Are you ready for another round of Splurge vs. Save? Like last time, I’ll feature two similar products with good reviews, but one is the ‘splurge’ version and the other is the ‘save’ version.
Let’s get on with it shall we? This week I’m featuring two different 6’x9′ Washable Area Rugs. With washable rugs being a popular home item these days, I thought I’d show you two variations that are both available on Amazon.ca. Before reading further, can you guess which is which?
If you guessed that the ‘save’ version is on the left and the ‘splurge’ version is on the right, then you are correct!
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Will you be heading on the road with your family this summer? Road trips can be a great way to spend time with your loved ones or to get a brief respite from this crazy world. Whatever your reason for the trip, planning is key.
One of the most challenging things for a family road trip is just getting to your destination. Anyone who has taken a trip with kids knows there are constant stops for snacks, bathroom breaks and meltdowns over a toy or blanket that may have fallen beyond their reach. If you prepare for the situations you can control, your trip to your destination will go smoothly (and hopefully with as few stops as possible).
Before you hit the road, be sure to take a look at these cheap road trip hacks. The dollar store or even Amazon are great places to look for inexpensive items that can be used to make your trip run as smooth as possible. Here are some cheap road trip hacks using simple items that will ensure your next road trip adventure is a success.
These mesh plastic caddies are great for snacking in the vehicle. Use the compartments to put a juice box or water bottle, bags of snacks, napkins and utensils. Each person in the car should have their own. No more making stops to get everyone their snacks. They can help themselves as you drive. Or even a plastic Shower caddy would be great and more sturdy for meals from the drive thru.
Mesh Pop Up Hamper
These small hampers fold up into a disc so they don’t take up much room in the car. Pop one up to be a catch all for larger toys or put a plastic bag in a small one and place in the back seat with the kids so they can throw their trash in it (and not on the floor).
Elastic Sheet Straps
Elastic sheet straps have little tabs that affix to fabric on each end. Tired of your kid losing their blanket and you have to pull the car over to find it? Do you want them to have a sweatshirt or jacket readily available? Attach one end to their clothes or fabric of their car seat and attach the other end to the blanket or jacket.
Plastic Mattress Protector
Plastic mattress protectors are a must have in your road trip arsenal. You can use them as a picnic table cover in a pinch if you stop to eat at a rest area or park. You can also use them to catch sand and dirt in the trunk or cargo area on gear, clothes or shoes. If your lodging on the way to your trip isn’t up to your usual standards, you can use these mattress protectors to keep you and the sheets separated.
Mesh bagsare great for road trips. Most dollar stores sell them in a pack of two or three and they have so many uses. You can tie one to the back of a headrest and put your child’s blanket and stuffed animals for easy reach. You can also use mesh bags to air dry wet items or collect dirty laundry.
Sometimes your car can become a dumping ground on a road trip and before you know it you find yourself looking for everything from sunscreen to bug spray. Accordion files can keep everything in one place. Place the item in a gallon size plastic bag and label the top. This also works for games, coloring sheets, puzzles and other activities for the kids. Empty the pieces into a gallon zipped bag, label and place in each compartment.
Shower Trays with Suction Cups
Are you tired of picking up Legos or small toys and want to keep them together and in arm’s reach of your kids? Suction holders can be the perfect solution. Just suction the trays to your kids’ window and they have a place to store their favorite things.
Stacking Pill Organizer
When you take a road trip, space can be limited. One way you can save space is by using the stackable pill bottles. Put your eye cream, toothpaste and lotions in them to avoid having to bring larger containers. You can put over the counter medications in them. Or if you like to bring your favorite spices along, you can put them in there too. The possibilities are endless.
Shower caps are also a great staple to have on hand. If you make stops and your kids get their shoes dirty, you can place them in the shower caps. Or if you don’t want to take their shoes off, place the caps around their shoes. If you stop to have a picnic, you can also use these to snap around a plate to keep the bugs away from your food.
