Saving Money

August 30

Save Money When you Outlet Mall Shop

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

Save Money When you Outlet Mall Shop

These days, outlet malls south of the border are a little more expensive now that the Canadian dollar is so low.  Nonetheless, many people (including myself) still find shopping south of the border more economical than staying up here in Canada shopping in the malls.  I’m a big fan of outlet malls and actually tend not to go shopping in regular malls very much.  What can I say, I love a good deal and bargain!

Recently, they opened up an outlet mall near the Vancouver airport and although there were tons of people there, I still found that going to the states (near Seattle) was better… maybe it is the idea that I went so far to get something so it must be special…?  Maybe not!

Here are some ways to save money the next time you outlet mall shop:

Skip the Foreign Currency Fee

With the low Canadian dollar, it makes sense to try and avoid any extra fees associated with foreign currency transaction if possible.  For every foreign dollar purchase (e.g., US dollars) not only do you have to pay the currency exchange rate (which is not favourable in the first place when you charge it on your credit card), you will have to pay an additional 2.5% foreign currency transaction charge just for using your credit card.

Skip that 2.5% surcharge by going with a Chase credit card (like the Marriott card or the Amazon.ca card) or holding US dollars in a US dollar account and getting a US dollar visa (there aren’t many that do not have an annual fee though).  In addition, you can go with a Royal Bank cross border banking (credit and debit account), which is a bank account based in the United States, so that you can avoid the currency exchange and currency exchange fee.

Look for Coupons and Sign up to be a VIP

Yahoo Finance recommends looking for coupons or free membership and signing up for them.  For example, with the Premium Outlets VIP membership (free to sign up), you get a discount on certain stores and they will email you to notify you of any major deals.  It gives you the chance to score better deals at the outlet.

Know Your Store

According to Wisebread, not all outlet stores are made equal.  There are three different types of outlet stores.  An actual outlet store, a regular retail store disguised as an outlet store, and a factory store.  Wisebread states that actual outlet stores are the ideal, where there are things you would find in the regular stores but at a largely marked down price.  Examples of actual outlet stores they quoted are REI, Land’s End, and Coldwater Creek.  A factory store contains clothes that you might not find at the actual retail stores and the quality may be different (e.g., worse).  Examples of factory stores include you guessed it, Banana Republic and Gap.  Gymboree and Eddie Bauer are other examples.  Finally, the least palatable in terms of outlet mall shopping is the regular retail store, where you find regular stuff (and prices) that you would find at the regular store.  Old Navy, American Eagle Outfitters, and Sunglass Hut are examples, per the Wisebread article.

Don’t be Afraid to Leave Empty Handed

Another way to save money is to understand when to walk away.  That’s why having a NEXUS card is beneficial because you didn’t have to line up for 30 minutes to two hours to go shopping at the outlet mall.  Five minutes, maybe, but not two hours.  Money Sense magazine also recommends not going over the allowable limit, of course.  Check out this Bargainmoose post on allowable limits for groceries if you’re planning to go grocery shopping on your way back from the outlet.

Wait for the Special Occasions

Oftentimes, the outlet malls will post additional savings (e.g. save an extra 40% off this weekend) during special occasions and holidays, such as Thanksgiving, May long weekend, Labour Day.  As long as you can avoid the crowds (perhaps by getting there early and leaving early) these will be great opportunities to get something at the outlet on an even deeper discount than you anticipated.

Bargainmoosers, how do you save money on outlet mall shopping?

Photo credit: Marite Toledo

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August 29

Fun & Frugal Butterfly Snack Bags

Posted by on August 29, 2015 at 8:00 PM

Fun & Frugal Butterfly Snack Bags

We are always looking for ways to make our kids’ lunches a little more exciting without spending a fortune, right? Well what if I told you that you could make their lunch more exciting and save money!? With back to school just around the corner, I know this little do it yourself project will have you all interested. Try out these Butterfly Snack Packs to add some spunk to a lunch box as well as save you some money. If you do a lot of crafts with your kids then you may even have all of the items needed in your home already. If not, a quick trip to the dollar store or craft store is sure to get your items needed. These adorable little Butterfly Snack Bags are going to be the talk of the entire classroom, and by the picture I am sure you can see why. Read the rest of this entry »

