budgeting

How Kijiji Can Help You Budget for Baby

by Samantha on August 16, 2015

Kijiji provides everything new parents need without breaking the bank

DISCLAIMER: This post is written in partnership with Kijiji in support of raising awareness about how the Second-Hand Economy can support new parents who are looking for the best value for their family dollar. As with all content on this blog, opinions are completely my own.

baby pic

Raising kids can be expensive!

Bringing baby home can often be anxiety-inducing for parents who want to know how to get the best value for their hard-earned dollars. With my last pregnancy, thinking about the reality of bringing home TWO babies at once (twin boys) was stressful, to say the least.

With the price of baby-related items, from clothing to car seats and more, the prospect of doubling-down - literally - on expenses was one that made me break out into a cold sweat.

Thankfully, there were options, including the simple ability to log on, search and find exactly what I was looking for.  And I was not alone. The trend towards the reuse and the recycling of gently-used items has increased over the past number of years. With the availability of the Internet and the growing comfort-level with online purchasing, it’s no wonder that budget-conscious parents are heading online and taking advantage of the digital economy to find what they need.

baby reading

According to Kijiji’s Second Hand Economy Index, Baby items were found to be some of the most commonly-exchanged goods by new parents and that the average cost for caring for a baby can increase annual expenses by an estimated $10,000! For this reason alone, it’s not surprising that parents are getting creative when it comes to their baby budgets and spending.
Head on over to “Welcoming Baby on a Budget” where I provide some simple tips for expectant and new parents about how to save money. Scroll down and click through the gallery to see all of the tips.
Here are a few to get you started.
Bringing Home Baby While on a Budget - Top 5 Tips For Parents:
1) Mix the Old With the New - A mix of gently-used and new items is a solution great for parents on a budget. Purchase a few new baby things and visit Kijiji to outfit your layette and home with the items needed.
2) Don’t Spend More Than You Have To - Make a budget and stick to it! There are a number of items in a variety of price ranges online that will fit any budget. Do your research, know what your limits are and start saving.
3) Reuse, Recycle and Relax - Share the love and save the environment at the same time. Reuse, recycle and rotate clothes, toys and other baby items within your circle of friends as well as the community.  The Second-Hand Economy is alive and well and a great place to share, buy, sell and save.
4) Click Here For Community Support - You can also get the help you need online as a new parent. From playgroups to mom and baby lessons, to neighbourhood groups and more, get online, expand your social circle and of course, save.
5) Babysitting Baby -  In the bleary days of new parenthood, a day or night out away from parent-duty is what all moms and dads need. Finding daycare, a nanny or babysitter within your budget is a simple click away. You can search by your specific community and postal code as well.
Watch the video below to see how the Second-Hand Economy is good for everyone!
VIDEO: Why Second-Hand Should Come First

How did you save money when you were expecting, or were in caring for your baby in the first year? What advice do you have for other parents who are looking for ways to save? Leave me your tips and comments in the section below.second hand economy

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VIDEO: How to Save Money Grocery Shopping

by Samantha on July 27, 2015

Here are 10 tips that will help you save money at the supermarket

vintage grocery

We all know that raising a family on a budget is a challenge, to say the least! With the price of food skyrocketing daily, it’s more important than ever to find ways to stretch our family dollar as much as possible.

While the prospect of going to the supermarket and stocking up every week is daunting for most of us, there are some simple tips that parents can follow to decrease the amount of money spent on groceries.

Whether you’re dealing with spending too much money at the grocery store, or managing a meltdown in the cereal aisle, there are options that can make parents breathe easier while at the supermarket, with or without the kids. And speaking of kids, this is what I deal with when shopping with the children. Fun? You betcha! 😉

kids in cart

As a follow up to this post - How to Save Money on Your Grocery Bill - Top 10 Tips For Parents - I’ve provided tips via YouTube video as well, for those of you who may not have the time to read the full post.

Check it out the video below and let me know what you think about the tips (either in the comments section below or via YouTube comments). Feel free to add some additional tips as well! If there are enough, I’ll include them in an updated follow-up post. And while you’re there, don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel to make sure that you receive the most recent video tips and advice!
VIDEO: How to Save Money Grocery Shopping - Top 10 Tips For Parents

 

Image courtesy of www.zazzle.com

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Simple money-saving strategies for families

Groceries

That will be $257.43, please.

