Saving Money

April 18

How To Be a Frugal Wedding Guest

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

How To Be a Frugal Wedding Guest

With Spring and Summer comes nuptials. May is actually the month that most people get married in, what with all the beautiful flowers and colours and baby animals. You might be invited to a wedding this season and are stressing about it because it just might not be in your budget. I have a wedding this Summer that I’m looking forward to because I absolutely adore weddings, but I’m more stressing about childcare since one half of our family will be at the wedding. Childcare could also be another budget woe for you when it comes to wedding. So, how can you attend a wedding and not break the bank? I’ll tell you how.

Gift

As soon as you are invited to a wedding, the first thing on your mind might be a gift. Weddings are expensive for everyone, and while I don’t think anyone ever should expect a gift (and certainly not these bridezillas), it is good etiquette to give the new couple a gift, even if you don’t believe the marriage will ever last. Many people like to give money, especially if the couple is young and is just starting their life and would like to buy a house or have a nice honeymoon. If you aren’t sure what to give, check out this handy dandy calculator.

Moneysense suggests that if you know you have a wedding in your future, begin budgeting ahead of time. If you don’t have or want to give money, there are gifts you can give that are inexpensive, but thoughtful. Is there a service you can provide for the bride and groom that would go farther than any expensive gift? For example, as a writer I could write something beautiful for the wedding. A person with a lovely voice could sing at the reception. A floral arranger could do the bouquets. These services don’t have to be for the wedding either. A person who is a fantastic cook could offer to cook the bride and groom one special meal a month for the first year. If the couple has kids, offers of babysitting go a long way.

Alternatively, guests could make something special like pottery, artwork or more. Check out this Pinterest page with lots of great ideas for DIY wedding gifts.

Attire

Going to a wedding usually (but not always) means dressing formally. I don’t know how many women I’ve heard complain that they don’t have anything to wear to an upcoming wedding. I know I don’t have anything for the wedding we have coming up, so I need to figure out what to do. First, check your closet and figure out if you really don’t have anything. Just because a dress is ten years old doesn’t mean it won’t do perfectly. Some classics never go out of style (as long as they still fit). If you’ve worn a dress one too many times, try dressing it up a little more with showpiece jewellery or a scarf or a great pair of shoes. If you really feel like there is nothing in your closet, ask a friend. Even if your friend is not your size, I bet they could have some gems in there saved from a bigger or smaller time in their life. This is exactly what I did two years ago for a friend’s wedding. If all these are a no-go, consider wearing some classic dress pants and a top and doing your hair in a beautiful up-do that will be the star of the show, not your clothing. Pinterest also has some great ideas for up-dos.

Lodging

If your wedding is out of town or far enough away that you don’t want to drive home, you’ll need lodging, which could be expensive. I’ve found that hotels on sites like Hotels.com or Orbitz paired with coupon codes are really the best deal. Many times as well, the bride and groom will reserve a block of rooms somewhere at a discounted rate. Talk to them or someone else involved in the wedding if this is an option.

Showers & Other Parties

A wedding doesn’t just stop at the day of the wedding, there are usually a number of parties beforehand and some after that guests will be invited to attend. The shower, the stag, the buck and doe are all huge money-dwindlers that will leave you crying. Although all of these could be fun, opt to attend only one instead of all to save money. You could use the tips above for shower gifts, which shouldn’t be a huge cost anyway. If you really want to attend the bachelor or bachelorette parties (and why not, they are my favourite part!), opt to eat or drink before you go so you don’t spend a lot of money out on the town. Instead of spending a bunch of money at the buck and doe, sell as many tickets as you can for the event, knowing you contributed that way instead.

If you get a wedding invite and you really can’t afford to go, don’t go. Send a gift when you have the money at some point in the future. If the bride and groom are truly your friends, they will understand.

Bargainmoosers, what are your tips for not spending a lot this wedding season?

Photo credit: 阿乃

Moose Rating (2 votes)
April 17

5 Cheap, Easy & Natural Ways To Dye Your Easter Eggs

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

5 Cheap, Easy & Natural Ways To Dye Your Easter Eggs

Dying Easter eggs just seems to be such a fun tradition that all kids are happy to do. As a Mom, I worry about the dyes we use in the process. I went to buy a kit yesterday that claimed to be all natural, but the all natural dyes did not look natural to me! I’ve read studies about how these dyes affect kids and decided it isn’t worth it. But, did you know you can dye eggs without an egg-dying kit and it is actually the cheaper way to do it!

5 Cheap, Easy & Natural Ways To Dye Your Easter Eggs

Food is the first thing I think of when I think of natural dye. Beets do incredible things to your hands, of course they’ll turn your eggs purple or pink. Better Homes & Gardens has a whole list of natural food ingredients you can use as dyes.

5 Cheap, Easy & Natural Ways To Dye Your Easter Eggs

Another good staining food is blueberries. Any mother knows this as she steps on one on her clean floors. I certainly do. Long Distance Baking did experiments on which foods work best when dying eggs.

5 Cheap, Easy & Natural Ways To Dye Your Easter Eggs

Besides food, the very creative mind at Squirrelly Minds came up with using tissue paper to dye and colour eggs. Genius!

5 Cheap, Easy & Natural Ways To Dye Your Easter Eggs

This idea from Rad Megan means you can dye your eggs and recycle your garbage at the same time. She used red onion skin to make these eggs a different colour.

5 Cheap, Easy & Natural Ways To Dye Your Easter Eggs

Recycle your old clothing this time using silk ties that you no longer want to dye your eggs. Find the instructions at Not Your Average Sock Monkey.

Bargainmoosers, do you have fun and frugal ways to colour eggs this Easter?

Banner Photo credit: Linda Giddens

Moose Rating (1 votes)
April 14

5 Ways to Upcycle Your Old Jars

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

5 Ways to Upcycle Your Old Jars

Spring is the time of year when you start getting rid of junk and clutter from your house, but what should you do with all that junk and clutter when you’re ready to clear it out? Instead of just tossing it into the garbage bin, consider upcycling some of it into unique décor pieces for your home. Have a box of glass jars taking up space in your attic or garage? You may want to use one of these ideas to turn your old spaghetti jars into focal points for your kitchen or living room.

Baby food jar spice rack

A great solution to all of those baby food jars piling up in your house, by following Lauren Davison’s instructions you can make your very own magnetic spice rack! Considering these usually cost $2 per magnetic spice jar at the store, this is a great way to upcycle your empty jars and save you money.

