Saving Money

October 30

6 Last Minute Halloween Ideas

Posted by on October 30, 2014 at 8:00 PM

6 Last Minute Halloween Ideas

Tomorrow is Halloween and if you are like me, you have a busy life and may have waited until the last minute to get your Halloween things together.  You may need a last minute costume, or some last minute decorations, or even some last minute party ideas.  I am sure there a lot of people that are in this boat so I have put together a few last minute easy to do Halloween ideas for trick or treating, parties or for decorations in general.

1. Party Prop

6 Last Minute Halloween Ideas

This is a very simple and fast thing to do the day of your party.  Just put  rubber spider, worm, or any creepy crawler in you ice cube trays to have some festive ice for your guests drinks! I found this idea at Buzzfeed and I know I will be using it this year for my kids.

2. House Decoration

6 Last Minute Halloween Ideas

This last minute easy decoration is also from Buzzfeed.  Just take any plastic cup you may have, draw a jack-o-lantern face on them and use the flame-less candles underneath. You can make fun ghosts, pumpkins, Frankenstein faces and more and it will just take you minutes.

3. Party Game

6 Last Minute Halloween Ideas

This game from Daycare Answers is perfect for a kids party.  Basically, you get foods like spaghetti, grapes, a banana and put them in holes in a box and get the kids to guess what everything is.  They think that the items are guts, eyeballs and brains instead.  The complete instructions are listed through the link.

4. Halloween Food

6 Last Minute Halloween Ideas

I would have never thought of this myself.  Add some white icing and chocolate chips to a cupcake and you have a cupcake ghost.  This idea from Buzzfeed is perfect for a Halloween party this weekend!

5. Costume

6 Last Minute Halloween Ideas

This simple skeleton costume that I found at Coolest Homemade Costumes would work for a man, woman, or child.  You just need a black shirt and a white shirt and you make some cuts into the material.  You can add some face paint to make the costume even better but all of the directions are listed online.

6. Party Prop

6 Last Minute Halloween Ideas

This prop would be more for an adult party.  Print off a scary picture and put it in a jar with coloured juice to make it look like a body part in a jar.  I have to admit, this looks pretty cool even though it is morbid. This idea came from Morbid. They have it as an April Fool’s joke but it would make a great Halloween prop for any party.

Have a very fun and safe Halloween tomorrow night Moosers!

Photo credit: Aftab Uzzaman

Moose Rating (2 votes)
October 28

Become a Career Contest Winner and Save Money by Winning

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

Become a Career Contest Winner and Save Money by Winning

For some, entering contests and sweepstakes is more than just an occasional lark – it’s their career.

I first became aware of these prodigious winners as a kid. The son of a friend of my father’s, Jason Sheps, made entering contests his job and, as a result, he won a lot. In fact, he’s still doing it to this day as an adult. When last I saw him, he had won seats in a suite at the Air Canada Centre for the Toronto Maple Leafs, had his mom’s entire kitchen redone for free and took a boat trip in Vancouver with the Canadian Coastguard. His mother estimates that he’s won thousands of dollars in services, vacations, food and merchandise since he started doing this in elementary school.

I know, just reading that makes it all seem way to good to be true, but it can be done and Carolyn Wilman has made a career out of teaching people how to do it.

She calls herself The Contest Queen and she makes a living auditing, creating and drafting rules for contests and sweepstakes. With a background in marketing and event coordination, she has over 25 years experience, both as a contest competitor and as a contest consultant. Like Jason, she started entering contests as a kid. She’d be one of those teens, hanging on the rotary dialer, hoping to be the seventeenth caller for concert tickets.

She has won contests big and small since she was 15 and has saved a considerable amount of money doing so. Breakfast Television, Canada AM and The Mom Show all wanted to know her sweepstakes secrets and luckily, I can share a few here that she told me when I interviewed her in 2010 and are featured in her book, You Can’t Win If You Don’t Enter.

Know How to Find Them

There are many contests to be entered – even more if you count those available through social media – you just need to know where to look and it’s not always so obvious. That’s why you should get to know contest aggregators like All Canada Contests, which list all legitimate contests available to Canadians on one website. There are many of these, along with newsletters, blogs, sponsors, and forums that all point in the direction of active contests. We have a weekly roundup of contests on Bargainmoose, so take a look for that each Wednesday.

Honestly, the amount of contests that are out there can be a bit overwhelming, which is why Wilman recommends joining only one or two of these places, so you can avoid potential duplicates and don’t get confused.

Read the Rules Carefully

This is Wilman’s #1 tip since so many people don’t actually do it and screw up their chances of winning right off the bat.

“If you disqualify yourself and your name is drawn, you won’t win — simple as that. If you’re not paying attention, you’re just wasting your time,” she says.

The biggest rules that people overlook are the start date and the end date of the contest, so they’re either too late to enter or they’re unable to maximize their opportunities to enter because they don’t start on the first day. Also, not all contests are open to residents of Canada and even if they are, Quebec is usually shut out due to strict provincial government regulations for sweepstakes that are meant to protect citizens from scams. Some contests are only open to kids and some limit the number of times you can enter, either per day or for the duration of the contest, so read the rules and fine print carefully.

Enter as Many Contests and Sweepstakes as Many Times as You Can

The greatest key to making contests a career and winning a lot is to enter as many as you can as often as you can.

“It’s a numbers game,” says Wilman. “”I win 1% of what I enter,” she says. “People think I’m so lucky, I win everything, but 99% of those prizes go to other people.”

Her average output is about 100 to 300 entries a day, which equates to five to 15 prizes a month. It may seem like an epic waste of time at first, but Wilman says it does pay off.

“My husband used to tell me this was a waste of time and it was just a silly hobby, but then I won him the right to be a judge at the Miss Hawaiian Tropic Bikini Contest and he shut up pretty fast. Suddenly, it became ‘When are you going to enter that contest?’”

Also, there is technology out there that makes it so much easier, which leads to her next tip.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

There’s nothing in the rules that says you can’t use technology to make entering contests easier for you and that’s exactly what Wilman recommends. She uses a tool called Roboform to help her fill out multiple entry forms at the same time and organize them from one central hub. Through her $30 investment, she has won over $200,000 in prizes, so it’s pretty worth it if you’re going to be serious about this.

Don’t Work Alone

The good news is, you don’t have to enter contests in isolation. You can build a support system to help you out and give you tips along the way, especially because contests are getting harder and harder these days.