Grab a pack of cupcake liners to help keep cup holders clean! Place cupcake liners in each cup holder, and when they start getting filled with crumbs and dirt, you can replace them in just a few seconds. It will save you so much time not having to wipe your car down. Let alone avoiding possible sticky messes.
Plastic cereal containers make for surprisingly good garbage cans. They’re narrow enough to squeeze into a smaller space, and the lids snap tightly into place. Plus, there will be minimal spillage if it gets knocked over.
Fishing Lure Box/ Small Hardware Storage Box
These small boxes can be used to keep things together in the car during travel, whether it is small parts for crafts, spare change or earbuds to your devices.
No need for any of those fancy car desks for activities! Just grab some cookie sheets! The raised edges keep crayons from rolling off and the metallic surface is great for playing magnetic games and puzzles of all kinds.
Clip-on LED Light
For night driving, you may get distracted by turning the overhead lamps on for the kids to read. The clip-on LED reading light can come in handy. Clip onto seat belts so kids can have a reading light at their disposal. Clip onto your kids if you have to get out of your car at night to stretch your legs or go into a dark rest stop. These are portable and give just enough light for them to read, but not enough that it will distract you from driving.
Do you have any cheap road trip hacks to share? Leave them in the comments below!
Like all of my other deal posts, this post most likely contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here.
Every Friday, I will be doing a round-up feature of good sales, called Weekend Sales.
While this was intended to be a summer feature, however going forward, I have decided to continue doing this as a weekly feature. This will allow me to check in to my email to collect the best sales and provide you with the deals that you enjoy and expect from Simply Frugal. There will be exceptions though. If I find something that needs it’s own separate post because it’s such a great deal, I’ll be sure to do just that!
The best way to stay up to date on the deals, is to sign up for the Simply Frugal Deals Email. You can do so here.
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It’s extremely important for any family to intentionally take the time once in a while to have fun as a family. Life can be very busy so making a conscious effort to slow down together without the demands of other friends/family/work/school can be so beneficial.
Family fun, however, does not have to cost a lot! Sure, there are activities that can cost a lot (and those are fun!), but there are so many fun cheap family activities too.
With Family Day in Canada quickly approaching, I thought I’d share some ideas for cheap family fun!
Cheap Family Activities:
Have a picnic inside
Start your garden seeds inside – Use this as an opportunity to teach your children about patience, responsibility and how things grow!
Movie night – Pick a movie that you haven’t watched in a while and make some homemade microwave popcorn! We’ve been having fun watching some of the movies my husband and I watched when we were kids.
Have a theme night/day – Mexican, Italian, pirate…the list goes on. Plan dinners and activities around your theme!
Have a craft night – paint, sew, make bracelets, draw…etc!
Head to your local library – stock up on reading material or even sit in on story time!
Have a game night – pull out those board games and cards!
Unplug – Turn off the cell phone, TV, computer and just reconnect with your wonderful family!
Shop at a thrift store together.
Have a dance party.
Build stuff with Lego.
Make everyone a nice warm drink, then read together with your own books.
Go bird watching – see how many different types of birds you can spot. Maybe bring along a bird book from the library.
Go ice skating – many ice rinks offer free skating on certain days
Build an indoor fort – camp out in it or have a picnic in it!
Have another family over for dinner – this is way cheaper then eating out!
If it’s a holiday weekend, see if there are any free events taking place.
Visit a local ski hill and wander around. Maybe grab an inexpensive treat to enjoy.
Are you ready for another round of Splurge vs. Save? Like last time, I’ll feature two similar products with good reviews, but one is the ‘splurge’ version and the other is the ‘save’ version.
Let’s get on with it shall we? This week I’m featuring two different hair dryer brushes. They are actually the same price, but one is cheaper right now because they are both on sale. Also, one is a familiar name brand, while the other may not be as familiar. Before reading further, can you guess which is which?
If you guessed that the ‘save’ version is on the right and the ‘splurge’ version is on the left, then you are correct!