5 Ways to Upcycle Your Old Jars

Mason jar lantern

Perfect to set the mood at a wedding or romantic dinner in with your loved one, these mason jar lanterns are easy to make as long as you have some time and a few empty jars on hand. Thanks to Heart Love Weddings’ for this great idea!

5 Ways to Upcycle Your Old Jars

Candle in a jar

Instead of shelling out $15 for a vintage style candle from Etsy, you can DIY your own (and even sell them yourself too!) with the help of Candy and Clothes’ candle in a jar recipe.

5 Ways to Upcycle Your Old Jars

Stained glass jar vase

A beautiful window treatment or table centrepiece, these stained glass jar vases are a great way to add a pop of colour and a hint of elegance for the low price of just a few dollars. Eclectically Vintage’s blog shows you how to hang them with wire around your window, and Six Sisters’ Stuff will show you how to stain them whatever colour you wish.

5 Ways to Upcycle Your Old Jars

Mason jar snow globe

It doesn’t have to be Christmastime to turn your old jars into snow globes. Swap fake snow for glitter and replace the miniature Christmas trees with tiny houses or landmarks from your hometown. Thanks to Miss Fancy Pants for the inspiration!

5 Ways to Upcycle Your Old Jars

Bargainmoosers, how else can you upcycle your old jars? Leave your suggestions in the comments!

(Image: Wesley Eller)

Moose Rating (3 votes)
April 12

Car Sharing Versus Owning a Car: Which one Saves More Money?

Posted by on April 12, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Car Sharing Versus Owning a Car: Which one Saves More Money?

If you live in a larger Canadian city, you will likely have noticed a large number of car sharing companies cropping up recently.  Some companies include Zipcar, Modo, and Car2go.  For example, in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, and Calgary, you might see little white and blue smart cars parked everywhere.  Before I used a car sharing program, it seemed very complicated, like I was not part of an elite club of car sharers.  However, once I signed up, I experienced first-hand just how easy it is, and now when I need to go downtown, or I want to jog one way, or go to a place where parking is going to be iffy, I just hop in a Car2go instead of hopping in my car.  All I need to do is check out my app to see where there is a Car2go nearby and reserve it and then hop in.  It is very easy.  Cars are easy to drive, clean, and no fuss or no muss.  Though one time I found a wet bathing suit in the glove compartment, but that is beside the point I guess!

Car2go

Car2go is a car sharing company that originated in Ulm, Germany and has quickly gone viral in 23 other cities in Europe and North America.  Most cities have about 200-300 car2go cars in their fleet.

The cost?

For example, in Vancouver to rent a Car2go, it is $0.38 per minute, $13.99 per hour, and $72.99 per day plus tax.  This includes the gasoline, insurance, maintenance, and parking (except at meter parking of course, but you can park your Car2go at all permit parking spots and you can park for free at many parking garages – these will be highlighted in the Car2go GPS located in the car).  The start up cost is $35 for registration, but this can be easily waived by entering a coupon code at the time of sign up.  Bargainmoose has a great coupon code for Car2go that reduces your membership fee to $10 and gives you 30 free minutes of driving time.

  • Insurance- included
  • Gas- included in the per minute cost
  • Maintenance- included
  • Parking- free (provided you do not park at meter parking)
  • Assuming a 15 minute commute (minimal traffic) to work Monday to Friday = $12.88 per day (including tax) equals $258 per month

Owning a Car

On the other hand, if you have more than a few car trips per week or if you can only commute to work by car, it may make more sense to own a car.

Some of the regular costs of owning a car to factor in when comparing it to a car sharing program include:

  • Insurance- estimate $150-$200 per month
  • Gas- estimate $100-$400 per month (depending on how much one drives)
  • Maintenance- estimate $25 to $100 per month (only oil and filter a few times a year versus bigger things like maintaining brakes etc.)
  • Parking- $180 (average $9 per day at a parkade, Monday to Friday)

Average total cost per month: $455 to $880 per month.  In fact, the average car costs over $8700 on an annual basis to maintain, gas up, and provide insurance for in the United States (source: Time).

(This does not include costs of leasing the car or financing the car, assuming that you own the car outright already!)

Although there may seem to be significant cost savings with using a car sharing program, the convenience of owning a car obviously plays a huge factor.  Sometimes finding a Car2go car can be difficult and requires extra time to find one to reserve.  Moneysense magazine has a handy chart comparing the cost of car sharing programs versus owning a car, factoring in average car costs over an 8 year period.  The verdict was that if you used a car sharing program more than a few times per week, owning a car makes more sense.  Of course, owning a car makes more sense if you have multiple trips, like taking your children to and from daycare, or to and from soccer practice.  The car sharing programs are likely targeted towards drivers without children.

Granted, another benefit to car sharing is a sense of community, social responsibility, a sense of doing good for the environment and not adding to the carbon footprint, and “walking the walk” of a minimalistic lifestyle.

Bargainmoosers, have you ever used a car sharing program?

Photo credit: Billy Wilson

Moose Rating (2 votes)
April 11

How I Staged My House For Less Than $1000

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

How I Staged My House For Less Than $1000

I am in the process of selling my house I’ve heard research that says that staged houses sell for more money and quicker. I’m all for more money and less having to keep my house perfect, so I wanted to stage my house. My agent pays for a stager to come to my house and evaluate every room, give us a checklist and a to-do list, along with a quote for what she can do. While she was very helpful in giving us advice, we didn’t want to spend the money getting someone else to do the staging. As a frugal Mooser, I am all for saving money in the process of making money. I would, however, recommend getting an agent who will pay for the initial consultation, because you could learn a lot about what it is you need to do before you do it.

Get rid of your emotions

Selling your house can be very emotional. You have many memories – good and bad – there and you don’t want strangers trampling on them. In order to get the most money out of your house sale, you need to check your emotions at the front door. House selling is a business transaction and feelings have no place in business. This means that you’ll have to let go of items you might be emotionally attached to, like those pen markings that mark your child’s growth, or the wallpaper your late mother helped you choose.

Get yourself some boxes

At our last move, my husband spent a fortune on brand new boxes from U-Haul. This time we prepared early and have been collecting boxes from various spots for months. If you shop at a particular store often, get to know the manager and often they will even put boxes aside for you to pick up. I also saw that a friend is moving in down the street for me, so of course I gently asked if I could have their boxes when they are done. Don’t be shy at this stage!