“More and more they’re looking for UPC codes, they want skill testing questions and you can get help from other people,” confirms Wilman.

To stem the tide and fight back against the increased complexity, Wilman recommends starting a contest club in your neighbourhood where friends can get together and “talk shop,” as she calls it. It’s a great way to pool your resources and collect the required number of boxtops or UPC codes faster. Besides, while Wilman admits that the contest internet forums can get really clique-y and snippy, she says you won’t have the same problems as much in real life.

“You find the right group and everyone is happy for you, you don’t get the eye-rolls and the jealousy.”

Do you think entering contests to save money is worth it? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo credit: Ben Rea

Moose Rating (3 votes)
October 26

The Top 5 Ways You’re Wasting Money

Posted by on October 26, 2014 at 8:00 PM

The Top 5 Ways Youre Wasting Money

Have you ever checked your bank balance expecting to see one number, but the number you actually see is much lower than you were expecting?

Suddenly, you think, where did all my money go?

Good question, where did it go? It’s almost like it evaporated into thin air.

We know the feeling – you have money one minute and the next it seems like it’s just disappeared. Obviously, it didn’t just get up and walk away, but there are so many places that you can spend money in the world, it’s possible to not even realize that you’re doing it.

Hopefully though, if you’re conscious of where your money is potentially going, it’ll be easier to avoid these traps and not spend your money needlessly. Below are various money traps that when avoided, will make it easier to save money.

You let food spoil in your fridge
We know it can be difficult to figure out how much food you actually eat in a week or a month, so every so often something falls through the cracks and spoils in your fridge. Regardless of whether it was a mistake, spoiled food is still money down the toilet. Lifehacker has some great common sense tips for avoiding food spoilage, including only buying the food you will actually eat, buying smaller packages that fit the amount of people in your household, share what you can’t eat, use all parts of your food and use a blender to use up your food and disguise it in other dishes.

You overuse data on your data plan
You’re probably spending more on your cell phone data plan than you really should. Be vigilant about closing windows running in the background of your phone without your knowledge and download free apps like Onavo, which monitors your data usage and tells you which programs hog the most data and where most of your data goes. It also reduces your data usage by compressing it and only using the most essential parts of your program. Download it and see if you save money just by having it run as you go about your business on your phone.

You Don’t Haggle or Negotiate
We recently did an article featuring one of America’s preeminent negotiators – Herb Cohen. Go read it and you’ll find loads of haggling advice. While haggling is second nature in other countries, we’re kind of embarrassed to do it in North America and many of us are too intimidated to take things at anything less than face value. Well, we’re not negotiating to our detriment. According to Fast Company, and a study cited by the two authors of Women Don’t Ask, a book we referenced in our previous article, women lose out on more than $500,000 over the course of their career if they don’t push for more money during their first job. This is a hell of a lot of money, so read our article on haggling and pick up some tips.

You Don’t Get Built-in Discounts
Some of us (but hopefully nobody reading this website) put those flyers, circulars and coupons we receive in our mailbox straight into the recycling and in the process don’t take advantage of the deals right in front of us. Of course, presenting flyer coupons to a store clerk takes more work than we should ever have to do in the internet age – what with the hassle of cutting of the coupons, the driving to the store and the redeeming them at check out. Thank god there’s an easier way. Instead of wishlists, Lifehacker recommends using price alerts from the browser utility Camelizer to get automatic alerts when the prices on your favourite products drop below a certain threshold. InvisibleHand is even better, it will find you a lower price on the product you’re looking at so you can compare. There are even more ways to automate your discounts – look for them in a future Bargainmoose article.

You Don’t Try Lowering Regular Bills
We all know phone and cable bills can be through the roof, but most of us just seem to accept that we’re paying hundreds of dollars and don’t do anything about it. Yet, cable and phone companies have regular promotions and discounts, all you really need to do is ask. Usually though, it’s all in how you ask. Stay calm and polite, as you catch more bees with honey and always emphasize that you’ll be with this company for the long haul (brand loyalty) and you just want to save money and work something out. Of course, some things are non-negotiable, but be specific about your needs and you never know what may happen. Plus, if you continue to get the run-around over the phone, it never hurts to visit the offices or a company retail location in person.

How do you waste money? Tell us in the comments.

Photo credit: B Rosen

Moose Rating (2 votes)
October 25

Saving Cash On Your Road Trip

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

Saving Cash On Your Road Trip

When you hear the words “Road Trip”, do you typically have a moment of silence for the money that you’re about to spend on unnecessary items? You don’t have to do this if you plan for your trip with your friends, family, or your significant other – with a little preparation, you can have even more fun when you’re on the road! After all, it’s fun to save money, people! Yeah!

Now road trips can be a pricey endeavour – especially when you’re making frequent stops along the way. It’s always important to pitch in for gas if you’re not driving, so keep that in mind as well. However, when you’re filling up on gas and you’re feeling hungry, it can be really tempting to fork out some of your dough for some overpriced snack foods and drinks (seriously – getting some beef jerky, a bottle of pop, and a pack of gummies can easily cost about $10 with taxes included at a gas station).

You’ll also be stopping for meals along the way, which can be a necessity along the way (after so many hours on the road, nothing beats a nice hot meal at a restaurant). I know I’m a sucker for Denny’s, so whenever I’m one of the proud members of a road trip-related excursion, that’s usually one of my favourite spots to eat during our journey.

Unfortunately, stopping at so many places along the way can really lay the smack down on your bank account (it’s happened to me plenty of times). Listed below are some important tips that can help you save some money on your road trip:

  • If your destination is a particularly long ways away from where you are and you need to spend a night at a hotel during your journey, try to do some proper planning so you won’t pay exorbitant fees for a hotel room. Plan out your trip on Google Maps or Mapquest ahead of time so you can estimate a good in-between point where you would take a rest from driving and get some sleep. Instead of booking through the hotel directly and paying steep fees for your overnight stay, you can get a discount on plenty of hotels by using Orbitz, Hotwire, or Priceline.
  • Get plenty of food and drinks for you to bring with you on your journey! This can help keep you from purchasing overpriced and unnecessary snacks (well… Doritos are always necessary) at gas stations and other locations. Get some sandwiches, fruits, veggies, drinks, granola bars, and snacks, pack them in a cooler or a cooler bag, and you should be good to go! This can help you save a substantial amount of money.
  • When you’re stopping at a restaurant to have a meal, pick up some affordable fast food. If you’re on a diet or just don’t like fast food, you can always go to a grocery store that has plenty of selections in their deli departments, or you can go to a restaurant. Just try and get something affordable so you won’t spend too much before you get to your destination.
  • Before purchasing any souvenirs or items during your journey, ask yourself these two questions: “Will I care about this one week after buying it?”, and “Where am I going to put this when I come home?”. There is a bunch of stuff that I’ve bought during my many road trips with friends and my girlfriend, and so much of it is just collecting dust now. So before you buy that souvenir that looks hilarious, think twice and save that money for when you arrive at your destination. After all, would you rather spend $30 on a T-shirt, or would you prefer to spend that on something that would be more exciting?

