Fun

How to Set - and Stick to - Your FUN Budget

howtosetandsticktoyourfunbudget.jpgWhen people hear the word budget, they don’t hear “fun.”

Instead, they tend to hear one of two things.

“Booooooring.”

Or the ever-popular,

“So I have to stop going to the pub so much, right?”

But here’s the great thing about budgeting:

It can actually help you spend guilt-free on the things you really love.

And I speak from personal experience on this.

My Budgeting Journey

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How To Score Cheap Movie Tickets

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I don't know about you, but I love going to the cinema to watch a movie!

It's a great way to get out of the house and enjoy a night out with family or friends. There's just something about the experience that makes it so much better than watching a movie at home, even if it is MUCH more expensive.

With the price of a single admission approaching $15 per ticket in some cities, it can cost a fortune to go out to the movies with your spouse especially if you include the insane cost of movie food. Add on a babysitter and you could be getting close to $75 or more for one night at the movies!

Fortunately, there are a lot of creative ways to score cheap movie tickets and I've put together a pretty comprehensive list:

Discount Movie Passes

There are actually a ton of ways you can advance purchase discount movie passes that makes getting cheap movie tickets a breeze. You can find these cheap movie passes at various retail stores, through certain membership programs, or sometimes even through your employer. Here are a few specific examples:

Costco Cineplex Movie Packages

One of the quickest and easiest ways to get discount movie passes is at Costco. They "Great Escape" Cineplex package for adults costs $26.99 when bought directly at the warehouse. You get 2 regular adult admissions, 1 regular popcorn, and 2 regular fountain drinks all for that one price. Keep in mind, it is $3 extra per person to upgrade to 3D. Depending on how you value the tickets and the refreshments, you could be getting a value of up to $45 there.

Costco also offers kids packages for about $10 which gives you an under 13 regular admission ticket and a kids pack from the concession stand (popcorn, soft drink, and small candy).

It’s worth noting that Costco.ca often has these same or similar packages at a slightly increased price so you can buy them even if you aren’t a Costco member - but they do go out of stock often. If you aren't a member, try convincing your friends who are to pick a few passes for you.

Virgin Mobile BOGO

Virgin offers buy one get one free (BOGO) movie passes to its customers several times a year. This is great if you are already a "member" or know somebody who is. The good news is that you can become a member cheaply when you buy a prepaid SIM card (about $5). Once you have that, you can insert it in any unlocked phone and use it to claim your BOGO code.

The downside is that your SIM card will expire in 120 days from when your balance reaches $0. The minimum top up is $15 and that lasts for 30 days. So you can wait 119 days after buying the SIM, top up for $15, then you should have 150 days before it is set to expire again. Keep topping up every 149 days to keep it active.

CAA

Being a CAA member can have its perks and one of them does happen to be cheap movie tickets! CAA offers a discount on individual Cineplex movie tickets and sometimes packages as well. The packages aren’t quite as cheap as they are at Costco, but still a reasonable deal if you can’t take advantage of the Costco deal. They also offer single admission passes at $9.83 each, which is something you can’t buy at Costco which is great for those people who don’t want over-priced food at the movies or don’t want to spend the extra money to get it.

Employee Discount Programs

Many larger employers offer employee discount programs for their employees to take advantage of. Typically the discounts given are of marginal value at best, but many such programs do offer decent discounts on movie tickets. For example, a previous employer of mine offered us single admission movie tickets for $2.50 off the regular price. Check with your employer to see if they offer a similar program!

Redeem Points For Movie Passes

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How to Watch Sports for Less

howtowatchsportsforless.jpgI love watching sports. Especially LIVE in person...

In fact, I go to a couple hockey games per year. And then watch the rest at home.

The main reason comes down to this:

Money and time.

It’d cost thousands of dollars to attend all games during the year. Not to mention the time factor driving to and from the venue, finding a decent parking spot, and the hunt to find your seats.

Then there’s the snacks...And maybe souvenirs, if you’re really splurging.

YES - it’s a thrill to watch a game in person. But let’s face it:

There are cheaper alternatives...

Watching at Home

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Free Internet TV - A Complete Guide For Canadians

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When I first published this guide more than 5 years ago - internet TV in Canada was a primitive beast...

Canadian television networks were just starting to put full episodes online and it was only for the purpose of their cable or satellite subscribers to be able to catch up on recent shows they missed. The stream quality was often poor and laggy and few people actually knew the content existed.

Those that did know usually watched hunched over their laptops - not from the comfort of their couches using a remote control.

Times have changed.

There are now more than 30 Canadian networks (listed below) streaming full episodes of their shows online using top quality media players. Many of them even have mobile apps for viewing on your phone or tablet.

The best part is it is all free - supported by far fewer commercials that you have the "privilege" of paying to watch with cable or satellite.

