Browsing Tag

budget

10 Ways to Save Money During the Holidays

FAM, self By December 20, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , No Comments

January is all about new beginnings – thinning out, simplifying and looking forward to longer daylight hours.  So why do we continually sabotage ourselves in December?  According to new research released by Mobilicity, Canada’s smart mobile phone carrier, 58 per cent of Canadians say they spend more than they should during the holidays and a further 59 per cent find themselves making impulse purchases. This overindulgence may lead to feelings of guilt, remorse or the ‘holiday shopping hangover’.

Unfortunately, it’s often parents of young children who are at greatest risk for this holiday overspending phenomenon.  We’ve put together a few tips so that you can start your new year early (and not hide under the covers when your bills come in).

1.  Buy e-books as gifts on Kindle, iBooks or Kobo. They are much less expensive (and environmentally-friendly) than the paper versions.

2.  Utilize the apps on your smartphone to save money.  Some of our favs include: Shopcatch, Groupon, Living Social, Hotels.com, Kayak, AirBNB, and Hipmunk.  In today’s economy, it is perfectly acceptable to gift a daily deal voucher provided you have put careful thought into the desires of the recipient.

3.  Set limits for gifting to family.  Drawing names and setting a $50 limit can be fun and won’t break the bank.

4.  Dropbox is a free service that saves you printing costs and allows you to access your documents and photos from any computer or smartphone.

5.  Flipboard is a fabulous alternative to buying paper magazines.  Big Oven or Food Network Canada house thousands of recipes and can help save money on Hard copy recipe books.

6.  Amazon has a great app that allows you to scan bar codes in stores in order to compare prices to what the item sells for on Amazon.

7.  Shop all year.  Seriously.  When you see a great sale, keep the December holidays in mind and consider buying gifts for friends and family early.  Black Friday sales have also come to Canada and stores like the Bay, Future Shop and Apple are offering deep discounts.

8.  Make sure you research your big purchases.  Tripadvisor, Yelp and Auto Trader are great apps with which to research big ticket items.

9.  We have lots of Homemade Holiday Gift ideas.  Especially when received from children, they are filled with love and sentiment for special people in the kids’ lives.

10.  Give experiences instead of ‘things’.  Offer to babysit for close friends and supply movie tickets.  Take a friend’s children to the zoo.  Make coupons for the kids for extra screen time or a date with Mommy.

There is no need for guilt or remorse due to overspending if you consider the needs of others and plan ahead. (Goodness knows – parents are hard enough on themselves!)  Using technology to make life easier (and cheaper) will help you to embrace your January goals and limit the January holiday shopping ‘hangover’.

Content courtesy of Mobilicity, Canada’s smart mobile carrier.  Find out how to avoid a holiday shopping hangover and reduce your monthly spending all year round with unlimited data, talk and text, without contracts and hidden fees at Mobilicity.ca.  Now that’s smart!

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Cheap Dinner Ideas

Cheap Dinner Ideas For Your Family

EAT, family meals By November 16, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

Feeding a family can get pretty expensive.  If you’re not a great menu planner, here are a few ideas of healthful dinners that won’t break the bank.  If you have other cheap dinner ideas to add, please give us suggestions in the comments!

1.  A Baked Potato Bar if a great interactive family affair.  Each person can choose toppings, including sour cream, chives, bacon, cheese, chili, and baked beans.
2.  Pancit is a traditional Filipino dish that helps extend meat portions with the use of noodles and vegetables.
3.  Homemade Pizza is fun to make as a team and if you don’t want to make the dough, there are loads of ready-made pizza shells on the market.  Spread pizza sauce on the shells and let your little chefs become ‘pizza doctors’.
4.  Fish tacos using grilled frozen basa filets are healthy and economical.  Much like the baked potto bar, each family member can choose how to assemble their taco.  Tomatoes, salsa, cheese, greens and sauces all add spice and depth of flavor (as well as extending the more expensive fish part of the meal)
5.  Puff pastry filled with bean/lentil salad is nutritious and great for the family budget.
6.  French onion soup isn’t difficult to make.  We cook the onions for over an hour in olive oil with a piece of waxed paper covering them at the bottom of the saucepan.  Add beef stock, some stale French bread round s and grated cheese.  Voila.
7.  Crepes filled with hotdogs and tomato sauce for the kids and something a little more interesting for you are great to have on hand.
8.  Turkey a la king is simple and extends your holiday dinner leftovers.  Served with egg noodles it is a budget-friendly option.
9. Spaghetti bolognaise (make the sauce in bulk when ground beef is on sale and freeze in portions.)
10.  Pulled pork sliders – do it in the crock pot for an easy and tasty meal.

Bon appetit!

