Category: budget

Save Money and Time With Groupon Goods #spon

Save Time and Money With Groupon Goods #ad

This post has been sponsored by Groupon Goods. All opinions expressed are my own.

While I love saving money on not only every day grocery items but big ticket items for our home, what I love the most is saving time. If I can make things easier by managing my time and ordering online that means I can spend more time where I really want to – with my boys! For us this means more time visiting local attractions like the museum.

Save Time and Money with Groupon Goods #spon

For years I had avoided shopping online. I used every excuse possible; I love the feel of shopping in person, trying on items, choosing the item I want myself of the shelf and I will get a better deal in store than online. Boy was I wrong! I first started shopping online two years ago at Christmas time because let’s face it from now until Christmas, stores are crazy. I do not like having people pushing into me, the long line ups to pay and not being able to find what I am looking for. My first experience had me hooked! Not only is shopping online easy, there is a greater selection of goods, prices and the items are delivered to your home or place of business within a couple of days. To me this is best part!

One of the most convenient places to shop online is Groupon Goods, where you can purchase a wide array of products. Everything from health and beauty to toys to electronics to even mattresses! They take one stop shopping to heart, which is perfect for this busy family.

As a side note, because it can be easy to go over board with the shopping online (trust me it can be addictive!), I like to keep a spreadsheet and record what I am ordering online, the price and when it is delivered. It really helps to keep me on track with my shopping and spending habits.

What is your favourite item to order online?

Make sure to check out Groupon on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with all the latest information and deals. Happy Shopping!

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Creating a Budget: The Do’s and Dont’s

Budget Spreadsheet


I feel like cringing whenever I hear that word! I am not going to lie budgeting is hard. We live in a society where we want and need things in that moment. Having to tell ourselves to slow down, set aside money, pay off debt and live in the moment can be hard.

While I am by no means a financial expert, I have learned many valuable tools over the last few years. In the last seven years, I have paid off my University debt ($15,000), planned and held our wedding (using no credit) and put a down payment on our home. This was met with sacrifice and hard work but it has been well worth it.

My first step was to write it all down. I love my spreadsheets! So pop open Excel or if you don’t like that Google Drive offers a great spreadsheet. Make a table showing the bill item (rent/mortgage, hydro, water, gas, etc..) and the monthly amount due. Make sure you include all debt you owe, an amount for food (for a family of four we set aside 500/month), an amount for transportation (whether it be gas or bus fare), bank fees, child care and an amount for savings.

Here is an example:

Budget Spreadsheet Outgoing FundsFor my savings category, it is important that you have something in mind for this as it may affect how much you put into this category each month. Are you saving for a trip? A down payment? Wedding? Rainy day? Pay off debt? Take that total amount and divided it by the amount of time you need to pay it off in. Ex) You need to pay a down payment of $15,000 in three years: 15,000/36=417.

Add up your outgoing payments at the bottom.

Next you want to look at all incoming income you have. Look at your income, your partners (if applicable) and any monthly tax credits (baby bonus, childcare bonus, etc..) I like to add this below my outgoing amounts.

Here is an example:

Budget Spreadsheet

It is important to leave yourself some breathing room with your outgoing and incoming funds. Emergencies happen and you want to make sure you feel comfortable having enough funds in your bank account. This is what I like to refer to as our “play” cash.

What to do if the money isn’t adding up?

This happens to a lot of us! Here are some tips I suggest:

  • Decide what you can do without. Do you need that home phone? Expensive cell phone plan? Probably not. Make the necessary cuts where you have to. Eat in more, bring coffee to work, don’t go out for work lunches. Sacrifice isn’t always easy but it is well worth it.
  • Price match and use coupons. This has cut our grocery bill substantially and only requires minimal prep work.
  • Earn more money. While this may seem hard at first but even earning an extra $100 a month makes a difference.
  • Consolidate. If you have large amounts of debt and high interest rates see if you can consolidate your debt into a lower interest rate. Paying off your debt will help you greatly each month. Make sure you cut those high interest rate cards after!
  • Be honest. Keep open communication between yourself and your partner. Speak to each other about your spending habits. Talk about major purchases.

How have you designed your budget? Do you have tips for keeping to your budget and increasing savings?

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Oink: Teaching Financial Literacy and Independence #review #giveaway

Teaching our children financial literacy skills is incredibly important. It gives them the strength, knowledge and independence to help them grow as stronger young adults. But how do we teach our children these skills? Money can be such a sensitive topic for people and others may not feel comfortable discussing bills, savings, etc. The tricky part can be in how to get these conversations rolling.
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Oink (previously Virtual Piggy) is an online piggy bank where children and teens can safely (and securely!) spend, save their allowances, create wishlists, donate and more. Most importantly, Oink opens up the door of communication so we can have these important financial chats with our children (that do not always happen when we give them their allowance in cash and they disappear quickly and I speak from experience there – never seen a nine year old run to his room so quickly before!).
Oink has set up quite a few safeguards for children when it comes to spending. A parent must first set up their own account linking it to their child’s account. Parents can then set a number of parameters depending on the age of their child, the amount of independence they feel is right, etc. Parent’s can set up funding goals, choose how much a child can spend in a single transaction, how they are alerted for these transactions and if approval needs to be given before these transactions can go through. Oink works with kid friendly retailers online and when your child goes to make a purchase they simply click on the “Virtual Piggy” at checkout. This video by Oink really helped walk me through the whole concept and understand our accounts better.