When you're done reading this guide - you should be ready to cut the cord yourself. You'll know exactly where to go to get full TV episodes free and legally along with all the tools and equipment you need to make your internet TV viewing experience a pleasant one.

Ready to cut the cord? Download the PDF version of this step-by-step guide.

In This Guide

Can I Really Get TV For Free?

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The SAVE MONEY CHALLENGE: Crush Your Hidden Costs And Have Fun Doing It

savemoneychallenge.jpgSaving hundreds of dollars is both rewarding and exhilarating.

I want to make the process of learning how to save equally inspiring …

Because it can be!

That’s why I’m starting the SAVE MONEY CHALLENGE -- a quick challenge for you to join from time to time -- where you are free to try your hardest to save as much money as you can in one unique way.

There will be a new and different themed challenge every time. When you’ve completed the challenge, you get to brag and share your epic stories about how much money you’ve saved while teaching others how they can get similar results.

This will be a great way for us to learn and grow. If we all flex our save money muscles together, we’ll be on our way to being financially fit in no time.

Action is what drives us forward to get closer to our goals. You can master your money one challenge at a time.

Are you ready to start unloading those hidden extra costs that have been weighing you down?

Start living life on your own terms. Every time you complete a challenge, you show your money who’s the boss.

I’ve said before that I want this site to be valuable resource for you to make your dollar stretch. Not only that...

I’d love to provide a safe space where everyone can learn to be the master of their money and live a better life. My hope is that these Save Money Challenges will push you over the edge to take action towards better financial health.

Get Challenge Updates

Here’s How It Works

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Never Pay To Upgrade Your Computer’s Memory + VIDEO

neverpaytoupgradeyourcomputersmemory.jpgAt some point during the life of a computer, there almost always comes a time when it would benefit the owner to install more memory. If you find your computer is getting sluggish when you have quite a few programs running, then you are probably a good candidate for increased RAM (random access memory).

Even when buying a new computer, you should be wary about buying a more expensive model of the same computer just because it has more RAM. It is very common for the price of a laptop to jump by $100 or even $200 just because it has a little more RAM and maybe a slightly bigger hard drive. Please please please, don’t fall for that trick! Go ahead and buy the cheaper model and just upgrade the RAM yourself.

VIDEO: Don't miss the video near the bottom of the article where I walk you through the entire process of buying cheap RAM online.

Computer Memory Is Extremely Cheap

Computer memory is manufactured en masse these days and it basically all works the same way so companies that produce it are able to get manufacturing costs down very low. As long as you are looking for a reasonably popular type of RAM, then you won’t end up paying much. Keep reading » about Never Pay To Upgrade Your Computer’s Memory + VIDEO

Score Cheap Concert Tickets (And Good Seats Too!)

scorecheapconcertticketsandgoodseatstoo.jpgBuying tickets for concerts and sporting events can be frustrating. It seems like almost all popular Ticketmaster events sell out in minutes or even seconds, leaving thousands of fans frustrated and forced to pay astronomical prices on the secondary market.

There are a few strategies you can use to help you get tickets at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, none of them are guaranteed to work all the time, but with trial and error you will greatly increase your chances and get much better at it over time!

Here’s how:

Join Fan Clubs Ahead Of Time

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The Public Library: Unlock a Vault of Free Entertainment

thepubliclibraryunlockavaultoffreeentertainment.jpgI love the library. My family used to make weekly trips to the library when I was a kid. We would spend the whole afternoon scouring the rows upon rows of books in search of our next literary adventure; I travelled to the moon with Tintin, got tangled in a web making friends with “some pig” and shot down TIE fighters with the elite Rogue Squadron.

Somewhere between solving crime at 221b Baker Street and prepping for the next barrage of finals during university, I began to associate the library with dusty reference books and tedious study. But let’s take a moment to dispel those ill-conceived misconceptions. The library isn’t a stuffy place filled with dated texts; rather it’s a place to find escape and be entertained. Your public library is the best kept secret to an endless supply of quality entertainment for the right price: free.

Related: Awesome Free Video Games

Traditional Print and Media

The modern public circulation library has long been lending works accessible to the general public dating as far back as the middle of the 19th century. In the early days, as Lady Mary Montagu succinctly noted, “No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting.” Some hundred years later, the same still applies today. The library continues to provide traditional materials such as books and magazines while having expanded their collections to include movies, music and television shows.

Books

With cover prices starting at $10 per paper back, building your own personal library is expensive. Instead of buying, why not make your tax dollars work for you. Call, check online, or take a quick trip to your local branch to see if they carry a particular title; in most cases, they will. Libraries house a repository of thousands of fiction and nonfiction books on almost every imaginable subject, including books on current bestselling lists. Debate the finer points of western philosophy or find out for yourself where the HBO’s Game of Thrones differs from the George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire. There are literally books for everyone.

