August 23

Top 10 Life Hacks that will Save You Money

Posted by on August 23, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Top 10 Life Hacks that will Save You Money

A life hack is any trick, shortcut, skill or unorthodox way to increase productivity and efficiency in any part of your daily life. Instead of finding a work around in a computer program like a traditional hacker.  A life hacker does the same thing for their everyday life. Online you’ll find a large number of life hacks for anything you can think of, including saving money.  Below you’ll find some of our favourites in no particular order:

1. Pay with Cash – It’s so simple, but most people never give it a second thought. Next time you go out, leave the debit or credit card on the kitchen table and only bring cash. A Dunn & Bradsheet study showed that people spend 12% to 18% more when using credit cards compared to using cash. The fact you can see what’s being spent makes people consider more seriously what they’re doing before they part with their hard-earned money.

2. Buy Cars at the End of the Month – If you’re tired of being given the run around by sly car salesmen and feel like you’re overpaying, then may we suggest buying a car at the end of the month? This is when a car dealer is trying to make their quota and according to AutoTrader, it’s the best time to get the best deals because dealers are trying to meet their monthly sales goals and get their bonuses.

3. Put a Brick in Your Toilet Tank – When your water bill is too high, or your community is asking you to conserve water, don’t sweat it and just put a brick in your toilet tank. It sounds bizarre, but it will save you a brick’s worth of water and your toilet will still flush normally.

4. Use a Banana to Fix Scratches on Cds, DVDs and Blu-Rays – Anytime a product lasts longer and you don’t have to replace it, you’re saving money. Try this banana trick for minor scratches or smudges on your discs. It won’t work for multiple scratches, but for one scratch you can rub the banana on the disc and then rub the inside of the peal over it. Clean it with water, dry it with a soft cloth and voila! It should be good as new.

5. Use an Old Chapstick Case as a Clandestine Money Pouch – Hiding money in your sock is so last year. Besides, most thieves know it’s a common hiding spot and will look there or demand you empty them. To make sure you don’t lose it all, hide your emergency fund cash in your empty chapstick container. Pop off the bottom, clean out the excess and then glue the bottom back on before rolling up your cash and stuffing it inside and putting on the cap.

6. Paint Your Roof White to Expel Heat – Some people go to extreme lengths to save money and if you painted your roof white to save on your heating bill, you’d be one of them. However, all the people who were laughing  when you were climbing up the ladder will eat their words the moment you show them all the money you saved.

7. Clear Your Browser History When Booking Flights – Airlines know when you’ve been searching for the cheapest flight, thanks to the cookies that monitor your browsing history, and they’ll actually charge you more on the flights listed (They smell fear!) So wipe the slate clean before you start doing your research because that will make your options all the more inexpensive.

8. Hit the Library for Free Stuff – Nothing beats all the money you save at the library. Just ask Bargain Moose contributor Avigayil Morris, she told us the money-saving wonders that come with owning a library card. These include, but are not limited to, free internet, free movies, free tv shows and of course, free books.

9. Save on Prescription Drugs with Honey – Not only do you catch more flies with honey, but you save money too. Toast is not the only thing it’s good for, you can also use it as a topical ointment for burns and as a disinfectant that kills bacteria. So, next time you have a zit, burn or infection, hit the hive.

10. Reduce Your Cell Phone Data with an App – Say goodbye to data overage charges. That’s because there’s an app out there that will reduce your data plan consumption without reducing how often you actually use the phone. It’s called Onavo Extended and it will compress your data usage by running in the background of your phone. (Another version, Onavo Count, simply tracks how much data you use.) So, when you’re browsing the internet, watching a video or streaming audio on your phone, Onavo makes sure you never take up more data than you have to by making the file smaller. This means you can do twice as much with the same amount of data, which translates into big savings on your cellphone plan.

Photo credit: Auto Trader

Moose Rating (4 votes)
August 21

6 Ways To Repurpose Your Old Bookshelves

Posted by on August 21, 2014 at 8:00 PM

6 Ways To Repurpose Your Old Bookshelves

When we first moved into our house, we bought a bunch of book shelves for one of the walls in our basement for storage because it was all we could afford at the time.  Now that we have lived here a few years and have decorated the way we want, we are left with these book shelves that I just don’t need anymore.  I though about selling them second hand but to be honest, they were pretty cheap to begin with and I wouldn’t really get anything for them.  I am a crafty person so I decided I would use them in other ways around the house.

I was searching online for inexpensive ways to up-cycle these bookshelves and came across some really inventive and fun ways to turn them into something more useful.

1. Child’s Sandbox

6 Ways To Repurpose Your Old Bookshelves

This idea came from the blog TheHomesIHaveMade.com. I have a 3 year old and a four year old, so this idea was perfect for us.  All you have to do is turn it on it’s back, give it a quick coat of bright paint and fill it with sand.  You may want to weather coat it so that it last longer and last in the rain, snow and other outside conditions.  I love this idea!

2. Planter Garden

6 Ways To Repurpose Your Old Bookshelves

I was looking on Helpfulgardener.com and found this idea. This idea I have already done myself and it turned out great!  It made perfectly lined rows for my herb garden.  Just like the sandbox idea, you will want to weather proof this garden bed to make sure it lasts through watering and rain. I have gotten so many compliments already.  I also did this with an old filing cabinet, as well the exact same way.

3. Desk

6 Ways To Repurpose Your Old Bookshelves

Over at AtThePicketFence.com, they had a great idea for a bookshelf to be turned into an office desk. They have all of the instructions to carry out this simple up-cycle project for your office or even for your kids bedroom.