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August 28

Save Money By Preparing Your Own Back To School Meals

Posted by on August 28, 2015 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? Read the rest of this entry »

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August 27

Save Money by Becoming a Mystery Shopper

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

Save Money by Becoming a Mystery Shopper

I have not tried mystery shopping but have been intrigued by the idea for a number of years, and in fact, I think I have wanted to do it ever since I was in high school but never got around to it (talk about aspirations as a young teenager, right?).  I first heard about it when I was working in retail in a department store, and was notified that I had a positive review on a mystery shop.  I think I’m going to take the plunge soon and sign up.  I have talked to a number of people who have dabbled in mystery shopping and I have not heard of any negative experiences.  It seems like a fun way to try something different (on someone else’s dime!).

Here is how to save money on your family budget by becoming a mystery shopper: Read the rest of this entry »

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August 26

Save Money Organizing For Back To School

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

Save Money Organizing For Back To School

Sometimes it takes me the entire month of September to get back on track to get organized and ready for back to school.  Sometimes it just takes me a week or two.  No matter the amount of time it takes for you to get you and your family organized for back to school,  organizing for it is a necessity for a productive and happy school year.  There are great ways to get organized, and most of these do not require that you spend a fortune to do so.

Here are some ideas and way to save money while you are organizing for back to school.  Many of these are do it yourself projects and do not require expensive supplies.  In fact, most of these supplies can be picked up at your local dollar store. Read the rest of this entry »

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August 23

4 Ways to Upcycle Old Tires

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

4 Ways to Upcycle Old Tires

Not sure what to do with your old tires that you can’t seem to get rid of on Craigslist and that don’t have very much tread on them?  Feel bad about adding it to the junk yard?  Have enough space in your backyard and outdoor space area (or even living room)?  Well, have no fear, for here are some ideas on how to upcycle your old tires. Repurposing the tires to something beautiful will have your house guests in awe and disbelief of what it was in its former life. Read the rest of this entry »

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August 22

Cheap & Creative Uses for Baking Soda

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

Cheap & Creative Uses for Baking Soda

Baking Soda is something you will probably find in everyone’s kitchen, so why not think of some cheap & creative ways to use it? Baking Soda makes for a great ingredient in many DIY projects and cleaners. I am sure if you asked your parents or grandparents they would say the same thing. My grandma puts baking soda and vinegar down any drain that seems a little clogged, or combines baking soda with water to clean jewellery. Lavender Baking Soda Air Fresheners even make for great gifts, so read along and pick your poison. What are you going to use your leftover Baking Soda for? Read the rest of this entry »

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August 20

Save Money on Your Summer Staycation

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

Save Money on Your Summer Staycation

Summer holidays are halfway over now that we are in August, but that does not mean that you should start panicking about your lack of vacation plans.  If you have some time off in the summer but aren’t planning to use your passport for your summer vacation because of our slow economy, or the expensive US dollar currency or the expensive fuel surcharges on international flights, you still have some time to make your staycation a memorable and great vacation.  Here are some ways to save money on your summer vacation through doing a staycation.

What Makes a Staycation Great?

According to Moneysense, what makes a staycation great (and feeling like you just had a vacation) is being able to switch off from the typical grind or day-to-day routines. Read the rest of this entry »

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August 18

6 Simple Ways To Save Money on Fun School Lunches

Posted by on August 18, 2015 at 8:00 PM

6 Simple Ways To Save Money on Fun School Lunches

It is getting close to that time of the year again. Soon we will be packing lunches and sending our kiddos off to school every morning. Have you ever noticed that your grocery bill climbs when Back To School hits? That is because you are not using all of the ways to save money on lunches for your kiddo. There are tons of ways to save money on making fun lunches for the kids, and these are good for parents with kids in day care or school. If you get ahead of the game and start learning before school starts, then you should be all set to start saving some nickels and dimes (because pennies are no more) to put away towards anything you would like. Also, in most cases it seems like you get healthier lunch box results when you try to save money. Read the rest of this entry »

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August 16

Save Money for Back to School by Upcycling

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

Save Money for Back to School by Upcycling

The days are getting shorter and the school season is about to start.  Unfortunately it is that time of the year again when summer holidays are coming to an end and all the back to school supplies are displayed on store shelves.  Back to school is usually an expensive time of year because children get new shoes, new book bags, new lunch boxes, and of course, new clothes.  In order to offset some of these costs, try upcycling or recycling.  This will hopefully help you save a bit of money in your budget to spend on your children for things that matter more, like extra-curricular activities and team sports or lessons.