Here are the links to shop them both if you are interested:
Valentine’s Day is around the corner so today’s post is going to focus on low cost date ideas! I’m not only going to list frugal ideas to do with your significant other, but also ideas you can use with any special kids in your life. After all, it’s crucial to any important relationship, that you spend some quality one-on-one time together.
However, when money is tight, it’s hard to justify spending money on a “date”. Even dinner and a movie can really add up! With that in mind, I hope you enjoy my ideas for low cost date ideas the whole family can enjoy:
Date-Night with your significant other:
Visit a Winery or Brewery – This can really be a fun and informative afternoon! Most wineries and breweries offer free tours that include free tastings at the end.
Use those Daily Deal Sites – Keep an eye on those daily deal sites like Groupon and WagJag. I often see offers for romantic getaways, restaurant deals and even local attractions. You’ll save yourself a big chunk of money if you take advantage of a deal, especially if you intended on heading out on the town anyways!
Wash the Car Together – Sometimes doing the mundane chores together can be a blast and a great way to catch up. This is a great idea for when life is so busy you’re having a hard time finding a solid chunk of time to spend together.
Get back to your Roots – Did you use to love playing a particular board game together in your younger dating/married years? Pull it out and play it once again. Or maybe you used to love browsing the thrift stores together? Or enjoyed the satisfaction of volunteering? Do something that takes you back to the early days!
Go for a Drive – One year for our anniversary, with a new baby in tow, we took a scenic drive and stopped at a quaint little coffee shop in a nearby town. This was one of our most memorable dates!
Dinner at Home – Not a new idea at all, dinner at home, but how about calling up your date’s mother to get the recipe for their favourite childhood meal? Or if you both enjoy a fancy meal, how about going all out at the grocery store to recreate your favourite fancy restaurant meals? The thought of a picnic on the floor might hit the spot as well! Maybe this year could be your first fondue?
Go to the Beach – Obviously for the warmer months, but we like to bring along a couple of chairs and some good books and spend the afternoon relaxing at the beach. When we get hot, we just jump into the water!
Go for a Hike – or snowshoeing since it’s winter! My husband and I are really fond of hikes. There’s just something about enjoying nature together and getting a little bit of exercise at the same time. Plus, our region has some pretty fantastic hiking locales if I do say so myself.
Date-Night with your Children/Whole Family:
Get the ideas flowing with these suggestions that will work for one on one dates with your children or for the whole family unit!
Have a Picnic – Inside or outside depending on the weather. Pack some sandwiches, a fun beverage and an extra special treat that will be enjoyed.
Have a Movie Night in – grab a movie off the shelf that you haven’t watched in a while or find something on Netflix and make some homemade microwave popcorn!
Have a Theme Night/Day – Mexican, Italian, pirate…the list goes on. Plan dinners and activities around your theme!
Have a Craft Night – Paint, sew, make bracelets, draw…etc! This would have been a dream date with my mom when I was younger. Actually, now that think about it, we used to spend quite a few nights making greeting cards!
Head to your Local Library – Stock up on reading material or even sit in on story time!
Go Bird Watching – See how many different types of birds you can spot. Maybe bring along a bird book from the library. Here’s are some free Bird Watching printables you may enjoy.
Build an Indoor fort – Grab all your blankets, pillows and boxes to create an epic indoor fort. Camp out in it or have a picnic in it!
Check out the free community events offered in your area – Many of the free community events are geared towards family fun.
Go for a Nature Walk – Bring along a bag that you can use to collect all sorts of neat nature things in. Bring the bag home and create some crafts using your haul.
Have a Garage Sale – Involve the kids and help them set up a lemonade or hot chocolate stand. They’ll have fun earning some money and you’ll all enjoy being together!
Go Ice Skating – I recently took my daughter out for the very first time and she had a blast. While she refused to try on the skates, she had fun building her confidence on the ice wearing her boots. We have several local rinks that offer free family skate times, so yours may as well.
Many of these low cost date ideas can be adapted to every season, but the important thing is that you get out there and have fun together as a couple, parent/child or family! Enjoy each other!