Ouch! That hurt!

Grocery shopping for a family of growing kids can be ridiculously expensive, as I’ve painfully found out. With a weekly shop a necessary requirement, a visit to the supermarket can bring on feelings of not only anxiety but downright fear as well. Pockets and wallets are only so deep and the thought of cleaning out the financial reserves in order to put food on the table can make any parent break out into a cold sweat.

With three growing kids and two adults, my grocery bill can be pretty hair-raising at times. Despite my best efforts, it’s definitely a challenge staying within a budget and making sure that my family dollars are stretched as much as possible.

That being said, there are some tricks that I’ve figured out that allow for greater savings and less money being handed over at the checkout. For anyone who’s been challenged to shop on a budget, these simple tips can really make a difference.

Here are my Top 10 Tips For Saving Money on Your Grocery Bill

1) Keep Up With Store Sales  - Get ahead of the game by knowing what the best deals are in your local area. Check all of the store flyers regularly (both print and online) and scour them for deals. Sign up for email newsletters and store memberships (where applicable) and watch your savings grow.

2) Be Fickle! - Don’t commit to just one grocery store. In keeping with Tip #1, know what’s on sale and also where it’s on sale. If the product or food item that you need is cheaper at a location other than your regular grocery store or supermarket, make the trip to that location and make it worth your while, financially. Map out a course of action and pick up your needed food items wherever they’re most economically priced for maximum savings.

3) Use Coupons - Whether it’s a manufacturer’s coupon or a store coupon, take any opportunity you have to save using these items. Look at coupons as free money: you have the option of saving, so why not? To not use coupons on your frequently-purchased items is almost the same as throwing money away. With online options and digital downloads available for most coupons, they are easily scanned from your smartph0ne or mobile device - no clipping required. There are also a number of coupon apps that take the guesswork and tedium of coupon clipping non-existent. **Scroll down to the end of the post for the top 10 coupon apps for both Android and iOS**

4) Shop in Season - Quite simply, fruits and vegetables that are seasonal are less expensive than those that are not. Think of it: a mango in a New York winter or a pumpkin in the dog days of summer means that both items have been transported from far-reaching locales. In addition to the obvious carbon footprint that the item will have, you’ll also have to contend with the high price required to transport the item from distant locals to your local supermarket. Shop for fruits and vegetables that are in season and help both your bank account and the environment.

5) Buy Store Brands - A little-known secret of supermarkets as well as many consumer goods stores is that they often sell name-brand products under a “white label” banner. In other words, those store-brand potato chips or acetaminophen could very well be the more expensive name brand items (e.g. Lays Potato Chips or Tylenol) in disguise. It is a very well-known and common practice for the makers of many name-brand products to offer the exact same items to consumers under the particular store brand where they are sold. In other words, these items are just as good as name brands and, even better,  you can often save up to a third or more off the name brand price. When it comes to groceries, consider buying store brand items for extra savings.

6) Don’t Shop When You’re Hungry - Perusing the aisles of your favourite grocery store on an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster (pun intended). Before you head into the cereal aisle, make sure you’ve eaten enough that you’r full and not easily tempted by those unplanned snacks that beckon as you try to stick to your list. By eating before grocery shopping, there will be less likelihood that you will give in to a craving for the unplanned (and often expensive and unhealthy) food item in front of you.

7) Know Your Prices - To maximize the amount of money that you can save, make sure you go into the supermarket with a good idea of what things should cost and what your budget is for that particular day. As with any expedition, research and knowledge will help you achieve your goal - in this instance, saving money - and will arm you with the confidence to make the right food choices at the grocery store. Having a general idea about how much particular items cost will allow you to stay within your planned budgetary range and will lower your chance of overspending.

8) Buy Frozen or Canned Foods - Many foods that are frozen and canned are just as good for use in family recipes as fresh items, which are more expensive. If you’re down to the wire financially but are still on the hook to make a reasonably-balanced and healthy meal for the family, look no further than the frozen aisle of the grocery store and start saving. Examples of fresh food items that can be substituted for frozen in various recipes include frozen spinach in vegetarian lasagna, frozen peas for tuna casserole and canned tomatoes for homemade pasta sauce. (On a related note, always have some canned goods and non-perishable staples on hand so that you can rustle up a meal when you’re down to the wire and have to go grocery shopping. These included tomato paste, canned tomatoes, pasta, flour, sugar butter, etc.)