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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How to Avoid Wireless Billing Surprises so There is Money Left Over for your Child's RESP

GEAR, tech By September 4, 2012 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

I’ve been ‘around for a while’ when it comes to mobile phones. I had the original Motorola brick. – With the snazzy leather cover. (Note: it was never clipped to my belt). And I have been (mostly) loyal to one company for 15 years. So I’m reticent to try new things and ‘switch’. But I also have a panic attack whenever my cell phone bill arrives.

There are several factors that can lead to a budgeting downfall when it comes to wireless bills. Hoping that my husband – and mother – doesn’t read this, I can outline a few of my personal exploits over the past year.

Like when traveling on the Disney Fantasy and not realizing I was paying heavy roaming fees when we sailed into the Bahamas. Oops.

Like getting a $400 bill for water damage on a phone after a mild paddleboard accident.

Like being clever and putting a US text, voice and data package on my phone that cost me $100 while in the meantime owning a US cell phone with another number, which confuses people to no end and has me double-fisting as I travel.

Why do we have mobile phones? Peace of mind. Convenience. Staying connected.  Social media. Tracking our kids via GPS on the ski hill. (Maybe that’s just me). Unfortunately, this year’s ‘peace of mind’ goal turned into financial stress. And I still haven’t tucked money away into the kids’ RESPs.

September and ‘Back to School’ bring about a New Year’s-like opportunity for new beginnings, and at the top of my list is dealing with my budget: fewer shoe purchases, planning more meals and less expensive phone bills.

I’ve always had a Wind rocket stick, which at $29/month is a huge bargain. I can work on my laptop in the car while waiting for school pickups or watching the kids run around the park. I also have a Wind account for my assistant. With unlimited minutes, text and data for $40/month, it was a good choice for the business. Why I didn’t make the leap myself had to do with the amount of travel I do, flexibility and consistency. Many concerns were to do with roaming and here’s what I have since found out.

Canada:

AWAY roaming coverage is $0.20/min to make a call from anywhere in Canada or the US to anywhere in Canada or the US.  (i.e. No long distance charges within North America), but if you are not in a larger city and ‘Wind’ is not displayed on your phone, you will pay $0.20/min. Network coverage expands all the time and at the moment is strong in: Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, the GTA, Hamilton, Ottawa, Kitchener/Waterloo and Guelph.

Europe:

European voice roaming is only $0.20 per minute.  Hello, Paris. When I compared data prices, they were similar to what I pay now, but with Wind I wouldn’t have to add on a $15+ travel pack and estimate how much data and texting I would use.  The downside? Easy access. I could possibly still rack up a huge bill thinking it was inexpensive…moi?

United States:

I’ve been going to the US often. Here’s the deal with Wind: for a $5 per month package you pay rates of $0.10/min talk, $0.50/text and $0.50/MB for data. Texts and voice calls are cheaper than my current carrier and there are still unlimited incoming texts.

I’m starting to look at Wind kind of like the new darling of the cell phone world. With no contract, it’s a great value for the urbanites out there. So it is now time to head to the bank and top up the RESP’s (and receive the $400 per child gift from the Canadian Government) that will help to send the kids to University.

The latest smartphones from $0 on plans with no term contracts.

Being a part of a global company across 18 countries means WIND Mobile has over 200 million customers to listen to and learn from. That helps WIND Mobile provide you with the products and services you deserve, like unlimited plans that really are unlimited.

When you join WIND Mobile you can get unlimited data, text, and local talk for only $29 a month. Plus all plans include caller ID. Visit us at WINDmobile.ca

Disclosure: This post was brought to you by WIND Mobile via Glam Media Canada.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of WIND Mobile.

 

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Cloth versus disposible diaper cost comparison

Cloth Versus Disposable Diaper Cost Comparison

baby, FAM By October 18, 2011 Tags: , , , , , , 11 Comments

Many people say that the diapers you begin with are the diapers you will use until toilet training.  We would have to concur.  Our hospital made us use cloth from day one (it’s easier to see signs of urination and make sure baby is getting enough to eat).  We could have done without the diaper pins (ouch!!), but now that we have cloth diapers with snaps and velcro, we feel pretty confident.  How many people do you know bought cloth and then returned them after using disposables at the hospital? Here is a Cloth and Disposable Diaper Cost Comparison sheet.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Moonjar

GEAR, toys By November 12, 2009 Tags: , , , , No Comments

MoonjarSpend.  Save.  Share.  Wouldn’t it have been nice if all of the world’s fighters had been given a Moonjar when they were little?  A special piggybank, the Moonjar helps to teach children financial concepts, and encourages them to learn how to handle money.  We need to save.  We need to support charity, and spending a bit is never a bad thing either.  The three pieces of the Moonjar fit together, and it cannot be a unit without the other pieces.  Pretty clever.  I bet the kids who grew up with these are never late on their Visa payments.  www.moonjar.ca

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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