Cost: $0

Declutter

The first step in any house staging is to de-clutter. My home is filled (filled I tell you!) with stuff, what with five of us living here, three of us being children and one of us (me) being a bit of a hoarder. I spent a good week of evenings packing stuff that we don’t need into boxes and arranging them thoughtfully in the storage areas in my basement and garage. I took all souvenirs, special items that weren’t decorative and even family pictures down. My bookshelves and my kid’s bookshelves were packed tightly with books. I packed away some of the books, leaving space on the shelves for decorative items or for you know, space. Dressers were cleared, shelves were thinned out and the kitchen countertops were left empty. The effect was one of “do you still live there?”. This was my intention, as you want potential buyers to see their stuff on the shelves in their minds, not only picture your child’s grade 4 sculpture looming largely on the bookcase. The same goes for family photos. Buyers can’t imagine themselves living in this house if your 16×24″ wedding photo hangs over your bed.

Cost: $0

Paint

Painting is probably the most important step in any house sale. Fresh paint does so much to a house – it covers dirt, brightens up the place and replaces what you think is a good colour scheme. While you could hire a painter, doing the work yourself is always the best deal. Send the kids to your parents or wait until they are in bed, and get painting. Look for coupons or sales ahead of time and store the paint until you are ready to use. Home Hardware has a very handy paint calculator so you can get just the right amount, saving you from making a second trip or from having a can you can’t bring back once it is mixed. The Dollar Store has cheap tools for painting, including rollers and paint trays. Use old sheets that you realized during your declutter don’t fit any beds in the house to cover all flooring and furniture. If you are like my husband and don’t cover the floors, we found a scrubbie pad from the Dollar Store works great to scrape paint off hardwood!

Painting a neutral colour is very important at this stage, because some people might hate blue so much, it makes them hate your house. At first I was not happy with the very neutral colour my husband chose for our paint job, but seeing the photos of our home I realized it really brightened up my otherwise somewhat dark home. Benjamin Moore has a great article on colours to paint your house for sale.

Cost: $150

Clean, clean, clean and then clean some more

Buyers want a clean home. I hadn’t really deep cleaned my home since I moved in, having gotten pregnant within months of closing with my third child, I was very busy as it was. So, it was quite the shock to me how much dirt was living on my carpets, my blinds, my cupboards, my doors and my trim. I am all about organic or natural products for cleaning so I picked up sponges from the dollar store, got a few club size tubs of vinegar, some spray bottles and ripped up some baby clothes that were stained for rags and got cleaning. It took me about a month of working each night and through the days when I could to get every inch of my home clean. But, truly, my house sparkles. I now notice any new fingerprint or drop of water on the tile. You should also consider cleaning inside of cupboards and drawers, as new buyers might peek in there and if it is a disaster, that could turn some people off.

We have an industrial carpet cleaner, but if you don’t have one, they are easy to rent at grocery stores. I just used borax and vinegar, rather than harmful chemicals and the water that came up through the carpets was the requisite brown to black colour! Check out my article on how to be a frugal organic cleaner and Heather’s on how to spring clean inexpensively.

Cost: $15

Get rid of extra and ugly furniture

While my kitchen table and chairs were functional, they didn’t look very appealing. My yellow fabric chairs were stained beyond repair. So, my very handy husband built us a brand new kitchen table with very simple instructions from Ana White, who has free instructions on so many DIY projects. Chairs are harder to build, so we bought a set from Ikea, as I found them the cheapest place for new chairs. They also had a buy three, get the fourth free deal on, which worked perfect for us. We tried to sell our old set on kijiji, but it didn’t go well, so we gave it away for free instead. The look of the kitchen changed immensely with the new table and chairs so it was definitely money well spent.

We had a total of four dressers in our bedroom, which to me just plain made sense since 3.5 of them were full of my clothes, but it made the room look smaller. I sadly took the clothes from two of the dressers and stored them in bins in my basement beside my children’s out of season or too small clothing. We sold the dressers for $100 on Kijiji and the room looks much more spacious.

Cost: $130 to build table/ $250 for chairs/ -$100 for sold dressers = total $280

Cover it up

If you can’t get rid of stuff that is otherwise ugly or stained or well-worn, cover it up. Our large sectional couch is ten years old and has been through two dogs and three babies and a woman who sets her full glass of wine right on the cushion while reading. We couldn’t really afford to pitch it and start new so we covered it up with strategically placed throws, both of which we already had, and brand new throw cushions that I got from Loblaws for $5 a piece. The couch looks new-ish again.

Our bedding didn’t have a bed skirt, and while the stager suggested buying all new bedding, bedding can be expensive. Instead, we covered the bottom mattress with a white sheet and while it doesn’t look fancy, it looks nicer and didn’t cost a cent.

We have gorgeous hardwood floors in our home, but with all our children and animals, they have dings and scratches. We bought two rugs on sale from The Brick to add some softness and cover the floors a little bit.

Cost $175

Add furniture

Above I asked you to take away furniture when it made the rooms look cluttered, but in some cases your dead space needs something. You can move furniture from other rooms and give it a new use, which is a free way of doing it, or you can buy furniture to fill the space. My office had both my desk and my children’s desk in it. It looked too cluttered, so we moved the kid’s desk to one of my son’s rooms where he had only a bed and a dresser, which filled that space for him. To my office, we purchased two club chairs from Ikea and added an ottoman that my husband made me last year. It looks beautiful and more of a place where someone would want to spend time.

Our living room is quite long and narrow and had some empty space, so again my ever-handy husband built a ladder shelf and we filled it with decorative items that look nice (although not too full).

Another free tip I learned from our stager was that beds against a wall made rooms look smaller, so strategically place your furniture so it makes the room look larger.

Cost: $275

Artwork

Now that all of your family photos are off the walls, are all the walls bare? Ours were mostly bare, although we placed up artwork that was more neutral, like paintings from our travels and photos I had taken that weren’t of people. We did find a large canvas at XS Cargo for only $25, which fit nicely over our couch, but then put it elsewhere and splurged on a piece I loved from Urban Barn. I won’t include that cost in here because it was an unnecessary splurge. My husband also built us a large-scale art piece to put on the stairway where the ceilings are tall. He simply built a wooden frame, bought a cheap fabric and staples it on. It looks like we spent hundreds on it!

You could also take photographs that you’ve taken over the years of scenery or striking images and frame them in cheap frames from Walmart or Ikea to save yourself money on artwork. I had two photos of ladders I had taken, which I framed in frames quite a bit larger than the photo for a larger piece.