4. Bench

6 Ways To Repurpose Your Old Bookshelves

If you have a tall skinny bookshelf, you will want to think about this refurbished project.  Flip it on it’s side and add some paint, fabric and some stuffing to the top of it for an awesome bench! You can find this idea over at RefurbishedIdeas.com.

5. Mud Room Organization

6 Ways To Repurpose Your Old Bookshelves

I love the idea of taking an old book shelf, and making it into an organizer for a mudroom or hallway.  This is perfect if you have a cluttered entryway or you don’t have storage space.This idea came from LivingMSN.com and I bet is very popular.

6. Mini bar

6 Ways To Repurpose Your Old Bookshelves

How can you not just fall in love with this idea!  Turn a smaller bookshelf into a great mini bar for entertaining.  It is so simple and easy and all of the details for it are posted up on the website IdeasAndSolutions.com for you to follow.

Do you have some other repurposed uses for an old bookshelf?

(Image credit to Sharon Drummond)

Moose Rating (2 votes)
August 18

Save Money By Preparing Your Own Back To School Meals

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

Save Money By Preparing Your Own Back To School Meals

Back to school… for some, these words are a Godsend, and for others they represent their last baby going to school (I’m the latter, sniff sniff). Back to school will be an incredibly busy time with new jobs, kids in school, fall activities starting for everyone, and the general business of life starting after the summer. It’s easy to eat out for meals when you’re on the run, but just think about the excess money and decreased health benefits in take-out dinners. Michael Pollan is a food authority in U.S.A, and he is a proponent of eating whole foods, and most importantly cooking those foods at home. He says the best thing that North Americans can do to improve their health (and reduce the cost of our health care) is to make our meals at home, even if they are not the healthiest meals possible.  Easier said than done, right?  Especially with the time constraints we all face, like a busy career and children.  How can we save money by preparing our family’s meals?

Crock pot cooking

It seems like crock pot cooking has become a recent internet sensation.  I see crockpot recipes, links and pictures everywhere on facebook and pinterest. I am a huge crockpot fan as it is a super easy, quick way to get tasty, melt-in-your mouth meals together.  Check out Who Needs A Cape for a simply amazing 40 meals in four hours crock pot recipe list.  Wow, I am amazed that people actually do this, hats off to them.  I can never seem to get my stuff together to cook in large batches or chunks of time.  How about some recipes you can throw together on a week day or weekend?  There isn’t a recipe much easier than this one for Pineapple Salsa Chicken.  This looks so easy and delicious.  Make a side of rice to go alongside, and you have a pretty nutritious and easy meal.  We love Indian meals at our house, and this recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala is an easy, delicious weeknight dinner for kids and parents alike. These Crockpot Chicken Fajitas are super easy to make, and really, how can you screw up making chicken fajitas in the crockpot?  As you can tell, I really like making chicken, as it’s so versatile and I love having leftovers.  As much as I love chicken, I also adore a beef roast in the winter like this one.  My mom wasn’t an adept chef, but I have vivid, happy memories from my childhood when she made any crockpot beef dish.

Batch cooking

I used to be a batch cooker, but abandoned it once I had two kids. I just couldn’t give up a few hours every Sunday to hang in the kitchen, unless of course I had copious amounts of wine to drink while cooking. If you have the time, the patience and the love of food, maybe batch cooking is for you. Chatelaine has some awesome tips for batch cooking. In particular, I really think that preparation is the most important step, so you aren’t caught missing an ingredient or two at the last minute. Here are some simple Batch Cooking Recipes to try. I have seen this idea a few times in the past, and I love the idea of preparing your weeks’ worth of Lunch Salads in advance using mason jars. Although I don’t tend to batch prepare my lunches, I do prepare some staples like hard-boiled eggs, chopped raw veggies and individually packaged hummus so I’m not stuck at the last minute for lunch ideas.  Preparing your own lunch and snacks is probably the best way to save money on food.  I am amazed at the amount of people I work with who purchase their lunch on a near daily basis.  When you combine that purchase with the daily coffee they are buying from Tim’s, those costs really add up.  It literally takes me 20 minutes to pack my lunch. I have to pack my kids’ lunch anyway, why not add mine to the list?

Make homemade school snacks

Sure, those $2.50 packages of goldfish crackers are tempting to buy, but I can’t even imagine the food colourings and preservatives in those crackers. I would much rather spend an hour or so on the weekend preparing homemade school snacks for my children. Many schools are now nut-free, so that is another reason people are tempted to buy pre-packaged snacks. But don’t fear!  As long as you aren’t using nut products in your homemade snacks, they are safe to bring to school. What are some of my favourites?  These granola bars from Weelicious are an absolute favourite with everyone in my house, including my picky husband. They aren’t that difficult to make, although it can be a chore cutting these off my baking sheet.  The results, however, are totally worth it.  I individually wrap these in little plastic bags and put them into a school snack drawer which my kids dig into to help make their school lunches. Although I have never tried it, this fruit leather is a healthy alternative to fruit rollups. If my kids were into candied fruit I would totally make this.

Preparing and planning your food prep in advance is beneficial not only for your pocketbook, but also for your mental health. Why bother with the stress of not knowing what to make every night for dinner when it’s easy to make a menu at the beginning of the week for your meals? Take it a step further and plan your meals around what’s on sale at the grocery stores, and you will save lots of money!