Here are a few ways to save money on back to school, by upcycling: Read the rest of this entry »

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August 12

How to Save Money at Universal Studios

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

How to Save Money at Universal Studios

Universal Studios theme park has a location in both Hollywood, California and Orlando, Florida.  As a kid, I was lucky enough to have gone to both.  It is often the quintessential addition to a trip to Disneyland (especially since they are both in the same locations).  A day at Universal Studios, the ultimate Hollywood experience, doesn’t come cheap though.  The usual price of a one day pass to Universal Studios is $99 US Dollars and $199 US Dollars for a Front of Line ticket.  With the poor conversion rate, it is even more expensive for us Canadians.  A trip with your family can add up to hundreds of dollars very quickly, and that does not include the flight or the accommodation.

Despite the high cost, it’s a great place to visit and there are indeed small ways that you can save that will pay off big time for your trip to Universal Studios Hollywood or Universal Studios Florida. Read the rest of this entry »

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August 6

7 Ideas To Surprise Your Kids Without Spending Money

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

7 Ideas To Surprise Your Kids Without Spending Money

Kids can cost a pretty penny, but most of us want to give the world to our kids. According to the calculations at Moneysense.ca, the average parent is spending $1,070 per month on their children for all the essentials, activities, childcare, food, health expenses and clothes. That number is a detailed look at data from Statistics Canada and does not include extras such as birthday parties, allowance, presents or fun days out.

I take my kid out for surprises, or even the occasional indulgent “Pink Frap” at Starbucks. The reality is there are plenty of ways to make your child’s day without spending tons of cash. Bellow I have detailed some of my favourite ways to surprise my kid and add a little fun to our week.

Tuck A Surprise In Their Coat Pocket

I started this idea off and on when my child was very young. When she was two, I would occasionally stuff a Fisher Price Little Person in her pocket. Read the rest of this entry »

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August 2

Save Money By Learning To Pick Ripe Fruit

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

Save Money By Learning To Pick Ripe Fruit

The other day I was at a friend’s BBQ and was telling her about how amazing grilled pineapple is fresh off the BBQ. I was lamenting not bringing along a pineapple to share. At first she politely danced around my insistence that it was delicious and she mentioned her husband did not like pineapple. Eventually, she quietly admitted to me that she loved pineapple but could never pick a good one!

Many fruits are in their prime right now, there is simply no reason to waste money on under ripe or spoiled fruit. Read the rest of this entry »

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August 1

Save Money on Your Landline

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

Save Money on Your Landline

According to the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) the average monthly cost for a landline varies from $35 to $55 a month.  Annually, the landline costs anywhere from $420 to $660 a year.  The lower end is for a basic landline with  no caller ID, no voicemail, no call waiting, and no bells and whistles.  When you add caller ID and call waiting and other necessities to a landline, that adds up a lot more monthly.  Over $600 is a lot of money for something that isn’t considered a necessity.  These days, the Internet is considered more of a necessity, something that we need to use on a daily basis, more than the landline telephone.

Who still has a landline?  Well my mom still does and I do call her on that even though she has a cell phone (she has limited daytime minutes). Read the rest of this entry »

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July 30

3 Baby Items To Ditch From Your Budget

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

3 Baby Items To Ditch From Your Budget

Babies are a wonderful joy to bring home, but the financial side of things can be more cries than happy coos. According to the detailed list at TheBump.com, preparing for your first baby’s first year can total up to $30,000. The cost of diapers, supplies and baby gear alone can total between $1425 and $3770. While that number may seem high when you start fully considering lifestyle changes you are probably making, that number for gear for a first child is not out of line. Read the rest of this entry »

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