Category: Budgeting

Free Trials are your Friend and Saves you a TON

Free trials are wonderful ! It gives you an amazing opportunity to try out services before you commit to paying for them. The problem becomes, remembering what subscriptions you have, when you start getting charged and making sure you don’t end paying for things you don’t want to keep !

There are a few ways to ensure you get the most from your subscriptions and keep track of what you have and when to end it so that you do not get charged!

Amazon Prime Student 6 MONTHS FREE!! That is correct! Students can get 6 months free with ALL the perks. Sign up here for free

Amazon Prime Free Trial – You get access to all the prime benefits, why not start a free trial here

TONS OF Extra Prime Channel add on free trials!! Than Exclusive Pricing ! StackTV, Paramount, Hayu, Starz, Discovery+, City TV and MORE!! ALL have free trials!! What I do is sign up to one at a time and enjoy my free trial and cancel and try a new one. Once you get through all the free trials often you get offers to sign up for a fraction of the regular price! Start your TV viewing options here

Make sure you download your tracker sheet so you never paid for a free trial once it’s ended if you don’t want to keep it! If you don’t want to use a chart, you can always set reminders on your phone calendar!

Ways to Save in 2024

The cost of living has increased pretty steady however often wages and income has not kept up with the cost of living. It’s become more and more important to manage money, save money, make additional income, reduce waste, reuse, etc. This will be a working document and I will be adding additional posts explaining each one to make it as easy as possible for everyone to be able to use these suggestions or some variation of so that everyone can be successful.

  1. Set a budget (50/20/30 budget – 50 is essentials. 30 personal 20 saving)
  2. Set a savings goal – round up and deposit in high interest savings account
  3. 52 Week Savings – This is an article on how to save this year, you can access it here
  4. Gift Card Challenge – Learn the gift card challenge and see how you can get started here
  5. Auto Pay Bills
  6. Round up Bills so December is pretty much free – There is a formula to help you with this right here.
  7. Recheck subscriptions such as Netflix, Spotify
  8. Set timers on free trials – There are a ton of free trials for TV here
  9. Add to your mortgage or other loans/credit – Add extra
  10. Request your free credit reports – contact each lender to re negotiate price.
  11. Buy Gift Cards for your essentials so you don’t overspend (Grocery, Gas, etc)
  12. Check for new rates on phone/cable/internet/
  13. Check your insurance, costs and what it carries.
  14. Ask doctor re write prescriptions for 2/3 month at a time to reduce dispensing fee
  15. Ask for generic options for pills OR find medication savings cards
  16. Learn your price per item
  17. Check points options such as PC Optimal, Scene and redeem rewards frequent
  18. Choose a credit card wisely
  19. Go back 3 months in bank statements and inventory where your spending is , ex Tim Hortons, Gas, etc
  20. Meal Planning this can save a ton
  21. Grow your own herbs and spices
  22. Learn appropriate size portions
  23. If your going out to eat, even if fast food, check the deals, split food, do surveys on receipts
  24. Receipts are your friend
  25. Compare Prices and know your go to for most common products
  26. Use Coupons and Cash Back Apps.
  27. Know which brands are the best
  28. Try free classes, membership, etc to see if you can find which one suits your needs. Negotiate prices
  29. Switch Light bulbs, un plug items not in use, power bars, turn down heat 1 degree ,
  30. Enjoy free activities and try new things
  31. Buy off season
  32. Know when your store marks down items, the area of the store and marks down days
  33. Make extra cash
  34. Markeplace, Free cycle is your friend
  35. Know your benefits from health clubs, AAA, memberships, etc Keep a notebook
  36. Learn what receipts to start keeping for your taxes, you could be missing out on savings
  37. Take advantage of your medical benefits (Stay healthier, claim remaining on Income tax)
  38. Mystery Shopping
  39. Open a high interest savings account
  40. Ask a friend to go with them on a trip
  41. Have someone buy you a Costco gift card
  42. Buy a few items on sale in bulk
  43. Make things pre made to make things easier
  44. Learn to waste less food
  45. Use the power of social media to borrow and buy 2nd hand, or 3rd hand.
  46. Keep car , furnace, etc in top working order to reduce costs
  47. Take advantage of freebies
  48. Remember your bags!
  49. DIY – There are many things you can do it yourself
  50. Read instructions

Make December a Stress-Free Month! #PayingYourself

We all feel that financial crunch all year long and December seems to kick us the hardest. Then it feels as if December doesn’t take us out; January will normally. When you see larger amounts that need to be paid out, it can create stress. If you break it up into smaller amounts over a period of time it makes things not so bad.