Bargainmoosers, do you prepare your meals in advance?

(banner image credit: Melissa)

Moose Rating (1 votes)
August 17

Reduce Beverage Waste With Fun Summer Drinks

Posted by on August 17, 2014 at 9:00 PM

Reduce Beverage Waste With Fun Summer Drinks

I was recently thinking about how much liquid sugar we throw away each summer: down the sink, on pavement, or showering the nearest piece of grass. I am talking about those beverages that we do not quite finish before they either go cold if they are supposed to be hot, or get warm if they are supposed to be cold, or melt if they are supposed to be frozen. Here are some ways to reduce beverage waste.

1. Hot Beverages

Stick leftover coffee, lattes, and teas in the fridge to preserve them. Combine leftover hot beverages with ice, ice cream, or frozen yogurt in your blender for a great new drink. For herbal teas, consider adding fresh or frozen fruit into the mix. With straight up black coffee, you may want to add some sugar and/or milk if blending it with ice. The key with this process is flavour matching. For example: if you have leftover mint tea that you have stowed away in the fridge, try blending it with ice, chunks of frozen mango, and a shot of leftover white or rose wine. You would be amazed at the wonderful drinks you can make out of leftover liquids.

2. Cold Beverages

Cold beverages are made for leftovers. Lemonades, ice teas, and even pop are great flavours to add to your blender. Just because your pop is flat, does not mean it is doomed to the drain. Try blending lemonade with raspberries and ice for a raspberry lemon slushy. Pops like root beer and cream soda work really well with ice cream to make floats. Ice tea can mix with many different fruits like blackberries or peaches. Coca-Cola, or any of the cola type beverages, can be turned into a slushy by mixing it with ice.

3. Frozen Beverages

The trick with frozen beverages is knowing if they are a dairy or ice base. If they are a dairy base, you need to get them in the fridge while the drink is still moderately cool. Ice based beverages you really do not need to worry about. To reconstitute a frozen ice based beverage (like a slurpee), just blend your leftover drink with an appropriate amount of ice. To reconstitute a dairy-based frozen drink, blend the leftover liquid with either ice cream or frozen yogurt.

4. Alcohol

Alcohol and slushies or smoothies are a fantastic combination for the adults in the household. Leftover wine works exceptionally well with fruit and ice mixed into a slush. Try raspberries and cherries with a red wine and watermelon with a rose. Hard liquors can be added as shots with complementing flavours. Try adding brandy to an apricot and peach based drink. Anything of the ‘creme’ variety works well in smoothies. Try making dessert smoothies with ice cream, leftover liquor like Baileys, Creme De Menthe, or Irish Creme, and melted chocolate. Throw in some fresh shredded mint leaves for a little extra excitement. Leftover beer can also be thrown in a blender with some of your favourite fruit and a couple handfuls of ice. Which type of fruits you want to use will depend on the flavour profile of the beer you are drinking.

5. Add Ons

Fruit is a good way to add bulk and flavour to your reconstituted drink. However, you can also add spices like cinnamon and nutmeg or extracts like peppermint and vanilla. For texture, I have found half a banana, a shot of alcohol, or a scoop of protein powder gives a creamier texture and a better blend. Some people also love to add cocoa powder and peanut butter to their smoothies. Both sound delicious! If you want to make your drink healthier, try adding in veggies or seeds like chai and flax. Some vegetables you can hide better than others, so I suggest experimenting in small amounts. Try matching colours if you are not sure how to start mixing. Carrots with oranges and spinach with apples and mint is a good start. There are plenty of fantastic drink combinations out there you just need to find for yourself.

There is no need to throw away left over drinks when you can simply reuse the liquid for another drink! Do you have any drink suggestions of your own?

(Image credit: Owen Iverson)

Moose Rating (4 votes)
August 15

Upcycle Your Cans 6 Different Ways

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

Upcycle Your Cans 6 Different Ways

I have a family of four and we seem to go through a lot of canned items.  We have soup cans, pasta sauce cans, paint cans, bean and chickpea cans and many more cans that I just don’t know what to do with. Yes, you can recycle them, but when I was washing them to recycle them one day, I realized they don’t look half bad once the label is off and they are clean. They are the perfect size for many things around the house. I headed to my go-to place for DIY ideas and found some great uses for all of my empty cans on Pinterest.

1. DIY Keepsake Can

Upcycle Your Cans 6 Different Ways

I love this idea that deliciously organized had for adding your family pictures to the soup cans and using them as a type of keepsake can. They look beautiful and you could do this with any size of can depending on the items you would like to add.  You could even do it for your kids with a picture of their favourite cartoon character or super hero.

2. DIY Lanterns

Upcycle Your Cans 6 Different Ways

You will see a step by step layout of how to make these awesome lanterns from any type of can you may have laying around at home on the blog Grow Creative. My sister used this idea and had these for her wedding to light the gardens and pathways at night. It was beautiful. Afterward, she used them outside at her house and gave a bunch of them away as well.  They were free and pretty decorations for her wedding.

3. DIY Flower Vases

Upcycle Your Cans 6 Different Ways

This is such a simple and easy craft to do to upcycle your cans.  Take any can, and take either ribbon or rope and just hot glue it wrapped around. You can add a plastic insert or bag if you want to use real flowers and don’t want the can to rust inside from the water. This idea from ordinary things made extraordinary can be used in any home. I think they look very pretty and you can change up the idea according to your personal taste.