I love how Oink not only allows my son and I to have important financial conversations but also how it empowers him to make good financial decisions on his own. I was quite proud to hear him say that he did not want to spend all of his money on one toy because then he would have nothing left! He wanted to save a portion of his allowance and the other part he would save until there was something he really wanted. Oink gives him the tools to independently save his allowance, create a wishlist that we can go through together (you know all those “wants”) while still allowing me to monitor from a distance to make sure he is safe. It allowed me to feel confident in his choices and help us to speak more freely about money and budgeting for our wants and needs.
The best part of Oink? It is 100% free to use! Yes you heard that right! Both the child and parent account are completely free to use, save and spend online!
Oink is also a Parent Tested Parent Approved Winner. They have met the high standards of other parents just like you in order to earn that designation which is well deserved!
You can also check out their website which has a wealth of financial knowledge and tips. They have great tips on starting money conversations when paying bills or shopping along with helpful resources for families. You can also keep up to date with them on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
Oink is giving one reader a chance to win a $100 in gift card credit at
This giveaway is open to residents of the US, 18 years of age and older. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received no monetary compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own. The only compensation from this post is the giveaway for you my readers.

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How to Save Money on Everyday Items Part One: Price Matching and Lists

One of my all time favourite topics is how to save money – especially on groceries and toiletries.These items tend to use up the majority of our budget so I like to focus on these items when I am developing my grocery list. My co-workers know me as the “couponing lady”. But how can anyone resist saving money??!!! Why pay full price when you can purchase two items for the same price as one.

Price matching is where I see the majority of my savings. I love my coupons but the area that yields the most savings has always been in price matching. I know a lot of people that become overwhelmed at the thought of price matching, the amount of work involved, organizing and not wanting to make anyone angry at the cash register. Rest easy – I felt this way too when I first started and have developed my own tips for organizing my shop to ensure I save as much as possible each time.
First Step: Make a list
This is so important! Don’t purchase items because you can not remember if you have them in your pantry or fridge. Take the five minutes needed to go through your cupboards, fridge, freezer and pantry. It is important to become familiar with what products you have, what you are not using and use this time to purge items that are expired. Now start a list of what you will need. I like to prepare my list based on two weeks worth of meals – taking into consideration I will need to purchase buns before the second week starts for lunches. I include how many of each items I will need as well.
Step Two: Get Out Those Flyers!
The second step is a two step process. When I start to price match I first visit my favourite site – Save Big Live Better. They organize all the stores for you with the best deals and the amount it is on sale for. I quickly go through the list, match it up with my own grocery list and record the price on my list along with the store. I then go through the flyers myself (I enjoy this part the most!!). I tend to find items that I need that may not be on her list but it is on sale for a better price then I would have been able to purchase it for regular price.
Step Three: Re-Write Your List
This step may seem a bit redundant but trust me it is well worth it! I re-write my list starting with the stores I am going to price match from. My header for each one is the store flyer I am price matching it to – the columns that I record are the item, size of the item and the sale price. Including the sale price is important so that when you do get to the store you are not fumbling to compare prices (a little preparation goes a long way!!). Once everything is complete I put it all in my Dollar Store folder, tuck it in my purse and off I go!

Step Four: The Actual Shop!

I personally feel this is where a lot of individuals end up frustrated and give up. I know myself I have wanted to give up especially when it gets stressful in store with two children! What I realized was that I was doing it all wrong! Just like preparing before you shop – you need to organize your cart.

I personally enjoy shopping at Walmart. Their price matching policy is the easiest to follow (if you are confused check out Save Big Live Better’s website where they outline price matching policies or ask in store). Wherever you shop just make sure they will allow you to price match – otherwise all of your work will be lost. Walmart has those fantastic two tier carts that are perfect when you are combining regular shopping with price matching. I use the smaller top part for the regular items on my list and the bottom area for all price matched products. I also group the items by store with the flyer underneath to make it easier when I pay.

Step Five: The Transaction!

Find a line where you don’t feel rushed to put the items on the line. I find this is important because I like to organize how I put them on the line to make the process not only easier on myself but the cashier as well. I always group the regular priced items first. Then remove each price matching group and place them together (ex. all Frescho items first, followed by Fortinos, etc..). Make sure you keep the flyers in order as well along with your list for easy reference. It is also nice to give your cashier a heads up that after a certain item the rest will be price matched.

Above all enjoy your shopping and saving money!

Do you price match differently? What are some techniques that work for you?

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