Let’s say you have the following bills and this is the amount you pay, you can see by adding just a bit more to your regular bill each month over the first 11 months can make your December payment already paid by the time that month rolls around so you do not need to worry about paying the bill that month. I find once the cash is paid to the bill you forget about it.

Internet $80 per month X 12 Months = $960 divided by 11 months = $87.27 per month; by simply paying that extra $7.27 a month you would have paid enough that when your December bill comes; you can not make a payment that month.

If your payment is normally

  • $50 per month; you would make a payment of $54.55 that’s only $4.55 MORE
  • $60 per month; you would make a payment of $64.45
  • $70 per month; you would make a payment of $76.36
  • $80 per month; you would make a payment of $87.27
  • $90 per month: you would make a payment of $98.18
  • $100 per month: you would make a payment of $109.09
  • $125 per month; you would make a payment of $136.36
  • $150 per month; you would make a payment of $163.64
  • $175 per month; you would make a payment of $$190.10
  • $200 per month; you would make a payment of $218.18

You can see that in many cases a few cups of coffee money is all it takes. Depending on what services you have, putting as little as $5 extra on your bill can make December a bit less stress-free. I know, I know you only have so many extra $5 to put away here and there. Don’t worry the ways to earn the extra $5 here and there are coming up very soon in future articles.

Gift Card

Gift Cards that will Make 2021 Holiday Season easier!

Gift Card your way to a Stress Free Holiday in 2021

Making the Holidays 2021 Just a bit less Stressful! Buy a gift card every week, it can be as low as $5 and has high as $100.

Put the in an envelope with the receipt. When December comes, pull out your gift cards and breath a sigh of relief that you have a little stock pile.

I also toss in this pile any gift cards I get doing surveys, from rebates , contests, etc.

I made a PDF file to make printing easy if you would like a form to keep track so you know what is what –  Access that form here

Anyone going to try this one this year and make the end of next year that much easier!

**This was originally written in December 2017.

Budget

January Steps to 2021 Financial Success – Budget 2021

January Steps to 2021 Financial Success – Budget 2021

  1. Get your credit report for free and set up for credit fraud monitoring to protect it.
  2. Learn how to repair your credit and improve it on and ongoing basis
  3. Make a list of all your bills, when they are due, how much they are a month, any interest rate, how many payments you have left, all of this stuff is important to move forward.
  4. Make a list of all the people you buy gifts for and what size they take now, what they will take close to their birthday, what size next Christmas; it’s an excellent time to get things clearance and beyond.
  5. Make sure you are either signed up to Ratken , Shoppers Army, Swagbucks or Airmiles or all 4. Go to their main website to shop for your favourite stores to get cash back ! Love this and it only takes a second to see which one has the highest cash back.
  6. Do the gift card challenge! There are 52 weeks in a year and buying one gift card at a time and putting it away for a raining day sure does make that end of the year
  7. Do the $ a week challenge, you will have a nice bundle for Christmas, a trip or that extra surprise that popped up.
  8. Round up when you pay your bills and make December free, if your internet bill is $80 per month round it up and pay $100 per month so when December rolls around that month is all ready paid.
  9. Check these 30 ways to reduce your water bill here.
  10. Know how to make the best of these common foods to avoid any waste.
  11. Make sure you do your Shoppers Voice 2021
Check in on your Finances

January Budget – Are we on track on need a restart?

We made it to 2021 and it’s time to dust off this article from last year and see what updates we can make and try to get everyone on track and in a good position to make better financial decisions this year. Why not keep more money in your pocket? Food prices are expected to soar upwards of 30%. It’s important to keep our costs at a minimum and save where and when we can.