I hope that these road trip money-saving tips can help you out. If they do, feel free to comment! Also, if you have any tips on saving cash when you’re on the road, post them below. Thank you, and I hope you all enjoy the rest of your day!

Photo credit: Zach Ancell

Moose Rating (2 votes)
October 24

5 Ways to Save Money While in School

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

5 Ways to Save Money While in School

Whether it is your first time in university or college or whether you are returning back to school after a long period of being in the workforce, it is generally agreed upon that school is expensive.  Although furthering your education can help you develop your career and improve your income by leaps and bounds, it might not feel like this at the time.  You might just feel like a poor student.  However, sometimes being a poor student does have its perks, and so being able to save money while you are in school becomes less difficult and easier to accomplish.

Here are some strategies that will help you save money while you are in school.

Max Out Your Student Perks

Just like Gail Vaz-Oxlade suggests in this Moneysense article on saving money at school, max out your student benefits.  The rest of the world knows that you are a starving student, why not take advantage of it while you can?

Bus passes, museum tickets, concert tickets, Greyhound bus pass, Air Canada flight passes, Vancouver International Film Festival tickets… the list goes on.  There are many places that offer a discount for students.  One of the most recognized student discount pass (especially if you plan to go abroad) is the ISIC card, or the International Student Identity Card.  It lets the people from the foreign places you plan to go to know that you are a starving student.

Hit the Student Gym

If it’s already included in your fees, why not use it so you are saving money on a gym membership or a monthly yoga class?  Student Universe also states that most schools have a student gym and some even have classes like yoga or pilates that you can take.  These classes are normally very expensive so it makes sense to take advantage of it while you have a student gym pass/ access to enjoy.

Get a Part-Time Job

I personally worked throughout University (both times I went) with a part-time job.  Sure, there were times when I felt really time-crunched, however, I think working allows you to prioritize and to focus on things that matter.  Plus, knowing that you will finish your education program without as much debt as you could have had is priceless.  I believe that working gives you the onus to prioritize and get organized, two skills that are essential as a student.  Of course, you cannot work so much but personally I like to feel productive and I like the organization.  Being organized in my life helped me become organized for my main job.  Although, I only worked 10-15 hours per week with the part-time job in the evenings and weekends.

Buy Used Textbooks

Skip your university or college bookstore, the best place to buy your books is (like most things nowadays) online.  From Bargainmoose, here are some places that you can buy used text books.  Personally, I saved a few hundred dollars buying my textbooks from Amazon.com and then picking it up across the border, rather than going to my university bookstore to buy the books that they recommended.

You could also take advantage of the coupons we have here on Bargainmoose for stores like Bookmob and Textbook Rental and even rent your textbooks.

All you need is the ISBN number from the list your instructor tells you to get, and you just plug that into Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.  Of course, there are a lot of other places to buy your used text books, instead of Amazon.com.  The great thing is that you can resell your books to Amazon.com and then get a gift card for the value of your used books.  No fuss, no muss really.

Pack Your Lunch

Finally, just like for those who work full-time, packing your lunch or avoiding that daily coffee is going to save you ton of money in the end.  Considering a lunch is at least $5 to $10 per day, that’s at least $1000 per year (averaging 4 lunches per week).  That is enough for a last minute ticket to Mexico for spring break!  Besides, packing your lunch is good for your waist line too, and at least you know what you are putting in the food.  Knowing that you are saving day by day is priceless.

Bargainmoosers, are there other ways that you saved money while in school? 

Photo credit: Beraldo Leal

Moose Rating (3 votes)
October 23

6 Homemade Halloween Decorations that are Practically Free

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

6 Homemade Halloween Decorations that are Practically Free

Halloween is one of my favourite holidays to celebrate, partly because it is a lot of fun to decorate my house inside and out.  I seem to buy new decorations every single year and my husband has finally put his foot down this year and gave me a budget.  Being the crafty, savings-type person I am, I decided instead of buying new things this year, I am going to make the decorations myself.  Not only will this save us money, but my kids can join in the fun and make some scary and spooky decorations as well.

I hit up some great websites to see if I could find some DIY decorations and was shocked at how many awesome ideas are out there.  Here are a few of the great inexpensive Halloween decoration I found online, that you can make yourself. Some of them are creepy, some of them are kid friendly but all of them are perfect for this holiday.

1. Mummy Doors

6 Homemade Halloween Decorations that are Practically Free

This idea from Keeping It Simple is such a fun idea for the whole family to do.  Instead of buying the supplies like they suggest, I suggest you use toilet paper and make your own mummy eyes out of cardboard.

2. Milk Jug Ghosts

6 Homemade Halloween Decorations that are Practically Free

I have a family of four so we go through a lot of milk jugs and usually just recycle them.  This is a great way to recycle them in a different way. The easy directions are on Eighteen25 so you can make your own.

3. Cardboard Cutouts

6 Homemade Halloween Decorations that are Practically Free

This is definitely a creepy decoration but I love it!  Just make some cardboard cutouts in the shape of people, paint them black and cut out the eyes. I found this at Brastwurst Tumblr and it would be perfect for a party.

4. Spider

6 Homemade Halloween Decorations that are Practically Free

With this DIY craft, you can use some items around the house to create a huge spider for the inside or the outside of your house. You can make it fun or scary.  All of the directions for this spider are posted on Listotic.

5. Glowing Eyes

6 Homemade Halloween Decorations that are Practically Free

This has to be the cheapest and easiest craft idea.  I can’t believe I have never thought of this before. Just take a toilet paper roll and cut out different eyes and stick a dollar store glow stick in it to hang outside. These perfect decorations are from Her Campus.