4. DIY Bird Feeder

Upcycle Your Cans 6 Different Ways

I can’t wait to do this craft from plum adorable with my kids next week. All it requires is some paint, ribbon and a wooden stick.  Just have your kids paint a soup can, glue gun some ribbon around it and add a stick on the inside for the birds to stand on.  You can hang them from your fence in the back yard or a tree and put some seeds in it.  This is such a pretty and easy craft to do with kids for the back yard.

5. DIY Cookie Cutters or Cake Pans

Upcycle Your Cans 6 Different Ways

This DIY idea from Thekitchenpaper.com is a little harder than the others mentioned but still fairly easy. They give you a step by step plan on how to take any can and turn it into a cookie cutter or baking pan template.  This would be great to use for birthday parties!

6. DIY Makeup Containers

Upcycle Your Cans 6 Different Ways

I found this idea on Pinterest that someone must have posted themselves, because there is no link to a website.  It looks very simple to do though.  Much like the keepsake can, you can decorate any can how you would like and use it to hold your makeup brushes and supplies. I like this idea because it will keep the quality of the brush intact, instead of laying them down.

Do you have some other great uses for cans around your house?  Which ones do you want to try out?

(banner photo credit to Darlus Norvllas)

Moose Rating (5 votes)
August 14

6 Ideas to Upcycle Shoe Boxes

Posted by on August 14, 2014 at 8:00 PM

6 Ideas to Upcycle Shoe Boxes

I’ve got a four year old daughter who is growing like wildfire and accordingly, getting through a LOT of pairs of shoes. As a result, we seem to have an extremely large number of empty shoe boxes hidden in the dark and damp corners of our garage. I was browsing pinterest and I saw an idea for making a shoe box in to an organizer, so I started googling for more awesome ideas to upcycle shoe boxes. Here are seven ideas for you:

1. DIY Shoe Box Organizer

6 Ideas to Upcycle Shoe Boxes

Here at UsefulDIY.com, you can see a quick tutorial about how to upcycle that old shoe box into a nifty organizer, for storing your various bits and bobs. As shown in the piccie, you could use it for stationery, or maybe even for the kids to compartmentalise and store various toys; Lego, dolls, bricks, etc.

2. Funky Storage

6 Ideas to Upcycle Shoe Boxes

Ok, this idea isn’t much of a stretch to be honest, but it still looks fantastic. Cover the old shoe boxes in fancy and colourful fabrics, and just use the shoe boxes for storage. The range of varied patterns and vibrant colours look super and really brighten up a storage area. There’s a tutorial here on Youtube if you need some help with it.

3. Jewellery Hanger

6 Ideas to Upcycle Shoe Boxes

Cover a shoe box lid in canvas (or any fabric you want), pop in some push-pins, hang it on the wall – for a cheap and cheerful jewellery hanger. Find the tutorial here on Homeawaitsus.

4. Wall Art

6 Ideas to Upcycle Shoe Boxes

Cover your shoe boxes in vibrant wallpaper samples or even fabric, and mount them up on the wall in various positions, as illustrated in the image above. It gives an inexpensive and colourful focal point for a bare wall. This DIY task doesn’t have to be done with just shoe box lids, you could use cereal boxes, any cardboard items you have available. The different sized boxes would give extra depth and contouring for a stunning finish. Read a bit more here on Crafts & Coffee.

5. Drawer Dividers

6 Ideas to Upcycle Shoe Boxes

Cut to size, you can use empty shoe boxes as handy drawer dividers. Why spend a fortune on the ready-made ones from Ikea? Just get out your scissors and snip away (found here on apartmenttherapy).

6. Ribbon Dispenser

6 Ideas to Upcycle Shoe Boxes

If you are in the habit of using ribbon for present-wrapping, crafting, and any other activity, you’ll know how awkward it can be when you have a big box filled with tangled spools of random ribbon. You could use an old shoe box and turn it into a handy dispenser. While it’s not the exact tutorial pictured above, there’s a tutorial for a similar style here on Crabtree-creations.

Please let us know if you try any of these out – we’d like to hear about your results in the comments below. Have you upcycled your shoe boxes into anything fantastic?

Moose Rating (3 votes)
August 11

Save Money By Filling Your Plate With Zucchini

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

Save Money By Filling Your Plate With Zucchini

It is zucchini season in Ontario and I am loving the super cheap and plentiful zucchini that is currently available. At one grocery store this week zucchini is on for $0.79 per pound, which is a super steal.  Last summer I had a good friend who had a green thumb, and she gave me pounds and pounds of zucchini from her garden, and that’s when I discovered the pure awesomeness of zucchini.  I used it last summer in a few dishes but really didn’t experiment very much.  This year, I’m eating even healthier than last year, and I can’t wait to include zucchini in the vast majority of my meals.  Zucchini is a great vegetable to hide in food to get your kids (or spouse) to eat more veggies.  There are lots of ways to include zucchini in your everyday eating, and by doing so you can lower your grocery bill by filling up on the good stuff.  Zucchini is incredibly versatile, and can be used in main dishes, side dishes and desserts. The sky is the limit!

Zucchini basics

According to LiveStrong, zucchini is low in calories and high in water, and has a moderate amount of vitamins and minerals within it.  It also has a moderate amount of fibre and protein in it, and has a low amount of carbohydrates, which makes it an ideal food for anyone who is living a low carb lifestyle, such as Atkins, or for someone who doesn’t eat grains or refined carbs such as the Paleo Diet.  It is a perfect base for many, many meals and side dishes.