We all start the first of the year with good intentions of saving money and getting on track but the truth of the matter is we are setting ourselves up for failure. The holidays kick everyone in the pocketbook regardless of income. Everyone overspent, many people got cheques early, banking days and automatic payments were mixed up due to the holidays and whatever budget you once had was dead by January 3rd. That’s why we don’t start off with a budget at the first of the year in posts, we wait until a bit down the road. January we need to learn what saving strategies there are, and get our butt in gear to get things on track.

If you do not have credit monitoring and fraud protection. Get it from Mogo which is completely free. The next thing you need to do is understand your credit. Are you sure you know what makes up your credit score? Check out the points here. Never pay for these services as there is always a free option but they are great free ways to monitor and repair your credit.

Here is where I am:

Swagbucks – It’s only the 2nd of the month and I have around 612 Swagbucks, I am waiting until 775 to trade it in for a $10 Amazon Gift Card. You earn Swagbucks from shopping from home, doing surveys, searches and more. The total lifetime total is 148,407 SB.

52 Week Challenge– I have a whopping $1 saved

I have $10 in Gift Cards in the Gift Card Challenge (I purchased a $10 Sobeys) When I am in a store, I just grab something and put them in a ziplock bag in the safe; if you don’t have a safe use a drawer that won’t be accessed by others. I really didn’t “miss” the money.

Requested to increase our mortgage payment by $50 per month (It took 2 years off a 10-year mortgage)

I rolled over 112 Cash miles and 3080 Dream Miles on our AirMiles.

I scored 14409 PC Optimum Points (Regular grocery & Gas)

Caddle is $1.60 this month ($261.55 lifetime), Checkout 51 is $7.59 (lifetime of $1183.31) and Coin out $6.62

Meal Planning

It is a great thing to try even if it is your first time, dig deep in that freezer and let’s get that stuff out and get fresh inventory in there. My kids have even adopted a resolution of “trying things” or knowing you can eat around what you don’t like so instead of saying I don’t like that dish because say they see peas, they try all of the dishes and just don’t eat the peas, however, I did notice there were no peas left.

I set up a meal plan for the rest of the week, working with what we had in the house and I made my grocery list today which consisted of needing baby spinach, mushrooms and sour cream. I was gifted some Epicure for Christmas from my friend Dana so we were going to try some of those dishes. Start with your proteins or meats and then find your sides, it doesn’t have pretty. I know we struggle sometimes to get those veggies in but a handful of this or that can be all you need.

Today consisted of Chicken Parmesan over egg noodles. I got the Chicken sauce for Christmas and I checked the ingredients and all I needed was baby spinach, we had the milk and I had got the boneless chicken or 1/2 price the other day so we cut it up before it was cooked. Devyn took an interest and decided to cook the egg noodles to go with the chicken Parmesan. Today’s supper cost approximately $2.50 per serving.

Tomorrow’s supper is beef (they don’t know it’s venison) & broccoli (It was $0.99 a head) and gravy (2/$1.25 at Dollarama) over mashed potatoes ($2.00) and baby carrots (free) which would be $0.90 per serving.

Pork (Got it preseasoned & 50% off before the holidays paying $3.50) Pita’s with mushrooms ($1.00) and veggies & Almonds ( $2.50 Sets with broccoli, carrots, baby tomato, almonds and cheese were 50%) which is $1.75 per serving.

Beef (Venison) Stroganoff over egg noodles – Mushrooms $1.00, Egg Noodles $1.00, Sourcream $2.50 which is $1.13 per person.

Donair loaf (made with venison prior to freezing) with sauce (Can milk, vinegar and sugar) and rice for $2.50 which is $0.63 per person.

