6 Ways Being Organized Helps to Save Money

The more I think about it, I really think that being organized is the key to saving money.  Not only does my sanity thrive when things are organized in my home, I find our bank account is happier too. 🙂

Here are 6 ways being organized helps to save me money:

The more I think about it, I really think that being organized is the key to saving money.  Not only does my sanity thrive when things are organized, I find our bank account is happier too. Here are 6 ways being organized helps to save money.

Know what I already own

Having a spot for everything will help ensure that you know what you have on hand at all times. No need to buy the beans that are on sale because you know that you already have plenty in the pantry! Being organized (or more organized because we can’t be perfect!) stops you from spending money to replace items you can’t find.

I’ll avoid late fees

When you have an organized system in place for paying bills and returning borrowed items on time, you’ll certainly avoid the ugly late fees. Avoid paying late fees by implementing a system that will work for you. I have to tell you a story about the one time I had a late fee on the Visa bill. My bill paying “system” is not how my husband would do it and he suggested I try it his way.  His way was to pay off an amount as soon as there was a balance. My way is to pay it once a month on the due date, the balance of the statement in full. As soon as I receive the statement in the mail, I log into our online banking and schedule the payment to be made on the due date. Sure, it may be a larger amount doing it my way, but I’m never late in paying it! My husband has learned to just let me do my thing in that regard. 😉

Have time to plan a menu

When you’re organized, you’ll have time to set aside to plan the menu for the week. I’m a firm believer that having a menu plan in place will save you unnecessary trips to the grocery store and your sanity.  In our case, it saves us a ton because we’re avoiding the drive thru and actually eating what we buy from the grocery store.

Have time to cut and use coupons

If you’re a coupon user, being organized means you most likely have some time set aside for printing and organizing your coupons. Which also means you are probably organized to use the coupons at the store to pay rock bottom prices!

Know what projects you have on the go

Let’s pretend that I don’t know all about incomplete projects. (you know, those unfinished sewing and knitting projects that I found…) Every once in a while I get an urge to do something creative. But when I take the opportunity to have an organizing session, I usually discover a few unfinished projects.

Most recently, as I was going through my fabric stash, I found two unfinished projects.  A purse, which only needs to have the handles sewn on, and material for a sweatshirt I’ve cut out for my husband.   I now have two projects to finish to satisfy my creative urge without spending any more money!

Buy gifts well in advance

When you’re on the ball with upcoming special occasions, you can buy ahead when you find a great deal online or in the store. Helping you to avoid paying full price for something near your deadline.

How does being organized save you money? In what ways would you like to be more organized so you can save more?

How to Sell Your Clutter for Cash

Something I like to do on a semi regular basis, is to purge some of the stuff in our home that is not needed anymore.  Although there always seems to be some sort of mess around these parts, extra clutter drives me crazy.  But before I haul everything off to the thrift store, I set aside anything I think I could sell online; it’s always nice to earn bit of extra spending money!

How to Sell your Clutter for Cash

How to sell stuff online. Before you donate your unwanted stuff, turn your clutter into cash by learning how to sell it online!

While I’m a fan of the traditional garage sale, selling some of our old things online is really gaining popularity in my books.  I’ve found it to be less work and I tend to make more money than if I were to sell the items in a garage sale.

I’ve been dabbling a fair bit with some local Facebook Buy & Sell sites, so that’s where I have most of my experience. But Craigslist and Kijiji are also great free options for selling your stuff online.  Although, I’ve found that small items typically don’t sell well with Craigslist and Kijiji so that’s why I’ve been sticking with these Buy & Sell Facebook groups. Ebay is also a great option is you have brand name items and collector items to sell.

Here are some tips to help you sell stuff online through Craigslist/Kijiji, Facebook and eBay:

Research

Spend some time taking a look at items similar to what you want to sell to get an idea of what you should price your item at.  It might also be a good idea to research some of the details you think buyers might want to know. (ie: dimensions, special features…etc.)

Price Your Item Well

If you simply want to get rid of stuff quickly, price your stuff quite low.  If earning a bit of money is your goal, price your items by what you see similar items selling for.  Quite often I’ll price something a bit higher then what I’m willing to take because it’ll be a bonus if someone does purchase it at my asking price. But I know people like to barter to get a lower price.  They’ll feel like they’re getting a deal and I’m happy I was able to earn some decent spending money!

