Category Archives: Budget Hacks

Save on your Summer Outings with Coupons!

The not-so 'spensive stuff is what they'll remember about their summer by Christa Clips Save-at-Home-MomLooking back at the best summers of my life, it’s the not-so-‘spensive stuff like sprinklers, kites, campfires, and sandcastles that stand out in my mind. And while many of us are trying to cling to the notion of frugal fun by keeping our summer plans simple and affordable, there are some pretty fantastic attractions that we’d hate to miss out on.

Here is a (continually growing) list of coupons and discounts for admission to Canadian tourist attractions and family activities. Check back often to see which coupons and savings tips have been added, and please drop a line in the comments below with other suggestions to add to the list!

Why pay full price for your summer outings when there are discounts to be had?! Don’t forget to be a tourist in your own community and check online before heading out to a museum, festival, park, or restaurant – there are often coupons to print or flash on your mobile device!

Ontario Coupons:

Quebec Coupons:

  • Passeport Vacances Coupons – printable coupons for major attractions throughout the Province of Quebec including LaRonde coupons, Parc Omega coupons, Parc Safari coupons, IMAX coupons, coupons for white water rafting, etc.

British Columbia Coupons:

  • Hello BC Tourism Coupons – printable coupons & online deals for attractions throughout the Province of British Columbia
  • Coupons BC – a collection of printable coupons for restaurants, activities and attractions in BC

Daily Deal Sites

Entertainment Book

The Entertainment Coupon Savings Book has several Canadian editions for major cities with 100s of perforated coupons and discounts on the mobile app for tourist attractions, museums, restaurants, and services. The new editions are released in August of each year and Entertainment Book coupons expire in November – get one per city that you’re visiting and leave it with your host or hotel staff when you leave if you’re not coming back!

CAA

Check your CCA or other automotive club membership package to see which discounts you are entitled to as a member.

Free Admission

Many museums and festivals have FREE admission during certain times. Take a few minutes to check the official website and/or facebook page of your destination before heading out to find out when the FREE admission times are.

UsedEverywhere.com

Swap out your old gear and update your backyard with new-to-you toys and summer accessories – you’ll be surprised at what your neighbours have to sell on your city’s UsedEverywhere site. Think “sprinklers”!!

So whether you’re keeping your summer plans simple or you’re preparing for the staycation of a lifetime, be savvy about your summer plans and set aside a few minutes to plan ahead and save some money along the way with coupons and discounts on Canadian summer attractions. Wishing y’all a safe & happy summer!

 

 

 

 

May 1st Hydro Time of Use Changes in Ontario: Save Money on Your Electricity Bill

Hydro Time-of-Use rates change in Ontario on May 1st, 2014. Christa Clips shares easy steps to change your hydro habits to cut your electricity bill.

Hydro Time-of-Use rates change in Ontario on May 1st, 2014. Christa Clips shares easy steps to change your hydro habits to cut your electricity bill.

May 1st marks the change of Ontario Hydro Time-of-Use rates. Are you being savvy about your hydro use by turning OFF your appliances during peak times to save money on your hydro bill?  As part of my Save-at-Home-Mom savings strategy, I make it a priority to adapt my cooking and cleaning routine to stay in the green. These savings tips originally appeared in my guest post on Mrs. January in November, 2013.

The spring/summer Hydro Time-of-Use rates take effect from May1-October 31st in Ontario. Hydro is almost twice as expensive during certain times of the day so it’s worth adapting your household habits to keep your hydro bill as low as possible:

On-Peak

13.5 ¢ / kWh

 Weekdays
 11 am – 5 pm           
             

     
 Mid-Peak

11.2 ¢ / kWh

 Weekdays
 7 am
 – 11 am
5 pm – 7 pm
 
 Off-Peak

7.5 ¢ / kWh

 Weekdays
 7 pm – 7 am
 Weekends
 All Day

Source: HydroOne.com – rates were accurate at the time of this post on May 1, 2014.

Here are some changes that are easy to implement and will make a big impact on your hydro bill if you can do the majority of your cooking, cleaning and use of electronic devices outside of those dreaded RED zones.

Ontario Hydro Time of Use Rates

Showers

Implement a “last call for showers” so that everyone is out of the shower, the exhaust fan can be turned off, and the hot water tank can refill completely by the time the RED zone kicks in at 7am. Shower doors don’t open again until 7pm!

Laundry

If you must do laundry during weekdays instead of during the GREEN zone (weekends), get your load in first thing in the morning and make sure the washing machine and dryer are turned off by 11am. Better yet, try to hang your laundry whenever possible. Check out the printable coupons from Hydro One to save on drying gear!

Electronics

Charge your laptop, cell phones and other electronic devices overnight so that you can unplug and work off of the battery during the day. Recharge if need be during the YELLOW zone and unplug between 11am-5pm if at all possible.

As always, unplug any electronic appliances and devices that aren’t in use – they still draw a small current even when switched off and can add to your monthly hydro bill without your knowledge. Investing in a power bar with a timer is well worth the savings – here’s a printable coupon from Hydro One!

Cooking

If your meal time falls within the RED zones, cook during the GREEN or YELLOW zones and keep food warm on the burner or in the oven until serving time – both take a long time to cool down after you’ve turned them off if you don’t lift the lid or open the oven door.