Cost: $50

Bargainmoosers, what actions did you take to stage your house for sale? Let me know in the comments below!

Photo credit: Sean dreilinger

Moose Rating (3 votes)
April 10

7 Frugal DIY Invitations For Any Occasion

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

7 Frugal DIY Invitations For Any Occasion

With party season in full spring, people are throwing showers, BBQs, weddings or just plain old parties and they need invitations. In this world of social media, you could just send a Facebook invitation or use Evite or some other service, but I know a lot of people who won’t respond to something so impersonal, my husband being one of them. The best and most traditional way to invite someone to your get-together is with a paper invitation right in the mail. These don’t have to cost a lot and they don’t have to take a lot of time either. Enjoy: seven frugal DIY invitations.

7 Frugal DIY Invitations For Any Occasion

If you are a crafter or just happen to have spare scrap fabric lying around, printing your invites on scrap fabric is innovative and not to mention, pretty.

7 Frugal DIY Invitations For Any Occasion

There are tons of free printables online in almost every theme. If you aren’t very creative and you want someone else to do the work for you, printables are definitely the easiest way to go and they only cost as much as the paper and ink. This Harry Potter themed invitation from Creekside Learning is a perfect example.

7 Frugal DIY Invitations For Any Occasion

Gone are the days of spending hours pouring over a very thick book of invitations, finding the perfect one and paying through the nose for it. So many brides make their own invitations, and An Exercise in Frugality created her own invitations for her less than $5000 wedding. I think they look pretty good!

7 Frugal DIY Invitations For Any Occasion

If you don’t mind paying a little bit of money, places like Vistaprint will print pre-designed, yet custom invitations for you at a very low cost.

7 Frugal DIY Invitations For Any Occasion

Whether it is for a save the date, your wedding invitation, your new home or your baby’s first birthday, you could get a professional photographer or take a photo yourself, print them out at any photofinishing place as low as $0.08 each, then write your details on the back. That way your guests get a genuine photo to keep, but also the details for your party. Photo credit: Avangard Photography

7 Frugal DIY Invitations For Any Occasion

This simple, yet unique invitation would take no time to make, yet makes such a big statement. Your cost would be minimal too.

7 Frugal DIY Invitations For Any Occasion

Now for the envelopes. I saw this amazing idea for paper bag envelopes and it tripped me out! Envelopes are majorly expensive and instead you can pick up brown paper bags very cheap and just tape them shut. They look a little rustic and you can dress them up however you like!

Bargainmoosers, do you have any ideas for frugal and fun invitations?

Banner photo credit: Oskar Ferm

Moose Rating (1 votes)
April 9

How To Spring Clean Inexpensively

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

How To Spring Clean Inexpensively

Now that we’re back from our trip (sniff sniff), I am thinking we need to do a good clean of our house.  I might sound like a slob when I say this, but we have never actually done a full spring clean of our house, and we have been here nearly 5 years.  Don’t get me wrong, we clean regularly, but we haven’t spent a lot of time doing any deep cleaning.  The type of cleaning that makes you feel like the world is a better place.  A cathartic type of cleaning.  I’m ready for this, and I want to do it.  But I don’t know where to start, and I don’t want to spend a ton of money on it.  What to do?

Spring cleaning checklist

Uh, maybe this is why I haven’t spring cleaned before.  Looking at this list from Imperfect Homemaking, I am overwhelmed.  Who does this much cleaning on a regular basis?  Although I doubt I will tackle even half of the list, I think I can get through part of it.  I like her tips on how to clean mini blinds.  Some of mine have never really been cleaned. If you’re looking for more great tips on all types of cleaning, check out this article from Canadian Living.

Also be sure to consider which cleaning products you use, as there are lots of natural options available.  Check out Eva’s article on how to be a frugal organic cleaner.  I have recently discovered the wonders of cleaning with baking soda, as my loving husband recently purchased a 6 pack from Costco by accident (I had requested he purchase baking powder instead).  If you prefer to purchase cleaning products, be sure to check out Greenworks cleaners.  They often go on sale, and if you combine a sale with coupons, you can often buy Greenworks cleaners for $1 per bottle.  A few years ago Greenworks had an amazing coupon available, buy 3, save $4.  When they went on sale one week at Shoppers Drug Mart for $1.99 per bottle, I picked up about 30 bottles at around $0.75 per bottle.  They have lasted over the past few years.

Spring home maintenance

Honestly, this is another area my family has not been proficient in.  I know the basics of what to do each spring like changing the filter on our furnace, getting our air conditioner inspected, etc.  But there are other home maintenance tasks which I’m just not sure are required – things like gutter cleaning and vent cleaning.  Are they worth the expense?  Bob Vila says it’s important to clean your gutters twice per year.  He suggests that if you want to do it yourself you’ll need a tall ladder, gloves, a face mask, and I would personally need a safety person under the ladder and lots of prayers.  As important as regular home maintenance is the treatment of issues before they escalate to larger problems.  This HGTV article outlines some important tips for preventative spring maintenance.  There are tips I hadn’t even thought of, like examining any wood trim to check for damage and to repair these before the spring rains come.  Doing a thorough once around your house to check for issues is a great (free!) idea, and is something I will definitely be doing this spring.

Spring clean your garden

I have coworkers and friends who spend money every single month on their garden and outdoor needs.  One friend hires gardeners each spring to ready her backyard gardens.  She hires a team of 3 people there for an entire day to ready her gardens.  She estimates that this costs her around $300.  She brings them back from time to time through the summer to weed her garden.  Being the frugal Bargainmooser that I am, I cringe at the prospect of paying money for gardening.  I know the more effort I put into gardening at the beginning of the season means the easier my gardening and weeding will be through the summer.  This summer I plan to make some changes to my gardens, as they are full English gardens which I do not love, but they came with our house.   This excellent article on gardening.com outlines some great spring gardening tips.  I will definitely employ the tips on dividing and transplanting, as my garden is overgrown with hostas.  Anyone want some free hostas?  Mulch is something we wrestle with each year, and we have never bitten the bullet to buy it.  We have a large number of square feet of gardens, and to cover it all in an appropriate amount of mulch would cost us about $500.  I am second guessing our decision this year, as each weekend last summer was full of weeding and getting my hands dirty.  So not fun for me.