Storing it for future use

A fantastic way to store zucchini for consumption during the winter is by freezing it.  According to Thekitchn, if you blanche the zucchini then freeze it, the zucchini will be in excellent shape for use in a future meal.  How about Preserving the zucchini for future use?  Zucchini pickles sound so delicious, and zucchini relish would taste so great on grilled hot dogs.  Honestly, I don’t spend a ton of time in the kitchen, so you won’t see me canning anything, ever, but I would totally blanche and freeze it for future uses.

Savoury dishes

Probably my favourite use for the popular zucchini is to put them into savoury dishes.  I love experimenting with using it as a neutral base and adding in other flavours on top of it.  One of my favourite ways to dress it as a simple lunch idea is to shred a whole zucchini, place about a tablespoon of pesto in it, microwave for three minutes, and top with leftover chicken and goat cheese.  My entire lunch costs less than $1.00, and it tastes incredibly delicious.  An added bonus: the entire lunch takes about five minutes to prepare!  Another savoury idea is to make Zucchini fritters, which taste incredible with a side of dilled sour cream.  My second favourite way to eat zucchini is Zucchini Fries, which gives me the sensation of eating fries, but in reality, I’m eating super healthy vegetables, especially if I dip them in tomato sauce.  I served these last weekend to my 82 and 83 year old grandparents, and they found them incredibly fun and delicious.

Main dishes

The Veggie Spiralizer has become increasingly popular over the past few months.  Although I haven’t shelled out the money to purchase one, my friends who have are incredibly happy with them, and use them to spiralize veggies like zucchinis to make homemade, low-carb noodles.  What a fantastic, cost-effective noodle alternative.  I usually eat Miracle Noodles for my healthier alternative to pasta, so I’m excited about this veggie-based option.  One of the few dishes I can actually make without screwing it up is zucchini boats.  They are so easy to make and are so delicious- even my kids eat them!  How about trying some Zucchini tacos?  The combination of roasted zucchini and corn relish sounds super yummy to me!  Although I like to have a good amount of protein with every meal, we do like to have a meatless meal every so often, and this would totally foot the bill.

Desserts

I think that putting zucchini in dessert is probably the most typical way that people will use their zucchini.  I have made a lot of recipes from Chocolate Covered Katie including these zucchini brownies.  I’m not sure what Chocolate Covered Katie does to perfect her recipes, but they really do turn out every time.  Her recipes are all healthier than conventional recipes which I appreciate as well.  I’m not a big sweets fan, but when I do eat a sugary dessert, Zucchini Bread is one of my favourites.  I absolutely love it, and it is so easy to make.  If you have never made a zucchini or banana bread you should really give it a try – they are fun to make and very difficult to mess up. Throw in a few chocolate chips and you have a perfect dessert.

In case you can’t tell, I really love zucchini.  I also love to eat, and I really appreciate that I can eat pounds and pounds of zucchini and it won’t affect my waistline.  If only chocolate were like that!  I’m really hoping that I have a few friends who are successful gardeners and will offer me some free zucchini this year.

Bargainmoosers, do you eat zucchini?  What are your favourite ways to eat it?

(banner image credit: Steven Depolo)

Moose Rating (1 votes)
August 5

How To Save Money With Online Dating

Posted by on August 5, 2014 at 8:00 PM

How To Save Money With Online Dating

I have a number of friends who are on the search for love.  Their personal histories differ: one is a recent divorcee with 3 kids, another a 30-ish co-worker who really wants fall in love and have children, another a man who is slightly socially awkward and has trouble meeting new people.  I have witnessed their challenges and the difficulties which arise from dating; where do they meet people, how do they do so in a cost-effective way, and how do they navigate through the often expensive dating landscape?  Most of my friends have at least considered online dating websites, and most are registered with at least one such site.   But which sites offer the best bang for your buck? And how do they mind their dollars when they are dating?

Free sites vs. paid sites- which one to choose?

According to this article from Freakonomics, you can actually save money by online dating, as the average dating to marriage time frame for those who meet online is much less than those to meet off-line.  So whether you invest in paying for a fee-based dating site or you meet our match on a free site, the numbers suggest that overall you will save money through meeting people online.

This excellent article gives a run-down on the Pros and cons of free dating sites.   Of course the #1 benefit to a free site is that you don’t have to pay money for them.  Paid sites, like Match.com and eHarmony cost anywhere from around $15 per month to $50 per month, so depending on what those sites offer and what their success rates are, maybe free sites are the way to go for you.  Free sites have less features than paid sites, and some people who are use free sites are less serious about finding a relationship since they haven’t paid for the site.   OkCupid calls itself the best online dating site in the world, and has a convenient app to check out potential mates on your Andriod or ios phone.  I have a number of friends who have used it with mixed reviews.

The Canadian Dating Guide has an excellent overview of the different dating sites based on specific criteria like top sites that have resulted in a long lasting relationship and best sites for overall success for women and men.  It appears that eHarmony ranks high in almost every category, so if you’re looking for a successful relationship, this might be your best bet.

Think outside the box with other dating options

Remember to think outside the box when considering how to meet people; there is another free site, although not designed to be a dating site, is a fantastic mode to meet and connect with people.  LinkedIn is like Facebook for the business world, and it is an excellent mode to connect with people and to learn more about their professional history.  On the flip side, if you are ready to meet your match and you are prepared to spend some money to do it, perhaps you should consider hiring a matchmaker?  There are a few options for matchmaking, but they are mainly found in larger city centres.  They definitely offer a more 1:1 approach, and might be worth the money, if you are concerned with efficiency and getting dates quickly.