Special Potatoes (Cut potatoes in bite size pieces place them in a bowl, place the oil of choice, such as olive or corn, sprinkle in whatever spices are fun in your cupboard, salt pepper, garlic, etc stir up and then place potatoes in the oven on 400 for 30-40 minutes until crispy), Corn and Chops (Chops are from our pig) which is $0.75 per person

Left Over Night – Check the fridge and freezer and whatever is in leftover containers is what it is. Might be a slice of pizza, 2 fish sticks, baby carrots, corn, beans, bologna, bacon

The Bills

I have started the list. If you have not this is the time to start. You need to list all your expenses, right down to your bank fees, if you are paying interest how much, and if you are making payments how many do you have left? How much are they a month? Make a list of all of those things you pay, how frequently, and how much. You need to set a goal! How much do you want to save this year? Is there something you want to pay off early? Write it down so we can get started!

These are just the things I could check quickly. How are you doing so far? Let us know in the comments.

Where is Your Money Going? Part 1

Budget, money, and more month left than money; are all things that are on top of people’s concerns but often do not know how to address them. In order to budget your money and assuring you are spending it effectively you need to know where it goes. Over the next month save receipts for EVERYTHING so that you can check against the list your make today and see where you need to adjust. This list may also show you how much it ends up costing to own a home, have cars and just the amount of different insurances you need.

I’m going to share our list as I need a readjustment as we have changed so much since I began Coupon Nannie. We have added a home, cars, trucks, kids, pets, and a lot. I will try to keep things in categories to try to keep it organized but you can be sure I will miss categories. We live in a 4 bedroom bungalow with 3 kids, one being a teenager. 4 Giant breed dogs, a cat, a mini poodle and chickens. I’ll put notes in that could be helpful.

Mortgage

Mortgage Insurance

Home Insurance

Taxes

House Improvements & Upgrades

Oil

Electricity

Septic Cleanout

Internet

Satellite

Cell Phones

Netflix

Spotify

Truck Payment

Truck Insurance

SUV Payment

SUV Insurance

Bike Payment

Bike Insurance

Transportation Maintenance and repair

Bank Fees

Credit Cards

Gas

Amazon Prime

Prescription Drugs

Medical Insurance

Dental Insurance

Medical Co-Pay

Dental Co-Pay

Pet Food

Vet Bills

Meds (worm, flea, tick, etc)

Grocery & Household Supplies

School Fees

Donations

The daughter going to University in September

RRSP’s

RESP’s

Gifts

Clothing

Entertainment

Dining Out

Child Care

The list is quite long and for some of them, it doesn’t matter how you write your budget, it is a number that is not going to change, regardless of how much you want it to. Make your list, and check it against your bank statement to see what other charges or fees you have paid. These do not include vacations, holidays, etc. In order to figure out where you can cut costs, you need to know where your cost is!

Write down your list, and add your costs beside each one, then add up your total expenses for the month. You should probably sit down! Take this amount and subtract it from how much your household brings in. Fighting isn’t it. I can guarantee it doesn’t matter how much money you make, the number is still shocking.

Once you know where you stand financially. You can start figuring out where you can start saving more money and spending less money. There are many of these things we can change but there are some things we cannot change, such as property taxes. During February we will see how to bring down these costs drastically. We always welcome comments below on your suggestions and input.

Two Awesome Finds to Add to Your Home

My husband and I decided we are going to reno our entire house by ourselves with the exception of the things I wouldn’t dare take on such as installing patio doors. I started looking for little things today.

Today was the first day I started actively looking for things for our home for the lowest possible price. It shows you how you can easily spend a fraction of the cost and have the best result.

The other day we picked up a nice plant at Superstore in a nice pot for 50% off making it only $5. It requires little light. It is the one shown on the 3rd shelf in the picture below. The other 3 plants were $8.99 at Superstore but marked down to $0.99 as they were very close to death. They will be shown on shelves 1, 2 and 4. My daughter and I headed to the Dollarama and picked up some more dirt for $0.63 cents (2 for $1.25) and 3 larger pots for the plants for $3 each. Total invested in plants $18.63 (Approx $6.31 per plant).

I picked up this cool stand (52.5 X 13.5 X 11). They were asking $40 for the stand, I scored it for $25.

The next item I purchased was solid pine ( 24 X 11.5 X 22.5 ) and I thought it would be perfect for my daughter’s room. I have yet to decide if I am going to paint it or not. They wanted $35 however I scored this for $5 too.