Take Good Photos

Having good, clear photos with your item is fairly crucial if you want to sell it quickly.  Here are some basic tips for taking a good picture:

  • Find good lighting. Try to take your pictures in natural light. In a dark room, the photo won’t show clearly, and artificial light can change the color of the item.
  • Clean the item. Make sure you give the item a good wipe down or wash to show off the condition.
  • Create a clear background. Place the item in an area of your home or yard that is free of  clutter.  You want to make it clear what you’re selling so don’t let any other distracting items show up in the photo.
  • Take several shots. Take at least one shot from every angle.

Choose the Right Category for your Item

To make your item easy to find, you’ll want to make sure you choose the right category to list your item under. After all, no one is going to look for a car in the Housing category!

Write a Clear Headline

In the headline, I like to include what it is and the price.  For example:  Fisher Price Jumparoo, $40.  Having a good headline is important because it’s the first thing people see about your ad and it’s how buyers search for items they want.

Write a Good Description

In your description, you’ll want to include:

  1. What you’re selling. Start the ad by explaining what your item is.
  2. Item’s condition. Briefly explain the condition of the item. Make a note of any damages.
  3. Technical details. Include as many technical details as you can about the item.
  4. Price. Don’t forget to state the price again. Be sure to include whether you’re firm in your price or willing to take a best offer.
  5. Your contact information. At the bottom of your ad, note your preferred method of contact.

Be Safe

Once you have your ad up and running, and you have your buyer, you’ll want to meet in a safe place.  If I’m home alone, I like to arrange a public place for item pick-up.  I try to plan it with an errand I’m already running to save running around all over town. (This one doesn’t really apply to items you sell though eBay since you’re shipping the items to the mailing address your buyer provided.)

The Best time to use:

Craigslist/Kijiji

Craigslist and Kijiji are great options for selling furniture, toys, vehicles and household items.  My husband has had great success selling a couple of vehicles. I have had success with selling some furniture we no longer need.  It’s free to list your items, so there really isn’t any reason not to try a handful of items!

eBay

eBay is the best option for selling popular brand name items such as Coach, Kate Spade and the like that are in excellent condition. High value collector items or hard to find items are also a great match for eBay.  It’s free to list items on eBay but you are required to pay a commission if your item sells.

Facebook Buy & Sell Groups

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the Facebook buy & sell groups.  After all, these Facebook groups are easy to use and are free to join and list. I’ve had great success selling baby items, household stuff, outerwear and books. Search for a local buy & sell group, then ask to join. I’m fairly certain that these groups are in almost every city these days. You’ll want to be sure to read the rules of each group so you don’t end up with your listings being deleted by the administrators. (They set rules to cut down on some of the clutter that posting many items by so many people can cause.)

I’ve created, what I hope will be useful, a Stuff For Sale printable that you can use to keep track of your items as you sell them.  Because I use Facebook groups mostly, that’s how I structured this printable:
Stuff to Sell Printable{Get your Stuff for Sale Printable here}

Have you ever sold anything online?  Will you be giving it a try?  What are your tips for selling, or even buying online?

How to take money from your RRSP without paying tax

This post is a sponsored post written by Sun Life Financial. See my disclosure policy here.

Sometimes, you CAN take money out of your RRSP without penalty. But you have to pay your RRSP back – or pay the tax.

Sometimes, you CAN take money out of your RRSP without penalty. But you have to pay your RRSP back – or pay the tax.

Are you looking at a major expense you didn’t see coming? Short of available cash? Perhaps you’re thinking about tapping your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP). It’s your money, after all, so why not?

Here are three good reasons why not.

1. You’ll owe tax

The first is the tax bill. Since you used pre-tax income when you put money in your RRSP, you’ll have to pay tax when you take it out. And while there’s no tax on investment growth inside your RRSP, you’re taxed when it comes out. RRSPs make sense because you’ll typically cash them in after you retire. That’s when your income and your tax bracket will likely be lower. You’ll still pay tax, but you’ll pay less. If you take the money now, while you’re working, you’ll face more in taxes.

2. You’ll miss out on investment growth

The second reason is lost investment growth. Every dollar you take from your RRSP is a dollar less to build up through compounding. So that little nibble from your plan today could mean a big bite missing from your savings come retirement.

3. You’ll use up contribution room

And the third reason: When you take money from your RRSP, putting it back generally uses up your contribution room. What’s contribution room?  Each year you can put as much as 18% of your earned income from the previous year into your RRSP, up to an annual maximum. The difference between your limit and what you actually put in your RRSP is the unused contribution room. You can carry that forward to use another year. Unused contribution room plus your annual maximum becomes your total contribution room. But whatever you put in your RRSP – replacing a temporary withdrawal or making a brand-new contribution – can use up contribution room. Let’s say you take $5,000 out of your RRSP this year and plan to pay your RRSP back next year. That repayment will reduce your contribution room by $5,000.