Spring cleaning and maintenance is an essential part of home ownership.  I am planning on staying at this house until we retire, so we need to take very good care of it so that it lasts.  I am not a handy-woman, and my husband isn’t handy either, so we need to ensure that we set aside a budget each year for any repairs and preventative measures we need to take for our home maintenance.  Bargainmoosers, what are your top frugal spring cleaning tips?

Photo credit: Chiot’s Run

Moose Rating (1 votes)
April 8

Frugal Family Activities for Spring

Posted by on April 8, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Frugal Family Activities for Spring

Spring is here, which means you can finally ditch your winter gear (in most parts of Canada anyway), put on your rain boots, and enjoy some family time outside. Instead of just going to the park, here are a few alternative ways you can make some lasting memories with your kids this spring for hardly any money at all.

Go on a real-world treasure hunt

Have you ever heard of geocaching? It’s essentially a real-world treasure hunt! All you need to do is grab your GPS or download a free geocaching app onto your phone, then start your hunt for geocaches (or treasures) hidden in specific locations. What’s really fun about this is when you find the geocache, you have to write about your discovery in the enclosed logbook, then leave something of equal or greater value behind for someone else to find.

Frugal Family Activities for Spring

Visit the farmer’s market

What better way to teach your kids about supporting local vendors and eating healthy than visiting your local farmer’s market? Try going there with a recipe in mind and getting your kids to help you find all the ingredients you need so you can prepare it together at home later that night.

Frugal Family Activities for Spring

Make an egg carton garden

Spring is the time to start your garden, even if it’s just in an egg carton. To get your kids familiar with the process of gardening and the importance of taking care of a growing and living thing, give each of your kids their very own egg carton to look after. Not only will this teach them about responsibility, but they’ll also get to experience seeing a seed transform into a living plant!. Thanks to Dainty Cate for this great idea and detailed instructions.

Frugal Family Activities for Spring

Splash in some puddles

The mess afterwards may not be fun to clean up, but it’s a great way to create some memories and bond with your kids for absolutely free!

Frugal Family Activities for Spring

Make homemade birdfeeders

Don’t you just love hearing the birds chirp when you sit down for breakfast with your family? Thanks to Little Love and Sparklin Becks, you and your family can attract birds to your house everyday with these cost effective homemade birdfeeders.

Frugal Family Activities for Spring

Go for a family hike

Whether it’s on a local trail near your house, or a steep mountain in a national park, take advantage of spring’s moderate temperatures with a good ol’ family hike. It’s a great way to get some exercise, enjoy nature’s wonders, and bond with your loved ones at the same time.

Frugal Family Activities for Spring

Bargainmoosers, what frugal activities do you plan to do with your family this spring?

(Image: Jim LarrisonGinny Lacey Gorman; Scooter Lowrimore; John Bergquist; Janelle; Janelle)

Moose Rating (2 votes)
April 7

How To Save Money on Child Care

Posted by on April 7, 2014 at 8:00 PM

How To Save Money on Child Care

Child care or day care is one of the reasons why having children is so expensive and a reason why (other than ridiculously high rents and high mortgages) couples both have to work nowadays to support a dual income.  With child care costing upwards to $800 to $1000 on a monthly basis, per child, it is no wonder that having more children, or even considering having children at all, is something that many couples now worry about.  In fact, the high cost of child care is one reason why many women decide to limit the number of children they would ideally like to have (source: Globe and Mail).

It is estimated that raising a child from infancy to the age of 18 will cost anywhere between $170,000 and $230,000, and it is actually the early years that cost the most due to the high cost of child care (source: Canadian Living).  Although it makes sense that child care is expensive (early childhood development is of utmost importance, especially during the years between age zero to three), it still stings to have to shell out almost half to three quarters of your income to have someone else take care of your child.

Here are some tips and ideas on how you might be able to save money on child care, reducing the stress on the family budget:

Share Child Care with a Friend

I have a friend with whom this strategy worked really well for.  She was able to work part-time the year after her maternity leave through sharing child care with a mom that she met from a baby and new mom group.  She would work while her friend took care of the two children and they would swap on the other days.  This cost them nothing for child care costs.  Considering that very young children often cost more for daycare and there aren’t many daycares that accept very young children, saving $10,000 to $12,000 during the first year after maternity leave really helped them tackle bigger financial goals they had as a family.

The following year, my friend returned to work full-time and had the time beforehand to check for daycare in a more accessible location at a lower rate.  She is now very happy with the low cost of her current daycare and happy she is back at work full-time.

Extended Family 

Although I wouldn’t call it taking advantage of your extended family like this Yahoo article suggests, having your mother or father or your mother-in-law or father-in-law take care of your children can be a win-win scenario for all involved.  In many cases, your parents or parents-in-law who are retired want to be involved in your life and want to be involved in their grandchildren’s lives.  This is a great opportunity for family to practice giving and receiving care.  Your parents or parents-in-law feel like they are appreciated and helpful, and you are able to repay them monetarily or through small gifts like a manicure, trips, or other ways to show you care.  The sense of community you can build with your new family and your family of origin can be amazing.

Don’t Forget about the Tax Credit

Childcare costs can be used as a deduction from income (not as a non-refundable tax credit).  However, mostly it has to be claimed as a deduction from the parent with the lower income.  The website Taxtips.ca has a great run through of how to use and utilize the child care tax credit for your income tax return.  The basic limit of child care costs for children under the age of six years old is $7000 as per the Canada Revenue Agency.

Explore Company Discounts

Forbes suggests that there may be corporations that have nearby childcare centres where they did the dirty work and negotiated discounted rates.  It might be worth it to check with the nearby childcare centres to see if any of them are affiliated with you or your spouse’s work.  Having child care close to work makes it much easier for your lifestyle, a win-win for your employer and your family.

Bargainmoosers, how did you save money on child care and day care?

Photo credit: Government Press Office

Moose Rating (1 votes)
April 5

4 Ways to Save Money at Disneyland

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

4 Ways to Save Money at Disneyland

At work, a few of my colleagues are taking their children to Disneyland for the very first time.  Their children are undoubtedly very excited about the future trip and cannot contain themselves with excitement.  My colleagues on the other hand, are just as excited but not as excited about the possibility of baking in the hot sun while lining up for hours and definitely not as excited about the credit card bill that this Disneyland trip will create.

For a family, Disneyland can be very expensive.  At Disneyland, for children aged 3-9 it is $162 for a two day park pass and for children older than 10, it is $175 for a two day park pass.  This price doesn’t include the accommodation, the souvenirs (oh, the expensive souvenirs), the food (the expensive food), and the flight to Disneyland or rental car (or the gas if you are planning to drive down).