Magazines and Newspapers

Libraries have long since stocked the latest magazines and periodicals. You can read the news, you can read interesting articles, and you can do it without having to pay for the subscription cost. Note the following caveat: Current issues generally need to stay at the library but previous issues can be borrowed.

Music

The library is a great place to get your hands on your favorite artist’s full album to listen to, ad-free. They have everything from Beethoven to Beyoncé and definitely something for every mood and occasion whether it be jazz for a dinner party or Christmas carols for the holidays. Borrowing music is also a great way to preview music if you’re contemplating the purchase of a particular album. Stumble on new sounds and genres while you rediscover the art of browsing. You don’t need a music discovery service, a prediction algorithm or “experts” to pick your next playlist; take back control of your music and find your own tune.

Related: The Top 3 Free Music Streaming Services For Canadians

Movies and Television Shows

Once upon a time, libraries were just a place for books, but since the days of Blockbuster (remember them?), libraries have been stocking VHS and DVD’s for its patrons to “rent” for free. Not only do they have the latest blockbusters, but also a rich back catalogue of classic and foreign films. They even stock entire seasons of many popular TV shows. There are a few advantages of borrowing a movie or TV show over subscribing to popular online streaming services.

It may be easier to find popular titles from the library. Libraries purchase several copies of the same movie and circulate them fast enough that new titles are likely available to borrow before they’re available on demand from streaming services like CraveTV or ShoMi. Libraries also carry shows that span multiple networks and premium channels meaning you save on the cost of subscribing from multiple providers. Where else can you find the latest season of Showtime’s Homeland, Netflix’s House of Cards or AMC’s The Walking Dead in the same place?

Digital Content

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Multiply Your Savings With A Coupon Book

multiplyyoursavingswithacouponbook.jpgLast year I managed to save a significant amount of money on groceries by using coupons I found in a coupon book.

Not only did I save money from the coupons I found, I also managed to multiply my savings so that I saved much more than originally planned.

Stumbling My Way To Big Savings

My strategy for multiplying my savings was something I stumbled upon in the process of using my coupons.

I bought a coupon book online for a fundraiser that raises money for local schools. The coupon book cost $20 but was huge – it had hundreds of coupons inside. I bought it for the grocery coupons as those were the ones that I knew I would use and would save me money. The book had about $60 in grocery coupons that I was sure to use, so I’d easily make my money back.

In the process of searching for the coupon book through online classifieds I noticed that there were others who were in the same position I was – they also bought the coupon book but would only use 5-10 coupons out of the hundreds that were available.

I noticed ads placed by others who wanted to trade the coupons they weren’t planning to use for the ones they would use.

Related: Couponing For Beginners

It was easy to find plenty of people to trade coupons with, as certain people were looking for certain coupons and almost everyone had coupons they weren’t planning to use.

I contacted a few of them and asked if they’d want to trade and I was in luck. I traded with numerous people via regular mail since it saved us the time and hassle of meeting to trade for relatively low-value coupons.

How Much Money I’ve Saved

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The Top Free PC Games By Genre

thetopfreepcgamesbygenre.jpgThere are an astounding number of top tier computer games that are Free To Play (F2P) these days. So many, in fact, that you probably don’t have to pay another dollar to play a video game for the rest of your life if you didn't want to!

Most of the guides to free games out there mash all types of games together in one big list. So, to be different, I’ve decided to split them up conveniently by genre so you can quickly find the best games in the category you heart the most.

Instead of going at this subjectively, I’ve made my best attempt to assess the popularity of each of these games over the past 12 months and will give you the top 3 in each genre (at least if that many free games exist in the genre). There’s no point wasting your time on a dying no-name game, right? You might as well go where all the action is! I’ve also only included top tier 3D games while mostly forsaking older style 2D games and browser based games.

Jump To A Game Genre

This list is all on one page (surprise!) so you can read through super fast simply by scrolling, or you can use the handy menu below to jump to a genre you like:

Shooter

Shooters are definitely the most popular genre of free video games - I discovered 14 of them in my research for this article. I’m going to include the top 5 here, instead of the usual 3, because there are so many good ones to choose from.

All of these games center around team-based online battles where you match up with other gunslingers to take down an opposing team while completing various objectives according to the game mode you’ve chosen.

Most of the games in this category are First Person Shooters (FPS), but the top game is a Third Person Shooter (TPS) so based on reader comments below I have renamed this section to "Shooters".

1) Warframe

Warframe is an interstellar shooter that has you fighting as an ancient Tenno warrior that has been called back into action now that the Grineer are taking over the solar system.

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Play Warframe

▲ Top

2) Team Fortress 2

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