Do you feel as though your grocery bill is starting to get out of control week after week?
Or maybe you have no idea how much you’re actually spending on groceries each week and you find yourself feeling really pinched by the end of the month?
In my opinion, the grocery bill is one of the easiest bills to manipulate. By simply taking the time to learn the money saving tactics that I have listed, you’ll be well on your way to lowering your grocery bill.
Read on to discover how to grocery shop like a money saving pro:
1. Learn the sneaky ways grocery stores get you to spend more.
Did you know that some of the “sales” you see from week to week are just sneaky tactics to get you to buy more?
From the sales, to the grocery cart size, to the layout of the store, grocery stores have learned the best ways to get their customers to spend more than they intended.
In this post, I’ve outlined in detail, several sneaky ways grocery stores get you to spend more.
2. You Need a Grocery Budget.
Having a grocery budget is crucial to lowering your grocery bill.
After all, if you don’t have a budget, you don’t know how much you’re spending or saving!
You need the guideline of a budget in order to help you improve your spending habits and to get you closer to your lifetime financial goals.
If you want to learn how to grocery shop like a money saving pro, meal planning is a must. Not only will it help you lower your grocery bill each week, you will regain so much sanity in your busy life.
By planning a weekly menu, you’ll be using what you already have on hand in your house, creating a specific grocery list and avoiding unnecessary trips to the grocery store.
Stockpiling, or the Buying Ahead Principle, or another way of terming it, “Buy lots when it’s on sale, so you never pay full price for the things you need”, is one of my favourite way to save grocery money in the long run.
Buying several of the same item when they’re on sale rather than buying one item not on sale, will save you heaps of money.
Another way to save money on your grocery bill is to use a variety of different brands.
When I need a certain product (tomato sauce for example) I always look at all the brands available and choose the one with the best value by taking into account the price and size.
I’ll admit though, sometimes brand does matter to our family. It’s Heinz ketchup or nothing at all!
6. Shop at More Than One Store.
By shopping at a couple of different stores, you have the potential to drastically reduce your grocery bill each week.
If you’re shopping at only one store, you’re most likely paying full price for many items that could very well be on sale at the store just down the road.
Say for example, you need some cheddar cheese. If you bought it from the one grocery store that you always shop at, you’re paying $7.99. But if you drove 2 minutes to Shoppers Drug Mart they have it on sale for $2.99. You just saved yourself $5.00 for two minutes of your time.
7. Look for Markdowns.
Grocery stores mark down items they want to sell quickly.
Sometimes the food is about to hit its best before date. One of the places I’ll always look for markdowns, is the meat department. Any markdowns are about to expire, but I know I can use it that night or freeze it for a later date!
Other times they are discontinuing a particular product and just want to move them to make room on the shelves for something else.
8. Buy in Season.
Buying fruits and vegetables in season, or when they’re at their prime and grown closer to home, can cut a big chunk off your grocery bill each week.
When you buy fruits and vegetables in season, you tend to get the best taste too!
I’m a firm believer that coupons can save you quite a bit of money on your grocery bill each week.
I know many of you already use coupons so you know the benefits.
But perhaps others of you aren’t sure how to use coupons effectively, don’t see the benefit in using them or don’t know where to find them. Here’s a series I wrote about How to Coupon in Canada that should be beneficial!
One thing I’ve been implementing more these days, is using cash-back apps like Checkout 51, Eclipsa and Caddle. These work well for a busy life.
10. Price Match to Save Money and Time.
Try price matching to find a really effective way on how to grocery shop like a money saving pro!
Many stores in Canada offer a price match guarantee. They’ll match the advertised sale price of any competitive retailer as long as it is the exact same item and in the current sale period.
They’ll even accept coupons on top! 🙂
If you’ve been wondering how to grocery shop like a money saving pro, I hope that this post gave you hope and a starting point! By implementing the tips provided, you should start to make headway with saving on your grocery bill.
There’s nothing more satisfying than saving money on something that you have to buy on a regular basis, especially when it can be a large percentage of your monthly income!