There are two ways to avoid paying tax on RRSP withdrawals, without using up contribution room:

  1. Use your RRSP to help buy your first home, or
  2. Use it to go back to school.

What’s the RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP)?

Are you a first-time homebuyer living in Canada? If so, you can borrow up to $35,000 from your RRSP to put towards a down payment. If you and your spouse are buying together, that’s $70,000 you could use for your home.

The HBP lets you take out the money tax-free. But there’s a catch: You have to pay it back in equal installments over 15 years. Any year you don’t pay the full installment, you have to pay income tax on the outstanding balance. You’ll also lose the chance for that money to grow within your RRSP.

Thinking of using the HBP? When you’re crunching the numbers, be sure to include the RRSP repayments along with your mortgage payments.

What’s the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP)?

This is another way to take tax-free money from your RRSP:

  • Take out up to $10,000 a year, for a total of $20,000.
  • You can spread those withdrawals over a maximum of four years.
  • Use that money for full-time education or training for yourself, your spouse or partner. 
  • As with the HBP, you need to repay your RRSP or pay income tax on your withdrawal.
  • With the LLP, you have 10 years to repay your RRSP in equal installments.

What about the tax-free savings account (TFSA)?

You might need money for anything at all – not only buying a home or going to school. An option is your TFSA. You don’t pay tax on TFSA withdrawals for any purpose. You’ll still lose potential investment growth while your money is out of the account. But your contribution limit will grow back. Whatever you take out gets added to what you can put in the following year. You can pay your TFSA back according to your own schedule.

9 Excellent Black Friday Shopping Tips

The biggest shopping day of the year is about to happen in a few weeks. I’m pretty sure it now rivals and perhaps beats out Boxing Day sales in Canada. Black Friday can be a fantastic time to score great deals on Christmas gifts. It can especially be a great time to shop if you know a few tips and tricks to make your shopping successful.

Here are 9 excellent Black Friday shopping tips:

Black Friday is a great time to shop if you know a few tips and tricks to make your shopping successful!

Bookmark my giant Black Friday post

Coming up next week, I will have my annual list (it’s giant!) of Canadian Black Friday deals. Simply peruse the list to find the stores that interest you, click the links, then start shopping from the comfort of your own home!

Buy discounted cards for the stores you will be shopping at.

Go shopping with discounted gift cards instead of cash to save yourself some moolah! There are many stores like Real Canadian Superstore/Loblaws, Rexall and Shoppers Drug Mart that offer discounts on gift cards for stores such as Old Navy and Gap during their weekly sales. You might also want to take a look at CardSwap.ca for discounted gift cards.

Ditch the big shopping cart if you’re shopping in-store.

Just don’t even think about getting one of those large cumbersome shopping carts if you plan on shopping in-store. Grab a basket or bring a large reusable shopping bag (IKEA bag anyone?) to avoid collisions or getting stuck in an aisle when you just want to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible.

Make your shopping list in order of importance.

Is Santa promising to bring a Lego set this year? You better put that first on your shopping list! By making your shopping list in order of importance, you’re really helping yourself to not forget that all important gift.

Sign up for emails for the stores you will be shopping at.

Whether you’re shopping in-store or online it can be extremely valuable to sign up for the email list of the stores you will be shopping at. Almost certainly, they will include coupon codes or coupons you can print/show on your phone for an extra discount. Often times email subscribers can also start shopping the sales earlier online.

Shop online.

The same sales are typically available online too, save for the extreme doorbusters. Save yourself some time and energy by shopping from the comfort of your own home. (This is my preferred method ;))

Join loyalty programs

Might as well join the loyalty programs for the stores you will be shopping at if you haven’t already! Collect points that can translate into free items or even extend certain perks. (I’m thinking the TJX card from Winners.)

Shop online at Amazon.

Because I’m such a fan of online shopping, I usually check Amazon first. Black Friday will be no different because I find that they usually have some great one day deals. Another Amazon tip: Use CamelCamelCamel to track Amazon prices so you can see how today’s Amazon price compares to the rest of the year. Just enter the Amazon URL to see a graph of the price history. You can even sign up for price-drop alerts.

Set a budget and stick to it.

You’re really not getting any deals per say, if you put yourself into debt trying to get the latest and greatest thing. If you’ve created a shopping list, it should be easy to stay within budget because you have an idea of the price of each item. Don’t ruin your holidays worrying about debt! There’s rarely any deal that is worth that amount of stress.

Do you shop on Black Friday? I’d love to hear your Black Friday Shopping tips in the comments below.

