savings

VIDEO: How to Save Money on Baby Items With Kijiji

by Samantha on September 11, 2015

Advice on how to bring home baby while staying within your budget

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.
Saving Money With Kijiji

Bringing baby home can be a wonderful yet stressful time for new parents. Between late-night feedings, interrupted sleep and planning for the future, new moms and dads also worry about more practical concerns, specifically money.

Babies are expensive, and baby-related items can cost a bundle - and more. For most of us who live within a certain budget, it’s no wonder that bringing baby home is often a time where parents really start to look at ways that they can maximize their family dollars while getting the best value.

I recently wrote about the Second Hand Economy and how Kijiji, specifically, can help new parents save money on all of their baby-related items. You can read the full post here:

How Kijiji Can Help You Budget For Baby

In addition, I appeared on CH Morning Live to provide some visual examples of the types of items that parents can find on Kijiji. Check it out, here:

Do you have any additional tips about how to save money on baby items? Tell me about them in the comments section below!

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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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How to Save Money While Back to School Shopping For the Kids

I recently went shopping for back to school clothes with my three young kids in tow. Sound crazy? Perhaps it was, but I was a woman on a mission. As insane as it may seem to take your kids along with you while picking out clothes for the season, it actually makes things easier and more efficient as you’re able to size things on the spot.

Determined to get the job done in the face of potential adversity (three kids all wanting their own “stuff”), I soldiered on. With a few main goals in mind, I loaded the kids into the minivan and hit the road.

Now: as a word to the wise, I did have a few things in mind before doing the deed. Back to school shopping can be stressful to say the least, so being prepared was paramount to my success.

As the first day of school looms, here are some proven tips for back to school shopping with kids.

1) Make a List - Take inventory of what your child has already, what she needs and what can wait. Go through her closet and drawers together so that you have a full understanding of what needs to be bought and replaced, or what can last for yet another season. You may be surprised to find that what seemed like a huge shopping expedition is actually not the case and that you only have to replenish or add to your child’s wardrobe minimally.

Make a list, check it twice.

2) Set a Budget - “Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know!” If you’ve ever uttered these words to your kids, then you know what I’m talking about. As parents, we’re all watching our bank balances to make sure that we’re on target. While it’s important to know what your limitations are in terms of back to school spending, it’s equally as important for your kids to be aware as well. Letting them know what to expect and the amount that will be purchased will alleviate pressure when you’re actually in the store, picking out the clothes.

Make a budget before shopping for back to school. 

3) Coupons, Savings and Rewards - Back to school may seem like a daunting and financially scary time for most parents but it doesn’t have to be. As a matter of fact, many retailers know just how apprehensive many of us parents get when the prospect of spending lots of money is presented to us as a fait accompli. By doing a bit of research, you can walk out of the store with your kids fully outfitted as well as with more money in your pocket than you anticipated. In my case, I shopped with my kids and was able to earn Air Miles Reward Miles on my purchase at Old Navy, so I a was actually ahead of the game. Do your research, plan your shopping trip and save. Oh - and don’t forget to check the Clearance rack too!

air-miles-card

Use Air Miles and similar rewards to save money and get more for your dollar

Clearance rack

Always check the Clearance rack first. Always.

4) Go Where You Know - Go where you know. If there’s a particular store where you know that you can great great value and all of the items that your child needs, go there. Why waste time browsing in so many other stores, particularly when you have small kids in tow? Time is at a premium and tempers are often short when it comes to little ones. My kids and I are big fans of Old Navy and as a result, we do much of our shopping there. Do your research choose your destination and get shopping!

Old Navy statuettes

My kids love the doll statues at Old Navy 

Old-Navy-Storefront


5) Get the Classics
 - Sure - trends are great and your child may try to convince you to purchase the latest neon-coloured jacket or similar fashion trend. While indulging your child is okay to some degree, remember that she likely won’t like this same jacket a couple of months from now. Buy items in classic or neutral colours that can be mixed and matched. Examples include greys, navy blues, browns and beiges. The great thing about clothes in these colours is that they can be easily “spruced up” with more exciting options.

boys clothing

Fashion for boys has sure come a long way, hasn’t it?

6) Splurge a Little - And by “splurge,” I mean let the kids get one or two things that are a bit trendy. Perhaps it’s that neon-coloured shirt that they must have or those sparkly shoes that will make a real statement during the fall season at school. By letting the kids exert a little bit of control over what they want, you’ll have more willing and compliant shoppers during your outing, and isn’t that what we’re all looking for?

IMG_0599

A sparkly shoe splurge - my daughter picked out these beauties!

7) Mix and Match - Remember to purchase items that can be easily mixed with both newly bought clothes as well as those existing garments that remain in your kids’ closets. It’s really all about planning and thinking through the various combinations of clothing that will get your children through the season. As suggested in point #1, making a list will help you get focused as well as visually organizing your child’s wardrobe. If you’re particularly enterprising, do it digitally! Make a digital folder on your laptop or tablet that includes pictures all of your kids’ clothes and potential combinations. Take it along with you when you’re shopping and - voila! You’re done.

Old Navy t-shirtOld Navy CardiganOld Navy Jeansdress

8) Don’t Forget Footwear - Back to school shopping doesn’t just mean clothing. It also includes footwear, including shoes, boots and more. It’s often hard to consider winter boots when the weather’s still nice outside but those sudden storms of late can make being unprepared particularly stressful. If you see a good deal on rain boots or winter boots, purchase them for your kids, along with the requisite back to school running shoes. Your kids won’t regret it next time they wake up for school only to see a full-force snow (or rain) storm in progress.

Old Navy boys running shoes

My twins scored with a pair of these runners that they picked out themselves.

9) Size Up - Yes - your mom was right. Buying clothes just a little bit bigger has its merits. If you’re able to stretch out a pair of shoes, a sweater or some pants beyond the immediate back to school period, you’re ahead of the game. Now: a full two or three sizes up (I’m not kidding) may seem like a money-saving technique for parents but let’s face it - your child will be miserable schlepping around a huge sweater, or tripping over themselves in shoes that are way too big. That being said, us a half-size upwards as your guide and you’re effectively buying yourself some time before you have to purchase a new outfit or pair of shoes for your child again any time soon.

IMG_0604

The shirt may be a bit big but we bought it anyway :)

10) Don’t Go All Out - It may be back to school time but you can exercise some restraint when it comes to spending. Yes - get the kids what they need for the immediate time ahead but hold back for things that can wait. If your kids are on a term/semester type of academic program then they may not have swimming or gym class until a few months into the school year. Score for you because you don’t have to buy them a new bathing suit or track suit that’s premium priced. Wait for a bit and save.

What are your best back to school tips and strategies? Have I missed some? Let me know in the comments section below!

Images courtesy of www.chicklitplus.com, http://savingslifestyle.com/, www.zazzle.com, http://www.migrationheritage.nsw.gov.au/

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Simple financial strategies for families on a budget How to Save Money - Top 10 Tips For Parents Money’s tight for everyone these days, but this is particularly the case if you’re a parent. The question of not only how to make money but how to save money as well is one that is always […]

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