Free trials and coupons

Most of the dating sites have a free weekend every few months so that you can try out the site.  This is an excellent opportunity to try before you buy.  Deal sites like Groupon and WagJag also have special deals from time to time as well.  Be sure to check out Bargainmoose’s  coupon page for special deals on dating sites like eHarmony.

Saving money on your dates

Getting a date is half the battle, as remaining cost-effective while you are dating is very difficult to do. People want to impress potential partners, and everyone loves going out for a romantic dinner with a potential love match.  There are lots of great, cost-effective ways to save money on dates; my favourite date with my hubby is being alone with him and enjoying a delicious, home-made dinner at home with a bottle of wine.  There are lots of coupons and opportunities to save money on the cost of going to movie as well- I love to redeem Air Miles for free movie tickets, and I always take advantage of coupons on products like Nestea and taco kits to save money on movie admissions and snacks.  I would be rather impressed if a date used a coupon to save money on a date.   Check out these articles from  DivineCaroline and Motivated to Marry for more tips on money saving ideas for your dates.  My one girlfriend usually meets first dates for a simple coffee, what is cheaper than that?

My brother and sister-in-law met online through a dating website, and my best friend and her husband met through a dating website as well, so I know that online dating can work.  In the virtual age we are in, what better way to meet potential mates?  Gone are the days when people married their high school sweethearts, and it’s tricky to date people from work; what is the average Joe to do?  If I were a single lady, I would definitely sign up for a paid-subscription dating website, as I wouldn’t want to waste my time on free apps which potentially attract those who are just looking to get lucky.

Bargainmoosers, how do you navigate the complex world of online dating?  What are your tips and tricks to save money?

Photo credit: Don Hankins

Moose Rating (1 votes)
August 3

5 Reasons You Should Use A Library Card

Posted by on August 3, 2014 at 8:00 PM

5 Reasons You Should Use A Library Card

Whether your library membership costs $10 a year or it is free, there are so many reasons why you should own and use a Library Card.

1. Read Endless Books

My book budget a year may be larger than some, but people spend money on books and that is how book giants like Amazon Canada and Chapters flourish. However, you have to pay for every single book you get from them without ever having read them. Most of these books you buy on recommendations or because you have read previous stuff by that author. At the library, you get to borrow endless books and read them. There is no obligation to buy. You can borrow many books at a time and it doesn’t matter if you don’t like the book or you hate the author, because you didn’t pay a thing for that book. You can just return it. There is an endless supply of books at most libraries, enough to last you a lifetime, and they also have inter-library loan systems where they can bring in books you want that they currently do not have. Some libraries even allow you to borrow eBooks for free as this Mooser commented:

I can borrow ebooks on my kobo reader through my local library using Overdrive. I love it

Your library card is your ticket to endless worlds and endless hours of enjoyment virtually free.

2. Listen to Audiobooks

I don’t listen to audiobooks, but my husband does. He just finished a 29-hour book by Ben Bova, which has launched an interest in other works by the author. He listened each day on his walks to and from work. Audiobooks are big business if you look at companies like Audible. However, with your library membership you can gain access to audiobooks for free. Many libraries have teamed up with a system called Hoopla (or other databases) to offer you free audiobooks. Commonly, you have three weeks to listen to your book and you can take the same book out again if you are not finished. My husband ran out of time on his Ben Bova book, so he had to re-borrow it. He was pleasantly surprised that the book picked up right from where he left off.

3. Borrow and Download Free Music

I have been borrowing digital music on Hoopla since I signed up for my Nanaimo Library Card. I can listen to each album as much as I want in a week, and then it is digitally ‘returned.’ The Hoopla system, as other systems often do, has the ability to download to Hoopla for offline listening. This system has been awesome for proof listening to albums before purchasing. In my local library, there is a decent selection of CDs I can borrow as well. You can both listen to and copy over these albums to your computer, so you have the songs permanently on your system. Some libraries (including mine) have a third way of delivering music: digital downloads. My library allows you to download and keep three songs a month from their digital database (separate from Hoopla). Through these three offerings, you can really get a large amount of music for free including current artists and classical hits.

4. Borrow Movies & Television

You can physically borrow TV series and movies in most large libraries with your Library Card. In addition, with the advent of digital media, many libraries across Canada have paired up with databases to offer free movie and television rentals. Many of the TV series offered are educational, but there are still some popular choices to be found depending on your library. I am working on the anime Black Butler right now, which is hardly educational (but super awesome). I am sure the digital rental database will greatly increase over the next few years as more libraries join in.

5. Fringe Benefits

Using a library card gives you an immense amount of digital and physical content for free including music, movies, television, and books. However, there are other benefits to utilizing your local library that are not often talked about. First, supporting your library will help keep it around for your kids, and their kids. Many libraries across North America are being shut down and, for a girl who grew up under the tutelage of a library, that is frightening. Another benefit is space. Borrowing books instead of owning books reduces the clutter in your house and frees up space for other things. You can also borrow newspapers and magazines, instead of subscribing and then having old magazines lying around. Your Library Card also gives you computer access, as most libraries have computers set up for their patrons to use. Finally and importantly, libraries often sponsor community events, so utilizing your local library will show the government you value the library’s place in and their contribution to your community.