6. Frankenstein Cans

6 Homemade Halloween Decorations that are Practically Free

This is another fun craft to do with your recycling at home. Paint some cans green and black and add some wine corks and googly eyes and you will have your very own Frankensteins for Halloween. You can find this idea at Brew My Tea.

What homemade Halloween decorations have you made in the past Moosers?

Happy Halloween!

Photo credit: Liz West

Moose Rating (2 votes)
October 22

How to Haggle Your Way to a Better Deal

Posted by on October 22, 2014 at 8:00 PM

How to Haggle Your Way to a Better Deal

Ladies, you’ve probably heard this at least once in your life.

When it comes to haggling for a better deal, most women have one thing in common – they suck at it.

Linda Babcock and Sara Lashchever, authors of Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide, reveal some interesting statistics on their website.

According to their book, 2.5 times more women than men said they “feel a great deal of apprehension when negotiating” and men initiate negotiations four times as often as women. Women compared negotiating to “going to the dentist,” while men compared it to “winning a ballgame” or a “wrestling match.” This opinion costs women money.

Get this, the book also revealed that women will voluntarily pay $1,353 to avoid negotiating the price of a car and that women are more pessimistic about what they can get from negotiating, so they typically ask for and get less than men – 30% less to be exact. Even worse, 20% of female adults – that’s 22 million people – avoid negotiating at all, even though they know that sometimes negotiating is called for and necessary.

You may think these statistics come from one source and they could be biased, but there are countless other sources that show that women have difficulty negotiating for raises or their job offers.

In fact, compared to other places in the world, North Americans negotiate a lot less, but it hasn’t always been this way.

“One hundred years ago, Americans used to negotiate because we weren’t as affluent as we are now. After the Second World War, we had a monopoly on a lot of the world’s manufactured goods and people had to deal with that kind of ultimatum, so a (no choice on the price) attitude became much more pervasive,” said Herb Cohen when I interviewed him about the art of the deal in 2010.

Herb Cohen is one the world’s foremost negotiators. He helped create the F.B.I.’s hostage negotiation program, he advised U.S. President Jimmy Carter on the Iranian Hostage Crisis and he is arguably credited with coining the term, “win-win situation.”

As a woman, you may suck at negotiating, but like Cohen told me, “Anything that’s the product of a negotiation can be negotiated for. You just have to know how to do it effectively.”

So without further adieu, here are a few ways to do just that.

Do Some Research Before You Suit Up

WikiHow recommends finding out how much what you want is going for by either comparing prices online or visiting other stores in your area. Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples and you’re not looking at a used product or one with considerable damage that isn’t what you’re buying. Arm yourself with proof of lower prices in case the store clerk is willing to match or beat them. Also familiarize yourself with the various features of the product and how they compare with other models or competing products, so that you know the difference between them and value of each and can set the perimeters of the deal.

Have Your Lowest Price in Mind Before You Start

Thanks to the research you do, Kiplinger points out that you should have a fair price in mind – or at least the lowest price you’re willing to settle for – and you can use the research you’ve done to make your case. However, don’t name that price. Staying quiet can work to your advantage, as silence is awkward and can get the seller to volunteer a lower price, especially if it’s the end of the day or the seller looks eager to leave or close the deal. Get them to quote a price first and then ask how much they can come down, don’t give them the price you have in mind. Never give away a number right away. If the seller says “Yes” you’ll never know if you could’ve gone lower and got an even better deal.

Keep Negotiations Friendly

Too many people see a negotiation as a battle with a winner and a loser, but most expert negotiators say that if one of the parties involved in the deal goes away unhappy, then you have haggled wrong. According to The Telegraph, you should start by building a rapport with the salesperson. Smile, ask for their first name and give them yours. Then you can start with a little small talk before you get down to business. Get them to show you the product that you’re seeking and walk you through its features. You may know this information already thanks to your research, but it can help put the seller at ease and make them eager to help you.

Remember, you want them to work with you and not against you. You also want to help them out and try to create a win-win situation for both sides. Ask them about their current stock because maybe if they help you with a deal, you can help them by getting rid of some of their overstock. Frame all your discussions as if you need them to help you.

Look for Flaws, Defects or Age Indicators

You should never pay full price for a flawed or damaged product, so if you spot flaws, point out what’s wrong and use it as a reason you should get a deal. You can also use the same tactic if you’re buying a floor model, used products, last year’s model, or the last one left.

Never Take No for an Answer and Always be Prepared to Walk Away

Don’t just say you’ll walk away if you can’t get a deal – actually do it. Stand your ground and keep asking the salesperson questions. Don’t let them rush you into a buy, take your time and work all the angles. Know that if it doesn’t feel right, you can walk away at anytime and make sure the salesperson knows that. If they see a potential sale walking out the door, they may suddenly get a bit more cooperative.

Bundle Your Items

Before you start in on the big main event item you you’ve come for, take a look around the showroom floor and see if anything else catches your fancy. If something does, put it in the back of your mind because you may be able to save that one for later. The more you’re able to bundle your purchases together, (doing the seller a favour by taking more merchandise off their hands) the steeper the discount you should be entitled to.

There you have it, did we miss anything? What’s your favourite haggling strategy and are women really as bad at it as people think? Leave your answer in the comments below.

Photo credit: Keith Chastain

Moose Rating (2 votes)
October 19

Knock-Off vs. Real Deal: How to Spot the Not

Posted by on October 19, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Knock Off vs. Real Deal: How to Spot the Not

Last week, I went to Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities, Cirque du Soleil’s newest production, and while the show was fantastic – well worth the price of admission – the food and the souvenirs were way overpriced (typical of a show of that caliber).

The prices would tempt anyone to try and find cheaper alternatives, which is why sometimes if you exit an event like Cirque du Soleil or (more typically) a concert, you’ll be quickly and immediately accosted by a bunch of guys selling t-shirts at a deep discount.

Has this happened to you? You’d know by how insistent these men were that you close the sale in minutes right on the spot. If you’d been there before, maybe you had a chance to take a close look at those shirts as well. No matter what event this happens at, they all come with the same M.O. From a distance those shirts look like the genuine article, basically identical to the ones you could get inside the venue. But if you look closely, the shirts are anything but — there are a few subtle changes that indicate they’re not exactly official merchandise.