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: Create Your Holiday Budget

How to create your Christmas budget. Sit down with a hot drink and create your Christmas budget with these tips! #Christmasbudget #budgettips

Are you excited to work your way to a more organized Christmas?  Today marks the first day and task in the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series that I hope will be super helpful to you!

Before we get started, I have a whole bunch of printables and checklists for you to print out to help you along:

Alright, on to the first task, an important one. 🙂 This week, if you haven’t already, sit down with a hot cup of tea, coffee, hot chocolate… and create your holiday budget.  This is what you think your holiday season will cost and will allow you to put limits on your holiday spending to keep you from shopping regrets if a credit card bill comes your way!

Related: How to Have a Merry Christmas Without Spending a Dime

Here is an extensive list of things you should keep in mind when you create your holiday budget:

Gifts:

  • spouse
  • kids
  • parents
  • siblings
  • nieces/nephews
  • grandparents
  • neighbors
  • coworkers
  • friends
  • secret Santa gift exchanges

Activities/Events/Parties:

  • tickets
  • dining out
  • clothing

Food (not including regular groceries):

  • baking ingredients
  • dessert ingredients
  • Christmas eve
  • Christmas dinner/brunch
  • Boxing day
  • parties

Cards:

  • stamps
  • cards/envelopes
  • stationary for family newsletter
  • photos

Clothing:

  • outfits for photos
  • parties
  • Christmas day outfit

Decorations:

  • tree
  • lights
  • ornaments/candles/wreath/etc.
  • craft supplies

Giving:

  • charities
  • volunteering

Now, these suggestions are just a guideline. Every family is different and has different needs. My intent is to bring to mind every possible thing that could incur an expense during the holiday season.  I’m sure many of you won’t even spend money on half of these things this year. Also, in my mind, the more planning you do, the more money you will save and the saner you will feel. 🙂

As for my family, we only buy gifts for immediate family and a couple of close friends. My husband and I only exchange stockings. I make some homemade gifts as well as collect credits throughout the year so I can do some online shopping for “free”. Of course, I search for deals too. I will probably buy a few inexpensive Christmas decorations this year. This year, I’m toying with the idea of having a cookie decorating party with the girls’ friends. I think that would be fun! As for any party that we are invited to, I like to bring some baking along.

But enough about us.  🙂

If after writing down your expenses, you’re scared of the number you see, you have two options: Decrease your expenses or increase your income.

Decrease your expenses

To make a happy holiday season, you really don’t need to spend a lot of money.  In fact, I’m daring to say, that being extravagant in your spending can be overwhelming not only to you, but the recipient as well. When I was a child, one set of grandparents used to be quite extreme in their gift giving.  It was SO exciting, but I remember being quite overwhelmed with all the gifts once Christmas was over.

Gift giving is probably the easiest expense to cut back on.  If you have a large extended family, consider drawing names so each member is only responsible for one gift.  Or do what our family does and only give gifts to the children.  My parents have also started to set a $20 limit on each other in recent years.  Jesse and I exchange stockings.

Setting a price limit on each gift will allow you to shop within that budget.  If your limit on sister Sue is $30, then that $50 purse is off limits.

It’s possible to decrease your food budget too by shopping the sales and limiting the baking and Christmas dishes you prepare.

When it comes to decorations, why not create some memories by making some homemade decorations?  (I’ll be featuring some ideas in a few weeks)  Or read my Fond, Frugal Christmas Memory post for a fun Christmas tree idea.

Increase your Income

If decreasing your holiday expenses is not an option, then consider increasing your income.  Many retailers hire for the holiday season (and may offer an employee discount!).

A couple of other ideas are to:

  • Sell extra baking to those that may not have much time to create their own.
  • Sell unwanted household items for cash (make room for new stuff too!)

What are your tips for staying on budget at Christmas time?

Sign up for the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas newsletter to receive a FREE Christmas Dinner Checklist!  This checklist is quite detailed and will help you remember all the details needed for a memory filled dinner with family and friends. You’ll also receive a weekly email with each week’s “task”.

Not only do I want a more organized Christmas season of my own, I'm hoping I can help you as well! Introducing... the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series!

October Money Saving Calendar

Happy October! Get ready for the quickest blog post ever that will save you a TON of money!

It’s a new month and I’m trying something new for you guys. I thought it would be fun to create a calendar each month with a super easy money saving tip each day of the month.

So this month, you get the NEW Money Saving Calendar for October 2019!

You can grab your calendar for FREE here.

I’d love to know what you think of this and if you think I should keep doing them each month for you!