Friday, 1 September 2017

INFOGRAPHIC! Five Kitchen Staples on a Budget

This week has seen me focusing on Back to School essentials such as where to buy textbooks and some simple food hacks. I decided I would cap it all off with ways to keep your food interesting and your pantry well-stocked!

Every single thing on this list is in my house and makes its own weekly, if not daily, appearance. So take a gander, write them on your grocery list and look forward to some lovely, tasty budget meals!


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Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Three ways to save - Back to School on a Budget

*** This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase using this link. For more information, please read my full disclaimer here.***

Whether you're eight or 18, back to school always means extra spending.

I enjoyed school and everything that comes along with it, including all the back to school supplies. Some supplies aren't cheap, though, and there are some great ways around spending wild amounts of money while getting ready for back-to-school on a budget.

  1. Buy It second-hand - probably one of the easiest ways to save some coin, buying your supplies second-hand can save massive amounts of money when you're on a budget. For example, I took a quick spin through Amazon looking for some of my old university textbooks. Every textbook could be bought for more than 50 per cent off. I did the math, and for my average university term, I would save about $500 on books by buying second-hand.

  2. Look for open package/ floor model deals - This is a less thought of idea, but it is an amazing one nonetheless. If you are looking at any sort of furniture, electronics or anything else that usually comes in a sealed package, buying a product that's recently been returned can save you a ton of money. on Monday, both Husband and I got new phones. We both got open package deals on our phones, which ended up saving us about $150 on our purchases, or about 10% off each phone.

  3. Look into refurbished electronics - If you can't find an open package, why not look into something rebuilt? This option is especially good if you don't mind being one model behind as you can usually get a refurbished computer/phone/hard drive at an extreme discount.

What are your best back to school savings hacks? Leave them below!


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Monday, 28 August 2017

Back to School Food Hacks on a Budget

Grab your backpack, move into your dorm; it's time to go back to school.

This time of year can be particularly challenging when it comes to budgeting. If you're anything like me, you start worrying about whether you made enough money over the summer. I did this every year, even though I always made it through with money to spare.

Actually, the reason I made it through with money to spare was that I was worried at the beginning of the year. That fear makes you assess your situation critically nd find places that you can make changes in your spending.

The spending I found easiest to modify was my grocery budget. When pushed, I could go about a week and a half or more on about $40. Today I'm going to share five of my best food hacks for university living:

  1.  Ramen - Ok, I know this is cliche, but ramen can be a true godsend. I used to do mine up with tons of veggies and green onion and it was absolutely amazing! If you feel like getting creative, that little pack of ramen noodles makes an excellent food hack. Play with it! You can put almost anything in ramen - pork, beef, tofu, veggies, or my personal favourite...
  2. Eggs - Eggs are one of the smartest things to have in your fridge. they're relatively cheap, filled with protein, easy to cook and can be done in tons of different ways. I would eat eggs about twice a week. If you eat two eggs per sitting and have them twice a week, you get three weeks' worth of meals for about 50 cents per meal. 
  3. Buy big, portion small - I was the queen of portioning when it came to bulk. I would buy large packs of frozen tortellini (another godsend on busy nights) or meat, take it home and spend a little time measuring, weighing and freezing a lot of food. It will save you a lot of grief in the long run and you will love that you can have a different meal every night instead of having to eat the same thing just to use it up. 
  4. Beans really are magic - I'm serious! Nothing will cost so little but fill you up so much. Even if you go the "expensive" route and buy canned beans, you're still going to get a lot of bang for your buck. Beans and rice will keep you full, can be made dozens of different ways, the leftovers freeze easily and can be absolutely delicious. here is one of my favourite rice and bean recipes for you to try!
  5. Learn to make a basic homemade soup - This is a little more complicated of a food hack, but it it is a truly great idea. I hate seeing waste and I have found that one of the best ways to minimise waste is to know how to make a good soup or vegetarian chili. soups make it easy to use up some of your older veggies before they need to be binned. Soup, especially blended soup, is really easy to freeze and can be portioned out so that you aren't stuck eating soup for a week. 
There you have it; some really easy, ways to save money while you're at school. The biggest suggestion that I can make is to ensure you're using all the food you're buying and to shop wisely.

Good luck with the new school year!


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Sunday, 27 August 2017

INFOGRAPHIC - Simple ways to Save with Minimal Effort

Hello friends!

I know I keep talking about the importance of saving money... it's kind of my thing at this point.

This week I have decided to make an infographic to show just how easy it can be to save anywhere between a few dollars to upwards of 100 dollars each month by doing nothing more than cutting out unnecessary or easy to DIY items. Once you get used to the changes, you won't notice the difference and as a bonus, you will have more money in your account to put toward the things you really want.


