Points I love

favorite point cards2

Ah being frugal and getting free stuff. It’s great isn’t it? I think so, and I’m pretty good at it. If you’re going to buy something anyway, why not be rewarded for it? I’m sure we all understand the idea of loyalty cards – retailers vying for our business try to prevent us from going to the competition by enticing us with rewards. As simple as that, it’s how they earn our repeat business. While not all loyalty programs are created equal, there are some that fit seamlessly into daily life. Here are a few of my favourites: Read more

Cyber Monday – Did you miss it??

Cyber Monday – Did you miss it??

As retail experts will tell you Cyber Monday is not what it used to be. There are still great deals out there but overall they are not as spectacular as they once used to be on this one particular day. Today there is more competition in the market place than ever before, which is great for consumers because competition drives prices down and creates more options to choose from. This has led to the availability of great prices and selection not only on Cyber Monday, or Boxing Day in Canada, but rather all throughout the month of December. What does this mean for us? Well, for one we don’t need to trample each other on Black Friday and loose productivity by either shopping online at work or playing hooky to hit the sales. Sure there are ‘limited time deals’ but those are just marketing gimmicks to urge you to impulse buy quickly before this thing you don’t need disappears!

splattershare gifts!

How to you get the most out of shopping season? Read more

How to Have a Cheap Christmas!

How to Have a Cheap Christmas!

I love Christmas! Even though it’s cold it feels so cozy and festive. The spirit of giving seems to prevail and random acts of kindness become more prominent. It reminds me of a simpler time – when my parents took days off work to spend time with us during the Christmas holidays. To me Christmas is about family – whether you celebrate Christmas or not this time of year is truly magical.

There can of course be a lot of pressure around this time as well – to get all the right gifts, not to forget anyone, to decorate your house, to get a beautiful tree etc. Not only is it a lot to do but the costs quickly add up, and many of us want to be able to donate our time or money to charity too. So how do you keep it in check?

#1. Budget

Have a budget in mind before you begin to shop. There are a lot of options, and if you comparison shop or simply don’t buy on impulse you’ll save yourselves a lot of money. Know what your budget is and how you plan to allocate it. For example when it comes to Christmas trees there is such a range in prices! Some people might be ok spending $200 on a tree, some might think $50 is the true value. Personally, I found a beautiful 6 foot pre-lit Christmas tree at Wal-Mart for $20! I feel pretty good spending $20 on this baby!

our Christmas tree @splattershare

#2. DIY Read more

More Money Please

More Money Please

I find personal finance extremely interesting – it’s like a game, where you try to manipulate what you have, earn more along the way, and move closer towards your dreams. It’s a giant topic so I won’t dwell too deep today, but I do want to talk about money.

I don’t think you can achieve financial independence by reducing your spending only. As you age, mature, and grow so do your needs and wants. Ultimately you should be working towards earning more. But that doesn’t solve the issue either. THE most important factor in the financial independence formula is proper money management. If you make a lot of money but spend it in ridiculous ways and end up racking up debt anyway, no amount of money will ever be enough. Building good strong habits, and learning about budgeting is key. No matter how much money you have spending it in a smart way is important.

Buying something of equivalent value, and no added benefit for a higher price is stupid. If something costs more it better be superior in quality or differ at least in some way. There are many reasons why one product can be more expensive than the next – quality, craftsmanship, brand name, better/more ethical processes etc. And I’m happy to pay for that. If I’m buying a winter jacket, which is essential for Canadian winters, I’m happy to pay more for one that will keep me warm, will maintain its shape and appearance, and hopefully last for several seasons. It is when there is no difference between items that I don’t see the need to overpay.

So without further ado, my little rant/tips for the day on making your money go further

Ebay

We’re all familiar with it but what is EBay best for? While I’m sure that it’s great for collectibles and unique items, what I’ve discovered is that EBay is great for accessories. Everything is made in China anyway so why not get it directly from the source? I always select the Free Shipping option, as not to be surprised or discouraged from my purchase, and filter by price and end date. This is seriously fool-proof. You essentially get factory direct prices without all of the markups related to retail and international shipping.

Example: I went to Jamaica last year (absolutely incredible by the way) and I wanted to buy a keepsake for myself. Seeing as I hate knick knacks (they take up space, but what are they for?) I decided to get a beautiful piece of jewelry that looked unique. I thought I was getting a one-of-a-kind made-in-Jamaica piece, and for $20?? Excellent! A little while later, when I was back in Canada perusing EBay I came across the exact same necklace, only in a different colour. The price? $1.75. Yes that’s a nice profit margin.


my necklace is on ebay...

So, I repeat, if it’s made in China anyway why not get it from the source, and cut out the middleman. While I know that brand names can be important when it comes to staple purses, if you’re thinking scarves, headbands and costume jewelry head to Ebay.

Groceries

Yes, I do understand that stressed out, cooped up chickens are different than the ones that run around grazing and playing with their friends. Fine, those chickens might be better for you and thus more expensive. Then there’s the ‘Dirty Dozen’ – 12 products which are recommended to be organic due to pesticide residue. BUT what about the rest of food?? If there is no added benefit, I’m not paying for the brand. It’s food. You eat it. You don’t put it on your counter to admire the packaging. Hell, take it out of the packaging and serve it on a pretty platter if it makes you feel better. I just don’t understand why non-organic vegetables in the higher-end grocery stores are 3 times more expensive than those in cheaper ones. And yes I’ve tried both. Identical qualities. And if you think that the savings are measly think again. Grocery shopping is at least a weekly adventure, and there are 52 weeks in a year. If you’re savings $20 a trip (quite frankly it’s definitely a lot more than that) $20 x 52 = $1040. That’s more than a grand in your pocket. Vacation anyone?

apples

There are a gazillion more such examples, but let me spread them out as not to burden you on this beautiful day. Have a look at my “Points I love” post for more ridiculously simple tips which don’t require any change or effort, but keep more money in your pocket.

You work hard for your money, you should be able to enjoy more of it!

xoxo

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