Even though it is very expensive, it is a very magical place and seeing the happiness in your children’s eyes is enough to make the expense worthwhile, so here are some ways in which you can save money at Disneyland, Disneyland on a budget.

Avoid High Season

The absolute worst times to go to Disneyland are obviously the high season: July, August, and December (Christmas time).  Avoid these times like the plague because airfare will cost more, the accommodation will cost more, and there will be more people in line ups, meaning less time enjoying what Disneyland has to offer.

Consider the last weekend of August or just the first week of September.  Not advocating for taking your children out of school of course, but usually the first day of school or second day of school there isn’t much content to cover anyway.  And your children probably won’t mind because they’ll get to tell their friends that they weren’t there during the first day of school because they were in Disneyland!

Managing to avoid weekends will be helpful for accommodation as well.  Do not stay at the Disneyland resort, that will be very expensive.  Check out websites such as Priceline, Hotels.com, Airbnb.com and Hotwire for places to stay near Disneyland.  If you are planning to stay at the Disneyland resort, make sure you head back to the hotel room for lunch in order to offset the cost of the meals at the park.

Another perk to avoiding high season is the ability to use Aeroplan points.  North American flights are cheap on Aeroplan compared to international flights, so if you can save money on your flight, that will save you a ton of money.

BYOF (Bring Your Own Food)

Eating at Disneyland is very expensive, let alone having a character themed meal (where the princesses eat with you and your children).  Bring your own snacks and food to Disneyland along with ice packs.  Put it in a locker if you don’t want to lug it around with you.  This will easily save you $10 per person per meal (with $10 per meal on the low end, this is assuming you avoid sit-down meals at the park).  For a family of four, two meals at $120 per day really adds up.  Also, make sure your motel/hotel/accommodation has continental breakfast and make sure you eat a hearty breakfast before you head out to Disneyland.

Buy Souvenirs Beforehand

If you think about it, your children want to be just like everyone else at Disneyland.  They want to look the part and they want to be wearing their favourite Disneyland paraphernalia gear while at the park.  Make a quick stop at a souvenir shop in Anaheim for souvenirs before you start your adventure at the magical kingdom and both your children and your wallet will be happy.  With T-shirts for babies and small toddlers costing $15 a piece at Disneyland, you can save a lot of money by buying it for half the price just like this writer for Yahoo did to save money at Disneyland.

Tickets Ahead of Time

Finally, buying tickets ahead of time will save you money.  About.com has a great page on the ticket prices for Disneyland and some coupon codes that you can use to save money.  Buying your tickets at Costco can save you money as well, but only about $5 off each ticket.

Bargainmoosers, do you have any other ways in which you save money at Disneyland?

Photo credit: Kelsey

Moose Rating (3 votes)
April 4

Hanging Out With Friends When There Is No Money In The Bank

Posted by on April 4, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Hanging Out With Friends When There Is No Money In The Bank

One of my favourite things to do is host a girl’s night. I love entertaining and hanging with friends. I would cook so many little appetizers, have some drinks and spend the day cooking and cleaning. My budget would always go out the window. I also have a friend who I would meet for a dinner date each month, which is cheaper than going out with my spouse because I only pay for my dinner and no babysitter, but can still add up. I wanted to find frugal ways to hang out with friends without spending any or very little money. There are ways we can do this.

Girl’s Night In

If you love having all the girls (and/or guys) over to your place and don’t want to stop doing this, there are ways you can do it more frugally. If you want a big shindig, check out my article on Entertaining Like A Rock Star. If you are looking for something more low-key, consider seeing if your friends will each take turn hosting. This way you aren’t all on the hook for each girl’s night and everyone can contribute to the festivities. There are so many more ideas for girl’s nights in like having a card or board game party, which would be free because each person could contribute a game to play or having a movie or TV show night. There is nothing like cuddling under a blanket with friends while you oohhh and ahhh about Channing Tatum’s rear end.

Dinner Party

If you still are keen on having it at your place, check out Jessica’s fantastic article on throwing a dinner party on a budget. I used to be part of a “supper club” where we took turns hosting and each guest would bring a dish based on the theme. I usually spent no more than $10 and enjoyed a fabulous many-course meal with friends. Style at Home has 10 great theme ideas for dinner parties.

Getting Out

If your house is a mess or you simply don’t want people over, but want to find ways to hang with friends, there are tons of ways you can do this without doing the usual restaurant or club evening. I really enjoy walking and I walking with friends is really a treat. You burn some calories, get out the requisite chatting and you get all that fresh air too. I’m thinking of scheduling a weekly walking night with one of my friends. If you have dogs, this is a perfect opportunity for them to get some social time too.

If walking is not your thing, there are lots of other sports that could fill the gap like skating, roller blading or biking. If you really just want to rest, why not take a picnic to the park? Sit on a park bench and just spend time with your friend(s). Just getting outside is so much better for you than sitting at home alone.

You could also check the schedule in your town or city and see what free events are on. Some museums have free nights, and there are always free lectures or book clubs, etc., that you could attend to give you something to do with your friend.

Helping Out

If you have a room to paint or grout to seal, consider having your friends over to help out. You’ll save money on labour, you might have a fun time doing it and you’ll get the job you need done finished. The only caveat to this is that you will have to help out your friends too, but that shouldn’t be a problem. You could even start by making a list of each renovation you and your friends need then schedule the days. The work will be done in no time and you’ll have spent quality time together, while saving a load of money!

Meal Making

If you have trouble during the week finding time to make dinner, especially healthy dinners, you could get all your friends together to make batch meals. You’ll have a blast cooking together, save money on groceries and get all your meals prepped for the week! If you don’t need to cook for yourself, you could consider getting you and your friends out to cook for a cause. Ronald McDonald house, for example, always needs groups to cook meals for the families staying there. This is an amazing way to give back to charity, while having fun with your friends. Each RMH has a different branch, but I see the B.C. one is looking for volunteers.

Bargainmoosers, what frugal or free things do you do with your friends?

Photo credit: Candice Linkie

Moose Rating (2 votes)
April 3

7 Ways To Be Beautiful With What You Have

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

7 Ways To Be Beautiful With What You Have

Beauty can get expensive, what with buying BB cream, mascara, nail polish, getting facials, your hair done and more. If we can find ways to be beautiful and spend less money, why not do it? I also like to recycle, repurpose or reuse items that might be destined for the trash or that I have in my cupbards, and this article will give you seven new ways to get some beauty use out of what you have.