To learn more, click here or visit the website listed above

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Online shopping - Three things to check

I am a person who doesn't like to spend a ton of money on my clothing (as I have discussed before here and here), but occasionally I get bitten by the fashion bug and want something trendy. When I do finally decide to buy, though, I usually turn to discount shopping websites.


We all know that can be a gamble. We've all seen the wardrobe fails when it comes to buying online, and when you can't physically touch and feel the garment until it shows up at your house ... well, let's just say we have all gotten something like that.

The dress was supposed to be something like this one (not actual style ordered) SOURCE
 For me, it was a red dress. I found a '50s style swing dress that looked like it was made for me. I ordered it from the (unnamed) website, waited more than  two months for my package to arrive and found that it REALLY didn't fit. Unfortunately, due to the company's poor return policy (60 days) I couldn't return it, even after I explained the situation.

Lesson: a lot of these discount shops are cheap for a reason.

So how do you avoid these mess-ups in the future?

First and foremost, check the reputation of the online shop. If it doesn't have a good reputation, don't risk it. Check multiple sources, too; some of these places will use bots and fake profiles to balance out bad reviews.

Second, take a look at their return policy. If they don't have one or it is an extremely sort window (i.e. less than seven days), proceed with caution. Remember; it's only a good deal if you're able to use the product.

Third, where are they shipping from? It can be important to take courier time into account. As an example, PatPat (linked in this post) ships from the continental United States and I'm in Canada. I know any clothing I order from here will make it to me faster than something shipped from China. Continental shipping times and overseas shipping times can vary greatly (no matter where you live) so it can be crucial to know when you are supposed to be receiving a parcel, especially if it's needed for a specific date.

Up to 90% off Summers End Family Apparel
 No coupon codes necessary.
Shopping for clothing online can e a hit or miss, especially when going with some of the discount sites, but following these rules can save you a lot of hassle in your journey to save money.


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Monday, 21 August 2017

Special Occasion Wines

Some wines are just made for special occasions.

I love to share my picks for the best and brightest wines on a budget, but occasionally, you want something special.

Taking a step up from entry-level wines can be a great way to add a little extra to your day/ evening/ meal and the best places to buy these wines is at the wineries. These special wines are the more refined examples of what a good winery can do; these wines are usually produced with the best grapes, the most care and generally put out the best product.

Southbrook sells many different wines in local outlets, but it keeps its best close to home. If you want their premium wines you need to go to their winery in Niagara, Ont. Their highest-quality wines are crafted and aged with care and in much smaller batches. These wines are made to bring out the absolute best in the grape.

I will say that these are not everyday wines, but in this instance, you definitely get what you pay for and they can be a delightful way to treat yourself.

The two examples I recently tried were Southbrook's Small Lot 'Natural' Orange wine (2016) and their Triomphe Gamay Noir (2016).

Southbrook's Small Lot 'Natural' Orange wine 2016 - Organic and biodynamic

The Orange ($29.95) is completely different from a conventional white wine. My first sip was a little surprising and I had to take a moment before taking a second sip. In truth, I had to try and get around my expectations of what a conventional white wine should taste like. After that, I gave it another taste and was able to really experience the flavours. The wine had a tang that was very akin to a cider or a sour beer. I actually found it a little hard to find the grape in this wine, probably because orange wine goes through a completely different fermentation process compared to what we are used to drinking. This wine drinks very tart with clementine and kumquat flavours and subtle floral notes and is very refreshing served cold. I think my preference would be to serve this wine with food; salmon and very flavourful seafood or something with a bit of a sour bite to enhance the flavours.

Triomphe 2016 Gamay Noir - Organic

The Gamay ($21.95), on the other hand, was exactly what I expect from a mid- to high range Gamay: fruity, light, fresh, a little chocolatey and a little smoky on the end. I have found through my wine adventures that sometimes when you buy the less expensive bottles, you lose some of the complexity and character that makes a wine go from good to great. This wine is a fantastic example of that theory; it is delicate yet extremely flavourful and is laced with character and nuance. Both times I have drunk this wine I have found something that I previously missed. One warning, though - the Gamay goes down very easy. This wine can be enjoyed with or without food is worth every penny.

It is always great to stay inside your budget and live thrifty, but remember, life is to be enjoyed as well.

Don't be afraid to treat yourself occasionally.

Go ahead; open the good bottle.


*** These wines were sent to my by Southbrook Vineyards for review. The thoughts expressed in this article are 100% my own and reflect my true opinions of the products ***

Friday, 18 August 2017

Infographic! Saving when Shopping for what you Want

It is so tempting to go and buy what you want.

Sometimes, when we have that little bit of extra money and we've already topped up our savings for the month, we may choose to treat ourselves.

No matter what we're buying or how liquid we feel money-wise, it never hurts to go out and find the best deal. This infographic covers three great ways to make sure you're getting the most for you money.



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