9) Make A Meal With What You’ve Got - Once a week, go through your cupboards, pantry, fridge and freezer and get creative! Make a meal out of your existing food items to make sure that nothing is going to waste. Doing so will not only save you money but will give you a better perspective on what foods are being eaten - or not.

10) Buy in Bulk - For certain items, buying in bulk can make a considerable difference in your total weekly food bill. Whether it’s stocking up on staples such as flour or rice, or purchasing “bulk size” items such as toilet paper or diapers, check your prices, particularly the unit price and start saving.

So as you can see, following a few simple strategies while grocery shopping can result in considerable savings for a family on a budget. All it takes is a little bit of planning in order to get the most “bang for your buck.”

Remember, before you go to the supermarket:
  • Plan ahead
  • Have your coupons ready
  • Eat! Don’t shop while hungry
  • Frozen and canned goods can make cost-effective substitutes
  • Buy in season
  • Choose store brands wherever possible

RESOURCES

The Top 10 Coupon Apps for Android

The Top 10 Coupon Apps for iOS

VIDEO: How to Save Money Grocery Shopping

What are some of your tips and tricks for saving money at the grocery store? Tell me about it in the comment section below.

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Image courtesy of www.sheknows.com

 

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VIDEO: Top Tips For Stress-Free Christmas Shopping

by Samantha on December 12, 2012

Donna Karan

We all know how crazy it gets during the holiday season. The stress of trying to get everything in order - from the house to the gifts and beyond - is all too much for many of us. The malls are packed, the kids are hoping for a good haul and Santa’s on his way. Yet somehow, you’re on the hook for purchasing so many of the gifts. Doesn’t seem fair, does it?

I recently put together this post - The Top 10 Tips For Stress-Free Christmas Shopping - in an effort to help those of us who easily (and foolishly)  get pulled into the elbow-to-elbow shopping malls in December. This, in and of itself, is often a fate worse than a bag of coal :)

In order to decrease the amount of tension and anxiety that this joyous(!) season brings, I expanded on my post about tips on an appearance on a local TV program. For your viewing pleasure, please see below for some simple tips that can save you a whole lot of stress.

VIDEO: Top Tips For Stress-Free Christmas Shopping

 

 

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The Top 10 Tips For Stress-Free Christmas Shopping

by Samantha on November 21, 2012

Once again it’s that time of the year where those of us who aren’t prepared break out into a cold sweat. Christmas and the requisite shopping strikes fear into the hearts of many. Add kids to the equation - whether you’re shopping for them or planning to take them along for the shopping nightmare - and you’re looking at a full-blown breakdown. That is, if you let it get to you and don’t prepare.

Holiday shopping doesn’t have to be a horrific and traumatic experience. By following a few simple tips, you can get through it and, perhaps, enjoy it as well. Following are the Top 10 Tips For Stress-Free Christmas Shopping

1) Make a budget and stick to it - Don’t do anything until you check your finances. Be realistic about the amount of gifts that you have to buy and how much you can realistically spend on presents. Get all of your ducks in a row before you head out shopping so that when you’re actually in the stores looking at items, you won’t be tempted to spend money that you don’t have, or purchase items that will bankrupt you before December 25th.

2) Make a list, check it twice - In keeping with point #1, this is the second most important point to remember when planning your holiday shopping excursions. Not having a list will inevitably result in a spending free-for-all that will not only cause you great financial stress later on, but will often result in poor gift choices that will leave both the purchaser and the recipient unhappy. Avoid this situation by  knowing in advance what you’re buying for each family member and friend.Whether it’s a virtual list on your iPad or a good old-fashioned paper list, stick to it.

3) Shop during off hours - If there’s one good thing about the craziness of the season, it’s the fact that many stores go on a “Holiday Hours” schedule. This means that a lot of malls and stores will open earlier than usual and will stay open later than they normally would during the off-seasons. Take advantage of what the stores have to offer while you can. Go shopping early in the morning or late at night. Better yet, if you’re a particularly intrepid sort, make good use of the 24-hour shopping and extended hours at malls/stores and buy your presents at 5:00am. I guarantee there will be no line-up at the checkout and you won’t have to fight that crazy-looking mother for the last Transformer or Power Ranger toy on the shelf.