(Image Credit: Amanda Tipton)

Moose Rating (8 votes)
August 1

Save Money On Summer Travel

Posted by on August 1, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Save Money On Summer Travel

With gas prices at all time highs, people are sticking around for summer travel.  Many people (including me) are planning last minute close getaways and avoiding the trans-Canada road trips: 28% of Canadians are going to limit their summer traveling and enjoyment to $100 or less according to the Toronto Star.

Here are a few tips on how to save money on your next summer trip.

Choose Alternative Accommodation

I had trouble finding a place to stay during the long weekend because most motels and hotels were booked. The only accommodation on booking websites such as Hotels.com or Orbitz were expensive hotels that were hundreds of dollars a night. Alternative accommodation that is much more reasonable includes airbnb (check out the latest coupon codes for airbnb available on Bargainmoose here) and VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner).  Oftentimes if you can’t find what you are looking for in terms of dates, you can email the owner to see if there is availability and to see if they can accommodate your needs.

If possible, find accommodation that contains a kitchenette or simply fridge so that you can prepare your own meals and save money on dining out.

Plan your Meals

Speaking of saving money on dining out costs, like many things in life, organization is key.  If you are able to plan ahead with your meals, bring a cooler (if it is a short three to four day road trip) and buy groceries ahead of time, you will save a lot more money than if you ate out for your meals.  This of course is dependent on if you have accommodation that has a kitchenette.  If it does not have a kitchenette, see if you can get at least a fridge so you can put certain foods in the fridge, and it may help you skip spending money on a breakfast.  The Motley Fool blog recommends getting accommodation with a kitchenette as well so that you can cook and save money.

Make Sure Everyone Chips In

Of course if you are traveling with your immediate family you probably won’t need to utilize this app, but if you are traveling with friends or extended family or anything where you would want to keep a tally of who spent money on what, the best app to use for this is the Payback App.  It is easy to use and calculates exactly how much you owe your friends, and vice versa.  All you have to do is input who the people chipping in are, and then input the expenses, and press “It’s Payback Time!”  The best thing about it is that it is a free app, too!

Time it Well

US News suggests that you plan your summer holiday to avoid the long weekends.  Everything is more expensive (and booked up) on long weekends, including gas and accommodation (because available rooms will be more expensive).  They suggest that if you are going to travel on a holiday weekend, you should wake up early so that you can avoid traffic and therefore save money on gas. The less time you are on the road, the better for that tank of gas and the better for your psyche as well.

Get Organized

As mentioned earlier, organization is key. The Chicago Tribune has a great article on some must-have travel apps before you start your vacation. For example, CityMaps2Go allows you to look at the map for a city without having to use wifi.  Avoiding the roaming charges while trying to find the destination you are heading to will definitely save you money.  I often fall into this trap and have to turn on roaming data because I am lost.  Therefore, an app to help you with data loss is where the focus for donations should be targeted at. Another app that is very helpful is TripIt. This app allows you to organize your itinerary so you have access to it all in one convenient location. Instead of looking for emails or files, just access TripIt and you can have access to your itinerary, trip bookings, flight details, and even restaurant reservations.

Hopefully these five tips to save money on summer travel will be of use to you this summer or maybe even next summer.  Have a great summer everyone!

Bargainmoosers, what is your favourite way to save money on your summer vacation?

(banner image credit: motiqua)

Moose Rating (3 votes)
July 28

Back To School Shopping: What To Buy & When

Posted by on July 28, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Back To School Shopping: What To Buy & When

I used to love back to school shopping.  My mom always took me shopping and we would purchase a new special outfit that I got to pick out on my own, which I was always so proud of.  I’ve got to be honest- some years were more successful than others in terms of style, but at least she let me express my creative spirit through my clothing.  Both my girls are in school in the fall; my oldest in grade two and my youngest starting junior kindergarten.  The time is flying by, and I have mixed emotions about them both being in school.  It seems like every year my oldest daughter requires more and more school items, and every fall we are hit with a bill totalling a few hundred dollars which we never plan for.  Clothing, crayons and lunch bags… there are lots of items to buy and prepare, and there are only five weeks left until school starts. I want to plan my purchases now, so that I can budget for them appropriately.

Tech gear

According to this article from CNET, July and before-school is the best time of year to purchase computers, so if you’re in the market for a new laptop for school, right now is a perfect time to make a purchase.  I found a great deal at Apple.ca; if you buy an iPad, Mac or iPhone, you get a gift card for $55 or $110 depending on your purchase. Check out this link for more information. Additionally, they have excellent financing options available. Another good option for tech gear, like computers or phones, is to purchase them through a seller on Kijiji or Craigslist.  Why pay for an item at an off-the-shelf price when you can save hundreds of dollars by purchasing it used? Also, keep in mind that if the primary use for your computer is school work, you might not need the latest and greatest computer with all the bells and whistles. By purchasing last year’s model you will save hundreds of dollars, so be open to older models. Also consider floor models- sales reps will be more likely to negotiate with you on these older computers as well, so don’t be afraid to haggle.

School supplies

Every year I think that all I need to buy is a pack of crayons and a box of tissues, and I’ll be set for school supplies for my daughter; I am always proven wrong when I get the page-long list of items required by my daughter’s teacher.  Crayons, tissues, markers, hard-cover pencil cases, etc, are all items which are required on a yearly basis.  Check out this wiki on How to Save on School Supplies for some great ideas to save you money.  I like tip #5, which is to check the weekly store advertised specials.  I know roughly what the items are that both girls need, so I will start, beginning now, picking up items when they go on sale.  I’d much rather make some smaller purchases leading up to the start of school then have to buy everything at once.  It will be much easier on my wallet this way.  I might also be able to re-use some of my daughter’s supplies from last year, specifically, her pencil case and her lunch bag.  I’m sure we could re-use her backpack too, as it’s in decent shape, but I like the tradition of shopping for a new backpack with her. It makes her excited about the beginning of the school year, and she takes pride in her stylish pack.