7 Ways To Be Beautiful With What You Have

Instead of spending upwards of $100 or more on a spa facial, do one at home yourself. If you don’t like to steam up your bathroom because of mould issues, try this technique from Real Simple instead. Steam up your washcloths in your little-used rice cooker! In only five minutes you’ll have a steaming hot cloth, which is also great for applying before doing a close shave.

7 Ways To Be Beautiful With What You Have

Coconut oil is probably my most favourite multi-purpose item. You can literally use it on anything! I use it on my kids and my dry skin, I use it to wash my face, I use it to cook with, to top my popcorn and I’ve heard you can use it to make sunscreen. Check out Thrifty Northwest Mom’s article on homemade coconut oil face wash.

7 Ways To Be Beautiful With What You Have

If you are “blessed” with thin lips like me and crave a little more of what Angie Jolie has, don’t spend all your money on lip plumpers or cosmetic surgery. Simply add a few drops of peppermint oil to your lip gloss. You’ll smell nice too!

7 Ways To Be Beautiful With What You Have

Love the look of French manicures but aren’t sure how to pull them off? Don’t spend $35 to get them done at the salon, when you can very easily use one of the cheapest items out there, of which you probably have a thousand stored in a drawer somewhere. Paper Raindrops suggests using an elastic band to paint the perfect French manicure!

7 Ways To Be Beautiful With What You Have

Everyone is totally raving about dry shampoo. Dry shampoo lets you go a day or more without washing and without looking like you just walked off the set of Grease. The brand name dry shampoos can be pretty pricey, so why not make it yourself with this recipe from the Modcloth blog.

7 Ways To Be Beautiful With What You Have

Colouring my hair is the biggest beauty expense I encounter and I actually have a very reasonable hairdresser who I love. If I decided my budget just didn’t want that expense anymore, I could take these tips from DIY n Crafts and use ingredients from my fridge to lighten my blonde hair.

7 Ways To Be Beautiful With What You Have

If you love smelling lovely, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on perfumes – you can make your own and quite naturally. This recipe from Imagination Soup is so easy, kids can do it.

Bargainmoosers, what are the ways you use to get beautiful without spending money?

Banner photo: Leah Makin

Moose Rating (3 votes)
April 2

How to Avoid Roaming and Save Money on Data

Posted by on April 2, 2014 at 8:00 PM

How to Avoid Roaming and Save Money on Data

We all know someone who was charged a ridiculous amount of money for keeping connected while away from Canada for travel.  In fact, you may have even heard of the horror stories, like how someone a few years ago got charged a $37,000 bill for roaming from Telus for using their iPhone in Egypt.

Therefore, avoiding roaming charges at all costs will definitely save you money.  Thankfully, the options for keeping connected through Facebook, email, and instant messaging are still reasonable and don’t take that much effort to do.

Here are a few tips on how to avoid roaming and save money on data while you are traveling outside of Canada.

Unlock Your Cell Phone

Some phones come unlocked already, but some carriers, like Telus, come with their phones locked (for example, the iPhone).  After three months with the carrier on your new plan or after you buy your new phone, you can pay $35 for them to unlock your cell phone for you. They can do this over the phone and the process takes about 30 minutes.  After that, you can…

Buy a SIM Card

A SIM card is a tiny little chip that you can put into your now unlocked phone.  It allows you to use the carrier in your country you are staying in outside of Canada.  The rates are much more reasonable than any roaming package from your carrier.  They have SIM cards from T-Mobile and other carriers that you can use when you are in the United States.

Alternately, instead of unlocking your cell phone, you could buy a cheap GSM enabled phone to use in your destination country.

A carrier in the United States called Roam Mobility has SIM cards that you can use for coverage all over the United States.  This is helpful if you are not just planning to visit a single state, where individual SIM cards may cause you to roam if you go from Washington to California, for example.  It is targeted towards Canada and even provides you with shipping to Canada.  I have a friend who uses this and he is very happy with the SIM card.  Their SIM Card costs $19.99 and plans vary according to what you need.  For example, the talk and text plan can range from $3-4 per day and you can purchase it ahead of time.

Turn off Cellular Roaming

On your iPhone, the data roaming is turned off automatically.  Before you head off to your destination, make sure that it is toggled off.  In fact, make sure your “cellular data” button is also toggled off.  This will restrict your smart phone to only use wifi to access the Internet, instead of using your cellular data.

Get Skype

If you like to chat on the phone while outside of Canada, you can get access to Wi-Fi and use Skype.  The great thing about Skype is that you can buy Skype credits (which last forever because most calls cost only $0.02/minute) and you can call any number you wish with Skype.  Skype credit is an “add-on” to Skype where you can use it to call land-lines or cell phones without the person having a Skype account.  I’ve bought $10 worth of Skype credit and it has lasted me over a year.  You can also send instant messages for pennies too with Skype credit.

Disable Location Setting and Push Notifications

Another thing that would help prevent expensive data charges is to disable your location setting function and the push notifications.  These are what I call secret data suckers as they access and use data behind your back without you being aware of it.  For example, the push for email updates your email regularly for example, every 15 minutes or 1 hour.  Instead you can update this manually, like when you have access to wifi.

The advent of the Smart phone has been both a blessing and a curse!  We can keep connected with each other even while traveling, we can post updates of our travels and adventures in real-time, but this often comes at a large cost.  With these tips, hopefully they help you keep connected with your Smart phone for less.  However, maybe keeping your Smart phone around isn’t the point of going on holiday.  Might be better to leave it at home and enjoy the company of the people you are traveling with instead!

Photo credit: Sam Churchill

Bargainmoosers, do you have other ways in which you save money on roaming charges while away from Canada?

Moose Rating (3 votes)
April 1

Frugal Ways to Get Your Kids Excited for Easter

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

Frugal Ways to Get Your Kids Excited for Easter

With Easter just around the corner, it’s time to get your kids excited for the Easter holiday without going overboard and spending tons of money on expensive decorations or treats. With a little imagination, a few useful materials, and a bit of time and effort, you can make some long-lasting memories with your family without spending more than a few dollars.

Serve up a bunny breakfast

Being creative with breakfast is a cheap and fun way to get your kids ready for the Easter holiday by using ingredients you already have in your kitchen. Either serve it up on Easter morning or leading up to the big day. This idea was inspired by creations found on B-Inspired Mama!s blog and Pinterest.