4) Think outside the (gift) box - We all get into a rut and Christmas seems to bring out this reality more than any other time of the year. The good news is that there’s always time for change. If socks and ties are your usual gifts for dad, why not mix it up this year? Give him a gift that he would never expect from you and watch his surprise on Christmas morning.  If your child is stuck on getting the latest Barbie in her holiday finest, why don’t you consider giving her a more unique doll from a boutique toy shop? We often don’t give our kids credit for who they are and their reactions to the unexpected just may be one of the season’s pleasant surprises.

5) Make homemade gifts - Everyone loves a gift from the heart. After all, it’s not about the money, its that thought that counts. In the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s easy to forget this fact. Some homemade baked goods, a craft made with love or a similar gift will show how you really feel about the recipient and will go a long way in spreading the holiday cheer. On a related note, this is a great time to teach your children the fact that it’s all about the intention and not the cash. Encourage them to do the same by making a hand-made item for their friends, teachers or family members. Not only will you save money but you’ll be closer to the true spirit of the season as well.

6) Shop alone - As enticing as it may be, don’t get pulled into group shopping trips or trips to the mall with your friends. During this time of the year in particular, the malls and stores are more distracting than ever and as a result, your shopping time will take longer - guaranteed. Let’s also not mention the temptation to stop for holiday cocktails with your friends and the peer pressure that will support your need for that must-have cashmere scarf or new pair of shoes. Similarly, you’re guaranteed a meltdown if you take your kids with you and have to tell them that they will not be getting any of those nice, shiny toys that are on display, or the various goodies and treats that are available at every store during this time of the year. Go shopping alone with your list in hand, your budget in mind and a clear plan of attack and you’ll be less likely to veer off the beaten shopping path.

7) Avoid the big malls - The excitement of the season is no better exemplified than in the shopping malls in the weeks before Christmas. Oh, those marketers are so smart, aren’t they? With holiday music blaring, cinnamon and clove smells pumped into the toy section of the stores and festive decor everywhere you look, it’s easy to become enticed. When this happens, all plans for fiscal restraint and focused shopping go out the window. Avoid this from happening by going go to smaller stores, where you’ll be able to not only buy a more unique gift for your loved ones, but will avoid the craziness of the crowds as well.

8) Wear comfortable shoes and clothes - This is really, really important. Like anything, you have to make sure that you’re prepared for all eventualities - including sore feet. Shopping for the day can be exhausting, and wearing layers of heavy winter clothes don’t help either. Before you go out on your shopping expedition, dress in a fashion - from head to toe -  that won’t hinder your success.

9) Research and shop online if possible - The great thing about living in this digital age is that we can use our digital access to make life easier for us. “Help” your child with his letter to Santa and find out at the same time what he’d like to see under the tree on December 25th. Then go online, research pricing, location and shipping of the toy(s) and click “buy this item.” Done. It couldn’t be simpler.

10) Divide and conquer - If you have a partner, close friend or relative who is agreeable, give them some gifts to buy from your list and take a load off. You don’t have to do it all. You’re only one person. Even Santa has elves to keep things under control. Engage others, make it a family (or friend) affair and spread the love. You’ll be glad that you did.

So as you can see, the holiday season can be one full of tidings of comfort and joy. And stress-free as well! Merry Christmas!

VIDEO: Tips For Stress-Free Christmas Shopping

Want more parenting advice and tips? Click on the image below to get your copy of my eBook today. Makes a great holiday gift as well!

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Back to School Tips For Parents

September 5, 2012

Simple strategies to save money as the kids return to school It’s the most wonderful time of the year, isn’t it? That return to school comes with a sigh of relief that the order that includes the daily tasks that both kids and parents have to do to get to class on time. Along with […]

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Why I Always Smuggle Snacks Into The Movies

January 10, 2012

Movie snacks are much too expensive so bring your own - it’s cheaper I smuggle snacks into the movies. There. I said it. I practice a form of “cinematic subterfuge” often, and with conviction. Being the “Frugalista” that I am, I cannot fathom the ridiculous amounts that are charged for chocolate bars, liquorice and popcorn. […]

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Designer Labels and the Economics of Parenting

December 12, 2011

I went shopping the other day. I figured I would buy my eight-year-old daughter a new coat. After all, it’s winter, it’s cold and the really bad weather hasn’t set in yet. Sounds like a good plan, right? Wrong. I wasn’t prepared for some of the prices that I encountered. Call me sheltered, or perhaps […]

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