So was that hasty purchase worth it to save a few dollars? Some Bargainmoosers (or is it Bargainmeeses?) may think so, but that purchase was counterfeit, which is why it happened so fast. The sellers were trying to get out of dodge before the cops caught wind. Hey, it’s a nice deal if you can get it, but counterfeit goods come at a cost.

You may not care that the sale of counterfeit goods increases the price of the real product or that you don’t know where the money you spent is going and counterfeit goods are often linked to terrorism, but you may care that counterfeit goods are of questionable quality and that money you saved may go right back into fixing the merchandise when it falls apart.

Whatever you think of counterfeit products, (good or bad) no Bargainmooser is worth their fake antlers if they can’t tell the difference between an artificial product and the genuine article.

So, below you’ll find a number of ways you can spot the not.

Look for Inconsistencies in the Packaging

The easiest way to spot a fake product is to look for differences in the packaging. Grammatical and spelling errors are common and rather obvious. We’re not talking about the occasional missing comma here. Instead, you’ll find random letters or typos in words they have no place in. Think “SOUTH AFRLCA” and “Assoxiation” for example. All of it is usually extremely obvious.

Even if there are no spelling mistakes, the printing quality would be rather shoddy. Look for colours that run or are different than those on the actual packaging you may have seen elsewhere. Look for warped or blurry text along with company logos that don’t quite look the same as the brand you think you’re buying.

Sometimes you’ll notice shoddy workmanship on the package itself. Sometimes counterfeit packages are partially or completely open before they even leave the seller’s hands. They might even be taped closed in a cheap and unprofessional way. If you see any of these many inconsistencies, they’re an absolute dead giveaway that what you’re getting isn’t exactly the real thing.

Look for Deals that Seem Too Good to be True

It’s not that counterfeit goods are always cheaper than the real products they are impersonating, but many of the deals you may be offered for them are generally ridiculously out of touch with the reality of the market. I mean, for crying out loud, who can afford to sell a brand new Louis Vuitton for $50 when the average price starts at $1,000 unless you are a counterfeiter? Exactly, nobody.

If you’re still in doubt, perhaps you should compare previous versions of the product you bought with this more suspect edition or, if this is your first time buying this product, go to the company website and compare what you have to what you see online.

Look for Shoddy Workmanship and Missing Pieces

Most companies take pride in their products, so seeing torn, frayed or broken merchandise should send up red flags immediately. If you see missing tags, decals or parts that are present on genuine versions of what you purchased, then you probably have a fake in your midst. All genuine products come with everything needed for their operation, including a user’s manual, product registration documents and accessories.

Therefore, if any of these are missing or different from what you’d typically expect, then you’ve likely been had by the seller. Again, it may not matter if something isn’t quite the same as the original, but can you think of anyone who wants a crappy product, even if they’re going for a deal?

Look for Safety Certification and Safety Standards Marks

If you’re buying electronics, you’d usually find a Canadian Standards Association mark if it’s a Canadian product and an Underwriter’s Laboratory or ETL mark if it’s an American product. All three marks certify that the product has been tested and meets North American safety standards In Europe, you’re looking for a CE mark to tell you that the merchandise is certified for safe use on that continent.

Counterfeit goods either don’t have these marks or have fake and generic versions of them. We recommend familiarizing yourself with what these marks really look like, so you know what to look for. Often, fake products will have the certification on the packaging, but not on the product itself and although the mark is of varying sizes on all products, they always look the same in terms of font and design. So, if these marks look different in any way, or they’re just nowhere to be found, then you probably have a fake product and a huge fire hazard on your hands.

Okay BargainMoosers, have any of you ever bought a fake product? If you have, tell us your story.

Photo credit: Ben

Moose Rating (1 votes)
October 18

Planning Your Movie Night In

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

Planning Your Movie Night In

Entertainment doesn’t have to be expensive. Sure, a night out at the movies can always be fun, but by the time you purchase some popcorn, drinks, and maybe even some snacks, things can get pricey – especially if you’re not going on a cheap night! When you factor in the price of the movie tickets, along with the “standard” inflated movie theatre prices for your snacks and drinks, you may be looking at a total bill of approximately $50 to $60 – and that’s not including the dinner you may have had before the movie!

When you typically think of having your movie night in the comfort of your own home, you may not see it as a special venue, but it can be – it’s all in how you stage your movie night in. In this article, we’re going to look at some of the ways that you can have a nice, relaxing, AND affordable movie night at your place!

First of all, what you’ll need to remember is to try and make it a big deal, instead of making it seem like something that’s just a normal part of your day. I’m not saying that you and your significant other need to style your hair or put makeup on before you sit in your own living room, but it helps to be prepared for your movie night in.

I’ve included a list of useful tips that can help you have a fun, relaxing movie night in the comfort of your own home.

  • Plan your movie night in ahead of time. Schedule a specific time that would be most convenient for both of your schedules, and stick to it.
  • If you usually watch movies in your living room, your set up may include several couches and/or chairs. Try to sit together on the same piece of furniture instead of sprawling out on separate sofas. After all, you’ll want to replicate the movie experience!
  • Pick up some snacks or delicious food that can help you replicate the movie theatre experience! The best part about this is when you see your grocery bill – especially when you’re used to paying those inflated theatre prices! Just take a look at these food and drink combos on the Cineplex website, and think about how much you’d be saving by purchasing popcorn, pop, and candy elsewhere!
  • Before you splurge on a new DVD or Blu-Ray movie, check out your collection and see if there are any movies that you haven’t watched yet. I’m guilty of picking up new movies often when I should be watching the ones that I own that I still haven’t seen yet, so I plan to practice what I preach. For realsies.
  • Another great option if you have a Blu-Ray player, laptop, Apple TV, video game system, or smart box connected to your TV is Netflix. There are literally hundreds of movies available on Netflix, and you’ll always have plenty of interesting ones to choose from. Best of all, it only costs $7.99 a month to get access to a myriad of popular and not-so-popular movies and TV series.
  • Turn off the lights, and keep your cell phones away from the room where you’re watching the movie. You’ve done a lot to plan this relaxing movie night in, so what’s the point in getting distracted by your phone? If you’re used to checking work related emails on a regular basis, take this much-needed break and enjoy the movie.