I’m very excited to see what else I can find and what projects we will be doing as we start our Reno of the house.

2019 Financial Goals – Working Together

Declutter & Budget this month for the New Year; 2019 Financial goals. We all know we set goals for the New Year and rarely keep them and that is mostly as we have ourselves set up for failure. Many people celebrated New Year’s Eve so their motivation to do anything the next day is slim to none and well if you screw up the first day why bother, right? January, a large majority of people have much less money as cheques came in early in December and are long spent, people overspent for the holidays so now they are paying for it.

Getting set up financially and decluttering your house can be done in a limited time and done correctly if we do it little by little.

Each day we will post simple things to declutter, and ways to get on track a bit more financially.

Moving Forward the Daily Decluttering Post will be found here!!

January 1

  • Join Swagbucks  It is a great way to earn gift cards. I earn hundreds of dollars in gift cards. I will be spending time this year to show us how to make the most. It is free so what do you have to lose? Start with the surveys and daily goals to start. I score 90% of my Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks.
  • Make a quick list of your expenses such as rent, power, oil, and internet.
  • Grab copies of any of your bills that show how much you pay exactly and what you get for that amount. An example would be your cell bill.

January 2

January 3

January 4

January 5

  • Check the monthly bills that you pulled out, twice See why
  • If you have not joined Checkout51, make sure you do it on your device and your spouses to maximize your savings.
  • $50 – Can save you thousands off your mortgage, no joke

January 6

  • Great tips on how to reduce food waste. Why waste what you buy?
  • While you have your bills out check your electric bill. Then click and read our article on how to reduce your power bill. You shouldn’t need to pay more than necessary.
  • Whoops It rang up at the wrong price, what price do you pay? What if I told FREE. Read about SCOP here

January 7

January 8

  • If you pay for cable services or satellite start a journal for the week. Keep track of what channel or network you’re watching, and how often you watch something on that channel and then have a look at your cable or satellite bill and see if there are any places you can cut costs.
  • Secret tip: You can print 2 of each coupon per browser per computer Click here to start printing savings. **Please note Coupon Nannie earns 1 cent per coupon printed via this link.
  • Follow Coupon Nannie on Twitter and you can see lots of extra contests, Twitter parties and more

January 9th

  • Need a part for your car? Call the local junkyard. You can save hundreds of dollars. My husband needed a new tailgate for his truck, but going to the junkyard he saved a couple of hundred dollars.
  • Get to know when gas prices go up and down and fill your tank. In Nova Scotia, our gas prices go or down the day after New Brunswick and are usually the same, so if they fall ours will.
  • Ensure you go to the gas station that has the best “points” value or rewards. I use the one by the Super Store and get PC Plus Points. We have 2 vehicles in our home so getting the best bang for your buck is important to us.

January 10th

  • Buy a nail cutter, great deal here at amazon and do your own cat and dog nails. You can save a ton of money than getting a vet to do it or a groomer. These are super easy to use.
  • Brushing your cat’s and dog’s teeth is great for their health and will keep them healthy longer. Amazon has great brushes
  • Do not buy flea and tick medication at stores such as Walmart, etc. Always use vet-recommended medication. You do not need to buy it from the vet, I save money and buy mine here. The medication on the shelf can hurt your pets, they do not work and are dangerous to many pets. This is one of those areas where it is best to spend a bit more as you will save in the long run.

January 11

  • Get to know when things go on sale at your favourite stores. I know my local Superstore; if I go first thing in the morning I can probably get yesterday’s salads, pre-made fruit bowls, and onsite juice; if I go after supper I can get marked-down deli, bakery, and meat.
  • Familiarize yourself with the colour of the discount stickers in the stores, Love our pink stickers at our Superstore means 50% off, where they keep their coupons (They have a coupon board as soon as you walk into the main store and have coupons under some products throughout the store)
  • Familiarize yourself with what products are often put products on the box such as Taco Kits, Cereal Boxes, Frozen Chicken products, Granola bars, etc. Often you can gain some great coupons such as $5.00 off vegetables, Free Juice, and $4 off Chicken. If you’re buying the product anyway, you might as well grab the box that has the coupons on it.