Frugal Ways to Get Your Kids Excited for Easter

Get festive with your after-school snacks

If you’re having trouble getting your kids to eat their vegetables, maybe you should make a veggie platter fit for an Easter bunny? For other yummy snacks, try making an Easter-themed salty-and-sweet mix, or turning ordinary cheese puffs into giant Easter carrots. Thanks to Creative Organization, Savvy Mom, and Life Music Laughter for these great ideas!

Frugal Ways to Get Your Kids Excited for Easter

Make some Easter-themed crafts together

There’s no better way to spend quality time with your kids around Easter than to make some fun crafts together! Sassy Dealz has instructions on her blog on how to make kid-friendly puffy paint, and Craft Bug’s blog will show you how to dip dye Easter eggs or turn a normal plastic cup into a googly-eyed bunny!

Frugal Ways to Get Your Kids Excited for Easter

Create your own decorations

You don’t need to go over your weekly budget just to get your home ready for Easter. All you need is some paint and a few other cheap materials to DIY everything you need for a fraction of what it would cost you at the store. Check out these great decoration ideas from The Lady Thing, Serenity Now Blog, and Eclectically Vintage.

Frugal Ways to Get Your Kids Excited for Easter

Get free Easter books and movies from library

Last but not least, every kid loves a good story to get excited about the holidays, and there are a number of great Easter books and movies you can enjoy together for absolutely free at the library.

Frugal Ways to Get Your Kids Excited for Easter 

Bargainmoosers, how do you get your kids excited for Easter on the cheap?

(Image: Robert S. Donovan)

Moose Rating (1 votes)
March 31

Make vs. Buy: The Healthy Food Showdown

Posted by on March 31, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Make vs. Buy: The Healthy Food Showdown

I have a number of passions in my life, and eating healthy is one of them (in addition, I love working out and I am passionate about my career).  Of course family is my number one priority, but I think it’s important to have interests and activities outside of your work and family life.  Living a healthy lifestyle is one of those interests for me.  Fortunately, I work for a company that embodies wellness: we have an active health and wellness committee, and I am surrounded by folks who share my passion for clean living.  I am constantly on the lookout for new trends and tricks to stay healthy.  There are a myriad of products available that promise health, wellness and nutrition on a dime.  When does it make sense to make vs. buy healthy foods?

Green juice

Green juice is the health trend of the decade (in my humble opinion!).  My life has changed now that I have started drinking green juice on a daily basis.  Clare recently wrote an excellent article about ways to save money on juicing.  As Clare mentions in her article, assuming you can buy a quality juicer for about $100, what are the total costs in purchasing green juice vs. making it?  I truly believe that the North American expert in green juicing is someone named Kris Carr.  She has an inspirational story as she was diagnosed with terminal cancer ten years ago, and immediately transitioned to a plant-based diet, with a strong focus on juicing. But how much does juicing cost? Let’s look at Kris’ recipe for glowing skin juice.  In calculating the ingredients for this recipe the total cost of the juice would be about $3.00 for the produce, and assuming you can get about 100 uses out of a juicer, add $1 onto that cost, for a grand total of $4 for this juice.

When I travel I always buy a jugo juice at the airport.  I never get the actual juice in my drink, I ask for a water base with kale, greens, some fresh fruits and usually a scoop of protein powder.  I usually spend about $7 for a jugo juice.  The Pulp and Press juice company sells juices for between $7- $8 per bottle.

Result?  Making your own juice will save you between $3-$4 per drink.  Given that I can make nearly twice the juice that I can buy, I will continue to make my own.

Granola bars

While I don’t believe that granola bars are “healthy” they are a quick and easy snack for kids’ lunches.  I love this recipe from Weelicious.  We make these bars almost every week, as they are SUPER easy to make.  I am not a cook, and I’m a sometimes baker, so when I say these are easy to make, I mean it.  When I calculate the cost of making a batch of these bars, it costs about $4.  Since this recipe makes 30 bars, that makes each bar cost about $0.13.  My husband just bought a large sized box of President’s Choice brand of granola bars for a cost of about $6.  There are 24 granola bars in the box.  The total cost for each bar is about $0.25.

Result?  Making your own granola bars will save you around $0.12 per bar.  The extra ingredients in boxed bars like corn syrup and extra sugars, however, make me confident that homemade is the best option for our family.

Hummus

We eat a lot of hummus on a weekly basis.  It’s such an easy snack, and goes with so many accoutrements like fresh veggies, whole grain crackers and sliced meat.  My kids absolutely love hummus, and so do we.  We purchase our hummus at Costco, and we buy a two pack for about $6.   At grocery stores hummus generally costs between $3-4.

To make your own hummus you need a number of ingredients: chick peas (I use canned), tahini, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil.  This recipe from Inspired Taste is excellent, as it gives tips on how to make your hummus smooth, like it should be.  The total cost for homemade hummus is about $1.50

Result?  Even though it costs nearly double the price to purchase hummus, I am seriously addicted to the Costco brand.  It is one of my favourite foods.  I don’t like having to lug my food processor upstairs to make hummus either, and I find it difficult to get it extremely creamy like the store bought brand.  I would personally continue to buy hummus.

Smoothies

Although I don’t ever purchase pre-made smoothies, when I do look at the various options available now, I am impressed that there are more healthy options.  I drink a green smoothie every day.  I am a huge spinach fan, and sticking a few handfuls into a smoothie is an awesome way to hide the veggie taste for both myself and my kids.  My homemade smoothie generally consists of water, a scoop of protein powder (about $0.50), a small banana ($0.50), a tablespoon of natural peanut butter ($0.10), and 2 handfuls of spinach ($0.50).  Add these together for a total cost of about $1.60 per smoothie.  I use my handy dandy Magic Bullet that I got as a Christmas present to blend my daily smoothie.

If you head over to your neighbourhood Rawlicious store, you will be spending between $7-$9 per smoothie.

Result?  I would never, ever buy a smoothie from a store at $7 per drink when I can make it at home for under $2.  I can make almost four times the smoothies at home for the cost of one at the store! And making them at home is very, very easy.

It really frustrates me when people say that it takes a lot of time and effort (and money) to eat healthily.  It has been really interesting to investigate these costs and to think about the benefits of ingesting healthy, whole foods.  Making your own healthy foods generally makes sense most of the time, considering the time it takes to make them.

Bargainmoosers, what healthy foods do you make vs. buy?

Photo Credit: Weelicious

Moose Rating (3 votes)