A movie night in will only be special if you allow it to be. If you follow these tips, you may really enjoy your affordable movie nights in your home! It’s cheap, it’s fun, and you can have them several nights a week! Plus, you’ll have a great excuse to watch a bunch of older movies that you’ve always wanted to see but just couldn’t find the time to watch before. You just can’t go wrong with a nice movie night in.

Do you have any tips or ideas that you’d like to share about your movie nights in the comfort of your own home? If so, feel free to share them below!

Photo credit: Kevin Harber

Moose Rating (3 votes)
October 17

How to Make Money Using Airbnb

Posted by on October 17, 2014 at 8:00 PM

How to Make Money Using Airbnb

Airbnb has hit the world by storm and has quickly become one of the most common ways people use to stay in another city or country. With hotel costs becoming more and more expensive and without having access to a kitchen while you are in a hotel, living in someone else’s apartment or suite or even spare room makes much more sense.

Airbnb is in over 190 countries around the world.  While I have not used Airbnb yet I definitely plan to in the near future.  As an Airbnb host, you can choose how much to rent your place out and when.  For a great run down of what Airbnb actually is (the online rental marketplace), check out this great Investopedia post.

What are  the Costs?

The costs to the host are minimal (technically).  Airbnb charges you a 3% fee once the reservation goes through.  The traveler, on the other hand, has to pay a 6-12% fee on top of what you charge as a host for their reservation.

Some other costs include property damage.  While no one wants to think about this, it can be a reality.  You add a security deposit to each booking and Airbnb covers damages up to $1,000,000 but it is a good idea to read the fine print on Airbnb to see what is covered or not.

Also, before you list your place, it is a good idea to look at the laws and jurisdiction in your community to make sure you are allowed to rent out your place, as you may need to apply for a business license from your city in many cases.

Here are some ways in which you can pimp out your pad and market your listing to make sure people want to stay at your place:

Take Advantage of the Professionals

Airbnb offers a professional photographer to come to your place in most cities.  The process is simple but you need to be present with the photographer during daylight hours.  The process is really free.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words and it’s especially important when you are considering listing your place out on Airbnb.

Response to Requests ASAP

According to Smart Cookies, one way in which you can be profitable and successful with your Airbnb listing is to ensure that your response rate is high.  Respond to requests within 24 hours because a lot of the travelers booking on Airbnb are last minute travelers and you don’t want to miss their booking request.  Your response rate is listed and shown on your Airbnb host page.  This is something that you can easily control and manage, and there are no reasons why this should not be followed up on.

Include the Little Things

Little things turn into big things as we know.  The little touches, like towels included, coffee and tea amenities, and WIFI (actually that is a big thing because WIFI these days is seen as a necessity and not a ‘perk’) are going to give you big bang for your buck.  Even parking can be expensive and people want to know that they can park their car hassle free, especially in big cities when parking is a pain to get.

Feedback is Key

Forbes has a great article on “Seven Tips to Make Bank on Airbnb” and one of them is to make sure you get verified, which means getting feedback and reviews.  When someone is searching for a place to stay, it is hard for them to trust you when you don’t have any feedback.  People want to know they are staying at a reliable place that other travelers felt were reliable too.  That’s why some websites like Tripadvisor do so well.  Basically this is like Tripadvisor within Airbnb already embedded.  You want to make sure people like your place and want to write a good comment.

There you have it, hopefully these tips help you with your Airbnb listing or at least inspire you to think about getting on the Airbnb bandwagon.  If you need a little push, use this coupon code from Bargainmoose to get $25 Airbnb credit just for signing up!

Bargainmoosers, have you tried using Airbnb or tried renting out your space with Airbnb?  What have been your experiences?

Photo credit: Matthew Trentacoste

Moose Rating (1 votes)
October 16

7 Unique Homemade Halloween Costumes

Posted by on October 16, 2014 at 8:00 PM

7 Unique Homemade Halloween Costumes

One of my favourite holidays is fast approaching and the one thing everyone will need is a costume.  With Halloween being on a Friday this year, there are likely to be parties for young and old.  Not only do I hate spending a fortune on a costume, I don’t like how the store bought costumes all look the same and everyone has them.  I prefer the good, old fashioned, homemade costume and I have rounded up some great ideas for young and old to make your own costume this year.  It will save you money and you will be the hit of the party!

1. Smurf

7 Unique Homemade Halloween Costumes

This is a costume that would look adorable on a baby but really any aged person could wear.  I found it over at Tip Junkie and it is very easy to make.  Just use some white tights, a blue shirt and make a white hat and ball tail.  If you want to be Smurfette, just add a yellow wig.

2. Octopus

7 Unique Homemade Halloween Costumes

This is such a fun costume for kids , but really can be for someone of any age.  At Giggles Galore, they give you step by step direction on how to make the legs and the hat.  You can choose any colour you want and just match it to a shirt you have in your closet.

3. Prego Pasta Sauce

7 Unique Homemade Halloween Costumes

I love this idea for a pregnant woman.  I was huge when I was pregnant and it is not easy to figure out a costume.  With this one from Cuffed for Life, you can wear your jeans and a red shirt and all you need to do is buy some felt for the details on the front.  You can add some plastic cutlery to your hair for a fun touch as well.

4. Cactus

7 Unique Homemade Halloween Costumes

I just love this costume and how easy it is to make!  All you need is green sweat pants and a green shirt to wear and a box of whites straws.  You pin the straws on all over for the prickles and you are an instant cactus. (Idea from Inventor Spot)

5. Beanie Babies

7 Unique Homemade Halloween Costumes

This adult costume is perfect for a party or the bar.  It is a more imaginative version of the same old skimpy cat, mouse, and other animal costumes.  You can still dress in your sexy Halloween animal costume but by adding the big heart tag in the front, (with some simple cardboard) you have a creative fun spin!  I found this costume idea over at Her Campus.

6. Smores Family

7 Unique Homemade Halloween Costumes

This is such an awesome idea for a family to do together. For the actual easy directions on how to make each piece, they are posted up on Cheerios & Lattes.

What are you dressing up as this year for Halloween Moosers?

Banner photo credit: thepeachmartini

Moose Rating (2 votes)
October 14

How Your Favourite Celebrities Save Money

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

How Your Favourite Celebrities Save Money

Celebrities saving money? I know, right? Why would you even need to deprive yourself when you can literally have anything you want? Still, it’s nice to know that, in some respects, some of them are just like us. I guess it’s comforting.