End of summer clothing sales

Let’s be honest, what time of year don’t kids wear plain t-shirts, golf shirts or sports clothing?  I think it makes sense to stock up on clothing at the end of summer, as basics like t-shirts, shorts and light sweaters can be worn at any time throughout the year.  I know where I live, summer clothing is already starting to go on sale.  I will be purchasing clothing for my kids in a size larger than they are now, so we have “new” clothes they will fit into midway through the winter and at the beginning of the school year.  I want to continue my mom’s tradition of purchasing my girls one special first day of school outfit that they get to choose, and I will be sure to purchase these on a day when the store I am purchasing from has a special, or I have a store coupon or an AirMiles extra miles coupon.   I could always be on the lookout for a sweet online deal, but I love the tradition of going back-to-school shopping with my kids, having them try on their new duds, bringing them home in their shopping bags etc.  I get excited just thinking about it!

Don’t forget that there are lots of needy children who don’t have the luxury of being able to afford new school supplies, so be sure to pick up a few extra packs of crayons or markers and donate them to your local food bank or charitable organization.

Online shopping is a fantastic way to pick up some super deals, so be sure to check out Bargainmoose regularly to take advantage of some amazing sales.  There are often entire tax-free weekends at stores like Loblaws and Superstore, consider stocking up on supplies then.  Also remember to price match all of the great deals at places like Walmart, No Frills and Target- they have excellent price match policies and they want your business.  If you regularly shop at one of those stores, why not bring along your flyers and price match school supplies?

Bargainmoosers, how have you saved money on school supplies?

(banner image credit: Heather Elias)

Moose Rating (1 votes)
July 25

Keep Cool In The Summer: Save Money On Air Conditioning

Posted by on July 25, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Keep Cool In The Summer: Save Money On Air Conditioning

With the summer weather in full swing, many people are having to turn on the central air conditioning because they can’t sleep at night without it on.  Air conditioning, much like heating your home in the winter, can suck up a lot of energy, pollute the environment, and most importantly, it can put a dent in your utility bill unnecessarily.  According to Wikipedia, 88% of single family homes constructed in 2011 in the United States have built in air conditioning, along with 99% of homes in the Southern United States and 62% of homes in western United States.  That’s a lot of air conditioning (and a lot of energy use)!  Of course, if you (like me) don’t have air conditioning in the home, these tips will help you keep cool. I am happy that I do not have air conditioning; I keep the thermostat at zero in the summer and enjoy my low energy bills.

Here are a few ways in which you can save money on air conditioning, by having to avoid the need to turn air conditioning on.

Close the Windows

Contrary to popular belief, if you close your windows during the day you will keep cooler than if you opened them.  If you think about your home like a container that absorbs heat, when you open the windows it allows the heat to get into your home and stay there.  This also applies to closing your blinds and shades once the sun rises, since the suns rays will heat up your home if you leave blinds and shades open.

Of course, this is easier said than done, because who doesn’t want to keep their window open to smell the fresh air, see the blue sky, and hear the birds chirp?

Use a Fan

Fans are a great way to keep cool and use significantly less energy than air conditioning.  For example, a ceiling fan uses about 10-100 watts of energy whereas a central air conditioner uses about 2000-3000 watts of energy (source:  Yahoo Shine).  That is at least 200 times the amount of energy!

If you don’t have a ceiling fan, stand-up or table top fans are great too. Another way to maximize your fan is to put a bowl of cool ice in front of it to circulate cool arctic frozen air.  How fun is that?

Check Your Lighting

If you haven’t already, switch your regular joe incandescent light bulb over to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL’s). If you think about it, over 90% of an incandescent light bulb’s energy is wasted on heat instead of producing light (source: eBay Green).  When you have a whole household full of incandescent light bulbs, that’s a lot of energy wasted and a lot of unnecessary heating in your home.  Of course, make sure you turn off any lights or electronics that you do not need turned on to save on energy and to prevent any unnecessary heating in your home.  When your electronics are in standby mode, they still emit heat unfortunately.

Insulate Your Home

This strategy and home improvement is a win-win for both summer and winter, so it’s a no-brainer to implement.  Attic insulation can help keep your home cool by not allowing the cool air to escape. Although this does not necessarily decrease the heat in your home per se, it helps keep it cool.  According to Good Housekeeping, if you have central air, you should make sure you use seal ducts at vents and registers to prevent the cool air from escaping- if you do not do this, you can allow up to 20% of the cool air to escape.

In addition, Conde Nast also recommends that you seal your air leaks with caulk.  A simple job (grab a caulking gun at your local hardware store) will give impressive results.

Keep Cool In The Summer: Save Money On Air ConditioningCool Down with a Drink

Despite using these tips you may still want to turn on the air conditioning.  If all else fails, head to your local lemonade stand and support your neighbourhood budding children entrepreneurs!  I love seeing children sell lemonade- wish I did that as a child.

Bargainmoosers, what is your favourite tip to keep cool in the heat of summer?

(banner image credit: Kenneth Lu)

wishes

Moose Rating (4 votes)