Dishwasher

Don’t run your dishwasher outside of the 7pm-7am GREEN zone. That is all.

Furnace

Adjust the thermostat when you’re not home. When you are home, get the house to your preferred temperature before the RED zones kick in and then use the fan only to circulate the air until you can top up the heat/cold again when the zones change to YELLOW or GREEN.

Hanging whites outside on a sunny humid day means they get naturally bleached AND the wrinkles fall out on their own!

Hanging laundry outside on a sunny, humid day means the whites bleach naturally AND the wrinkles fall out on their own!

Start small by implementing one or two of these simple changes until you’re in the routine of saving on hydro.

With the Canadian climate, we’re obviously going to have some lighting and heating/cooling costs during the RED zone, but by keeping your cooking, cleaning and use of electronic devices to the GREEN and YELLOW zones, you can save a bundle on your electricity bill.

Hydro One has some great info on their website, click through for more energy saving tips and printable coupons to help you save when updating your light fixtures, light bulbs, power bars, etc.

How have you been trying to save on your Hydro bill? Please add your comments below!

Upcycled Home Decor! (Confessions of a Clutter Bug!) #UsedParty Twitter Party April 23rd at 9pmET

What do you get when you cross a thrift store junkie with a DIY home decor nut? Me! And all of my frugally funtastic friends who also cruise the aisles of Value Village, vintage consignment, and thrift stores in search of new-to-us treasures to repurpose and incorporate into our home decor. We’re out “saling” on weekend mornings and surfing the buy/sell websites into the wee hours of the night poised to pounce when someone posts that exact “thing” that we need to complete a coolio project that we pinned to our DIY ideas boards on Pinterest.

(tip: most people post their online ads late at night so if you want to beat the early bird to the worm, try hanging out with the night owls!)

my DIY hobby has contributed to some serious clutter in our home in the past.

I speak for myself, though, when I say that my DIY hobby has contributed to some serious clutter in our home in the past. Not because of completed projects lining the walls and shelves of our living room, but because of the “ideas waiting to be developed” in the basement, garage, and shed. Before the advent of online buy/sell websites and local freecycle facebook groups, I was notorious for scooping up anything and everything that I thought would be a fun item to upcycle or repurpose. Afterall, the garage sale season is short, and there were fewer second hand stores to choose from which left me with a sense of urgency leading to a “I’ll just tuck this away and find a use for it later” mindset.  It drove my husband nuts!

I’ve purged most of my “undeveloped ideas” over the years by selling my clutter & collections at garage sales, consignment stores, buy/sell websites, freecycle groups, donations, etc., and although I’m still a clutter bug, I only buy items for DIY projects that I’m ready to do immediately!

Except for these.  Majong Upcycle Project by Christa Clips

My 3 or 4ish (?) Majong sets.

I scavenged these from a garbage bin almost 15 years ago (it was dry, and clean, don’t worry!). Some tiles are plastic while others are bamboo and bone? Ivory? I haven’t even taken the time to figure out what I have! When I found these beauts discarded and destined for the dump, I immediately imagined turning them into a tiled coffee table. But, as was the way with so many of my fantastic DIY home decor ideas, I never followed through with the project and they’ve sat in a cardboard box ever since.

I have a bit of a thing for vintage Asian thrift (if that’s a thing?!)

I’ve lugged the (ridiculously heavy) box during 4 house moves and just can’t part them – their DIY potential is limitless!  I think it’s the mass quantity that appeals to me as well as the fact that I lived in Japan for 2 years after University and have a bit of a thing for vintage Asian thrift (if that’s a thing?!).

I’ve envisioned these majong tiles being upcycled into:

majong jewelry

photo minxandmaven on Etsy.com

  • a tiled coffee table or dining room table
  • a bathroom floor
  • a kitchen back splash
  • 100s of necklace pendants or bracelets (they’re way too heavy to use as earrings despite the fun pics on Pinterest!)

But as the years have passed, the project has become increasingly complicated in my mind as I place more and more value on the final project being culturally and linguistically authentic. What do the tiles mean?  Which way should they be oriented? Which pieces belong with which set? Are they too valuable to consider using in a mosaic or drilling holes in them for jewelry? And so they sit, hidden in the basement so that hubs can’t find them. (He doesn’t read my blog either, don’t worry!)

A box with limitless DIY project potential sits in the basement of Christa Clips!

A box with limitless DIY project potential sits in the basement of Christa Clips!

What do you think I should do with my Majong tiles?

In addition to reading your comments below (hint hint!), I’m going to ask a bunch of frugally minded DIY divas at an upcoming Twitter Party!

Christa Clips is a panelist for this month's #UsedParty on Upcycled Home Decor!

Christa Clips is a panelist for this month’s #UsedParty on Upcycled Home Decor!

This month’s #UsedParty on twitter hosted by @UsedEverywhere is all about re-used and re-vamped second hand items that we can turn into DIY home decor! Finding non-retail options for home decor is my idea of eco-friendly and frugal fun and I’m thrilled to be on board as one of the panelists!

Join us for an hour of ideas and inspiration!

All of the questions for the party have been posted to allow folks to snap some photos and prepare some links to share with the other twitter party attendees. It’ll be my turn to ask a question during the 2nd half of the party and I’ll be asking folks about DIY home decor projects that have been too intimidating to start.

You can well imagine what my answer to that question is going to be!  Majong, anyone?!