Besides, just because you get famous doesn’t necessarily mean you have to live like a baller all the time and I’m sure those money saving habits that served them well when they were struggling actors are hard to break.

After all, fame is fleeting – one minute you’re living high on the hog and the next you could be eating Kraft dinner again, so maybe these money saving habits are good for the Jennifer Lawrences and the Lena Dunhams of the world to know, in case they ever lose their appeal as the “It” girls of the moment.

Below you’ll find some of Hollywood’s finest and their average joe strategies for saving money

Zooey Deschanel Saves More Than She Spends

During her 2012 divorce from Ben Gibbard, the lead singer for Death Cab for Cutie (duh!), court documents revealed that she was waaaay in the black. According to Huffington Post, she saves 76% of her income, has absolutely no debt and has put away $1.58 million in the bank with even more money tied into an investment portfolio.

My financial advisor would applaud those numbers, but I guess it’s easy to put a little away into that emergency fund when you make $95,000 a month.

Sarah Michelle Gellar Clips Coupons

So, it turns out that when Sarah Michelle Gellar wasn’t slaying vampires on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she was slaying flyers and coupon books with a pair of scissors.

In 2012, the actress admitted to Self Magazine that she clips coupons saying, “I clip coupons all the time. Why should you pay more for something that someone else is paying less for?”.

Yes, why should you, Sarah? That’s the question we ask ourselves all the time at Bargainmoose and we’re glad you share those sentiments.

I wonder if she’d start going all Buffy on the grocery clerk or dry cleaner if they refused to redeem that 20% off voucher?

Hilary Swank Buys in Bulk

This two-time Academy Award winner is another actress who says she sees coupons as “a dollar in her pocket,” but that’s not all she does to save money. The actress also buys toilet paper and toothpaste in bulk, even though she’s more than financially secure.

These habits aren’t so unusual, especially for her. In her earlier life she lived hand-to-mouth in a trailer park in Bellingham, Washington and we all saw her chow down on a burger just after winning her first Academy Award for Boys Don’t Cry. It’s easy for her to be one of the boys, as her penny pinching practices are so engrained, she’s not above getting her hands dirty if it will save a few bucks. In 2010, she told Regis and Kelly this:

“When you open up the paper and you see those coupons, it looks like dollar bills staring you in the face. . . . It’s how I grew up. Why not?”

Sarah Jessica Parker Will Not Spoil Her Children

Though she has a weakness for Manolo Blahnik shoes – owning over 100 pairs – SJP insists that she’s the complete opposite from her shopaholic character Carrie Bradshaw on Sex in the City. The Daily Scoop reports that she went to the school of hard knocks, living on welfare while growing up in a family of eight.

In a 2008 interview she’s said that she didn’t by her son new clothes when he was younger. Instead, he wore hand-me-downs from his older cousins.

“James only wears hand-me-downs because I’ve got all these older nephews…Plus my mother saved all my brothers’ clothes…I think it’s incumbent on my husband and me to really stress and to show James Wilkie by example what it means to owe your community something and that he is not entitled to the benefits of our hard work.”

Kristen Bell is No Bridezilla

When Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard got married there was no Hollywood wedding. The whole affair only cost $142 plus gas. She told Jay Leno that it almost didn’t happen because even though they filled out the paperwork, the couple forgot to find someone to officiate the wedding so they had to scramble to call their friends (some of them were ordained) to find someone.

The friend that finally came through was actually in the same courthouse and after the deed was done, the new Mr. and Mrs. Shepard joined their friends at a local restaurant where they were presented with a cake that proudly proclaimed, “The World’s Worst Wedding.”

The two wouldn’t have it any other way. Shepard told Jimmy Kimmel, “How many people can say they threw ‘The World’s Worst Wedding?’”

Just you and Kristen, Dax. Just you and Kristen.

Photo credit: Chris Potter

Moose Rating (3 votes)
October 11

Pinching Pennies On Your Night Out

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

Pinching Pennies On Your Night Out

You know it. That all-too-familiar situation where you’re doing your best to save your money, but you’re tempted by the bright lights and endless entertainment of the city. You can do your best to avoid it for a while – heck, you may even avoid it for nearly a year! However, when you’re further cajoled by friends to come out for a night on the town, it can be hard to say no.

Guilt may set in soon afterwards when you get back to the reality of the situation: you’re trying to save some money, and you know how expensive a night out with your friends can be, especially when you’re celebrating someone’s birthday, or it’s another special occasion. However, it doesn’t have to be like that. Granted, you’re going to have to spend some money when you’re out with your friends, but it doesn’t have to be a lot.

Just try to think of it the same way you do when you’re planning out a trip. Do some research – get a general itinerary of what’s planned for the night from your friends, and take it from there.

If you and your friends are planning to stay at a hotel, you can usually save some moolah by booking one through Orbitz or Hotels.com. Normal hotel rates can be quite expensive, so booking a random hotel through these websites can certainly help you be thrifty. Your friends may also appreciate you helping them save some money, too! You can check out the latest Orbitz and Hotels.com coupon codes right here on Bargainmoose.

If you all plan to sit down and grab a bite to eat before the night gets started, you can always check out our site to see the latest coupons that are available. It’s always a nice bonus if you can find a coupon to use at a restaurant to help you save some extra cash! If that’s not the case, you can always eat something at home before you head out, and grab an appetizer or something that’s not as pricey as an entree when you’re at a restaurant.

It may sound silly, but if you and your friends are planning to drink some beverages during your night out, have a nice pre-drink at the hotel before you head out! Some shots and drinks can be quite expensive when you go out to a bar or club in the city, so perhaps you should all bring some from home and enjoy some of them before your night out on the town. It can certainly help you lower your total expenses for the night! After all, getting a $400 bill at the bar isn’t a pretty sight!

We all know how pricey cab fare can be. If you’re going out with a bunch of your friends and you plan to drink, requesting a van cab can always help you keep your transportation costs down. However, an even better idea is to find a place to go to that’s near your hotel so you can all walk over there without having to spend anything. If it’s a cold winter night, then taking a cab may be the best available solution (depending on where you are, public transit usually isn’t available by the time most bars and clubs close, so getting a cab may be your only option).

Either way, frugalness aside, just have a good time. After you do some research and find some extra ways to save your money, let your hair down and enjoy your time with your friends. You deserve to treat yourself every once in a while, and you can also take some solace in the fact that you found a way to afford your night out!