January 12

January 13

  • Join Groupon to save on many things, especially local things. I picked up some awesome deals for March break at over 50%off
  • If you have children, familiarize yourself with what restaurants offer “Kids eat free” as often you can eat at a nice eat-in restaurant for the same price as fast food with the Kids eats Free deal.
  • Check your local restaurant’s websites, many have apps or coupons for free appetizers or other deals; many can be combined with “Kids eat Free” deals.

January 14

January 15

January 16

  • Know what stores your shop at and when and if you are eligible for discounts. Lawtons gives students, including those in grades 10-12, a 10% discount every day with a valid student ID.
  • While many new deals start on Thursday or Friday a few starts early, if it is your favourite store such as Giant Tiger, know that their flyer starts on Wednesday and you can see them anytime on reebee
  • It’s a great time to start meal planning. If you can plan your meals around the deals, it can allow for much more variety at a much lower cost. You don’t need to be perfect the first week. It takes time.

January 17

  • If you’re going to use “jay” like clothes, grab them at Dollarama but make sure you get them in the automotive section as you get 50 for the price of 5 in the kitchen section.
  • Check Dollarama for grocery prices on items such as spices and packaged gravy.
  • Do not get caught up in the “Dollar Store” theme and just start loading your cart with items. There are many things you can get cheaper in the grocery store such as cleaners and people just get caught up.

January 18

  • Check the Bulk Barn as they often have coupons in their flyer or online
  • Buy items such as the small amounts of spices for specific recipes instead of purchasing the entire bottle of a spice you will never use again.
  • If you wanted to “try” items, this is the place to do it; you can buy very small amounts and if you do not like it you do not need to worry about dishing out a few bucks, you would have only spent a few cents.

January 19

  • Cut open that toothpaste container; there are a few more uses in there.
  • Put water in those shampoo & conditioner containers; you get a minimum of one good use.
  • Laundry Detergent, Liquid Fabric Softer, etc, all of those add a little water and get that last bit out of the bottle; after all, you paid for it.

January 20

  • Add some vinegar and water to a bowl and soak wilted vegetables to freshen them up
  • A handful of baking soda down the drain with a 1/2 cup of vinegar and close with a plug for 20 seconds. Rinse with hot water – To Unclog a drain.
  • Clean and disinfect wood cutting boards with full-strength vinegar.

January 21

  • Fabric Softer Sheets – Cut them in 1/2 and you will still have lots of power.
  • You can use them more than once so technically you could get 4 uses at least from one.
  • Used fabric softener sheets are awesome for cleaning mirrors, screens and such and leave them link-free.

After Christmas Deals #BoxingDay

Finally! Christmas morning has finally arrived and now that that part is over; it is time to start BOXING DAY SALES!! This is the time of year you can get better deals than Black Friday. You can get deals up to 90% off of sales items!! These items can be everyday items or holiday items for next year.

I live in Nova Scotia so the stores are not open on boxing day and I need to wait until December 27th to walk into a physical store so that would make my husband very happy HOWEVER I have anxiety and do not like a lot of people and there is a wonderful world of ONLINE SHOPPING!!!

If you are online shopping remember all the extra coupon codes you find and cash back options STILL APPLY!! I personally use Swagbucks first, then Ebates on most things however that’s because Swagbucks pays out more frequently and I find I can earn more this way but they are totally up to you. Visit here quickly to see what options are best for you to get cash back

Great things you can buy at a crazy low price include:

Holiday Decorations

Holiday Wrapping

Tree Ornaments

Gift Packages for personal hygiene

Holiday Clothing (Especially for kids)

Winter Clothing

Appliances (They need room for next year’s model)

Cars (They need room for next year’s model)

I know this year on my shopping list is dishes and serving trays for next year and we need to add to our tree decorations. We just purchased a new washer, dryer and fridge just before Christmas and they gave us the boxing day deals as they knew I would bring the receipt back for the 60-day price match guarantee.

What items if any are on your Boxing Day Shipping List??