My fellow Bargainmoose Blogger Eva has a great article published on how you can still Party Like A Rock Star Without Spending Like One that I highly recommend that you all check out. It has even more great insight on how you can still keep pinching pennies on your night out with friends. If you have any extra suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Photo credit: Nathan Rupert

Moose Rating (1 votes)
October 10

Save Your Money While on Parental Leave

Posted by on October 10, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Save Your Money While on Parental Leave

We all know how expensive a baby can be, let alone having to work on reduced income such as paternity or maternity leave.  Many new parents often underestimate just how much that first year with the baby is going to cost them.  While we are very fortunate in Canada to have the option of one year of maternity leave, the great thing is that we have the option to stay for the full year, or if we want we can return to work earlier.

Here are some ways to plan ahead and also some ways in which you can try and save money for your baby’s first year.

Figure How Much You Will Get

Handy websites like Employment Insurance Maternity and Parental Benefits from the Government of Canada will help you figure out how much you will be able to get every two weeks.  For 2014, the maximum amount that you can receive per week is $514 and you are able to receive 55% of your maximum insurable earnings, maxed at around $48,600.  Knowing how much you will receive will help you figure out how much you need to save for your baby’s first year.

You are eligible for parental leave benefits if you have worked over 600 hours in the past 52 weeks, as per BrighterLife.

Figure Out How Much It May Cost

If you are able to plan ahead, you can budget how much you’ll need to save before the baby arrives to ensure a smooth transition.  The last thing you want to stress out about is finances because there are so many other things to worry about.  Like making sure the baby is fed, or what to do so you can get more sleep!

Baby Center has a fantastic baby cost calculator that can estimate the total first year cost for your baby.  The average first year cost for a baby is just shy over $6,000 if you don’t have any regular childcare or daycare in your first year.  Of course if you are planning to feed your baby formula this cost fluctuates too.  There are about $2,000 worth of one time costs that you could use for your next baby if you have one.  In summary, the costs for your baby’s first year are individualized and can fluctuate widely.

Ways to Save Money While on Parental Leave

Canadian Family suggests that you cut down on wants and just focus on needs.  Hand-me-downs are a great idea because children often outgrow their clothes so quickly.  In addition, meal planning works well for your family (not your baby of course) because you or your partner may be too exhausted to cook on a daily basis.  With the luxury of time on your side, maxing out those home cooked meals works well to save on food costs.  Another way to save money is to see whether using cloth or disposable diapers is cheaper for your budget.  In general, it is more economical to use cloth diapers (and even more economical if you wash it yourself) if you use a cloth diaper pick up service.  And it is better for the environment.

The Government of Canada also has a great financial checklist of things you should do after your baby arrives here.

Can I Work During Parental Leave?

Many new parents want to work during parental leave, even if they are odd jobs here and there because, hey, anything helps!

This post from Canadian Budget Binder helps summarize whether you are able to work while on parental leave in Canada.  While it may be tempting to earn a little cash on the side, the amount gets reduced from your maternity leave and employment insurance earnings, so it might be wise to have a cautious look first before you start pulling cash in.  Basically if you work too much you could get your maternity leave benefits clawed back.

Hopefully this post answers some questions about how much you might get while on parental leave, how much your baby’s first year will cost, how to save money during parental leave, and whether you can work on the side.  Having a first baby is both overwhelming and exciting, congratulations on your new bundle of joy!

Bargainmoosers, how did you make it work during your maternity or paternity leave?  Do you have any tips for fellow Bargainmoosers?

Photo credit: Roberto D’Angelo

Moose Rating (1 votes)
October 9

6 Food Items to Make Instead of Buying to Save Money

Posted by on October 9, 2014 at 8:00 PM

6 Food Items to Make Instead of Buying to Save Money

With so many options at the grocery store and so many different prices for the same foods, it can get overwhelming. I try to make as much as I can at home so that I am cutting out as many dyes, preservatives and extras from my family’s diet.  Not only is it healthier to make items at home, it is cheaper as well.

There are many things that are so simple and quick to make at home that you would just instinctively buy and you do not have to. Some of the things you can just use leftover scrap to make them.  I have gathered six of those food, condiments, and snack items, that our Moosers can make themselves at home very easily.

1. Fruit Rollups

6 Food Items to Make Instead of Buying to Save Money

There is a recipe over at Sondie Bruner that will help you make easy fruit rollups.  These homemade ones cut out the processed sugars and dyes and make this sweet snack a healthy treat for your kids.

2. Popsicle

6 Food Items to Make Instead of Buying to Save Money

My mom used to make her own popsicles and now I do for my own kids.  You can use either fruit puree or fruit juice and just add it to a mold and freeze.  You don’t need a recipe – it is that simple.  A great place to find different kinds is on Pinterest. That is where I found this picture above.

3. Trail Mix

6 Food Items to Make Instead of Buying to Save Money

Over at Her Campus, they have seven different recipes to make your own trail mix at home.  This is snack item that is far cheaper to make yourself rather than buy at the store.  A great place to stock up on the trail mix items is at Bulk Barn. We often have printable coupons for them on our forum.

4. Salad Dressing

6 Food Items to Make Instead of Buying to Save Money

This is something that I always make homemade at home.  It doesn’t take that much time at all and it will save you the upwards of $7 a bottle for the store bought brands. A Beautiful Mess has three different recipes featured for salad dressing that are quick and easy to make yourself.

5. Ice Cream

6 Food Items to Make Instead of Buying to Save Money

There are a ton of different recipes for ice cream on the internet and they range from really easy to very hard to make depending on your cooking skills.  I have found one that requires no cooking, baking, or any skill whatsoever!  The Two Bite Club has a recipe that includes just two ingredients and is very healthy. All you need to do is add frozen bananas and some peanut butter to your food processor and there you have it!

6. Croutons

6 Food Items to Make Instead of Buying to Save Money

This is the easiest to make and there are so many different recipes to do it.  Personally, I just use any spices I have in my cupboard, a little bit of olive oil and bread ends.  It seems like no one in my house likes the end pieces of the loaves of bread so I save them in the freezer.  Once I have a bunch of them, I make a new batch of croutons. There is a nice recipe posted on Lynns Kitchen Adventures that is easy to follow.

We would love for you to share some of your make it yourself recipes for saving money on your grocery budget Moosers!

Photo credit: Nic Taylor

Moose Rating (2 votes)